Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2013 :: September ::
Shakespeare, Jonson, and the 1602 Additions The Spanish Tragedy

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0432  Wednesday, 4 September 2013

 

[1] From:        Todd M. Lidh < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 29, 2013 7:42:19 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Shakespeare, Jonson, and the 1602 Additions The Spanish Tragedy 

 

[2] From:        Bill Lloyd < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 29, 2013 8:53:50 PM EDT

     Subject:     Shakespeare, Jonson, and the 1602 Additions The Spanish Tragedy 

 

[3] From:        Lois Potter < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 30, 2013 3:42:01 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Jonson Spanish 

 

[4] From:        Gabriel Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         August 30, 2013 5:06:26 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Jonson Spanish 

 

[5] From:        Gerald E. Downs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         September 2, 2013 2:09:49 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Additions to The Spanish Tragedy 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Todd M. Lidh < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 29, 2013 7:42:19 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Shakespeare, Jonson, and the 1602 Additions The Spanish Tragedy

 

Steve Roth asks about the Henslowe diary entries, Jonson and THE SPANISH TRAGEDY. If Jonson didn’t write the additions, what did he write?

 

I argued in the Ben Jonson Journal a couple of years back that Jonson is actually the author of THE FIRST PART OF HIERONIMO, fitting both the timeframe and the named title.

 

For what it’s worth.

 

TL

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Bill Lloyd < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 29, 2013 8:53:50 PM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare, Jonson, and the 1602 Additions The Spanish Tragedy

 

Steve Roth writes:

 

I have a question for the community regarding Douglas Bruster’s “Shakespearean Spellings and Handwriting in the Additional Passages Printed in the 1602 Spanish Tragedy.”...  Bruster follows in a lengthy tradition going back at least to Coleridge, arguing (based on handwriting deductions referencing the presumed Shakespeare passage in H8) that Shakespeare, not Ben Jonson, wrote the 1602 Spanish Tragedy additions.

 

My question: how do those who claim this explain the solid external evidence of Henslowe’s payments to Jonson on 25 Sept. 1601 (“upon hn writtinge of his adicians in geronymo”) and 22 June 1602 (for “new adicyons for Jeronymo”)?  ...Bruster, in his brief four-page article, never mentions these entries, offering purely internal evidence (unless you consider the H8 handwriting analysis to be external evidence, somewhat removed and inevitably somewhat speculative).

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The answers to these questions hinge much on what we do not know . . . 

 

The Spanish Tragedy was a play from (probably) the mid-to-late 1580s, and by the end of the century seems to have become a bit of a common property, perhaps because its original owners were no longer in business.  There is, as Steve points out, the HD evidence that the Admiral’s company had a Jeronymo play (but was it the Spanish Tragedy we know?); and there is contemporary evidence that Burbage acted the part of Jeronymo, so the LC/King’s company had a Jeronymo play (but was it the Spanish Tragedy we know?); and according to the Malcontent Induction the King’s company justified their appropriation of the Malcontent as tit-for-tat for the Blackfriars boys stealing a Jeronymo play from them (“Why not Malevole in folio with us, as Jeronimo in decimosexto with them?”), which again may or may not be The Spanish Tragedy as we know it. Some have suggested there was a prequel to The Spanish Tragedy, which may of may not have some connection with the (boy’s company?) play called “The First Part of Jeronimo”.  But let’s just sat that both the Admiral’s (Alleyn) and the King’s (Burbage) were both playing Spanish Tragedy as we know it, then . . . 

 

 . . . if both the Rose and the Globe were independently acting The Spanish Tragedy (in one or two parts) there is no reason they may not each have had their own additions for it. Shakespeare would have written additions to show off Burbage’s talent to acting distracted passion (e.g., Walter Calverly, Othello, Lear, Hamlet), as he did with the Titus fly scene; and Henslowe had Jonson write some meaty additions for Alleyn to chew on in his comeback, perhaps in response to the Shakespeare/Burbage additions. So there’s no conflict—the HD additions and the extant additions do not have to be reconciled—they run on parallel tracks.

 

Bill Lloyd.

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Lois Potter < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 30, 2013 3:42:01 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Jonson Spanish

 

In reply to Steve Roth’s question (“What do people think Henslowe was paying Jonson for?”), here is what I suggested in my Life of William Shakespeare (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). It draws, of course, on the views of earlier scholars already mentioned in this discussion).

 

In 1597 Edward Alleyn retired from the stage. Since The Spanish Tragedy was in print, there was no reason why Richard Burbage couldn’t take over his role as Hieronimo, and it is associated with him in publications of 1606 and 1619. (See the Induction to The Malcontent, 1604, for evidence that plays could sometimes move from one company to another, though there was obviously some uneasiness about it.) Shakespeare would have written the additions to enhance the role and encourage spectators to come and compare Burbage with Alleyn. 

 

In 1600 Alleyn made a brief return to the stage, playing his old parts, in order to draw spectators to the company’s newly built Fortune Theatre. This would have been the obvious time for new additions by Jonson, which may have been quite extensive, since Jonson was paid generously for them. These have not survived, because Jonson preferred to publish only his non-collaborative works. It is interesting that Henslowe made two separate payments. Did another actor eventually take over the part, and was it felt that new material would help him attract new audiences?

 

If I’m right in these speculations, Shakespeare would have written those moving passages about the loss of a son in the years immediately following his own son’s death. But he would also have been responding to the competitive nature of the profession. Hieronimo was probably a touchstone for actors and aspiring actors: it’s used as an audition piece in the second part of The Return from Parnassus and in The Knight of the Burning Pestle the apprentice Ralph is said to have been ready to compete with a shoemaker in playing this part “for a wager”. 

