Ram alley, or Merry tricks (Lording Barry, 1611): a critical edition
Fraser, Robert Duncan
PR0931 | PR0621 | PR0421
The object of this thesis is to produce a critical edition of Lording Barry’s play Ram Alley\ud (first published in 1611 by Robert Wilson and printed by George Eld). This edition will\ud consist of (a) an annotated, modernised spelling version of the text, that text being based\ud on a bibliographic study of the first quarto, and (b) an introduction which will cover: the\ud printing of the first quarto, the life of Lording Barry and his critical reception, the play’s\ud place in and contribution to early Jacobean city comedy (particularly in relation to the use\ud of wit and bawdy in masculine self-definition), and the problems of annotating a text\ud which is so reliant for its humour on bawdy innuendo.\ud The annotation will be very much fuller than is normal for an edition of an early modern\ud play text, aiming to provide not just explanation but also commentary on and\ud contextualisation of the language, contemporary and cultural references, characterisation,\ud and action.\ud This play is something of a by-way in the early Jacobean drama, and, like its author, is\ud little known. It is, however, a competent example of the type of comedy produced for the\ud private theatres and reflects, therefore, on the work of other, better known dramatists, in\ud particular Thomas Middleton.\ud In terms of original contribution to the field of study, this thesis will, it is hoped, add to\ud our knowledge and understanding of:\ud 1. the text of Ram Alley\ud 2. the production of the first quarto of Ram Alley\ud 3. the working practices of the printer, George Eld (who was also responsible\ud for the first quarto of Troilus and Cressida and of Shakespeare’s Sonnets)\ud 4. the nature and hermeneutics of wit in Ram Alley\ud 5. approaches to editing early modern dramatic comedy\ud 6. Jacobean city comedy as a genre.