Nick Hern Book Collection on Drama Online

The English Faculty Library and the University Library are delighted to announce the acquisition from joint funding of the Nick Hern Book Collection to the Drama Online resource.

The collection, which features titles by some of the best UK, Irish and international playwrights working today, adds hundreds of plays from Nick Hern Books.  The Collection includes:

*                    Modern classics from Howard Brenton, Jez Butterworth, Caryl Churchill, David Edgar, Helen Edmundson, Liz Lochhead, Conor McPherson, Rona Munro, Enda Walsh and Nicholas Wright

*                    Titles from the popular Drama Classics series, including foreign works in translation from Nikolai Gogol, Alfred Jarry, Molière and more

*                    Fifteen plays by leading twentieth-century dramatist Terence Rattigan, each with an authoritative critical introduction

*                    New writing from exciting contemporary dramatists such as Mike Bartlett, Alecky Blythe, Alexi Kaye Campbell, Vivienne Franzmann, debbie tucker green, Ella Hickson, Lucy Kirkwood, Nina Raine, Jack Thorne and Tom Wells

Drama Online introduces new writers alongside the most iconic names in playwriting history,
providing contextual and critical background through scholarly works and practical guides. Unique Play Tools with Character Grids, Words and Speech graphs and Part Books offer a new way to engage with plays for close study or for performance.

The Drama Online library features the pre-eminent theatre lists of Methuen Drama, the Arden Shakespeare, Faber and Faber and Nick Hern Books, as well as production photos from the Victoria and Albert Museum and The American Shakespeare Center and audio plays from L.A. Theatre Works.

Girton’s orchard. Ralph waits leaning against a tree. Tess appears. It’s dark and very quiet. She creeps to one tree. He creeps to another. She moves in the shadows from tree to tree, becoming increasingly anxious.

Ralph Well, Miss Moffat, it’s a pleasure to meet you properly.

Tess You too.

Ralph Ralph Mayhew. ‘Esquire.’

They shake hands rather formally. Beat.

Well, this is rather unconventional, isn’t it. I probably should have asked you to a clarinet concert, not to some spooky orchard.

Tess It is a bit.

Ralph Isn’t it! (Ghostily.) Woooo! Look, please forgive me, I hope you don’t mind; I thought I might – read you something.

Tess Oh. Here?

Ralph Yes. But I’m not very literary, so it might be disastrous.

Tess I doubt that.

Ralph It’s a poem. But it’s… actually, maybe I shouldn’t.

Tess No, please do.

He takes a slip of paper out, looks at it.

Ralph I really don’t know –

Tess Go on.

Ralph Alright. It’s a love poem.

Tess Oh.

Ralph It’s called A Lady who is fair

Tess Right.



Provedi, saggio, ad esta visïone,

e per mercé ne trai vera sentenza.

Dico: una donna di bella fazone,

di cu’ el meo cor gradir molto s’agenza.

mi fe’ d’una ghirlanda donagione,

verde, fronzuta, con bella accoglienza.


Tess Well that was –

Ralph That’s not the end.

Tess Oh. Right.


 Appresso mi trovai per vestigione

camicia di suo dosso, a mia parvenza.

Allor di tanto, amico, mi francaiche

dolcemente presila abbracciare.

Pause.  That’s the end.

Tess Well! Well. That was quite beautiful. Thank you. What does it mean?

Ralph (doesn’t know Italian) Well, it’s about a lady… who is fair… and she, well, she… it’s very… (Pause.) You know, Italian’s not really my forte. I’m a scientist. Maybe next time I’ll show you an experiment.

Tess I should like that.

Ralph Or I could write you a paper on Kepler.

Tess How do you know I like Kepler?

Ralph Your book, in the library.

Tess So you knew I was an astronomer!

Ralph I was impressed.

Tess You don’t think it’s unfeminine?

Ralph Anyone who can make head or tail of Kepler deserves a medal in my book. I’m using my copy as a doorstop. I think you being here – ladies studying – well, it’s grand.

From Blue Stockings, Act 1, Scene 9, The Garden of Eden by Jessica Swale

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