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Gabriel Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         August 30, 2013 5:06:26 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Jonson Spanish

 

Steve Roth asks about the relationship between the additions to Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy that an increasing number of people think that Shakespeare wrote and those that Jonson wrote. The evidence for the latter is Henslowe’s Diary entries of 25 September 1601 and 22 June 1602 naming Jonson as the writer of additions to the play.

 

There are five known Additions, in the sense of chunks of writing present in Q4 of 1602 and absent in Q1-Q3. Addition Four is parodied in John Marston’s Antonio and Mellida that was first performed in 1599-1600, so it can’t be what Jonson was paid for in 1601-2.

 

However, we don’t have solid evidence that all five Additions were written at once or by the same person. The computational stylistics tests that attribute the Additions to Shakespeare are necessarily less conclusive for the smaller of the Additions than the larger.

 

Either Jonson wrote some entirely different set of additions from the ones witnessed in the lines that Q4 has over and above the lines in Q1-3, or else he wrote one or two of the smaller of the known five Additions. The argument against the latter would be that Jonson was paid more than we’d expect for a small job. Leaving out Addition Four (on the grounds that it must have been in existence by in 1600), the Additions amount to just 160 lines, which seems too little work for the more than 2 pounds Jonson received. (Jonson got 2 pounds in September 1601 for additions to The Spanish Tragedy and then a single payment of 10 pounds in June 1602 for additions to The Spanish Tragedy and a new play about Richard 3; we don’t know how much of the second payment was for additions and how much for the new play.)

 

The simplest explanation then is that Jonson wrote some other additions we don’t have.

 

Gabriel Egan

 

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Gerald E. Downs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         September 2, 2013 2:09:49 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Additions to The Spanish Tragedy

 

Steve Roth raises an interesting topic new to me but discussed elsewhere:

 

> I have a question . . . regarding Douglas Bruster’s “Shakespearean

> Spellings and Handwriting in the Additional Passages Printed in the

> 1602 Spanish Tragedy.”

> Which is nicely summarized in this recent NYT piece:

> Much Ado About Who: Is It Really Shakespeare?

> Further Proof of Shakespeare’s Hand in ‘The Spanish Tragedy’

> Bruster follows in a lengthy tradition going back at least to Coleridge,

> arguing (based on handwriting deductions referencing the presumed

> Shakespeare passage in H8) that Shakespeare, not Ben Jonson,

> wrote the 1602 Spanish Tragedy additions.

 

Steve refers not to any analysis of “H8” but to the three “Hand D” pages of Sir Thomas More. The NYT article refers to “the idiosyncrasies of Shakespeare’s handwriting — surviving mainly in three densely scribbled pages held in the British Library that are widely attributed to Shakespeare”; without identifying the manuscript.

 

> My question: how do those who claim this explain the solid

> external evidence of Henslowe’s payments to Jonson on 25

> Sept. 1601 (“upon hn writtinge of his adicians in geronymo”)

> and 22 June 1602 (for “new adicyons for Jeronymo”)?

 

> I find that Brian Vickers rather skims past this question in his

> 2012 “Identifying Shakespeare’s Additions to The Spanish Tragedy

> (1602): A New(er) Approach”:

> “It is worth observing that we do not know whether Jonson, or Bird

> ever delivered these additions”

 

I’ll bet they spent the money, at least. Vickers’s article is interesting; I’ll take note of it later. But it seems to me that Vickers does endeavor to eliminate the Henslowe addition with discussion on these points:

 

1) “However, scholars who have examined the language of these additions with care have found no trace of Jonson's dramaturgy or style.”

 

2) “As L.L. Schücking (34–7) and Harry Levin pointed out, a mocking allusion in Marston’s Antonio and Mellida dates the Additions to 1599 or earlier.”

 

3) “Craig then produces a scatterplot . . . in which the Additions are said to be located ‘comfortably within Shakespeare's territory’, providing ‘strong evidence that Jonson did not write the additions’ (212).”

 

4) “[Marcus Dahl’s] method is described in Appendix 1.) The results showed that, apart from Shakespeare and Jonson, none of the other possible authors working in the London theatres in the late 1590s were serious candidates. . . . The results for Shakespeare, however, presented in Appendix 2, provide overwhelming evidence for his having written these five enlarged scenes in The Spanish Tragedy.”

 

I’m not sold on Vickers’s conclusions but I believe Jonson’s authorship is not the issue, given the numerous collocations with Shakespeare’s works elucidated in the article.

 

> And Bruster, in his brief four-page article, never mentions these

> entries, offering purely internal evidence (unless you consider

> the H8 handwriting analysis to be external evidence, somewhat

> removed and inevitably somewhat speculative).

 

As I’ve suggested over time, reliance on the non-existent “D = Shakespeare” handwriting case, coupled with the probability that D was a copyist, must ultimately reduce the force of Brewster’s argument, whatever it is. That’s what happens when received opinion drives the research. My guess is that professor Brewster ignores an abundance of negative evidence.

 

> I don’t have a dog in this fight, but am quite curious: if

> Shakespeare wrote the additions that appeared in 1602,

> what do people think Henslowe was paying Jonson for?

 

The Spanish Tragedy was popular but it probably wasn’t “Rocky Horror” sacred. In print for a long time, the play belonged to anyone who cared to stage it. There’s no reason to suppose Henslowe’s additions were the only ones, so attempts at attribution have to focus on other things. I haven’t much recollection of the play, much less the additions, so I have some reading to do.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.