Wood, Bruce and Pinnock, Andrew
The Fairy Queen: a fresh look at the issues
Early Music, 21, (1), . (doi:10.1093/em/XXI.1.44).
Full text not available from this repository.
[Some] ha' not the heart to believe anything,
But what they see in print
Aye, that's an error
Has abus'd many; but we shall reform it,
As many things beside (we have a hope)
Are crept among the popular abuses '
Thus Ben Jonson on the simple-minded reading public
of 1625 and the press is more of a menace than Jonson
realized, now that people by the million have votes to
cast, money to spend and leisure time to fritter away following
their printed instructions. If some topsy-turvy
thinking on The Fairy Queen were the worst result of our
ready belief in printed things, there would be little
enough reason to complain.
Current theories about source relationships, and
details of the stage history of The Fairy Queen that are
inferable from them, rest upon printed evidence which
has been taken at face value—accepted even when Purcell's
autograph contradicts it. Allowing the manuscripts
greater weight than usual, and with the help of one or
two new witnesses, we arrive at a different
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