Attribution

British Renaissance Re-Attribution and Modernization Series

This series solves most of the previously critically discussed mysteries concerning the authorship of British Renaissance texts (including the “William Shakespeare” and 103 other bylines) by applying to 284 of them a newly invented for this study computational-linguistics method that uses a combination of 27 different tests to derive that six ghostwriters were their authors: Richard Verstegan, Josuah Sylvester, Gabriel Harvey, Benjamin Jonson, William Byrd and William Percy. This computational method as well as structural, biographical and various other attribution approaches that led to the attribution conclusions are discussed in Re-Attribution of the British Renaissance Corpus. A larger portion of this series is Modernization of the Inaccessible British Renaissance, which tests the quantitative attribution-conclusions by closely analyzing and explaining the contents of re-attributed texts that are uniquely significant for the revised history of this period, and yet have never been translated into Modern English before. Some of these texts were initially anonymous, others were self-attributed by the ghostwriters, and yet others were credited in bylines to pseudonyms or ghostwriting-contractors. The annotations to each of their translations provide thousands of new confirming clues of shared authorship within a given authorial-signature. Even without this history-changing attribution evidence, these are neglected texts that are here edited for the first time to allow their beauty and intelligence to shine so that readers can see how they rival the standard “Shakespeare” canon. This series is cataloged in the World Shakespeare Bibliography and in the Play Index (EBSCO). The Journal of Information Ethics published two articles on Faktorovich’s re-attribution method: “Publishers and Hack Writers: Signs of Collaborative Writing in the ‘Defoe’ Canon” (Fall 2020) and “Falsifications and Fabrications in the Standard Computational-Linguistics Authorial-Attribution Methods: A Comparison of the Methodology in ‘Unmasking’ with the 28-Tests” (forthcoming in around Spring 2022).

Computational-Linguistics Authorial-Attribution Data and Visuals Available at this GitHub Link

Re-Attribution of the British Renaissance Corpus

Click on Links to Purchase on Amazon: Softcover: Volumes 1-2: 698pp, 7X10”: $40: 979-8-49958-765-2; Hardcover: Volume 1: $27: 979-8-49958-864-2; Hardcover: Volume 2: $27: 9798499590843; Kindle EBook: $9.99; LCCN: 2021949415. Nonfiction—Computers—Mathematical & Statistical Software. Release: October 23, 2021.

The first accurate quantitative re-attribution of all central texts of the British Renaissance.

  • Describes and applies the first unbiased and accurate method of computational-linguistics authorial-attribution.
  • Covers 284 texts with 7,832,156 words, 104 authorial bylines, a range of genres, and a timespan between 1560 and 1662.
  • Includes helpful diagrams that visually show the quantitative-matches and the identical most-frequent phrases between the texts in each linguistic-signature-group.
  • Detailed chronologies for each of the six ghostwriters and the bylines they wrote under, including their dates of birth, death, publications, and other biographical markers that explain why each of them was the only logical attribution.
  • A full bibliography of the 284 tested texts.
  • All of the raw and processed data, not only in summary-tables inside of the book, but also in-full on a publicly-accessible website: https://github.com/faktorovich/Attribution.
  • One table includes all of the data from the first-edition title-pages (byline, printer, bookseller, date, proverbs), and the first-performance (date, troupe).
  • A table on structural elements across all “Shakespeare”-bylined texts summarizes their plot-movements, character-types, settings, slang-usage, primary sources, and poetic design (percentage of rhyme and hendiadys).
  • To explain why these are the first truly accurate re-attributions, numerous reasons for discrediting previous attribution claims are provided throughout.

