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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Date of King John
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0195  Monday, 31 January 2005

[1]     From:   Michael Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 08:45:36 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

[2]     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 21:23:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

[3]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 22:16:57 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

[4]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2005 11:25:10 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 08:45:36 -1000
Subject: 16.0176 Date of King John
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

It's remarkable that the Alexander-Honigmann thesis concerning the
chronological priority of King John (first published 1623) over The
Troublesome Reign (first published 1591) continues to draw adherents.
It's entirely without merit or evidence. Worse, its acceptance means
that an innovative and experimental work like John must have been
written no later than 1590, i.e. contemporary with the Henry VI
plays--much too early. What can be documented is that (1) in 1622-3
everyone who was in  a position to know considered Shakespeare to be the
principal author of The Troublesome Reign (published twice under his
name) and (2) that Peele wrote the verse (as Brian Vickers has recently
shown).

The obvious solution, as I argue in my introduction to the play in
Joseph Rosenblum (ed): A Student's Companion to Shakespeare: A
Comprehensive Guide to the Plays and Poems (Evergreen Press,
forthcoming), is that Shakespeare prepared TR's 'Author's Plot,' some
years later replacing Peele's wooden language with his own.

Dover Wilson and others have demonstrated the stylistic affinities
between King John and Richard II, in that compositional order. Since
Richard II dates no earlier than 1595 and no later than 1597, when it
was first published,1594 seems the likeliest compositional date for
John. Examination of its Folio text (the only one we have) suggests also
that the play was never performed in its author's life time. The
earliest recorded staging is 1737 at Covent Garden.

Incidentally, a generally accessible copy of TR appears in Bullough's
Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shake

 

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