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A sad tale’s best for winter

 | 
Yan Brailowsky
, 
Anny A. Crunelle
, 
Jean-Michel Déprats

Attributions et influences

Natures’s Bastards : Flower Power in Bohemia

Richard Wilson

Résumé

La première référence connue à Shakespeare est l’accusation de plagiat que Robert Greene prononça contre lui sur son lit de mort. Cet article relit l’épisode à la lumière de travaux qui font de Greene le premier écrivain professionnel, préoccupé de paternité littéraire et de propriété intellectuelle, soucieux de ne pas voir l’intention auctoriale abâtardie sous la plume d’un autre, dans une culture qui ignorait encore le copyright mais que troublait déjà la question de l’auteur. Il suggère que le conflit entre les deux hommes trouve son épilogue dans Le Conte d’hiver, histoire de jalousie, de diffamation et de paternité contestée, que Shakespeare emprunte encore à Greene. Le colporteur Autolycus, qui fait commerce d’une littérature de seconde main où l’on parle de progéniture monstrueuse, invite à déplacer dans le domaine de l’écriture les inquiétudes qui s’expriment dans le champ de la filiation, et à interroger ensemble reproduction sexuelle et textuelle.

This paper revisits Greene’s deathbed slur on Shakespeare, with its implicit charge of plagiarism, in the light of the recent reappraisal of Greene as Elizabethan England’s first professional writer. Greene’s paranoid attack on “the upstart crow, beautified with our feathers” stems from a sense of “proprietary protection” offended by the bastardization of authorial intention. The long drawn battle between poet and player over intellectual property and author’s rights finds its epilogue in The Winter’s Tale, a story about slander and illegitimacy, which Shakespeare again pilfered from Greene. There the pedlar Autolycus, a bastard who cheerfully traffics in stolen “sheets” and second-hand narration, definitely shatters the dream of creative purity, and extends Leontesconcern with legitimate parenting and true “copy” to the field of printing and publishing.

Texte intégral

  • 1 . “There is an upstart Crow” : Greene Robert, A Groat’s-worth of Witte, bought with a million of re (...)
  • 2 . Harvey Gabriel, Foure Letters and Certeine Sonnets, Harrison G. B. (ed.), London, Bodley Head Ltd (...)
  • 3 . Greenblatt Stephen, Will in the World : How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, London, Jonathan Cape (...)
  • 4 . Waspish little worm” : Greene Robert, qtd. in Honan Park, Shakespeare : A Life, op. cit., p. 160
  • 5 . Harvey Gabriel, Foure Letters, op. cit., p. 20.
  • 6 . Joyce James, Ulysses, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1968, p. 187.
  • 7 . One scholar who thinks he did, and that Greene’s grasping “waspish little worm” gives a fair pict (...)

1“There is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers” : playwright Robert Greene’s deathbed curse on the “absolute Johannes factotum” who “is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country” is “among the most famous” yet “the bitterest lines ever written about Shakespeare.”1 As “the king of the paper stage”2 drank himself to death in the tannersquarter of London, he warned his “fellow Scholars” from the universities-the dramatists Marlowe, Nashe and Peele - never to trust the actor “that with his Tiger’s hart wrapped in a Player’s hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you.” The allusion was to3 Henry VI, where Queen Margaret has a “tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide” (1.4.137); and biographers deduce that this is a case of “a drunk, a cheat, and a liar,” in Stephen Greenblatt’s opinion, finding “something frightening in Shakespeare.” 3 “I know the best husband of you will never prove a Usurer,” Greene explained ; and he capped the insinuation that Shakespeare charged him interest on loans with the fable of the Ant, a “waspish little worm”4 who refuses the Grasshopper relief : “Use no entreats, I will relentless rest,/For toiling labour hates an idle guest.” Greene died in remorse at deserting his wife, “too honest for such a husband,” for the “sorry ragged quean” who bore his bastard son Fortunatus.5 But his infamous last words about “relentless” Shakespeare have tarnished his rival’s reputation for ever. Thus, “A deathsman of the soul Robert Greene called him. [...] Not for nothing was he a butcher’s son wielding the sledded poleaxe and spitting in his palm,” lectures Stephen in Joyce’s Ulysses. 66 This voice from the grave therefore presents us with a challenge. What if Greene’s suspicions of parasitism and plagiarism were not paranoid but true ?7

  • 8 . “Big with one Pamphlet” : Thomas Nashe ; “penurious brats” : Constantia Munda ; both quoted in Pr (...)
  • 9 . For the ambiguity, presumably deliberate, see Duncan Jones Katherine, Ungentle Shakespeare, Londo (...)
  • 10 . Chettle Henry, Kind-Harts Dreame (1592), rpt. in Schoenbaum Samuel, Shakespeare : A Documentary L (...)
  • 11 . Chettle Henry, England’s Mourning Garment (1603), qtd. in Honan Park, Shake- spspearearspeare : A (...)
  • 12 . Chettle Henry, rpt. in Schoenbaum Samuel, Shakespeare : A Documentary Life, op. cit., p. 117.

2Greene was said to be “every quarter big with one pamphlet or another ;” and his assault on Shakespeare was quickly published as Greene’s Groat’s-worth of Wit, bought with a million of repentance, an ugly specimen of the abuse pamphlets Elizabethan writers liked to image as their bastard “penurious brats.”8 Its cheek was partly its reference to plumes, equating player’s hat with writer’s pen.9 But how would its victim respond ? “The thrice-three muses mourning for the death/Of learning, late deceased in beggary” is how he archly “beautified” Greene’s “satire, keen and critical” Theseus thinks “not sorting with a nuptial” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (5.1.54-55). The Duke’s suavity echoes that of unnamed aristocrats who, according to its printer Henry Chettle, protested the “Shakes-scene” diatribe, vouching for their protégé’s “uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious grace in writing, which approves his art.”10 In 1603 Chettle outed Shakespeare for not mourning Elizabeth, and some think he ghosted Greene’s attack.11 But he was careful now to disown any libel, squirming how he had since “seen his demeanour no less civil than he excellent in the quality” of acting.12 The printer must have been intimidated by the player armed with testimonials from powerful friends. But the defamation that this carrion crow “beautified” his work with the plumes of his social and intellectual betters struck deep, for “a vile phrase,beautifiedis a vile phrase” he would have Polonius object (Hamlet, 2.2.111). Thus “Shakespeare was still chewing on this insult long after Greene’s death,” remarks Joseph Loewenstein in his study of early modern plagiarism ; and while it is true that his accuser had impugned “his profession as an actor, his loyalty, his sincerity, and his taste,” this disproportionate response needs to be seen in the context of the clash between his own education in classical imitation and a literary culture that was beginning to be “fervently committed to proprietary protections”:

  • 13 . Loewenstein Joseph, Ben Jonson and Possessive Authorship, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, (...)

The episode sheds light on [...] more than the old question of whether Shakespeare began his career [...] as a botcher of othersplays. Much in the [...] development of that career can be understood as a ramifying reaction to the sting of Greene’s remarks. Shakespeare can be seen flouting [these] in the brazen, ranting extravaganza of Titus Andronicus [...]; the beastly bombast [...] of Bottom factotum, responds to Greene with slightly drier wit. These are profound and ingenious responses, and they are only the earliest ones. Though Greene’s insult is hardly some secret origin of all of Shakespeare’s efforts at self-promotion and self-justification, many of those efforts sustain a [...] flyting dialogue with the dead.13

  • 14 . Greenblatt Stephen, Will in the World, op. cit., p. 216, 219, 225.
  • 15 . Ibid., p. 206 ; “Introduction”, in Writing Robert Greene : Essays on England’s First Notorious Pr (...)
  • 16 . Instead of regarding Greene’s romance as Shakespeare’s pale source, we should “think of the play (...)

