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Home :: Archive :: 2013 :: October ::
Spanish Tragedy Additions

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0477  Friday, 11 October 2013

 

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

     Date:         October 10, 2013 1:33:54 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions 

 

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

     Date:         October 10, 2013 2:36:13 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions 

 

 

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

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

Date:         October 10, 2013 1:33:54 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions

 

Michael Egan writes,

 

Larry Weiss misreads me. I said that no commentator, including his good self, has addressed the fact that verbal and phrasal parallels exist between 1 Richard II and plays not attributed to Shakespeare until the 20th Century, These are Edward III, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Sir Thomas More. Not only that, but in the Two Noble Kinsmen and Sir Thomas More the parallels are found exactly in those scenes previously identified by the style critics as Shakespeare. So the process is mutually confirming.

 

I have never claimed that parallel phrases clinch the matter but without them there would be no case. What proves my thesis the quality of the writing. 

 

There are parallels and there are parallels. As Muriel St. Clare Byrne pointed out long ago, ‘mere accumulation of ungraded parallels does not prove anything’. Unfortunately the grading or determination of the quality of so-called parallels is at least in part a subjective matter—hence the attempts to objectify the process using the ‘negative check,’ plagiarism detection programs and massive databases of contemporary texts.

 

Some years ago, when Dr. Egan’s Woodstock claims first appeared on SHAKSPER, I read most of the then-available on-line version of his Woodstock thesis. (I believe he now disclaims that version as inadequate, but if there were much merit in the case surely 85% of the argument should be sufficient to point to the desired conclusion.) There were certainly many parallels adduced there, but to my judgment most of them seemed to be commonplaces of no particular significance. Many of the more impressive ones can be explained as Samuel Rowley’s borrowing from Shakespeare’s Richard II. I know Egan does not accept this argument, insisting that because some scholars (including Mac Jackson who has explained why he changed his mind on this point) once guessed that the undated Woodstock ms. represented a play originally written in the early 1590s, it must therefore be so (and must remain so, no change-sies). But Jackson’s and Lake’s arguments that the play can be shown to be by Samuel Rowley seem to me to be very strong. Dr Egan disagrees—and there we rare.

 

The parallels adduced for Shakespeare’s hand in the SpTr Adds have been vetted by negative check, database search, stylometrics etc. Egan’s Woodstock parallels and the SpTr parallels are both groups of parallels, but they cannot really be compared. I too would be interested to see what Sir Brian’s plagiarism program would make of Woodstock, but if I were Michael Egan I wouldn’t hold my breath anticipating corroboration.

 

By the way, Edward II was first seriously attributed to Shakespeare by Capell in 1760 and first included in a collected Shakespeare in the 19c (in the “Leopold Shakespeare”). Two Noble Kinsmen was, of course, first attributed to Shakespeare in 1634 and since then usually has been reluctantly accepted as a red-haired stepchild, though rarely printed with his works (though it too was in the Leopold). Sir Thomas More (not printed until 1844) was first attributed to Shakespeare in 1871. Though it is true that these plays did not make it into the Riverside or the Oxford (etc.) until much later, there was always a significant portion of scholars and critics who tentatively accepted them. The same cannot be said for Woodstock, so the attempted coattails does not seem appropriate.

 

Bill Lloyd

 

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

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

Date:         October 10, 2013 2:36:13 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions

 

Larry Weiss misreads me. I said that no commentator, including his good self, has addressed the fact that verbal and phrasal parallels exist between 1 Richard II and plays not attributed to Shakespeare until the 20th Century, These are Edward III, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Sir Thomas More.

 

Those contentions are addressed on pages 29-31 and in note 61 on page 31 of the panel’s opinion, which can be found in the SHAKSPER archives.

 
 

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