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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: July ::
Macbeth and Middleton
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0449  Thursday, 5 July 2007

[1] 	From: 	Ward Elliott <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 04 Jul 2007 14:06:59 -0700
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton

[2] 	From: 	Dom Saliani <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 04 Jul 2007 16:52:12 -0600
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton

[3] 	From: 	Sean B. Palmer <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 5 Jul 2007 10:05:19 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton

[4] 	From: 	Colin Cox <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 05 Jul 2007 09:33:14 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ward Elliott <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 04 Jul 2007 14:06:59 -0700
Subject: 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton

Tom Ready (SHK 18.0440) inquires about studies of Middleton's hand in 
Macbeth.

We haven't made a separate study of Macbeth and Middleton, but our data 
from the Claremont Shakespeare Clinic are fully consistent with Wells' 
and Vickers' judgment that Macbeth is almost entirely Shakespeare's.  No 
core baseline Shakespeare play got more than two rejections in the 48 
tests we used on full plays.  Macbeth (minus the Hecate scenes, 3.05 and 
4.01.39-43, 125-32) got only one, slightly too many "very"s per 20,000 
words, and comes out an easy Shakespeare could-be by both of our 
composite tests.  None of the nine Middleton plays we tested got fewer 
than 13 rejections or came within a mile of fitting either of our 
composite Shakespeare profiles.   Our Middleton range was 13 to 22 
rejections.

Particularly telling were two of our Bundles of Badges tests, BoB5 and 
BoB7, which measured the frequency of Shakespeare's favorite words 
relative to others' favorite words.  Both of these, as it happens, were 
Shakespeare-Middleton tests, taken directly from a comparison between 
Shakespeare's Macbeth and Middleton's The Witch, but validated against 
all of Shakespeare's 29 baseline plays and all nine of our Middleton 
plays.  Macbeth passed both.  Six of nine Middleton plays failed one; 
all nine failed the other.  Middleton's plays are also loaded with 
non-Shakespearean contractions, getting many Shakespeare rejections in 
our Round Two tests.  Macbeth continued to fall within our Shakespeare 
profiles when tested in 3,000- and 1,500-word blocks.  We saw no reason 
to test smaller blocks of Middleton.  For details, see the Round One and 
Round Two test summaries in our long "Oxford by the Numbers" article in 
the Tennessee Law Review, 2004, 
http://govt.cmc.edu/welliott/UTConference/Oxford_by_Numbers.pdf, esp. 
pp. 405-06, 409-410, and 413-414.

We did not measure "thou" instances separately, but we did count it as 
one Shakespeare fluke (less favored word) among several in our BoB1 test 
and note that all of Middleton's plays, and all but one of Shakespeare's 
baseline plays, fell within Shakespeare's BoB1 range. On the face of it, 
it doesn't look like a very promising discriminator between Shakespeare 
and Middleton, but anyone with a concordance program and the pertinent 
texts, and a willingness to spend the time, could test it directly.

As far as we can tell, it is not hard to measure Shakespeare-Middleton 
differences with our discrepancy tests, and these do say that Macbeth 
minus the Hecate scenes - but no Middleton play we tested-is an easy 
Shakespeare fit, just as Wells, Vickers, and most others have concluded.

Ward Elliott
Claremont McKenna College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Dom Saliani <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 04 Jul 2007 16:52:12 -0600
Subject: 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton

Tom Reedy asks if there are any other studies or papers on the subject 
of interpolations in the play "Macbeth."

I researched this topic a while back and was surprised to see so many 
early critics that expressed the view that what we see in the play is 
not necessarily what Shakespeare wrote.

Henry Cunningham, the first editor of the "Arden Macbeth" (1912) wrote that:

 >It is admitted by all competent scholars that the text of Macbeth
 >has been more or less vitiated by the interpolation or addition of some
 >dramatist other than Shakespeare."

Kenneth Muir, in his revision of the Arden text, lists the various 
passages that scholars have considered interpolations or spurious. He 
then quickly dismisses the idea that Shakespeare was not the author.

Here is Muir's list and his comments:

Act 1, Scene 1	attributed to Middleton

Act I, Scene ii	the Clarendon editors and Cunningham suspected this 
scene was by Middleton. Muir suggests that it is Shakespeare was 
attempting an epic style.

Act I, Scene iii	the Clarendon editors and Cunningham thought these 
lines were by Middleton.

