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"Pericles" and the textuality of theatre" by Gabriel Egan

    The subtitle of our meeting, 'From Stage to Print in Early Modern England, posits a movement in one direction, from performance to printed book. This seems reasonable since, whereas modern actors usually start with a printed text of some form, we are used to the idea that early modern actors started with manuscripts and that printing followed performance. In fact, the capacity of a printed play to originate fresh performances was something that the title-pages and the preliminary matter of the first play printings in the early sixteenth century made much of. Often the printings helped would-be performers by listing the parts to be assigned, indicating which could be taken by a single actor, and even how to cut the text for a desired performance duration:

. . . yf ye hole matter be playd [this interlude] wyl conteyne the space of an hour and a halfe but yf ye lyst ye may leue out muche of the sad mater as the messengers p<ar>te and some of the naturys parte and some of experyens p<ar>te & yet the matter wyl depend conuenytently and than it wyll not be paste thre quarters of an hour of length (Rastell 1520?, A1r)

The earliest extant printed play in English is Henry Medwall's Fulgens and Lucrece (Medwall 1512-16) but the tradition really begins with the printing of the anonymous Summoning of Every Man (Anonymous c.1515) that W. W. Greg thought, on the evidence that 4 known copies belong to 4 distinct editions, must have appeared in at least 10 early editions (Greg 1970, 82). Then came the anonymous Mundus and Infans (Anonymous 1522) and then John Rastell's The Nature of the Four Elements just quoted. Thereafter in each decade from the 1520s to the 1570s somewhere between about a quarter to a half of all plays printed (specifically, 2/3, 2/9, 2/4, 1/3, 16/26, and 6/19, respectively) referred to potential future performance on their title-pages or in their preliminaries, by such means as lists of parts and statements of how easily a given number of actors could manage them and statements about the appropriate occasion for a performance, such as "to be played in Maye games" (Anonymous 1560?, A1r). This trend abruptly ended with the first printed play of the 1580s, Nathaniel Woodes's The Conflict of Conscience, which contained a doubling chart "most conuenient for such as be disposed, either to shew this Comedie in priuate houses, or otherwise" (Woodes 1581, A1r). Thereafter, whenever a printed play title-page referred to performance it was always in the past tense, usually by some variation of the 'as it hath been acted' formula, rather than characterizing performance as something that might happen in the present or the future. With the sole exception of the 1598 printing of the anonymous Mucedorus that had a doubling chart (Anonymous 1598, A1v), references and aids to potential future performances disappear for about two-and-a-half decades after the printing of The Conflict of Conscience in 1581. Over that time the rate of play printing rose sharply (15 printings in the 1580s, 69 in the 1590s, 124 in the 1600s) but the implied relationship with performance was consistently a backward glance at what had been done in the theatres and at court. This relationship changed round 1605-10, and a key text that engages with and reflects a new attitude towards the traffic from stage to print is the 1609 quarto of George Wilkins's and Shakespeare's Pericles whose title-page did something unusual: it declared that the contents actually were "THE . . . Play" called Pericles (Shakespeare & Wilkins 1609, A1r).

    The word 'play' had been used on title-pages of three sixteenth-century interludes by John Heywood: The Playe Called the Foure PP (Heywood 1544?b, A1r; Heywood 1560?, A1r; Heywood 1569, A1r), A Play of Loue (Heywood 1534, A1r), and The Play of the Wether (Heywood 1533, A1r; Heywood 1544?a, A1r; Heywood c.1560, A1r; Heywood c.1573, A1r). All these early printings list the characters on their title-pages for the convenience of those wishing to generate a performance from the printed book. Likewise an anonymous verse jest about Robin Hood was reprinted several times in the early decades of the sixteenth century and for a printing around 1560 "a newe playe" of about 200 lines was added and its occasion specified: "to be played at Maye games" (Anonymous 1560?, A1r). But just as references to potential future performances ceased from 1581, so too did the use of the word 'play' on title-pages, until the Pericles quarto revived the practice. It is a suspiciously appropriate coincidence that just as no title-page used the word 'play', no play used the word 'title-page' before Simonides's "I place vpon the volume of your deedes, | As in a Title page, your worth in armes" (Shakespeare & Wilkins 1609, D1r), if Chadwyck-Healey's Literature Online database is to be trusted (Chadwyck-Healey: A division of ProQuest Information and Learning 2004). MacDonald Jackson, refuting James O. Wood's claim that Shakespeare here coined the term "title page" (Wood 1969, 243), pointed out other examples of its use around this time and showed that two comparisons that Wood thought distinctly Shakespearian--likening a person to a book and a king to the sun--occur in Wilkins's The Miseries of Inforst Mariage and John Day, William Rowley, and Wilkins's The Travailes of the Three English Brothers; these two plays will feature recurrently in my argument about Pericles's engagement with the relationship between print and performance (Jackson 2003, 172-73). One needs to be careful with generalizing claims, and I have checked my assertions about title-pages against W. W. Greg's Bibliography of English Printed Drama but have not, of course, read all the plays in Literature Online. One can be misled by the complicated software that gives access to electronic databases, of course, and also by the raw data themselves: some title-pages just plain lie. Thomas Nashe's Lenten Stuff promises on its title-page "a new Play neuer played before" (Nash 1599, A1r) in praise of red herring, but is itself a red herring because it is wholly a non-dramatic prose satire. Another hoax using the word 'play' is the printed description of Richard Vennard's entertainment called England's Joy that promises an extraordinary spectacle including the representation of the monarch on the stage and the enactment of her success in struggles with Spain and Ireland (Vennard 1602). This document is commonly called a playbill, but in an article on playbills that will appear in English Literature Renaissance, and which she kindly allowed me to see in typescript, Tiffany Stern points out that Vennard's is in fact a plot-summary of the kind handed out at court performances, as Hieronimo gives the King in The Spanish Tragedy (Stern forthcoming, TBA). Like a playbill, such a document necessarily looks forward to future (indeed, imminent) performance rather than reflecting on past performance.

