Richard III illustrates the nature and popularity of Shakespearian drama. The large number of early printed editions and contemporary allusions attests to its stage reputation in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and the play's appeal to actors, audiences, and readers has remained strong ever since. The most famous Elizabethan anecdote is recorded in the diary of a law student, John Manningham, on 13 March 1602:

Upon a time when [Richard] Burbage [Shakespeare's leading actor] played Richard III, there was a citizen grew so far in liking with him that before she went from the play, she appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard III. Shakespeare, overhearing their …

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Citation: Martin, Randall. "Richard III". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2005; last revised 10 February 2020. [, accessed 25 September 2023.]

2373 Richard III 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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