3In Will in the World Greenblatt proposes that it was the older writer who was the “sleazy parasite,” and that Shakespeare repaid him not in the money he begged, but with the character of Falstaff, for “The deeper we plunge in the tavern world” of the Fat Knight, “the closer we come to Greene.” Shakespeare’s detractor was just such a “grotesque figure,” the critic concludes, whose libels were returned with the “incalculable gift” of literary immortality.14 Yet recently there has been a spirited defence of Greene as Elizabethan England’s first professional writer, whose abuse of the young “upstart” was driven not by neurotic jealousy of a future literary king, but a modern sense of “proprietary protection” offended by his imitator’s bastardization of authorial intention. Working at this frenetic “pamphlet moment” of Elizabethan literature, the author of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay was himself a notorious plagiarist, known for selling plays like his Orlando Furioso to the actors twice. And it was ironic that his defence of originality was an imitation of Horace. Yet with “multiple engagements in the literary field” this hack “with no moral compass,” whose “life is a shambles,” in Greenblatt’s scathing description, now emerges as a precursor of “authorial and literary sophistication rather than bohemian disinterest or pecuniary desperation.”15 It is arguable whether his makeover as the protector of literary meaning helps Greene look more attractive. But it does offer an institutional context for our embarrassment that the first mention of Shakespeare in show business is a denunciation of his unearned interest, an accusation of theft, and a record of the battle between the poet and the player over intellectual property and authorsrights. Just how deeply the dead man’s words had wounded would, moreover, only emerge after some sixteen years, when with The Winter’s Tale Shakespeare conceived a play of unintended consequences about broken hospitality, paranoid suspicion, and slanders of illegitimacy, and as if deliberately defying the curse, shamelessly “beautified” a story about repentance he pilfered from Greene’s romance Pandosto, The Triumph of Time :16

I understand the business, I hear it. To have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand is necessary for a cutpurse ; a good nose is requisite also, to smell out work for th’other senses. I see this is the time that the unjust man doth thrive. [...] Sure the gods do this year connive at us, and we may do anything extempore (4.4.666-673).

  • 17 . Greene Robert, A Groat’s-worth of Witte, op. cit.
  • 18 . Greene Robert, The Second Part of Conny-Catching, rpt. in Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shake (...)
  • 19 . “Myriad forms” : Morse W. R., “Metacriticism and Materiality : The Case of Shakespeare’s The Wint (...)
  • 20 . For the longstanding debate over the theory that Greene’s unnamed player refers to Shakespeare, s (...)

4In Pandosto “jealousy” curdles “joy” to “bloody revenge”; but Shakespeare’s “beautifying” supplies an unintended happy end to this tragic tale-about a King of Bohemia who kills himself after wrongly accusing his wife Bellaria of adultery with his friend King Egistus of Sicily-when the comic rogue Autolycus is transported into the story from Greene’s own Groat’s-worth of Wit. There “Roberto” is spied by a stranger from behind a hedge. This fashionable traveller turns out to be a player who offers the poet a contract, boasting how “men of my profession get by scholars their whole living.”17 Editors relate the characterisation of the pedlar Autolycus as “a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles” (4.3.25-26) to two more of Greene’s pamphlets, his Conny-Catching guides to con men who cheat rabbits, or yokels, where the Curber is defined as “he that with a Curb or hook, doth pull out of a window any loose linen [...] which stolen parcels they in their Art call snappings.”18 Shakespeare’s thieving magpie likewise “traffics in sheets” (4.3.23) he lifts. But when he also “sings several tunes faster than you’ll tell money”, or “utters them as he had eaten ballads”, until “all men’s ears grew to his tunes,” it is clear that the sheets he filches include printersproofs, and that these “prettiest love-songs,” which suit his adoring audiences so well “no milliner can so fit his customers with gloves” (4.4.185-194), are meta-theatrical references to a play which is constructed out of “myriad forms” of such second-hand narration, and thus to his creator’s own literary cuckoldry.19 Greene’s professional plagiarist is a “Country Author” with a provincial accent. Thus, whether or not he was meant to be the son of the Stratford glover, all Shakespeare’s anxieties of influence and illegitimacy seem to have been stirred by this tableau of the university-educated poet conned by the self-fashioning player into prostituting his art :20

  • 21 . Greene Robert, A Groat’s-worth of Witte, op. cit.

“What is your profession ?” said Roberto. “Truly sir,” he said, “I am a player.” “A player”, quoth Roberto, “I took you rather for a gentleman of great living ; for if by outward habit men should be censured, I tell you, you would be taken for a substantial man.” “So am I where I dwell,” quoth the player, “reputed able at my proper cost to build a Windmill. What though the world went hard with me, when I was fain to carry my playing Fardel a footback ; Tempora mutantur ; I know you know the meaning of it better than I, but I thus conster it : “It is otherwise now”; for my very share in playing apparel will not be sold for two hundred pounds.”21

  • 22 . Ibid.
  • 23 . Bednarz James, Shakespeare and the Poets’War, New York, Columbia University Press, 2001, p. 230.
  • 24 . Dekker Thomas, Jests to Make you Merry (1607), qtd. in Honan Park, Shakespeare : A Life, op. cit. (...)
  • 25 . Pitcher John, “Some call him Autolycus”, in In Arden : Editing Shakespeare. Essays in Honour of R (...)

5Greene’s “Windmill” refers to London’s money-making playhouse ; and with its scorn for the “playing fardel” the conning of Roberto rehearses the agon of the poet and player that marked the birth of the author in early modern England. To Greene, players were merely poets“puppets that spake from our mouths, antics garnished with our colours.”22 As James Bednarz comments in Shakespeare and the Poets’War, this battle over ownership of words was fratricidal, as without poets the players would be forced into minstrelsy, yet “without players poets were denied the profits and prestige” from the stage.23 Yet Greene’s fury highlights the realisation of “thePoetsof these sinful times” that, as Thomas Dekker put it, “thePlayershave now got the upper hand.”24 For trapped between a declining patronage system and a rising theatrical public, this graduate of Oxford and Cambridge displaced all the bad faith of his own dealings with publishers and their “peddling chapmen” onto his Pied Piper. What is disarming, then, about the villain’s revisiting of the episode in The Winter’s Tale is that, despite all those protests about “uprightness of dealing,” the allegations of parasitism and plagiarism are now cheerfully admitted in the rascally piracy of Autolycus, whose very name, as the latest Arden editor, John Pitcher, remarks, makes him sound like Greene’s tiger or “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and whose holdall affiliates him with the pushy “know-all” University Wits liked to vilify as “Johannes Shagbag”:25

What a fool honesty is, and trust, his sworn brother, a very simple gentleman ! I have sold all my trumpery ; not a counterfeit stone, not a ribbon, glass, pomander, brooch, table-book, ballad, knife, tape, glove, shoe-tie, bracelet, horning to keep my pack from fasting (4.4.592-597).

  • 26 . Spufford Margaret, The Great Reclothing of Rural England : Petty Chapmen and their Wares in the S (...)
  • 27 . Beier Lee, Masterless Men : The Vagrancy Problem in England, 1560-1640, London, Methuen, 1985, p. (...)

6Autolycus proves that the shepherds in The Winter’s Tale are right to worry that “the wolf will sooner find” their sheep “than the master” (3.3.64). The contents of his tinker’s “pack” mark him as one of the commercial travellers Margaret Spufford describes in The Great Reclothing of Rural England as the true agents of revolution in the Shakespearean era. For though they sparked moral panic in the authorities, who in 1597 acted to ban “all Juglers, Tynkers, Peddlers, and Petty Chapmen wandering abroad,” according to the historian the inventory of Autolycushaversack discloses how the itinerants who brought these beauty products cannot have been “as unwelcome and dubious” to the “humbler sort” as “they often appeared to the [...] legislators.”26 The bag of a pedlar left on Salisbury Plain in 1618 contained only needles, nails, bits of cloth, stolen purses, and a comb ; but when the ban was repealed in 1604 it was a sign of the liminal and ambiguous status of men who also “often made large sales” at gentry houses.27 So Autolycus breezes into the play “When daffodils begin to peer” (4.3.1) to “come before the swallow dares, and take/The winds of March with beauty” (4.4.119-120), as a harbinger of the beautification of the world that in Vermeer’s Hat, his book about the dawn of globalization, Timothy Brook describes as the effect of the furs and fabrics, fruits and furnishings which were carried into Europe along the new networks of world trade, and which meant that the rules of courtship now changed :

  • 28 . Brook Timothy, Vermeer’s Hat : The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, London, (...)

