Thomas of Woodstock and Richard the Second Part One are two names for an untitled, anonymous and apparently incomplete manuscript of an Elizabethan play depicting events in the reign of King Richard II. Attributions of the play to William Shakespeare have been nearly universally rejected, and it does not appear in major editions of the Shakespeare apocrypha.The play has been often cited as a possible influence on Shakespeare's Richard II , as well as Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 , but new dating of the text brings that relationship into question.
English Renaissance theatre, also known as Renaissance English theatre and Elizabethan theatre, refers to the theatre of England between 1562 and 1642.
Richard II, also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard's father, Edward the Black Prince, died in 1376, leaving Richard as heir apparent to King Edward III. Upon the death of his grandfather Edward III, the 10-year-old Richard succeeded to the throne.
William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Dramatis Personae after Corbin and Sedge (2002)
Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester was the fifth surviving son and youngest child of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault.
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, KG was the fourth surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault. Like many medieval English princes, Edmund gained his nickname from his birthplace: Kings Langley Palace in Hertfordshire. He was the founder of the House of York, but it was through the marriage of his younger son, Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, to Anne de Mortimer, great-granddaughter of Edmund's elder brother Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, that the House of York made its claim to the English throne in the Wars of the Roses. The other party in the Wars of the Roses, the incumbent House of Lancaster, was formed from descendants of Edmund's elder brother John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, Edward III's third son.
Earl of Surrey is a title in the Peerage of England that has been created five times. It was first created for William de Warenne, a close companion of William the Conqueror. It is currently held as a subsidiary title by the Dukes of Norfolk.
The play survives only as an anonymous, untitled and incomplete manuscript, part of a collection of fifteen plays in the British Library catalogued as MS. Egerton 1994. The collection was discovered by James Halliwell-Phillipps, and also includes Edmund Ironside , another play whose authorship has been attributed by some scholars to William Shakespeare.
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and the largest national library in the world by number of items catalogued. It is estimated to contain 170–200 million+ items from many countries. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, born James Orchard Halliwell, was an English Shakespearean scholar, antiquarian, and a collector of English nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
Edmund Ironside, or War Hath Made All Friends is an anonymous Elizabethan play that depicts the life of Edmund II of England. At least three critics have suggested that it is an early work by William Shakespeare.
The collection was compiled by a seventeenth century actor in the King's Revels Men, William Cartwright (ca. 1606–1686; not to be confused with his contemporary poet/dramatist of the same name), who later became a bookseller and collector of plays during the English Civil War.
The King's Revels Men or King's Revels Company was a playing company or troupe of actors in seventeenth-century England. In the confusing theatre nomenclature of that era, it is sometimes called the second King's Revels Company, to distinguish it from an earlier troupe with the same title that was active in the 1607-9 period. Since the earlier group was a company of boy actors, they are alternatively referred to as the King's Revels Children, while the later troupe is termed the King's Revels Men.
William Cartwright was an English actor of the seventeenth century, whose career spanned the Caroline era to the Restoration. He is sometimes known as William Cartwright, Junior or William Cartwright the younger to distinguish him from his father, another William Cartwright, an actor of the previous generation.
William Cartwright was an English poet, dramatist and churchman.
There is no confirmed recorded production of the play during Shakespeare's lifetime, although the well-worn state of the Egerton manuscript, the presence of notations referencing specific actors' names, and the inclusion of instructions within the text's margins suggesting censorship by the Master of Revels all suggest that the play enjoyed heavy use even during the Jacobean period.Significantly, it is not known which acting company owned or performed the play.
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I. The Jacobean era succeeds the Elizabethan era and precedes the Caroline era. The term "Jacobean" is often used for the distinctive styles of Jacobean architecture, visual arts, decorative arts, and literature which characterized that period.
A transcript of the text was published by the Malone Society in 1929, and in fully edited texts by A. P. Rossiter in 1946, Peter Corbin and Douglas Sedge in 2002, and Michael Egan in 2003.
