Year's Work in English Studies 2005: Shakespeare: Editions and Textual Studies
The series The Oxford Shakespeare and The Arden Shakespeare produced no new editions in 2005. Although it proved impossible to obtain for last year's round-up of work published in 2004, the copyright page of William C. Carroll's Arden edition of The Two Gentlemen of Verona insists upon a publication date of 2004 and so it misses its chance of a notice. One monograph falls within the scope of this review: Thomas Merriam's The Identity of Shakespeare in Henry VIII. Too much of the book is a collection of complaints at the critical work of others, especially Gordon McMullan's Arden 3 edition of King Henry 8 (reviewed in YWES 81), rather than fresh contribution to knowledge. Merriam reads McMullan as not caring to characterize the individual and distinguishable moral characters of the two men who wrote the play, because he takes the postmodern line that creativity is blended in co-authorship (p. 3). Merriam thinks we can so distinguish, on textual evidence, and that postmodern insistence on authorial undecidability is just a new form of the old Romantic idea that Shakespeare was so much the artist that his personality disappears in his works and one cannot tell where he stands. (This is a sound theoretical point about postmodernism.) This is not to say, however, that Shakespeare is not shifty and ambiguous: he is, and that is because he had to veil his Catholicism (pp. 4-7).
Because 29 June 1613 (the day that a performance of the play burnt down the Globe) was Saint Peter's Day in the Anglican calendar, one scholar has suggested that the Globe fire was arson prompted by the play's dramatization of the break with Saint Peter's descendant, the Pope, on his day. Discussing the possibility of earlier performances at the Blackfriars theatre the preceding winter, Merriam makes the mistake of claiming that "Shakespeare's company had bought the theatre in 1608" (p. 10). In fact Richard Burbage inherited the theatre from his father when James Burbage died in February 1597, and what happened in August 1608 was the formation of a syndicate of leading sharers in the playing company to be housekeepers of the Blackfriars. Also against Merriam's speculation of a preceding winter performance of the play are the multiple, independent assertions in accounts of the Globe fire that a new play was being shown when it happened.
Merriam surveys R. A. Foakes's Arden 2 edition of the play, which dismisses the critical distaste for Katherine's being unproblematically turned out to make room for Anne Bullen as a failure to grasp the historical necessity of it, as Shakespeare would have seen it. Likewise, other twentieth-century editions cover the play's disjunctions by saying that it is a coherent and unified exploration of the ambiguities and contradictions of the characters and of religious belief (pp. 16-21). The survey ends with McMullan's edition and Brian Vickers's attack upon it in his book Shakespeare, Co-author (reviewed YWES 83), in which Merriam overstates McMullan's indifference to the matter of collaborative writing. Whereas McMullan thinks that the play problematizes truth (by having people of opposed views think that they are telling it), Merriam holds that "Katherine's judgment as to what is true is, without irony, that of the playwright" (p. 27).
Merriam gets wrong the basis for objecting to the identification of compositors by spelling evidence, pointing out that the need to justify a line may make a compositor depart from his usual spelling (p. 27). True, but that means only that long verse lines and prose lines must be excluded from consideration: spellings in short verse lines should be unaffected by justification. Whereas McMullan claimed that no words or phrases can be said to belong to just one writer, Merriam points out that MacDonald P. Jackson has found some that are so confined: "What hoa" is exclusive to Shakespeare and William Davenant. A key problem when trying to work out how this play was collaboratively put together is that material from a single page of the book Acts and Monuments by the anti-Papist John Foxe is found in the Cranmer episodes in 5.1 (Shakespeare's, according to James Spedding's division) and in the Cranmer episodes in 5.2 (Fletcher's, according to Spedding). For McMullan this meant that one man wrote both scenes, for Merriam it simply means we need to be smarter in our attribution of different parts of 5.1 and 5.2 (pp. 34-35).
Merriam describes Jackson's new collocation-testing technique using Chadwyck-Healey's Literature Online (LION) database and incorporating negative checks to improve reliability, which means that one ensures that the material one is hunting appears only in the work of the candidate and no-one else. Merriam tries the technique on phrases from the Cranmer episodes in 5.1 that use Foxe as a source (as do the Cranmer episodes in 5.2) but having made a big deal of the negative check he fails fully to apply it. Merriam claims that the phrase "there are that" appears nowhere in Shakespeare except the bit of Henry 8 he wants to attribute to Fletcher, but is in Fletcher's The Island Princess and in Fletcher and Rowley's The Maid in the Mill. True, but LION shows 10 other plays using it, plus 14 prose works and 42 poems, all published by 1650 and not by Fletcher. Even confining the search solely to uses that exactly parallel Merriam examples--where "there are that" has no explicit antecedent subject, only the implicit antecedent subject 'some people'--there are hits from Mary Sidney ("There are that thinke the contrary . . ." To the reader in The Countesse of Pembroke's Arcadia, 1593) and Ben Jonson ("Application, is now, growne a Trade with many; and there are, that professe to haue a Key for the deciphering of euery thing . . ." The Epistle in Volpone, 1607).
Of course, Merriam was not trying to do more than distinguish whether Shakespeare or Fletcher wrote the lines in question, so we might think it irrelevant who else used the expression "There are that", but the point is that if the phrase is common then its appearing in Fletcher's work and not Shakespeare's has less significance than it would if the phrase were rare and appeared in Fletcher and not Shakespeare, since the assignment to Fletcher would be stronger if no-one else used it. Another phrase Merriam tries is "indeed this" which is not used by Shakespeare elsewhere but is used by Fletcher; again it is easy to find examples by other writers (p. 36). Then Merriam tries "For so I know" which indeed is rare, there being only the Henry 8 occurrence and one in Fletcher and Field's An Honest Man's Fortune. Merriam has a few other phrases that are genuinely rare, and moreover he has a stack of phrases that occur many times in Fletcher and never in Shakespeare. Thus overall--even discounting somewhat the evidence from phrases that are not rare--his claims about dividing afresh the parts of scenes in the play are reasonable (pp. 37-38). Thus, "I conclude that the Cranmer episodes in Act 5 of Henry VIII were written by Fletcher and not by Shakespeare". Fletcher, whose grandfather assisted Foxe, used Foxe and Shakespeare did not (p. 39).