    Stern notes that the printing of playbills was a monopoly from 1587 and the successive holders were John Charlewood from the monopoly's inception (Arber 1875, 477) to his death in 1593, James Roberts (by marrying Charlewood's widow) from 1594 (Arber 1875, 651-52) to when he sold his business to William Jaggard in 1606 or 1608 (Pollard & Redgrave 1991, 145; McKerrow 1910, 229). In 1615 Roberts formally transferred his right to print playbills to Jaggard (Arber 1876, 575), who held the monopoly until his death in 1623, whereupon it passed to his son Isaac until his death in 1627 (Pollard & Redgrave 1991, 90-91), and then via Isaac Jaggard's widow Dorothy to Thomas and Richard Cotes from 1627 (Arber 1877, 182) to the general closure of 1642. In 1582 a mass reassignment in the Stationers' Register (Arber 1875, 405-06) transferred from John (= Sampson) Awdely to Charlewood the right to print John Heywood's The Playe of the Foure PP, The Play of the Wether, and A Play of Loue and although there is no sign that he did publish those, Charlewood published such interludes as the 1566 text of The Life and Repentaunce of Marie Magdelene that was advertized on its title-page as being "very delectable for those which shall heare or reade the same" and which came with a list of parts to show how "Foure may easely play" it (Wager 1566, A1r). An undated list of books that James Roberts had a right to print (Herbert 1786, 1032) includes a number that had been Charlewood's and were transferred to him with the playbills monopoly on "ultimo maij [1594]" (Arber 1875, 651), and it also shows that Roberts acquired the rights to Charlewood's former properties not mentioned in that transfer: The Playe of the Foure PP, The Play of the Wether, and A Play of Loue. So, two holders of the playbills monopoly (Charlewood and Roberts) also held rights to texts that advertized themselves as the means to generate new performances.

    William Jaggard followed Roberts as the printer of playbills, getting the monopoly in 1606, according to Katharine's F. Pantzer's index in the Short Title Catalogue (Pollard & Redgrave 1991, 145), or "In or about 1608" according to R. B. McKerrow's Dictionary of Printers (McKerrow 1910, 229), and when he printed Wilkins's The Miseries of Inforst Mariage for George Vincent, Jaggard produced a title-page claiming that the book represented the play "As it is now playd by his Maiesties Seruants" (Wilkins 1607, A1r). Such a reference to performance that was happening at the time of printing was new, but it is not clear who wrote it. As we shall see, Wilkins's had multiple connections with the change in title-page phrasing in this period, but perhaps Jaggard's experience of printing playbills--necessarily an activity in which printing precedes performance--caused him unconsciously to phrase a title-page in the present tense. Stern points out that a printed playbill would have provided ready copy for a play title-page, and wonders if the dramatist might not be expected to write such promotional material (Stern forthcoming, TBA), while Alan B. Farmer and Zachary Lesser noted that ". . .  the ultimate decision lay with publishers, for they had all legal rights over the copy" (Farmer & Lesser 2000, 104n9). Whoever was responsible, the "As it is now play[e]d" phrasing appeared in another Wilkins's play that year: Day, Rowley, and Wilkin's The Travailes of the Three English Brothers (Day, Rowley & Wilkins 1607, A1r), printed by George Eld for John Wright.

    Another publisher whose title-pages showed the new phrasing in the period 1605-10 is Nathaniel Butter, who achieved freedom of the Stationers' Company by patronage on 20 February 1604 and whose early career was founded on sensational reports of various kinds, including one (Anonymous 1605c) that became the sole source for the apocryphal Shakespeare play A Yorkshire Tragedy (Shakespeare 1608a). From 1622 he "made journalism his chief business" (Smith, Stephen & Lee 1937-38a, 547), and one of his early publications claimed to be a report of a performance, but one so strange that we must doubt its veracity. A prose treatise of 1607 called The Jesuites Play at Lyons (S 1607) alleges that, dramatizing the Christian day of judgement, French Jesuits took the roles of God, Christ, and the virgin Mary, and commanding all the fiends of hell they "seased on christian princes" including Henry 8, Edward 6, and Elizabeth 1 and sent them to hell (S 1607, C4v). The text retains a narrative frame: the reporter tells us what happened in the performance, and hence this is a prose story of the performance rather than raw material for a performance itself. The narrator attempts to get so much of the script into the report that the framing device becomes something of a barrier, and at one point (S 1607, B3v) a 150-word speech is conveyed verbatim; one wonders if the narrator was tempted to dispense with reporting and simply present the alternating speeches with their speech prefixes. Viewed from the perspective of reportage, any published playscript is a record of past performance with the narrative frame dissolved and the words spoken are presented as themselves. The anti-Catholic author of The Jesuites Play at Lyons uses the narrative frame to comment on the performance, and without it the raw material would be open to fresh interpretative possibilities and perhaps fresh performances, to the peril of unwitting actors and audiences. The following year, 1608, Butter published George Wilkins's prose novella The Painfull Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre (Wilkins 1608), which stands in a similar relation to the King's men's play about Pericles as the report stands to the putative performance at Lyons: the "true History of the Play of Pericles, as it was lately presented by the worthy and ancient Poet John Gower" (Wilkins 1608, A1r). Gower is cast as the medium of the presentation rather than a fictional character within the play. To this the titling of Henry Gosson's 1609 quarto of Pericles sounds something like a response, calling itself "THE LATE And much admired Play, Called Pericles, Prince of Tyre" (Shakespeare & Wilkins 1609, A1r). This refers back to recent ("late") performance but also seems to insist that whereas the prose novella was a history of the play, here now is the play, unmediated: it is "THE . . . Play". The complicating of fine distinctions between the story told and the medium by which it is conveyed is a central concern of Wilkins and Shakespeare's play Pericles, I shall argue.

