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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: King John, Titus, Peele
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0967  Friday, 16 May 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 May 2003 11:51:05 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[2]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 May 2003 18:20:49 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[3]     From:   Jim Carroll <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 May 2003 00:19:23 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 May 2003 11:51:05 -0300
Subject: 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

Brian Vickers writes,

>Historically, we know that every professional dramatist in this period
>took part in collaborative play-writing.

Really?  Does that include Marlowe?

>Rationally, Mr. Carroll has brusquely rejected all the evidence
>assembled so far for Peele's co-authorship of *Titus Andronicus* -- and
>there is more to come. Jonathan Bate may have been ill-advised to use
>the term 'experiment', but the data summarized and added to in my book,
>showing the presence of two distinct writers, is scientific in the sense
>that it is replicable, and if Carroll were not too lazy (or resistant)
>to do the work he would come up with the same results.

Maybe, but so are most stock analyses, derived from the past
performances of the bourse and then measured against the same data from
which they were extracted.  The problem is that they tend to break down
when faced by new data.

While one can see that the formula produces consistent results, in other
words, there isn't any reliable way to test if it's valid.  I'm reminded
slightly of a Law and Order episode recently where somebody came up with
a computer programme that could be used to "predict" any winner in a
horse race, or rather justify any choice, but only after the fact.

Seriously, though, this debate about whether Shakespeare collaborated is
taking on altogether too strident tones.  Accusing those who don't agree
with a collaboration thesis of being "romantics" or "bardolaters" just
strikes me as ad hominem, like accusing those who support a
collaboration thesis of being Oxfordians.

Yours,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 May 2003 18:20:49 -0400
Subject: 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

I've always thought Shakespeare got into playwriting by rewriting
others' works and/or by collaborating with other playwrights.  I think
rewriting others' works more likely since he was an actor, not a
playwright, to begin with.  I think Heminges and Condell can be trusted
to know which plays were Shakespeare's, too, and to include only them in
the First Folio.  However, that brings up the question of how much would
Shakespeare have to have contributed to the writing of a play for them
to consider it his.  Not 100%, I'm sure, because Heminges and Condell
would know, as actors, that bits by others than the first author were
always beings added to plays, and that the actors themselves probably
revised plays.  I think it quite possible that H&C thought Shakespeare
wrote Henry VIII, and Fletcher touched it up.  Maybe Shakespeare wrote
the scenes he felt like writing, and outlined the other scenes, telling
H&C to have Fletcher put in the dialogue when he sent the finished play
to them.

I have little problem with the notion that Shakespeare collaborated with
Peele on Titus but think it more likely that he was only influenced by
Peele.  He may also have revised a Peele play.  Reason: Greene in the
Groatsworth warns Peele (many scholars are agreed) to watch out for
Shakespeare, which suggests Peele didn't know Shakespeare.  But that, of
course, assumes that Titus was done before 1592, which I'm sure of
although I have no more factual evidence for my belief than Vickers has
for his belief in a later date for the play.  (Vickers has also stated
it as a fact that Chettle wrote the Groatsworth, based on a stylometric
study he likes, so he can counter that Chettle didn't know what he was
talking about.

The Henry VI plays are so obviously apprentice works, I can't see how
anyone can say whether they were collaborations or simply erratic
productions of a writer who hasn't found his voice yet and is thus
haphazardly by lots of other writers, including in particular those
whose plays he was currently acting in.

I continue to believe stylometric studies, "replicated" or not, too
primitive to count for much, though worth pursuing.

A question for Brian Vickers, although he considers me too close-minded
to bother with: if we know the Beaumont and Fletcher folio was
criticized for not giving credit to the writers other than Beaumont and
Fletcher who contributed to it, why have we no records of similar
complaints against the Shakespeare folio?

--Bob G.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Carroll <
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Date:           Friday, 16 May 2003 00:19:23 EDT
Subject: 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0956 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

I'm responding to both Bill Lloyd and Brian Vickers in one post:

Bill Lloyd <
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 > on  Wednesday, 14 May 2003
wrote:

>It's almost as if they
>fear a wholesale disintegration of the Shakespeare canon along
>Robertsonian or anti-Stratfordian composition-by-committee lines.