Romance took over from cash-in-hand as the currency of love, and the home became the new theatre for acting out the tension between the genders. Men and women still negotiated over sex and companionship [...] but the negotiation was now disguised as banter, not barter, and its object was marriage and a solid brick house with leaded window panes and expensive furnishings, not an hour in bed.28

  • 29 . Spufford Margaret, The Great Reclothing of Rural England, op. cit., p. 88-89.

7While it is true Autolycus was a linen-thief, Spufford concedes, in return he produced many more beautifying textiles from his self-fashioning bag : “there were cambrics and lawns” and a variety of haberdashery : “Caddises for garters, ribbons [in] all the colours of the rainbow, trimmings like lace, and all the inkles, tape, [...] points, [...] pins and thread in his pack were [...] absolutely essential tools to the householder.” And this nomad combined drapery with stationery, for as well as ready-made accessories, such as hats and scarves, he sold cheap luxuries like “the vital looking-glasses,” jewellery, mirrors and cosmetics, which tied rural communities into the leisure and entertainment industries : “there were masks, perfume and poking sticks for ruffs in his pack,” and “much of his success as a salesman was due to his singing of the ballads he sold.”29 In Late Shakespeare : A New World of Words, Simon Palfrey concurs, that this lone wolf is more than merely a figure for the individualism of “printed texts, cash, and contract”, for his “pedlar’s silken treasury” (4.4.345) is metonymic of the endless beautifying “recreation” of theatre itself :

  • 30 . Palfrey Simon, Late Shakespeare : A New World of Words, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997, p. 232-235

Autolicuspack [...] evokes the bustle and litter of a public theatre’s tiring-house [...]. As if the theatre’s own resplendent book-keeper, Autolicus sings to the click of counted cash [...]. But his meta-dramatic potency extends beyond being some mascot of consumerism. [...] Indeed Autolicusmimetic reflexiveness seems to have been plotted [...] from [...] his name [...]. In [Ovid’s] Metamorphoses, the infamous thief is the first of twins, one born of Mercury, the other Apollo. As an emblem and example of the medium’s processes, then, the mercurial Autolicus challenges the play’s nominally supreme justice and narrator, Apollo. [...] this minstrel is a challenge to our very definition of the Apollonian-or as so often in critical history, the Shakespearean-voice and progeny.30

  • 31 . Neely Carol Thomas, Broken Nuptials in Shakespeare’s Plays, Chicago, University of Illinois Press (...)
  • 32 . de Grazia Margreta, “Imprints : Shakespeare, Gutenberg, and Descartes”, in Printing and Parenting(...)

8“Littered under Mercury”, recycler and bricoleur of objets trouvés, the bastard Autolycus scandalises the Apollonian dream of creative purity that Shakespeare places at the centre of the play when, in words from Pandosto, the god of light affirms through his Delphic Oracle that the queen is “chaste,” her friend “blameless,” and her “innocent babe truly begotten” (3.2.132). Thus he brags his pack conceals his “sow-skin budget” (4.3.20), or toolbag editors tell us is slang for the scrotum, and contains gloves and gods “for man or woman of all sizes” (4.4.193). A “glove” was a condom at the time (“Your quondam wife swears still by Venusglove”, winks Hector to Helen’s cuckolded Menelaus, Troilus, 4.7.63) and Autolycus“gods” (210) are dildos. According to the Servant who announces his coming, his “love songs for maids,” with such “delicate burdens of dildos and fadings,” as “Jump her, and thump her,” are therefore prophylactic against “bawdry”: guaranteed not to “break a foul gap in the matter” when the “stretched-mouthed rascal [...] makes the maid to answer,Whoop, do me no harm, good man’” (4.4.193-201). Critics like to believe that, despite thus promising “What maids lack from head to heal” (228), “Autolycusmanipulations are relatively harmless” since “he has no intimate connections with women in the play.”31 But this underestimates a son of Mercury. For the textual desire in the “foul gaps” of his songs enacts the very puncture of “proprietary protection” they are purchased to prevent, and so disseminates the current that seeps throughout the play between illegitimate printing and parenting. Like all these late works, The Winter’s Tale is “littered” with the throwaway signs of the promiscuous relations of publishing, marks of a legitimacy crisis that connected infidelity to the stain of ink, and was only intensified, Margreta de Grazia and Wendy Wall point out, by the pornographic machinery of the printing press itself, imagined as a bastardizing whore, repetitively “performing virtual copulative acts”.32

  • 33 . For a suggestive discussion of the ways in which the Late Plays “represent infidelity through ref (...)
  • 34 . See Smith Helen, “’A man in print ?’ : Shakespeare and the Representation of the Press”, in Shake (...)

9“Behold, my lords,/Although the print be little, the whole matter/And copy of the father” (2.3.97-99): when the matronly Paulina Shakespeare also invented for The Winter’s Tale prefaces the baby Perdita for King Leontes, it is as though Greene haunts the story as its nominal parent in this metaphor of textual reproduction. “They say it is a copy out of mine”, the king had earlier observed doubtfully, in the face of his son and heir : “they say we are/Almost as like as eggs-women say so,/That will say anything” (1.2.121-130). As feminist critics remark, there is a long Shakespearean history of sexualised anxiety over textual origins behind this print metaphor, and a deep disquiet about corrupt transmission that Posthumus vents in Cymbeline, when he frets his father “was I know not where/When I was stamped” (2.5.4).33 What is noticeable, however, is that up to this point all Shakespeare’s print images are confidently patriarchal, and thus refer to handwriting, as when Speed will “speak in print” from a letter (Two Gent, 2.1.151); newly minted money, like the “metal” with “so great a figure [...] stamped upon it” to which Angelo is compared (Measure, 1.1.49); or seals, like the father’s stamp which makes the child, so Theseus preaches to Hermia, “a form in wax/By him imprinted” (Dream, 1.1.49).34 In short, before The Winter’s Tale, printing retains in these recuperative paternal images the self-presence of written “speech”.

  • 35 . Loewenstein Joseph, Ben Jonson and Possessive Authority, op. cit., p. 50.
  • 36 . Derrida Jacques, Of Grammatology, Spivak Gayatri Chakravorty (trans.), Baltimore, Johns Hopkins U (...)

10In Coriolanus the protagonist is told by his mother his son is “a poor epitome of yours,/Which by th’interpretation of full time/May show like all yourself” (5.3.67-69); and Leontes will reach for this patriarchal trope of permanent “imprinting” when he assures Florizel, the son of the friend he suspected of fathering Perdita, “Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince ;/For she did print your royal father off/Conceiving you” (5.1.123-125). But Polixenes had undermined his security in being the owner and origin of his own meaning by promising at the start to act “like a cipher” in “rich place” and “multiply” with one press of friendship “many thou- sands more” (1.2.6-7). So now Leontescompliment involuntarily refers to the 20 x 25 “royal” paper size of printed folio volumes ; and like the term for the author’s “royalty,” the pun on “prints” thus simply exposes the degree of paternal unease at the untrustworthiness of the multiple editions, epitomes, imitations, piracies, and translations in this first age of mechanical reproduction, when authorial rights are asserted in denial of the facts of textual dissemination, claiming “rights over printing that did not exist.”35 For as Shakespeare’s Queen Hermione warns her husband, once “published” there can be no retraction of the “dangerous supplement” of the printed text :36

How will this grieve you
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have published me ! Gentle my lord,
You scarce can right me throughly then to say
You did mistake (2.1.96-100).

  • 37 . Rickard Jane, Authorship and Authority : The Writings of James VI and I, Manchester, Manchester U (...)
  • 38 . Neely Carol Thomas, Broken Nuptials, op. cit., p. 191.
  • 39 . Hackett Helen, “’Gracious Be The Issue’ : Maternity and Narrative in Shakespeare’s Late Plays”, i (...)
  • 40 . Enterline Lynn, “’You speak a language that I understand not’ : The Rhetoric of Animation in The (...)
  • 41 . Knapp Robert, Shakespeare : The Theater and the Book, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1989 (...)

