"Workshop and/as Playhouse: Comedy and Commerce in The Shoemaker's Holiday,"

Critic: David Scott Kastan
Source: Studies in Philology, Vol. LXXXIV, No. 3, Summer 1987, pp. 324-37.



[(essay date 1987) In the essay below, Kastan maintains that The Shoemaker's Holiday is "a realistic portrait only of Elizabethan middle-class dreams--a fantasy of class fulfillment that would erase the tensions and contradictions created by the nascent capitalism of the late sixteenth-century."]

Nothing is proposed but mirth," Thomas Dekker assures his readers in the dedicatory epistle to The Shoemaker's Holiday. "I present you here with a merry conceited comedy," he says, a play that had recently been acted before the Queen, that ever enthusiastic though hyper-sensitive theatre-goer, whose pleasure Dekker presents as evidence of the innocence of his offering: "the mirth and pleasant matter by her Highness graciously accepted, being indeed no way offensive."

Certainly critics have generally taken Dekker at his word. We are told again and again that the play is "indeed no way offensive," a triumph of middle-class vitality and generosity.1 Its moral anomalies, if acknowledged at all, are subordinated to the genial energies of the exuberant Simon Eyre and his shoemakers. "In The Shoemaker's Holiday," writes Joel Kaplan, "faith is encouraged in the energy of a madcap lord of mirth who can wonderfully and magically revitalize a commonwealth."2

But, of course, anomalies do exist: class antagonisms between Lincoln and the Lord Mayor frame the action; Rafe comes back wounded from the war in France, while the aristocratic Lacy deserts yet is eventually knighted; and Eyre's fortune is made in a sharp business practice in which at very least he is guilty of impersonating a city official. But we are never asked to dwell on these discords. The romantic logic of the plot overwhelms the social and economic tensions that are revealed: Rafe and Jane are reunited, Lacy and Rose are wed, and class conflicts dissolve in the harmonies celebrated and confirmed in the Shrove Tuesday banquet at Leadenhall.

Though critics have often mistaken its vitality for verisimilitude, certainly the play cannot be understood as a realistic portrait of Elizabethan middle-class life. It is a realistic portrait only of Elizabethan middle-class dreams--a fantasy of class fulfillment that would erase the tensions and contradictions created by the nascent capitalism of the late sixteenth-century. The comic form offers itself as an ideological resolution to the social problems the play engages. Social dislocations are rationalized and contained in a reassuring vision of coherence and community.

When, for example, Lacy enters disguised as Hans, looking for work as a shoemaker, Eyre dismisses him: "let him pass, let him vanish! We have a journeyman enow" (I.v.50-1). But the shoemakers themselves insist that he be taken on: "hire him, good master, that I may learn some gibble-gabble," says the irrepressible Firk, "twill make us work the faster" (I.v.47-9); and Hodge threatens to quit: "if such a man as he cannot find work, Hodge is not for you" (I.v.60-1). In the face of the wishes of his men Eyre relents: "By the Lord of Ludgate, I love my men as my life. ... Hodge, if he want work I'll hire him" (I.v.69-71).

In reality, relations between English craftsmen and immigrant workers were hardly so supportive. Early in the century, antagonism toward alien workers erupted in the Evil May Day riots of 1517. Later, a formal complaint was registered in 1571 against immigrants, asserting that "the custome of the citty, and Acts of Councell in the citty are that no man being a stranger to the liberties of the city shall use by handicraftes within the cittie." The complaint asked that existing legislation be enforced to enjoin alien workers from practicing "any manuall trade within this kingdome except they were brought uppe seven yeares apprentices to the trade according to that statute," and added smugly, "which none or very fewe of them have beene."3 In 1593, officers of the Cordwainers' Company undertook unauthorized "searches" of the precinct of St. Martin's le Grand, where foreign workers had established themselves. The inhabitants protested to Lord Burghley; "Burghley's lawyers," however, as Valerie Pearl writes, "upheld the right of the Livery Company to enter the liberty 'and search alone,' but they replied in diplomatic tones: it would be convenient for the officer of the liberty to accompany the 'search' and this could be obtained by writing to the Lord Mayor."4 In 1593 and 1595 there was rioting as anxieties about foreign workers worsened in the face of the disastrously sharp rise in rents and food prices which left perhaps half the population of urban laborers, according to one estimate, living "in direst poverty and squalor, on the edge of destitution and starvation."5 Such economic conditions were unlikely to breed enthusiasm for the "new come in" Dutch shoemakers, whose number by 1599, the year of Dekker's play, had swelled to 131, well over a quarter of the total number paying the required quarterage to the Cordwainers' Company, and about the same number as the Company's 152 yeomen.6