Re-Attribution of the British Renaissance Corpus describes a newly invented for this study computational-linguistics authorial-attribution method and applies it and several other approaches to the central texts of the British Renaissance. All of the attribution steps are described precisely to give readers replicable instructions on how they can apply them to any text from any period that they are interested in determining an attribution for. This method can be applied to solving criminal linguistic mysteries such as who wrote the Unabomber Manifesto, or theological mysteries such as if any of the Dead Sea Scrolls might have been forged by a modern author. This method is uniquely accurate because it uses 27 different quantitative tests that measure a text’s dimensions and its similarity or divergence to other texts automatically, without the statisticians being able to skew the outcome by altering the experiment’s analytical design. Re-Attribution guides researchers not only on how to perform the basic calculations, but also how to perform the biographical and documentary research to derive who among the potential bylines in a single signature-group is the ghostwriter, while the others are merely ghostwriter-contractors or pseudonyms. Reliable accuracy is achieved by also performing other types of attribution tests to check if these alternative approaches validate or contradict the 27-tests’ findings. Non-quantitative tests discussed include deciphering the hidden implications of contemporary pufferies, as well as comparing structural elements such as characters, plot, and element borrowings. Part II presents a revised version of the history of the birth of the theater in Britain by reviewing forensic accounting evidence in Philip Henslowe’s Diary, and the documented history of homicidal lending practices and government corruption connected with troupes and theaters. Parts III-VIII explain precisely how this series derived that the British Renaissance was ghostwritten by only six linguistic-signatures: Richard Verstegan, Josuah Sylvester, Gabriel Harvey, Benjamin Jonson, William Byrd and William Percy. The parts on each of these ghostwriters, not only explain how their biographies fit with the timelines of the texts being attributed to them, but also provide various types of evidence that explains their motives for ghostwriting. And Part IX returns for an intricate analysis of a few pseudonyms or ghostwriting-contractors who were uniquely difficult to exclude as potential ghostwriters; in parallel, these chapters question the reasons these individuals would have needed to purchase ghostwriting services.

Anna Faktorovich, PhD, is an English professor who previously published Rebellion as Genre and Formulas of Popular Fiction. She is also the Director and Founder of Anaphora Literary Press.

List of Figures

Part I: Methodologies of Re-Attribution

Introduction: The Ghostwriting Workshop Behind the British Renaissance

A New Computational-Linguistics Authorial-Attribution Method Described and Applied to the British Renaissance

An Impressionist Overview of the British Renaissance Ghostwriting Workshop

Attribution Clues in Contemporary Allusions to “William Shakespeare”

The Patterns Distinguishing the Six Authorial-Signatures of the British Renaissance Ghostwriting Workshop: The Case Against “Shakespeare”

Structural Divergences Between the Established “William Shakespeare” Canon and the New Re-Attributions

Part II: The Birth of the British Theaters

“Philip Henslowe’s” Financial Schemes as a Theater Landlord

Manipulation of Theatrical Audience-Size: Nonexistent Plays and Murderous Lenders

Crime and Corruption Behind the Ghostwriting Workshop

Masters and Minstrels in the Renaissance Theater: Patronage for Propaganda

Part III: William Byrd

Rhythm, Music and Monopoly

Amidst William Byrd’s Fraudulent Pseudonyms and Piracy Litigations: “William Shakespeare”, “Thomas Morley”, and “Thomas Lodge”

Part IV: Richard Verstegan

The Secret-Secretary to Elizabeth I and James I

The Secret-Secretary to Aristocrats

Between the “Marprelate War” and the King James Bible

Part V: Gabriel Harvey

From Ghostwriting “Elizabeth I’s” Letters and “Spenser’s” Faery Queen to Debtor’s Prison

After Academia: “William Shakespeare”, “R.” and Other Bylines of Unlikely “Authors”

Part VI: Josuah Sylvester

The Case for Re-Attributions to a Court Poet 

Circuitous Evidence of Ghostwriting

Aristocratic and Royal Sponsors: “Robert” and “Mary Sidney” and “Henry Constable”

By Any Other Name: “William Shakespeare”, “George Peele” and “Joseph Hall”

The Ostracizing of the Jew in Renaissance England: The Disguise of the “Anonymous Writer”

Part VII: William Percy

The Tragedian “Shakespeare”

Plot Construction and Pericles, “Shakespeare’s” Strange Comedy

Attribution Case-Studies

“William Shakespeare” Apocrypha

Part VIII: Benjamin Jonson

The Comedian “Shakespeare”

Attributing Arden of Faversham

The Ghostwriting Workshop’s Subversive Autobiography: The Epigrams to “Fletcher-Beaumont’s” Comedies and Tragedies

Part IX: Studies in Exclusion of Potential Authorial Bylines

George Chapman: De-Attributing a Ghostwriter-Contracting Debtor

Nicholas Breton: Distinguishing Pseudonyms in Coded N. B. and B. N. Initials

Anthony Munday: Divergences Between the Thief and the Ghost Behind the “An. Mundy, Citizen and Draper of London” Byline

The Fletchers and the Beaumonts: Two Families of Ghostwriter-Contractors

Authorial-Group Chronologies

Bibliography: Texts Tested for Attribution

Index

Modernization of the Inaccessible British Renaissance

The first accessible translations of some of the best British Renaissance texts that have been tragically neglected.

