Shakespeare’s collaborators identified in new editions
Posted: 27 October 2016 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Taylor told the Guardian: “The orthodox view was that Shakespeare didn’t collaborate at all. When the Oxford Shakespeare in 1986 proposed that eight plays of Shakespeare contained writing by other writers, some people were outraged. What has happened since 1986 is that the accumulation of new scholarship, techniques and resources has made it clear that, in 1986, we underestimated the amount of Shakespeare’s work that’s collaborative.”
He said: “In 1986, eight of 39 plays were identified on their title pages as collaborative, a little more than 20%. In 2016, 17 of 44 plays are identified, a little more than 38%, close to two-fifths.”

Here.

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Posted: 27 October 2016 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Thank you for not focusing on the “OMG Christopher Marlowe (co-)wrote the Henry VI plays!!!” aspect, thus showing more good sense and restraint than approximately 100% of the media reports.  Having been one of the copyeditors on the project, I’m a little tetchy about that.

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Posted: 27 October 2016 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I don’t know where Taylor gets the notion that the orthodox view was that Shakespeare didn’t collaborate at all. Long before the Oxford Shakespeare was published 30 years ago it was a well-established tenet of Shakespearean criticism that Shakespeare, as most of the other working playwrights of his day, collaborated on many plays. See for instance Tucker-Brooke’s classic 1908 edition of Shakespeare’s Apocrypha in the preface of which he identifies several plays in which many contemporary critics, including T-B himself, believed that Shakespeare worked with other playwrights, for instance Edward III, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Sir Thomas More, in the MS of which Hand D has long been attributed to Shakespeare. Then of course there was Fleay’s 19th century works on the Bard in which he singled out many of the plays, wrongly it is now thought, as being collaborative works. And finally John Fletcher, Shakespeare’s successor as chief playwright to The King’s Men, has been known since at least the 18th century to have worked with Shakespeare on The Two Noble Kinsmen, Henry VIII and possibly the lost Cardenio and in fact there have been many studies attempting to identify Shakespeare and Fletcher’s respective parts in the two first-mentioned plays. In short the orthodox view was just the opposite of what Taylor is saying.

I respect Taylor as an editor but that assertion of his is just plain wrong, so wrong in fact I can only assume the Guardian has misquoted him.

[ Edited: 27 October 2016 05:19 PM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 28 October 2016 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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aldiboronti - 27 October 2016 05:14 PM

… I can only assume the Guardian has misquoted him.

Maybe it was a typo.

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Posted: 28 October 2016 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The ghost of Shakespeare must be glad to palm off part of the blame for the Henry VI plays… they’re not very good.

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Posted: 28 October 2016 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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OP Tipping - 28 October 2016 03:25 AM

The ghost of Shakespeare must be glad to palm off part of the blame for the Henry VI plays… they’re not very good.

Oh, they definitely have their moments, especially Parts II and III with the character of Gloucester already displaying the malicious wit and devilry that will soon bear glorious fruit in Richard III. Besides it’s absolutely fascinating watching the young Shakespeare develop his art, at first following in the footsteps of the University Wits - Marlowe, Greene, Peele, Kyd, Lyly et al - then gradually finding his own voice and soaring beyond their reach, much to the fury of Robert Greene, who lambasted the young dramatist in print, calling him an ‘upstart crow beautified with our feathers, that with his ‘Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde’, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Iohannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey’. The tiger’s heart line is an adapted line of Shakespeare’s from the Henry VI plays (O tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide!). Greene just could not stomach the fact that a mere actor was taking on the university graduates at their own game and soundly beating them.

Even Shakespeare’s apprentice works - the early Histories, Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Comedy of Errors, etc - contain much to surprise, delight and instruct.

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Posted: 30 October 2016 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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aldiboronti - 27 October 2016 05:14 PM
And finally John Fletcher, Shakespeare’s successor as chief playwright to The King’s Men, has been known since at least the 18th century to have worked with Shakespeare on The Two Noble Kinsmen…

The_Two_Noble_Kinsmen_by_John_Fletcher_William_Shakespeare_1634.jpg

That is far too big, sorry, and it should come after the aldi quote.

[ Edited: 30 October 2016 10:44 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 30 October 2016 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That credit on the title page of The Two Noble Kinsmen quarto is not, in and of itself, reliable evidence of co-authorship. All sorts of incorrect stuff got printed on title pages back in the day; if the printer thought it would sell books, it went in. But there’s a lot of other evidence that makes it nearly certain that Fletcher and Shakespeare collaborated on the play.

Aldi’s right. The idea that Shakespeare collaborated on some of the plays has been the orthodox view for many decades, although there is a lot of debate over exactly which plays and how much of them were collaborative. Certainly the co-authorship of The Two Noble Kinsman has been widely accepted since the nineteenth century, although exactly who wrote what bits has been debated.

And that’s not even mentioning the posthumous compilation and editing of the folio.

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Posted: 31 October 2016 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes, backing up what Dave said above, the Quarto title pages are worthless as evidence of authorship. Publishers of the day had no qualms at all about putting Shakespeare’s or another popular playwright’s name on a title-page if it would increase sales, hence the attribution to Shakespeare of such stuff as Fair Em, The Miller’s Daughter, The Life of Sir John Oldcastle, etc. (Shakespeare certainly had no hand in the latter. It was an attempt by a rival company to profit from the troubles the King’s Men ran into with Henry IV. Falstaff’s original name in the plays had been Oldcastle, of which there are vestiges in the text, Prince Hal addressing him as ‘my old lad of the castle’, etc. Unfortunately Sir John Oldcastle was an ancestor of the Lord Cobham, a highly influential courtier who took great offence and Shakespeare’s company were told to change the name or risk Cobham’s high displeasure. The rival company - I think it was the Admiral’s Men - instantly produced a play depicting Oldcastle as a hero and martyr with a clear eye on Cobham’s purse.)

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Posted: 05 November 2016 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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A couple of relevant OUPBlog pieces:

Marlowe, not Shakespeare—so what?, by Rory Loughnane

Who were Shakespeare’s collaborators? by Gary Taylor (an extract from the General Introduction to the New Oxford Shakespeare)

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