Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: LLW
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2394  Friday, 19 October 2001

[1]     From:   C. Fortunato <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 10:20:17 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2387 Re: LLW

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 13:06:59 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2387 Re: LLW

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 19:38:15 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2387 Re: LLW

[4]     From:   Bob Grumman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 17:31:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2366 Re: LLW


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           C. Fortunato <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 10:20:17 EDT
Subject: 12.2387 Re: LLW
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2387 Re: LLW

> I am amused that Larry Weiss is unperturbed by the absence of LLW from F
> despite it being printed (presumably in quarto) and listed by Meres as
> being written by Shakespeare.

What evidence is there that it was printed?

One reason that it might not have been included in F is that they didn't
have a printed copy - a rather simple explanation.

Personally, I've thought that the end of "LLL" cried out for a sequel.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 13:06:59 -0400
Subject: 12.2387 Re: LLW
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2387 Re: LLW

John Briggs wrote:

>  Clearly, a man of Larry's equanimity
> would be useful in a crisis!

I've been told this before.

>   The "lost play" hypothesis
> demands that it was consciously omitted from F for reasons that we
> cannot even guess at.

I assume that John does not intend us to understand "consciously" as
"deliberately," as that would suggest some sinister purpose.  If
Heminges & Condell were not able to make a last minute deal for the T&C
MS, that too would have "consciously" been omitted.  It is possible that
some such problem also existed for the hypothesized LLW MS.  But it
isn't even necessary to assume that the play was known to the F1
publishers.  If it was a sequel to LLL, it would have dated from the
early 1590's, before the establishment of the company in which WS,
Heminges & Condell were all members, and if the play were not
particularly popular -- say, by continuing the Euphues parody of LLL,
which would not have been particularly accessible to any but the most
elite audience -- it could have been forgotten by 1623.  It is also
improbable that a great many copies of the quarto were printed; and it
is even possible that the quarto was not printed until after 1623.

But it isn't necessary to come up with any explanation for the absence
from F1, as that just can't prove that the play never existed.

> Actually, the simplest hypothesis (although not
> my favourite) would be to assume that Meres was mistaken, and that the
> play was not by Shakespeare, but a sequel or continuation written by
> another member of Shakespeare's company, or a rival company.

An odd mistake to make, and one which I do not believe Meres made
anywhere else.

If someone else wrote the sequel, it would also have been odd for WS to
suggest in LLL,V.i that there would be a continuation?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 19:38:15 +0100
Subject: 12.2387 Re: LLW
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2387 Re: LLW

Cyberspace seems to have introduced an interesting twist in my post on
this topic.

What appeared as, "If this distinction is alloWednesday, Wyatt ..."
should, of course, have read: "If this distinction is allowed, Wyatt
..."

Robin Hamilton

[Editor's Note: No cyberspace demons here; the mistake was all my fault.
Over the years of editing SHAKSPER, I have developed a number of
shortcuts to assist me as I format the text for digests. I did not type
the "W" in "Wed," so "ed," was replaced by "Wednesday," and I missed the
mistake as I proceeded. -Hardy]

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 17:31:30 -0400
Subject: 12.2366 Re: LLW
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2366 Re: LLW

> Bob Grumman comments on my observation that
>
> > > The end of LLL contains strong suggestions that the story is to be
> > > continued and language reminiscent to me of modern broadcasters'
> > > exhortations to "stay tuned ... same time, same station," such as
> > > Berowne's "that's too long for a play." Shakespeare was in all other
> > > cases quite insistent on marrying off the main characters (consider
> > > M/M), it seems inherently improbable that he would end a play with
> > > none of the four main couples getting married, and, instead,
> > > assigning tasks to all four male characters that would be potentially
> > > amusing to see executed but which we are left only to imagine.
> >
> > The problem with that last is that I don't see how he could
> > make a whole play out of it.
>
> He made whole plays out of far less promising material.  How can you
> make a four and a half hour play out of a prince's desire to kill the
> king?

