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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: King John, Titus, Peele
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0994  Tuesday, 20 May 2003

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 2003 16:14:13 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 11:24:06 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[3]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 07:30:28 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0967 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[4]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 11:36:46 +0000
        Subj:   King John et al


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 2003 16:14:13 -0400
Subject: 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

I know little about Marlowe's Dido; I'm not sure I even ever got around
to reading it.  Might it not have been an unfinished play of Marlowe's
that Nashe finished?  That both Nashe and Marlowe are given title-page
credit for it does not necessarily mean they collaborated on it.

Question: does Jonson include any collaborations in his 1616
collection?  If not, it would be a good precedent for Heminges and
Condell not to include collaborations in the First Folio.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 11:24:06 +0100
Subject: 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

Brian Vickers wrote of MacDonald Jackson's claim that

>the stage direction in Titus 1.1.69 includes the
>phrase 'enter ... others as many as may be':
>this formula is found in Peele's Edward I, 1.1.40
>('Enter ... and others as many as may be'), but
>nowhere else 'in the whole of English Renaissance
>drama 1576-1642' (I have found one other instance
>from 1620, but that doesn't weaken the point).

There are some phrasings pretty close to this formula, though:

Anonymous (Jacobean and Caroline)
Swetnam, the woman-hater, arraigned by women (1620)
"...with a Proclamation, and as many Women as may be, with..."

Anonymous (Tudor)
Clyomon and Clamydes (1599)
"...as valiantly set forth as may be, and as many souldiers as can..."

Armin, Robert, fl. 1610
The two maids of More-Clacke (1609)
"...Enter Earle, Lords, Ladies, so many as may be, S. Wil...."

Chettle, Henry, d. 1607?
Hoffman (1631)
"...Enter as many as may be spar'd, with..."

Fletcher, John, 1579-1625 / Massinger, Philip, 1583-1640
The double marriage (1647)
"...Gunner, Citizens, and Souldiers, as many as may be..."

These data are pulled from Chadwyck-Healey's Literature Online database
and the years given after the titles are the years of printing not
performance.

The first one is presumably your example from 1620, Brian.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 07:30:28 EDT
Subject: 14.0967 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0967 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[Editor's Note: Apparently there was a problem with non-ASCII characters
in Bill Lloyd's posting from yesterday. Here is what I hope will be a
less problematic version of the post. - Hardy]

First let me say that I enjoy arguing about stuff-- arguing in the good
sense-- hashing things out. From what I've observed, many SHAKSPERians
feel the same way. It's not necessary that we agree and we can even
disagree vigorously. I don't think I've made ad hominem attacks on
anyone [though I've seen this done on SHAKSPER-- e.g., Weinstein vs.
everyone, people being called insane, etc]  Compared with those strings,
I don't think the Titus-Peele string has become particularly strident--
yes, people are arguing back and forth, but are mostly trying to argue
substantively. I don't agree with much of what Bob Grumman, Martin
Steward, and Jim Carroll have to say on these recent subjects but I
don't think they are idiots or lack integrity or argue in bad faith.
And, not that I accused anyone specific of being a Bardolator, but is
that really an insult? There's a little bit of bardolatry in each of us,
otherwise what are we doing in this conference? But it seems to me that
a statement like "It's impossible for me to believe that Jonson, Heminge
& Condell would have bothered to put together a book of Shakespeare's
plays if they did not believe him to be the sole author" priveleges
"sole author[ship]" in an anachronistic, yea, a Romantic way, and
implies that if the works did not have 100% Shakespearean integrity that
it would not have been worth collecting them at all ["would have
bothered"], and as Brian Vickers points out, seems to be stating it as
an article of Faith ["impossible for me to believe"].  I said I was
"puzzled" by this attitude, and that it was "ALMOST AS IF they
fear<ed>...  disinstegration", and yes, guessed [and implied] that it
might be a romantic need to elevate the Beloved Author to a place where
he is not sullied by association with 'lesser' writers.  If I am wrong
in my analysis, I suppose I must return to merely being puzzled.

I'm afraid I enjoy making rhetorical pronouncements or summings up as
much or more than the "sez who?" style of argument, but let's do some of
that.

Sean Lawrence sez "Really? Does that include Marlowe?" when Brian
VIckers states that "we know that every professional dramatist in this
period took part in collaborative play-writing."    Well, yes, it
includes Marlowe. The title page of Dido Queen of Carthage attributes
the play to Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Nashe. The date and auspices
of this play are problematic and it's been suggested that Nashe merely
fitted up for the boy players or for publication an old or incomplete
play of Marlowe's; but this suggestion is no more probable than the one
that Marlowe and Nashe, who were at Cambridge together and were
associates later, seem to have written a play together. In cases where
it can be determined, two or more names on a title page more often refer
to collaboration in the strict sense, rather than the later rehandling
of one author's work by another.  Next, the printer's preface to
Tamburlaine states that in the staged version of the play, there were
passages of low humor that were ommitted in the printing, and implies
that these were not of Marlowe's composition. Finally, though this
strays into "can you prove that?" territory, many scholars believe that
the comic scenes in Faustus A-text were written not by Marlowe but by a
collaborator. [Nashe or Porter have been suggested as possibilities.]