11Just prior to The Winter’s Tale, King James had reissued his 1607 Apology for the Oath of Allegiance with corrections, but then rushed out a proclamation asking purchasers to bring back “all such Books as they have to our Printer, from whom they shall have other copies” correcting the errors made to the corrections caused by “the rashness of the Printer”; and in her study of this contradictory “royal author” Jane Rickard remarks how even as these repeated recalls and reissues “attempt to impose order, they form a striking public acknowledgement” of the vagaries of print.37 Likewise, Leontesattempt to assert the “royalty” of a folio volume involuntarily concedes there can be no return to the phallocentrism of “stamped coin” (4.4.720) which even Autolycus prefers. So, if “Childbirth is the literal and symbolic centre” of this play, it remains fraught with paternal anxiety about “some foul issue” (2.3.153), and concern that “I’ll not rear/Another’s issue” (191-192).38 The word “issue” occurs fifteen times in The Winter’s Tale, twice as often as in any other play by Shakespeare. Helen Hackett explains how this repetition connects “the issue of it” (5.2.8), as outcome, to the charactersconcerns that they “should not produce fair issue” (2.1.149), and the narrative’s “issue doubted” (1.2.256) to the “fair issue” (2.1.150) of such progeny.39 So Leontessensation that “I / Play [...] a part, whose issue/Will hiss me to my grave” (1.2.185-187), is provoked by the tension between playing and printing in a culture without copyright yet already tyrannically fixated on the author. Hence the king will “spend much of the play trying (and failing) to control his own language and the language of others.”40 But when Paulina implores him to “Care not for issue ;/The crown will find an heir” (5.1.46), the play also registers what Robert Knapp terms the new “bookish authority” in later Shakespeare, where the kings and fathers learn that “issues” must be trusted, even when “the text is foolish” (Lear, 4.2.38).41

  • 42 . Heywood Thomas, “Epistle Prefatory” to The English Traveller (1633), qtd. in Loewenstein Joseph, (...)
  • 43 . Johns Adrian, The Nature of the Book : Print and Knowledge in the Making, Chicago, Chicago Univer (...)
  • 44 . MacNeice Louis, “Autolycus”, in Louis MacNeice : Poems, Longley Michael (ed.), London, Faber & Fa (...)

12A play without an author is “a Bastard without a Father,” playwright Thomas Heywood declared.42 Yet Shakespeare’s romances mark a major shift in this monological trope of printing and parenting, when they decide to “weigh not every stamp,” as Posthumus puts it in Cymbeline, but “Though light, take pieces for the figure’s sake” (5.5.118-119). As Adrian Johns maintains in The Nature of the Book : Print and Knowledge in the Making, the true “print revolution” occurred at this time, when with the realisation that patriarchy’s “print of goodness” would no longer “take” (Tempest, 1.2.355), the credibility gap was bridged by “intersubjective trust,” as “questions of credit took the place of assumptions of fixity.”43 If the sixteenth century had been a time for the hermeneutic of suspicion, the seventeenth century would therefore be the age of credit. So, in The Winter’s Tale, the king’s distrust is met with the appeal, “Beseech your highness, give us better credit” (2.3.146). We need not go so far as Louis MacNeice, whose poem “Autolycus” sees in the “master pedlar with your confidence tricks,/Brooches, pomanders, broadsheets and whathave-you,” the Bard’s self-portrait in “his last phase when hardly bothering to be a dramatist,” to perceive here a disclaimer of authorial responsibility.44 For by equivocating about how much the persons and incidents of this play are both like and yet “unlike” “an old tale still, which will have matter to rehearse though credit be asleep and not an ear open” (5.2.60-61), Shakespeare turns his rival’s story against its putative owner, to dissolve suspicions of plagiarism and illegitimacy in a collective leap of faith, which “Were it but told you, should be hooted at/Like an old tale” (5.3.116-117), because “This news, which is called true is so like an old tale that the verity of it is in strong suspicion” (27-29):

Autolycus
Here’s one to a very doleful tune, how a usurer’s wife was brought to bed of twenty money-bags at a burden, and how she longed to eat addersheadsand toads carbonadoed.

Mopsa
Is it true, think you ?

Autolycus
Very true, and but a month old (4.4.260-265).

  • 45 . “Deformed biological reproduction” : Kitch Aaron W., “Printing Bastards : Monstrous Birth Broadsi (...)
  • 46 . Findlay Alison, Illegitimate Power : Bastards in Renaissance drama, Manchester, Manchester Univer (...)

13As “credulous to false prints” as their “complexions” (Measure, 2.4.128-129), we are told, female readers cannot get enough of Autolycusballads about mermaids and monstrous births, since they “love a ballad in print,” Mopsa exclaims, “for then we are sure they are true” (4.4.258-259). The truth of the ballad of the usurer’s wife is indeed certified, Autolycus vouches, by the signature of the midwife, “one Mistress Tail-Porter” (267-268). The tell-tale name of the female teller thereby mocks Paulina’s story about Perdita, as if the play itself has such a “deal of wonder [...] that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it” (5.2.23-25). Like the excitement of Stephano and Trinculo at the “monster” Caliban (Tempest, 2.2.29), therefore, this is one of a spate of references in his final plays to the genre of “monstrous birth” bal- ladlads which imply that about 1610 Shakespeare became alert to the way these broadsides projected anxieties about their own bastard status, as stigmatized forms of print, onto the supposed “deformed biological reproduction” of the lower classes.45 In her Illegitimate Power : Bastards in Renaissance Drama, Alison Findlay argues that the strategy of The Winter’s Tale was thus to subvert the opposition between the natural and unnatural, by showing how society’s efforts “to displace illegitimacy (its own cultural construct)” onto nature are themselves unnatural. Natural yet unnatural, the bastard undoes distinctions between true and false, original and copy, speech and writing, in this analysis. Thus, when Leontes plots “to make the murder of a bastard look natural” by exposing the baby in a “remote and desert place” (2.3.175), he merely confirms his own monstrosity.46 Likewise, the implausibility of Shake- speare’s hybrid generic bastard of a tragicomedy seems deliberately designed to confound the king’s efforts to fix social differences between discourses of the believable and unbelievable :

Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
Should a like language use to all degrees,
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar (2.1.84-87).

  • 47 . Felperin Howard, “’Tongue-tied our queen ?’ : The Deconstruction of Presence in The Winter’s Tale(...)
  • 48 . Muir Kenneth, The Sources of Shakespeare’s Plays, op. cit., p. 267.
  • 49 . Houlbrooke Ralph, The English Family, 1450-1700, Harlow, Longman, 1984, p. 82.

14Autolycus will be on his “footpath way” (4.3.121) long before the issue of the “summer songs” he boasts he sings “for me and my aunts/While we lie tumbling in the hay” (11-12) becomes apparent. It will be “Nine changes of the watery star” (1.2.1), we are reminded at the start, before the unintended consequences of any “foul gap in the matter” are delivered. But the breaches in his leaking goods are so like “that wide gap” that leaves “the growth untried” (4.1.6) in Shakespeare’s “weak- hingehinged” (2.3.118) play, they could make us doubt Apollo’s oracle when at the end the king ominously repeats he will “Each one demand and answer to his part/Performed in this wide gap” (5.3.153-154). Deprived of a theophany, Apollo’s verdict on Hermione’s chastity is “like paper currency” without gold reserves, quips Howard Felperin.47 Nor is trust advanced when Florizel lets slip that “the fire-robed god” also appeared as “a poor humble swain” (4.4.29-30): to seduce Alcestis. There are too many such gaps in the stretched fabric of The Winter’s Tale, with its “unprece- dentedentedented obfuscation” over the reported death of Hermione, not to speculate what this latest interrogation will reveal.48 Leontes estimates a “tenth” of wives to be unfaithful (1.2.197), and Jacobean England was indeed registering an illegitimacy crisis, with “percentages of baptised children described as illegitimate” rising about 1610 to levels “never again attained before 1750.”49 So, “I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty,” complains the play’s Shepherd, “for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child” (3.3.58-61). “Littered under Mercury,” Autolycus and the bastards he leaves behind after his “songs” with Mopsa and Dorcas have, therefore, surely been imported into Greene’s story to make us wonder : suppose Leontessuspicions of slippage were true, and the baby born to his wife was indeed the “issue” of “some scape”- the term for a printing error-as the Shepherd who finds this castaway of the “litter” assumes, when however small its print, he thinks he can read between the lines ?

