By Neil Carson
Henslowe's 'diary' is a distinct resource of data concerning the day by day operating of the Elizabethan repertory theatre. Philip Henslowe, a theatrical entrepreneur, stored files of his monetary dealings with London businesses and actors from 1592-1604. The diary itself is tough to decipher. Neil Carson's research relies on a way more thorough correlation of Henslowe's entries than has been tried ahead of, breaking down into transparent tabular shape the most goods of source of revenue and expenditure and drawing conclusions in regards to the administration systems of the firms, the pro relationships of actors and playwrights and the ways that performs have been written, rehearsed and programmed. past hypothesis has pushed aside Henslowe himself as ignorant, disorderly and greedy. Carson exhibits him to were a benign and effective businessman whose regulate over the actors' specialist actions used to be less large than has frequently been meant.
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Extra info for A Companion to Henslowe's Diary
The most striking difference between this and earlier accounts is that for the first time Henslowe made no provision for record- THEATRICAL LANDLORD 27 ing repayments. And indeed, he appears to have received none, for sometime after 8 March 1598 he totalled his advances accurately as £46-07-03 (f. 44v) and the principal sharers of the new Admiral's Men acknowledged their indebtedness for the entire amount. Two questions suggest themselves. First, why would Henslowe continue to lend money to an organization which seemed unable or unwilling to repay him?
It is time to ask whether the seemingly confusing features of the diary accounts cannot be explained by a simpler hypothesis than the ones so far proposed. Is it possible that this income was not Henslowe's after all, but that from first to last the landlord was recording money collected by him but due to the players? We recall that Cholmley and Henslowe originally intended to collect all the income to the theatre (by which they perhaps understood only the gallery income), and that Burbage and Brayne seemed to be doing the same at the Theatre.
Since Henslowe does not seem to have been engaged in manufacturing or commerce, he must have been continually on the lookout for suitable opportunities for profitable investment. In a period when interest charges were legal but frowned on, such investments may have been difficult to find. There is some indication that Henslowe's financing of the actors may have grown out of, or dovetailed with, his pawnbroking business. The diary contains a number of accounts related to this curious side of Henslowe's affairs dating between January 1593 and April 1596.
A Companion to Henslowe's Diary by Neil Carson