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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: King John, Titus, Peele 1
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1003  Thursday, 22 May 2003

[1]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 17:54:14 +0000
        Subj:   But soft, who comes here?

[2]     From:   Roger Parisious <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 13:56:52 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 21:02:36 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[4]     From:   Jim Carroll <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 May 2003 00:10:35 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0994 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 17:54:14 +0000
Subject:        But soft, who comes here?

Gabriel Egan raises an interesting point about the closeness of the
variety of locution in usage for permissive entry SDs. The provenance of
many of the hundreds available for scrutiny is as shaky as some of the
Renoirs sold at our Saturday market every week and every bit as

The statistical argument cuts both ways and a singular example,
notwithstanding its uniqueness, can be extrapolated beyond safe
conjecture (shades of the mighty Greg!) or be the strongest attribution
pointer that exists. Dessen and Thomson's Dictionary of Stage Directions
is worth a glance for a rapid overall picture.

Looking at linking dialogue cues and entry SDs is a worthwhile pursuit
to progress the campaign. A little phrase - "the tagged entrance cue
became a Shakespearean commonplace" - in an article by the late J L
Styan in Around the Globe Issue 24 which arrived in the post this
morning brought this to mind again.

Graham Hall

From:           Roger Parisious <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 13:56:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

I am delighted to see Brian Vickers praise "the outstanding scholarship
of E.H.C. Oliphant" upon whom Bentley-and let it be added Sam
Schoenbaum-"poured undeserved scorn". Oliphant's long labor with the
Beaumont and Fletcher Canon made him receptive to the many similar
problems in the Shakespeare Canon. In the latter case Oliphant notably
followed the lead of amateur William Wells(who first discovered the hand
of Middleton in "Timon of Athens") and found both a Marlowe underlay and
Beaumont overlay in "Julius Caesar".

The earliest posthumous reference to a professional Elizabethan
playwright as collaborator,or alternative creator, of a work included in
the l623 Shakespeare Canon appears to be Thomas Fuller on Sir John
Fastolfe in "Worthies of England"." It is easily known out of what purse
this black penny came." The allusion to Tom Nashe's "Pierce Penniless"
seems patent. (Chambers, l930, cites this without comment.)

As Brian Vickers is, with good reason, inclined to find Nashe in "Henry
VI", perhaps he might consider the seventeenth century attribution to
Nashe in "Henry IV".Nashe himself has some interesting l593 references
to the "old lad of the castle" which I will try to dig out one of these

As to the objection that there are no recorded complaints about Heminge
and Condell including the work of co-authors, why should there be? If
the "Thomas More" manuscript is a Lord Chamberlain's property, as
Vickers at least appears to believe, how did their practice differ from
the habitual practice at the Rose during the same period? Who protested
about Thomas Heywood's hand(according to his own words) in over two
hundred productions?

To this writer's immediate recollection, the only contemporary protests
about professional dramatic misappropriation were R.B. on behalf of
Robert Greene, Sir George Buc on behalf of Charles Tylney, William
Shakespeare to Buc in respect to the authorship of "George-a-Green" and
possibly Robert Greene in the "Groatsworth".

Roger Parisious

From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 21:02:36 -0300
Subject: 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0974 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

Hi all,

Thanks to everyone who pointed out evidence of Marlovian collaboration.
The title page of Dido is clearly the strongest piece of evidence,
though, as Bob Grumman pointed out, having two authors doesn't
automatically prove collaboration in the sense that it's normally used,
at least in other fields.  I don't think we'd say that Guillaume de
Lorris and Jean de Meun collaborated on the Romance of the Rose, since
they weren't working on it at the same time.

The other evidence, though, doesn't seem much stronger than it does for
most works by Shakespeare.  If we're so inclined, we could certainly
find traces of other hands, but why would we?  Writers can change their
styles, even imitating the styles of other writers.

I suppose that what I'm saying is that the evidence depends heavily on
what you want to find, and that it isn't possible to prove a solid
thesis in these sorts of attribution studies.  In which case, one would
think that such theses would be advanced quite modestly, perhaps written
entirely in the conditional, instead of becoming dogmas, contradiction
to which can only be explained by character flaws in the critic (e.g.,
He's too romantic, too much of a bardolater, etc.).


