University of Virginia Library

Search this document 


expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
collapse section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 

expand section 



"The Authorship of the Later Appius and Virginia," MLR, 8 (1913), 433-453; expanded as an appendix to his book, John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama (1917). Other references in this paragraph are to Lagarde, John Webster (Toulouse, 1968), I, 299; Murray, A Study of John Webster (The Hague, 1969), p. 238; and Sternlicht, John Webster's Imagery and the Webster Canon (Salzburg, 1972), pp. 192-193. Murray's table of contracted forms in Appius is wildly inaccurate, partly because the columns for i'th' and 'tis have been transposed.


The total seven is derived from examination of Paul G. Morrison's Index of Printers, Publishers and Booksellers (1955). In the years immediately after Maxey's death, John Grismond ("J.G.") appears to have been Marriot's main printer: five Marriot publications were printed by "J.G." in 1657-58. Thomas Roycroft also worked quite frequently for Marriot within the period in which Appius was printed. Maxey's books are the only ones showing typographical links to Appius.


The mixture of ordinary and swash italic capitals for speech prefixes is very similar: note the swash M, swash A, and occasional large C in each. A narrow lower case roman "a" appears frequently in both plays.


There is a head title, instead of a headline, on B1, and as the text ends on I3 this page is the last to have a headline. But I(o) takes over its three headlines from H(o), and I(i) its two from H(i). Continuity from F(i) and F(o) to H(i) is not certain. Differences in the heaviness of the inking make identification difficult, but despite a major alteration to the spacing of the headline, the lettering on H3v is probably the same as that on F1v and F2v, while the headline of F3 and F4 appears to have been used for H2, and that of F3v and F4v for H1v. If this is so, F(i) was probably printed before F(o), as on F4v, H1v, and I1v the running title is slightly closer to the left-hand margin than on F3v.


My rule-of-thumb criterion for "a decisive preference" was as follows: the test words should occur at least twice and the ratio of preferred to unpreferred spellings should be not less than three to one.


For -ness/-nesse in two cells the expected frequencies are below 5, so that chisquare probabilities, even when Yates's correction is used, are suspect; but the lowest expected frequency is above 3.5 and the chi-square of 7.8, 1 d.f., is well beyond the 0.01 level of significance, which requires a chi-square value of at least 6.635. There is a description of the chi-squared test in Anthony Kenny, The Computation of Style: An Introduction to Statistics for Students of Literature and Humanities (1982), pp. 110-119.


Dramatic Documents from the Elizabethan Playhouses . . . Commentary (1931), p. 207. Greg notes John of Bordeaux as a possible exception to these general rules.


I do not, of course, mean to imply that marginal speech prefixes and horizontal rules between speakers are to be expected in a Quarto printed from a prompt book. These features would be transformed by standard printing-house practice.


See Peter B. Murray, "The Collaboration of Dekker and Webster in Northward Ho and Westward Ho," PBSA, 56 (1962), 482-486; David J. Lake, The Canon of Thomas Middleton's Plays (1975), pp. 47-49; Tony Halsall, "The Collaboration of Dekker and Webster in Westward Ho and Northward Ho," PBSA, 72 (1978) 65-68. The linguistic and bibliographical evidence cited by these scholars apportions the plays in much the same way as Frederick E. Pierce's "three-syllable Latin word test," described in The Collaboration of Webster and Dekker (1909). Our ignorance about chronology and about Webster's part in the later collaborate plays is far from absolute. Lucas does not indulge in what Bentley stigmatizes as "sage pronunciamentos about Webster's artistic development." He simply argues, through ordinary procedures of criticism, reinforced by metrical data, that Appius fits more comfortably at the beginning or end of Webster's career, especially the end, and finds allusions in the play that appear to confirm a late date of composition. Ants Oras, Pause Patterns in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama (1960), accepting Lucas's assignment of scenes to Webster in Anything for a Quiet Life, The Fair Maid of the Inn, A Cure for a Cuckold, and Appius and Virginia, remarks that Lucas's dating of these plays is supported by examination of the line-split patterns of Webster's share of their verse: "if Lucas's attributions and chronology are accepted, Webster's line-split patterns are seen to evolve in a strikingly consistent and natural manner" (p. 32). This claim acquires decided significance within the context of Oras's subtle and sensitive prosodic analysis. Examination of Oras's figures and graphs (pp. 58, 86) strongly suggests that Appius belongs to the end, rather than to the beginning, of Webster's career. Oras's data concern quite different metrical features from those considered by Lucas. We should not be unduly distrustful of arguments from metre: each one of Shakespeare's plays can be placed within its right period on metrical evidence alone. The main features of Webster's linguistic pattern, as described below, recur in the scenes that Lucas assigns to him in the collaborate plays.


Hoy, "The Shares of Fletcher and his Collaborators in the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon," SB, 8 (1956) -15 (1962); Lake, The Canon of Thomas Middleton's Plays (1975). See also MacD. P. Jackson, Studies in Attribution: Middleton and Shakespeare (Salzburg, 1979), where reference to other studies of this kind may be found.


Heywood's avoidance of has and does is not, of course, complete, but no play has more than a few instances, and hath and doth always greatly predominate. In Webster's share of the Ho plays he shows the strong preference for hath and doth that can be seen in WD and DM.


"The Printing of John Webster's Plays (I)," SB, 6 (1954), 117-140.


Heywood's peculiarities are described in the introductions to the Malone Society Reprints of The Captives, ed. Arthur Brown (1953), and The Escapes of Jupiter, ed. Henry D. Janzen (1977).


SB, 12 (1959), 103. There are 3 i'th' and 2 's within the 330 lines of Webster's elegy to Prince Henry, A Monumental Column (1613).


The exclusive use of between in The Silver Age and The Brazen Age suggests that both plays may have been set from transcripts in the hand of a scribe prejudiced against betwixt—unless Heywood passed through a brief phase of preferring between.


The rarity of Webster's o'th' and a'th' in the Quarto requires explanation. As o'th' occurs in the second line of the play, and at th' in the fourteenth, it seems possible that Compositor B, after showing initial tolerance of o'th' and partial tolerance of a'th', normalized to of the, and that Compositor A normalized throughout his stints. Late Quartos often fail to preserve earlier seventeenth-century forms. Another possibility is that the whole manuscript was a transcript of the joint papers, made either by Heywood or by a scribe. As amongst outnumbers among in all Heywood's plays, while Webster's preference for this form may have been less compulsive, it should be recorded that amongst occurs in Appius in I.ii, III.iv (5 times on F3v), and IV.ii (twice).