The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0194 Tuesday, 4 February 2003
Date: Tuesday, 04 Feb 2003 12:04:03 +0100
Subject: 14.0161 The Puritan
Comment: Correction: SHK 14.0161 The Puritan
Despite our moderator having called 'time' to this discussion, may I
seek a moment to dispel the disinformation that sometimes gathers around
postings on this site?
Roger Parris claimed to cite 'advance reports' that I 'will attempt to
show in [my] forthcoming book that both of these works [sc. Timon,
Macbeth] are not revisions ... but collaborations'. I have since had
emails asking for details of my 'joint-attribution' on Macbeth.
For the record, I published two books on the Shakespeare authorship
question last year: 'Counterfeiting' Shakespeare. Evidence, Authorship,
and John Ford's Funerall Elegye, which Cambridge University Press
published in September, and which attempts to disprove the 'Shall I
die?' and Funerall Elegye attributions. The other, Shakespeare,
Co-Author. A Historical Study of Five Collaborative Plays, which Oxford
University Press published in October, summarizes and extends the
evidence that Shakespeare collaborated with Peele on Titus Andronicus,
with Middleton on Timon, with Wilkins on Pericles, and with Fletcher on
The Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII. In passing, I disputed Roger
Holdsworth's claim to detect Middleton's hand in Macbeth, and cited
Jonathan Hope's demolition of the statistics on which it was based.
Shakespeare, Co-Author is called a 'historical study', inasmuch as it
evaluates the methodologies used in authorship studies in English,
German, and American scholarship from the early 19th century to the
present day. My chronological approach shows very clearly the recurring
phenomenon whereby compelling evidence in every generation that
Shakespeare worked with co-dramatists has been repeatedly rejected by
scholars anxious to preserve the sole authorship theory. This does not
(needless to say) put me in the 'anti-Stratfordian' camp.
While I understand our moderator's wish to ban the futile claims of
Oxfordians and others from proliferating here, I believe that authorship
studies within the accepted canon are a legitimate, indeed essential
component of well-balanced Shakespeare scholarship, and I hope that
these will not be banned. Pax vobiscum.
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