The Malone Society is a British-based text publication and general scholarly society devoted to the study of 16th- and early 17th-century drama. It publishes editions of plays from manuscript, facsimile editions of printed and manuscript plays of the period, and editions of original documents relating to English theatre and drama before 1642. It also arranges conferences and provides fellowships and research grants.
The play covers the events leading up to the murder of Richard II's uncle, Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, in 1397. The manuscript has no title. Most scholars and theatre companies who have worked on the play call it Thomas of Woodstock or Woodstock, but some entitle it Richard II, Part One, either as the main title or as a sub-title.Those who elect to call it Richard II, Part One or by similar titles do so because the play describes events immediately prior to Shakespeare's Richard II and provides context for the behaviour of many of Shakespeare's characters. However, this title has been criticised as "going too far", because it makes the play's relationship to Shakespeare's play seem definitive when it is only speculative. Moreover, events depicted in Woodstock are covered as well in Richard II (such as the farming out of the kingdom and the death of Green), so that play cannot be a sequel in the ordinary meaning of the term. A.P. Rossiter, who edited the play, preferred the title Woodstock since Woodstock is the play's protagonist, not Richard. Corbin and Sedge both throughout their edition evidence that Shakespeare was familiar with the play, drew inspiration from it (especially in King Lear , particularly in the quarto version), and expected audiences to be familiar with it in Richard II, noting that many modern productions reverse the first two scenes to give the audience a better understanding of the events that occurred before the play opens.
Given the play's close relationship to the subject matter of Richard II, Shakespeare's authorship has been suggested, although few of the play's earlier editors supported this speculation. The Malone Society editor makes no reference to the Shakespeare theory.A.P. Rossiter states "There is not the smallest chance that he was Shakespeare", citing the drabness of the verse, while acknowledging that the play's aspirations indicate that "There is something of a simplified Shakespeare" in the author.
Other authors have been suggested. In 2001 MacDonald P. Jackson used stylistic analysis to propose Samuel Rowley as a possible author.
Corbin and Sedge argue that Thomas of Woodstock was written by an author of "considerable range and competence", but they regard any attribution to Shakespeare "or any other author" as "highly speculative". Nonetheless, they note that:
In 2006 Michael Egan offered a case for Shakespeare's authorship of the play in a four volume (2100-page) variorum edition, which includes a book-length authorship analysis.His evidence consists for the most part in what he suggests are thousands of verbal parallels. Egan claimed that Ian Robinson supported the attribution of the play to Shakespeare in a 1988 publication, Richard II and Woodstock. but he cited no other adherents to this view. Ward Elliott reported that he had performed stylometric analysis on the manuscript's text which he claimed discounts Egan's attribution. In a review of Egan's treatise for the Times Literary Supplement, Bart Van Es also challenged Egan's attribution, arguing that the verbal links he had found were often tenuous. Egan wagered ₤1,000 that he could prove "by clear, convincing and irrefutable evidence" that Shakespeare wrote the play. In 2011, a panel of three independent Shakespeare scholars concluded that he had not done so, and that the play was not Shakespearean.
An argument against Shakespeare's authorship is the fact that the character of Sir Henry Green is killed fighting in Act V of Thomas of Woodstock, yet is alive again at the beginning of Richard II until his execution is ordered by Bolingbroke in Act III. There is no instance of a character dying twice in the validated works of Shakespeare.[ citation needed ] There are, however, inconsistencies in Shakespeare, such as the claim at the end of Henry IV, Part 2 that Falstaff will be seen again in Henry V, a promise which is not kept. Furthermore, the character of Falstaff is arguably a different one in the history plays than the character encountered in The Merry Wives of Windsor , not to mention the apparent setting of that play in Renaissance England rather than Prince Hal's time.
The 1929 Malone Society editor states that most scholars place its composition between 1591 and 1595.Ule and Baker date it more precisely to about 1582; they believe it was written by Christopher Marlowe while he was at Cambridge, shortly after he had completed other plays they attribute to him such as Timon, and The Famous Victories of Henry V. Corbin and Sedge, while cautioning that "[d]ating by suppositions of literary or theatrical influence is ... a hazardous business," nonetheless state that "in so far as literary influence may help dating, it would seem probable that Woodstock was written, and perhaps staged, some time before 1595." Egan dates the play to 1592–1593, while dating the manuscript to 1605. MacDonald P. Jackson argues that "Woodstock's contractions and linguistic forms, expletives, metrical features and vocabulary all point independently to composition in the first decade of the seventeenth century", a conclusion which would make the play's relationship with Richard II that of a "prequel" rather than a source.