As Peter Milward pointed out, Leontes in The Winter's Tale and Henry 8 use the "Ha!" exclamation, and the trial of Hermione is somewhat like the trial of Katherine, and the appeal to Delphos is like the appeal to Rome (p. 41). (This seems to stretch a point, since Delphos is appealed to by the judge, Leontes, to get an expert opinion, whereas Rome is appealed to by the defendant, Katherine, to get the trial stopped.) Looking for further connections between the plays, Merriam observes that a winter's tale is trivial and false, which might be in deliberate opposition to one in which 'all is true', and he finds verbal parallels in Hermione's phrasing of her defence and Katherine's phrasing of hers (pp. 42-43). Henry accuses Katherine of incest, whereas Leontes accuses Hermione of adultery, but Merriam sees a "covert link" via the non-Shakespearian incest in Pericles. It appears that Merriam overlooks the brief but overt incest danger in The Winter's Tale, when Leontes unwittingly lusts for his daughter and has to be checked by Paulina ("Your eye hath too much youth in 't", 5.2.224). To Merriam it is plain that Shakespeare feels sorry for Hermione and Katherine, and the lack of sympathy for Katherine in Henry 8 is due to Shakespeare's not writing the relevant bits (p. 47).
After more rather pointless and lengthy complaint that McMullan is too much the New Historicist (pp. 52-60), Merriam counts how often the words all, dare, hath, in, must, sure, and too are used in a collection of plays by Shakespeare and by others, and marks how often the plays depart from Shakespeare's usual frequencies for these words. That the non-Shakespearian plays have frequencies outside the Shakespearian range looks like confirmation that these are reliable discriminators of authorship, but in fact the norms were taken from the Shakespeare plays in the table so of course they conform to the norms, and it is unsurprising the others do not. This in any case is a restatement of Merriam's argument reviewed in YWES 84.
Organized as a series of short chapters, Merriam's book has by this point already reached the ninth, which he calls an "Historical Digression (pp. 67-73). On the matter of whether Katherine was a virgin when she married Henry (so, her first marriage, to his brother Arthur, was unconsummated) Merriam seems to think that as well as the bride (who must know), the groom also had reliable knowledge derived from their wedding night. This surely overstates the reliability of the physical evidence about his wife's virginity that a man gains on his wedding night. According to Merriam, historians have attended too much to the matter of whether Katherine was a virgin and too little to the fact that Henry got a papal dispensation to get around his consanguinity with Anne Bullen (having had sex with her sister) and to get around her being precontracted to Henry Percy.
By making out that Cranmer is the voice of truth that allowed the Tudor dynasty to flourish (by enabling Henry to marry Anne Bullen), McMullan himself, claims Merriam, falls for the Tudor Myth: in reality Cranmer's subsequent annulment of Henry's marriage to Anne Bullen (on the grounds of consanguinity) is a major obstacle to the Tudors' narrative of themselves and hence it had to be 'air-brushed' out of the play (pp. 74-76). Merriam reckons that although it was not common knowledge, Shakespeare knew the historical details and hence he could not have actually believed what he has Cranmer say about the baby Elizabeth at the end of the play. McMullan thought that the lines are ironic, but all his predecessor editors read them straight--Elizabeth is being praised--so perhaps McMullan allowed to much too irony and in fact Shakespeare did not write the lines or even acquiesce in them (pp. 78-79).
Chapter 11 (pp. 84-102) restates Merriam's article about the relevance frequency of the word 'conscience' (reviewed YWES 84), and claims that rather than accept that the play has conflicting impulses deriving from the conflicting ideas of its two writers, McMullan did postmodern mental backflips with biblical and Roman source matter to make sense of it and prevent himself admitting that Shakespeare did not approve of Elizabeth 1's biological provenance. Chapter 12 (pp. 103-23) examines scene 2.3, most of which is by Shakespeare. There is, however, an unironic bit in the middle, where the Lord Chamberlain enters and looks forward to Anne's having a child that gladdens the whole country--so anticipating the Fletcherian ending--and this bit is also by Fletcher, to judge by collocations tested the Jackson-LION way and by a high incidence of feminine endings and by pause patterns. In the scene the Old Lady consistently undermines Anne's professions of honesty and fidelity to her mistress Katherine, but critics have trouble noticing this because the effect is spoilt by Fletcher's unironic interpolated vignette (2.3.50-80) of the Chamberlain saying how great Anne is.
Merriam gives scene 4.2 to Fletcher with a Shakespeare segment in the middle: lines 31-99 including the long stage direction for the vision (p. 128). Thus the undermining of the vision (which is unironically blessing Katherine) is Fletcher's messing with Shakespeare's Catholic sentiment (pp. 129-31). In a point made also in an article (reviewed below), Merriam argues that in the biblical sources for Katherine's vision, the "personages" in it are early-Christian martyrs (pp. 134-35). Using the Jackson-LION method, Merriam establishes that the dream vision is Shakespeare's not Fletcher's: it has words common in Shakespeare and rare or entirely absent in Fletcher (p. 138). Merriam ends the book with a survey of critical hostility to the evidence that Shakespeare was Catholic, and the willingness to only go so far as to say that if he was a papist he concealed the fact throughout his public career. For critics such as Richard Wilson, Catholicism is a fundamentalism, a Jihadism, to be contrasted with the word 'catholic' in the sense of broad-minded and undogmatic. Merriam then moves on to a wider survey (and very good it is too) of the role of anti-Catholicism in the formation of English national identity since the Glorious Revolution.
No other relevant books appeared in 2005. The collection of essays called Printing and Parenting in Early Modern England edited by Douglas A. Brooks has much to recommend it, especially an examination by Laurie Maguire of the life and work of the New Bibliographer Alice Walker. Unfortunately the essays that are of direct concern to this review have all appeared elsewhere and so must not be noticed now. Otherwise, just two book contributions are relevant, and they come from the same book. Christa Jansohn offers a survey of Shakespeare editions past and present (''Now, Sir, What Is Your Text':? Shakespeare Editions Old and New', in Christa Jansohn (ed.) In the Footsteps of William Shakespeare (Munster: LIT )). She notes that for decades German scholarship has largely ignored matters textual in relation to Shakespeare (pp. 23-27). Since she is complaining about scholars not being up-to-date, it is surprising that Jansohn repeats the old-fashioned line about Shakespeare not bothering about publication, apparently in ignorance of Lukas Erne's groundbreaking argument to the contrary (p. 26).
After whistle-stop survey of Nicholas Rowe's Shakespeare edition and everything since (pp. 29-34), Jansohn turns to recent texts, especially the Arden Shakespeare in its multi-volume and collected works forms. Her writing contains significant infelicities of language such as ". . . the First Folio is used, which has some hundred more lines that the Quarto of 1608, while Q has about three hundred lines more than F" (p. 36). She means, of course, not that one has more lines than the other, but that each has certain lines that the other lacks. Jansohn rightly objects that the collected Arden that mixes series 2 and series 3 texts is missold as the latest thinking. She ends with thoughts on the Riverside, the Bevington Complete Works, and the Norton, and some rather naive comments on the desirability of editorially retaining a few old spellings to give some flavour of speech of Shakespeare's time. The second relevant contribution in this book is Richard Proudfoot's useful summary of the history of scholarly attention to the Shakespeare Apocrypha ('Is There, and Should There Be, a Shakespeare Apocrypha?', in Christa Jansohn (ed.) In the Footsteps of William Shakespeare (Munster: LIT )). Proudfoot offers reflections on the plays themselves, but makes no serious attempt to generate new knowledge about them, and he observes that now that we accept Shakespeare's habit of co-authorship we should revise our notions about attribution and canonicity. Since we cannot hope to apportion plays in the author-centered way we used to, we ought to think more in terms of playing companies and their repertories.