Sure some scape ; though I am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman in the scape. This has been some stair-work, some trunk-work, some behinddoor-work ; they were warmer that got this than the poor thing is here (3.3.69-74).

  • 50 . Belsey Catherine, Why Shakespeare ?, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, p. 73.
  • 51 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto, The Triumph of Time”, rpt. in Shakespeare William, The Winter’s Tale, O (...)

15Critics always assume Perdita’s adoptive family is illiterate ; yet while they may not be “bookish,” Shakespeare goes out of his way to associate them with writing, giving her brother her shopping-list for the sheep-shearing, and introducing her lover Florizel with her father’s approval that “he’ll stand and read,/As twere, my daughter’s eyes” (4.4.175-176). So if the Shepherd thinks he can read the “little print” of his foundling like a book, that may be because he has been poring over “unconsid- ereered trifles” like Greene’s Pandosto, which return over and again in this period to the Cinderella narrative of the exiled princess, as if working out the professional dream of literary legitimacy. What Shakespeare seems to have noticed in figuring Perdita as a cast-off book, that is to say, is how much it matters to the writers of these retellings that the foundling is “really” royal, as though her change of clothes validates their own claim to authorial sovereignty. As Catherine Belsey remarks, “these stories clearly fulfilled in fantasy a desire to overcome social difference,” yet reproduce the very hierarchy they aspire to transcend.50 Thus Greene’s shepherd is persuaded to save the baby only by his “greedy desire” for the “great sum of gold” found with it, when “the covetousness of the coin overcame him,” while the “exquisite perfection” of the child’s “natural disposition did bewray that she was born of some high parentage.”51 If Pandosto legitimates its folktale elements with these class distinctions, however, such hierarchies do not impress in The Winter’s Tale. For what Shakespeare instead stresses there is the literacy of Perdita’s nurturing family, the “lower messes” who, despite Leontessocial prejudices, are as capable of reading a Cinderella story as “finer natures” like Camillo (who has, in fact, been “reared” from the “meaner” class himself, 1.2.315-316) :

Was this taken
By any understanding pate but thine ?
For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in
More than the common blocks. Not noted, is’t,
But of the finer natures ? By some severals
Of headpiece extra-ordinary ? Lower messes
Perchance are to this business purblind ? (1.2.219-225).

  • 52 . Derrida Jacques, Of Grammatology, op. cit., p. 168.
  • 53 . Greene Robert, “A quip for an upstart courtier, or a quaint dispute between velvet breeches and c (...)
  • 54 . Darnton Robert, “Peasants Tell Tales”, in The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cul (...)
  • 55 . “An old wives’winter’s tale” : Peele George, The Old Wives Tale, Binnie Patricia (ed.), Mancheste (...)
  • 56 . Davis Natalie Zemon, Society and Culture in Early Modern France, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1987, p (...)
  • 57 . Darnton Robert, “Peasants Tell Tales”, in The Great Cat Massacre, op. cit., p. 29, 55.

16With its promise to be “Pleasant for age to avoid drowsy thoughts, and profitable for youth to eschew other wanton pastimes,” Pandosto was one of a line of Elizabethan works, like George Peele’s The Old Wives Tale, evoking peasant customs and oral culture with a nostalgia for the community “where nobody went beyond earshot” that anticipates Rousseau’s idealisation of “the golden age” of speech.52 Greene would sentimentalize the “cloth breeches” of old England over the “velvet” of a bastard age ; but as Peter Burke relates, such patronising of popular culture was actually a sign of the withdrawal of the Elizabethan elite, which would soon learn to refer to minstrels and their ballads “with a mixture of curiosity, detachment and contempt.”53 In his essay “Peasants Tell Tales,” Robert Darnton confirms that the literary versions dating from this time are embarrassed by the cruel amorality of stories told by servants and wet nurses.54 For as Greene’s and Peele’s efforts showed, “an old wives winter’s tale” too often turned out to be “a heavy tale/Sad in thy mood and sober in thy cheer,” like the “winter’s tales” of “spirits and ghosts that glide by night” or the “mere old wives tales” Marlowe’s Barabas and Faustus despise as “old women’s words.”55 Shakespeare wrote The Winter’s Tale when literary writers were for the first time starting to assign fairy stories and folktales “to the people, to Mother Goose, or to old nurses” as the voice of truth.56 Unlike Greene and other authors of faux naïf Elizabethan and Jacobean “winter’s tales,” however, Shakespeare never succumbed to a Rousseauist vision of storytelling as innocent. Thus when Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost, his wife says his terror is such as “would well become/A woman’s story at a winter’s fire/Authorized by her grandam” (3.4.63-65). And the “old tales” that Shakespeare mentions are truly grim : like those “tales of woeful ages long ago,” or “sad stories of the deaths of kings,” recited “In winter’s tedious nights,” remembered by Richard II (Richard II, 3.2.152 ; 5.1.40-42); the “old tale” told in Windsor about Herne the Hunter turning milk to blood as he “shakes a chain/In a most hideous and dreadful manner” (Wives, 4.4.26-32); or spine-chilling “Bluebeard” itself, which Benedick cites for the murderer’s denial to his victim of “the story that is printed in her blood”: “it is not so, nor “twas not so, but indeed, God forbid it should be so” (Much Ado, 1.1.175 ; 4.1.121). As Darnton observes, the world of Mother Goose was in reality a Hobbesian one of wicked stepmothers and abandoned orphans, with “unending toil and brutal emotions,” and its setting was a surveillance society, a “nasty village” of prying parents and nosy neighbours.57 So when The Winter’s Tale features just such a scare story it defines LeontesSicily, and the tragic world of Pandosto, as precisely the kind of closed, in-bred, and possessive community its characters will need to beautify in order to escape :

Mamilliu
A sad tale’s best for winter. I have one
Of sprites and goblins. s

Hermione
Let’s have that, good sir.
Come on, sit down, come on, and do your best
To fright me with your sprites ; you’re powerful at it.

Mamillius
There was a man –

Hermione
Nay, come sit down, then on.

Mamillius
Dwelt by a churchyard (2.1.25-30).

  • 58 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto”, rpt. in The Winter’s Tale, Pitcher John (ed.), op. cit., p. 406 ; Davi (...)
  • 59 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto”, rpt. in The Winter’s Tale, Orgel Stephen (ed.), op. cit., p. 274.

17Mamilliuswinter’s tale is interrupted by his father’s cry of vindication : “All’s true that is mistrusted” (2.1.48); but it will be continued when Hermione appears as “the ghost that walked” (5.1.63) “in pure white robes” to terrify Antigonus as “with shrieks,/She melted into air” (3.3.21 ; 35-36). The prince who starts this uncanny tale about a man living with corpses, whom the boy soon joins, is named after the heroine of Greene’s first novel Mamillia, a story of “Two Maids Wooing a Man” (4.4.287) which belied its author’s reputation as the “Homer of women” with its misogynistic sneers. When the child precociously mocks the Ladies“beautifying” cosmetics, the answer to their query, “Who taught this ?” (2.1.12), would therefore have to be the tales he reads. Thus truth will be welcomed as “the Daughter of Time,” Pandosto affirms, when she is “most manifestly revealed”; and Greene’s novel has been called a frenzy of the suspicious gaze frustrated by the “limits of a man’s knowledge,” when “desire and jealousy flourish at the margin of what is knowable, just beyond the limits of what he can see.”58 What this craving for possession in fact incubates is a sinister premonition of the psychoanalytic decodings of Cinderella, when Pandosto develops a “frantic affection” for his half familiar daughter Fawnia. So faced by the “chain and jewels” which prove the girl he desires to be his child, Pandosto reacts like Oedipus, and “calling to mind how he betrayed his friend Egistus, how his jealousy was the cause of Bellaria’s death, that contrary to the law of nature he lusted after his own Daughter, fell into a melancholy fit, and to close up the Comedy with a Tragical stratagem, slew himself.”59 The self-reflexiveness of this cursory ending thus betrays the desperation of Greene’s drive for authorial control. Confronted by the contents of the magical fardel, his insulated, incestuous, and suspicious world of fixed identities and stable signifiers can only destroy itself.