Modernization of the Inaccessible British Renaissance opens texts to the public that have remained hidden in the archives because they have not been given the scholarly care lavished on the narrow standard canon of taught Authors. The absence of translations of these texts might have had a detrimental impact on world history because they explore the Islamic faith, homosexuality, promiscuity, and a myriad of other subjects with respectful warmth and acceptance that could have stopped wars of prejudice and unjust prosecutions across the past four centuries. These translations are executed with a unique method designed for this series that inserts a modern term into the body of the text to maximize reading-ease, and includes the original-spelling word or phrase, the source of the definition, and comments on alternative meanings in an annotation. Extensive annotations explain the meaning of proverbs, mythological and theological allusions, invented-words’ origins, and various other elements. As part of the British Renaissance Re-Attribution and Modernization Series, each text is accompanied with explanations regarding its computational-attribution and with additional evidence that strengthen these quantitative findings. One type of attributing evidence mentioned across the annotations is when borrowings of segments of text or plot and characters repeat across two or more texts in a single signature-group, such as those ghostwritten by William Percy. The translated texts are illustrated with enhanced versions of original artwork from their first editions. Most of these plays originally did not include Act or Scene divisions; these are added to orient readers in the text and to assist directors. A set of introductory elements that appeared in only some of these plays were added into all of them, including: “The Names of Persons” with character-summaries, “The Properties” that describe the set furnishings and design, and throughout the plays missing staging directions were added that help to clarify characters’ interactions. Primary source materials accompany texts where they are needed to explain the originating historical or fictional plotline or the pre-translation language they are imitating. The introductory sections present documentary evidence and biographical materials about the ghostwriters. Each text is introduced with a history of its previous publications and performances. An overview of textual, attribution or other types of scholarly research about each text helps to orient researchers who want to explore further. Extensive plot synopses are provided, with explanations of the themes, tropes, and other noteworthy patterns. And sections on staging propose potential approaches these plays can be practically staged by modern troupes or cinematically presented on film. Staging diagrams of the furnishings, props and architecture are designed for each play to help theater directors pick a play most suitable for the resources of their theatrical space. And to assist busy teachers and professors with enlivening and kickstarting a class, each text is accompanied with sections of key terms, references for further reading, questions for further discussion (themes, story structure, close reading), and creative and scholarly writing, and dramatic performance exercises.    

List of Illustrations

Prefacing Notes on Sources, Abbreviations and Translation Style

PART I: WILLIAM PERCY

William Percy (1567?-1648) is the dominant tragedian behind the “William Shakespeare” pseudonym according to the computational-linguistic study in The Re-Attribution of the British Renaissance Corpus. Percy was a younger son of the assassinated 8th Earl of Northumberland and the brother of the imprisoned in the Tower 9th Earl.

Introduction to Part I

The Three Letters of William Percy

Sonnets to the Fairest Coelia (1594)

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The only actual collection of sonnets written by William Shakespeare Percy.

Discover a collection of extraordinary sonnets that have been nearly invisible to scholars and students alike because they were misunderstood or deliberately suppressed by censors of the canon. As the introduction explains, one of its only preceding reprints was an 1818 edition that was prefaced by its editor as a poetic failure that was a typical example of “the court style”. A close analysis of Coelia’s poetic structure and linguistics proves this collection to be one of the best examples of metered and rhymed verse from the Renaissance. The real reason for the cold critical reception that has ostracized Coelia becomes apparent in the synopsis of the content of the unified narrative these sonnets relate. Coelia is a plea addressed to Elizabeth I for ending the Buggery Act that sentenced homosexuals to death. Sonnet XI refers to a suicidal sacrifice, and Percy was indeed risking his life when he put his own name in the byline of this poetic appeal. Because he was writing under his own name, Percy subverts some of this homosexual subject-matter by instead referring to ugly or masculine features behind a feminine or cross-dressing mask in Sonnet XIII. Each sonnet explores a new philosophical dilemma, with beautiful descriptions, complex mythological allusions, and tragically romantic appeals for love and sympathy. Percy was the dominant ghostwriter of most of the “Shakespeare”-bylined tragedies, but he only wrote a few pieces out of the “Shakespeare”-bylined multi-ghostwriter collection called Sonnets (1609); thus, readers have not really read a full collection of sonnets by “Shakespeare” the Tragedian until they explore Coelia.

