Besides setting up this blog, I spent a little time with Shapiro's book on Shakespeare in 1599. I was struck by how narrow the margin of creativity can be. Shapiro reckons there were 15 active playwrights in London at the time. It seems like a lot for a city of 200K, but on the other hand, it doesn't seem like much between all of Elizabethan drama and nothing at all. I notice that legislation could certainly count as one of the uncertainties about the future, and I suspect that this is an increasingly prominent part of calculations in the period, especially as the succession loomed larger in everyone's minds. That and the plague!