    In 1608 Butter published Shakespeare's King Lear with a title-page that had the familiar reference to past performance ("As it was played") but also the curiously present-tense information that the actors could be found "playing vsually at the Gloabe" (Shakespeare 1608b, A2r). This phrasing was picked up two year later when the King's men's anonymous play Mucedorus was published with a title-page observation that the company was "vsually playing at the Globe" (Anonymous 1610, A1r). Mucedorus's first title-page, in 1598, observed that the contents were "Very delectable and full of mirth" and on the reverse was printed an interlude-style doubling chart demonstrating that "Eight persons may easily play it"(Anonymous 1598, A1r, A1v). When The Fayre Mayde of the Exchange, perhaps by Thomas Heywood, was published in 1607, the 1598 edition of Mucedorus must have been the model for it has precisely the same commendation on the title-page ("Very delectable, and full of mirth") and a doubling chart underneath the familiar assertion that "Eleauen may easily acte this Comedie" (Anonymous [possibly Thomas Heywood] 1607, A1r, A2r). Something was happening in the second half of the first decade of the seventeenth century to make publishers think that it was worth describing their printed plays in terms that emphasized their capacity to originate fresh performances rather than reflect on past performances. Although Pericles was the first drama to be called a play on its title-page since the Tudor interludes, the title-page of George Chapman's two-part The Conspiracie, and Tragedie of Charles Duke of Byron claimed that the contents were "Acted lately in two playes" (Chapman 1608, A1r). This is not quite the same as the claim on the Pericles title-page, for it amounts to saying not that what the reader is holding is the play but that it was acted in a play.

    Let me review the trend I have outlined. In the second half of the first decade of the seventeenth century, the preliminaries of printed plays began to suggest a new way of thinking about the relationship between performance and printed book. Instead of only harking back to past performances, title-pages began to refer to ongoing performances--"As it is now play[']d" (The Miseries of Inforst Marriage 1607 and The Travailes of the Three English Brothers 1607) and "playing vsually [or vsually playing] at the Glo[a]be" (King Lear 1608 and Mucedorus 1610)--and referred to their own ability to generate new performances by printing doubling charts (Mucedorus 1598 and The Fayre Mayde of the Exchange 1607). Around the same time the word "play" began to appear in the titles of textual versions of performances for the first time since the mid-sixteenth century, first in such misrepresentations as Nashe's Lenten Stuffe (1599), Vennard's England's Joy advertisement (1602), and R. S.'s The Jesuites Play at Lyons (1607), and then quite genuinely in the 1609 quarto of Pericles.


    Brian Vickers's recent book on Shakespeare's collaborative work devoted chapters to Titus Andronicus, Timon of Athens, Pericles, and (taken together) All is True and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and from his lists (Vickers 2002, 19, 137) Vickers appeared also to include 1 Henry 6. An aspect of this series not dwelt upon by Vickers was the dating of these plays, which in the chronology of the Oxford Complete Works is 1592 for 1 Henry 6 and Titus Andronicus, 1605 for Timon of Athens, 1607 for Pericles, 1613 for All is True, and 1613-14 for The Two Noble Kinsmen (Wells et al. 1987, 113-34). Between 1592 and 1605 Shakespeare seems not to have collaborated and yet he wrote 21 plays, over half the canon. Shakespeare slowed down towards what we now know--even if he did not--was to be the end of his career. The first 10 plays in the Oxford chronology, from Two Gentlemen of Verona to Richard 2, were written between 1590 and 1595, about two a year. The last 10 plays, King Lear to The Two Noble Kinsmen, were written between 1605 and 1614, about one a year. (In those counts I exclude the lost plays Love's Labour's Won and Cardenio and ignore the poetic output.) So, Shakespeare began and ended his career as a collaborator, working quickly at the beginning and slowly at the end, and an obvious explanation for this behaviour offers itself. At the start of his career, the novice was keen but needed to worth with others, perhaps like an apprentice, acquiring skills and perhaps being somewhat exploited. Although Thomas Nashe was 3 years younger than Shakespeare, he had established himself as a published writer in the late 1580s and was already part of a well-defined circle of Oxford and Cambridge graduates in London (including Christopher Marlowe and Robert Greene) when he worked with Shakespeare on 1 Henry 6 in 1592 (Smith, Stephen & Lee 1937-38b, 101-09). Likewise, George Peele was connected with this circle of graduates when he worked with Shakespeare on Titus Andronicus the same year and he was somewhere between 5 and 8 years Shakespeare's senior (Bowers 1987a, 242-53). When Shakespeare collaborated again it was in 1605 on Timon of Athens with Thomas Middleton, who was 15 or 16 years his junior (Bowers 1987b, 196-222), and in 1607 on Pericles with George Wilkins. Wilkins's age is unknown and his certain dramatic ouput to that date was a share in The Travailes of the Three English Brothers and sole authorship of The Miseries of Inforst Mariage. Even if we assign to Wilkins a share in Day's Law Tricks, as Robert Boyle and H. Dugdale Sykes thought (Boyle 1880-86, 324-6, 329-331; Sykes 1919, 79, 86, 145, 169), and add sole authorship of A Yorkshire Tragedy as Sykes maintained (Sykes 1919, 77-98), his body of work was much less than Shakespeare's 31 plays written over the preceding 15 years or so. We may suppose that in this second phase of collaboration Shakespeare no longer had to prove himself, could afford to slowdown (as he indisputably did towards the end), and worked with others as a master imparting his skills and benefitting from the junior partner's keenness.

    Shakespeare ended his career in a position somewhat like that when he began it, and this provides such an orderly structure of closure that no-one faintly in sympathy with post-structuralist thinking could countenance it. Yet, as Vickers pointed out, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century editors uncertain what to make of Pericles decided that if it was Shakespeare, it was early Shakespeare (Vickers 2002, 292). Put in its proper place, being first performed in 1608, Pericles begins an awkward batch of Shakespeare plays for which no-one has found a universally acceptable label. Gordon McMullan will not even permit us the seemingly neutral term 'late plays' (McMullan 2002). Ashley H. Thorndyke took the three plays Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest to be Shakespeare's 'Romances':

Sometime between 1601 and 1608 he wrote the series of tragedies from Hamlet to Antony and Cleopatra; sometime between 1608 and 1612, he wrote Cymbeline, the Winter's Tale, and the Tempest. There were other plays probably during these two periods--Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure, Pericles, Timon--but some of these are not wholly Shakspere's, and all are of doubtful date. They perhaps indicates periods of weakness in creative power, of searching after new forms, but they cannot be classified under either of the groups above--the great tragedies or the romances. These two groups are absolutely distinct; they differ enormously in general effect. (Thorndike 1901, 6)

For Thorndike the sudden transition to this new mode was caused by the phenomenon indicated in his book's title: the influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakespeare. Gerald Eades Bentley added one more play, The Two Noble Kinsmen, to Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest, and was not concerned whether they took the label "Shakespeare's Romances, or Shakespeare's Tragic-Comedies, or his Romantic Tragi-Comedies, or simply the plays of the fourth period", for "few competent critics . . . have failed to recognize that there is something different about" this group (Bentley 1964, 94). For Bentley what bound them as a group was their being written for performance at the indoor Blackfriars theatre in front of "the sophisticated audience attracted to that house" (Bentley 1964, 97). Alfred Harbage had laid part of the foundation for Bentley's view by arguing that the "Theatre of a nation" gave way to the "Theatre of a coterie" when Shakespeare's company moved into the Blackfriars, forming 'rival traditions' for a while and then creating a "rift between plays and the populace, not repaired for centuries" (Harbage 1952, 27).

