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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0063  Friday, 9 January 2004

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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 >
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Jan 2004 18:15:32 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0049 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford

[2]     From:   Jim Carroll <
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 >
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Jan 2004 21:58:17 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0049 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 8 Jan 2004 18:15:32 -0500
Subject: 15.0049 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0049 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford

 >Carroll asks "Do we really need this analysis to see that John
 >Davies was not the author of ALC?"  Perhaps he feels the analysis is
 >unnecessary because of the external evidence of its publication with
 >Shakespeare's Sonnets. By those standards, however, we must accept A
 >Yorkshire Tragedy, The London Prodigal and all of The Passionate Pilgrim
 >as the work of Shakespeare.

Not so.  A Lover's Complaint not only was printed with an attribution to
Shakespeare but was printed in a book of other poems attributed to
Shakespeare, and accepted as Shakespeare's.  That makes its attribution
much firmer than that of the two plays mentioned.  And there is no hard
evidence against its attribution as there is against the attribution of
the poems in The Passionate Pilgrim (Heywood's letter, for instance).

Has anyone said why A Lover's Complaint would have been called
Shakespeare's if it were not his?  Surely, the number of sonnets was
enough for a full book.  And A Lover's Complaint was stuck in the back
of that book, so doesn't seem to have been used to win readers.

 >If Barnfield's poems had not been published
 >elsewhere under his name, and Thomas Heywood had not made his objection,
 >we would have no external evidence that all of Passionate Pilgrim was
 >not by Shakespeare. Would we then find Jim Carroll defending the
 >non-Shakespearean material in that collection against the
 >'disintegrationists'?

Possibly.  You would find me defending it.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Carroll <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 8 Jan 2004 21:58:17 EST
Subject: 15.0049 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0049 A Lover's Complaint & John Davies of Hereford

Bill Lloyd <
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 > wrote on Wednesday, 7 Jan 2004:

 >Hash it out in a constructive way that is. Jim Carroll's argument is not
 >strengthened by his apparent personal bias against Vickers: "...Vickers
 >has botched another attribution."  And his coupling of the case for and
 >against the presence of Peele in Titus Andronicus can only bode ill for
 >his anti-Davies argument. It is clear to me (and many others) that
 >Vickers, building on the work of other scholars, is correct about Peele.
 >See Vickers' book Shakespeare, Co-Author, and the relevant SHAKSPER
 >threads from early 2003. Carroll's arguments there, though deployed with
 >much show of learning, were ultimately unconvincing, and, in my mind,
 >called into question his "feele for Peele" and for early Shakespeare.

I don't have a "personal" bias against Vickers, because I've never met
him or communicated with him. What I have is a "bias" against the
misreading of history. Please read Vickers' comments about Donald Foster
in his book "Counterfeiting Shakespeare" if you want see evidence of
personal bias.

You may not have been convinced by my arguments concerning the Peele
attribution, but you were not able to refute them either. As I pointed
out in a later contribution to this forum,

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2003/2009.html

I think it is far more likely that Shakespeare simply used the old play
Gorboduc as his model for parts of Titus, in the same way that he used,
for instance, Holinshed for parts of Henry V.

I could go on all day about the mistakes in his latest TLS essay. For
example, Vickers wrote:

"The issue can only be decided on the internal evidence, since the
single external witness, Thomas Thorpe, is notoriously unreliable."

I would ask, since when? Well, probably since Vickers tried to discredit
Thorpe in his book "Counterfeiting Shakespeare", in an attempt to
disparage in general Foster's scholarship in the chapter "Donald
Foster's Shakespearean Construct". He cites Duncan-Jones in saying that
Thorpe's attempt to register, with William Aspley, John Gordon's
panegyric to King James, ' was cancelled because it was already
registered', and that Thorpe's publication of Marlowe's translation of
Lucan, was, according to Duncan-Jones, an 'apparent piracy', even though
Vickers himself admits that Thorpe "enjoyed close relations with the
printer concerned, Edward Blount", and finally Thorpe's publication in
1611 of Coryate's *The Odcombian Banquet*, of which the STC says it is
"apparently" a pirated reprint of another edition published earlier that
year.

But by my count from the STC, Thorpe had a hand in some 48 publications
between 1603 and 1625. The first item mentioned above was probably just
a mistake on the part of Thorpe and Apsley.  I'm not sure how they could
know in every case which work had been previously registered. In any
case, it was not Thorpe alone who was involved. The second case speaks
for itself, and it was probably a result of a private agreement between
Blount and Thorpe. The final case is _thought_ to be, at least by the
editors of the STC, a case of piracy, but no one really knows any
details concerning what happened. In both of the latter cases, the
authors of the works were attributed correctly, which is ultimately the
issue at stake here. One possible piracy, from a total of 48
publications, and even that has its author attributed correctly.  So I
would have to conclude on the basis of the facts that I've presented
here that Thorpe was "generally reliable" when it came to authorship
attributions, not "notoriously unreliable" as Vickers claims.

Jim Carroll

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