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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: May ::
That "New" Poem by Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0336  Tuesday, 15 May 2007

[1] 	From: 	Gabriel Egan <
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 	Date: 	Thursday, 3 May 2007 21:20:35 +0100
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0319 That "New" Poem by Shakespeare

[2] 	From: 	Jonathan Hope <
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 	Date: 	Friday, 4 May 2007 10:52:50 +0100
 	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0319 That "New" Poem by Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Gabriel Egan <
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Date: 		Thursday, 3 May 2007 21:20:35 +0100
Subject: 18.0319 That "New" Poem by Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0319 That "New" Poem by Shakespeare

Jonathan Bate claims that "we're the first edition to give it true 
canonical status", referring to the new RSC Complete Works and the 
epilogue discovered by Ringler and May. This claim is only true if the 
canon is defined as what gets into complete works editions, for Juliet 
Dusinberre's 2006 Arden3 edition of As You Like It not only accepted the 
attribution but also printed an alternate modernized ending of the play 
incorporating the epilogue (pp. 351-2).

Dusinberre published a Shakespeare Quarterly article arguing for the 
attribution in 2003. In case anyone is interested in a critique of 
Dusinberre's argument, I copy below my review of it that appeared in the 
Year's Work in English Studies volume 84 published in 2005. (It's a bit 
long, so you have to really care to bother with it.)

Gabriel Egan

Juliet Dusinberre gets a new date and venue for the first performance of 
As You Like It-20 February 1599 at court-by means of a flawed elimination 
of the alternative candidate plays that might have preceded a surviving 
epilogue from that date and venue, assisted by acres of speculation 
('Pancakes and a Date for As You Like It', SQ 54 [2003].371-405). As You 
Like It is absent from Francis Meres's list of 1598, so it must be after 
that date-unless he forgot it, I suppose-and it cannot be later than 4 
August 1600 when its printing was stayed (pp. 371-72). Dusinberre surveys 
internal evidence for the date, including Jaques's "All the world's a 
stage" speech and the alleged allusion to the Bishops Order for 
book-burning on 1 June 1599; she finds them unconvincing. There is an 
unsupported nineteenth-century claim that a letter once existed that named 
Shakespeare as being at court at Wilton in December 1603 and hence that As 
You Like It probably played there that season, but the only hard evidence 
for early performance is the document that grants Thomas Killigrew 108 old 
Blackfriars plays for his new Theatre Royal in 1669, including As You Like 
It amongst 21 Shakespeare plays. An epilogue to a play performed before 
the queen at Shrovetide 1599 turned up in the 1960s and Dusinberre agrees 
with its finders (and with Brian Vickers) that it is Shakespeare: it has 
the trochaic couplets that he favoured for epilogues (Robin Goodfellow's, 
Prospero's), and it was found copied into the commonplace book of Henry 
Stanford, tutor in the household of the 2nd Baron Hunsdon, the lord 
chamberlain (and Shakespeare's patron) from 1597 (pp. 375-77).

Looking for which play the epilogue was for, Dusinberre decides at this 
point to exclude as candidates certain of "the non-Shakespearian plays for 
which the Stanford epilogue might have been written" on the basis that we 
know that a couple of them (Dekker's Old Fortunatus and The Shoemaker's 
Holiday) were performed at court around new year 1599/1600, in which case 
they were probably not also performed at Shrovetide 1599. (They might have 
been, though, might they not?). Jonson's Every Man in his Humour was 
described as performed at court and  'new' in a letter dated 20 September 
1598, but Dusinberre wrongly reports this letter as indicating that the 
play was performed on 20 September, which is not what her cited source-the 
Oxford edition by C. H. Herford and Percy and Evelyn  Simpson-actually 
claims. As with the Dekker plays, Dusinberre too quickly excludes the 
possibility that it could have been performed again at Shrovetide 1599. 
Dusinberre's exclusion of A Warning for Fair Women and A Larum for London 
really is sloppy: she claims that they are "too late for the new 
epilogue", citing the epilogue's finders. In fact those finders, William 
M. Ringler and Steven May, do not exclude the plays, noting only that 
"there is no evidence that they were performed as early as February 1599" 
('An Epilogue Possibly By Shakespeare', MP 70 [1972].138-9). It is not 
reasonable to date first performance solely from Stationers' Register 
entry dates, which is where Dusinberre gets the dates of 1599 and 1600 
that she puts in brackets after these last two plays-although you need to 
read Ringler and May to discover that-because register entry gives only a 
terminus ad quem. Moreover, earlier in the article Dusinberre dated As You 
Like It itself by using Erne's suggestion that register entry usually 
followed 18 to 24 months after first performance, and by this same 
reckoning A Warning for Fair Women (entry 17 November 1599) and A Larum 
for London (entry 29 May 1600) were performed too early to be Stanford's 
play, not too late. Dusinberre also seems to think that Every Man Out of 
His Humour being performed in the autumn of 1599 at the Globe precludes 
its being performed earlier that year at court, without saying why and 
without mentioning (yet, it comes later) her position on the relationship 
between public performance and court performance, the possibilities for 
repeat court performance, and the notion of newness in relation to court 
performance. This whole paragraph of Dusinberre's is an evidential and 
logical mess and should not have been published (p. 378).