Dekker, however, idealizes the actual atomization of the culture in a fantasy of social cohesion and respect. He knew the realities of urban poverty (having himself been jailed for debt in 1598) and the increasing inability of the city or state to conceive effective schemes of relief.7 The guild structure that once served to unite craftsmen in a fraternity devoted to the welfare and security of its membership became increasingly hierarchical and entrepreneurial, converting work from a system of solidarity to a system of exchange. In The Seven Deadly Sins of London (1606), Dekker complains that the guilds "that were ordained to be communities, had lost their first privilege, and were now turned monopolies,"8 structures no longer of communal association but of commercial advantage.

Historical tensions that did exist are effectively erased by the play, though the erasure cannot go unnoticed by an audience in 1599 who lived the social formations that Dekker idealizes. If this is a fantasy it knows itself as such, and therefore cannot help reveal the contradictions it apparently would repress, transforming its discontinuities into a fiction of social and economic harmony. For example, Eyre makes his fortune by buying the cargo of a ship owner who "dares not show his head" (II.iii.17) in London. Eyre exploits the disadvantage of the shipowner to become a "huge gainer" (II.iii.21) in a triumph of capitalist enterprise which permits enormous profit and negligible risk. It is the dream of the Renaissance profiteer, like Sir Lionel Cranfield who, in 1607, wrote to Sir Arthur Ingram: "One rule I desire may be observed between you and me, which is that neither of us seek to advance our estates by the other's loss, but that we may join faithfully to raise our fortunes by such casualties as this stirring age shall afford."9 Eyre raises his fortune by one such casualty.

The play, however, refuses to engage any moral concern that the episode might elicit. Eyre's social ambitions (clear in Deloney's Gentle Craft, where Eyre says: "Beleeue me, wife ... I was studying how to make my selfe Lord Maior and thee a Lady"10) are here successfully deflected onto Margery. Even Eyre's appearance to the captain dressed as an alderman, with "a seal ring" and in "a guarded gown and a damask cassock" (II.iii.103-04), is presented not as cunning hypocrisy but as proleptic propriety: as Hodge says, "now you look like yourself, master" (II.iii.112).

Dekker's strategy of idealization becomes still clearer when we examine the purchase itself. Eyre obtains a cargo of "sugar, civet, almonds, cambric, and a towsand towsand tings" (II.iii.129-30), as the Dutch skipper says. These "tings," however, are precisely the luxuries that both English moralists and economists decried. The moralists were dismayed by "our present riot and luxury in diet and apparell,"11 in the words of the Berkeley's historian, John Smyth; and the economists were disturbed by the outflow of capital, which might have revitalized the English economy, in the pursuit of unnecessary imports. Thus the Elizabethan merchant Gerrard de Malynes, in The Canker of England's Commonwealth (1601), lamented the "ouerbalancing of forraine commodities with our home commodities, which to supply or counteruaile draweth away our treasure and readie monie, to the great losse of the commonweale":

our merchants, perceiuing a small gaine and sometimes none at all to be had vpon our home commodities, do buy and seek their gaines vpon forraine commodities ... wherein although they may be gainers, yet the Realme generally beareth the losse, and they feed still vpon their mothers belly.12

"To export things of necessity," similarly complained Thomas Fuller some forty years later, "and to bring in foreign needless toys, makes a rich merchant and a poor kingdom."13

