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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: May ::
Gary Taylor's Cardenio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0215  Wednesday, 6 May 2009

[1] From:   Larry Weiss <
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     Date:   Saturday, 02 May 2009 17:06:24 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

[2] From:   Ward Elliott <
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     Date:   Saturday, 2 May 2009 14:13:05 -0700
     Subj:   RE: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

[3] From:   Bill Lloyd <
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     Date:   Saturday, 2 May 2009 17:30:19 EDT
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

[4] From:   John W Kennedy <
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     Date:   Saturday, 02 May 2009 22:21:02 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

[5] From:   Peter Holland <
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     Date:   Sunday, 3 May 2009 03:07:22 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

[6] From:   Gary Taylor<
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     Date:   Monday, 04 May 2009 21:57:24 -0400
     Subj:   Cardenio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Larry Weiss <
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Date:       Saturday, 02 May 2009 17:06:24 -0400
Subject: 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

Arnie Pearlstein says that Charles Hamilton's assertion that The Second 
Maiden's Tragedy (almost certainly by Middleton)

 >is still the most plausible one out there. I have not seen a
 >single convincing refutation of his claims.

I have commented on Hamilton's contention in prior posts, which can be 
obtained from the SHAKSPER archives. For what it's worth, here is a 
summary of my reaction to Hamilton's book (citations are to his book, C. 
Hamilton, Shakespeare with John Fletcher, Cardenio or The Second 
Maiden's Tragedy [Glenbrdidge Pub. 1994]).

? Hamilton (then 82 years old) held himself out as a palaeographer, not 
a Shakespearean scholar; and, indeed, his knowledge of Shakespeare 
appears shallow.

? The play called "Cardenio" by Hamilton is attributed to others by more 
qualified Shakespearean scholars, most recently, and with a general 
consensus, to Middleton. See Hamilton Ch. VII.

? The main plot bears little or no resemblance to the Cardenio tale in 
Don Quixote (Chs. XXIV, et seq.), even as summarized by Hamilton 
(190-93, 195), but the subplot dramatizes another tale interpolated in 
the Cardenio episode of Don Quixote (Chs. XXXIII-XXXV) and it employs 
some of the imagery from that novella (see Hamilton 199-200, 203-04).

? The Second Maiden's Tragedy is generally a poor play, not up to the 
worst of WS's early output. It is as Senecan as Titus Andronicus. In Act 
III the heroine happily commits suicide to prevent her abduction, and 
her lover gleefully murders a minor character. Then, in V.i, there are 
five killings within the space of twenty-five lines. The rapid-fire 
deaths evoked nothing but laughter from the audience at a performance I 
attended. And all this says nothing about the Tyrant's necrophilia. 
Finally, the Tyrant dies as a result of kissing the lips of the dead 
lady to which the hero has applied poisoned paint. Yet Hamilton insisted 
on calling this a "romance," akin to Per, Cym, WT, Tem and TNK and 
asserted that his attribution was based on that "fact," not on the 
palaeographical evidence he emphasized in his book.

? Hamilton argues that The Second Maiden's Tragedy contains numerous 
neologisms, which he cites as evidence of its Shakespearean origin. 
Actually, Hamilton seems to be confusing neologisms with terms not 
commonly used elsewhere in the Canon, such as <Life>used as a mild oath, 
and unusual contractions, such as "alate."

? There are numerous other points of major distinction between this play 
and the generally recognized canon. For example: (1) This play has no 
locus in quo; (2) Major characters ("the Tyrant" and "the Lady," and 
"the Wife" in the subplot) have no names; (3) The villains in both plots 
are motiveless; except possibly by unexplained lust, and there is very 
little sense or inevitability in the actions of other characters; (4) 
the main plot and subplot, while parallel, do not have points of 
connexion; (5) the characters speak in trite expository fashion, almost 
entirely devoid of expressive poetry; (6) related to this, the language 
does not have a Shakespearean flavour and, as noted above, the author 
frequently uses casual terms not appearing elsewhere in the Canon.

