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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: King John, Titus, Peele
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0752  Tuesday, 22 April 2003

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Apr 2003 09:18:37 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[2]     From:   Hadd Judson <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Apr 2003 10:48:33 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[3]     From:   Jim Carroll <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Apr 2003 01:58:41 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Apr 2003 09:18:37 -0400
Subject: 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

>Bob Grummann hasn't read the evidence I assembled for Peele as co-author
>of Titus Andronicus, but avers 'I doubt I will find it persuasive'; Jim
>Carroll hasn't read it either, but is sure that 'Peele couldn't possibly
>have written any part of Shakespeare's plays'. Forgive me, but I find
>such closed minds offer no incentive for further debate.

I had nothing further to say, so that's no problem.  I note, however,
that you neglect to say that I said I would read your book.  You also
fail to describe the real evidence you have for your thesis, as opposed
to subjective feelings about style and a few statistical studies.  I do
have a closed mind about the value of statistical studies in attribution
studies at this time, but not about Peele's possible co-authorship of
Titus.

SNIP

>The moral is: don't take part in attribution debates if you have a
>closed mind, or rely on out-of-date scholarship. As M. W. A. Smith put
>it, 'there are no short cuts in authorship studies'.

And deciding not to debate someone because you've decided he has a
closed mind is not an example of a closed mind.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hadd Judson
 <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Apr 2003 10:48:33 -0400
Subject: 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

To All,

>Bob Grummann hasn't read the evidence I assembled for Peele as co-author
>of Titus Andronicus, but avers 'I doubt I will find it persuasive'; Jim
>Carroll hasn't read it either, but is sure that 'Peele couldn't possibly
>have written any part of Shakespeare's plays'. "Forgive me, but I find
>such closed minds offer no incentive for further debate".

I have noticed over the past several months that there appears to be a
mindset that is more interested in non-constructive criticism and
putting ideas and people down rather than entering into a dialog of
ideas.  Debating the merits of ideas and concepts is stifled by such
mindsets.  I find the statement "Forgive me, but I find such closed
minds offer no incentive for further debate" apropos to the stifling
mindset.

Sincerely,
Haddon (Hadd) Judson
mailto:
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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Carroll <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Apr 2003 01:58:41 EDT
Subject: 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0742 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

In reply to Brian Vickers,

>Bob Grummann hasn't read the evidence I assembled for
>Peele as co-author of Titus Andronicus, but avers 'I
>doubt I will find it persuasive'; Jim Carroll hasn't
>read it either, but is sure that 'Peele couldn't possibly
>have written any part of Shakespeare's plays'. Forgive
>me, but I find such closed minds offer no incentive for
>further debate.

>For Mr. Carroll's information, H. T. Price's 1943 essay,
>although valuable for its demonstration of the links
>between Shakespeare's scenes in Titus and the rest of the
>canon, is full of prejudice, error and misrepresentation
>(e.g. of  P. W. Timberlake's seminal study of feminine
>endings in plays up to 1595), which Mr. Carroll gullibly
>takes on trust.  Ironically, Price excused Peele from
>'blunders' concerning Roman history, taking them as proof
>of Shakespeare's unlearned authorship, but the blunders
>are in fact Price's. As I showed in 'Shakespeare,
>Co-Author', pp.  184-93, Price claimed that 'human
>sacrifices were not offered up in Rome': but a famous
>sequence in the Aeneid (10.517-22; 11.79-84) shows how,
>after the death of his comrade Pallas, Aeneas captures 8
>enemy youths whom he intends to sacrifice to the ghost of
>Pallas.

Aeneas was a Trojan, and the action of the Aeneid takes place before the
founding of Rome. How does this show that human sacrifices were carried
out in the Rome of Titus?

>This episode echoes one in the Iliad where Achilles
>slays 12 young Trojans on Patroclus' pyre, and although
>Aeneas relents (maybe in order to prove Roman ethical
>superiority over the Greeks), Virgil's language echoes
>Roman sacral rituals, which involved human sacrifices.

This is not quite what you say in your book, where in footnote 46 you
write (emphasis mine) "...the language echoes Roman sacral rituals,
which MAY have involved human sacrifice...." It appears that there is no
clear evidence that human sacrifice was practiced at Rome, certainly
nothing that Peele would have been sure of.

>As for Lucius' appeal to be allowed to 'hew (the) limbs'
>of a captive Goth, the eminent Roman historian, Richard
>Gordon, has commented that 'the Romans certainly cut the
>hands off prisoners on a grand scale after battles, and
>Caesar famously chopped the right hands off 10, 000 Gauls
>that he had captured. So there can be no doubt about the
>Romanness of "hew his limbs" '.

Price did not complain about the hewing of limbs. He quite specifically
mentioned "human sacrifice". The quote is "Human sacrifices were not
offered up at Rome (i.i.96);..."
The passage that Price is referring to is:

Luc: Give us the proudest prisoner of the Goths,
     That we may hew his limbs and on a pile
     Ad manes fratrum sacrifice his flesh....

Later, at lines 143-44, Lucius says:

     ...Alarbus limbs are lopped
     And entrails feed the sacrificing fire,

Perhaps Price should have placed an "ff." after "96" in his comment, but
clearly he is referring to human sacrifice.  The loss of hands is not
the loss of all limbs followed by disembowelment and death, as depicted
in Titus.

>Price also affirmed that 'panthers were not hunted in
>Italy', but in fact they were frequently imported for
>important Roman games, and there are many references to
>this practice in Cicero's letters, Pliny, and in Roman
>mosaics.

In the letters you quote in your book, it's quite clear that obtaining
panthers was a time-consuming and costly enterprise. Cicero, even after
a  year, could not find sufficient quantity for Caelius. Caelius wanted
the panthers for a special event: the games he would have to give upon
becoming Aedile. So if a Roman wanted to hunt panthers, considerable
time and preparation was involved. Yet in the play, Titus casually
invites Saturninus to (presumably) his estate to "hunt the panther and
the hart". It's hard to see how Titus could have had them ready, since
he has just returned from a difficult war in which he lost many sons,
and presumably would have had little time to gather panthers. And it's
not clear that even if he had had the time, he would have been able to
afford such a luxury anyway. From the cite given in your book Pliny
writes (Natural History, 8.100) "Barbarian hunters catch leopards by
means of meat rubbed over with wolf's bane" (tr. by Reckham, Loeb
Classical Library). Note that Pliny does not say that panthers were
hunted at Rome. Pliny goes on to say that the panthers hunted in such a
way were killed and their entrails removed, so they would have had
little value to hunters in Rome.

>Peele (unlike Shakespeare) refers to panthers in several
>other works, and he evidently knew more about Roman customs
>than did Hereward T. Price.

Did he place panthers in Rome in those works?

>But, by the same token, as I
>have shown, Peele's use of more recondite classical sources
>in Act 1, such as the historians Herodian, Sextus Aurelius
>Victor, and the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, distinguish
>his contribution  from Shakespeare's, who made marvellous
>use of his solid grammar-school Latin and wide reading in
>later life, but hadn't had a university education (God bless him!)

But on p. 189 of your book, you state that Herodian was translated into
English in 1556, and , following C. C. Huffman, that Holinshed drew upon
Dio and Herodian. Huffman, in the paper you cite ("Bassianus and the
British History in Titus Andronicus", English Language Notes, 11,
(1974): 175-81) notes that the central problem regarding Bassianus is
that in Roman history he is the bad brother, while in Shakespeare's play
he becomes the good one. The transformation from bad to good takes place
through Geoffrey of Monmouth and Holinshed, so not only did Shakespeare
(or Peele) not need to know Herodian, the presentation of Bassianus in
the play fits Holinshed more closely.

Furthermore, your association of those classical sources with Peele is
based upon a highly suspect conjecture. You claim that:

"Peele displayed his knowledge of Roman history, somewhat ostentatiously
on the the title-page of The Araygnement of Paris (1584), adding an
ornament with the inscription "Imp Opilius Macrinus Aug" - so far as I
know, the only such device in Renaissance drama" (p186).

I think it's more likely that the printer, Henry Marsh, chose the
medallion. For example, in the same year, 1584, Thomas Marsh, Henry's
father, (both working out of the same shop) printed an edition of
Dominicus Mancinus' "De Quatour Virtutibus" (STC 17239.3), and on the
title page is a medallion the same size as that in Peele's AP, with the
same font. The portrait is that of an English king (denoted by the
crown) rather than a Roman emperor, with the words "Imp Caes Henricus V
Aug". I presume that Marsh chose this medallion because Mancinus'
flourished about the time of Henry 5. I also don't believe that the
spelling "Opilius" (rather than "Opellius") conceals any secret meaning.
Unlike you and Richard Gordon, who believe that Peele was cleverly
punning on the Latin word "opilio" ("shepherd"), in reference to the
pastoral nature of AP, I think it's just an alternate spelling. I also
can't agree with Richard Gordon, whom you quote, when he says that
Macrinus "...was a kind of model for Queen Elizabeth in her capacity as
patroness/spectator of the Araygnement as a pastoral drama." Macrinus
was a moor who briefly managed to obtain the throne of Rome for a year
or so before he was murdered.

In short, I think it might be more profitable to inquire into the
sources of The Araygnement of Paris if you need to find a reason for the
medallion of Macrinus. For example, the STC states that AP was based on
Paulilli's Il Giuditio di Paride. I could find no information on this
using the various books on Peele and the online indices here, but that
line of inquiry might be more fruitful than trying to read secret codes
into alternate spellings.

>The moral is: don't take part in attribution debates if you
>have a closed mind, or rely on out-of-date scholarship. As
>M. W. A. Smith put it, 'there are no short cuts in authorship
>studies'.

No doubt, but I haven't seen anything that refutes Price on the three
points he made. In fact, you ignore completely the issue of holy water.
I also haven't seen anything that refutes my understanding of
Shakespeare's style relative to Peele's.  If I do, I'll be sure to
change my mind.

Jim Carroll

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