  • 60 . See Melchiori Barbara, “Still Harping on my Daughter”, in English Miscellany, vol. 11, 1960, p. 5 (...)
  • 61 . The Winter’s Tale, Pitcher John (ed.), op. cit., p. 56.

18Shakespeare had already anticipated the Freudians by exposing incest as the dirty secret of Cinderella in King Lear ; and began to map an exit in Pericles, where all the travels of the hero are made to escape this doom : “Bad child, worse father, to entice his own” (1. 27). The Winter’s Tale hints at incest when the king ogles his daughter with an eye that “hath too much youth in it,” and confesses she so resembles her mother that “I thought of her/Even in these looks I made” (5.1.224, 226-227).60 This is where the Pygmalion-like fixation on offspring being “Almost as like” their parents “as eggs” (1.2.129) to attest paternal ownership was always leading. Shakespeare’s play avoids this deathly cul de sac, however, for Perdita will never be “the whole matter/And copy” (2.2.98-99) of her father because of her nurture. This natural daughter of foul-mouthed, evil-minded Leontes avoids the incestuous fate of Fawnia, after she learns to do “anything” as “featly” as she dances (4.4.178-179), by following her second father’s lessons in hospitality and openness. Nothing shows up royal incivility more than the Shepherd’s later resolve that “we must be gentle now we are gentlemen” (5.2.147-148). Perdita underlines this reversal when she rebuts the idea that her beauty is “more than can be thought to begin from such a cottage” (4.2.43) with the urge to tell Polixenes “the selfsame sun that shines upon his court/Hides not his visage from our cottage” (4.4.441-442). So, though the Arden editor calls her adoptive father a “gnarled, illiterate old peasant,” who could not possibly be the tutor for the “intelligence” and “grace” with which Perdita discourses about art and nature, his instructions to his daughter establish that this is precisely what he is :61

Pray you bid
These unknown friends to’s welcome, for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes, and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o’th’feast. Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper (4.4.64-70).

  • 62 . Eagleton Terry, William Shakespeare, Oxford, Blackwell, 1986, p. 92 ; Richards Jennifer, “Social (...)
  • 63 . Ibid., p. 75-79 ; see also Barton Anne, “Leontes and the Spider”, in Essays, Mainly Shakespearean(...)

19When Autolycus starts his bawdy ballad “Two Maids Wooing a Man,” it is the Shepherd’s son who is embarrassed, saying “We’ll have this song out anon by ourselves” (307). Throughout The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare inverts the social logic and causality of Pandosto, beginning with the surprise that Bohemia is now the summer land of hospitality, and Sicily the wintry country of suspicion. So, contrary to the notion that in The Winter’s Tale Shakespeare naturalises class and property, as Terry Eagleton has argued, by valorising “the father-child relationship as a paradigm of authentic individual possession,” recent critics read the play as a subversion of the “natural aristocracy” of the Cinderella fantasy, and an affirmation of a dialectical relationship between “high” and “low” that demonstrates how they are implicated in each other.62 In this interpretation the gullibility of Autolycuscountry customers not only reenacts the prejudice that lets Leontes call Hermione “A bed-swerver, even as bad as those/That vulgars give bold’st titles” (2.1.93-94), but puts into relief the vulgarity of the king and court. So when the pedlar “beautifies” himself in the finery of Prince Florizel, the naivety of the shepherds in mistaking him for “a great man,” as he coaxes them into acknowledging “the air of the court in these enfoldings” (4.4.726 ; 747), mirrors both the king’s failure to distinguish his queen from a “flax- wencwench that puts to/Before her troth-plight” (1.2.274-275), and our own class assumptions in identifying Perdita as a princess on mere evidence of the “majesty of the creature” (5.2.35), as though the play was setting out to generate the very social reversals and cultural mistakes Greene deplored and his characters dread, “And mannerly distinguishment leave out/Betwixt the prince and beggar” (2.1.86-87):63

Clown
This cannot be but a great courtier.

Shepherd
His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely

Clown
He seems to be more noble in being fantastical. A great man, I’ll warrant. I know by the picking on’s teeth (4.4.743-748).

  • 64 . Parker Patricia, Shakespeare from the Margins : Language, Culture, Context, Chicago, University o (...)

20Where Pandosto had exposed its author’s obsession with social distinction and patriarchal ownership, The Winter’s Tale revisits the primal scene of Shakespeare’s own beautification with the self-consciousness of a parvenu who had as one of the King’s Men truly realised Autolycusdream to serve a prince and wear “three-pile” (4.3.14). Patricia Parker infers that the entire play is, in fact, organised around the anachronicity of this “preposterousness,” a “reversal of priority, precedence, and ordered sequence” the Clown explains in the last act when he states that “I was a gentleman born before my father, for the King’s son took me by the hand and called me brother ; and then the two kings called my father brother,” so that for “these four hours” they have been in a “preposterous estate” (5.2.134-143). The young shepherd’s “preposterous” is always glossed as a malapropism for “prosperous”; but the anachronism of a world turned arsy-versy, upside-down, is the rule from the instant the playwriting Time turns his glass, “To o’erthrow law, and in one self-born hour/To plant and o’erwhelm custom” (4.1.8-9). Sure enough, thanks to “fairy gold” the shepherds are very soon “from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of [their] neighbours [...] grown into an unspeakable estate” (4.2.38-40). That “preposter- ouous” revolution does not, however, only describe the social mobility of new men like Camillo, but as Parker remarks, the “rise of Shakespeare himself, Greene’s’upstart crow,’to the status of gentleman born,” in the grant of arms he retroactively obtained for his father John.64 Thus, if Shakespeare’s Sicily is founded on Greene’s Elizabethan story, as a paranoid, inward-looking country, nostalgic for the sterile innocence of an age when “We were as twinned lambs” that “knew not the doctrine” of original sin (1.2.66-69), his Bohemia is a more relaxed land like his own current Jacobean one, living out the unintended consequences and migrant meanings of a fortunate fall.

  • 65 . Leavis F. R., “Shakespeare’s Late Plays”, in The Common Pursuit, London, Chatto & Windus, 1962, p (...)
  • 66 . Laroque François, Shakespeare’s Festive World : Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Profes (...)
  • 67 . Braudel Fernand, The Wheels of Commerce : Civilization and Capitalism 15 th-18 th Century, Siân R (...)

21The learning curve of The Winter’s Tale has taken us from a world where “inten- tiotion stabs the centre” (1.2.137) to one where we know enough to credit what “inter- pretatiopretation should abuse” (4.4.348). From intention to interpretation, in Shakespeare’s play the reader is truly, then, among “things newborn,” as the author is among “things dying” (3.3.110). Critics often sentimentalise the Bohemia of the play as the ideal for some lost organic community, in which “the pastoral scene” yokes “human growth, decay and rebirth with the vital rhythms of nature.” In such a community “rooted in the soil,” F. R. Leavis believed, “People talked, so making Shakespeare possible.”65 But though The Winter’s Tale does invoke the archaic institution of the storyteller, the veillée of the gossiping “crickets” in the hearth (2.1.31), it leaves that haunted house with Mamillius in Sicily, as the winds of change blown by print and commerce sweep into the Bohemian sheep-shearing festivities. The Shepherd fondly recalls a time when his deceased wife “was both pantler, butler, cook ;/Both dame and servant,” who “welcomed all, served all ;/Would sing her song and dance her turn” (4.4.56-58); but in Perdita’s reign as the “queen of curds and cream” (161) the feast will be professionalised by Autolycus and commercialised at her own command. François Laroque has analysed sheep-shearing as a customary opportunity “to display one’s sense of hospitality and goodnessneighbourliness”; but he compares Shakespeare’s use of the festival to the primitivism of modern artists adopting naïve or found objects to embellish them.66 This mercurial beautification of the festive world is never clearer, moreover, than in Perdita’s list, which with its exotic luxuries extends seasonal hospitality so far it opens the agrarian society to the intercultural exchanges of what Fernand Braudel called the true magic of the seventeenth century, “the miracle of long-distance trade”:67

Clown
Let me see, what am I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast ? Three pound of sugar, five pound of currants, rice-what will this sister of mine do with rice ? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it on [...] I must have saffron to colour the warden pies ; mace, dates, none, that’s out of my note ; nutmegs, seven ; a race or two of ginger, but that I may beg ; four pounds of prunes, and as many of raisins o’th’sun (4.3.35-48).