? As for Hamilton's "palaeographic" analysis, he said in response to a 
question in the post-performance discussion on March 17, 1996 that he 
did not perform a handwriting analysis. But his book does heavily 
emphasize that sort of analysis. Hamilton seems to rely only on the fact 
that the secretary hand in the MS of The Second Maiden's Tragedy 
resembles the secretary hand in the body of WS's will. Hamilton believes 
that WS himself wrote out the will, which seems improbable. He also 
believes that WS had a stroke and/or was poisoned during the composition 
of the will; and I have a difficult time seeing how this advances his 
argument. It does not appear that Hamilton examined any other WS 
holographs except the other signatures. A comparison with Hand D in STM 
would be more useful than a comparison with the will (unless Paul 
Werstine is correct that Hand D is scribal). I surmise that secretary 
hand, being so different from modern, round or italic script, will look 
the same regardless of the scribe. In fairness, Hamilton's alphabetical 
comparison of words and letters in WS's will and the MS of The Second 
Maiden's Tragedy (Hamilton 139-40). makes them look more similar to each 
other than they do to the plate in Work, 2d ed. at p.1791, albeit they 
are the same kind of script. I suppose it is possible that the scrivener 
who copied WS's will was also employed to make a fair copy of The Second 
Maiden's Tragedy.

? Ward Elliott and Robert J. Valenza's stylometric analysis produced 22 
rejections for this play, tied with Locrine and Fair Em for the most 
rejections of all the apocryphal plays subjected to the tests. "Two 
Tough Nuts to Crack: Did Shakespeare Write the 'Shakespeare' Portions of 
Sir Thomas More and Edward III?" (available on-line at 
(http://govt.claremontmckenna.edu/welliott/UTConference/2ToughNuts.pdf) 
at 9. Thus, it appears that this play cannot be by Shakespeare.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Ward Elliott <
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Date:       Saturday, 2 May 2009 14:13:05 -0700
Subject: 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
Comment:    RE: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

Neither of the extant candidate Cardenios, The Second Maiden's Tragedy 
nor The Double Falsehood, tests anywhere near Shakespeare. Taken as 
whole plays, they and all other plays from the Shakespeare Apocrypha are 
in different stylometric planets or galaxies, far too discrepant from 
core Shakespeare to be could-be's by our tests. The Second Maid's 
Tragedy has 22 Shakespeare rejections in 48 tests, The Double Falsehood 
has 11. No play in our Shakespeare core has more than two Shakespeare 
rejections.

http://govt.cmc.edu/welliott/UTConference/Oxford_by_Numbers.pdf, 
Appendix One, p. 403.

This does not rule out the possibility that Shakespeare might have 
written parts of each play, as most people now think is true of Edward 
III and Sir Thomas More. So do we of Edward III; STMO still seems 
doubtful to us, but at least both plays have consensus "Shakespeare" 
parts for us and others to test. We know of no such consensus on The 
Second Maiden's Tragedy, nor on The Double Falsehood.

Yours,
Ward Elliott

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Bill Lloyd <
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 >
Date:       Saturday, 2 May 2009 17:30:19 EDT
Subject: 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

Arnie Perlstein says: "I have looked very closely at Hamilton's claims, 
I've read  [The Second Maiden's Tragedy], Theobald's Double Falshood, 
and the Maid's Tragedy, and considered all of them in relation to 
Cervantes, on the one hand, and Shakespeare and Fletcher, on the other 
hand, and, all things considered, I think that Hamilton's claim [that 
Second Maiden's Tragedy is identifiable with Cardenio] is still the most 
plausible one out there. I have not seen a single convincing refutation 
of his claims."

I am surprised that in Arnie's canvassing of this matter "there is not a 
single word mentioned regarding" the (to my mind) overwhelming 
linguistic and other stylistic evidence that Thomas Middleton was the 
author of Second Maiden's Tragedy. And that's not just a Gary Taylor 
thing, although he has included SMT (as The Lady's Tragedy) in his 
edition of Middleton's works. Middleton's authorship is widely accepted 
and was demonstrated pretty convincingly by David Lake and Mac Jackson 
when Taylor was still an undergraduate.

