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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Cardenio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1895  Thursday, 4 November 1999.

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Nov 1999 19:49:20 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Nov 1999 15:29:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio

[3]     From:   Stuart Hampton-Reeves <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Nov 1999 21:19:12 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio

[4]     From:   John Ciccarelli <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Nov 1999 02:16:28 -0500
        Subj:   Re: A Word about Cardenio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Nov 1999 19:49:20 GMT
Subject: 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio

For an essay which makes a case for Theobald's play not being a hundred
miles from a Fletcher/Shakespeare original, see Richard Wilson,
'Unseasonable Laughter: The Context of Cardenio', in Shakespeare's Late
Plays: New Readings, ed. Jennifer Richards and James Knowles (Edinburgh,
Edinburgh University Press, 1999) pp.193-209

David Lindley
School of English
University of Leeds

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Nov 1999 15:29:00 -0500
Subject: 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio

Jack Heller asks

>I have wondered whether or not there might be some source material
>available for a play
>entitled Cardenio. Is there any useful speculation on what this play
>could have been about?

I believe that the only support for the existence of the play is a
Stationers Register entry by Humphries, who I think was unreliable.

Hamilton's speculation that The Second Maiden's Tragedy is the lost
Cardenio is laughable.  His book seems to base the conjecture on
similarity of handwriting in the MS and Hand D in Sir Thomas More.  But,
at a performance in New York of TSMT as "Cardenio" (which I attended a
couple of years ago), Hamilton said that he did not base his conclusion
on handwriting analysis at all.  He said it was textual and thematic
resemblance to WS's late romances.  In fact, however, TSMT is about as
bloody as Titus Andronicus and bears no discernible resemblance to
anything WS wrote.

The other tradition is that Lewis Theobald had an autograph MS of
Cardenio (or three MSS in one version) and revised it to form "Double
Falsehood, Or The Distress Lovers."  I regard this as so remote as to be
dismissable out of hand.  In the first place, I cannot believe that a
Bardolator like Theobald would revise a genuine lost Shakespeare play
and discard the original.  And why isn't it included in Theobald's
edition of the complete works?  Moreover, I recall reading a reprint of
the play years ago in which the introduction said that it was
contemporaneously regarded as a good natured hoax.  The title
itself-"Double Falsehood"-is suggestive.  And the introduction made the
point that there is a line in the play that gives away the joke, and the
line was understood as such by the first audience.  Unfortunately, I
don't have a copy of the book or recall anything about it except that I
found in at the NY Public Library main reading room.  Perhaps it is
still in the stacks.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Hampton-Reeves <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Nov 1999 21:19:12 -0000
Subject: 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1887 A Word about Cardenio

The main source would, presumably, have been Don Quixote, which had
recently been translated into England. I think Wells and Taylor have
something to say about this in The Oxford Shakespeare. The plot of
Love's Labour's Won is an even better topic for speculation.

Stuart Hampton-Reeves
University of Central Lancashire

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ciccarelli <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Nov 1999 02:16:28 -0500
Subject:        Re: A Word about Cardenio

Jack,

I am very curious, how can you be so sure "The Second Maiden's Tragedy"
is not the lost Cardenio.  I am no expert on the subject but I think
that the play does make a strong claim.  I have recently begun to read
the book by Charles Hamilton and the theory that he presents is very
intriguing.  A good portion of his claim rests on the handwriting
comparisons between Shakespeare's will and the SM Manuscript.  One
scholar's view is not conclusive, granted and possibly a group of
independent researchers who are familiar with Jacobean holography should
look to examine the pieces further.  Even if the results of such a study
were split it would be enough to warrant further research into the play.

In my own on-line research I find it interesting the lack of response to
Hamilton's theory.  Has his research just been dismissed?  Also I
curious how this play has been associated with Middleton.  The only
connection (other than his name appearing next to it) was a rebuttle to
the Shakespeare attribution on a website of a play group in the Chicago
area who put on the play last year.  The subposition was that the work's
language is similar to Middleton, therefore it is Middleton's.  However,
I have found no documentary evidence to connect Middleton with this
play.  In fact I have three points that appear to discount Middleton as
the author.  Again I am no expert on the play and would hope that other
SHAKSPEReans would keep me honest here.

First, the Lady character is not indicative of many of Middleton's
heroines.  She is very virtuous, honorable, and loyal to herself and her
lover.  Middleton's heroine's are usually very bawdy and women of loose
morals.  Second, there is a major gap in Middleton's writing from
1608-1613.  The playwright prior to this gap wrote only bawdy comedies.
The style of Second Maiden is of a high tragical drama and contains
beautiful language to boot.  It seems unlikely that all of sudden
Middleton would churn out such an advanced piece of theater that's
wasn't indicative of his prior work.  Finally and the most damning piece
against Middleton is the fact of the name of the play.  At this point
all new plays had to be submitted to the censor, George Buc.  So Buc
would either be presented a new play by the playwright or know who the
playwright was.  The fact that he named it the "Second Maiden's Tragedy"
(Labled 1611) indicates Buc thought it was a Fletcher play being a
sequel to Beaumont and Fletcher's "The Maiden's Tragedy"  Why would
Middleton allow his first new play in 3 years to be given a name that
clearly connected it to another playwright, perhaps even a rival
playwright.

On the other hand, the plot and characters fit very nicely into
Shakespeare's final works, The Romances.  Tragicomedies with a happy
ending or at least that end on an up note.  In this respect SM is very
similar to 'The Tempest' or 'The Winter's Tale'.  Given the high
tragedy, the quality of the language, Buc's connection to Fletcher (a
known Shakespeare collaborator), the fact that the play contains several
Don Quixote characters, and a convincing holograph arguement by
Hamilton, this makes SM a strong contender for the lost Cardenio.  At
least its strong enough to warrent further research and not be dismissed
so lightly.  Or is there some evidence that renders this theory null?
Also what other evidence exists, documentary or otherwise that at least
connects Middleton with the play?

Any Comments?
 

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