Jim Carroll wants "convincing evidence" [i.e. evidence that convinces
him] for re-attribution and Bob Grumman "believe[s] stylometric
studies... too primitive to count for much". We may be at a dead end
here. Many respected authorities [e.g. the editors of the Oxford
Shakespeare, and of the recent editions of Dekker, and of Beaumont &
Fletcher, as well as [this is just my impression it is true-- I haven't
done a census] much of the scholarly community accept the worth of
well-done statistico-linguistic analyses [e.g. Hoy's of Beaumont &
Fletcher and their collaborators and revisers].  I myself find the best
of these arguments convincing, though I don't completely agree with
every one of them-- for instance I think that there IS some Greene in
Groatsworth, though much Chettle too. But if someone is simply not
convinced, or has no faith in those kinds of analyses per se, then not
much can be done about it. Absolute proof is not attainable in these
kinds of questions-- nor in most other questions.

Jim Carroll "know[s] that [Shakespeare] collaborated at least once,
because the first two acts of Pericles are clearly not his".  May I
suggest that this is inconsistent with his view of the authorship of
Titus and his demands for convincing Proof?  Pericles was published
during Shakespeare's lifetime with only Shakespeare's name on the title
page. If it is so clear that he did not write the first two acts, how
did the editors of the recent Arden edition get away with rejecting
George Wilkins and attributing the whole play to Shakespeare? I [and
most others] think they're wrong of course; but the division of Pericles
between Shakespeare and probably-Wilkins depends on exactly the same
kinds of impressions, followed by evidence and arguments that have led
to the attribution of Act I of Titus to Peele. Out of curiosity, what
does Jim Carroll [or the other anti-Peelers] think of the supposed
presence of Thomas Middleton in Timon of Athens? or Fletcher in Henry
VIII? These re-attributions are more widely accepted than Peele in
Titus. What is convincing about the argument for Wilkins in Pericles
that fails to work in the argument for Titus? As far as I know, what
happened was that the 'suspicious' parts in both plays didn't seem to
some scholars very much like the work of Shakespeare, and upon closer
examination did seem to resemble the work of another writer, and then
different kinds of evidence were brought to bear and they tended to
point to the same other writer. Ditto for Henry VIII and Timon. The
"years of scholarly apparatus" that assist Jim Carroll in disintegrating
Pericles also exist for Titus, Timon and H8. It's been about 100 years
since Peele was suggested in Titus, about 80 for Middleton in Timon and
something like 130 for Fletcher in H8, and each of them has had multiple
backers. I don't mean to sound flip here [ok, I do] but if the case for
Titus had first been made100 years earlier, then would Jim Carroll be
convinced?

Jim Carroll "doubts very much that there were any intimate associates of
[Beaumont or Fletcher] still alive [in 1647] who would have known for
sure who wrote each work..."  Well, the King's Men as they were then
[for this company's continuity, see Judith Milhous & Robert D. Hume,
"New Light on English Acting Companies in 1646, 1648 and 166O", RES 42
(1991), pp. 487 ff.] signed the dedication of the 1647 B&F folio.
[Bentley, on the same page cited by Jim Carroll, says of this dedication
"This is a striking analogy to an earlier collection of plays from the
repertory of the King's company, the Shakespeare Folio of 1623...."]
These players included John Lowin, Richard Robinson, Joseph Taylor,
Robert Benfield and Thomas Pollard. Lowin [who joined the King's Men in
1603] and Robinson must have acted in virtually every play B&/orF ever
wrote for the King's Men; Taylor was leading man in the Fletcher plays
written 1619<>25; Pollard and Benfield seem to have joined the company
shortly before Taylor. Lowin and Taylor were the company's leaders for
years [and would one supposes have known or remembered who wrote what];
and Taylor, Lowin and Pollard were acting in Fletcher et al.'s Bloody
Brother as late as 1648.  [You'll find all this in your Bentley.] It
wasn't that they were unlikely to know, but that it didn't matter that
much. What was important was that these were 'Fletcher plays'. I can't
find the reference right now, so please forgive my paraphrase, but one
of the Fletcher plays had a prologue or epilogue in which something was
said to the effect that "if  Fletcher wrote but one act, the whole play
rose up written" [Anyone have the specific ref out there?]. Titus [and
Timon and Pericles and 1H6 and H8] ARE Shakespeare plays; that
Shakespeare [as was common] had someone else work with him on these few
does not [necessarily] diminish them. And I don't think Heminge and
Condale would've thought so either.  As to what Bentley thought of the
various B&F collaborators [and re-attribution studies in general], well,
I have enormous respect for Professor Bentley and his work, but he is
not [nor is anyone] the absolute last word on everything. Time has shown
that in the Jacobean and Caroline Stage [published between 1941 and
1968] he was sometimes over-cautious almost to the point of being
reactionary. He heaped scorn on those who suggested the presence of for
example Webster in Middleton's Anything for a Quiet Life; Ford and
Webster in Fletcher's Fair Maid of the Inn; and Ford as sole author of
'Fletcher's' Laws of Candy.  But the latter two were later accepted by
Hoy and Bowers, who were not cranks but were pretty conservative
scholars, and the former is now generally accepted by both Webster and
Middleton scholars.

