“William Percy’s Logical Song,” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England (forthcoming).
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.
“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.
“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This article presents a hitherto unpublished essay on friendship by Henry Percy (1564–1632), ninth earl of Northumberland.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.), 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 (TNA: 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,” 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, David McInnis, and Matthew Steggle (Washington, D.C.: Folger Shakespeare Library, 2009–2018).
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.