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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: King John, Titus, Peele
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1020  Saturday, 31 May 2003

[1]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Friday, 23 May 2003 13:55:16 +0000
        Subj:   Purple the mails.

[2]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Friday, 23 May 2003 21:50:07 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[3]     From:   Ward Elliott <
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        Date:   Sunday, 25 May 2003 23:55:01 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[4]     From:   Brian Vickers <
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        Date:   Monday, 26 May 2003 14:54:28 +0200
        Subj:   SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[5]     From:   Jonathan Hope <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 May 2003 11:56:03 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

[6]     From:   Roger Parisious <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 May 2003 13:59:57 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: King John,Titus, Peele and Julius Caesar


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Friday, 23 May 2003 13:55:16 +0000
Subject:        Purple the mails.

From Bill Lloyd 22 May 14.1003 writing:

[...]Graham Hall and others are correct that the sample size and its
margin of error, and the very nature of these arguments and evidence
admit of no certainty. So does that mean that we should not ask the
questions and make the arguments?[...]

No. Questions and arguments are fine if balanced within fact. At best
they should stand alone if they have no support. My purple font says
further that they should not be substantiated by the holy trinity of
conjecture, speculation and extrapolation wrapped up in error and spiced
with intolerance of other opinions. That is the delirious road to
tedium.  The flower of progressive enquiry is strangled by the weed of
indulging such approaches. I do not level these charges at this
particular thread - although they may apply. However, if you seek such a
monument see SHAKSPER passim.

Best,
Graham Hall.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Friday, 23 May 2003 21:50:07 EDT
Subject: 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

A correction: my apologies to the Arden Pericles and its editor. It is
the New Cambridge Pericles of a few years ago that dismisses the
arguments for a non-Shakespearean Acts 1 & 2 and attributes the whole
play to Shakespeare alone.

Bill Lloyd

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ward Elliott <
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Date:           Sunday, 25 May 2003 23:55:01 -0700
Subject: 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

Sean Lawrence cautions us that basing statistical profiles on
Shakespeare's known single-authored "core" plays is circular, showing
only that "some Shakespeare plays are different from others, which is
not very surprising."  He also cautions us against using stock-picking
software, which is likewise tested against known past historical data,
and therefore circular, and of no use in predicting the future.  He
further cautions us against drawing generalities from historical data on
the Canadian men's ice hockey team, which didn't win a single gold medal
between 1952 and 2002.  "If we turned losing into a test of whether the
players were really Canadian ... we would be forced to conclude that the
winning [Canadian] team in 2002 must have been recent immigrants or
carrying fake passports...."   He concludes with an admonition to "keep
your stick on the ice," which we take it must mean that we should either
pay attention to the game, avoid fouls (high-sticking), or both.

We believe that statistical evidence is no more circular than any other
kind of evidence, and that we are much better with it than without it.
For us the issue is not so much what the past has to say about the
future as what the known past has to say about the unknown past.  Our
studies showed that Shakespeare's known core plays, without exception,
fit within profiles tight enough to say "could be" to Shakespeare and,
with a long list of proper cautions, "couldn't be by a long shot" to
every play known to be by other authors.  Most of the Shakespeare
Dubitanda plays fall far outside of our core Shakespeare range.
Statistically, they look much more like plays by other authors than like
plays by Shakespeare, and they seem to us, again subject to a list of
cautions, wildly unlikely candidates for solo Shakespeare ascriptions.

What if our baseline of 32 core Shakespeare plays were incomplete?  What
if a quarto of "Love's Labor's Won" showed up and we wanted to know
whether it was really Shakespeare's?  It's possible, though tedious, to
make an informed guess by retroactively segregating a play or plays
already tested from our known baseline, comparing it to profiles based
on the remaining plays, and seeing whether it fits.  We experimented
with this when writing "Smoking Guns and Silver Bullets: Could John Ford
Have Written the Funeral Elegy?" Literary and Linguistic Computing, 16:
205, 209 (2001), Bottom line:  Shakespeare's poem profiles, with a
45,000-word  baseline in one genre, are almost identical with his play
profiles, with a baseline of 600,000 words in another genre.  If you
subtracted an average Shakespeare play (we used Julius Caesar) and
tested it against the remaining core Shakespeare plays, the profiles
would be exactly the same and Julius Caesar would be an easy Shakespeare
"could-be."  If you subtracted Hamlet, the only full-length Shakespeare
play with three Shakespeare rejections, it would fall outside the old
profiles, but not by much.  You could easily allow for another
undiscovered Hamlet by adding a small (5%) safety margin and a looser
cutoff standard (say, 4 rejections, instead of 3) for Shakespeare
"could-be's."  That would give a play like Hamlet a deserved pass, with
only minor changes in Shakespeare ranges and cutoffs.  It would still
reject, by a long shot, every other play of known or unknown authorship
in our archive and would also decisively reject most play-length
passages in the Dubitanda.

