The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0490  Tuesday, 22 October 2013


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

Date:         October 17, 2013 8:49:49 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Mucedorus Bate


> Mucedorus is a 1590s tragi-comedy which Shakespeare’s

> acting company revived in 1610 with extra scenes.

> Bate said: “At least one of those scenes is, we think,

> linguistically full of his fingerprints.” It uses phrases unique

> to Shakespeare such as “worthless trunk” (also in Henry V)

> and “high extolment” (Hamlet) and his famous stage direction,

> “Exit, pursued by a bear” (The Winter’s Tale).


Speaking of linguistically full, here we go again. Fingerprints. Keep it up and we’ll have to let O.J. out of the Vegas big house. The additions this time total something over 200 lines, with the evidence in one scene; how many lines is that? High extolment is catching.


In 1950 Leo Kirschbaum argued that Mucedorus is a bad quarto. I’m sure he’s right (though I haven’t seen his MLR article) because he was a proponent of MR but Shorthand almost always makes a better case. I will try to look into this. There seems to be a lot of scholarly naivety to goad newspaper credulity these days. BTW, it’s coincidence no doubt, but the A text of Dumbo reads ‘worthless trunk’, an obvious misprint for B’s ‘worthless ears’; you just never know.


Gerald E. Downs


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