Exordium

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Introduction to the 1824 Edition by Joseph Haslewood

Commentary on Haslewood’s Introduction

The Title Page of William Percy’s Transcripts

The Cuck-Queans’ and Cuckolds’ Errands (1601)

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An anti-warfare, anti-marriage, and pro-free-love closeted satire.

A single vengeful cuckold is tragic, whereas many cuck-queans and cuckolds running across England on their love-errands is satiric. The title of this play announces why it remained closeted across the Renaissance, as it trivializes adultery in a period that continued to see revenge-killings by cuckolds. The story opens with two aristocratic married couples swinging partners, as Doucebella cheats with Floradin, while Floradin’s wife, Aruania, cheats on him with Doucebella’s husband, Claribel. Tired of these complications, Floradin and Claribel become soldiers in the war against the approaching Spanish Armada. And Aruania and Doucebella unite in an apparent lesbian affair. The gentlemen then begin seducing a muscular forest-keeper, Olivel, while the ladies work on seducing her forester husband, Latro. Meanwhile, Nim and Shift, two thieves, attempt a range of frauds and tricks to steal a newly-made bowl from Pearle, Doctor of Civil Law. And Pigot, Master of the Tarlton Inn, has tricks and legal reprisals that he uses to force Nim and Shift to pay their growing bill. Under this satirical, absurd and comic surface full of misadventures, there are many exquisite poetic passages, such as the recounting by Captain Lacy of how the British troops fought against the Spanish Armada. There are fights, robberies, and a wealth of legal and historical insights heavily packed into every line of this drama.

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

The Thirsty Arabia (1601)

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A closeted first attempt to present the complexities and elegance of the Islamic faith and the prophet Muhammad on the English stage.

Thirsty Arabia was written over a century before the first English translation of the Qur’an was published. Despite this shortfall in primary sources about Islam, this comedy incorporates with unbiased research a wealth of theological and cultural details. Information flowed into Britain from Muslim countries alongside general trade in goods after Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I in 1570, but trade was halted shortly after this play was written in 1603. The narrative is launched when Muhammad declares he will destroy all mortals in Arabia for their sins in forty days with a drought. Muhammad’s angelic council objects that there might be good people in the region worth saving, so Muhammad allows Harut and Marut to travel across Arabia disguised as humans to attempt to find any do-gooders to save Arabia. The main romantic entanglement across this plot is the unsuccessful courtship of Marquess of the Deserts Epimenides by most of the eligible bachelors, including two imams (Caleb and Tubal), the wealthy magician astrologer Geber, the two disguised angels (Harut and Marut) and Muhammad himself. While most of the characters are distracted with love, the Arabian people are dying of thirst, and fraudsters such as Çavuş work to capitalize on this desperation with tricks such as selling water-licenses. Spirits, magic, time travel and fortune telling are used to gain favor and preferment, while angels and good spirits punish evil-doers. The Aristotelian “Square of Opposition” in a logic game the angels play with Muhammad is only one of the many educational and entertaining devices. The poetic, wooing love songs, and witty refusals alone are sufficient for readers to explore the surprises along this narrative.

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

The Aphrodisia (1602)

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A rare marinal about disguised identities and loves among the Greco-Roman deities under the Mediterranean Sea.

Percy described Aphrodisia as an experiment in a new genre he was inventing, the marinal, designed to contrast the pastoral set on land in the countryside. Beyond this setting, this comedy focuses on taking to an extreme the popular European trope of disguises by having most of the main characters reveal themselves to have an identity other than the one they present themselves as. Arion relates a sad story that is an original translation of a segment out of Bartas’ Weeks about him being a poor singer who was captured by pirates, but in the conclusion, Arion reveals himself to actually be Jupiter, the King of the gods in Roman mythology. And Talus pretends to be an engineer and Vulcan’s (god of fire) son, when he is really Neptune (god of water). In standard published plots from the Renaissance, these revelations prove to have been necessary to further the goals of the characters, but in this censored story, the disguises cause lifetimes of misery and prevent all who are disguised from achieving their romantic and power goals. Percy has designed a plot that subversively shows how common pseudonyms and fraudulent identities are in British society, as it confesses the Workshop’s role in selling ghostwriting services. On the surface, the story is dense with innovative love entanglements, and the mythological misadventures of complex and stumbling characters. The preparations for Empress Cytherea’s arrival and the Aphrodisia feast in her honor also showcases realistic details about what a day might have been like when the aristocratic Percy family prepared for James I’s visit to their Sion House on June 8, 1603, just before James was crowned.

