John Manningham

Diary of John Manningham

Source: John Bruce (ed.), Diary of John Manningham, of the Middle Temple, and of Bradbourne, Kent, barrister-at-law, 1602-1603 (Westminster: Printed by J.B. Nichols and sons, for the Camden Society, 1868), p. 18

Production: William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Middle Temple, London, 2 February 1602

Text: Feb. 2. At our feast wee had a play called “Twelue Night, or What you Will,” much like the Commedy of Errores, or Menechmi in Plautus, but most like and neere to that in Italian called Inganni. A good practise in it to make the Steward beleeve his Lady widdowe was in love with him, by counterfeyting a letter as from his Lady in generall termes, telling him what shee liked best in him, and prescribing his gesture in smiling, his apparaile, &c., and then when he came to practise making him beleeue they tooke him to be mad.

Comments: John Manningham (?-1622) was an English lawyer whose diary, covering the period January 1602 to April 1603 is a valuable documentary source for early Jacobean life in London. On 2 February 1602 he documents seeing a performance of Twelfth Night (probably not its first) at the hall within Middle Temple, where he was a student. February 2 is Candelmas.

Links: Copy at Hathi Trust