From:           Jim Carroll <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 May 2003 00:10:35 EDT
Subject: 14.0994 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0994 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

Bill Lloyd <
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 > on Sunday, 18 May 2003 16:34:33 EDT wrote:

>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'm interested in the facts of history, and also how we determine facts
in the particular case of attribution studies. I want to see a logical
methodology applied, but I'm afraid I don't see that in Vickers
treatment of the Titus/Peele issue, and I've already given several
examples of what I mean in my previous posts here. I don't believe that
Heminge and Condell would have bothered to collect in one place plays
that were not his, not because of some anachronistic idea related to
bardolatry, but because they were his personal friends, were involved
with him in the theatre for many years, and would have no reason to go
to the effort of obtaining a play and editing it for inclusion in the
folio if they knew that the authorship of the play was not entirely

>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 accept the worth of good attribution studies too. But many attribution
studies are incomplete, or frankly sometimes specious.

>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?

I never asked for convincing proof. I asked for convincing EVIDENCE.  I
can see, just by reading the play, that a different writer is at work in
the first two acts of Pericles. I can't tell who the first writer is,
but I can see that it's not Shakespeare, and that the writer of the last
three acts does appear to be Shakespeare, and it wasn't included in the
first folio, so I don't have to do any rationalizing gymnastics to
convince myself that the play was written by two writers. I could write
a paper, I suppose, on my reasons, if I thought the question were
interesting enough, but as far as I'm concerned, someone is going to
have to come up with some extraordinary evidence to convince me that the
first two acts of Pericles are by Shakespeare.

But the first act of Titus seems to be entirely from Shakespeare's mind
when I read it, it is nothing like Peele's plays, and it was included in
the folio, and Vickers has nothing that convinces me that it was written
by Peele. In this case the issue for me is the opposite of the case of
Pericles; someone is going to have to provide some extraordinary
evidence for me to believe that it was written by Peele.

>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.

I doubt that very much, since Acts 1 and 2 of Pericles don't seem to be
very much like Shakespeare, while Act 1 of Titus seems to be very much
like Shakespeare.

>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?

I don't believe that the first two acts of Pericles are by Wilkins. I
just believe that they are not by Shakespeare. What I need to see first
is my own recognition of a different hand other than Shakespeare in a
play. If I don't see that, I don't try to attribute anything to another
writer in the first place.

>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

No, because I don't see any Peele in Titus. What I said was: "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." Notice that I said that we feel comfortable attributing
parts of TNK and Pericles to Shakespeare, not parts to other writers.

>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 all find this in your Bentley.]

Quite right, and I should have checked the biographical info on those
names, which I saw signed some of the front matter for the 1647 folio. I
still don't believe that they had the special relationship that Heminge
and Condell had with Shakespeare, and so I have to wonder how closely
Moseley inquired into the issue of authorship. Moseley himself makes two
statements in the front matter to the 1647 folio. He says "I had the
originals from such as received them from the authors themselves" Who
these people were and what they knew about the provenance of the plays
is unknown for sure. Later he says "...and though another joined with me
in the purchase and printing, yet the care and pains was wholly mine,
which I found to be more than you'll easily imagine, unless you knew
into how many hands the originals were dispersed:" It should be noted
that in 1660, Moseley entered into the Stationer's Register three plays
as by Shakespeare, "Duke Humphrey", "The History of King Stephen", and
"Iphis and Iantha". Moseley was in the business of publishing, and his
relationship to the plays that he published was quite different from
that of the relationship of Heminge and Condell, who were not
professional publishers, but personal friends of Shakespeare's.

As an interesting side note, here is what Moseley said about Fletcher in
the same piece ("The Stationer to the Readers"): "Whatever I have seen
of Master Fletcher's own hand is free from interlining; and his friends
affirm he never writ any one thing twice: it seems he had that rare
felicity to prepare and perfect all first in his own brain; to shape and
attire his notions, to add or lop off, before he committed one word to
writing, and never touched pen till all was to stand as firm and
immutable as if engraven in brass or marble."

So Shakespeare wasn't the only victim of his publisher's hyperbole.

>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?