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

A Forest Tragedy in the Vacuum: Or, Cupid’s Sacrifice (1602)

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A farcical satire about the Laws of Tragedy and irrational morality that presents a Vacuum of death.

The Forest Tragedy is the only text that Percy labeled as a “tragedy”, but kept closeted in his family archives, without successfully selling it to a publisher. As the dominant tragedian under the “Shakespeare”-byline, Percy was the master of this genre. After decades of practicing perfecting strict obedience to the Laws of Tragedy, in this experiment, Percy rebels against them and satirizes the “imbecility” behind formulaic rules, and particularly in the types of rules that governs this “cruel” genre. The resulting farce especially satirizes Percy’s “Shakespeare”-bylined Romeo and Juliet (1597), as well as other murder-suicide dramas described in “William Painter’s” The Palace of Pleasure (1575). Translated segments from Palace about Rhomeo and Julietta are included to assist readers with finding echoes between these three texts. One blatant echo is the “…I die!” speeches uttered by Romeo and by Amadour in the Forest Tragedy. In the latter, events take place seemingly in the duchy of the Vacuum, or a void that brings together characters from ancient times together with historical and contemporary international European monarchs. In its conclusion, the Vacuum consumes all eight of the main characters, and leaves only dead bodies in its void. There is no clear main-character, so it might be Rhodaghond, the black-Egyptian slave-girl who ends up indirectly killing three of her masters because her mistress, Fulvia, shoves her once with her palm. Alternatively, it might be the Jewish boy-scholar and poison-brewer, Jeptes, who obliges his master by creating a poison that eventually kills four. The gore is brought to farcical lows, as three characters drink from a cup of wine with Lord Affranio’s heart and the poison in it. Numerous laws of propriety, morality and generic-integrity are not only shattered across this Plot, but these shatterings are also philosophically explained as deliberate decisions of a Poet intent on sacrificing this Plot to prove the absurdity of genre-adhering murder-suicides. There is infidelity, hints of homosexuality, court-intrigue, fraudulent schemes, and a myriad of other dramatic events. And below the surface of the farce, there are beautiful and enticing metered and rhymed poetic passages hitting the heart and soul, as the audience is asked to consider these from the perspective of the omnipotent Poet who has to condemn characters to tragic deaths across decades of a professional writing career.

Plot and Staging

Segments About Rhomeo and Julietta from “William Painter’s” The Palace of Pleasure

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

The Fairy Pastoral (1603)

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A pastoral satire about homicidal women- and men-haters being forced into marriage.

A standard “Shakespearean” comedy takes a group of youths who are attracted to those who are not interested in them, and regroups them by the conclusion into neat pairings of three or four marriages. In contrast, Fairy Pastoral appears to have been censored because the men in the pairings are wooing their intended partners from the beginning, while the women are homicidally opposed to marriage and prove to the men how much they hate them during the plot, only for them all to be forced into four marriages that all of them are miserable in by the resolution. The setting is the Forest of Elvida inhabited by a kingdom of fairies. Events open with a power-transfer from Princess Hypsiphyle to Prince Orion over accusations of mismanagement. Then, the Princess attempts to regain power across the competitive hunt the Court undertakes. Political and romantic tensions are repeatedly interrupted with slap-stick comedy of Schoolmaster Sir David trying to teach literature while his rear-end is showing, he is falling asleep, and in rare instances when he manages to relate a coherent lecture, the students fail to comprehend his meaning. This is a satire not only on the miseries that accompany forced-marriage, but also about the failures of pedagogic institutions, and irrational transfers of political power through subterfuge and sexism.

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

“Songs” from MS 509 (1636)

PART II: DRAMATIC MYSTERIES

Introduction to Part II

William Percy

Fedele and Fortunio, the Two Italian Gentlemen (1585)

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An adaptation of an Italian anti-comedy into an English formulaic-comedy.