As to Hamilton's arguments, the connection of SMT to Don Quixote is 
marginal at best. The subplot of SMT is based on a inset tale told by a 
character in the tale of Cardenio (which is itself an inset tale of the 
larger Quixote narrative). The characters of the Cardenio narrative 
proper do not appear in the tale used by the author of SMT, so it is 
hard to imagine why he would call his play after the not-quite-source of 
his subplot. And a large part of Hamilton's argument is his 
identification of the handwriting of the SMT manuscript with that of 
Shakespeare. This identification has not been accepted.

Theobald's Double Falsehood on the other hand does follow the actual 
Cardenio narrative from Quixote and, although it's not a slamdunk, there 
are significant circumstantial and stylistic arguments to be made for 
its identification as a revision/adaption of the Shakespeare/Fletcher play.

Bill Lloyd

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John W Kennedy <
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 >
Date:       Saturday, 02 May 2009 22:21:02 -0400
Subject: 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

From:       Arnie Perlstein <
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 >

 >I just browsed the link you  provided, Stefanie, and was
 >disappointed, but not surprised, that among the various abstracts
 >provided, there is not a single word mentioned regarding Hamilton's
 >claims that The Second Maiden's Tragedy (TSMT) is the missing
 >Cardenio. I have looked very closely at Hamilton's claims, I've  read
 >TSMT, Theobald's Double Falshood, and the Maid's Tragedy, and
 >considered all of them in relation to Cervantes, on the one hand,
 >and Shakespeare and Fletcher, on the other hand, and, all things
 >considered, I think that Hamilton's claim is still the most plausible
 >one out there. I have not seen a single convincing refutation of his 
claims.

You are not convinced by the facts that:
* the A plot of 2MT has no resemblance worth mentioning to the Cardenio 
story?
* it concludes with the villain being assassinated by the application of 
poisoned cosmetics to a corpse
    that he proceeds to kiss?
* the B plot is clearly based on a /different/ episode from "Don 
Quixote", but changes it from a cautionary tale to an out-Heroding 
bloodbath that ends with /all/ the characters killing one another, so 
that the hero of the otherwise completely unconnected A plot has to drop 
in order to command the servants to clear the dead bodies off the stage?
* and that this remarkable gorefest is supposed by Hamilton to have been 
written by Shakespeare at about the same time as "Cymbeline",  "The 
Winter's Tale", and "The Tempest"?

Pfaugh! The only material hand Shakespeare could have had in the thing 
would be if he had written it for the King's Men's annual Midnight 
Follies show  --  only the King's Men didn't have an annual Midnight 
Follies show.

One might further add that the characters all have either no names at 
all, or pseudo-Latinate type names, that the play is set in no 
discernible time or place, real or fictitious, that Hamilton's  argument 
is based on paleographic arguments he was wholly unqualified  to make, 
and that Middleton scholars agree 2MT to be his. One might  also point 
out Hamilton's Pelion-on-Ossa attempt to make "Double  Falshood" derive 
from 2MT.

From:       John Cox <
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 >

 >I don't know what Gary Taylor has done, but Stephen Greenblatt
 >rewrote Cardenio with playwright Arthur Mee. Stephen has a very
 >entertaining talk about the play, including the witty line, "Mee and 
I . . . ."

They have written a play that has roughly the same familial relation to 
"Cardenio" that Stoppard's "Travesties" has to Joyce's "Ulysses",  being 
a play about a troupe of modern actors performing a newly- discovered 
"Cardenio". It is not in any sense a "rewrite", "reconstruction", or 
what-have-you. As I remarked here at the time, it  is essentially a 
piece of literary laboratory equipment for  Greenblatt's Mobility Studies.

From:       Bill Lloyd <
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 >

 >So, yes he attempted to edit out Theobald's parts and he did (as he
 >told the audience before the reading) use Shelton's 1612 Quixote
 >translation to re-Quixotify his version.

What he /supposes/ to be Theobald's parts, at least.

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Peter Holland <
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Date:       Sunday, 3 May 2009 03:07:22 -0400
Subject: 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0207 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

John Cox mentioned Stephen Greenblatt's co-authorship of a version of 
Cardenio. I hope he won't mind my pointing out that the co-author is 
Charles Mee, not, as John wrote, Arthur Mee.

