WRITING about All is True; or, Henry VIII, Gary Taylor and Rory Loughnane state, ‘In the New Oxford Shakespeare we identify Shakespeare as sole author of 1.1, 1.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.2.1–204, and 5.1; Fletcher is wholly or primarily responsible for the remainder, and is therefore the dominant author, as he is again in Two Noble Kinsmen.’1 As a member of the New Oxford’s Attribution Advisory Board, MacDonald P. Jackson was influential in confirming the attributions to Shakespeare and Fletcher made by James Spedding in 1850.2 In his note of 2013, Jackson cites the percentages of feminine endings in the nine disputed passages which I reversed (Fletcher to Shakespeare and Shakespeare to Fletcher) and showed that they accord more closely with Spedding’s findings.3 Table 1 Disputed Passages Spedding’s Attribution Merriam’s attribution II.ii.1–17 Fletcher Shakespeare II.ii.116–142 Fletcher Shakespeare II.iii.50–80 Shakespeare Fletcher III.i.1–23 Fletcher Shakespeare III.ii.228–235 Fletcher Shakespeare III.ii.255–325 Fletcher Shakespeare IV.i.37–80 Fletcher Shakespeare IV.ii.31–99 Fletcher Shakespeare V.i.86–157 Shakespeare Fletcher Spedding’s Attribution Merriam’s attribution II.ii.1–17 Fletcher Shakespeare II.ii.116–142 Fletcher Shakespeare II.iii.50–80 Shakespeare Fletcher III.i.1–23 Fletcher Shakespeare III.ii.228–235 Fletcher Shakespeare III.ii.255–325 Fletcher Shakespeare IV.i.37–80 Fletcher Shakespeare IV.ii.31–99 Fletcher Shakespeare V.i.86–157 Shakespeare Fletcher Jackson also demonstrates that phrases of 2–6 words and 12 words demarcated by punctuation in the Arden 2 edition of the play favour Spedding’s attribution of the nine disputed passages. Rather than embark on a detailed critique of Jackson’s case, I would observe that it is based on univariate descriptive statistics gathered from 1874 (Furnivall) to 1997 (Jackson)—the most recent published six years earlier than my foundational chart for Henry VIII, incorporating multivariate inferential statistics.4 My attributions to Fletcher and Shakespeare in The Identity of Shakespeare in Henry VIII were based on this chart’s displaying a cumulative sum graph which encapsulates the differing rates of occurrence of all, are, conscience, did, ’em, feminine endings, find, from, hath, in, is, it, little, words ending in -ly, must, now, sure, they, ’tis, too, and where/there—twenty-one variables in all.5 Eight of these, all, are, did, in, must, now, sure, and too were used by Thomas Horton in 1987 for their differential rates of occurrence as Fletcher–Shakespeare discriminators.6 It should be borne in mind that the Spedding attributions endorsed by The New Oxford Shakespeare and my attributions are in agreement with respect to 2,408 out of 2,742 lines—87.8 percent, or 19,787 out of 22,625 words—87.5 percent. As my attributions were determined without reference to prior authorial breakpoints, they are independent of Spedding’s general scene divisions; Spedding divided the authorship of Henry VIII by scenes with the exception of III.ii.203, with which my attributions agree. Jackson’s note of 2013 should be consulted in detail for its arguments in favour of Spedding’s attributions. I replied to this in 2014 with a display of the nine disputed passages in a sub-divisional chart derived electronically from the foundational chart of 2003.7 Seven of the nine disputed passages showed positive slopes indicating authorship by Shakespeare, and two showed uncertain slopes unlike those of the seven. Gabriel Egan, co-editor of The New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion, demonstrated his comprehensive understanding of this application in his review of the note two years later.8 A newer approach involves the use of R Stylo. This suite of programs enables a principal component analysis of the most common words shared in common by thirteen Shakespeare plays and seven Fletcher plays. These are Much Ado about Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Richard II, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Winter’s Tale; Bonduca, Chances, Demetrius, Island Princess, Loyal Subject, Monsieur Thomas, and Valentinian. Figure 1 shows the Shakespeare plays to the right of the Fletcher plays on the horizontal axis that measures the chief component of variation. The seventy-nine most frequent words found in all the plays constitute the variables from which the first two principal components are algebraically distilled. The seventy-nine MFWs are obviously not specific to subject matter. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Seven Fletcher plays (left) and thirteen Shakespeare plays (right) are differentiated by principal component analysis using the 79 most frequent words common to all twenty plays. First and second principal components encapsulate 38.2 per cent of the total variation. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Seven Fletcher plays (left) and thirteen Shakespeare plays (right) are differentiated by principal component analysis using the 79 most frequent words common to all twenty plays. First and second principal components encapsulate 38.2 per cent of the total variation. There are subsequently added the nine disputed passages whose 2,838 words had their Spedding attributions reversed, seven from Fletcher to Shakespeare and two from Shakespeare to Fletcher. The number of words common to all the texts is reduced from seventy-nine to sixty-four. The horizontal axis remains representative of the most important single component of variation. Both the Fletcher two and the Shakespeare seven disputed passages are positioned according to my previous attributions. The sample numbers, 1,976 words for the Shakespeare seven disputed passages and 826 words for the Fletcher two disputed passages, are the same as those used by Jackson in arguing the reverse case.9 Using the same words repeated to create sample sizes over 3,000 words results in the identical configuration in Figure 2. