NABOKV-L post 0013529, Fri, 13 Oct 2006 09:00:33 +1300

Re: Otto Rank on disputed authorship
Interesting observation, Steve.

The current state of discussion on Shakespearean co-authorship is
this: 1 Henry 6 was written by Thomas Nashe (Act 1), Shakespeare, and
an unidentified other; Titus Andronicus was written by George Peele
(Act 1 and two other scenes) and Shakespeare; Timon of Athens was
written by Shakespeare (2/3) and Thomas Middleton (1/3); Pericles was
written by George Wilkins (Acts 1-2) and Shakespeare; Henry VIII (or
All Is True) and The Two Noble Kinsmen were written by Shakespeare
and John Fletcher. Shakespeare also had a hand in Edward III and in
two scenes of Sir Thomas More.

These apportionings of authorship are quite different from the dotty
attributions of all of Shakespeare to Bacon, or Oxford, or a host of
others who happen to have been alive at the time some of the plays
were written. The serious authorship studies have convergent results
that have been accumulating in evidence and precision for 150 years,
whereas the anti-Stratfordians contradict or talk past one another
and are ludicrously primitive in their methodology, ignoring counter-
evidence--a common failing, alas. not unknown on this forum. All
other major playwrights of Shakespeare's time, from Marlowe through
to Jonson, Middleton, and Webster, occasionally wrote plays
collaboratively, but usually solo.

For the genuine authorship studies, see Brian Vickers's magisterial,
Shakespeare, Co-Author (Oxford, 2002), which I reviewed for
Shakespeare Quarterly, and Words That Count: Early Modern Authorship:
Essays in Honor of MacDonald P. Jackson (Delaware, 2004), which I
edited. Jackson is the leading figure in the field of Shakespearean
attribution. My own publications in this area have been confined to
Titus Andronicus, although I have taught Timon, Henry VIII, and 2NK
and supervised a PhD on the authorship of 1H6.

Brian Boyd

On 13/10/2006, at 7:49 AM, Stephen Blackwell wrote:

> I was just looking back over some sections of Otto Rank's Art and
> Artist (in English; Knopf, 1932), a book filled with fascinating
> consonances and dissonances vis-a-vis Nabokov, and stumbled upon a
> passage that I think gives a potent context for the present
> discussion:
> ". . .it can hardly be chance that the greatest creations of
> the human spirit, such as the New Testament, the Homeric poems, and
> Shakspere's [sic] plays, should, on the one hand, have been centres
> of academic disputes as to authorship and, on the other, should
> have inspired the imagination of whole centuries in favour of one
> author" (382).
> It is probably also worth bearing in mind that Timon of Athens is,
> or at least at one time was, one of the plays considered even by
> non-Baconians (i.e. Stratfordians)
> to be of disputed, or perhaps mixed, authorship. I don't have time
> to chase references on that one, sorry. Any annotated edition
> should have the details. And maybe Sam Schuman can chime in with
> more details?
> Stephen Blackwell
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