I don't fear any disintegration. What I want is convincing evidence for
it.

>But this is not the intent [nor are these the findings] of Brian Vickers'
>book, nor of other responsible attribution scholars such as Cyrus Hoy,
>MacDonald P. Jackson, David J. Lake, Gary Taylor, et al.

I don't think that is their intent either, but Bate seems to think it
is. But he may just have been exaggerating for the purpose of his piece
in the popular press.

>Jonson is not really a comparable case-- he was a pioneer in promoting
>[his] plays as literary texts, and there is no particular reason to
>believe and much reason to doubt that Shakespeare felt the same way.

But Shakespeare was dead when the folio was published, so it wasn't up
to him. We already know that he collaborated at least once, because the
first two acts of Pericles are clearly not his, and there is at least
external title-page evidence for co-authorship in TNK.  The question is:
what did the publishers of the folio know?

>As to Heminge and Condell, Titus and 1 Henry VI may have been written
>before they knew Shakespeare; Timon was evidently a stop-gap brought out
>when Troilus was temporarily unavailable; and Henry VIII rounded out the
>series of English History plays for which Shakespeare was famous.

It's hard to see why you would need H8 to "round out" Shakespeare's
series of history plays, since there is no play on Edward IV or Henry
VII, and King John is out of sequence. If the plays concerned say, R2
through H7 inclusive, I could see wanting to add one about H8 if it
existed, but otherwise there is no point.

>Besides, even with scenes written by collaborators, these plays are
>plenty Shakespearean. We [most of us] now accept the non-Folio plays
>Pericles, Two Noble Kinsmen, Sir Thomas More and Edward III as
>sufficiently 'Shakespearean' to study them as such-- why is it so hard
>to accept that Heminge and Condell could have considered Titus, 1H6,
>Timon and H8 as sufficiently Shakespearean to include in the Folio?

Heminge and Condell knew Shakespeare personally for a long time, well
enough for Shakespeare to leave them something in his will. Furthermore,
all three worked with Richard Burbage, who is mentioned as working with
Shakespeare with the Chamberlain's Men as early as 1594, the year Titus
was published. So it's difficult to believe that they did not know
exactly what Shakespeare wrote, unless you want to believe that they
never discussed the matter over the long period of time they were
acquainted. We now feel comfortable attributing Shakespeare's hand to
plays like TNK and Pericles because we have years of scholarly apparatus
to assist us, and in the case of TNK, external evidence in the form of a
title-page attribution. Turning the question: if plays like Titus
Andronicus and H8 are really co-authored, why did Heminge and Condell
leave out Pericles, TNK etc?

>Many plays were published or recorded with correct but incomplete authorship
>attributions [list provided on request].

Yes, but how many were published by the friends and fellowes of the
author?

>As an extreme example of
>inclusiveness, look at the so-called "Beaumont and Fletcher" Folio, also
>published with the cooperation of the King's Men, which contained the
>unacknowledged work of [at least] Massinger, Middleton, Wm Rowley, Field
>and Ford.

Humphrey Mosely published that folio in 1647. Beaumont died in 1616, and
Fletcher died in 1625. I doubt very much that there were any intimate
associates of either of those men still alive who would have known for
sure who wrote each work. Mosely apparently tried to include every play
not published before in which he thought Fletcher had a hand in, and he
did not have the benefit of the body of historical research available to
us. As for what we know now about these plays, here is what Bentley has
to say ("The Jacobean and Caroline Stage", vol 3, p309):

"The horde of other poets who have been claimed as Fletcher's
collaborators by one or another earnest investigator can be generally
dismissed. Two or three instances of revision by Shirley or plagiarism
from or by Jonson can be demonstrated from external evidence or literal
transcription of long passages, but most of the other attributions
involve a solemnly irresponsible use of evidence. For the collaboration
of Massinger, Field, and Rowley, there is external evidence in the
office-book of Sir Henry Herbert, in the Stationer's Register, on
title-pages, or in the comments of Sir Aston Cokayne. Moreover, these
three all had close connections with the King's company, for which the
plays were written: Massinger as their regular playwright in succession
to Fletcher, and Field and Rowley as patented actors of the company."

