Monday, January 2, 2012

The Puritan or, the Widow of Watling-Street

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Puritan or, the Widow of Watling-Street,’ another play from the Shakespeare Apocrypha.

Wikipedia says of this one;
“The Puritan was published in 1607 and attributed to "W.S." This play is now generally believed to be by Middleton or Smith.”
Now personally I quite liked this play and it felt fairly Shakespearean to me. Lots of silliness, everyone gets married at the end, that sort of thing. It also had the odd flourish of insight;
“[A]n honest War is better than a bawdy Peace.”
Again, this is another play it seems a shame to relegate. I can’t help but feel that the Shakespearean canon has been purged by later experts of anything that doesn’t quite make the grade. We know so little about Shakespeare - hence all the conspiracy theories. Generally I believe that if people in the 17th century believed these works to be the work of Shakespeare we should keep them as part of the collected body of work - even if we do so with the caveat that this play or that play probably wasn’t written by the man himself.

For all we know the works of Shakespeare could have been a group effort anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment