Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1607–1608)
1609 quarto of Pericles
- First official record: entered into the Stationers' Register by Edward Blount on 20 May 1608 as "A booke called. The booke of Pericles prynce of Tyre." Jointly entered with Antony and Cleopatra.
- First published: published in quarto in 1609 as The Late and much admired Play, Called Pericles, Prince of Tyre. With the true Relation of the whole History, adventures, and fortunes of the sayd Prince: As also, The no lesse strange, and worthy accidents, in the Birth and Life, of his Daughter Mariana (printed by William White and Thomas Creede for Henry Gosson). This text was republished in 1609 (again by White and Creede for Gosson), 1611 (by Simon Stafford for Gosson) 1619 (as part of William Jaggard's "False Folio", printed by Thomas Pavier), 1630 (by John Norton for Robert Bird) and 1635 (by Thomas Cotes for Robert Bird). Pericles did not appear in the First Folio (1623), the Second Folio (1632) or the first impression of the Third Folio (1663). It was added to the second impression of the Third Folio (1664; printed by Coates for Philip Chetwinde) as The much admired Play, called, Pericles, Prince of Tyre. With the true Relation of the whole History, Adventures, and Fortunes of the sayd Prince.
- First recorded performance: the Venetian ambassador to England from 5 January 1606 to 23 November 1608, Zorzi Giustinian, saw a production of the play during his time in London. He was accompanied by the French ambassador, Antoine Lefevre de la Boderie, and his wife, who arrived in England in April 1607. Giustinian noted that he paid admission, so the play must have been public. As the theatres were closed from April to December 1607 and from July to November in 1608, he must have seen the play at sometime between January and June of 1608. The earliest known datable production was at the manor house of Sir John Yorke, Gouthwaite Hall in North Yorkshire, on 2 February 1610, performed by the Cholmley Players. Information concerning the production comes from a case in the Court of Star Chamber taken against the Catholic Yorke by his Puritan neighbour Sir Stephen Proctor.
- Additional information (attribution): as the play was not included in the First Folio, there has always been doubt as to whether or not Shakespeare actually wrote it. The second impression of the Third Folio added seven new plays, six of which have been proven to be part of the Shakespeare Apocrypha; Locrine, The London Prodigal, The Puritan, Sir John Oldcastle, Thomas Lord Cromwell, and A Yorkshire Tragedy. Traditionally, for some scholars, the simple fact that Pericles is included with such a group is proof enough that Shakespeare did not write it. In a contested field, the most widely accepted theory is that Shakespeare collaborated on the play with another playwright, probably George Wilkins. Although the collaboration theory dates back to at least 1709 (Nicholas Rowe's The Works of Mr. William Shakespeare), the theory of Wilkins' involvement originated in 1868, suggested by Nicolaus Delius. Wilkins status as co-author is generally accepted by modern scholars, and Delius' original breakdown of scenes remains the most widely agreed upon; Wilkins worked on scenes 1-9 and Shakespeare on scenes 10-22. However, because the 1609 quarto is so badly corrupted and generally regarded as a poorly constructed memorial reconstruction, there is no complete agreement as to the motives or mechanism of the collaboration, with some scholars arguing for Shakespeare as sole author. For example, in their 1998 edition of the play for the New Cambridge Shakespeare, Doreen Delvecchio and Anthony Hammond reject the theory of co-authorship, arguing that the problems inherent in the text arise not because of collaborative writing, but because of especially poor memorial reconstruction. On the other hand, in his 2002 book Shakespeare, Co-Author, Brian Vickers is highly critical of Delvecchio and Hammond's analysis, arguing that co-authorship of the play is a virtual certainty. Similarly, in 2003 book, Defining Shakespeare, MacDonald P. Jackson analyses, amongst other aspects, versification, rhyme, function words, pronoun usage, metrical patterns and elisions. He too is especially critical of Delvecchio and Hammond, and he too concludes that Wilkins' status as co-author is virtually certain.
- Evidence: in 1608, Wilkins published a prose version of the story called The Painful Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre, Being the True History of the Play of Pericles, as it was lately presented by the worthy and ancient poet John Gower, which contains numerous phrases that seem to recall specific lines from the play, suggesting work on the play preceded composition of the prose version. In fact, some scholars consider Wilkins' prose version to be a more accurate record of the original script than the 1609 quarto, and several modern editors have incorporated passages from Wilkins' prose into the play text, such as Roger Warren's 2003 edition for the Oxford Shakespeare, based on a text prepared by Gary Taylor and MacDonald P. Jackson, or the version in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Shakespeare: Complete Works (2005), edited by Taylor. Stylistic analysis places the play in the period of 1607–1608. A rare word test of scenes 10-22 place them closest to The Tempest, whereas a rare word test of scenes 1-9 place them closest to 1 Henry IV. If Shakespeare wrote 10-22, the proximity to The Tempest makes sense. If Wilkins wrote 1-9, Gary Taylor has suggested that due to the immense popularity of 1 Henry IV, Wilkins may have read it during composition in an effort to write in a Shakespearean manner. Ants Oras' pause test places scenes 10-22 closest to Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. Taken together, the stylistic evidence, the 1608 Stationers' Register entry, Wilkins' 1608 prose version, the 1608 performance seen by Giustinian, and the 1609 quarto, all serve to suggest a date of composition of 1607 or very early 1608.