The most important article of the year was Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser's response to Peter W. M. Blayney's influential claim that printing a playbook would not have greatly appealed to a publisher in Shakespeare's time because the genre was not especially popular or lucrative ('The Popularity of Playbooks Revisited', SQ 56 .1-32). Blayney's central piece of evidence was the lack of second editions, pointing out that only 1 in 5 play editions achieved a second edition within 9 years of the first. Farmer and Lesser think that Blayney miscounted popularity because he did not measure the popularity of playbooks against the varying popularity of books in general. They use Blayney's four criteria--total number of editions, market share, frequency of reprinting, and profitability--for playbooks as against other books and show that playbooks were much more popular than Blayney thought.
Blayney's criteria are not without problems: the market share of playbooks could be shaped more by supply than demand, and also stationers could have been mistaking consumer demand (p. 5). We can estimate profitability for books using knowledge of sheet lengths. The main conclusion is that plays were wildly popular with readers and made good profits for publishers. In the Caroline period the reprint rate fell but the number of editions went up, which paradox Lesser and Farmer attempt to explain in terms of a market bifurcating between new plays and classic plays. They confine themselves to "professional plays", that is plays by the professional London theatres, excluding masques, pageants, university, and closet drama (p. 6). (Thus they seem to exclude plays that were published explicitly to encourage the readers to perform them, which might skew the evidence somewhat if, as some believe, the amateur market was significant.)
Comparing Stationers' Register entries with extant books seems to show that we have not lost much of what was printed: probably fewer than one play a year. Up to 1597 the market was small and on average just over two new first editions and half a reprint appeared each year. Between 1598 and 1613 the number of plays printed shot up fivefold, initially because there were a lot of reprints of existing plays, which was an activity more profitable than printing a first edition (p. 10). Once successful reprints showed that there was a market for playbooks, publishers started to be more willing to take a chance on a first edition. The surge in play printing around 1600 included a lot of Shakespeare's work, and indeed he "helped to establish the playbook market itself" (p. 11). From 1614 to 1628 the market contracted again, and mostly because of a plunge in first editions of plays while the reprint market held up well. While it is possible to explain this in terms of demand--an overall decrease in demand made publishers stick with known sure-fire hits, so they stuck to reprints--it is as least as likely that the explanation is a decrease in supply of new plays (p. 12). The slump of 1614 to 1628 included the Jonson and Shakespeare Folios, so whatever impact they had was on perceived cultural value, not on the market. One of the reasons that Blayney miscounted the popularity of playbooks was that he paid too much attention to new editions, when in fact reprints were the bedrock of the market. Another is that he counted a collection of plays once-per-play whereas Farmer and Lesser count it as one book, and yet another is that he compared new play printings to overall Short Title Catalogue (STC) entries, but in fact many STC entries record variant states of a single edition, so his divisor (overall editions) was artificially high (p. 13).
Yet another of Farmer and Lesser's claimed reasons Blayney misconstrued the market for plays was that he did not distinguish speculative publishing that carried a risk (plays, poems, and the like) from non-speculative publishing such as proclamations on which the publisher could not lose because these were paid for in advance. To adjust for these errors by Blayney, Farmer and Lesser sampled six years from the STC (1590, 1600, 1610, 1620, 1630, and 1635) and from the 3130 entries for these years they discerned that 8% were variant state entries and 13% were entries for non-speculative matter. Thus only 79% of the STC entries are really significant for the speculative book market. By these improvements upon his method, Farmer and Lesser reckon that whereas Blayney found that 1 in 77 editions was a new play, the true ratio was 1 in 24 (p. 14).
There remains the problem that certain books are simply lost to us, and the likelihood that things other than playbooks would be over-represented amongst those lost. Also, we do not know the sizes of print runs so we cannot tell overall what proportion of books (as a general commodity) were playbooks, nor how much capital the publishers invested in the various books since we do not know how much each edition cost to make and how much they sold for. We can tell in terms of total sales, and total investment, and total profits, that what stand out are the books produced by royal patent and those produced by the English Stock monopoly, including "almanacs, Bibles, catechisms, and school books" that were published in the tens of thousands and so represented a higher proportion of capital investment and of profit than their bare numbers of editions would suggest (p. 16). The patented and monopolistic entries represent 11% of STC so if we cut them out too (that is, in addition to the 8% mere variants and the 13% non-speculative titles) we find that 68% of the STC entries are playbooks and their real non-playbook competition (p. 17).
The foregoing explains the upper and lower lines in Farmer and Lesser's Figure 3, the former showing the market share of playbooks as a proportion of the market for competing genres most narrowly defined, and the latter the market share of playbooks as a proportion of the market for competing genres most broadly defined. The 'bottom line' is that on average plays were 5-10% of the market, varying by year. Turning to reprint rates, Farmer and Lesser generally agree with Blayney's claim that only about half of playbooks that were printed went into a second edition within 25 years, but they point out that this tells us nothing until we know the reprint rate for other, competing genres. So, they set out to work out the reprint rate for all speculative books and for sermons in particular, using their 6 sample years of 1590, 1600, 1610, 1620, 1630, and 1635 (p. 18). It turns out that the reprint rate for plays (nearly 40% of which were reprinted inside 20 years) is about double the average for all speculative books and double the average for sermons. So, a publisher would be well advised to prefer plays to the average book, although of course each particular publisher might well have a specialist genre he focussed on too (p. 20). Thus Blayney is wrong about popularity: plays were hot stuff from a publishing point of view; sermons had a larger share of the market, but were less likely to go into reprint.
But what about the real best-sellers: books that go into 5 or 10 editions? Even in this category, plays outperform sermons--the usually-cited best-sellers--which is just as William Prynne famously complained. Looking at how likely a reprint is to happen if the first edition appeared some while before, books in general and sermons in particular were unlikely to get reprinted when they were more than 5 years old, while plays seem to have stayed fresh and did not suffer this falling off (p. 22). If plays were so attractive, why were more not published? To answer this, Farmer and Lesser calculate that the median length of a playbook was 9.5 sheets, with a sermon being about 6.5 sheets and ballad about one-half to one sheet (p. 24). They calculate the median length for all books around 1610 and it is 10.5 sheets, so plays were typical in length. Thus length, and its supposed corollaries of investment and profit, cannot account for the surprising rareness of play publication, given that they were so lucrative. It must have been a matter of supply (p. 25). Compared to other kinds of writing such as sermons and ballads there just were fewer plays written for performance. For an analogy Farmer and Lesser point out that Hollywood made 199 films in 2004 so this is the absolute limit of the number of 'book-of-the-film' publications possible for that year, out of the tens of thousands of actual books published.
