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Blind Beggar is the earliest surviving play that is unquestionable Chapman’s. The play was performed by the Admiral’s men in the Rose. It was a successful play with some 22 performances between February and April of 1596.

The play was printed in 1598, from what scholars believe was a prompt copy, though there is a group of scholars that believe the text was a memorial reconstruction. The text seems to be heavily cut, specifically in the more serious sections of the play. In fact many of those sections are confusing and unintelligible. It seems that the farcical disguise plot was what caught the fancy of the audience, not the romance between Cleanthes and Aegiale.

Author

George Chapman was born around 1559 and lived until May 12, 1634. He was a dramatist, as well as a translator and a poet. Chapman was a successful playwright by the end of the 1590’s, having worked with Henslowe and the Admirals men most of the time. He worked with Jonson, and Marston on Eastward Ho, landing him in jail with Jonson. Chapman is probably the best known for his translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, which are the first published English translations. Chapman may be the rival poet mentioned in Shakespeare’s sonnets, but that is up for debate.

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