The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0234  Friday, 15 May 2009

From:       Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 13 May 2009 13:27:56 -0400
Subject: 20.0228 Gary Taylor's Cardenio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0228 Gary Taylor's Cardenio

I don't think anyone here quibbles with Arnie Pearlstein's position that 
the attribution of The Second Maiden's Tragedy should be independent of 
the general "authorship controversy." There is quite a bit of serious 
work being done by Stratfordians on the attribution of apocryphal plays 
without the imputation of heterodoxy. Otherwise, Edward III would be 
excluded without consideration and Mac Jackson's attribution of portions 
of Arden of Faversham to Shakespeare would be rejected out of hand. It 
is a classic fallacy to argue against an hypothesis by contending that 
it bears some resemblance to an entirely different but less respectable 
view, and I hope no one here would advance such a position.

That said, the main problem I find in Arnie's argument is in its 
assumption that the attribution of TSMT has not been considered closely. 
It has been; and Hamilton's attribution to WS has been rejected 
universally. For example, as was pointed out in the earlier posts, Eliot 
and Valenza applied the same meticulous stylometric analysis to this 
play as they did to the rest of the apocrypha and dubitanda, and found 
that it was so foreign to Shakespeare as to reside in another literary 

Most of what I would say in response to Arnie was already said in my 
earlier post, so I shall not belabor it again. But I do need to respond 
to one point he makes in response to something I said:

 > when I read the following critique . . . .
 >"Then, in V.i, there are five killings within the space of twenty-five 
 > . . . my first thought is that a similarly dense textual 
concentration of
 >climactic killings (Laertes, Gertrude, Claudius and Hamlet) has never 
 >considered a defect in that other play which we all know and love so 
well. ;)

If Arnie goes back to what I said he will find that I was not making a 
point that rapid-fire killings are foreign to Shakespeare. Instead, I 
was pointing out that such events are not hallmarks of romances. 
Hamilton argued that TSMT was a romance, akin to Pericles, Cymbeline, 
Winter's Tale and The Tempest, so it fit in the last period of 
Shakespeare's career, when Cardenio was supposedly written. The one 
thing TSMT is not is a romance.

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