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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: December ::
Re: 3 Henry VI
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2725  Monday, 3 December 2001

From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Monday, 3 Dec 2001 09:01:14 -0000
Subject: 12.2700 Re: 3 Henry VI
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2700 Re: 3 Henry VI

On 30 November, which might (or might not!) have been the official UK
publication date for the paperback edition, I purchased a copy of
Randall Martin's Oxford Shakespeare edition of 3 Henry VI.  In SHK
12.2694 John Cox gave an example where he and Martin agreed, which led
me to suspect that they might possibly agree about other things!  So,
what are Martin's conclusions on "date, sequence, authorship"?

Martin concludes that "True Tragedy" is a memorially-reconstructed,
reported text of Shakespeare's first version of the play.  It was
performed, probably in 1591 (presumably at the Curtain, although he is
not explicit on this point) by Strange's Men and later, on tour, by
Pembroke's Men. It was memorially reconstructed by survivors of
Pembroke's Men in 1593.  (This version was printed in O in 1595.)
Shakespeare joined the Chamberlain's Men on their formation in 1594.  He
wrote his revised version in the period 1594 to 1596, (for the Theatre)
and it is this that is represented in F.  F represents an authorial
draft, but not a final fair copy (he doesn't use the term "foul
papers"!).  Martin regards the SDs in F as authorial, unless there were
additions by the F editors.  Martin regards Shakespeare as the sole
author of both texts, and that the first version preceded the writing of
1H6 (for the Rose in 1592) which he accepts as collaborative.

I hope I have reported this correctly: it rather took me by surprise,
and there is quite a lot to absorb!  There is certainly no trace of
agnosticism.  I don't really know what to make of all this: I agree with
quite a lot of it, but there are parts I can't yet accept.  How to
proceed?  I think perhaps that I shall let Marcus Dahl tackle Randall
Martin, while I continue to harry the hapless John Cox!

John Briggs

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