Having cleared away the non-Shakespearian candidates, we get the real 
reason why Dusinberre thinks it is a court epilogue to As You Like It: 
Touchstone makes a joke about pancakes (1.2.61-3) and that is what the 
court would have been eating at Shrovetide (p. 379). It being 20 February 
1599, in this performance Touchstone would have been Kemp not Armin. 
Ganymede had a special association with Shrovetide, and the new epilogue 
fits nicely on the end of As You Like It once you take Rosalind's epilogue 
off. The epilogue's references to a 'dial' (like the pocket sun-dial that 
Touchstone is supposed to have) suit the play, and also link with 
Shakespeare via Sir John Harington who possessed such a rare dial and 
whose translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso is a major source for As 
You Like It; Richmond Palace, where the performance took place, had a 
famous enormous dial that was spruced up for the occasion (pp. 383-84). 
Perhaps having not entirely convinced herself, Dusinberre returns to the 
other candidates for the play that preceded this epilogue and despite the 
epilogue's likeness to some things by Jonson, she excludes him again on 
the grounds of his being in prison from the end of January 1599 and hence 
not around on 20 February 1599. (Might he not have written it before going 
to prison?) Dusinberre closes with some loosely argued links between the 
court occasion and the play, including the idea that the Globe theatre 
could thereby open in autumn 1599 with a play that already had royal 
approval. (The whole official excuse for having theatres, of course, was 
to get plays ready for the court and we know that public performance did 
indeed precede court performance.)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jonathan Hope <
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Date: 		Friday, 4 May 2007 10:52:50 +0100
Subject: 18.0319 That "New" Poem by Shakespeare
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0319 That "New" Poem by Shakespeare

In his blog on the 'new' poem (http://palgrave.typepad.com/rsc/), Jonathan 
Bate writes

>Internally, its metre, grammar and vocabulary are all deeply
>Shakespearean (note especially the genitive-without-an-apostrophe, "their
>father queen", and compare "my father house" in Antony and Cleo).

ok, this is a blog not a scholarly article, but I read the comment as 
implying pretty strongly that the presence of 
'genitive-without-an-apostrophe' in a text can be taken as positive 
evidence for Shakespearean authorship.

These zero genitives are derived from Old English, and they are a feature 
of English as a whole in the Early Modern period, not just Shakespeare's 
idiolect.  They are Shakespearean in the sense that they occur in 
Shakespeare's language; but not in the sense that they distinguish it from 
the language of other writers in the period.

(One of the arguments for Shakespeare's authorship of The Funeral Elegy 
rested on a similar claim that relative 'who' with a non-human antecedent 
was 'Shakespearean' in the diagnostic sense of 'indicates the presence of 
Shakespeare', rather than 'Shakespearean' in the general sense of 'is one 
of the features of Early Modern English'.)

While I'm on, I might as well get *really* pedantic and point out that 
Bate's nonce term for this type of genitive, 
'genitive-without-an-apostrophe', is misleading, since what we are really 
dealing with here (as the linguistic term 'zero genitive' implies) is a 
genitive which is entirely unmarked (i.e. neither apostrophe nor 's' 
appear).

The Folio almost never uses an apostrophe for genitive constructions, even 
where the 's' is present (e.g. 'for Fames sake' LLL 4.1.32) so the term 
doesn't distinguish between zero and non-zero forms.

Jonathan Hope
Strathclyde University, Glasgow

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