Any play's plot or theme can be over-simplified to show that one can
write a play about anything.  But, as a writer of comedies myself, I
just find it hard to think how Shakespeare would have done a romantic
comedy sequel for LLL.  It'd require the men to try to win the women,
but they're already won, really--and they are absent.  So Shakespeare
could have the men try to carry out the chores assigned to them, and I
suppose he could make that funny, but it'd be much different from his
normal kind of comedy--no boy girl stuff, for one thing.  I dunno, I
just think he milked his characters and situation in LLL as much as he
could.  And he couldn't just give them a new comedy like he gave
Falstaff, because they have to win the women a second time.

All this is just my intuition.  My real arguments are the ones about
Meres and H&C.  I'd add that I just read that LLL was performed after
1608 at the Blackfriars Theatre which suggests that it maintained its
popularity a long time--which makes it all the more unlikely, to me,
that a sequel to it would have disappeared entirely.

A thought (for fun): maybe there were two versions of LLL, one with
marriages at the end, one without, and Shakespeare's company finally
decided the one without was better, and junked the other.

> > > It seems to me that the very simple inference that WS wrote a sequel
> > > which is unfortunately lost to us.  This theory fits all the facts.
> >
> > Not quite.  You still have the problem of Meres's knowing of a play
> > written after Loves Labours Lost that Heminges and Condell don't.  So
> > far as we know, Heminges and Condell got all the plays known to have
> > been completely written by Shakespeare into the First Folio.  There's
> > also the problem of Meres's knowing of LLW but not of The Taming of the
> > The Shrew, which seems to me for many reasons to have to have been
> > written before Meres wrote his book.
>
> See my response to John Briggs' similar comment.  Also, Meres clearly
> did not attempt to catalogue all of WS's plays written prior to 1598,
> only the ones he particularly admired (as he said himself).  He selected
> four tragedies, four comedies and four histories (perhaps a coincidence,
> perhaps not).  The notion that T/S is LLW has been considered and
> rejected by far more serious scholars than I pretend to be.

I don't see that Meres clearly did not attempt to catalogue all of
Shakespeare's plays he knew of.  And I suspect there are serious
scholars who have not rejected the T/S is LLW possibility.

> > I don't understand why my argument would be circular.
>
> It's circular because it proceeds from the notion that since we don't
> have something it never existed.

Clever, but (1) I argue that we have it under a different name and (2)
that because H&C seem to have collected every known non-collaborative
play by Shakespeare, it follows that they collected LLW under a
different name and that since it seems Meres mentioned all the plays
known to have been written by the time of Meres's book except the Henry
VI set, which may have been a collaboration and/or not known to Meres
because it was anonymous and not done by Shakespeare's company (that it
wasn't, I don't know, but am guessing), it follows that his not
mentioning T/S by that name means he gave it another name.

I'd find your position here stronger if there were a quarto of a play
certainly by Shakespeare entirely, and given to him on its title-page
that Heminges and Condell ignored completely.

> >    As for wishful, what I
> > would wish was that there WAS a lost comedy by Shakespeare we could hope
> > would one day be discovered.
>
> It is wishful because it is human nature to want all the pieces of the
> puzzle.

Sure, but I was merely saying if I were arguing in accordance with my
wishes only, I would argue that it's a lost play.

> > Although if it was indeed lost, it is
> > unlikely it was very good.
>
> And the grapes are sour.  WS wrote a lot a stuff that wasn't up to his
> best, but we would be sorry not to have it.  I personally don't believe
> that there is any substantial evidence for Cardenio, but if it were
> shown to have existed, I would want to read it and I certainly would not
> assume that since it didn't survive it wouldn't be worth the effort.

I'd want to read LLW if it were found, too.  I merely think that it's
being ignored by Heminges and Condell, and mentioned by no one but Meres
(except at a sale), suggests it wasn't among Shakespeare's best.  But
maybe it was his best by far, so much so that it went over the heads of
his audience.  Although its apparently having been printed is
interesting.

I think the question is very interesting and definitely would not bet
more than four dollars on my own theory; but I still prefer it to all
others.  And I think that may be my last word on the topic unless
significant new data is introduced.

--Bob G.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.