Something strange happened in the Caroline period: reprint rates fell drastically, down to 9% of playbooks published between 1626 and1640 getting a reprint inside 20 years, whereas previously around 40% were reprinted. Yet at the same time the total number of playbooks published soared and so did their market share (p. 27). The reason seems to be a division in stationer specialization: first editions were dominated by one group of men and second-and-subsequent editions by another group, with little overlap between the two. It seems that there emerged a 'novelty' market and a 'classics' market as distinct entities, with the latter being the Elizabethan and Jacobean play canon that has become our canon, and the former the Caroline canon that we now largely ignore (p. 28).
Because their disagreement with Blayney is centered on how entities are counted, it is worth attending to the methodological note that ends Farmer and Lesser's article (pp. 29-32). The Stationers' Register lists 37 manuscript playbooks for which there is no printed text, and checking what is in the register across the period against what actually got printed, it looks like about four-fifths of all playbooks that got printed were first entered in the register. Thus these 37 lost playbooks recorded in the register are only four-fifths of the actual lost playbooks, so about 46 playbooks were printed and are since lost. (Of course, this calculation is no good if the non-registered books were more likely than the registered ones to get lost: in principle there could have been thousands of never-entered-and-now-lost printed plays.) These 46 playbooks represent less than one a year and the true number is probably lower as the 37 contains things that might not be plays or might, because they were entered near the start of the Civil War, never have been printed because the war intervened.
Farmer and Lesser point out that we do not know for sure that what seem to us to be the earliest editions are really the first editions: there may have been earlier ones now lost. However, it seems that first editions usually followed within a year of register entry, while reprints on average took 10 years. So, there probably are not many cases like The Spanish Tragedy and Love's Labours Lost where there were two editions almost immediately and the first one is now lost. Thus the possible lost first editions do not much upset the argument of this paper. Since second-and-subsequent editions are presumably lost at the same rate as first editions, the unknown losses there are irrelevant too. Finally, the STC sampling dates of 1590, 1600, 1610, 1620, 1630, and 1635 will have more than their fair share of inferred datings (which usually end in 0 or 5), but these do not skew the sample of how many entries in a year are speculative works, which is what these sample years were used for in the argument.
As occasionally happens in these cases, Blayney was allowed by the editors of Shakespeare Quarterly to respond to Farmer and Lesser in the same issue of the journal that conveyed their article ('The Alleged Popularity of Playbooks', SQ 56 .33-50). It is hard to see this opportunity as other than the privilege of professional superiority: had Blayney been attacking the work of Farmer and Lesser (who are much less well known) I doubt they would have been granted the luxury of conveying an instantaneous response. Blayney's response is predictable: Farmer and Lesser have it all wrong and plays were indeed much less popular with the book-buying public than were competing works, especially the religious materials. It all depends, of course, on what you count: Blayney includes university plays because these were aimed at the same readership as professional stage plays. For the purpose of refuting Farmer and Lesser Blayney agrees to switch to counting books not plays--so the Shakespeare Folio of 1623 counts once, not 36 times--and this lowers the reprinted-inside-25-years rate from 40.8% to 32.4% (p. 34). At this point, Blayney makes certain concessions. Counting what share of raw STC entries is comprised of plays is the mixing of apples and pears, and Blayney accepts the elimination of the STC's false duplicates that are minor variant states in one edition.
But Blayney does not accept the elimination of non-speculative publications, at least, not for the reason that Farmer and Lesser give, which was the practice of payment-in-advance rather than outlay being recouped later; as Blayney points out, printers were often simply paid to do a job of work. Rather, Blayney argues, the non-speculative should be excluded because they were not made for the purpose of being sold wholesale to booksellers for resale to the public. (This seems like something of a smokescreen: Blayney pretends to object to Farmer and Lesser's phrasing, accusing them of confusion, in order to distract attention from the fact that he has conceded their point that lots of publications carried little or no risk and hence ought not to be compared to the speculative endeavour of play publication.) Blayney objects to books published at the cost of their authors being excluded because he thinks them just as speculative as any others. I would have thought that the suspicion of vanity publishing--which by definition is not market-driven--would indeed justify the exclusion of these books. Likewise Blayney objects to the exclusion of surreptitious religious books, which he thinks were made to be sold like any other books, as in the case of the recusant The Manual of Prayers, which went through 27 editions and "was therefore far more popular than any printed play" (p. 36). This claim would be more convincing if Blayney took the trouble to convince the reader that the number of new editions was directly an expression of popularity and not simply a result of the surreptitious circumstances of printing. After all, we are bound to wonder whether secret printing kept the print runs small--where to hide a large stack of dangerous books?--and hence made reprinting more frequently necessary (p. 36).
Blayney complains that when speaking of the best years for playbook sales, Farmer and Lesser neglect to mention the worst years, which he calls "biased and misleading" reporting. But the method, he admits, has at least been so far quite sensible (p. 37). After caviling on the nature of patent protection and whether it skewed the market to such an extent that the affected books should be excluded from the calculations, Blayney strongly objects to the exclusion of books sold to the captive markets of "students, lawyers, or parish churches" (pp. 38-39). Or rather, Blayney again concedes and admits that perhaps patented books ought to be excluded from such a study, but insists that the exclusion should not be for the reasons given by Farmer and Lesser, and he comes up with a book that they exclude but that was wildly popular without anyone being coerced to buy it (pp. 40-41). Even with all their unreasonable exclusions, Farmer and Lesser's figures do not show that playbooks were much more popular than Blayney claimed, rather that they were a little more popular (p. 42).
Most importantly, while Blayney accepts that the percentage of playbooks that got reprinted--40% by Farmer and Lesser's methods and date span, 33% by Blayney's--was about double that of the percentage of sermon books that got reprinted--20% by Farmer and Lesser's count, 17% by Blayney's--this is misleading if one neglects to mention that there were many more sermon books than playbooks so that in absolute terms the smaller percentage is a larger figure (p. 43). From this point of view, printed sermons were in fact vastly more popular than printed plays. In looking at the attractiveness of plays to publishers (based on the likelihood of getting a profitable reprint out of it) Farmer and Lesser overlook the fact that if there was ever a reprint it was more likely than not to be by someone other than the first-edition publisher, who usually had died by the time the reprint happened. That is to say, if the publishers understood the market they were in, they could not expect to do well from reprinting a play (p. 45). Overwhelmingly, what people bought was religious material, and Blayney ends with his table showing what proportion of books were first-edition plays and what proportion were second-and-subsequent editions for each decade beginning 1583 to 1633.