  • 68 . Ibid., p. 66 ; Cohen Walter, “The Undiscovered Country : Shakespeare and Mercantile Geography”, i (...)
  • 69 . “Queen of Flowers” : Parkinson John, Theatrum Botanicum, London, 1629 ; qtd. in Coats Alice, Flow (...)
  • 70 . Googe Barnabe, qtd. in Coats Alice, Flowers and their Histories, op. cit. ; Gerard John, The Herb (...)
  • 71 . Moreton Oscar C., Old Carnations and Pinks, op. cit. ; Evans R. J. W., Rudolf II and his World : (...)
  • 72 . For the theory of “transculturation” see B For the theory of “transculturation” see Brook Timothy (...)

22Like the grocery of the small Westmorland town of Kirby Stephen that impressed Braudel with its imported sugar, wine, soap, tobacco, lemons, almonds, raisins, pepper, mace, and cloves, the shop that supplies Perdita with fruit and spices reveals that “the timeless, bucolic green world” is in fact “integrated into the international economy” and the cycles of world trade.68 It can benefit from globalization due to the wool from the sheep raised with the “fairy gold,” a flock of “fifteen hundred” which yields the Shepherd £ 140 per year (4.3.33). Thus there is all the irony of unintended consequences when Perdita speaks against cultivation of “our carnations and streaked gillyvors,/Which some call nature’s bastards” (4.4.82-83), as the genus Dianthus, with its flesh-tinted pinks and Sweet Williams, was prized as “the Queen of delight and of Flowers” for the fortuitous beauty and diversity of its hybridization.69 “Solomon in all his princely pomp was never able to attain this beauty,” swore Barnabe Googe in 1577, and the zany permutations of carnation varieties, with names like Painted Lady, fascinated gardeners such as John Gerard, because “every year every country bringeth forth new sorts” from the natural cross-pollination Polixenes calls the “art / That nature makes” (91-92).70 This spontaneous “piedness share [d]/With great creating nature” (87-88) made carnations metonymic of the miscegenation Perdita spurns. So, like Autolycus doing good against his will, both the father and bastard are talking here against themselves. But Shakespeare may have known that in Bohemia the pioneer botanist Clusius, Charles de L’Écluse, studied the freakish flower as an emblem, like the bizarre anamorphic art of Arcimboldo, for the benevolent cosmopolitanism of Emperor Rudolf, and that the patrons of his genetic research were Chancellor Lobkovic and his formidable wife Polyxena.71 If so, there is an entire ecological politics of global “transculturation” behind the speech in favour of such beautification made by Polixenes, when he lives up to his xenophile name as the “unintentionally” hospitable King of this heterogeneous land of Bohemia :72

You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race. This is an art
Which does mend nature-change it rather ; but
The art itself is nature. [...]
Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards (4.4.92-99).

  • 73 . Ellison James, “The Winter’s Tale and the Religious Politics of Europe”, in Shakespeare’s Romance (...)
  • 74 . Tigner Amy L., “The Winter’s Tale : Gardens and the Marvels of Transformation”, in English Litera (...)
  • 75 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto”, op. cit., p. 236 : Bellaria would walk with him in the garden, where (...)
  • 76 . Pitcher John, “Some Call him Autolycus”, in In Arden, op. cit., p. 265 ; Duncan Jones Catherine, (...)

23Rudolf II would turn to the tulip as the horticultural medium for his project of variegation ; but his tolerant religious politics have been discerned behind The Winter’s Tale by James Ellison, who keys the text to hopes for Christian unity surrounding the 1613 wedding of Jamesdaughter Elizabeth to Frederick, the Elector Palatine and future King of Bohemia.73 Perhaps this carnation debate was added at that time, along with the resurrection of Hermione, which does not figure in either Greene’s novel or Simon Forman’s 1611 report of the play, since in another recent essay Amy Tigner suggests “the statue of our queen” (5.3.10), “newly performed by that rare Italian master Giulio Romano” (5.2.95), may refer to the animated sculptures that featured in Mannerist gardens such as those of Rudolf’s Prague.74 Shakespeare took the Edenic garden metaphor from Greene, whose Bellaria provokes Pandosto’s jealousy walking “into the garden” with Egistus, as Hermione does with Polixenes.75 It is a long way, however, from the grubby rivalry of Greene to Giorgio Vasari’s Romano and the masques of the Stuart court. So as Pitcher says, it seems highly unlikely that Shakespeare returned to Pandosto, and “the green-eyed monster” jealousy (Othello, 3.3.170), simply “to show that his plays were a hundred times better than anything Greene ever wrote.”76

  • 77 . Baldo Jonathan, “The Greening of Will Shakespeare”, op. cit., p. 8.
  • 78 . Karim-Cooper Farah, Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Univer (...)

24An upstart and a bastard his rival had called him. But what these invented garden scenes offer is not only a paragone of how he could disabuse such “jealousies [...] too green and idle/For girls of nine” (3.2.178-180). His beautifying of his sickly “green” original, with carnations named after flesh, and a statue made to “verily bear blood” (5.3.65), reverses the myth of paternal origin that had driven “the lives of the artists” from Pygmalion to Romano, by giving “life to that which gave it life,” in a triumph of theatrical performance over literary possession, as “Who was most marble there changed colour” (5.2.88).77 It is no accident, therefore, that this resurrection should require carnations, essential ingredients of both cosmetics for “women’s faces” (2.1.12) and the “ruddiness” (5.3.81) of artistspaint, since as Farah Karim-Cooper has shown, these carnal flowers were “at the intersection of both arts,” as they generated “the standard of beauty that required fair faces, red lips, and’flesh-pink’cheeks.”78 So, “If this be magic, let it be an art/Lawful as eating,” like the Eucharist (110), exclaims Leontes of the transubstantiation of marble into flesh. In this play of metamorphoses and dissemination, which is so concerned with beautification of “changed complexions” (1.2.376)- by seeds and sex, gentlemen and genes-the carnations are in fact some of the unseen things in which “It is required/You do awake your faith” (5.3.94-95). Time would, in reality, have made these “fairest flowers o’th’season” (4.4.81), “th’freshest things now reigning,” as “stale” as his tale now seems (4.1.13). But with the boy-player beautified with carnation rouge to make it look as though “The statue is but newly fixed ; the colour’s/Not dry” (5.3.46-47), and the “tincture and lustre in her lip” (3.2.203) painted as if “the ruddiness upon her lip is wet” (5.3.81), this flower power in Bohemia is truly the incarnation of Sweet William.

Notes

1 . “There is an upstart Crow” : Greene Robert, A Groat’s-worth of Witte, bought with a million of repentance (1592), qtd. in Honan Park, Shakespeare : A Life, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 159 ; rpt. in Schoenbaum Samuel, Shakespeare : A Documentary Life, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1975, p. 115.

2 . Harvey Gabriel, Foure Letters and Certeine Sonnets, Harrison G. B. (ed.), London, Bodley Head Ltd., 1922, p. 18.

3 . Greenblatt Stephen, Will in the World : How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, London, Jonathan Cape, 2004, p. 218, 224.

4 . Waspish little worm” : Greene Robert, qtd. in Honan Park, Shakespeare : A Life, op. cit., p. 160.

5 . Harvey Gabriel, Foure Letters, op. cit., p. 20.

6 . Joyce James, Ulysses, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1968, p. 187.

7 . One scholar who thinks he did, and that Greene’s grasping “waspish little worm” gives a fair picture of Shakespeare is E. A. J. Honigmann in The Impact of Shakespeare on his Contemporaries, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

8 . “Big with one Pamphlet” : Thomas Nashe ; “penurious brats” : Constantia Munda ; both quoted in Prendergast Maria Teresa Micaela, “Promiscuous Textualities : The Nashevey Harvey Controversy and the Unnatural Productions of Print”, in Printing and Parenting in Early Modern England, Brookes Douglas A. (ed.), Aldershot, Ashgate, 2005, p. 173.