    The awkward piece of dramatic grit that grinds up the workings of Thorndike's, Harbage's, and Bentley's theories of genre is Pericles. Anyone who finds plays as varied as Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest to be linked by common themes has to admit Pericles to the group too. The four are concerned, among other things, with lost-and-found children, the passage of time from a girl child's birth to sexual maturity, her changing relationship with her father, the dangers of long-distance travel, especially by sea, and all have unimpressive sons-in-law. On that last point, Posthumus's immature wagering and misogynistic rage need no illustration; Florizel's seasickness prevented him consummating his marriage to Perdita aboard ship (The Winter's Tale 5.1.203-4, 116-8); Ferdinand must have looked less than heroic in being the first to abandon the sinking ship of his father, and did himself no good by his boasting to Miranda of his past conquests (The Tempest 1.2.213-6, 3.1.39-46); and the brothel-keepers' recognition of Lysimachus through his disguise (19.24-5) indicates that the governor's visit to the brother is, in B. J. Sokol's memorable phrase, "an un-Gladstonian mission" (Sokol 1995, 135, 135n95). But, despite these congruencies, including Pericles in this group has problems for each of the theories of genre: being written in 1607 or 1608 it is too early to be influenced by Beaumont and Fletcher and too early to have been written for the Blackfriars. Two other late plays, All is True and The Two Noble Kinsmen, have tended to be left to one side because they awkwardly resist categorization. Reception of All is True was aided by its inclusion in the 1623 Folio, which mitigated the co-authorship that some have found a grave demerit (Shakespeare 2000, 4-6, 180-88). The Two Noble Kinsmen was doubly wounded by being clearly a collaboration, as its first printing advertized on its title-page (Fletcher & Shakespeare 1634, A1r), and by being left out of the 1623 Folio. As marginal plays, Pericles and The Two Noble Kinsmen have other curious features in common, including an apparent authorial self-consciousness about being the conduit for another's words and in being apparent dramatic experimentations to explore the relationship between writing, showing, and telling. Uniquely for Shakespeare, Pericles and The Two Noble Kinsmen acknowledge their source material: the former by having John Gower on stage as a character presenting a dramatization of the story he told in his Confessio Amantis, and the latter by referring directly to Chaucer in the prologue. All drama is a form of ventriloquism in which the writer suppresses his own voice to allow others to speak with different accents, and this relation acquires another layer of mediation when a writer depends heavily on sources: they too speak through the play. Likewise collaborating with another writer is a kind of speaking-through in which material is subtlely shaped but does not lose entirely lose the characteristics of its origin. All attribution studies and source studies are predicated on the principle that such acts of ventriloquism never entirely efface the distinctiveness of particular voices.

    By two modes of collaboration, then, a writer may be the conduit for another's words, and we simply do not know how dramatists made collaborative plays. In his recent book on co-authorship Brian Vickers attempted to address this question and, to be frank, he failed. Vickers uncritically repeated W. W. Greg's view of what a playhouse 'plot' was for (Vickers 2002, 21) in his attempt to distinguish it from the other kind of 'plot', the working dramatist's outline (Vickers 2002, 22-23). Vickers surveyed the scant evidence for the unit of division between collaborators, usually the 'act' as frequently mentioned in Henslowe's Diary (Vickers 2002, 27-29), but did not consider this in relation to the evidence that before 1609 the open-air amphitheatres, for which many of the dramatists were writing, did not use act intervals. Did they think in acts anyway? T. W. Baldwin argued that they did (Baldwin 1947), but Gary Taylor's view--that Shakespeare at least composed consistently in act-structure only after the indoor playhouse practices spread to the open-air amphitheatres from 1609--fits the known facts rather better (Taylor 1993). Vickers is a master of rhetoric and sometimes needs to be watched closely, as when he admitted that a dramatist might alter a co-author's work, but ". . . all the historical evidence reviewed in Chapter 1 indicates that co-authors normally contributed whole acts, or at least whole scenes, and the piecemeal over-writing [Shakespeare redoing Peele] that Dover Wilson claimed to discover seems improbable" (Vickers 2002, 181). Actually, there was little historical evidence about the unit of collaboration in Vickers's chapter 1, and it was confined to a short section occupying pages 27-34.

    Vickers overstated what he knew about how dramatists collaborated, but he was right to assert that the practices are in the realm of the knowable and that drawing on Foucauldian models of creativity is a mistake for materialist scholars (Vickers 2002, 506-41). For Jeffrey Masten "Only by eliding or ignoring the theatrical as a mode of (re)production can these texts can [sic] be read from the post-Enlightenment perspective of individual authorship, the now-hegemonic mode of textual production and the site of Foucault's critique" (Masten 1997, 16). Real materialism, for Masten, would attend to the fact that ". . . theatrical production was itself a sustained collaboration . . " and ". . . the construction of meaning by a theatrical company was polyvocal . . ." (Masten 1997, 14). Masten saw the subsequent construction of singular 'authority' in relation to plays as the suppression of the truly polyvocal nature of collaborative drama, but this view overlooks an important contemporary singularity that was imposed on all theatre practitioners. A single document formed the licensed text of a play and in principle deviation from this by the many means that Masten cites--"It was common . . . to compose new prologues, epilogues, songs, characters, and scenes for revivals . . ." (Masten 1997, 14)--was unlawful unless the Master of the Revels approved the revised version. We know this from the payments to Henry Herbert, who 5 times between 1624 and 1636 recorded receipts for checking revised plays (Bawcutt 1996, entries 110, 186, 255, 262, 349), although I suppose one might argue that our having records for only 5 payments in 12 years indicates that mostly revisions were not licensed. In any case, payments to Herbert indicate an ideal of control founded on a principle of textual singularity: the players were not supposed to be free to mingle unauthorized material into their performances, even if they often did get away with it. It is notable that Masten's book deals cursorily with censorship in a single paragraph, and that only in order to claim the censor as yet one more source of proliferation rather than containment (Masten 1997, 15), and his index has no entries for the surely pertinent topics of 'authority' and 'licensing'.