We're still working on our play data, and do not claim to have said the
last word on Shakespeare ascriptions.  On the other hand, we do consider
some ascriptions much firmer than others, often by astronomical ratios,
and we see three good reasons to put ours, for now, on the firmer side:
redundant rejections, absence of gross mismatches with external
evidence, and resilience under strong adversary criticism.  Let's look
at these one by one.

Redundant rejections:  Some of our individual rejections may be close,
but none of the composite rejection totals for what we think is
non-Shakespeare is anywhere near the Shakespeare ballpark, or the even
the Shakespeare county.  Most of it is mathematically on another
continent, or another planet or galaxy.  With such an overflow of firm
rejections, half our tests could be wrong, and the outcome would be
essentially the same: most of the other-authored and anonymous plays
would still be far outside the ballpark.

Mismatches with external evidence:  Some of our ascriptions may be
controversial -- for example, we don't think the Funeral Elegy is
Shakespeare's by a long shot - but they are, or were, controversial with
others, too, and there have been plenty of Shakespeare regulars, like
Brian Vickers, and, now, Don Foster and Rick Abrams, who have arrived at
the same conclusions based on different, more conventional evidence.  If
our tests had said, say, that Julius Caesar was far outside the
Shakespeare ballpark and Tamerlane well within it, it might be a problem
for us.  But they didn't, and it's not.

Finally, there is resilience under strong adversary criticism: We've
certainly gotten it, especially from Don Foster, who once deeply
deplored both our Elegy ascription and the methodology we used to arrive
at it.  He dropped tons of bunker busters on us.  But, when the dust
settled, our bunker hadn't busted at all, in fact, was barely
scratched.  Then, a year ago, after years of sharp dismissal, and with
no direct mention of our work, he finally conceded that our (and several
more famous others') published Elegy ascription, to Ford, not
Shakespeare, was right.  As far as we know, he still doesn't approve of
our methods, but we can't help feeling better about them for having
easily withstood so much bunker-busting criticism from an authorship
blackbelt, and for having arrived at the correct results where his
supposedly superior methods did not.  For details on this controversy,
see our "So Much Hardball, So Little of it Over the Plate,"
http://govt.claremontmckenna.edu/hardball.htm.

What about the hockey analogy?  We don't claim to be hockey experts any
more than we claim to be Shakespeare experts, but we like sports imagery
too, and we draw a different and opposite lesson from it than Mr.
Lawrence does. It's true that you can get silly conclusions from silly
premises, with statistical evidence, just as you can without it, but we
don't see how that precludes drawing non-silly statistical conclusions
from non-silly premises.  Surely not even Mr. Lawrence believes that
Canada's 50-year dry spell in the Olympics means that Canadians couldn't
skate in those years.   More likely it means that they could skate so
well that their best skaters were all pros in the NHL and couldn't
compete at all in the Olympics till 1998.  Since then, Team Canada has
been a Dream Team of superstar pros. In 1998, though heavily favored,
they suffered some injuries and lost by one point on a shootout to the
gold-winning Czech Republic in the semifinals.  In 2002 they beat the
rest of the world's pros handily and broke the gold drought.

Suppose we took a more authorship-related hockey hypothetical.  Three
teams, the Flyers, the Oilers, and the Devils, are playing each other in
generic jerseys and masks.  You've got a US$20 bet with your friends
that you can guess which team is which, based solely on their style of
play.  In Game One, Team A starts four fights and has four times as many
penalties as Team B, which does its best to avoid fights.  In Game Two,
team B forechecks aggressively throughout the game, flaunting its
players' skill and speed, while Team C plays a cautious, stifling,
boring neutral-zone trap again and again.   Before you guessed which
team was which, would you want to hear from your statistician whether
fights and penalties are more typical of the Flyers' style than of the
Oilers'?   Or that the Oilers routinely and aggressively use the
old-style double-forecheck while the Devils slavishly use the trap?  Or
would you ignore the stats because they are "circular" and limited to
known historical data which might not predict the future?  We would want
to see the data, if accuracy were a serious concern, and we believe it
would greatly improve our odds of guessing correctly that Team A was the
Flyers, B the Oilers, and C the Devils.