Fedele and Fortunio is an exercise in adapting Luigi Pasqualigo’s Italian Il Fedele: Comedia del Clarissimo (1576) into an idealized version of British cultural purity. Pasqualigo had rebelled against preceding tropes of Italian comedy by showcasing murderous and wildly promiscuous and unfaithful ladies and gentlemen, and rebellious servants. Perhaps because Percy was desperate in his youth to create extremely proper content that would lead to him being invited to officially write for court revels, Percy re-wrote Pasqualigo’s innovations back into what this comedic plot was initially designed to be. A couple of virginal gentlemen and a couple of virginal ladies exchange love-interests as they realize they cannot attain their initial desires. Their eventual marriages are attained with mischievous help from a pretense-captain Crack-Stone, a spying Pedant who fakes being in love to appear manly, and the scientific and psychologically-manipulating magic of enchantress Medusa. Percy avoided repeating these standard comedic tropes across the rest of his literary career, as he instead explored extremes of tragic infidelity in plays such as Hamlet, or extreme promiscuity in Cuck-Queans’; Fedele and Fortunio’s structural simplicity convinced Percy he had to constantly search for new formulas, vocabularies and foreign cultures to showcase. The introduction explains why the staging of this play is minimalistic to fit with the budgetary and spatial restraints of the accessible London stages. A precise explanation is offered of how scholars have come to the false conclusion that the “M. A.”/ “A. M.” initials indicate this play was written by “Anthony Monday”, and why the Percy attribution is accurate. To show the original divergences of Percy’s Fedele, original and translated excerpts are included from Pasqualigo’s Italian, France’s Latin, and Larivey’s French versions; the plots, characters and linguistics of these versions are compared and analyzed.

Exordium

Plot and Staging

J. Johnson’s Introductions (1909, 1933)

Luigi Pasqualigo’s Il Fedele: Comedia del Clarissimo (1576: Italian)

Abraham France’s Victoria (1588-92?: Latin: based on Dana Sutton’s Translation)

Pierre de Larivey’s Le Fidelle Comedie (1611: French)

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Three Lords and Three Ladies of London (1590)

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An allegorical morality comedy about criminality and the rivalries between London, Lincoln and Spain.

This play is an exercise by a young dramatist who is grappling with understanding philosophical and legal concepts by simplifying these into personifications. Three Lords of London (called Pleasure, Pomp and Policy) declare their superiority with puffing emblems and insist that they have an innate right to marry the three Ladies of London (Love, Lucre and Conscience). The Ladies have been imprisoned in the first part of this series (Three Ladies of London) for their sins, and Nemo has decided that he would only release them if precisely three suitors bid for all of their hands in marriage simultaneously. The Ladies are told to remain silent and to obey whoever is willing to marry them, or they would have to return to prison to be tortured by Sorrow. Thus, instead of the standard comedic objections from female characters to potential matches, the only obstacles to this pre-determined resolution are that the three Lords of Spain and the three Lords of Lincoln appear to also bid for the Ladies. The defeat of the Spaniards is presented in an exchange of insults about emblems and epithets during a meeting that alludes to the Spanish Armada attack. And the Lords of Lincoln are briskly defeated when they are told they merely deserve the symbolic stones the Ladies have been sitting on. The introductory remarks explain how Lords should be part of the main canon because it might be one of only three pre-“Shakespearean” British comedies. And a section presents an alternative explanation for the mystery of how the seven copies of Lords’ print-run ended up with strange combinations of varying typos. The annotations explain how the detail of Usury’s parents being Jewish has been misinterpreted by previous critics as anti-Semitic, when this passage actually summarizes the ethnic backgrounds of the actual members of the Ghostwriting Workshop, as the merchant-lender among them Sylvester was Jewish, and Percy was from a region near-Scotland and had been educated in France. And evidence is presented why the series that includes Lords and Ladies should be re-attributed away from “Robert Wilson” and to Percy.

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Look Around You (1600)

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The neglected actual first part of the Robin Hood series.