    Masten's account of the place of printing in the construction of the 'author' as the repository of dramatic authority begins with the observation that printings initially looked back to performances, not authors, for their authority: "A prominent statement that appears in some | form on virtually every quarto from this period (despite the wide variety of acting companies and printers) is formulaic, advertising the text 'as it was sundrie times acted by' (for example) 'the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembroke his seruants'" (Masten 1997, 113-14). In the 1620s and 30s, however, "another figure begins increasingly to authorize these texts", the author (Masten 1997, 117). Actually, familiar as the 'as it hath been acted' phrasing is, attributions to playing companies did not appear on "virtually every quarto", but rather on about two-thirds of all play printings in the 1580s declining to about one-third towards the closure of 1642, as James P. Saeger and Christopher J. Fassler showed (Saeger & Fassler 1995, 106, Figure 4). Still, the trends identified by Saeger and Fassler appear to confirm Masten's account of the rise of the 'author': increasingly authors were named on title-pages without mention of the playing company, and conversely company-without-author attributions fell. Taking a wider purview, from the beginning of play printing to the Restoration, however, Farmer and Lesser complicated this simple replacement of the theatrical by the authorial as the source of authority by showing that although attributions to companies-without-authors fell, title-page references to particular theatres rose: ". . . while the emergence of the author may have been achieved over against one aspect of theatricality--its collaborative production by a professional company--the rise in attribution of theaters throughout the seventeenth century shows that authorship was not opposed to this other aspect of theatricality" (Farmer & Lesser 2000, 84). If, as Masten put it, ". . .  the more frequent appearance of playwrights' names on the title pages and the publication of dramatic folios organized around author-figures signals in some sense 'the birth of the author'" (Masten 1997, 119)--albeit often already dead, as Masten wryly commented--that author was born into the theatre rather than being 'constructed' outside of it. Or rather, quite possibly the author was reborn in the theatre, and in this process the re-embodiment of medieval poet John Gower as presenter of a dramatic telling of the story of Pericles is a key text.


    The Arden 3 edition of Pericles, by Suzanne Gossett, is imminent. Gossett's Arden predecessor, F. D. Hoeniger, underwent an instructive change of mind regarding Pericles, as Jackson noted (Jackson 2003, 30). Hoeniger began fairly certain that Pericles was written collaboratively (Shakespeare 1963, lii-lxiii), but later he developed an ingenious alternative explanation for the first two acts being so stylistically different from the rest of the play: as a conduit for Gower's words, Shakespeare suppressed his own style and talents, and thus ". . . he revived Gower and his tale, and had him retell it for a while largely in his own manner before making his own presence and art felt" (Hoeniger 1982, 479). While Hoeniger was wrong about the authorship of the first two acts of Pericles--Jackson's book effectively settled the matter--the ventriloquism of dramatic art is entirely to the point. Shakespeare's return to the collaborative mode with Middleton on Timon of Athens focussed his mind on the way that constituent parts, individuals' labours and words, are blended in dramatic production. Working with another after so long drew Shakespeare's attention to the material processes of dramatic production, which are fundamentally textual before they are anything else. To look at Pericles like that is to contextualize it within the career of just one of its two makers, which is tempting because we are relatively ignorant of their method of collaboration and of Wilkins's writing career, and relatively knowledgeable of Shakespeare. To counterbalance this priviledging of Shakespeare, however, I will towards the end explore further Wilkins's multiple connections with the new way of thinking about the relationship between a performed play and a printed playbook.

    The drama that we know from the large body of work supplying the new entertainment industry of London in the last decades of the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth century consists of a blend of speeches and actions, which blend Pericles separates into its constituents and presents as choric narration and dumbshow. It is commonly asserted that the theatrical experience was usually thought of in aural rather than visual terms, in support of which are cited Hamlet's "we'll hear a play" (Hamlet 2.2.538) instead of "we'll see a play" (as we might put it) and such comments as "For yet his honour never heard a play", and "they thought it good you hear a play" (The Taming of the Shrew Ind.1.94, Ind.2.130). In fact these 3 expressions of drama as an aural event are unusual; there only 5 similar cases in the entire canon of English Literature from 1500 to 1700, none before the Restoration. In the same period there are 97 occurrences of visually-centred phrases such as 'see a play', so that more than 9 times out of 10 literary writers preferred to represent drama as a visual pleasure (Egan 2001). Shakespeare's atypically phonocentric preference occurs in two plays, Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew, that explore drama's relation to truth by having the characters in the play put on a play. The questions posed are: is Sly's identity merely a product of the social role he is given and can the likeness of a crime make a criminal divulge his guilt? The thorough phonocentrism of the Western intellectual tradition was critiqued by Jacques Derrida in his Of Grammatology in which he worked backwards from the speech-centered linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the anthropological writing of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to locate phonocentrism's origin in Greek philosophy:

Saussure takes up the traditional definition of writing which, already in Plato and Aristotle, was restricted to the model of phonetic script and the language of words. Let us recall the Aristotelian definition: "Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience and written words are the symbols of spoken words." Saussure: "Language and writing are two distinct systems of signs; the second exists for the sole purpose of representing the first" (p. 45; italics added) [p. 23]. . . . To be sure this factum of phonetic writing is massive; it commands our entire culture and our entire science, and it is certainly not just not one fact among others. Nevertheless it does not respond to any necessity of an absolute and universal essence. (Derrida 1976, 30-31)

Communicating without words is possible--the Balnibarbians in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels simply show each other objects in exchanges of mute conversation (Swift 1985, 230)--and early modern drama does this with dumbshow. Pericles is the only Shakespeare play to use a dumbshow directly: the one in Hamlet is part of the inset drama of The Mousetrap. Balancing this telling-by-showing is the telling-by-telling of the play's choric narrator Gower whose part of 320 lines exceeds that of next largest narrator, the Chorus of Henry 5, by nearly 50%.

