The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0054  Tuesday, 2 February 2010


From:         John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         January 30, 2010 8:34:06 PM EST

Subject: 21.0048  Shakespeare's Literary "Intentions"

Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0048  Shakespeare's Literary "Intentions"


Thomas Pendleton wrote: 


As I recall, and as has been stated by other commentators, Erne suggested that, at least after he joined the Chamberlains Men, and up to 1603, Shakespeare's plays were regularly released for publication about two years after performance.


I still think we are misrepresenting Lukas Erne -- why would he say something quite so daft?


Allowing for the imprecision of dating, I find that R2, RJ*, 1H4, 2H4, H5*, Ham* fit the pattern, although the starred plays appeared in defective form (nee bad quartos). But MND and MWW* appeared about 5 years after premiering, MV 3 or 4, and TC about 8. JC, AYL, TN, and AWW first appeared in the Folio.


I think you can add MWW* to the "pattern" -- Giorgio Melchiori (in his Arden 3 edition) dates it to c.1600. He makes the obvious point that it must be after H5 because it includes Corporal Nym from H5: MWW includes a reunion of (nearly) all Falstaff's companions (Poins just gets a name-check.) I would go further, and suggest that MWW was the play that was performed at court on Twelfth Night 1601 in front of Elizabeth and Duke Virginio Orsini. Of course, "Bad Quartos" are easiest to explain as being published within about two years, because "unauthorised" publication would be more likely for new-ish plays. There's also LLL, which was probably a Chamberlain's Men play of c.1594 published in 1598. (There's probably a missing "Bad Quarto" -- quite possibly entitled "Love's Labours Won".)


(AYL probably counts as constrained -- the "staying order", whatever *that* means -- and AWW is probably to be dated to 1604. But you can add Errors to the list -- that has to be a Chamberlain's Men play.)


John Briggs



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