For Charles Mee's plays, written as part of 'the (re)making project', 
see http://charlesmee.org/indexf.html. Mee makes his plays freely 
available for others to rework but, alas, Cardenio is not yet on the 
site. On the production of the Greenblatt/Mee version, see for instance 
http://www.tcg.org/tools/newplays/details.cfm?ShowID=1 and there is an 
interview with Greenblatt about it on YouTube: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN1eoANmAiI&feature=related

Arthur Mee was the editor of The Children's Encyclopedia, a multi-volume 
work I read with great joy as a child!

Peter Holland

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Gary Taylor<
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 >
Date:       Monday, 04 May 2009 21:57:24 -0400
Subject:    Cardenio

I have been working on my reconstruction, on and off, for more than 
twenty years. It follows naturally from my controversial "reconstructed 
text" of Pericles, published in 1986, much used in the theatre, much 
reviled by scholars. There was a rehearsed public reading of my first 
draft of "Cardenio" in New York City in the late 1990s, and since 2006 
there have been a series of readings (in New York, Williamstown, Florida 
State University, Washington D.C., and most recently at the Blackfriars 
theatre in Staunton and the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). My version is 
completely independent of, and quite different from, the Greenblatt or 
Richards version. I have done two things. First, using the most 
up-to-date attribution techniques known to me, I have sought to identify 
which elements of "Double Falshood" are the work of Theobald, rather 
than Fletcher or Shakespeare, and to eliminate them: sometimes this is a 
matter of simple cutting, in other cases of conjectural emendation, 
attempting to restore a word that Theobald censored or replaced to suit 
eighteenth-century taste. Neither Greenblatt nor Richards attempted this 
first stage; indeed, neither was really equipped to do so, because 
(despite their many enviable talents as writers and critics) neither is 
an early modern editor or a specialist in attribution. Secondly -- and 
here I am on much shakier ground, and know it -- where it seems to me 
there is good evidence of macro-intervention by Theobald, affecting the 
structure of the original play, I have attempted to re-create the 
original. Like Greenblatt and Richards, in doing so I have made use of 
the 1612 translation of Don Quixote. Unlike Greenblatt, I have not 
written a completely new play, loosely based on Don Quixote -- and 
certainly, I have made no use of the Tale of the Curious Impertinent 
(which the King's Men had already staged in Middleton's brilliant play 
"The Lady's Tragedy", aka "The Second Maiden's Tragedy", only a year or 
so before "Cardenio", and which they would certainly not have used again 
in 1612-13). In any case, this second stage is the "creative" part of my 
reconstruction. I have set myself certain rules that the new material 
must satisfy, but I don't for a moment believe that those rules will 
satisfy all Shakespearians (or Fletcherians).

The two other versions performed over the last year may very well be 
more "creative" than my own. People will have to come to their own 
conclusions about my relative merits as a poet and playwright. But my 
reconstruction has continued to evolve, as I have learned from the 
actors, directors, audiences, and scholars involved in the series of 
staged readings and, now, the Wellington production which is currently 
in rehearsal. So, any reports about my version have to be understood as 
provisional. I expect to learn more from the public response to the 
Wellington production, and from the distinguished group of scholars, 
from New Zealand and around the world, who will see the production and 
participate in a scholarly colloquium about "Cardenio". No doubt I will 
want to make another set of revisions as a result of these upcoming 
events. I will also, at some point, need to read what Greenblatt and 
Richards have done (rather than relying on scattered reports). I will 
eventually make available the results of my scholarly investigation of 
the text of "Double Falsehood", and l will also eventually make public 
the text of my "creative reconstruction".

But don't expect to see my "creative reconstruction" in any edition of 
Shakespeare's Complete Works!

I don't want to get into a debate about a process that is still ongoing, 
and I don't wish to criticize either Richards or Greenblatt. I'm just 
doing something different than they have done. Moreover, they have 
finished, and I haven't!

Gary Taylor
George Matthew Edgar Professor of English
     http://www.english.fsu.edu/faculty/gtaylor.htm
General Editor, The Oxford Middleton
     http://thomasmiddleton.org
Director, History of Text Technologies
     http://hott.fsu.edu

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