Dekker's play, however, offers us a rich merchant and a rich kingdom, joyfully dispelling whatever fears might attach themselves to Eyre's speculation. Firk immediately domesticates the purchase, defusing the moralists' worry about luxury: "O sweet master! O sweet wares: prunes, almonds, sugar-candy, carrot-roots, turnips!" (II.iii.132-33). And the improbably "good copen" (II.iii.5), the extraordinary bargain that Eyre achieves, minimizes the expenditure of "readie monie" that mercantilists feared. Dekker's audience is left free to enjoy Eyre's success, untroubled by the anxieties that actual speculation in 1599 might be expected to arouse in a society increasingly aware of its economic instability and its heterogeneous elements and interests.

Dekker confronts the increasingly complex social and economic organization of pre-industrialized England but converts it into a comforting fiction of reciprocity and respect. Even the availability of the Dutch cargo is determined by an emotional rather than an economic bond: Hodge reports that the Dutch skipper, "for the love he bears to Hans, offers my master a bargain in the commodities" (II.iii.18-9). The skipper's "love" is presented as the necessary precondition of Eyre's profit. Significantly, Hammon's unsuitability for success in the comic world is finally revealed as he reverses the terms of this exchange, conceiving of profit as predominant over love: "here in fair gold / Is twenty pounds," he tells Rafe; "I'll give it for thy Jane" (V.ii.78-9). His offer literalizes Jane's fear that "many ... make it even a very trade to woo" (IV.i.64). But Rafe, of course, refuses: "dost thou think a Shoemaker is so base to be a bawd to his own wife for commodity?" (V.ii.84-5).

The reconfirmation of Rafe and Jane's marriage asserts the power of love over hostile social and economic forces that threaten to divide and degrade, and their love is affecting precisely because it succeeds in the face of such powerful threats. The blocking action is not primarily the suit of Hammon but a society in which Jane can actually be lost in the burgeoning urban density of London and Rafe apparently killed--though in fact only wounded--in a war in which the poor serve unwillingly and anonymously. The report of an English victory in France announces that

Twelve thousand of the Frenchmen that day died,
Four thousand English, and no man of name
But Captain Hyam and young Ardington.

"Two gallant gentlemen," laments Lincoln; "I knew them well" (II.iv.8-11). But four thousand Englishmen without name, like Rafe, lie dead in France unremarked.

Impressment and casualty reports would not be matters of indifference to the Rose Theatre audience in 1599. For three years, beginning in 1596, the number of impressed soldiers had begun to increase dramatically as the Irish situation worsened demanding reinforcements and reports reached England of renewed Spanish invasion plans.14 By the summer of 1599 the fear of an imminent Spanish attack grew acute. On August 1, John Chamberlain wrote from London to Dudley Carleton in Ostend:

the alarme whereof begins to ringe in our eares here at home [is] as shrill as in your beseiged towne: for upon what groundes or goode intelligence I know not but we are all in a hurle as though the ennemie were at our doores. The Quenes shippes are all making redy, but this towne is commaunded to furnish 16 of theyre best ships to defend the river and 10000 men, whereof 6000 to be trayned presently and every man els to have his armes redy.15

But Rafe's safe return, after he has been reported dead, is a welcome fantasy of wish-fulfillment for a nation wearied and worried by war. Even his wound, if it testifies to the real dangers of combat, accommodates Dekker's strategy of idealization, for it serves to prove the ability of "the gentle craft" to protect and provide for its practitioners. "Now I want limbs to get wheron to feed," Rafe cries; but Hodge will have none of his self-pity: "Hast thou not hands, man? Thou shall never see a shoemaker want bread, though he have three fingers on a hand" (III.ii.78-80). Still able to function as a shoemaker, Rafe can make a living and make a life in a community of concern, and when Jane is found and recommits herself to him, her love confirms his place in the comic world and the irrelevance of his wound.

