NABOKV-L post 0013562, Fri, 13 Oct 2006 11:33:03 +1300

Re: Shakespearean joint authorship
This may be of interest to nobody but Sam and me, but in any case:

Samuel Schoenbaum was indeed a distinguished Shakespearean. Alfred
Appel gave Nabokov Schoenbaum's William Shakespeare: A Documentary
Life as a present, prompting VN to say "This is how biography should
be done."

Nevertheless, Schoenbaum's mastery of the documents of Shakespeare's
life and times made him assume that only documentary evidence
counted. Most of the modern work on collaborative authorship had not
been done at the time Schoenbaum made his judgements on internal as
opposed to external evidence, but the convergence of findings by
scholars like Mac Jackson, Gary Taylor (editor of the Oxford
Shakespeare Complete Works, general editor of the Oxford Middleton)
and John Jowett (associate editor of the Oxford Shakespeare and the
Oxford Middleton, and general editor of the Arden Early Modern Drama
series) puts beyond doubt the division of scenes in all the cases I
cited. Modern databases allow possible authors--ALL the works of ALL
the playwrights writing at the time--to be analyzed statistically. If
Schoenbaum had known the evidence, even if only through Vickers's
assessment, he would have changed his mind.

Brian Boyd

On 13/10/2006, at 10:59 AM, NABOKV-L wrote:

> As always, there is little to add to what Brian remarks, but since
> Steve kindly invites, a few thoughts.
> My knowledge is a bit older -- much gained from my days as graduate
> assistant to Samuel Schoenbaum, who was to Shakespeare biography what
> Brian is to Nabokov!
> Schoenbaum also wrote extensively on Elizabethan dramatic authorship.
> From him, I learned some skepticism about the kind of pinpoint
> division
> of plays scene-by-scene or line-by-line which still persists. I tell
> my undergraduate students that about the only thing of which they can
> be sure in this area is this: not everything in your "Complete Works
> of Shakespeare" is actually by Shakespeare, and not everything by
> Shakespeare is in your "Complete Works." Certainly for over a half
> century (W.W.Greg, P. Williams, J.C.Maxwell, etc.), critics and
> editors
> of "Timon" have seen evidence of multiple authorship.
> Non-Shakespeareans might also be interested in knowing that the play's
> place and even inclusion in the First Folio of 1623 is also rather
> vexed.
> In relation to the ongoing discussion of "Pale Fire," it might be
> noted
> that nobody has ever suggested that "Timon of Athens" was written by
> Apemantus, "a churlish philosopher."
> --------------------------------------
> Sam
> Dr. Samuel Schuman
> Garrey Carruthers Distinguished Chair
> in Honors
> The University of New Mexico
> Albuquerque, NM (505) 277-4396
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