Most people with a financial stake in guessing right, such as coaches
and general managers, would agree with us in spades: if you want to play
the odds and win, you had better check the stats.  Would we even have a
neutral-zone trap today, were it not for some statisticians, probably
Canadian, who took the time to gather and analyze data and calculate
precisely its risk-discounted costs and benefits relative to those of
other strategies?  We further note that it's not the fast, skilful,
heart-stirring, old-style Oilers who are going to the Stanley Cup
finals, nor yet the goon-squad Flyers from the City of Brotherly Love,
but the stolid, uninspiring, predictably defensive Devils, who have gone
through the season and the playoffs with their nose in the stat book and
will be competing with the Mighty Ducks in the finals, another stat-book
defensive team which has likewise beaten better talent with a better
understanding of how to calculate the odds and play them to win.

Ever since manufacturer Walter Camp, head of the New Haven Clock
Company, introduced statistical productivity analysis to the Yale
football team in the 1870's, and lost to Harvard only three times in the
succeeding 32 years,  successful coaches have recognized that statistics
are often the best, and sometimes the only way to guess the unknown from
the known. Today no one relies on statistics more fervently than people
who make their livelihood with sports-unless it's people who make their
livelihood on the stock market.  Their players may or may not keep their
stick on the ice, depending on what the stats say about the costs and
benefits of high-sticking, but keeping their eye on the puck is the real
name of the game, and statistics give them, as they give us, a much
sharper way of doing it.  Anyone interested in testing authorship from
internal evidence should learn from their example.

Ward Elliott

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http://govt.claremontmckenna.edu/welliott/index.htm

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Vickers <
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Date:           Monday, 26 May 2003 14:54:28 +0200
Subject: Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

The more Jim Carroll writes, the larger appear the holes in his
position.  He can see, apparently, just by looking at Pericles, that the
first two Acts aren't by Shakespeare, but he can't see that at least
four scenes of Titus are by Peele. How can his readerly knowledge of
Shakespeare work in the first case and not in the second? We all rely on
our reading experience, built up over a period of time, so it's strange
that his can function properly in the one case and defectively in the
other. What are his reasons? 'Act I of Titus is nothing like any play by
Peele'. Such a categorical dismissal hardly bodes well for a scholarly
debate. In fact, it resembles Edward I, The Battle of Alcazar, David and
Bethsabe, and The Troublesome Reign of King John-which is also by
Peele-in dozens of ways. The collective body of scholarship I have drawn
together and extended shows this at every linguistic or dramaturgical
level that can be analysed.

I know that some contributors to this debate may object that we can't
have certainty in literary attribution debates. But I think that careful
studies can reach a very high level of probability. Mac Jackson's
forthcoming book on Pericles (O.U.P.) will establish Wilkins as a
co-author beyond reasonable doubt. Mr. Carroll keeps quoting my postings
and interspersing them [email makes this polemical trick all too easy]
with angry comments like 'this is just your opinion'. To get beyond the
polemics, my judgments are based on many years' work, and the evaluation
of dozens of scholarly discussions. They have been arrived at slowly,
and, as I mentioned in my last posting, from a sceptical position-I
didn't believe some of the claims made for co-authorship in the Oxford
Textual Companion when I first reviewed it, as you can see from my
notice in Review of English Studies, 40 (1989): 402-11. I have since
come to eat my words, and to see that Gary Taylor and his collaborators
were right (on some things), and that I was wrong. Only, I'm not just
echoing someone else's 'opinion': I've made my own research, on a far
wider basis than theirs.