Both in terms of its plot and date of first-publication and performance, Look Around You is the first part of a trilogy that was followed by the two famous Robin Hood plays, Downfall of Robert and Death of Robert Earl of Huntington. The latter two are tragedies that have been previously falsely attributed to “Anthony Monday”, while Look is a comedy that has remained unattributed since its anonymous release. Censors might have neglected to connect Look to the others because in it, Robin Hood (Earl of Huntington) spends most of the play cross-dressing as Lady Faukenbridge, and being wooed on a balcony by Prince Richard. Meanwhile, Skink wears a myriad of disguises to escape Old King Henry’s wrath over the Queen hiring Skink to assassinate the King’s lover, Rosamund. And Young King Henry has been given the throne by his father, Old King, after several military battles between them. One of the main passions for Young King during his reign is his attempts to see the “fantastical” Earl of Gloucester executed for speaking too freely at Court. Lady Faukenbridge, Robin Hood and their supporters scheme to free Gloucester, and then to aid his life-on-the-run, while the other side schemes to re-capture and execute Gloucester. These schemes force several of the otherwise virtuous characters to take on fraudulent disguises and to succumb to highway robbery to support themselves while on the run from the law. The comedy is enhanced with the absurd constant running in the wrong directions by Redcap, whose ridiculous stuttering is imitated by other characters who take on his red cap as a disguise. This stuttering subversively restates that the attempts to execute Gloucester for speaking the truth are barbaric; hinting that such policies can cause all subjects of a kingdom to stutter instead of directly expressing their ideas. An excerpt from “Raphael Holinshed’s” Chronicles that covers the history of Henry II is included with an explanation of how it was adapted in Look.

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Segments About Henry II from “Raphael Holinshed’s” The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Hamlet (First Quarto: 1603)

Click on the links to purchase on Amazon: Paperback: 172pp, 6X9”: $21: 979-8-75011-325-5; Hardcover: $26: 979-8-75011-416-0; Kindle EBook: $9.99. LCCN: 2021949214. Nonfiction—Drama—European—English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh. Release: October 23, 2021.

The censored satirical or “bad” version of the “Shakespeare” classic that features a homosexual affair between Hamlet and Horatio, and Ofelia’s deflowering to feign heterosexual normalcy.

The standard summary of Hamlet describes it as a “tragedy” about a “mad” or “tormented” Prince of Denmark, who follows the solicitation of the Ghost of his assassinated father to revenge-murder his incestuous and homicidal uncle Claudius. The commentary that accompanies this never-before fully-modernized First Quarto of Hamlet explains how it was initially designed to be a satire that diverged from Saxo Grammaticus’ Danish History where Amleth pretends to be mad not only to execute revenge but also to successfully win the crown from his uncle. The First Quarto subtracts any desire for the crown from Hamlet, and instead subversively explains that Hamlet is motivated to feign madness and to deflower Ofelia to disguise his outlawed homosexual love for Horatio. Hamlet makes no direct expressions of attraction towards Ofelia’s beauty. And in the resolution, Horatio offers to poison himself to death when he learns Hamlet is dying. The satirical perspective of this history is especially apparent in the cemetery scene where the Clown 1 gravedigger sifts through a mass-grave to help Hamlet find a dried skull among those that are still decomposing. The heavy re-write between the 1603 and 1604 editions of Hamlet also help to show Percy’s re-writing habit that confirms the attribution to him of diverging versions of anonymous and then “Shakespeare”-bylined versions of Leir/ Lear, and Tragedy of/ Richard III.

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Segments from “Book Three” and “Book Four” of Saxo Grammaticus’ The Danish History

Introduction to the 1825 Edition by William Nicol

Introduction to the 1860 Edition by Samuel Timmins

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Nobody and Somebody (1606)

Click on the links to purchase on Amazon: Paperback: 136pp, 6X9”: $20: 979-8-75011-664-5; Hardcover: $25: 979-8-75011-755-0; Kindle EBook: $9.99; LCCN: 2021949419. Nonfiction—Drama—European—English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh. Release: October 23, 2021.

A comedy that juxtaposes fame with anonymity, and tyrannical abuse with fair governance.  

