Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 68. Thursday, 26 Mar 1992.
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1992 09:33:00 -0500
Subject: 3.0064 Qs: Welsh in Shakespeare
Comment: Re: SHK 3.0064 Qs: Welsh in Shakespeare
For Todd M. Lidh: I've got nothing directly on Welsh characters
in Shakespeare but here's something on the edge of your question
that might be of interest.
*Patient Grissil*, a play written by Dekker, Chettle and Haughton
in late 1599, has a substantial Welsh subplot. The play was
written in late 1599--around the same time as *Henry 5*. The
following two articles talk about the Welsh in the play: W. L.
Halstead, "Collaboration on *The Patient Grissill*," *PQ*, 18
(1939), 381-94; and David Mason Greene, "The Welsh Characters in
*Patient Grissil*." *Boston University Studies in English*, 4
For the most part, the discussion centers on the question of
authorship and the attribution of the Welsh subplot either to
Dekker or Haughton. But there's discussion also about the
authenticity of the language--it appears that whoever wrote
wasn't just using Stage Welsh, as Shakespeare was with Fluellen,
but was trying to reproduce in detail the syntactical patterns of
Welsh people speaking English.
Both essays may (I don't remember) talk about other uses of Welsh
on stage in other plays as well. You might find more of this too
(again I don't remember) in Cyrus Hoy's discussion of the play in
the relevant volume of his commentary on Bowers' edition of
Dekker's plays. Nobody (again as I remember) makes any moves in
the direction of a larger political context, but the coincidence
in dates with *Henry 5* & Essex and the recall of Essex (not from
Wales, of course, but from a certain angle you can say that all
those Gaelic margins look alike!) always seemed to me
Let me know if anything comes of all this.