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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Cardenio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1903  Friday, 5 November 1999.

From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Thursday, 04 Nov 1999 11:09:13 -0800
Subject: Re: Cardenio
Comment:        SHK 10.1895 Re: Cardenio

Larry Weiss wrote:

>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.

Interesting in light of my rather opposite experience.  Very shortly
before Charles Hamilton's death, he appeared at U.C. Berkeley making his
case for The Second Maiden's Tragedy as Cardenio.  He passed out
photostats from his book and pointed out similarities between the ms. of
Tragedy and Hand D in Sir Thomas More.  That was the bulk of his
presentation, but he added everything Larry heard as additional reasons
to accept the ascription.

The next morning, a Berkeley professor (can't think who) used Hamilton's
own handouts, citing different examples, to show just how unalike the
handwriting was.  There was also a performance where the professional
actors were ready to accept the attribution until they started working
on the play.  One said the language did not feel like Shakespeare's
language, and the character's don't grow during the course of the
action, as Shakespeare's character's do.  Thus Hamilton's points were
answered, though not disproved.  Subjectivity was involved.

If anyone wants to know more, I wrote about this in Shakespeare Bulletin
a few years ago.  I don't remember the issue, but I'm sure Jim will be
happy to sell it to you, assuming availability.

I also wrote a short review of Hamilton's book when I was the
Shakespeare reviewer for Small Press Magazine.  There are some real
logistical problems with accepting the attribution, which Hamilton
acknowledges.  When these problems are lined up in order, as I did, the
attribution strains credulity.  I won't burden this list by including my
review, but write if interested.  I'll send a copy to you off list.

Mike Jensen

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