If he is imitating or evoking Peele in the first place. The presence of
repetition in Act 1 is hardly convincing, since it occurs frequently in
Shakespeare's early plays. And why does he invoke Marlowe so strongly
only in the opening speech by Aaron in 2.1? Vickers believes that 2.1
and 2.2 are also by Peele, so aren't there Peeleism's there too?

>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?

But is this true to begin with? Jackson at one point believed that the
play was separated by time, not by authors, that Act 1, 2.1, and 4.1
(labeled together as "Part A") were written earlier and the rest later,
or revised later. Metz quotes him in his 1996 book on Titus:

"[Jackson] does not reject outright the possibility that Peele wrote
part A,  but notes that the division of the play into two parts 'is not
sharply defined...The possibility remains...that the two strata in Titus
are both Shakespearean and belong to the same period but that
Shakespeare consciously treated different material in different ways or
that his imagination was more deeply engaged in the writing of some
parts of the play than the writing of others.'"

>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?

Henry VI is another issue entirely, but Shakespeare borrowed from Nash
throughout his career. And it is not a fact that Act 1 of H6 was written
by someone else. The number of authors proposed for that act should make
apparent how weak the case is for alternative authorship of that play.
In Baker's essay on Titus for the Riverside, he says

"The fact that different parts of 1 Henry VI seem to draw on different
works-for example, the Joan of Arc material in I.ii and V.iv from the
second (1587) edition of Holinshed and certain details about the unruly
servingmen in I.iii and and III.i from Richard Fabyan's chronicle (1559
ed.) - has been advanced as proof that several writers were involved;
but it is easier to assume that here as elsewhere Shakespeare consulted
various books and took from each what he most liked or needed."

>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.

It sure would, if it weren't just speculation. Why not just give us an
example of a play not by Shakespeare from the early 1590's  that is like
Shakespeare's? In any case, we are not talking about other authors, but
specifically Peele, and Act 1 of Titus is nothing like any play by

>[snip] and, along with Jim Carroll, Wilkins in Pericles.

I don't believe that Wilkins wrote part of Pericles!

Brian Vickers <
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 > wrote on Monday, 19 May

>In reply to Jim Carroll: he is still relying on outdated and partisan
>sources. G. E. Bentley, for all his vast knowledge, was notoriously
>hostile to any suggestion of co-authorship, pouring undeserved scorn on
>the outstanding scholarship of E. H. C. Oliphant's 1927 book on the
>Beaumont and Fletcher canon.

Your strangely inconsistent statements are almost awe-inspiring in their
un-self-awareness. How is it that my use of a 1996 book by Metz is bad
but your reliance on a 1927 book is not? Or, as I pointed out before,
your use of Timberlake's 1931 book or T.W. Baldwin? And how is it that
my sources are "partisan"?  I think that means that they don't agree
with you. How is it any more partisan than your own "notoriously
hostile" comments about Donald Foster in your book on the Elegy? ("It
was extremely disingenuous of Donald Foster...."("'Counterfeiting'
Shakespeare, p69), "Foster was also strangely ignorant...."(p71),
Foster's "...remarkably crude terms...."(p87), "...Foster's evidence was
feeble, and...he distorted the argument." (p101),"...Foster's argument
was desperately weak,..." (p106), "Once again [Foster] proved himself
ignorant of the large secondary literature...."(p205), "The tone of
Foster's attack, once again, was ad hominem and condescending...."(p452)
and on and on and on....). Or your own partisan comment in this post I'm
responding to, where you denigrate Sean Lawrence because he said
something favorable about the funeral elegy at one time? Is the
authorship of the elegy now an established fact because you've written a
book about it? Are you immune from charges of disingenuousness?

>That 'Bentley believed [that word again! It
>has a dying fall] that there were only three co-authors' is now
>irrelevant. Oliphant's conclusions were validated and extended by Cyrus
>Hoy in a famous series of articles in Studies in Bibliography between
>1956 and 1962.

Outdated all! And opinions, not facts, anyway.

> Work by at least 11 dramatists survive in the 1647 Folio:
>Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger, Field, Jonson, Middleton, Rowley, Ford,
>Shirley, Webster, and Shakespeare.