I have never claimed that attribution studies were 'scientific', and I
can understand that someone might find that 'alien to our discipline'.
But of course scientific arguments, like those in the humanities, are
based on observation, collecting data, and interpreting it. In both
areas, conclusions are subject to change, if more careful observations
are made, more comprehensive data are collected, and more cogent
interpretations are offered. In these respects, I argue, Mr. Carroll,
for whom the world consists or either 'facts' or 'opinions', is clinging
to a conviction that Shakespeare alone wrote Titus, the evidential
support for which was shaken when T. M. Parrott published the first
empirical study of the play's versification in 1919, which showed
striking anomalies of style, an observation confirmed by the more
careful observation and analysis made by P. W. Timberlake in 1932. No
one who has really performed a study of this matter since then has
disproved these findings-indeed, the later techniques of metrical
analysis devised by Ants Oras and Marina Tarlinskaja have confirmed
them. These differences cannot be explained away, nor can the other
tests which have decisively disproved Shakespeare's sole authorship. If
a series of 20 different tests, made at different periods by different
scholars, some of whom-as I have shown-were completely unaware of the
work of their predecessors, all point to the same result- that Peele
wrote Act I of Titus, together with 2.1, 2.2, and 4.1 -- isn't this
rather remarkable? Mr. Carroll may cling to his beliefs and convictions
as stubbornly as he likes, but he has no reliable evidence for them, and
he does not give a fair and balanced account of the counter-arguments.

To give one illustration, the repetition in Peele's section of the
play.  Carroll dismisses this stylistic marker as 'hardly convincing,
since it occurs frequently in Shakespeare's early plays', and he pours
scorn on Brian Boyd's essay, of which he gives a very unfair account
(Boyd can look after himself). But Carroll then goes on to compare the
opening act in Titus with some speeches in Richard III (Act 4).
Unfortunately, Carroll runs together nine speeches from the Folio text
into one sequence, obscuring the relationships between the three
speakers, printing Queen Margaret's asides as if they occurred on the
same level as the dialogue between the Duchess of York and her mother.
In this way he destroys the whole point of the scene's linguistic and
dramatic structure, in which the sardonic asides catch up the other
speakers' words and return them with interest, a process which climaxes
when Margaret steps forward and claims that her woes exceed those of the
other two wailing Queens. The repetition here, then, is historically
(ie. in history) and contextually justified.  Secondly, the fact that
she is related to the other actors in this story (widow of Henry VI,
mother of Prince Edward) means that the men's names are legitimately
repeated since they figure in multiple relationships, as son/husband
(also the British nobility were never very inventive when naming their
sons). Thirdly, the-quite unique! -- fact that what they have in common
is that they were all killed by Richard III means that his name may be
legitimately repeated, as the source of all their evils.

In other words, the repetitions in this sequence are meaningful, being
intended by the speakers, and carry a great weight of feeling. For this
reason, and because rhetoric was traditionally the means of representing
and arousing the feelings, Shakespeare also casts them in the form of
rhetorical figures, using parison (corresponding syntactic structure),
anaphora (lines beginning with the same word), and epistrophe (lines
ending so). In fact, this is the single most dense sequence of rhetoric
in the whole of Shakespeare: the 539 lines of this scene contain no less
than 811 rhetorical figures. (See my review of John Jowett's edition of
Richard III in Review of English Studies, Vol. 54 (2003): 242-6). For
all these reasons, then, this is a wholly unsuitable excerpt to choose
for comparative purposes.

Holger Schott, who apparently relies on Mr. Carroll's account of these
matters, thinks that Peele's use of repetition might be defended as 'a
dramatically effective and meaningful device', without actually quoting
anything from Titus. Well, compare that marvellous sequence from Richard
III (preferably in the original, not in Carroll's botched-up version)
with John Dover Wilson's demonstration (in 1948) that in Act I of Titus
'all the characters speak with the same voice, frame their sentences
after similar patterns, and even borrow words and phrases from each
other. Almost every speech, for instance, during the first half of the
act, i. e. for some 240 lines, begins with a vocative and continues with
a verb in the imperative mood. Saturninus opens the play with

     Noble patricians. Patrons of my right.

And when Bassianus follows on, seven lines later, like this:

     Romans, friends, followers, favourers of my right,

he seems an auctioneer, outbidding his rival by one alliterative word.
The speech he then delivers is, moreover, a bag of tricks, some of which
are used several times in other parts of the act' (New Cambridge ed., p.
xxvii).The words "of my right", for instance, are repeated from line 1,
and the word "right" recurs as a terminal word on no less than three
subsequent occasions, at ll. 41, 56, 279. The lines of Bassianus vowing
to

                         consecrate
     To justice, continence and nobility (1.1.14-15)

are echoed in idiom and structure shortly afterwards, in lines given to
Titus:

                              consecrate
     My sword, my chariot, and my prisoners (1.1.248-9)

