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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: July ::
Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0474  Friday, 13 July 2007

From: 		Bill Lloyd <
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Date: 		Thursday, 12 Jul 2007 22:06:04 EDT
Subject: 18.0467 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0467 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

Responding to several posts here concerning A Lover's Complaint...

At _http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25390-2647330,00.html_ 
(http://tls.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25390-2647330,00.html) you may 
see Brian Vickers' response to Harold Love's review of his book in the 
TLS. I haven't seen Love's review, but I have read Vickers' book 
*Shakespeare, A Lover's Complaint, and John Davies of Hereford*, and the 
letter rings true.

As I say, I have read Vickers' book. Although I believe in the value of 
well-done attribution studies for the sane adjustment of canons, I am 
not a wild-eyed attributionist. I found some of Vickers' Davies-clues 
aired here a few years back to be intriguing, but also found the 
arguments of Kenneth Muir and Macdonald Jackson convincing: all I looked 
forward to was a passionate agnosticism.  However, I did find Vickers' 
book to be convincing, both in countering Muir and Jackson, and in its 
demonstration of the essential Daviesness of Lover's Complaint. I could 
have wished for a bit more 'negative check' to exclude Shakespeare 
(there is some), but I confess myself convinced.  No brief excerpts or 
individual examples will serve to prove or disprove the case-it's the 
totality of the argument. Read the book.

Bob Grumman asks "How often would a full collection by one author, like 
*Shakespeare's Sonnets*... published under the author's name, but with 
an additional minor work not his added to it?"  One example I can think 
of is William Barksted's *Mirrha*  (1607). This does differ from 
Sonnets/LC in that the additional minor work is noted at the bottom of 
the title page: "Whereunto are added certaine Eglogs. By  L.M."

I agree that title page attributions are usually correct and can never 
just be ignored. However to accept all t.p. assignments  more or less as 
an article of faith is to ignore numerous known exceptions.  These would 
include the t.p. of the 1647 Beaumont & Fletcher folio (really Beaumont 
and Fletcher and Massinger and Field and Rowley and Middleton and Ford 
and Webster), the t.p. of Dekker's 1 Honest Whore (really Dekker and 
Middleton- see Henslowe's Diary) and of course the t.p.'s of A Yorkshire 
Tragedy and The London Prodigal -- unless the faithful are on the 
principle of t.p.-faith willing to admit those two plays to the 
Shakespeare canon. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the 
Sonnet's sub-title page to Lover's Complaint is mistaken or incorrect. 
The attribution to Shakespeare cannot be lightly dismissed, but it is 
not an impregnable bulwark.

Bill Lloyd

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