In the Huntington Library Quarterly, Richard Dutton argues that Shakespeare revised his play Henry 5 to make the unproblematic version that is best witnessed in the 1600 quarto into the subtle and contradictory version that is best witnessed in the 1623 Folio ('Methinks the Truth Should Live from Age to Age': The Dating and Contexts of Henry V', HLQ 68 .173-204). Dutton begins with much historical context on the theatrical topicality and possible censorship of various kinds of history play, which is fascinating stuff but from our purpose here (pp. 173-83). The play's Salic Law material (usually seen now as intentionally boring) would have been most interesting to the 1599 audience, Dutton argues, because indeed the whole thing is a "succession play" (p. 185). By this he does not mean to deny that the Salic Law is a distraction in the play--in that Henry 5 has no sound claim to the English throne and needs a foreign war--but rather that descent by the female line was central to James 6's claim to follow Elizabeth 1. The play's references to "the Scot" heading south once Henry leaves for France would have been topical in relation to the uncertain English succession (p. 186). James supported Essex's rebellion, and Scotland and Ireland were rightly feared to be places by which the Spanish (who sent fleets against England in 1596, 1597, and 1599) might gain entry. Captain Jamy is clearly Catholic: he swears by Mary and by the Mass (p. 187).
Jamy is not a Scottish name, and Andrew Gurr suggested that it alluded to king James 1 of Scotland, but Dutton thinks that the character was bound to make people think of James 6. The French throne itself had just changed hands by the Salic Law and with considerable diplomatic strife about the successor's religion and a forced conversion to Catholicism (p. 188). Sure, James 6 of Scotland was safely Protestant, but was not the lesson of the Henry 5 story that a prince can change completely when he becomes the king? Unlike in Famous Victories, Shakespeare has his Hal intend his conversion all along, and the bishops say that he is theologically sophisticated (p. 189). This is true, but they also say that he is a sacker of monasteries--"temporal lands . . . Would they strip from us" (Henry 5 1.1.9-11)--which sounds Protestant and perhaps should have been addressed by Dutton.
The Infanta Isabella of France had a good claim to the English throne via John of Gaunt (better than Elizabeth 1's claim, in fact), and Shakespeare took the trouble to make the Queen Isabella (about whom Famous Victories says nothing, and the sources were unflattering) into a gracious and sympathetic figure. Burgundy's role in negotiating the settlement in the play would have reminded audiences of recent political events involving Burgundy and Isabella, whose claim to the English throne was being pursued (p. 190). Philip 3 of Spain actually sent aid to Tyrone's rebellion in Ireland in the hope of getting a base to launch an invasion of England, and James 6 was thinking of helping too if it would advance his claim (pp. 191-92). Thus MacMorris and Jamy are in the play solely to keep the audience thinking of contemporary events in Ireland and Scotland and Fluellen "represents the already safely assimilated Celt" they have yet to become, and that an English audience would hope the Irish and Scots would become. In what editors treat as a slip, Queen Isabella greets Henry 5 as "Brother Ireland" instead of "Brother England", but perhaps it was meant and conveyed that he is about to add a third title to his crown (p. 193).
While most of what is present in F and absent in Q makes Henry more problematic a character, the choruses (present in F, absent in Q) do the opposite, they lionize him (p. 195). Could the Chamberlain's men have excised all the problematical bits themselves in 1600? Almost all the dangerous material discussed by Dutton so far in this essay is absent from Q (p. 195), and perhaps the choruses had to go too because one of them mentions Essex in Ireland (p. 196). Perhaps, rather than cutting the version of the play that ended up in F to make the version that ended up in Q, the process was one of enlarging the Q version to make the F version. Dutton sees that the trouble with this hypothesis is that only the 1623 text alludes to Essex. But perhaps Essex in not the target of the comment about "the General of our gracious Empress" (Henry 5 5.0.30) and this points instead to his successor as Lord Deputy in Ireland, Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, as Warren D. Smith suggested.
Dutton thinks that the play (as witnessed in Q) was expanded after the battle of Kinsale on 24 December 1601 in which Blount's victory ended the Irish rebellion and which, Agincourt-like, cost very few English lives in defeating a much larger army. This historical event made the play newly topical and Q was reissued, and presumably revived on the stage with additions (p. 197). The Irish context was applicable from the initial composition, but once Isabella's claim to the throne of England became a matter for public discussion--and Essex's trial made it so--Shakespeare added Isabella and built up the Burgundian role. With Essex's demise, James 6 of Scotland took a new conciliatory line, and this might have been the occasion for adding the good Jamy to counterbalance the anti-Scottish sentiments expressed in 1.2 (p. 198).
When Shakespeare returned to the play in 1602 to revise it, he would have found a Mountjoy in it. In Q he is asked his name and gives it, but is otherwise just "Herald", but in F his speech prefixes and stage directions make him Mountjoy, so somebody "wanted this name to register". Making the Empress's General reference would have been risky in 1599 (since no-one could have been certain of Essex's success) but would not be risky in 1602 after victory at Kinsale (p. 202). All the Irish references that are absent from Q--the presence of MacMorris, the allusions to kerns, Isabella calling Henry "Brother Ireland"--make a lot more sense, and are a lot safer, if written in 1602 and not part of the original performances. In Q the English traitors are in it for the money that France gives them, while in F Cambridge at least hints that his plan was to put Edmund Mortimer on the throne. Whereas the dark days of 1599 called for an unproblematically patriotic play, the security after Kinsale allowed for a more nuanced and critical analysis of good king Henry 5.
E. A. J. Honigmann thinks that Shakespearian false-starts are more common than we have acknowledged, that they underlie some seemingly corrupted passages, and that they are due to his habit of not marking deletions in his foul papers ('Shakespeare's Deletions and False Starts', RES 56 .37-48). In his book The Texts of 'Othello' and Shakespearian Revision Honigmann suggested that the following included a false start:
DESDEMONA Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?
EMILIA Why, would not you? DESDEMONA No, by this heavenly light.
EMILIA Nor I neither, by this heavenly light. I might do 't
as well i' th' dark.
DESDEMONA Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?
EMILIA The world's a huge thing. It is a great price for
a small vice.
To this Scott McMillin objected that the 'false start' explanation required Shakespeare to fail to delete clearly and the printer to fail to follow a deletion sign. In the famous second thoughts in Q2 Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare seems to be writing first and second stabs continuously: there is no evidence of marginal or subsequent insertion. Thus McMillin's objection that the hypothesis requires multiple failings to follow a deletion does not apply if Shakespeare deliberately left first and second stabs in his foul papers, meaning to make the final decision when copying them out fairly later. (This point Honigmann made over 40 years ago in his highly influential book The Stability of Shakespeare's Texts and it is odd that he feels the need to repeat so much of it here.)