The reaffirmation of Rafe and Jane's marriage redeems the alienation of working-class lives, discharging the threats of social disintegration and neutralizing the temptations of materialism. Denying Hammon's suit, Jane turns to Rafe:

Thou art my husband, and these humble weeds
Makes thee more beautiful than all his wealth.
Therefore I will but put off his attire,
Returning it to the owner's hand.


But the play reveals an ambivalent fascination with money and property. The shoemakers insist that she not return what she has been given. "Not a rag, Jane," declares Hodge: "The law's on our side: he that sows in another man's ground forfeits his harvest" (V.ii.63-4). And similarly, after Rafe indignantly rejects Hammon's offer of money for Jane, Hammon presents it as a gift: "in lieu of that great wrong I offered thy Jane / To Jane and thee I give that twenty pound" (V.ii.91-2). Jane gets to keep the rich clothing Hammon gives her, and Rafe gets the twenty pounds he rejects; improbably, choice in this world does not involve loss.

Such denial is Dekker's characteristic strategy of "resolving" social contradiction. On two other occasions money is offered in exchange for the betrayal of loyalties: on each, integrity is powerfully asserted but again no one is forced to suffer its consequences. At the beginning of the play, Otley and his "brethren" give Lacy twenty pounds, nominally to "approve our loves / We bear unto my Lord, your uncle here" (I.i.67-8); Lincoln, however, understands the real function of the gift:

To approve your loves to me? No, subtlety!
Nephew, that twenty pound he doth bestow
For joy to rid you from his daughter Rose.


Like Hammon's offer, also of "twenty pound," Otley's assumes that emotions can be purchased or compensated in a commercial exchange. But in the wish-fulfilling logic of the play, Otley's challenge to the emotional authenticity of the relationship he opposes, like Hammon's, turns a would-be purchase price into a gift; and Lacy, like Rafe, gets to keep the twenty pound (which he gives to Askew) and stay with the woman he loves.

Again, in Act IV, Otley tries to buy a betrayal, offering Firk an angel to tell him where Lacy, disguised as Hans, has gone. Firk replies indignantly:

No point! Shall I betray my brother? No! Shall I prove
Judas to Hans? No! Shall I cry treason to my
corporation? No! I shall be firked and yerked then. But
give me your money: your angel shall tell you.


Firk takes the money, but does not betray either his "brother" or his "corporation"; he sends Otley to St. Faith's Church where Hammon hopes to wed Jane: "Sir Roger Otley will find my fellow lame Ralph's wife going to marry a gentleman, and then he'll stop her instead of his daughter. O brave, there will be fine tickling sport!" (IV.v.151-54).

In both plots, economic relations would distort and degrade human relationships. Dekker, however, resolves the love plots happily, overcoming the threatened alienation that money would effect--but not by repudiating it in a romantic fantasy of emotional authenticity existing beyond the reach of, and validated by its opposition to, economic realities, but even more improbably: in a romantic fantasy of emotional authenticity that need not repudiate it, indeed that need not address the issue of alienation at all. This is a world in which characters may have their cake and eat it too: they are permitted both to express their integrity and to enjoy that with which they have been tempted.

If the wish-fulfilling operations of the text validate this moral sleight-of-hand, they perform a similar operation in social terms. The formal ratification of the two marriages apparently at once repudiates and recuperates a social stratification whose moral inadequacy is revealed by its hostility to love. The love of Rafe and Jane succeeds in the face of a world which restricts working-class freedom and assails its integrity, and Lacy and Rose overcome class antagonisms and deficiencies, triumphing over aristocratic condescension and bourgeois acquisitiveness. But both relationships finally confirm traditional social hierarchy; the marriage of Rafe and Jane ratifies working-class commonality, and, while the marriage of Lacy and Rose presents itself as a successful adaptation to new social configurations, it too is revealed to be a more conservative gesture than at first appears. The King upbraids Lincoln who has opposed the marriage of his noble son with the middle-class Rose:

Dost thou not know that love respects no blood,
Cares not for difference of birth or state?
The maid is young, well-born, fair, virtuous,
A worthy bride for any gentleman.