    The Balnibarbian's mode of communication amuses because, at the cost of limiting conversation to things that can be carried, it removes all mediation: thing 'stand for' themselves rather than needing names. The relationship between things and their names is the topic debated in Plato's Socratic dialogue Cratylus, which begins with Hermogenes being told by Cratylus, much to his annoyance, that Hermogenes is not really his name. Socrates takes a moderate line about the nature of language that synthesizes Hermogenes's argument that the names for things are arbitrary and conventional with Cratylus's insistence that names derive from nature and are either correct or they are not names at all (Plato 1871, 619-715). The dialogue is inconclusive and is mostly taken up with Socrates making a series of etymological blunders in trying to show, howsoever human error makes language mutate into something only conventional, the particular letters used to make words bear immanent significances such as motion, windiness, binding, slipperiness, stickiness, inwardness, and roundness (Plato 1871, 699-700). Simon Keller argued that the futility of Socrates's etymological searches is the point of the dialogue--philosophy will never advanced by that method--and that we should not seek Plato's view of language in this dialogue (Keller 2000). Benjamin Jowett took the same view of the dialogue's inconclusivity and commented that perhaps Plato's aim was "personifying the conventional, rational, [and] ideal theories of language, in the character of Hermogenes, Socrates, and Cratylus [respectively]" (Plato 1871, 621). What seems overlooked in these philosophical approaches is that Plato's dialogues are dramas, and in drama there can be no differences between a person and their name because speech prefixes are at once inside the text and outside of it; they comprise the dramatic 'form' and cannot be separated from 'content'. In reality there is a difference between nouns and their referents, but dramatic dialogue is an appropriate way to do philosophy because in it this difference is apparently suspended.

    As is always the temptation with Plato's dialogues, one can read the dispute in relation to the concept of Ideals or Forms. Hermogenes is keen to distance himself from the relativism of Protagoras (for whom "Man is the measure of all things"), which would seem to be where his view of the arbitrary and conventional nature of naming would lead him, and so he tentatively agrees with Socrates's essentialist view of naming. For Socrates, names are tools like any other and when they are coined their makers necessarily refer to the Ideal or Form of the made object that they carry in their heads. Just as tools are made of different materials in different parts of the world and yet share the same functions (cutting, weaving, etcetera) so words are in different languages made of different sounds yet serve the same purposes (Plato 1871, 657-60). The task of representing that a name does is necessarily one that it fulfils imperfectly, for perfect fidelity could only be achieved by making a second object identical to the first:

"Soc[rates] But, then, how ridiculous would be the effect of names on things, if they were exactly the same with them! For they would be the doubles of them, and no one would be able to determine which are the names and which are the realities. (Plato 1871, 706)


Jacques Derrida characterized this as metaphoricity--"the interval between the thing itself and its reproduction" (Derrida 1976, 282)--and explored Jean-Jacques Rousseau's attempt to find in drama a way to close the gap.

    The onomatopoeic view of language that Jowett claimed is Plato's own (Plato 1871, 625)--that words were formed by the imitation in sound of ideas--is, Derrida argued, mistaken. There can be no avoidance of metaphor even in the simplest form of imitation, painting:

The project of repeating the thing already corresponds to a social passion and therefore requires a metaphoricity, an elemental transference. One transports the thing within its double (that is to say already within an ideality) for an other, and the perfect representation is always already other than what it doubles and re-presents. Allegory begins there. (Derrida 1976, 292)

The evil of differance applies to language and to politics, for just as words come short of what they stand for, so political representatives cannot express the sovereign will of the people; the act of representation itself diminishes sovereignty. "Writing is the origin of inequality" and what is required to express the general will are "voices without proxy"  (Derrida 1976, 296-97). The lapse at the origin has to be acknowledged: "One wishes to go back from the supplement to the source: one must recognize that there is a supplement at the source". But, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau asked, cannot theatre "take up where the unanimous assembly left off" since it unites spectacle and discourse? No, because ". . . the theatre itself is shaped and undermined by the profound evil of representation". What Rousseau criticized was not the content, not any particular means, "it is re-presentation itself" that he attacks. "Exactly as within the political order, the menace has the shape of the representative." Naturally, actors (representers) have a taste for outward shows and dissipation, "for they are the crimes of the signifier or the representer itself" (Derrida 1976, 304). The orator or preacher at least is mouthing his own words, representing himself: the actor "is born out of the rift between the representer and the represented" and is merely a mouthpiece and annihilates himself to be one (Derrida 1976, 305). For Rousseau, only in the theatre of self-presence, the festival of non-representation celebrating ourselves, is the evil differance of representation avoided, just as the "electoral meetings of a free and legiferant assembled people" effaces representative differance "in the self-presence of sovereignty" (Derrida 1976, 306). It is a theatre without masks, "It has no outside although it takes place out of doors", and has 'games' but not 'play' (Derrida 1976, 307).

    What might such a theatre of self-presence sound like? "A voice that can make itself heard in the open air is a free voice, a clear voice that the northern principle has not yet muzzled with consonants, not yet broken, articulated, compartmentalized, and which can reach the interlocutor immediately", hence it is the voice of Mediterranean climates before speakers had to go indoors for most of the year. Likewise for the dancing: open-air and even with nudity rather than secret meetings with "sartorial signifiers" (Derrida 1976, 308). The 'present' in the 'metaphysics of presence' is not just 'here' but also 'now', and representation sets in motion the periodicity of the seasons; the chain of deferral is cyclical (Derrida 1976, 309). Rousseau's exhortation is for a life lived without letters from afar but instead full presence which he describes in multiple forms. But if it exists in multiple forms, there must be an essence of presence shared by them all, in which case representations has already sneaked in (Derrida 1976, 311), and hence ". .  representation does not suddenly encroach upon presence; it inhabits it as the very condition of its experience" (Derrida 1976, 312). The supplement has no essence since it is only "taking and keeping the place of the other", but that non-essentiality is its essence, and hence "No ontology can think its operation". Saussure tried to maintain that writing is exterior to speech, but Derrida thought he had shown "the interiority of exteriority". We cannot even have such a discussion until we accept that our classical metaphysics cannot handle the concept of the supplement, which (being only just sayable within the old system) must find its foothold in "the logic it deconstructs" (Derrida 1976, 314). 