The Hampshire Shakespeare Company, a non-professional theatre in Amherst, Massachusetts, staged the first known American production of "Thomas of Woodstock" in 1999. Local writer Frederick Carrigg supplied an ending to cover the missing manuscript page(s).
Royal Blood: The Rise and Fall of Kings was a 10-play series of Shakespeare's history plays staged chronologically over four seasons by Pacific Repertory Theatre from 2001–04, which included the American professional premieres of both Edward III and "Thomas of Woodstock". They proposed Shakespeare as the author of both plays in their first arc in 2001, consisting of Edward III, Thomas of Woodstock, and Richard II.
The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., staged Richard II in 2010 with director Michael Kahn's incorporation of a significant part of "Thomas of Woodstock" at the start of the play.[ citation needed ]
On 20 December 2013 the Royal Shakespeare Company gave a rehearsed reading of the play at London's Barbican Centre in the context of its ongoing performances of Richard II. The text was significantly cut by the director (for example the subplot involving Nimble and the blank charters was excised) to highlight the relationship between the two plays.[ citation needed ]
The Life and Death of King Richard the Second, commonly called Richard II, is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in approximately 1595. It is based on the life of King Richard II of England and is the first part of a tetralogy, referred to by some scholars as the Henriad, followed by three plays concerning Richard's successors: Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V.
The Raigne of King Edward the Third, commonly shortened to Edward III, is an Elizabethan play printed anonymously in 1596, and partly written by Shakespeare. It has recently become accepted as part of Shakespeare’s canon of plays. In the late 1990s it began to be included in publications of the complete works as co-authored by Shakespeare. Scholars who have supported this attribution include Jonathan Bate, Edward Capell, Eliot Slater, Eric Sams, Giorgio Melchiori, Brian Vickers, and others. The play was co-authored by another playwright: Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, Michael Drayton, Thomas Nashe, and George Peele have been suggested.
The History of Cardenio, often referred to as merely Cardenio, is a lost play, known to have been performed by the King's Men, a London theatre company, in 1613. The play is attributed to William Shakespeare and John Fletcher in a Stationers' Register entry of 1653. The content of the play is not known, but it was likely to have been based on an episode in Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote involving the character Cardenio, a young man who has been driven mad and lives in the Sierra Morena. Thomas Shelton's translation of the First Part of Don Quixote was published in 1612, and would thus have been available to the presumed authors of the play.
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon in Northumberland against Douglas late in 1402 and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of 1403. From the start, it has been an extremely popular play both with the public and critics.
In the First Folio, the plays of William Shakespeare were grouped into three categories: comedies, histories, and tragedies. The histories—along with those of contemporary Renaissance playwrights—help define the genre of history plays. The Shakespearean histories are biographies of English kings of the previous four centuries and include the outliers King John, Edward III and Henry VIII as well as a continuous sequence of eight plays covering the Wars of the Roses. These last are considered to have been composed in two cycles. The so-called first tetralogy, apparently written in the early 1590s, deals with the later part of the struggle and includes Henry VI, Parts I, II & III and Richard III. The second tetralogy, finished in 1599 and including Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I & II and Henry V, is frequently called the Henriad after its protagonist Prince Hal, the future Henry V.
The Shakespeare apocrypha is a group of plays and poems that have sometimes been attributed to William Shakespeare, but whose attribution is questionable for various reasons. The issue is separate from the debate on Shakespearean authorship, which addresses the authorship of the works traditionally attributed to Shakespeare.
Henry VIII is a collaborative history play, written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, based on the life of King Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All Is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play's publication in the First Folio of 1623. Stylistic evidence indicates that individual scenes were written by either Shakespeare or his collaborator and successor, John Fletcher. It is also somewhat characteristic of the late romances in its structure. It is noted for having more stage directions than any of Shakespeare's other plays.
