The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0472  Wednesday, 9 October 2013


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

Date:         October 8, 2013 5:06:34 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions 


Michael Egan says that he


was stunned to read Gerald Downs’ long exposition on parallels and authorial attribution. Every one of his positive criteria apply to 1 Richard II, confirming its attribution to Shakespeare. . . . 


I would be interested in whether Downs thinks so.


What clinches the matter, though not a single critic has ever addressed the evidence, is that verbal and phrasal parallels (to go no further at this point) exist between 1 Richard II and plays not attributed to Shakespeare until the 20th century. These include Edward III. The Two Noble Kinsmen, and yes even the Sir Thomas More fragment.


As my opinion in Egan v. Elliott (in the SHAKSPER archives) points out at length, verbal parallels are not particularly significant, especially in the face of astronomically divergent stylistic differences. It is also untrue, as the opinion and even Egan’s own book confirms that “not a single critic has addressed the evidence.” Several have. What is true is that Egan is the only one who finds this “evidence” at all persuasive.


Stay tuned, though. Egan has gotten in touch with me and induced me to write a reply to his long “response” to the opinion, which he now tells me he will include in a book of essays about the Woodstock play, also including the panel’s opinion and Egan’s response. I hope he lets us know when to expect this volume.


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