“The Fortunes of Fletcher’s ‘Against Astrologers’,” Modern Philology 118 (2020): 130–57.
❧ This article charts the editorial fortunes of the longest and most significant poem by John Fletcher, first printed in the 1647 Beaumont and Fletcher Folio as “Upon an Honest Man’s Fortune.” Using evidence from seven early manuscript witnesses, this essay argues that the Folio’s publisher not only fabricated this title but also omitted lines from the poem in the interest of print space. Reintroducing critics to Fletcher’s poem, this article provides a new text, edited from a manuscript with a connection to Fletcher himself and containing twenty-three hitherto unpublished lines, and proposes the adoption of a new title: “Against Astrologers.”
“The ‘Lost’ Scenes from The Merry Wives of Windsor: Robertson Davies’s Shakespearean Hoax,” University of Toronto Quarterly 89 (2020): 163–87.
❧ This article introduces a hitherto unpublished dramatic script by Robertson Davies: a set of scenes interpolated into the Stratford Festival’s 1956 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Although these pseudo-Elizabethan additions were first performed as an elaborate prank on Stratford audience members and theatre critics, this article argues that Davies’s work represents a major unacknowledged contribution to the performance history of Merry Wives, one that anticipated later scholarly reconstructions of plays such as Pericles and Cardenio and remains a significant untapped resource for theatre directors today.
“Shakespeare’s Ruined Quires,” in Loss and the Literary Culture of Shakespeare’s Time, ed. Roslyn L. Knutson, David McInnis, and Matthew Steggle (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 23–40.
❧ This chapter considers typographic errors in early modern printed books as a species of lostness, in which the material realities of textual transmission erode the work as authorially conceived. The chapter takes as its case study the fourth line of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73, which can be read not just as a meditation on this variety of textual ruination but also as an example of it: the celebrated phrase “Bare ruined choirs” is itself based on dubious textual foundations.
“William Percy’s Logical Song,” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 32 (2019): 163–202.
❧ This article unpacks a scene of complex theatrical experimentation in William Percy’s Mahomet and His Heaven (1601), the so-called “Logical Song in Fugue,” an ambitious attempt to embody in performance the rudiments of Aristotelian logic and to realize in language the formal characteristics of fugal imitation. An appendix provides a modernized edition of the scene with a collation of the extant manuscript witnesses.
“The ‘Indecipherable’ Line of the Love’s Labour’s Won Bookseller’s List,” Notes & Queries 66 (2019): 441–44.
❧ This note supplements T. W. Baldwin’s transcription of the 1603 Love’s Labour’s Won bookseller’s list by arguing that the final line of the list, which Baldwin described as “indecipherable,” refers to Hugh Holland’s poem Pancharis (1603).
“Prophecy and Emendation: Merlin, Chaucer, Lear’s Fool,” postmedieval 10 (2019): 50–67.
❧ This article traces the critical and textual reception of the Fool’s cryptic prophecy in the Folio text of King Lear. I argue that critics have overlooked the widespread early modern circulation of the speech’s main source, six lines of verse ubiquitously known as “Chaucer’s Prophecy.” Reading the Fool’s prophecy as a deliberate riposte to this famous poem, I propose that William Warburton’s 1747 emendation offers the most intertextually engaged and politically subversive text of the speech.
“The Terence Editions of Thomas Marshe,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 113 (2019): 69–82.
❧ This bibliographical note surveys the Latin editions of Terence’s plays printed by the London stationer Thomas Marshe, who held a privilege on the texts from 1572 to 1584. It supplements the STC by adding two hitherto uncatalogued editions and clarifies the publication date of another.
“Black Comedy: Shakespeare, Terence, and Titus Andronicus,” ELH 85 (2018): 877–908.
❧ The Latin comic playwright Terence, a former slave from Carthage, was perhaps the most influential classical dramatist in Renaissance literary culture, even as some of his early modern European readers found the fact of Terence’s African origins so troubling that they attempted to conceal or even deny it. This article, after providing a reception history of Terence’s biography, reads Titus Andronicus as Shakespeare’s response to this cultural anxiety, a play that reasserts Terence’s African origins and challenges the racial prejudices of European literary history. (Winner, Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies.)
“Against Friendship: An Essay by the ‘Wizard’ Earl of Northumberland,” English Literary Renaissance 47 (2017): 380–411.