The King appeals to love and merit to counter Lincoln's corrosive class-consciousness. "The royal confirmation of the marriage of Rose and Lacy," signals, as the editors of the Revels edition assert, "the final overthrow of class division,"16 but five lines later almost unnoticed the King firmly reestablishes the very social distinctions that he has just denied, as he knights Lacy:

As for the honor which he lost in France,
Thus I redeem it: Lacy, kneel thee down!
Arise, Sir Rowland Lacy! Tell me now,
Tell me in earnest, Otley, canst thou chide,
Seeing thy Rose a lady and a bride.


Love, perhaps, "cares not for difference of birth or state," but obviously the King, Lincoln, and Otley all do. The comic ending does not subvert social distinctions but reinforces them. Bourgeois desire is gratified by claiming rather than cancelling aristocratic privilege.

Again Dekker has it both ways: middle class desire for social mobility and aristocratic insistence upon social stratification are both accommodated, as when the King releases Eyre from obedience to courtly protocol: "good Lord Mayor, be even as merry / As if thou wert among thy shoemakers" (V.v.13-4). In the presence of the King, Eyre is free to behave as if he were among his shoemakers but simultaneously reminded that he is not. The social and ideological contradiction thus becomes itself the term of its resolution, but such resolution can not be other than imaginary.

But the play, after all, is The Shoemaker's Holiday, and arguments about the placement of the title's apostrophe seem to miss the central point. The issue is not primarily whether the title refers to a holiday declared for the shoemakers (in which case the title is The Shoemakers' Holiday) or a holiday declared by Simon Eyre for all the apprentices of London (in which case the title is The Shoemaker's Holiday). Fredson Bowers, in the Cambridge Dekker, argues for the former, the Revels editors, Smallwood and Wells, for the latter, but the action of the play itself--and not merely the Shrove Tuesday feast that ends it--is, as I have been arguing, the holiday--a holiday from the historical world of social contradiction and consequence, as the tensions produced by the social realignments of the late sixteenth-century are wonderfully resolved in the communal, festive marketplace.

Indeed even the holiday is presented as holiday. The Shrove Tuesday celebration, which Hodge happily predicts "shall continue for ever" (V.ii.213), did continue but not always as a joyful celebration of social coherence and community. John Taylor, the water-poet, describes the Shrove Tuesday that Dekker's audience would have known: "in the morning, the whole kingdome is in quiet, but by that time the clocke strikes eleven, which (by the helpe of a knavish Sexton) is commonly before nine, then there is a bell rung, called The Pancake Bell, the sound whereof makes thousands of people distracted, and forgetfull eyther of manners or humanitie."17 The holiday was regularly marred by the riots of disgruntled apprentices, who, in 1617,

to the nomber of 3 or 4000 committed extreame insolencies; part of this nomber, taking their course for Wapping, did there pull downe to the grownd 4 houses, spoiled all the goods therein, defaced many others, & a Justice of the Peace coming to appease them, while he was reading a Proclamacion, had his head broken with a brick batt. Th' other part, making for Drury Lane, where lately a newe playhouse is erected, they besett the house round, broke in, wounded divers of the players, broke open their trunckes, & whatt apparrell, bookes, or other things they found, they burnt & cutt in peeces; & not content herewith, gott on the top of the house, & untiled it, & had not the Justices of Peace & Sherife levied an aide, & hindred their purpose, they would have laid that house likewise even with the grownd. In this skyrmishe one prentise was slaine, being shott throughe the head with a pistoll, & many other of their fellowes were sore hurt, & such of them as are taken his Majestie hath commaunded shal be executed for example sake.18

In actuality, Shrove Tuesday became an occasion for the release of social tension, but in the play what is released is only fellowship and cheer.

As critical response to the play attests, Dekker has fashioned an almost irresistible image of social unity, successfully neutralizing the disintegrative threat of the emerging capitalism and civilizing its dynamism. History is turned into holiday, its tensions refused rather than refuted, recast into an ameliorative fantasy. The play's unnamed King, who should be the aloof and ineffective Henry VI who ruled in 1445 when the historical Simon Eyre was appointed Lord Mayor, is idealized as Henry V, who mingles comfortably with his subjects and promises victories in France.19 But the impossibility of positively identifying Dekker's king points to the fact that he is less historical than romantic, a comforting portrait of royal benevolence to guarantee the middle-class energies that are articulated.