Sir John Oldcastle is an Elizabethan play about John Oldcastle, a controversial 14th-/15th-century rebel and Lollard who was seen by some of Shakespeare's contemporaries as a proto-Protestant martyr.
Sir Thomas More is an Elizabethan play and a dramatic biography based on particular events in the life of the Catholic martyr Thomas More, who rose to become the Lord Chancellor of England during the reign of Henry VIII. The play is considered to be written by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle and revised by several writers. The manuscript is particularly notable for a three-page handwritten revision now widely attributed to William Shakespeare.
The Merry Devil of Edmonton is an Elizabethan-era stage play; a comedy about a magician, Peter Fabell, nicknamed the Merry Devil. It was at one point attributed to William Shakespeare, but is now considered part of the Shakespeare Apocrypha.
Like most playwrights of his period, William Shakespeare did not always write alone. A number of his surviving plays are collaborative, or were revised by others after their original composition, although the exact number is open to debate. Some of the following attributions, such as The Two Noble Kinsmen, have well-attested contemporary documentation; others, such as Titus Andronicus, are dependent on linguistic analysis by modern scholars; recent work on computer analysis of textual style has given reason to believe that parts of some of the plays ascribed to Shakespeare are actually by other writers.
The Battle of Alcazar is a play attributed to George Peele, perhaps written no later than late 1591 if the play "Muly Molucco" mentioned in Henslowe's diary is this play, and published anonymously in 1594, that tells the story of the battle of Alcácer Quibir in 1578.
Thomas Creede was a printer of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, rated as "one of the best of his time." Based in London, he conducted his business under the sign of the Catherine Wheel in Thames Street from 1593 to 1600, and under the sign of the Eagle and Child in the Old Exchange from 1600 to 1617. Creede is best known for printing editions of works in English Renaissance drama, especially for ten editions of six Shakespearean plays and three works in the Shakespeare Apocrypha.
John of Bordeaux, or The Second Part of Friar Bacon, is an Elizabethan era stage play, the anonymous sequel to Robert Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. The play was never printed in its own historical era and survived in a single, untitled, defective manuscript until it was named and published in 1936. It is usually dated to the 1590–94 period, shortly after the success of Greene's original Friar Bacon.
The True Tragedy of Richard III is an anonymous Elizabethan history play on the subject of Richard III of England. It has attracted the attention of scholars of English Renaissance drama principally for the question of its relationship with William Shakespeare’s Richard III.
The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington are two closely related Elizabethan-era stage plays on the Robin Hood legend, that were written by Anthony Munday in 1598 and published in 1601. They are among the relatively few surviving examples of the popular drama acted by the Admiral's Men during the Shakespearean era.
Egerton MS 1994 is a manuscript collection of English Renaissance plays, now in the Egerton Collection of the British Library. Probably prepared by the actor William Cartwright around 1642, and later presented by him to Dulwich College, the collection contains unique copies of several Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline dramas, including significant works like Edmund Ironside and Thomas of Woodstock.
The Famous Victories of Henry the fifth: Containing the Honourable Battel of Agin-court: As it was plaide by the Queenes Maiesties Players, is an anonymous Elizabethan play, which is generally thought to be a source for Shakespeare's Henriad. It was entered by printer Thomas Creede in the Stationers' Register in 1594, but the earliest known edition is from 1598. A second quarto was published in 1617.
Shakespeare attribution studies is the scholarly attempt to determine the authorial boundaries of the William Shakespeare canon, the extent of his possible collaborative works, and the identity of his collaborators. The studies, which began in the late 17th century, are based on the axiom that every writer has a unique, measurable style that can be discriminated from that of other writers using techniques of textual criticism originally developed for biblical and classical studies. The studies include the assessment of different types of evidence, generally classified as internal, external, and stylistic, of which all are further categorised as traditional and non-traditional.
There is a full chapter about this anonymous play in Kevin De Ornellas, The Horse in Early Modern English Culture, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1611476583.