Act II, Scene iii, Porter Scene Lines 1 - 21 - Coleridge and the 
Clarendon editors thought these lines were interpolated by the actors 
and presumably also the bawdy dialogue that follows.

Act III, Scene v - Most editors regard this scene as spurious	
Contains two songs from Middleton's The Witch

Act IV, Scene 1 lines 39 - 43, and 125 - 32 Most editors regard these 
lines as spurious	

Act IV, Scene ii, lines 30 - 63 spurious	

Act IV, Scene iii lines 140 - 160 - The Clarendon editors believed this to
be an interpolation.	

Act V, Scene ii - Clarendon doubted the authenticity of this scene	

Act V, Scene ix, The Clarendon editors thought this passage showed 
"evident traces of another hand."

As I said, Muir does dismiss most of the above but he does "agree with 
previous editors that the passages [in Act III, Scene v and Act IV, 
Scene 1] are spurious."  He also adds that "it has been too easily 
assumed that the interpolator was Middleton."

The editors of the Variorum Shakespeare edition of "Macbeth" also 
believed that the play contains interpolations and anticipated a 
response to deliver to those who had difficulty accepting this view. In 
their introduction, they write:

 >We know that it is not easy to convince
 >readers that such and such passages are
 >not in Shakespeare's manner, because
 >their notion of Shakespeare's manner is
 >partly based on the assumption that these
 >very passages are by Shakespeare.

And they conclude with:

 >On the whole, we incline to think
 >that the play was interpolated
 >after Shakespeare' death, or at least
 >after he had withdrawn from all connection
 >with the theatre. The interpolator was,
 >not improbably, Thomas Middleton;
 >who to please the "groundlings,"
 >expanded the parts originally assigned
 >by Shakespeare to the weird sisters,
 >and also introduced a new character, Hecate.
 >The signal inferiority of her speeches
 >is thus accounted for."

I hope that this was what you were looking for, Tom.

Dom Saliani

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sean B. Palmer <
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Date: 		Thursday, 5 Jul 2007 10:05:19 +0100
Subject: 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton

In a note to A. C. Bradley's _Shakspearean Tragedy Lectures_ (1919) [1], 
he cites the abrupt transition in I.iv 33-43 ("My plenteous joys" to 
"bind us further to you") as evidence of a cut in Macbeth, but also 
makes a good case that if the original play were longer, then it wasn't 
much longer.

James O. Wood, in _Lost Lore in Macbeth_ (1973, SQ 24.2) [2] makes the 
case that some of the songs appearing in Davenant's Restoration period 
adaptation of Macbeth are contemporary with Shakespeare and perhaps from 
his pen. He says that if a number of such songs were present in the 
original version, it would have made Macbeth rather more operatic-which 
reminds me of Shapiro's description of As You Like It, in his _1599_.

John Dover Wilson, in his _Macbeth_ edition (1947), notes Lady Macbeth's 
reference in I.vii 51 (I make it 52) to an earlier plan to murder Duncan 
as presumably a sign that an original passage outlining that plot has 
been omitted.

Intriguingly, a possible source for Macbeth has been found recently 
(18th June 2007, [3]) in the works of a monk called Andrew de Wyntoun, 
according to _The Scotsman_. The discoverers claim that the original 
work contains a reference to the fact that no one "of woman born" will 
hurt Macbeth, and that it also mentions the three Weird Sisters. May 
this cast any new light on the theory of abridgement? Does anyone have 
more information about the discovery?

[1] http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16966
[2] http://www.jstor.org/view/00373222/di982019/98p0371z/0
[3] http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=951172007

Sean B. Palmer, http://inamidst.com/sbp/

[Editor's Note: See today's post SHK 18.0448: "The Wyntoun "Discovery"]

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Colin Cox <
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Date: 		Thursday, 05 Jul 2007 09:33:14 -0700
Subject: 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0440 Macbeth and Middleton

Tom Reedy writes, "it has not been generally accepted as such, and no 
one, AFAIK, has tried to make the case that CE and MND are adaptations."

I would suggest that both Comedy of Errors and Midsummer are adaptations 
in the sense that CE was performed during the infamous 'Night of Errors' 
and Midsummer at the wedding of a certain noble lord, (insert favourite 
lord according to your preference; I take Oxford's daughter for a 
thousand, it has such delicious irony).

Colin Cox

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