By Neil Carson
Henslowe's 'diary' is a special resource of knowledge concerning the day by day operating of the Elizabethan repertory theatre. Philip Henslowe, a theatrical entrepreneur, saved documents of his monetary dealings with London businesses and actors from 1592-1604. The diary itself is hard to decipher. Neil Carson's research is predicated on a way more thorough correlation of Henslowe's entries than has been tried prior to, breaking down into transparent tabular shape the most goods of source of revenue and expenditure and drawing conclusions in regards to the administration approaches of the firms, the pro relationships of actors and playwrights and the ways that performs have been written, rehearsed and programmed. past hypothesis has brushed aside Henslowe himself as ignorant, disorderly and greedy. Carson exhibits him to were a benign and effective businessman whose keep an eye on over the actors' expert actions was once less huge than has frequently been intended.
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Extra resources for A Companion to Henslowe's Diary
Here we see Henslowe modifying his method of recording personal loans to adapt it to changing circumstances. Individual items were listed at the top of a page and repayments below them. When he ran out of space (presumably because he did not expect to be called on so frequently), he transferred the account to a facing page so it was all visible. Periodic sub-totals were compiled, but only on the first occasion did Henslowe deduct what the players had repaid him to give a current balance. Subsequent estimates were of his advances only.
This is suggested in part by the change we have noticed in the method of collecting the gallery income. It is borne out by the players' increased reliance on Henslowe as a banker. One important point of contention between the Pembroke's Men and the owner of the Swan was Langley's assertion that he was owed some £300 for costumes. In their deposition in the suit in the Court of Proceedings, Shaa and Downton asserted that Langley had no claim on them because he had already been repaid. What is particularly interesting about this case is that the method of repayment used was the allocation of a certain portion of the players' gallery takings for this purpose.
The full story of Henslowe's pawnbroking activities is unlikely to be recovered. In any case, it is probably not a coincidence that the last pawn transaction is dated 12 April 1597 (f. 133), and that the earliest recorded loan to the players is made the following month (f. 71 v). At first Henslowe's dealings with the Company took the form of personal loans. Between 2 May and 25 May 1596, he recorded six advances to Edward Alleyn 'for the company' which altogether added up to £21-13-04 (f. 71v).
A Companion to Henslowe's Diary by Neil Carson