But why would Shakespeare rewrite the above exchange between Emilia and Desdemona? Because, in Honigmann's view, the bawdy quip about doing it in the dark, and even more the asking of Desdemona would she not do it, spoil the increasing intimacy and sympathy of one woman for the other; it denigrates the situation Desdemona is in (p. 41). And how come the Folio prints the same false starts as the quarto: surely the scribe preparing F copy cannot also--that is, in addition to the scribe and/or compositor responsible for missing the deletion mark when Q was made--have missed the deletion mark? Well, reasons Honigmann, the scribe making copy for F might well have been told to produce a maximal text, so he added 160 lines in his manuscript that were not in Q and also he added Q lines that were not in the manuscript copy he was given (p. 42).
We know that Shakespeare's undeleted second thoughts in Hand D of Sir Thomas More caused trouble for Hand C trying to make sense of them (p. 42). Thus Heminges and Condell marvelled at getting unblotted papers, which was only in fact due to his not marking his errors. (This point too Honigmann argued in 1965, and it does not really qualify as the "new light" he calls it here.) Honigmann thinks that the characters knowing, then forgetting, why Claudio is arrested in Measure for Measure 1.2 shows another false start, but since we know from John Jowett's work that there is in this scene material interpolated by Middleton in 1621 ("The audacity of Measure for Measure in 1621" reviewed in YWES 82) it would surely be more economical of hypotheses to suppose that the repeated story of Claudio's arrest came by the same means.
Likewise with the twice-telling of Portia's death in Julius Caesar, although many people agree that the first telling is the better. Perhaps it was written on a separate sheet and gummed in. There is a problem too with Brutus saying that his Stoicism makes him reject suicide, and then saying that he would commit suicide rather than be led in triumph through Rome. This, and some examples from Troilus and Cressida that are in F but not Q, and the King Lear quarto's longer version (longer than the Folio's) of Edmund's inquiry about Edgar's belief in astrology, Honigmann thinks false starts (p. 44-48), and he ends with further examples that he admits are mere suspicions incapable of being proved.
Much the most theoretically sophisticated of this year's articles is Jeffrey Knapp's claim that, contrary to recent arguments, sole-authorship was not an 'emergent' paradigm in the seventeenth century, but rather it had long been the dominant paradigm ('What is a Co-author?', Representations 89 .1-29). For Knapp, Hamlet shows Shakespeare making such a singularity into a multiplicity, but not by textual collaboration. He points out that there were collected works of authors from the early sixteenth century, and not only classical ones but also English examples by the middle of the century (p. 2). Having summarized the mountain of evidence that there were authors, including dramatic ones, in the sixteenth century (pp. 3-5), Knapp poses the obvious question: why do people think otherwise? The answer is because of the pernicious influence of the work of Michel Foucault, and because of G. E. Bentley's The Profession of Dramatist in Shakespeare's Time in which he guessed that about half of all plays were collaborative and asserted that the dramatic art is all collaborative anyway, which assertion Orgel made into a dictum in his influential essay "What is a text?" (p. 6).
Knapp acknowledges Brian Vickers's work and the discovery that in terms of who gets named on title-pages there was an increasing tendency to acknowledge co-authorship, not to suppress it under single-authorship. Yet the truly multiply collaborative (as the Beaumont and Fletcher canon was, having plenty of others' work in it) could not be acknowledged. The reason was that the governing paradigm was still, Knapp asserts, single authorship (pp. 7-8). Knapp mocks Richard Helgerson's narrative in which the demotic collaborative, players' theatre of the 1580s was made increasingly elitist and author-centered in the 1590s, since it does not fit the facts, including the fact of Heminges and Condell's professed motive of fellowship in publishing the 1623, which of course recently has been wrongly held up as part of the construction of singular authorship (pp. 9-10). Nor does Helgerson's narrative fit the fact that the Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647 is signed by not two but ten of the King's men.
Helgerson read Hamlet's advice to the players as showing that they no longer needed the clown, but as Knapp points out Shakespeare had a lot more in common with the actors being lectured to in that scene than he had with the university-educated aristocrat giving the lecture. The description of the boy actors' company in which the writer is doing long-term harm to the boy actors by putting adult actors out of work (boys grow to be men, of course), and in which the writer is not really one of the team, is most pointedly not a description of the kind of theatre Shakespeare was involved in (p. 11). As someone who co-authors the script the players will use (by adding new lines), as well as unauthorizedly revising the king's writ onboard ship, as well as clown-like interrupting the performance of The Murder of Gonzago, Hamlet does all the things condemned in his advice to the players (p. 12). It is not hard to see Hamlet as an hypocrite. The clearing of all "fond records" from his tables of memory to make space for just the precept of his dead father is a kind of textual purity, a singularity, but Hamlet immediately spoils it by co-authoring it with a new observation of his own that villains may smile. Indeed in a sense, Hamlet lets others rewrite the text of his father's injunction: Claudius by his deeds, Yorick by the recollection of intimacy, Gertrude by caring about her, and Polonius by imitating his collecting of saws (p. 13).
Far from extolling singularity of writing and generic purity, Hamlet is about co-writing and about making the tragic hero also be a clown, against the precepts of the dramatic theorists. Thus the play dramatizes not just the heterogeneity of audiences, but also the heterogeneity of individual minds (pp. 14-16). This is most obvious in making the ghost in the cellarage (perhaps played by Shakespeare ) be at once a character and an actor when Hamlet starts mocking him ("boy", "truepenny", "fellow", "old mole"), which highlights "the performance of the play over its text" and hence diminishes authoriality and privileges collaboration (pp. 16-17). Although there is co-writing in Hamlet, it is not collaborative but subsequent, unauthorized alteration. Since Shakespeare could imagine himself as author and actor, why is there no space for author and author to work together? Because ". . . only through an imagined internalization of multiple roles could he improvise a new authorial ideal from within the reigning paradigm of single authorship" (p.18). So, Shakespeare was a collaborator in the player-and-writer sense but not in the writer-and-writer sense. He was most unusually loyal to his company, writing for no-one else (p. 19). That Jonson's 1616 Folio was the first collection of plays is just historically not true, and nor was it the first time that the folio format was used for English Literature: Chaucer was published in folio. Jonson's Folio named the actors, which means that ". . . greater prestige for the playwright meant greater prestige for the players also" (p. 20).
Arthur Sherbo published two articles in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. The first was essentially a biographical essay on James Boswell's work on the 1821 Boswell-Malone Shakespeare edition, ending with a useful summary of how Boswell's labours transformed those of Malone ('James Boswell's Editing Of, and Contributions To, the 1821 Boswell-Malone Shakespeare', PBSA 99 .71-111). The second article announced that contrary to popular belief, Boswell did not retain most of the notes from Malone's 1790 edition to make his 1821 Boswell-Malone Shakespeare ('The Appendix to Edmond Malone's 1790 Shakespeare, the 1821 Boswell-Malone Shakespeare, and Elizabethan Language', PBSA 99 .295-308). Sherbo has not looked at all the notes in the two editions, just those for The Tempest, 1 Henry 4, and Antony and Cleopatra. The notes in the 1790 edition are in the individual volumes and added to in an appendix in the tenth volume, and it is the ones in the appendix that are dropped. The notes Boswell dropped are not all in the Variorum editions, so they are otherwise lost to scholarship. Sherbo goes through the notes omitted, commenting especially on the Variorum editions' imperfections in respect of them, and how they might have benefitted from a closer attention to Malone and Boswell's work on the nature of Elizabethan language.