The rapid succession of monarchs across Nobody and Somebody satirizes the standard plots of “Shakespearean” histories that end with the overthrow or death of the preceding tyrannical monarch, and suggest hope that the next monarch will be better, before this hope is dispelled in the next tragic history, as is the case with the chronological series of Edward III, Richard II, and 1 Henry IV. Nobody is set in 85-60 BC, or just before the Roman invasion of the British Isles. The plot opens with two Court advisors, Cornwall and Marcian, scheming to overthrow their corrupt King Archigallo who unfairly confiscates land to grant it to Lord Sycophant and names a common Wench as his Queen. The coup d’état succeeds, and Elidure accepts the crown when the advisors explain he is the only rational choice. A while into his reign, Elidure finds Archigallo in exile in a forest, and insists that Archigallo retakes the throne from him. While Archigallo’s second term is less tyrannical it ends shortly thereafter due to his natural death, upon which the throne passes back to Elidure. Without a reprise in the events, Elidure’s two younger brothers then wage war against Elidure and overthrow him. And then these brothers cannot agree on who between them should have power over the other, and so they wage war against each other and both die, leaving Elidure to again reclaim the throne. The radical moral story against tyranny in this central plot is dampened by the constant interruptions of a rival plotline about Nobody and Somebody. Nobody is a fair, charitable and unassuming land owner, against whom the corrupt and fraudulent landowner called Somebody wages a slander-campaign. Every word in this play is dense not only with this extremely violent, sexually-charged and outrageous plotlines, but also with subtexts of implied meanings and historical backstory.

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Primary Sources

“The Seventh Chapter” About Elidure from the “Raphael Holinshed”-bylined and Gabriel Harvey and Richard Verstegan-Ghostwritten The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland

“The Well-spoken Nobody”

Alexander Smith’s “Note” from the 1877 Old-Spelling Glasgow Edition

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Country Captain/ Captain Underwit (1649)

Click on the links to purchase on Amazon: Paperback: 150pp, 6X9”: $20: 979-8-75012-043-7; Hardcover: $25: 979-8-75012-101-4; Kindle EBook: $9.99; LCCN: 2021949420. Nonfiction—Drama—European—English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh. Release: October 23, 2021.

A country comedy about the absurdly corrupt purchases of military titles.

Captain Underwit has succeeded in becoming a “paper” Captain by bribing the Lieutenant with favors and a below-value land-purchase. Underwit then sends his servant Thomas to purchase books to prepare him to actually carry out military duties, but Thomas instead purchases the “Shakespeare” Folio, and other impractical or irrelevant books in a manner that echoes Don Quixote’s belief he could imitate the actions of knights in romance novels. Meanwhile, Underwit withdraws from London into his father-in-law Sir Richard’s country estate. Underwit hires Captain Sackburie to build his military acumen, but Sackburie only has him perform a few military dances before they escape to drink at a tavern. The plot then digresses from these heavy subjects to romantic entanglements as Sir Richard’s wife (Lady) attempts to have an affair with Sir Francis, and Sister flirts with Mr. Courtwell, and Lady’s maid, Mistress Dorothy, devises a fraudulent scheme to make suitors falsely believe she comes from an aristocratic family to secure a husband. There are gems under this visage of simplicity, as Engine is attempting to bribe his way into a monopoly on periwigs, and Device the poet recites elegant songs to Sister that he is not sure if he has plagiarized. The introductory materials explain that the plagiarism of the “Catch” dice-game-song that repeats in the “James Shirley”-bylined Poems &c. (1646) re-affirms Percy’s ghostwriting of most “Shirley”-bylined plays as well as Captain, instead of proving “Shirley’s” authorship of this group of texts, as critics have previously claimed.

Exordium

Plot and Staging

“Introduction to Captain Underwit” (1883) by A. H. Bullen

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Benjamin Jonson

The Variety

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Gabriel Harvey

The Tragicomedy of the Virtuous Octavia “Done By Samuel Brandon”

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Egerton MS 1994

Dick of Devonshire

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

The Lady Mother

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Charleymayne, or the Distracted Emperor

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

The Two Noble Ladies and the Converted Conjurer

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Untested Anonymous Plays

The Tragedy of Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

The Trial of Chivalry

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

Wisdom of Dr. Dodypoll

Exordium

Plot and Staging

Text

Terms, References, Questions, Exercises

PART III: THE SELF-ATTRIBUTED TEXTS OF THE GHOSTS

Introduction to Part III

Richard Verstegan

A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence

Declaration

William Byrd

Psalms, Sonnets, and Songs of Sadness and Piety

Comparative Study: “Thomas Morley’s” Cantus of Thomas Morley

Gabriel Harvey

Pierces Supererogation

Three Proper and Witty Familiar Letters

Rhetor and Ciceronianus

Josuah Sylvester

All the Small Works

Conclusions

Press

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