>As to the scientificness of the collaboration arguments-- well, few
>things [no things?] in life are immune to questioning-- even science--
>but most of the good attribution studies HAVE included the negative
>check [showing that the cited similarities are absent or very rare in
>the works of other writers] and to compare these studies and their
>results to the ravings of the anti-Stratfordians is irresponsible.

I'm not comparing other attribution studies to the ravings of
anti-Stratfordians. I'm specifically comparing Vickers study AND what
Bate said about them to SOME of the arguments used by
anti-Stratfordians. Your rhetoric is becoming a little hot and heavy
here. It's not irresponsible to point out the obvious flaws in the
reasoning used in attribution arguments, on the contrary, it's to the
point. What do reviewers do when they have to review a paper?

>The
>anti-Strats can't even agree on which candidate to back, let alone what
>constitutes valid evidence. By contrast, for example, the studies of the
>linguistic patterns and preferences of Thomas Middleton and his
>collaborators which were carried out by Jackson and by Lake completely
>independently of each other in the 1970s, using different batteries of
>tests, came to almost identical conclusions. This is an example of the
>'scientific' reproduction of results that good attributionism aspires
>to.

And Looney and Ogburn, separated by many years, came to the same
conclusion regarding the authorship of Shakespeare's works, and that
proves exactly nothing.

>The examples Jim Carroll provides as evidence of Brian Vickers' special
>pleading concerning the use of rhetorical figures and patterning in
>Titus don't really work the way he wants them to. The 'parallel'
>Vickers' points out between Titus 1.1.10-17 and 1.1.428-31 is not about
>mere repetition of lines or part lines, but of the recurrence of the
>'exo-skeleton' of a verse paragraph. And in any case, these rhetorical
>parallels between parts of Titus and the works of Peele are only a small
>part of the total evidence for Peele's involvement.

In fact, they are not even that, because the examples you cited were
both from Titus, not one from Titus and one from Peele. Vickers wants us
to believe, as does Wilson, that because the writer of act 1 of Titus
partially repeats himself at a few points, that the author not
Shakespeare. The only reference Vickers makes to Peele after that
example is to say that "Earlier critics had described Peele's verse as
prone to 'diffuseness and tautology." He references Sykes (only) at this
point, but the Sykes example he quotes concerns a different kind of
repetition, that of "using two words of the same meaning simply to fill
out a line", such as 'to yield and to surrender up'" (Vickers, p168). My
point in my previous post was that you can't use the presence to
repetition to argue that Shakespeare was not the author, and then use
the presence of repetition later to argue that he WAS the author (of act
2.3 of Titus) as Vickers does.
[snip]
-------------------
B. Vickers <
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 > on Thursday, 15 May 2003
wrote:

Subject: 14.0936 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0936 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

>I'm glad that Jim Carroll has formulated his resistance to the idea of
>'Shakespeare, Co-Author' in religious terms ('It's impossible for me to
>believe that' the First Folio contains work not by Shakespeare), for his
>belief has neither historical nor rational grounds.

Oh really? So everyone who believes that Heminge and Condell were honest
when they said they were publishing the works of Shakespeare "as HE
conceived them" are not rational?

>Historically, we know that every professional dramatist in this period
>took part in collaborative play-writing. The 1647 Beaumont & Fletcher
>Folio contains work by at least 10 different dramatists, as was widely
>known. A contemporary complained that Massinger hadn't been acknowledged
>for his contributions, and berated the (anonymous) editors: 'why in't /
>Did you not justice? give each his due?' -- The same question could be
>put to Heminge & Condell for including several thousand lines by
>Shakespeare.

See my response to Bill Lloyd above for the difference between the 1647
Beaumont/Fletcher folio and the 1623 Shakespeare folio, and how we know
who wrote what. Bentley believed that there were only three co-authors,
and that the evidence for other authors involved a "solemnly
irresponsible use of evidence." Was he rational?  Is there any external
evidence linking Peele to the company Shakespeare wrote for, or even
just to Shakespeare?