Martin Mueller's article is essentially an announcement about the 'Nameless' Shakespeare digital edition (one of the WordHoard group of projects) and a description of what it does ('The Nameless Shakespeare', TEXT Technology 14.1 .61-70). Starting with an electronic text of the nineteenth-century Globe edition, Mueller resolved disagreements among modern editions of each play by sticking to his copy text if any modern editor defended its reading, or else he took the majority verdict of the modern editors, or else he made his own choice if there was no majority view. (While letting the modern editors vote on such things sounds like a good idea, it actually make little sense if the editors are working according to entirely different principles, as were Suzanne Gossett and Roger Warren in their Arden Shakespeare and Oxford Shakespeare editions of Pericles reviewed last year in YWES 85.) To be fair, Mueller admits that his is not very advanced practice in textual terms, but it makes a good-enough base on which to start tagging. Using software to do most of the work (followed by hand-tweaking), the text was tagged for parts of speech (morphosyntactic tagging) and for who is saying what to whom (narratological tagging). Mueller describes the kind of advanced searching that such an extensively tagged texts makes possible, and it is exciting stuff: show me, one can instruct the computer, all the "adjectives used by Ophelia in verse".
Shakespeare Newsletter produced three items of note in 2005. In the first, Judith B. Kennedy surveys the known sources of the Pyramis and Thisbe playlet and worries about how the New Variorum A Midsummer Night's Dream should present them, given their various claims to be creditors of Shakespeare ('On the Source of the Pyramus and Thisbe Playlet', ShN 55 .9-10, 18, 20). In truth, this does not add to our knowledge of the sources and only really solves the recondite editorial problem of evaluating their relative importance. Richard Levin points out that Petruchio's sung line, a propos of nothing, "Where is the life that late I led?" (The Taming of the Shrew 4.1.126) is usually glossed as coming from a lost ballad about how a man loses his liberty when he marries, but in fact nothing in the play suggests that its married men feel that they have lost any liberty ('What Was the Life That Petruchio Lately Led?', ShN 55 .33, 36, 38, 58). Malone pointed out that an extant poem of 1584 seems to answer this ballad, and Levin notes that we can tell from the reply that the ballad was not about a man losing his liberty in marriage, but about losing it by falling in love with a woman who does not reciprocate the feeling. So, Petruchio's singing of it is part of his pointless, capricious behaviour to tame Katherine. What has misled all the critics to assume that Petruchio is lamenting his lost freedom? Levin thinks the answer is the rise of companionate marriage in the seventeenth century and its demand that men be faithful too: the lost liberty is sexual. Thus to editorially-glossarially impose this assumption of fidelity back on Petruchio is anachronism.
In the third article from this source, George Walton Williams proposes sensible scene division for a part of Macbeth ('Scene Individable: The Battle of Birnam Wood', ShN 52 .33, 36). The 100 lines of battle action in the last act (Folio Through-Line-Numbering 2378-2477) are often editorially divided into a number of short scenes on the principle that a clearing of the stage marks a scene break. But, Williams argues, continuous battle action broke this normal rule and should be treated as one scene unless the action moves from the battlefield, or the fighting stops. Thus these 100 lines are one scene that ends with the sounding of a retreat after Macbeth is killed, the next scene starting at TLN 2478 with a flourish for the entrance of Malcolm with drums and colours. Marvin D. Hinten's attention is drawn to the problematic line spoken by the starving governor of Tarsus, called Cleon, in the 1609 quarto of Shakespeare and Wilkins's Pericles, which in modern spelling reads "Our grounds the lowest and we are halfway there" ('Shakespeare's Pericles', Explicator 63 .130-1). Editors have tried to improve the sense by using 'the' or 'on' instead of "our", but Hinten thinks that the line is not problematic at all once we realize that "Our grounds" means "Our grave's" and that Cleon's hungry people have one foot in the grave already. It is a shame that Hinten did not notice that the editors of the Oxford Complete Works hit on this 20 years ago, emended accordingly, and gave the one-foot-in-the-grave gloss in their Textual Companion.
G. Blakemore Evans has evidence that the "shard-borne" beetle (Macbeth 3.2.43) is really 'shard-born' in the sense that it lives and breeds in dung ('The Shard-borne [-born] Beetle', ANQ 18.4 .31-4). It is easy to see how a beetle could be born among shards (bits of broken things, or cow pats) but hard to see how it could be carried aloft by them unless there were a lost meaning relating to wing. George Steevens misled everyone by misreading "scherdes" in John Gower's Confessio Amantis as referring to wings, and to counter that Evans has found two new references to beetles living/breeding in dung, one of which--The Boke of Secretes of Albartus Magnus, 1565--actually uses the word "coweshardes" for where the "scarabeus" breeds. The other reference is in Geoffrey Whitney's Choice of Emblemes (1586) and says that the "scarabee" likes to live in dung. Thus the shard Shakespeare was referring to was dung.
Finally to the textual notes in Notes & Queries. The British Library has two copies of the 1594 quarto of Lucrece, and Hardy M. Cook points out that one of them (known as the Grenville copy) has some hitherto unnoticed variant readings ('Unnoticed Variant Reading in Q1 Lucrece, 1594', N&Q 250 .193-5). These include on the outer forme of sheet I a correction that matches the one found in other copies while retaining an error (corrected in those same other copies) so that "this sheet must have been a transitional one". (Cook does not say so, but this means that there was more than one phase of correction here.). Cook spots other variants that nobody noticed before, but they do not substantially alter the meaning anywhere: they are matters of mere spelling and punctuation.
On the perennial crux of Ferdinand's "So rare a wondered father and a wise|wife" (The Tempest 4.1.123), Cedric Watts offers the opinion that 'wise' sounds better and rhymes with "paradise" in the next line ('The Tempest IV.i.123-124: 'Wise' or 'Wife'?', N&Q 250 .213). R. H. Winnick argues that Sonnet 69 is a riddling poem, noting that Sonnet 37 has a 'th' phoneme on every line but one, and as Helen Vendler spotted there is some sort of game going on there, but Sonnet 69 has even more occurrences of 'th' ('Anagrammatic Patterns in Shakespeare's Sonnet 69', N&Q 250 .198-200). Sonnet 69 has many 'ow' or 'ou' occurrences too, and a lot of them come after a 'th' to make a 'thou', sometimes across a word boundary, as in "with outward". There are a lot of 'ee' sounds too, making 'thee'. The point is that just as the poem is about a person growing common so here the parts that make 'thee' and 'thou' are sprinkled commonly like weeds over the poem. This means that the crux "The solye is this" in the last line should be (as it usually is) emended to "The soyle is this". As Shakespeare may have noticed, in The Arte of English Poesie (1589), George Puttenham used the word "assoile" (meaning solution) in the context of riddling poetry, and that is what this is: a riddling poem.
