University of Virginia Library


To summarize: The original Quarto of Appius and Virginia was probably printed by Thomas Maxey. Henry Glapthorne's Revenge for Honour can be identified as likely to have been another product of his shop. The stints of two compositors in Appius can be distinguished with some precision and confidence, and the division is consistent with the skeleton pattern. When linguistic and bibliographical discriminators, derived from study of Webster's three unaided plays and fifteen plays by Heywood, are applied to Appius and Virginia, substantial evidence of Webster's hand is found in II.ii, III.ii, and IV.i, and less persuasive evidence in I.ii, II.iii, III.iii, IV.ii, V.i, and the very end of V.ii. The data concerning authorship are not appreciably affected by contrasting compositorial preferences. It is clear that Webster is not the sole author of the play. The data presented here cannot demonstrate that the second playwright is Heywood, who has no really distinctive linguistic preferences, so that his hand manifests itself in the absence of Webster's forms rather than in features uniquely his own, but they are consistent with Heywood's authorship and part-authorship of several scenes.

Lucas (III, 137) lists twenty-two words in Appius that are typical of Heywood's latinate diction. These are distributed thus: I.iii (2), I.iv (4), II.i (1), II.iii (2), III.i (1), IV.i (1), IV.ii (3), V.ii (8). Thus the scenes that are most strongly Websterian on the linguistic and bibliographical evidence, II.ii, III.ii, and IV.i, contain only one such word in 1012 lines, leaving twenty-one within the remaining 1579 lines. The three Heywoodian words in IV.ii, which I have claimed to be at least partly Webster's (pointers to his hand accumulate within the first and last forty lines or so), are confined to a short passage, lines 79-102. It cannot be coincidental that Heywood's diction is prevalent in portions of the text free from Webster's linguistic traces.

Appius and Virginia is, then, a joint composition. We cannot know whether Heywood and Webster worked in collaboration, or one dramatist revised the other's play. But the final product is an interesting illustration of a phenomenon that has been observed in other Elizabethan and Jacobean plays of dual or multiple authorship—the partial submerging of the more idiosyncratic traits of markedly different dramatists as they contribute to a worthwhile drama with its own distinctive quality. Heywood is an unsophisticated dealer in broad humour and in emotional and moral blacks and


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whites, "a facile and sometimes felicitous purveyor of goods to the popular taste," as T. S. Eliot described him (Elizabethan Essays [1934], p. 102). He is also jingoistic, and has the popular writer's talent for offering titillation and orthodox piety at the same time. His best play, A Woman Killed with Kindness, is a competent bourgeois melodrama, pregnant with potential ironies and subtleties which a Middleton, for example, would have exploited to the full, but of which Heywood seems blithely unaware. In Appius his essential simple-mindedness, which is not without its positive aspects, moderates his cerebral partner's tortuous art. As Lucas remarked (III, 146), under the influence of Heywood and with his help, "a better brain than Heywood's has here produced a work that at times seems to revert to the manner of a quarter of a century before, when its part-model, Julius Caesar, first appeared on a stage that had not yet lost its sense of directness and simplicity."


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