The most striking repetition, Wilson observed, involved a speech by
Bassianus earlier in the scene, where he begins with a vocative
referring to himself (a stylistic tic of Peele's, used-I think-with far
greater frequency than any other Elizabethan dramatist):

     If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son
     Were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome,
     Keep then this passage to the Capitol ...
     And, Romans, fight for freedom in your choice. (1.1.10-17)

At lines 428-31 'Tamora in a briefer speech reproduces the very
structure of Bassianus' nine lines and in part his words, even
concluding, as he does, with a line commencing "And", and reiterating
the vocative with which the speech opens':

     My worthy lord, if ever Tamora
     Were gracious in those princely eyes of thine,
     Then hear me speak indifferently for all;
     And at my suit, sweet, pardon what is past.

As Wilson rightly observed, 'Once we begin noting the echoes and
repetitions in Act 1, there is no end to them. For a sample: the words
"gracious" and "return" become obsessions, and are used half a dozen
times or more in the first 170 lines; "in arms" or "with arms" occurs at
the end of ll. 2, 30, 32, 38 and 196; the Goths are three times
described as having been "yoked" by Titus (ll. 30, 69, 111), and his
sons twice as "alive and dead" (ll. 81, 123); "appeasing" the "shadows"
of the dead is also twice spoken of (ll. 100, 126); and the tomb to
which they are consigned is called "sweet cell of virtue" in l. 93 and
"virtue's nest" in l. 376. Among other recurrences are three lines (ll.
294, 300, 344) beginning "Nor thou nor he", "Nor her nor thee", "Nor
thou, nor these" respectively; the odd word "re-salute" (ll. 75, 326)
which is not found elsewhere in the canon; echoes like "live in fame"
(l. 158), "sleep in fame" (l. 173), "lives in fame" (l. 390), and
"repose in fame" (l. 353); a strained use of "humbled" (ll. 51, 252,
472). In a word, Act 1, the product of a mind working mechanically, is a
tissue of cliches in metre, sentence structure and phrasing'
(xxviii-ix). All these limitations can be found throughout Peele's
writing.

Wilson was the first to document the density of self-repetition found in
Act 1 of this play, and both MacDonald Jackson and Brian Boyd in the
1990s extended his analysis. Anyone interested should please refer to
their essays, and not rely on Mr. Carroll's account of them.
Shakespeare's repetitions are functional, on many different levels.
Peele's are dysfunctional, just uninventive writing.

In the world of literary theory in recent times it's no longer cool to
argue that anything is actually so, for since there are no absolute
criteria (so the reason goes) then there are no criteria at all. In
Shakespeare scholarship, I would hope, theories will be accepted,
rejected, or modified by reference to such criteria as completeness,
accuracy, and coherence of argument. I submit that Mr. Carroll's belief
in Shakespeare's sole authorship of Titus fails to engage seriously with
all the evidence pointing to the presence of Peele as co-author. Let the
reader judge- once she's evaluated the evidence.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 May 2003 11:56:03 +0100
Subject: 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1013 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

It's a relatively minor point, but I've noticed in a couple of posts on
this thread statements to the effect that 'the recent Arden editors of
Pericles see it as all by Shakespeare' .  I presume this is a slip for
'the recent New Cambridge editors of Pericles'.

It would be unfair of us to lay the blame for probably the worst modern
edition of a Shakespeare play at the door of Arden, or Suzanne Gosset,
who is about to publish her Arden 3 edition of that play any day now.

Jonathan Hope
Strathclyde University, Glasgow

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Parisious <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 May 2003 13:59:57 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Re: King John,Titus, Peele and Julius Caesar

It is pleasing to note that Mr. Lloyd has corrected some of his
historical errors due to our last exchange. He has unfortunately not
improved his method of controversy in the Julius Caesar section.

Robertson called attention to a real historical problem in relation to
Julius Caesar and very imperfectly attempted to resolve it on what he
himself described as "tentative" vocabulary clues. They were quite
unsatisfactory. Among other reasons because Chapman is not known to ever
have written for the King's Men. William Wells, working completely
independently of Robertson found much evidence for a Marlowe ur-draft
and a Beaumont post draft circa l609.  Oliphant on his own knowledge of
Beaumont which exceeds mine or Mr. Llyod's found for Beaumont with whom
Robertson was imperfectly acquainted. It is worthy of respect.

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