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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
The Old Law
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0133  Wednesday, 8 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Bill Lloyd <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 11:33:56 EST
	Subj: 	The Old Law (from SHK 17.0119 no country for old men?)

[2] 	From: 	Mike Jensen <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 07 Mar 2006 10:29:18 -0800
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0119 no country for old men?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Lloyd <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 11:33:56 EST
Subject: Law (from SHK 17.0119 no country for old men?)
Comment: 	The Old Law (from SHK 17.0119 no country for old men?)

  Jack Heller writes:

 >"I am surprised to find another listmember who has read The Old Law,
 >which was co-written by Thomas Middleton, William Rowley, and Philip
 >Massinger. Whenever the Oxford Middleton gets released, one benefit will
 >be to have such plays more readily available."

I read it years ago, so long ago that my aging memory doesn't remember 
that much about it. However, although Philip Massinger's name was indeed 
on the title page of its delayed first printing (1656), his presence in 
the play has often been doubted, and neither MacD. P. Jackson nor David 
J. Lake in their linguistic studies of the Middleton canon found any 
good evidence for Massinger's presence. Lake suggested that the first 
part of 5.1 (the trial scene) was written by someone other than 
Middleton or Rowley, but probably not Massinger.

One of the things the Oxford Middleton will accomplish upon its release 
will be the "official" replacement of Massinger as the third author by 
Thomas Heywood. Gary Taylor presents evidence for Heywood's hand in 
"Middleton and Rowley-- and Heywood: The Old Law and New Attribution 
Technologies", PBSA 96:2 (2002) 165-217. In this Heywood is assigned 
more or less the bit that Lake suggested was by the unnamed 
non-Massinger third author.

Incidentally, as mentioned on SHAKSPER several times last year, The Old 
Law has recently been revived by the RSC under its subtitle "A New Way 
to Please You".  Most of the publicity I've seen on it includes 
Massinger as one of its authors, though in at least one case (the cover 
of a program?) only Middleton and Rowely are mentioned.

Bill Lloyd (and unnamed collaborator?)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Mike Jensen <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 07 Mar 2006 10:29:18 -0800
Subject: 17.0119 no country for old men?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0119 no country for old men?

Jack Heller and I disagree on what is meant by "gender specific."

 >I would disagree with Mike Jensen's reference to the debate not being
 >gender specific. In this play, the old law requires the deaths of the
 >elderly at different ages for men and women. Sexual desire motivates
 >getting rid of an old wife.

Obviously, the story is about the danger to both genders, even if the 
danger comes at different ages. I think calling that gender specific is 
a stretch, but Jack and I are entitled to different opinions on that.

Anyway, I addressed a question specifically about the regard of old men 
during Elizabeth's reign, which I quoted. Since both older men and women 
are in danger and important characters, the play is not gender specific 
in the sense of Frank's inquiry. I'm not sure why this was confusing.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

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