- Literature - Jul 20 Many cities, many voices
- Literature - Jul 19 University of Chicago Library receives gift of vintage Vivian Maier prints
- Arts - Jul 19 Lesbian singer’s archive captures pre- internet gay life
- History - Jul 14 Through the lens of the Wild Australia Show
- History - Jul 12 The Water Poet on Wales in the wake of England’s Civil War
- Literature - Jul 12 Stanford Libraries’ rare score of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera ’Aida’ provides clues to the past
- History - Jul 12 Syria between Destruction and Preservation
- History - Jul 11 Historian publishes first biography of the ‘most- wanted’ revolutionary in Tsarist Russia
- Literature - Jul 5 Peregrine fledgling takes its first plunge off Campanile
- History - Jun 29 New digital archive showcases historical images of Rome
- Literature - Jun 23 One young Republican’s pursuit of the ’Freedom to Marry’
- History - Jun 21 Intimate details of life as a Civil War soldier depicted in rare sketches
- Pedagogy - Jun 21 Examining mixed- race identity in literature
- Literature - Jun 15 Theatre and performance podcast from QMULâ? s Department of Drama
- Arts - Jun 15 Pianist found his path at Berkeley, returns to lead Ojai music fest
- Literature - Jun 14 Earliest- known childrenâ? s adaptation of Japanese literary classic discovered in British Library
Shakespeare's co-author revealed
All’s Well that Ends Well may be a collaboration between William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton, Oxford University academics have found.
It has long been thought the comedy in the First Folio of 1623 is textually problematic: it has a low incidence of Shakespeare’s spelling, inconsistent speech prefixes and unusually narrative phrasing in its stage directions.
Professor Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith, both of Oxford University’s English Faculty, have found these anomalies can be explained by Shakespeare collaborating with his contemporary Thomas Middleton, with whom he also collaborated on Timon of Athens at the same time (1606-07).
Emma Smith said: ‘We are not saying that Middleton and Shakespeare definitely worked together on All’s Well, but Middleton’s involvement would certainly explain many of the comedy’s stylistic, textual and narrative quirks. The narrative stage directions - especially ‘Parolles and Lafew stay behind, commenting on this wedding’ - look as though it is the point at which one author handed over to another.’
An analysis of the textual composition of All’s Well provides more support for Middleton’s involvement. Professor Maguire said: ‘The proportion of the play written in rhyme is much higher than usual for Jacobean Shakespeare - 19% of the lines are in rhyme, which fits Middleton’s norm of 20%. There are more feminine endings and tri- and tetra-syllabic endings than usual - again hallmarks of Middleton. Shakespeare tends to use ‘Omnes’ as a speech prefix and ‘All’ (preferred by Middleton) only occurs twice in the Folio - both times in All’s Well.'
Professor Maguire and Smith suggest that Act 4, scene 3 was written by Middleton. Professor Maguire said: ‘This scene sees Parolles describing Bertram as ‘ruttish’ - a word whose only other occurrence as an adjective is in Middleton’s The Phoenix. It also sees an unusual number of Middleton’s known spelling preferences.’
If Middleton and Shakespeare did collaborate on All’s Well, it provides an interesting insight into the way Shakespeare worked. Smith explained: ‘Where we know Shakespeare worked with other playwrights, it tended to be in a master-apprentice relationship - with Shakespeare as the apprentice in the early years and as the senior writer in his later years.
‘But if, as we suspect, All’s Well and Timon of Athens were written in 1606-7 while Shakespeare was in the middle of his career and working with a dynamic, up-and-coming playwright like Middleton, the relationship seems not unlike an established musician working with the current ‘big thing’ and is about more than just professional training.’
The article first appeared in the Times Literary Supplement on Friday April 20 2012.
Last job offers
- Literature/Linguistics - 15.6
Associate Professor in Library Science and Knowledge Communication
- Literature/Linguistics - 14.6
Research fellow in Language and Culture
- Literature/Linguistics - 17.7
- Literature/Linguistics - 11.7
Professur für Romanische Sprachwissenschaft mit Schwerpunkt Französisch und Italienisch (Tenure-Track)...
- Literature/Linguistics - 18.7
Reader (Creative Writing (Fiction or Creative Non-Fiction))
- Literature/Linguistics - 17.7
Merton Professor of English Language and Literature
- Literature/Linguistics - 30.6
Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor (Organizational Behavior)
- Literature/Linguistics - 13.6
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Department of Linguistics -Teaching Assistant Professor-English...