For Rousseau, speech has the variability of the speaking subject's passion (which enables him to use words as he wants them to mean via intonation) while in writing one has to accept a word's conventional meaning, and we should note that this goes to the heart of the system of dramatic censorship in Shakespeare's time. The Master of the Revels licensed the written text, not whatever the actors did with it, and on the rare occasions that the actors caused offence by exploiting the difference text and performance they could disingenuously claim not to know that there was a difference and attempt to pin the blame on the censor who had approved their text, as happened with Jonson's The Magnetic Lady (Dutton 1998, 39). Such tricks were not usually resorted to, and conditioning behaviour on both sides seems to have been a recognition that all signification is inherently metaphorical, that ". . . writing . . . takes place before and within speech" (Derrida 1976, 315).

    Early modern literary theory acknowledged a version, or rather an inversion, of what Derrida was to claim, in Philip Sidney's engagement with Plato's denigration of poetry as a imitation of everyday reality, which is itself only an imitation of the world of abstract Forms. In place of sequential relation of diminishing authenticity (Form, Particular, Copy), Sidney argued that poetry (meaning art in general) could reach a perfection not available in reality: "Nature['s] . . .  world is brasen, the Poets only deliuer a golden" (Sidney 1595, C1r). Sidney disrupted the sequence of diminishing authenticity (Form, Particular, Copy) to insist that the perfection found in the Form at the beginning of the sequence could be found in the artistic copy of reality at the end. Derrida did the opposite: he disrupted the sequence of diminishing authenticity (Thought, Speech, Writing) to insist that the debased condition of writing at the end of the sequence polluted Thought at its beginning, and hence "Il n'y a pas de hors-texte", 'there is nothing outside the text'. In Pericles the primordiality of writing is explored in relation to the practical processes occurring in the textual economy of early modern theatre, where speech and action might appear to be second- and third-order derivatives of pure artistic conception but are unavoidably textual in origin. Boult's description of beautiful Marina seems to follow from the simple fact of the actor's physicality, but when we take a wider view of how theatre operates we realize that the actor's body what chosen to match (or to stand in productive mix-match with) the words, which existed before the performance. Correctly locating the textual and not the performative as the starting point of early modern drama bears upon our editorial practice and upon our historicizing of the plays' early reception. In an address to the reader (Marston 1604, A4r), John Marston apologized for putting his play The Malcontent into print, hoping that his "trifle . . . may bee pardoned, for the pleasure it once afforded you, when it was presented with the soule of lively action", which sounds like the familiar reference back to performance for validation. But even here the "lively action" was something the text was "presented with", an adornment of movement, and earlier Marston constructed his ideal reader: a "firme spirit, who in all his actions" is virtuous. For Marston, souls and spirits are not things apart from bodies but rather things known through their embodied actions. The opening sentence of Marston's address is an excuse for blunt speaking, "[I] speake as I think, and write as I speake", in which "as" can be read as suggesting a Platonic and Saussurian sequence of diminishing authenticity: 'I think, then I speak, then I write'. But equally this can be read as a Derridean reversal of that order: "[I] speake as I think" can mean 'while thinking I am speaking', and "[I] write as I speake" can mean 'while speaking I am writing', and hence 'while thinking I am writing'.

    In one of the mostly commonly cited standard works on editing Shakespeare, Stanley Wells argued that from an editor's point of view there may be advantages in treating a play's stage directions as less 'authorized' than its speeches (Wells 1984, 57-78). Margaret Jane Kidnie recently objected to this principle, but for quite the wrong reason (Kidnie 2000). For Kidnie, the book and the performance are utterly incommensurable and hence editors should shirk the responsibility that R. B. McKerrow and his successor Wells would impose on them of rewriting the stage direction to help the reader imagine a performance (Kidnie 2000, 459-61). For Kidnie, there is no way to "render an early modern script entire" (Kidnie 2000, 462) because we have what she considered merely the textual fragment of the original play; we lack the thoughts imparted orally by the dramatist to the actors in rehearsal, and whatever emerged from their collaborative effort. Rather, I should say that incompleteness was a characteristic of the script from the start, and that the textual processes of transcription into actors parts and licensing could not more complete it than could the individual and collaborative reshaping of rehearsal. Understanding that performance does not complete the text--because it is not completable--releases us from the tyranny of always looking back to performance, and something of that freedom seems to have emerged around the time that Pericles was written and published, for printed playbooks began to not only look back at past performance but also to anticipate fresh performances based on the printed text. Another way of putting this is to say that the printing is the play, that what you have as a reader of the 1604 quarto of The Malcontent is THE Malcontent. And that is in fact how the 1604 quarto of The Malcontent put it, using an elaborate woodcut "THE" on its title-page, which quickly became a fashion for first editions of plays, being copied on the title-pages of Dekker and Middleton's The Honest Whore (Dekker & Middleton 1604, A1r), the anonymous The London Prodigall (Anonymous 1605a, A1r), ?Heywood's The Fayre Mayde of the Exchange (Anonymous [possibly Thomas Heywood] 1607, A1r), Middleton's The Phoenix (Middleton 1607, A1r), Dekker and John Webster's The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyat  (Dekker & Webster 1607, A1r), and Chapman's The Conspiracie, and Tragedie of Charles Duke of Byron (Chapman 1608, A1r), and then in subsequent editions such as Wilkins's The Miseries of Inforst Mariage (Wilkins 1611, A1r; Wilkins 1629, A1r) when reprinted in 1611 and 1629, the anonymous The Merry Devill of Edmonton (Anonymous 1612, A2r) when reprinted in 1612, Elizabeth Carew's The Tragedie of Mariam (Carew 1613, pi2r) in 1613, and the anonymous The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth (Anonymous 1617, A1r) when reprinted in 1617.