And Bentley agrees with most of those. Who is being disingenuous now?

>Similarly, Carroll relies on Frank Hook (not Hooks)

You missed the three or four other typos in my last post. I'll try to
make sure there are some in each of my posts, because I know how good it
makes you feel to use the word "sic".

> in his 1961 edition
>of Peele's Edward I for  the claim that its parallels with Marlowe's
>Edward II are due to Peele's borrowing from Marlowe, Several scholars
>have argued that the debt is actually Marlowe's: see Charles Forker's
>outstanding Revels Edition of Edward II (1994), pp. 14-17.

Being disingenuous again? I didn't claim that the parallels with Marlowe
were due to Peele borrowing from Marlowe. I said "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." At this point in time, without any external
evidence, no one knows who did the borrowing.

>As for Harold Metz's book on Titus Andronicus, several reviewers
>expressed disappointment with it on publication, and no serious
>attribution scholar has anything favourable to say about it.

None? Nowhere? I find that hard to believe, it's an excellent summary of
the case. He cites, among others, Sisson, Brooke, Oppel, Barnet,
Schoenbaum, Bevington, Wells and Schlosser as agreeing that Titus is
entirely Shakespeare's.

>I have
>drawn attention (Shakespeare, Co-Author, pp. 106-7) to Metz's naive
>endorsement of A. Q. Morton's now discredited stylometric work,

Discredited? Entirely? By whom?

>claimed that the probability of Peele's involvement was 'less than one
>in ten thousand million'. This claim was (equally naively) endorsed by
>Jonathan Bate in his Arden 3 edition (1995), but Bate has publicly
>recanted and conceded that Act I is certainly by Peele (TLS, 23 April
>2003). I hope that, on further reflection, he'll admit that the same
>evidence implies that 2.1, 2.2, and 4.1 should also be assigned to

One down, a few hundred more to go. You'll be there in no time.

>Carroll has contributed several long postings to this discussion, but he
>has significantly failed to report any of the linguistic and
>dramaturgical evidence I have brought together which points to Peele's

What?! I certainly have reported the failings of several of your
examples. To refute everything in your book would take another book at
least twice as long.

>I can't summarize here the dozens of close verbal
>parallels between Peele's scenes and his other plays and poems; the
>amazingly detailed metrical analyses by Parrott, Timberlake, and
>Tarlinskaja; the rhetorical analyses by R. F. Hill, Stefan Keller, and
>myself; nor the grammatical analyses by Maxwell and myself.

That's right, and I can't summarize here the analyses by twenty or
thirty others who believe that Titus was written by Shakespeare, such as
Slater, Mincoff, Sisson etc.

>I'll just
>mention four items, starting with MacDonald Jackson's demonstration
>(Studies in Bibliography, vol. 49, 1996) 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).

Good, I was going to get to this one. First of all, you've quoted the
line from Titus incorrectly, it's "...and others as many as CAN be.". In
Peele's play the stage direction is "...& others as many as MAY be."
Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew has the stage direction "Exeunt
Biondello, Tranio, and Pedant as fast as may be", (after 5.1.111) and
The Comedy of Errors has "Exeunt omnes as fast as may be, frighted".
Note that both of these are early plays, like Titus. Does this mean that
TofS and CofE are by Peele? The construction "as [ ] as may be" is
to all three. That construction, as well as "as [ ] as can be" can be
found throughout Shakespeare's plays and even in Venus and Adonis, where
you can find "as much as may be proved" (608), and in Titus itself, in
the portion you attribute to Shakespeare, is the phrase "as fit as can
be to serve" (4.3.95).

Shakespeare's stage directions are usually pretty simple, and the stage
directions written into his portion of Sir Thomas More merely say
"Enter" followed by a name or names. Is it possible that the stage
directions in some plays were added by a prompter or some other person
associated with the actual performance of the play? The Riverside
edition comes to the opposite conclusion in the textual notes, that the
confusions of the stage directions and speech-prefixes are indicative of
the author's "foul papers". It seems to me that given the frequency of
the "as [ ] as may/can be" construction in Shakespeare, it's just as
likely that Peele got it from him.

I'll deal with the rest of your post later.

Jim Carroll

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