The play's prologue spoken before the Queen at court on New Year's Day in 1600, however, suggests a more problematic relation of subject and sovereign. The actors are the Queen's "meanest vassals" who stand before her as "wretches in a storm," fearful and impotent, dependent upon her favor:

O grant, bright mirror of true chastity,
From those life-breathing stars, your sun-like eyes,
One gracious smile: for your celestial breath
Must send us life, or sentence us to death.


If this is conventional flattery of Elizabeth, it is disturbing to discover its echo in Hammon's appeal to Jane: "Say, judge, what is thy sentence? Life or death? / Mercy or cruelty lies in thy breath" (III.iv.55-6). In Hammon's mouth the assertion of weakness blatantly functions as a strategy of manipulation; his conventional petrarchanism articulates and mediates the asymmetry of desire. In the players' prologue, Elizabeth's power is acknowledged and flattered, revealing anxieties produced by an asymmetry of power and belying the play's idealization of the relations betwen the monarch and his subjects.

In the play, the King's naming of Leadenhall ratifies Eyre's bourgeois energies and establishes the marketplace as both source and symbol of England's health and strength. Its potentially anarchic vitality is effectively contained by collective and patriotic loyalties. But Dekker's strategies of idealization are too blatant to function successfully as instruments of legitimation and social mystification. They declare themselves too openly as wish-fulfillments, and are at odds even with the conditions of their theatrical presentation.

Like the marketplace, the theatre was originally a space for the expression of communal energies but in the late sixteenth-century it too became an essentially commercial arena. "Man in business," wrote John Hall, lamenting the new, alienating commercial realities, "is but a Theatricall person"20; but the reality of the Renaissance stage was that theatrical persons were men in business. "The theatre is your poets' Royal Exchange," writes Dekker in The Gull's Horn-Book, "upon which their muses--that are now turned to merchants--meeting, barter away that light commodity of words for a lighter ware than words--plaudits and the breath of that great beast which like the threatenings of two cowards, vanish all into air."21 Dekker's metaphor reflects the existing economic relation of the acting companies and their audiences. An actor might imagine himself an artist whose aristocratic patronage, however complex that relationship was, at least freed him from the commercial logic of exchange, but, as an observer noted in 1615, "howsoever hee pretends to have a royall Master or Mistress, his wages and dependance prove him to be the servant of the people."22

And the situation of the playwright was worse still, servant not merely of the audience but also of the acting company that purchased his script. Though praised by Francis Meres in 1598 as one of England's best playwrights, Dekker lived marginally in the London slums--at least when he was not in the London jails for debt, as he was for seven years. The enormous theatrical profits, that made Shakespeare, Alleyn, and Burbage rich, were made by sharers in the acting companies, not by their playwrights. "With mouthing words that better wits have framed," wrote the Cambridge authors of the Parnassus plays, "They purchase land, and now Esquiers are made" (2 Return from Parnassus, 1927-28). The playwrights, however, were poorly paid piece-workers. A play might command six pounds. Dekker received only three for The Shoemaker's Holiday, and in 1598 he was paid by Henslowe a total of thirty pounds for his work on sixteen plays. Art became a commodity to be bought cheap and resold for profits that never reached its maker.