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide The disputed passages are added to the plays displayed in Figure 1. The triangle representing the two passages changed from Shakespeare to Fletcher is located on the left side, shared with the Fletcher circles. The cross representing the seven passages changed from Fletcher to Shakespeare is located on the right side, shared with the Shakespeare ‘X’s. The first and second principal components encapsulate 39.2 per cent of the total variation. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide The disputed passages are added to the plays displayed in Figure 1. The triangle representing the two passages changed from Shakespeare to Fletcher is located on the left side, shared with the Fletcher circles. The cross representing the seven passages changed from Fletcher to Shakespeare is located on the right side, shared with the Shakespeare ‘X’s. The first and second principal components encapsulate 39.2 per cent of the total variation. What is at stake is the disagreement between the indeterminacy of a Shakespeare favoured by modern criticism and the consistency of a Shakespeare with a coherent political view that I tendered in 2005.10 Jackson defends the contemporary view by stating, We must simply allow that in All Is True contrasting and even contradictory attitudes to, and versions of, events and personages, coexist as perspectives on an elusive and complex ‘truth’—a state of affairs that the play’s title, whether defiantly or apologetically, acknowledges.11 The re-attribution of the nine disputed passages in The Identity of Shakespeare in Henry VIII was initially based on a multivariate statistical analysis that accounted for the simultaneous variation of twenty-one variables. Figure 2 uses a similar analysis which accounts for the simultaneous variation of sixty-four variables. A. R. Humphreys noted the confusion consequent upon the sardonic use of the word conscience. Twice, at II.2.16–17 and IV.1.47, there are sardonic references to the King’s ambiguous ‘conscience’ in preferring Anne Bullen to Queen Katherine. These references occur one before and one after the great—and certainly Shakespearian—scene of Queen Katherine’s trial, in which Henry passionately insists on his anguish of conscience and his concern to be theologically correct (II.4.167–230). If these sardonic references are Shakespeare’s, the King becomes a cynic and hypocrite, and this the play does not at all seem [sic] to intend. If they are Fletcher’s—and both occur in scenes attributed to him—the explanation is the simple one that, inadequately consulting Shakespeare’s intentions, he intruded them from his sense of worldly court gossip and thus confused the rendering of Henry’s motives at a time when, one would deduce [sic], Shakespeare meant them to be honest.12 Conscience appears four times in Shakespeare’s account of Katherine’s trial, II.iv.167–230, and every occurrence there is taken from Holinshed’s straight-forward Chronicles. But its initial appearance in Katherine’s trial, ‘My conscience first received a tenderness’, has been purposely primed by II.ii.141–142, unmentioned by Humphreys—‘But conscience, conscience / O, ’tis a tender place …’ The sardonic connotation is then confirmed by the Old Lady’s later remark, ‘Saving your mincing—the capacity / Of your soft cheverel conscience would receive, / If you might please to stretch it.’ (II.iii.31–33) And then obliquely, Anne Bullen’s ‘I do not know / What kind of my obedience I should tender’ (II.iii. 65–66).13 Shakespeare’s consistent priming of II.iv in both previous scenes renders his versification of Holinshed ironic and portrays Henry as a cynic and a hypocrite at the trial. This view of Henry is consistent with the revised attributions of the play. Footnotes 1 The New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion, ed. G. Taylor and G. Egan (Oxford, 2017), 586–7. 2 M. P. Jackson, ‘All is True or Henry VIII: Authors and Ideologies’, N&Q, cclviii (2013), 441–4. ‘My aim here is to provide grounds for maintaining the unadjusted status quo’, at 441. 3 Jackson, 441. References are to Arden 3 Henry VIII. T. Merriam, The Identity of Shakespeare in Henry VIII (Tokyo, 2005). 4 T. Merriam, ‘Though this be supplementarity, yet there is method in’t’, N&Q, ccxlviii (2003), 424. 5 Merriam, ‘Though this be supplementarity’, 424. 6 T. B. Horton, The Effectiveness of the Stylometry of Function Words in Discriminating between Shakespeare and Fletcher (Edinburgh, 1987), 363–77. 7 T. Merriam, ‘A Reply to “All is True or Henry VIII: Authors and Ideologies” ’, N&Q, cclix (2014), 255. The horizontal scale in Figure 3 ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 words, while the foundational chart’s scale ranges from 1 to 3,500. 8 G. Egan et al., ‘Shakespeare’, The Year’s Work in English Studies (Oxford, 2016), 391–520, at 422–3. 9 Jackson, 442–3. 10 See Merriam, The Identity of Shakespeare. 11 Jackson, 444. 12 King Henry the Eighth, ed. A. R. Humphreys (Harmondsworth, 1971), 19–20. 13 King Henry VIII, ed. G. McMullan, Arden Shakespeare (London, 2000), n. 65–6, 295. ‘The audience, however, knows exactly what kind of obedience is required, especially since the word tender recalls the sexualizing of the conscience at 2.2.142.’ © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes and Queries – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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