    The New Bibliography, and its stage-centred refinement of new New Bibliography, are widely under attack by editors who think it no longer possible to edit 'the play', only to edit a surviving textualization of the play. The idea that the play is the book was of some importance for a company of players led by Robert and Christopher Simpson described by C. J. Sisson (Sisson 1942), G. W. Boddy (Boddy 1976), and here at the Huntington last year by our host Peter Holland (Gurr 2004). The Simpsons's patron, Richard Cholmley, had been in London for the abortive Essex coup of 1601, for which he was imprisoned and fined (Boddy 1976, 96); presumably it was to entertain men such as him that Essex's supporters paid the Chamberlain's men for a performance of Richard 2 at the Globe on 7 February 1601. Charles Forker thought that this performance must have included the deposition scene that was not printed until the fourth quarto appeared in 1608, else ". . . the play could hardly have been thought to serve the rebels' political ends" (Shakespeare 2002, 10n2), whereas David M. Bergeron maintained that the deposition scene probably did not yet exist and that in any case it evokes so much sympathy for Richard that the rebels would have preferred the play without it (Bergeron 1974, 34). Janet Clare pointed out that book censorship seems to have been no more severe than theatrical censorship, so the absence of the scene from the first three quartos strongly suggests that it was not performed, else ". . . it would surely have been possible for the publisher, Matthew Lawe, to have obtained a fair copy prepared for stage use" (Clare 1990, 89). There is ample evidence that a written text might contain more than was performed because the actors cut what they did not want to use, as with Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour printed "AS IT WAS FIRST COMPOSED" and thus "Containing more than hath been Publickely Spoken or Acted" (Jonson 1600, Ar2) and as Humphrey Moseley claimed in the preliminaries of the Beaumont and Fletcher Folio (Fletcher & Beaumont 1647, A4r). Such a proceeding might be formalized in the way described by Andrew Gurr: the company had a "maximal" text authorized by the Master of the Revels but only ever played a subset of it, the "minimal" text suited to the particularities of occasion and cast (Gurr 1999). The cutting of allowed written text for performance is a practice that early modern theatre history can easily accommodate, but we have tended to draw a line in the sand regarding the writing of dramatic material solely for publication. Joseph Loewenstein argued that Ben Jonson is the central figure here, his carving out of an authorial identity for himself being "a groping forward toward later authorial property rights within a bourgeois cultural marketplace, but modeled on the ethos of the classical auctor and the economics of patronage" (Loewenstein 1985, 109). Jonson certainly wrote and rewrote for publication, but Lukas Erne's recent suggestion that Shakespeare deliberately wrote material intended for the printed page not the theatre stage would, if accepted, upturn many of our assumptions (Erne 2003).

    That a printed play should contain no less than was performed was crucial to the explanation offered by the actors from the Simpsons company that were made to give an account of themselves in the trial of Sir John Yorke (Boddy 1976, 104-07). In Yorke's house on 2 February 1609 the company performed a play about Saint Christopher, which subject could offend no-one had not the players inserted a interlude in which a Catholic priest disputed with and overcame a Protestant minister, and had him carried away amid theatrical thunder-and-lightning by a devil. (That this sounds much like the scene from The Jesuites Play at Lyons described above, which also used "inuented Fyre-workes" (S 1607, B1v) is itself an indication of how similar narrative descriptions can derive from performances that present wildly different religious meanings.) The witnesses from the playing company knew that the charge against Yorke centered on this interpolated scene, and Richard Simpson insisted that "That booke by which he and the other persons did act the said play . . . was a prynted book, And they onlie acted the same according to the contents . . . and not otherwise" (Boddy 1976, 106). As well as the obvious perjury in this testimony--no authorized book about Saint Christopher could contain the scene described--we might suspect disingenuousness by Simpson: in all innocence, he seems to imply, we here in Yorkshire assumed that whatever was published in London must have been properly approved. Sisson even wondered if the company invented the book that they claimed to performed Saint Christopher from, "of which no trace appears to remain" (Sisson 1942, 142), but the other three printed playbooks cited by the players in their testimony are well-known to us: The Travailes of the Three English Brothers (Day, Rowley & Wilkins 1607), called by them "The Three Shirleys" (Boddy 1976, 104), and "Perocles, prince of Tire, And the other was Kinge Lere" (Boddy 1976, 106). No doubt "Perocles" was Pericles (Shakespeare & Wilkins 1609) and "Kinge Lere" was either the anonymous chronicle play (Anonymous 1605b) or Shakespeare's (Shakespeare 1608b).

    If "Kinge Lere" was Shakespeare's play, there emerges the curious coincidence that the three known plays this company performed from printed texts were among the first whose title-pages showed the shift from a backward-looking relationship with performance ('as it hath been acted') to a present-tense phrasing on its way to becoming the Janus-face relation that included the possibility of the printed book originating fresh performances. The title-page of Day, Rowley, and Wilkins's The Travailes of the Three English Brothers (Day, Rowley & Wilkins 1607, A1r) was joint-first to use the "As it is now play'd" phrasing, and the title-page of Shakespeare's King Lear was the first to inform the reader that actors could be found "playing vsually at" a particular venue (Shakespeare 1608b, A2r). Before Pericles no printed play's title-page had described the contents as a 'play' since the Tudor interlude printings that foregrounded their capacity to originate performance. Two people recur in this pattern. One is George Wilkins as writer of two of the three Simpsons's plays, and also the writer of The Miseries of Inforst Mariage that was the other joint-first to use "As it is now played" on its title-page. The other person is Nathaniel Butter as publisher of King Lear and of Wilkins's prose novella version of the play Pericles called The Painfull Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre. In all likelihood there is an element of random coincidence at work here, and in any case if Wilkins and/or Butter were responsible for these innovative phrasings they probably were not conscious of their novelty. In their everyday work of writing and publishing for money I do not suppose that these men thought hard about the significance of present-tense and future-tense locutions. Nonetheless, it seems that for the first two or three decades after the opening of the permanent London theatres in the late 1570s the publication of plays was conceived by those doing it to be a means of recapturing the past pleasure of performance. But thereafter, publication took on a new character as a potential source for, rather than a recapturing of, the pleasure of performance. Touring players in Yorkshire bought the books that marked this change and performed them, and it is reasonable to suppose that they were affected by the new title-page phrasing. Called to account for their behaviour, the players effectively pleaded that the books spoke through them, that as the conduits for the dramatists' meanings they had no responsibility for any offence caused. That we know this to be untrue should not blind us to the significance of this attempted defence. It was now at least credible to assert that the books, not the players, were the 'authors' of their performances.

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