The play--any play--was, then, part of a complex set of social and economic relations that exploited some and enriched (a few) others. The theatre might present itself as a green world of fantasy that audiences enter, like Rosalind and Orlando, to be free of the tensions of the real world, but in fact, like the green worlds of Shakespeare's comedies, the restraints and contradictions of the real world are merely disguised rather than discharged. "O happy work" (IV.i.14), Hammon gushes, watching Jane sew in the seamster's shop, but, though Dekker idealizes work in The Shoemaker's Holiday, the idealization takes place in a commercial theatrical environment that itself exposes the fantasy. The reality is that, for Dekker, the play is work, as for his characters work is play. The Shoemaker's Holiday presents commerce as comedy, converting the work place into a play space, but it does so in a playhouse that is fundamentally a workshop where such idealization can be no more and no less than a utopian compensation for the alienation and fragmentation of Dekker's London.23


1See, for example, Patricia Thompson, "The Old Way and the New Way in Dekker and Massinger," MLR 51 (1956), 168-78; H. E. Toliver, "The Shoemaker's Holiday: Theme and Image," Boston University Studies in English, 5 (1961), 208-18; Joel H. Kaplan, "Virtue's Holiday: Thomas Dekker and Simon Eyre," Renaissance Drama 2 (1969) 103-22. Peter Mortenson, "The Economics of Joy in The Shoemakers' Holiday," SEL 16 (1976), 241-52, has offered a counter-argument, focusing on the play's commercial ethos: "Dekker creates a grim world and encourages us to pretend that it is a green one" (252). See also the provocative essay of Lawrence Venuti, "Transformation of City Comedy: A Symptomatic Reading," Assays 3 (1985): 99-134, which recognizes the "darker side" of the comedy as well as the "implausible resolutions" that conclude it.

2Kaplan, 117.

3Tudor Economic Documents, eds. R. H. Tawney and Eileen Power (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924), 309-10.

4Valerie Pearl, London and the Outbreak of the Puritan Revolution (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), 25.

5Peter H. Ramsey, ed., The Price Revolution in Sixteenth-Century England (London: Methuen, 1971), 14-5.

6George Unwin, The Gilds and Companies of London (1908; rpt. London: Frank Cass, 1963), 250.

7See Penry Williams, The Tudor Regime (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), 175-215; and Paul Slack, "Poverty and Social Regulation in Elizabethan England," The Reign of Elizabeth I, ed. Christopher Haigh (Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 1985), 221-42.

8The Non-Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, ed. Alexander B. Grosart (London: The Huth Library, 1889), 2, 174.

9Quoted in E. Lipson, The Economic History of England (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1931), 3, 357.

10The Works of Thomas Deloney, ed. Francis Oscar Mann (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1912), 112.

11Quoted in L. C. Knights, Drama and Society in the Age of Jonson (London: Chatto & Windus, 1937), 120.

12In Tudor Economic Documents, 3, 395, 394.

13Thomas Fuller, The Holy State (1642, facs. ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1938), 2, 113.

14Lindsay Boynton, The Elizabethan Militia, 1558-1638 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967), 198-206.

15The Letters of John Chamberlain, ed. Norman Egbert McLure, (Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1939) 1, 78.

16R. L. Smallwood and Stanley Wells (eds.), The Shoemaker's Holiday (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1929), 42.

17John Taylor, Jack a Lent, His Beginning and Entertainment (London, 1630), 12.

18Quoted in G. E. Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), 6, 54.

19See W. K. Chandler, "The Source of the Characters in The Shoemaker's Holiday," MP 27 (1929), 175-82; and Michael Manheim, "The King in Dekker's The Shoemakers' Holiday," N & Q, (new series) 4 (1957): 432.

20John Hall, The Advancement of Learning (1649), ed. A. K. Croston (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1953), 37.

21Thomas Dekker: Selected Prose Writings, ed. E. D. Pendry, (London: Edward Arnold, 1968), 98.

22Quoted in The Elizabethan Stage, ed. E. K. Chambers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923), 4, 256.

23I would like to thank various friends and colleagues who have contributed to the development of this essay, especially Daniel Karlin, Claire McEachern, Peter Stallybrass, and Albert Wertheim, who allowed me to present a version of the essay at a session arranged by the Drama Division of the MLA in December of 1985.

Source: David Scott Kastan, "Workshop and/as Playhouse: Comedy and Commerce in The Shoemaker's Holiday," in Studies in Philology, Vol. LXXXIV, No. 3, Summer 1987, pp. 324-37.