>Rationally, Mr. Carroll has brusquely rejected all the evidence
>assembled so far for Peele's co-authorship of *Titus Andronicus* -- and
>there is more to come. Jonathan Bate may have been ill-advised to use
>the term 'experiment', but the data summarized and added to in my book,
>showing the presence of two distinct writers, is scientific in the sense
>that it is replicable, and if Carroll were not too lazy (or resistant)
>to do the work he would come up with the same results. He reminds me of
>that character in Aristophanes' *Ploutos* who says 'You can try to
>convince me; I simply won't be convinced!'

Rationally, the replication is meaningless if the observations are of
commonplaces.
It doesn't matter how many other writers agree that in Titus, one
character answers another with the same phrase in question form, and so
does Peele in his plays, if they fail to notice that every other
playwright, including Shakespeare in his early plays, does the same
thing. The observation is incomplete, and thus unscientific. I don't
have anything against Peele having written Act 1 of Titus, what I want
is convincing evidence. G. H. Metz, in his 1996 book "Shakespeare's
Earliest Tragedy - Studies in Titus Andronicus" weighs the authorship
issues carefully and comes to the same conclusion that I do about Titus.
Quote:

"After balancing all the scholarly pros and cons, the net result of the
debate on collaboration is that there is insufficient evidence to
support a hypothesis portraying Shakespeare as having worked with Peele
or anyone else on Titus Andronicus. The firmness of the structure,
unrivaled at the time the play was written, and the skillful
interweaving of the elements of the plot appear persuasively to
eliminate consideration of a collaborator, whether Peele or another of
the dramatists active around 1590. If then Titus is not the fruit of a
collaboration, but the work of a single playwright, it seems most
unlikely that it could be the work of any poet other than Shakespeare.
The external evidence, never successfully challenged, solidly supports
the attribution. We are then left with the conclusion so unambiguously
stated by Schlosser: Shakespeare IS the author." (pp 42-43)

I believe that whatever genuine Peeleisms exist in Titus, they are the
result of the two playwrights reading, seeing, or, in the case of
Shakespeare, acting in the plays of the other. For example, consider
this passage from Marlowe's Edward II, as Mortimer is led to his death:

                    Weep not for Mortimer,
That scorns the world, and as a traveller
Goes to discover countries yet unknown. (5.6.64-66)

and this from Shakespeare's Hamlet:

But that the dread of something after death-
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns- (3.1.77-79)

Similar thoughts, with a similar vocabulary. Is this a commonplace,
common authorship, or one playwright reading, seeing or acting in the
other's play? Peele also seems to know Marlowe's Edward II even better
(as noted by Frank Hooks in his introductory essay to Peele's Edward I,
in the Prouty edition):

Marlowe, Edward II:
     As Caesar riding in the Roman street,
     With captive kings at his triumphant car. (1.1.173-74)

Peele, Edward I:
     Not Caesar leading through the streets of Rome
     The captive kings of conquered nations. (90-91)

Marlowe, Edward II:
     It is but temporal that thou canst inflict (3.3.57)

Peele, Edward I:
     It is but temporal that you can inflict (880)

Marlowe, Edward II:
     Hence feigned weeds! unfeigned are my woes. (4.6.96)

Peele, Edward I:
     Hence feigned weeds!, unfeigned is my griefe. (2519)

It's not clear who is copying who here, the point is that they obviously
borrowed from one another, and we know that the plays are by three
different authors, so such a process DID happen. And that to me is a
much better reason for the whatever genuine small-scale similarities
exist between Act 1 of Titus and Peele's work. As I have tried to point
out in my previous posts, the dramaturgy of Act 1 of Titus is nothing
like Peele's in any of his works, and Metz agrees that the structure of
the act is incompatible with Peele's authorship. Imagine looking at a
Picasso painting with a microscope. You will certainly find brush
strokes that look just like the strokes of Rembrandt, but if you step
back, the difference is obvious.

Jim Carroll

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