Thomas Merriam uses the recondite computer technique of neural network modelling to sniff out something anomalous in the authorship of parts of 1 Henry 4, 2 Henry 4, and 1 Henry 5 ('Anomalous Verse in Henry IV and Henry V', N&Q 250 .200-2). Merriam begins by referring the reader to a couple of 1990s articles in which he described building a neural network that could distinguish authorship; these articles are highly technically and mathematically complex. Merriam has revived this network and fed it some Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare plays and tweaked the virtual knobs--virtual because the neural behaviour is modelled in a non-neural Von Neumann computer--until it produced noticeably different signals for the Shakespeare and the non-Shakespeare texts. Merriam does not mention if or how he checked that the network was not simply discriminating the editors of those texts, for although he reports that he used the Riverside for the Shakespeare, he does not mention the provenance of the non-Shakespeare texts.
Merriam compared the 'it is Shakespeare' signal for the whole of a Shakespeare play with the 'it is Shakespeare' signal for just the verse parts, and plotted the results on a graph. As one would expect, he got a straight line: the more Shakespearian the whole, the more Shakespearian the verse parts. Merriam did the same thing for the whole play versus its prose parts. However, some plays have little verse or little prose, so unsurprisingly those plays' results are somewhat discrepant. Problematically, the graphs have the usual Merriam sins (complained of by this reviewer before) of not having the origin at 0,0 and of using different scales on the X and Y axes. The latter fault he tries to disguise by having the same intervals marked on both axes; from nought to 0.7 (the first 'tick') is a longer jump on the X axis than on the Y.
Merriam thinks that his graphs show that 1 Henry 4, 2 Henry 4, and Henry 5 are not like the rest of the canon, and wonders if that could be because Christopher Marlowe wrote bits of them. That Marlowe died before the plays were written does not daunt Merriam--he passes over this objection in silence--and in any case the whole of the argument is irrefutable because not only the reader but apparently also the author has no idea just what is making the neural network twitch. We are not even told how the distinction of verse from prose was made: the Riverside Shakespeare, for example, does not give an opinion on whether each short line is verse or prose, whereas the electronic Oxford (a more suitable text Merriam might have used) does.
Timothy Billings has discovered that there is a bawdy translation of the parts of the body from English to French, very reminiscent of Princess Katherine's language lesson in Henry 5, in Claudius Holyband's French primer The French Littelton printed in 1597 by Shakespeare's fellow Stratfordian and one-time publisher Richard Field ('Two New Sources for Shakespeare's Bawdy French in Henry V', N&Q 250 .202-4). Another such work, John Eliot's Ortho-epia Gallica (1593) also published by Field--well, Billings writes "published" but he presumably means printed unless he has information not in the STC--is the acknowledged source for the French matter of Pistol's prisoner. Billings thinks Eliot is also the origin of the kiss=baiser=fuck joke in Princess Katherine's French lesson.
Richard Levin thinks he can show that Antony and Cleopatra must have been first performed early in 1606 at the latest ('More Jibes at Shakespeare in 1606, and the Date of Antony and Cleopatra', N&Q 250 .207-8). There is a weak echo of Antony and Cleopatra in Francis Beaumont's play The Woman Hater, as Charles Mills Gayley long ago showed, and Gayley also found an especially strong one of Hamlet in which Beaumont has: "[LAZARELLO] . . . speake, I am bound to heare. COUNT So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt heare". No-one seems to have noticed that since Beaumont's play was performed by Paul's boys (according to its Stationers' Registry entry on 20 May 1607 and also the title-page of the quarto of the same year), and since this company appears to have ceased in July 1606, the latest date at which Antony and Cleopatra could be available to be echoed by Beaumont is early 1606. This, of course, assumes that Beaumont, not Shakespeare, was the borrower. Levin thinks that the strong echo of Hamlet makes this certain, but I cannot see why that very echo itself could not itself have been the cause of Shakespeare responding by weakly echoing The Woman Hater in Antony and Cleopatra.
In a second note, Levin builds upon his previous work to show that there are many examples in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama of characters expressing fear that high-class women want to have sex with their stable-men and other low-class men ('The Lady and Her Horsekeeper and Shakespeare', N&Q 250 .208-13). Thus when Antigonus defends Hermione's honour he says: "If it prove | She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where | I lodge my wife, I'll go in couples with her" (The Winter's Tale 2.1.135-7), meaning "wherever he lodges her, he will keep watch over the stables to make sure she has no access to the grooms". It is also why Malvolio says that the "Lady of the Strachey married the yeoman of the wardrobe" (Twelfth Night 2.5.37-8), because a yeoman of that place (unlike a yeoman of the woodyard, or a stable-man) is not a sexual threat. Like Malvolio himself, such a person carries no threatening sexual charge and the marriage would be notable only for the class barrier it crossed. Levin thinks this a suitable comparison for Malvolio to make because in the play he is "portrayed as sexless" and "his daydream of marriage to Olivia . . . omits any erotic or romantic aspects". I would have thought that Malvolio's fantasy of himself in his "branched velvet gown, having come from a day-bed where I have left Olivia sleeping--" (2.5.45-47) was highly sexually charged, and so does Sir Toby who at this image exclaims "Fire and brimstone!"
Adam Smyth thinks he has discovered in the Bodleian library copy of Arthur Hopton's New Almanacke and Prognostication (1613) a new annotative account of the Globe fire ('A New Record of the 1613 Globe Fire During a Performance of Shakespeare's King Henry VIII', N&Q 250 .214-216 ), but unfortunately he has merely rediscovered an account first published by H. R. Woudhuysen in the same journal 21 years before ('King Henry VIII and 'All is True'', N&Q 229 .217-8). One cannot help wondering how such a thing passes peer review. Finally, as mentioned in relation his book, Thomas Merriam persuasively argues that in Katherine's vision (Henry 8 4.2) the six persons carrying palms are supposed to be early-Christian martyrs, and that this shows Shakespeare's endorsement of--not his ambivalence towards, as some critics have claimed--the character of the queen ('The Palm of Martrydom, the Crown of Victory', N&Q 250 .213-4).
Tom Merriam The Identity of Shakespeare in Henry VIII, Renaissance Monographs, 32. The Renaissance Institute of Sophia University .