I agree with Jim Carroll that Fletcher's presence in Henry VIII can't be
regarded as "established fact" because I think so few things can be so
regarded. But I think the case has been made so often, so thoroughly and
so convincingly that for all practical purposes we should regard it as a
Shakespeare-Fletcher collaboration. He cItes R. A. Foakes' Arden edition
of about 40+ years ago as a holdout. But people's minds change-- see
Jonathan Bate's apparent now acceptance of Peele in Titus. I wonder if
Professor Foakes is still skeptical of Fletcher in H8? Years ago I was
indignant that the Revenger's Tragedy was being torn from the Tourneur
canon, but I have long since been convinced that it is beyond question
the work of Middleton. I can't 'prove' it, but I am convinced by the
enormous amount of evidence to the point of [dare I say it] firm belief.

As to Shakespeare being influenced by Peele and/or vice versa, well,
especially with the uncertain dates of the various works involved, it's
true that it's difficult to argue very definitively either way.  But
look at it this way-- why would young Shakespeare imitate or evoke Peele
ONLY in Act 1 and in 4.1? And not write like him in the rest of the
play, but there write in a style that has close connections with other
early WS works? For that matter why would the author[s] of 1 Henry VI
write like Thomas Nashe ONLY in Act 1, when it is apparent from the
Temple Garden scene that someone involved was capable of writing just
like Shakespeare?  As to the much-touted only-Shakespeare-could-do-it
dramatic construction of Act I of Titus, there are so many unknown
quantities in the theatre of the day that I would hesitate to make such
a claim. Just for one, it was said that Marlowe's friend Thomas Watson
"could devise twenty fictions and knaveries in a play, which was his
daily living" and Meres lists him as among the best for tragedy; but all
his English plays have perished [or are unidentified]. Maybe Shakespeare
learned plotting from Watson, and shortly before his death in 1592
Watson plotted out Titus, and James Burbage had Peele and Shakespeare
write it up for Strange's men. VERY speculative; but no more or less
provable than the statement that only Shakespeare among playwrights
c1592 could plot like that.  Even without the ghost of Watson, as I
pointed out before, Brian Vickers' has suggested that Shakespeare
[perhaps with Peele] did plot out Titus, and then gave Peele part of the
play to write.  Again unproveable, but it's not at all implausible, and
would dispose of the 'only Shakespeare could've written it because only
Shakespeare could've plotted it' business.

Well, I hope I haven't been overly vigorous in my arguing. I don't agree
with everything in Brian Vickers' book. Not all of the evidence he cites
is equally convincing, and I have some reservations about methodology at
a few points. His book aside, I am sceptical or not completely convinced
of some attribution or re-attribution arguments for various works made
by other scholars. But I find the arguments and evidence deployed for
Peele in Titus to be convincing, as well as for Nashe in 1H6, Middleton
in Timon, Fletcher in H8 and, along with Jim Carroll, Wilkins in
Pericles.

Regards,
Bill Lloyd

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 11:36:46 +0000
Subject:        King John et al

The artillery exchanges over King John, Titus and Peele are creating
enough flash and smoke to make picking out the hits from the misses a
difficult task. But what of that? My eye was caught by a quote, "as HE
(sic) conceived them". Well, bit of a poser "conceived". But what, also,
of that?

Two truths are told as happy prologues to the swelling act:

First, the blind biased bastard wearing black is always right. Even when
he's wrong.

Second, obits written by friends are always right. Even when they are
ambiguous.

To provide an example. When I die my friends may possibly write, "He was
always the first to acknowledge that it was his shout". But that does
not necessarily mean that daylight fell upon the inside of my wallet.
And, to select from many, Heminge and his lad didn't really want the
punters weighed, it was just a kindly little joke.

Best,
Graham Hall

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