Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Re: Endings (and Beginnings) of Titus Andronicus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0494  Friday, 14 March 2003

[1]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 13 Mar 2003 15:52:49 EST
        Subj:   Re: Endings (and Beginnings) of Titus Andronicus

[2]     From:   Claude Caspar <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 13 Mar 2003 17:13:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Endings (and Beginnings) of Titus Andronicus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 13 Mar 2003 15:52:49 EST
Subject: 14.0486 Re: Endings (and Beginnings) of Titus
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0486 Re: Endings (and Beginnings) of Titus
Andronicus

Hello All:

Roger Parris <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > writes:

>J.M.Robertson made the argument for Peele's collaborative authorship at
>length in "Did Shakespeare Write Titus Andronicus?"(l905).He followed a
>suggestion by Fredrick Fleay and,in his ture, was immediately and
>enthusiastically seconded in a scholarly review by W.W. Greg.
>
>Robertson elaborated this attribution in his nearly five hundred page
>"Introduction to the Study of the Shakespeare
>Canon"(l924).Unfortunately,despite some strong support from
>T.S.Eliot,Robertson's reputation never recovered from E.K.Chambers's
>lecture "The Disintegration of Shakespeare"(l925) and he was and is
>castigated by those(nearly everyone) who have not read his magnum opus.
>
>J.Dover Wilson incorporated large portions of Robertson's detective work
>into his edition without any acknowledgment  and later generations of
>editors have continued to treat the claim as if it were Wilson's private
>preserve.
>
>Robertson also makes an  excellent argument for Robert Greene's
>authorship of the Countess scenes in "Edward III". In fact,whether right
>or wrong,(and personally I am very sure he is right) it must be one of
>the most readable and well structured Elizabethan authorship
>attributions ever written.

It's true that I did not give the whole history of early attribution of
part of Titus to Peele [also omitting to mention at least Dugdale Sykes
and T.M. Parrott], but a summary of the controversy was not my object--
recommending Vickers' book was. Also true that I have not read
Robertson's book, but only extracts from it. If Robertson was the first
to attribute part of Titus to Peele then I should read his book, if only
to mine it for testable suggestions.

However, there are several things about Robertson and his book that
Roger Parris does not tell us. I'm using secondary sources here, so
correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Robertson assigned not only
3 scenes of Titus to Peele but also a number of scenes and passages in
other of Shakespeare's plays; and that he assigned the rest of Titus to
Greene, Marlowe and others; and [if I recall] he assigned the greater
part of Julius Caesar to George Chapman, and made many other equally
eccentric and irresponsible attributions. Was it not against the whole
range of Robertson's attributions that Chambers spoke?

As to Dover Wilson stealing Robertson's work-- on p. xiv of his edition
of Titus Wilson writes of "J. M. Robertson's 'Did Shakespeare Write
Titus Andronicus' (1905), in which the case against the authenticity of
the Folio play was argued with more force and with a greater display of
evidence that ever before."   No doubt he repeated from Robertson those
points and parallels that he found valid-- parallels are not the
property of s/he who first points them out. He also used the work of
Parrott and Timberlake. I suppose some may think of it as Wilson's
argument since his was the first major edition to accept the case for
Peele, thereby presenting it to a wider audience. Of course the case
doesn't belong to Robertson or Wilson or Vickers: it's either the truth
(more or less) or it's not.

I will reserve my judgement as to whether Robertson's argument for
Greene's authorship of the Countess scenes in Edward III is "one of the
most readable and well-structured Elizabethan authorship attributions
ever written" until after I have read it -- though from the Greene that
I have read it doesn't seem very likely.

The work of (for instance) Fleay and Dugdale Sykes is still read
because, in spite of the overconfidence of their arguments and their
sometimes slipshod methods, later scholars have more than a few times
revived and confirmed their suggestions. That Robertson, by contrast, is
still considered an irresponsible crank must be due to the content of
his book(s) rather than to the oppression of Chambers, the depredations
of Wilson or any conspiracy of the part of the scholarly community.

Bill Lloyd

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Caspar <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 13 Mar 2003 17:13:00 -0500
Subject: 14.0486 Re: Endings (and Beginnings) of Titus
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0486 Re: Endings (and Beginnings) of Titus
Andronicus

>J.M.Robertson made the argument for Peele's collaborative authorship at
>length in "Did Shakespeare Write Titus Andronicus?"(l905).He followed a
>suggestion by Fredrick Fleay and,in his ture, was immediately and
>enthusiastically seconded in a scholarly review by W.W. Greg.

I have no dog in this fight- I accept that not only was it common
practice of the time, but that Shakespeare certainly seems to have
collaborated on such as "Two Noble Kinsmen."  I was reminded that the
authority I cited was from the 1940's.  This is from 1905.  I have no
obsession with chronology in scholarship except where a torch is clearly
passed or one breakthrough clearly makes way for subsequent
development.  The last 50 years has redefined how scholarship is done,
and the ability for even amateurs such as myself to search the world's
resources without exertion makes "progress" assured, and hopefully will
sweep away the accumulated spider webs in the dustpans. I did not even
think it was such a bone in contention with TA, often considered the
least of the cannon. But, I am unconvinced there is compelling
evidence.  Russ McDonald, the editor of the Pelican version, of 2000
(updated from a previous version), gives it short shrift.  The essays I
have reviewed treat it as a structurally integrated whole, unlike say, 2
Noble Kin. In Norton's latest Oxford edition (1997), edited by
Greenblatt, K. E. Maus doesn't mention Peele, or anyone else. The 1997
Riverside scoffs at "disintegration" and cites Price & Alexander as
having rehabilitated its standing as solely WS. In discussing the case
for Peele, Frank Kermode [who writes Riverside's introductory remarks]:
"Most scholars would agree that TA is structurally much superior to any
extant play of Peele's. Where's the beef?

_______________________________________________________________
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 Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

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.