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Shakespeare Reshaped, 1606-1623$
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Gary Taylor and John Jowett

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122562.001.0001

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'Swounds Revisited Theatrical, Editorial, and Literary Expurgation

'Swounds Revisited Theatrical, Editorial, and Literary Expurgation

(p.51) 2 'Swounds Revisited Theatrical, Editorial, and Literary Expurgation
Shakespeare Reshaped, 1606-1623



Oxford University Press

One of the abuses of players that are considered to be the most notorious to be imposed by the English Parliament is the ‘Acte to restraine Abuses of Players’. This legislation meant that actors were no longer allowed to speak when on the stage the words that he could legally express when off it. Part of the language and part of life was thus restricted from the actor, and those who did not comply were to have to face the relatively cruel consequences employed by Parliament. Although the ethical despotisms seen in 1642 affected most English drama, the despotism in 1606 greatly affected Shakespeare's plays. Although many of Shakespeare's plays were seen to belong to the past, several were not published until after May 1606. As such, there was a question on whether the earlier plays that may have revivals were covered. This chapter explores the instances of expurgation and aims to alter our understanding of the publishing and theatrical industries during the Jacobean period.

Keywords:   Acte to restraine Abuses of Players, Jacobean period, expurgation, publishing, theatrical industry, Parliament, ethical despotisms

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