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Nine Day's Wonder

Nine Day's Wonder  by Will Kemp

2 5/8" x 2 1/8", 80 pages

Will Kemp, the great Elizabethan comic actor, followed Shakespeare and Burbage when they joined the Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1594. He originated some of Shakespeare's great clowns: Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Lancelot Gobbo in A Merchant of Venice. His genius for improvisation finally got up Shakespeare's nose to such an extent that Kemp left the company under murky circumstances in 1599.

Kemp continued his career as a performer, and in February and March of 1600 danced the Morris from London to Norwich in nine days spread out over a couple of weeks. The distance was over a hundred miles, and Kemp was followed by crowds of people cheering him on and sometimes dancing alongside him. This publicity stunt gained him wide fame and ensured the sale of the account he published later that year.

Kemp's account is much like his stage performances must have been, including jokes, funny give-and-take with country bumpkins, comic songs, and praise for his patrons. I've fleshed out Kemp's pamphlet with maps and a sprinkling of Morris bells. The book is bound in a light and dark green Indian paper with a bit of a woodcut look to it. There are paper titles on the spine and front and back covers.

This product was added to our catalog January 13, 2018