❧ This article presents a hitherto unpublished essay on friendship by Henry Percy (1564–1632), ninth earl of Northumberland. Whereas classical and early modern writers often celebrated an idealized vision of perfect friendship inherited from Aristotle and Cicero, Northumberland’s vividly autobiographical essay argues that this chimera of poets and philosophers in fact precludes human happiness. My introduction offers an account of Northumberland’s life and situates the essay on friendship in relation to his other extant writings.
“Spenser’s Chrysogone and Euripides’ Medea,” Notes & Queries 64 (2017): 254–55.
❧ This note proposes that the name of Chrysogone in The Faerie Queene might have been inspired by a passage in the Medea, a text Spenser likely encountered as a student of Greek at the Merchant Taylors’ School and Cambridge.
“Richard Topcliffe’s Informant: New Light on The Isle of Dogs,” Review of English Studies 68 (2017): 44–59.
❧ This article sheds new light on one of the most notorious episodes in the history of the Shakespearean stage by identifying the man who brought the purportedly seditious play The Isle of Dogs (by Thomas Nashe and Ben Jonson) to the attention of the authorities. Drawing on archival evidence, this article argues that the government’s informant was one William Udall, a spy whose checkered career suggests that his accusations against Nashe and Jonson may well have been deliberately exaggerated for professional gain.
“Tamburlaine in Ludlow, Again: Onomastic Evidence Reconsidered,” Notes & Queries 63 (2016): 464–66.
❧ This note argues that the use of Tamburlaine as a given name in early modern England was both more common than scholars have appreciated and, as such, less valuable as theatre-historical evidence.
“Chaucer Folios in Colonial America: A Correction,” The Chaucer Review 51 (2016): 503–14.
❧ Drawing on evidence from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives, this note shows that what is thought to be the earliest record of a Chaucer folio in North America in fact refers to a text by the Protestant theologian Daniel Chamier. The note concludes with a brief survey of other early American readers of Chaucer.
“Documents” (rev. ed.), in The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed., ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2015). Print (10 pp.) and online (73 pp.).
❧ My revision of the documentary appendix to The Norton Shakespeare includes modernizations of all the texts, updated glosses and headnotes, and substantial additions, including a new section on the professional conditions of the Shakespearean stage as well as the first complete publication of William Harrison’s deposition in the trial of Sir John Yorke (National Archives, STAC 8/19/10, item 30).
“The Admiral’s Vayvode of 1598,” Early Theatre 18.1 (2015): 79–99.
❧ This article argues that the cryptically titled Vayvode, a lost play performed by the Lord Admiral’s Men, was likely about John Hunyadi, a fifteenth-century Hungarian military commander famous for his defense of eastern Europe against the Turks, a triumphal Christian twist on the theme of Marlowe’s Tamburlaine. (Honorable Mention, RSA-TCP Article Prize in Digital Renaissance Research; Honorable Mention, Early Theatre Prize for Best Essay in Theatre History.)
“Brute Parts: From Troy to Britain at the Rose, 1595–1600,” in Lost Plays in Shakespeare’s England, ed. David McInnis and Matthew Steggle (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 127–47.
❧ This essay explores the repertory of the Admiral’s Men in their last years at the Rose, unpacking the resonances between ten lost plays that treated the Trojan war, its aftermath, and the legendary settlement of early Britain.
“The Anxiety of Auctoritas: Chaucer and The Two Noble Kinsmen,” Shakespeare Quarterly 63 (2012): 544–76.
❧ This article argues that Shakespeare and Fletcher’s adaptation of The Knight’s Tale treats its source with a mixture of veneration and hostility, and thematizes the challenge of adapting a culturally authoritative text for the stage.
Entries for the Lost Plays Database, ed. Roslyn L. Knutson (emerita), David McInnis, and Matthew Steggle (Washington, D.C.: Folger Shakespeare Library, 2009–2020).
❧ Contributions to an online database amalgamating records and criticism of lost Renaissance drama, including “The Death of the Lord of Kyme,” “England’s Joy,” “Harefield Entertainment,” “Masque of Cupids,” “Meleager, Publii Ovidii Nasonis,” “Play of Poore,” “Silver Mine,” “Troilus and Cressida,” “Vayvode,” and “Wedding Masque for Sir Philip Herbert.”
Miscellany of Henry Oxinden, ca. 1642-1670 V.b.110 (co-ed.), Folgerpedia (Washington, D.C.: Folger Shakespeare Library, 2014).
❧ Contribution to an edited transcription of Henry Oxinden’s miscellany held at the Folger.