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The Progresse to Parnassus as it was acted in St Johns Colledge in Cambridge Anno 1601
ca.
1606

V.a.355, folio 7 recto (page 9)

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V.a.355, folio 7 recto (page 9)
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Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Anonymous]
Title: Progress to Parnassus [manuscript], ca. 1606.
Date: ca. 1606
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: V.a.355, fols. 7v, 21v & 22r (pps. 9, 38, 39)
View online bibliographic record

 

Item Creator
[Anonymous]
Item Title
Progress to Parnassus [manuscript], ca. 1606.
Item Date
ca. 1606
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
V.a.355, fol. 7r (p. 9)

V.a.355, folio 21 verso (page 38)

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V.a.355, folio 21 verso (page 38)
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Anonymous]
Title: Progress to Parnassus [manuscript], ca. 1606.
Date: ca. 1606
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: V.a.355, fols. 7v, 21v & 22r (pps. 9, 38, 39)
View online bibliographic record

 

Item Creator
[Anonymous]
Item Title
Progress to Parnassus [manuscript], ca. 1606.
Item Date
ca. 1606
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA
Call Number
V.a.355, fol. 21v (p. 38)

V.a.355, folio 22 recto (page 39)

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V.a.355, folio 22 recto (page 39)
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Anonymous]
Title: Progress to Parnassus [manuscript], ca. 1606.
Date: ca. 1606
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: V.a.355, fols. 7v, 21v & 22r (pps. 9, 38, 39)
View online bibliographic record

 

Item Creator
[Anonymous]
Item Title
Progress to Parnassus [manuscript], ca. 1606.
Item Date
ca. 1606
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, USA
Call Number
V.a.355, fol. 22r (p. 39)

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Document-specific information
Creator: [Anonymous]
Title: Progress to Parnassus [manuscript], ca. 1606.
Date: ca. 1606
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: V.a.355, fols. 7v, 21v & 22r (pps. 9, 38, 39)
View online bibliographic record

 

In several scenes, the Cambridge University play Progress to Parnassus mocks the literary tastes and talents of the London commercial stage, depicting Shakespeare as a popular but unsophisticated playwright and poet. One scene includes critiques of Christopher Marlowe (“Wit lent from heaven, but vices sent from hell”), Ben Jonson (“The wittiest fellowe of a bricklayer in England”), Shakespeare (“His sweeter verse contains heart-throbbing line”), and other playwrights and poets as part of an overall critique of the recently published literary anthology Bel-vedere. In another scene, a student auditions before Richard Burbage for the role of Shakespeare’s title character Richard III with the famous speech: “Now is the winter of our discontent.” Burbage himself was famous for this role, which is part of the joke. Progress to Parnassus was the third in a trilogy of comedies performed at St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1598, 1600, and 1601. It appeared in printed form in 1606 as The Returne from Pernassus: or The scourge of simony, but this manuscript version is thought to be the more reliable text.  

Sources

J.B. Leishman, ed. The three Parnassus plays (1548-1601), London, 1949

Heather Wolfe, ed. "The pen’s excellencie": treasures from the manuscript collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Seattle: Distributed by University of Washington Press, 2002, p. 85..

Last updated January 17, 2018