9 . For the ambiguity, presumably deliberate, see Duncan Jones Katherine, Ungentle Shakespeare, London, Arden Shakespeare, 2001, p. 47.

10 . Chettle Henry, Kind-Harts Dreame (1592), rpt. in Schoenbaum Samuel, Shakespeare : A Documentary Life, op. cit., p. 117. Critical opinion remains divided over the extent to which Chettle himself may have rewritten, or even forged Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit. For the theory that he was the real author, see Jowett John, “Johannes Factotum : Henry Chettle and Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit”, in Papers of the Bibliographic Society of America, vol. 87, n o 4, 1993, p. 453-486 ; and for a defence of Greene’s primary authorship, see Carroll D. Allen,“Introduction”, in Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit, Binghampton, NY, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994, p. 1-31.

11 . Chettle Henry, England’s Mourning Garment (1603), qtd. in Honan Park, Shake- spspearearspeare : A Life, op. cit., p. 297.

12 . Chettle Henry, rpt. in Schoenbaum Samuel, Shakespeare : A Documentary Life, op. cit., p. 117.

13 . Loewenstein Joseph, Ben Jonson and Possessive Authorship, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 85-86.

14 . Greenblatt Stephen, Will in the World, op. cit., p. 216, 219, 225.

15 . Ibid., p. 206 ; “Introduction”, in Writing Robert Greene : Essays on England’s First Notorious Professional Writer, Melnikoff Kirk and Gieskes Edward (eds.), Farnham, Ashgate, 2008, p. 24.

16 . Instead of regarding Greene’s romance as Shakespeare’s pale source, we should “think of the play as part of Pandosto’s reception,” Lori Humphrey Newcomb has recently argued in Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England, New York, Columbia University Press, 2002, p. 117. Jonathan Baldo comments that Shakespeare is “pilfering from his old rival in order to turn a profit,” in “The Greening of Will Shakespeare”, in Borrowers and Lenders : The Journal of Shakespeare Appropriation, vol. 3, n o 2, 2008, p. 1-28, here 12.

17 . Greene Robert, A Groat’s-worth of Witte, op. cit.

18 . Greene Robert, The Second Part of Conny-Catching, rpt. in Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare : VIII : Romances, Bullough Geoffrey (ed.), London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975, p. 215 ; Muir Kenneth, The Sources of Shakespeare’s Plays, London, Methuen, 1977, p. 275-276.

19 . “Myriad forms” : Morse W. R., “Metacriticism and Materiality : The Case of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale”, in English Literary History, vol. 58, n o 2, 1991, p. 297.

20 . For the longstanding debate over the theory that Greene’s unnamed player refers to Shakespeare, see in particular Bradbrook M. C., The Rise of the Common Player, London, Chatto and Windus, 1962, p. 85-86 ; Rowse A. L., Shakespeare the Man, New York, Harper & Row, 1973, p. 60 ; Carroll D. Allen, “The player-patron in Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit (1592)”, in Studies in Philology, vol. 91, 1994, p. 301-310.

21 . Greene Robert, A Groat’s-worth of Witte, op. cit.

22 . Ibid.

23 . Bednarz James, Shakespeare and the Poets’War, New York, Columbia University Press, 2001, p. 230.

24 . Dekker Thomas, Jests to Make you Merry (1607), qtd. in Honan Park, Shakespeare : A Life, op. cit., p. 162-163.

25 . Pitcher John, “Some call him Autolycus”, in In Arden : Editing Shakespeare. Essays in Honour of Richard Proudfoot, Thompson Ann and McMullan Gordon (eds.), London, Thomson Learning, 2003, p. 255-256 ; “Introduction”, in Shakespeare William, The Winter’s Tale, Pitcher John (ed.), London, Methuen, “The Arden Shakespeare”, 2010, p. 9 ; Honan Park, Shakespeare : A Life, op. cit., p. 163.

26 . Spufford Margaret, The Great Reclothing of Rural England : Petty Chapmen and their Wares in the Seventeenth Century, London, Hambledon Press, 1984, p. 8, 145-146.

27 . Beier Lee, Masterless Men : The Vagrancy Problem in England, 1560-1640, London, Methuen, 1985, p. 90.

28 . Brook Timothy, Vermeer’s Hat : The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, London, Profile, 2009, p. 27-28.

29 . Spufford Margaret, The Great Reclothing of Rural England, op. cit., p. 88-89.

30 . Palfrey Simon, Late Shakespeare : A New World of Words, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997, p. 232-235.

31 . Neely Carol Thomas, Broken Nuptials in Shakespeare’s Plays, Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1993, p. 204.

32 . de Grazia Margreta, “Imprints : Shakespeare, Gutenberg, and Descartes”, in Printing and Parenting, op. cit., p. 43.

33 . For a suggestive discussion of the ways in which the Late Plays “represent infidelity through references to blackness and ink,” see also Wall Wendy, “Reading for the Blot : Textual Desire in Early Modern English Literature”, in Reading and Writing in Shakespeare, Bergeron David (ed.), Newark, Delaware University Press, 1996, p. 137.

34 . See Smith Helen, “’A man in print ?’ : Shakespeare and the Representation of the Press”, in Shakespeare’s Book : Essays in Reading, Writing and Reception, Meek Richard, Rickard Jane and Wilson Richard (eds.), Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2008, p. 62-66.

35 . Loewenstein Joseph, Ben Jonson and Possessive Authority, op. cit., p. 50.

36 . Derrida Jacques, Of Grammatology, Spivak Gayatri Chakravorty (trans.), Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976, p. 144.

37 . Rickard Jane, Authorship and Authority : The Writings of James VI and I, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2007, p. 128.

38 . Neely Carol Thomas, Broken Nuptials, op. cit., p. 191.

39 . Hackett Helen, “’Gracious Be The Issue’ : Maternity and Narrative in Shakespeare’s Late Plays”, in Shakespeare’s Late Plays : New Readings, Richards Jennifer and Knowles James (eds.), Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1999, p. 25-39.

40 . Enterline Lynn, “’You speak a language that I understand not’ : The Rhetoric of Animation in The Winter’s Tale”, in Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 48, n o 1, 1997, p. 27.

41 . Knapp Robert, Shakespeare : The Theater and the Book, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 241 ; see also Bergeron David, “Treacherous Reading and Writing in Shakespeare’s Romances”, in Reading and Writing in Shakespeare, op. cit., p. 160-177.

42 . Heywood Thomas, “Epistle Prefatory” to The English Traveller (1633), qtd. in Loewenstein Joseph, Ben Jonson and Possessive Authority, op. cit., p. 50.

43 . Johns Adrian, The Nature of the Book : Print and Knowledge in the Making, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1998, p. 31, 35, 58.

44 . MacNeice Louis, “Autolycus”, in Louis MacNeice : Poems, Longley Michael (ed.), London, Faber & Faber, 2001, p. 79-80.

45 . “Deformed biological reproduction” : Kitch Aaron W., “Printing Bastards : Monstrous Birth Broadsides in Early Modern England”, in Printing and Parenting, op. cit., p. 232.

46 . Findlay Alison, Illegitimate Power : Bastards in Renaissance drama, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1994, p. 135-136.

47 . Felperin Howard, “’Tongue-tied our queen ?’ : The Deconstruction of Presence in The Winter’s Tale” in Shakespeare and the Question of Theory, Parker Patricia and Hartman Geoffrey (eds.), London, Routledge, 1993, p. 8.

48 . Muir Kenneth, The Sources of Shakespeare’s Plays, op. cit., p. 267.

49 . Houlbrooke Ralph, The English Family, 1450-1700, Harlow, Longman, 1984, p. 82.

50 . Belsey Catherine, Why Shakespeare ?, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, p. 73.

51 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto, The Triumph of Time”, rpt. in Shakespeare William, The Winter’s Tale, Orgel Stephen (ed.), Oxford, Oxford University Press, “The Oxford Shakespeare”, 1996, p. 251.

52 . Derrida Jacques, Of Grammatology, op. cit., p. 168.

53 . Greene Robert, “A quip for an upstart courtier, or a quaint dispute between velvet breeches and cloth breeches”, London, 1592 ; qtd. in Jusserand Jean-Jules, The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare, London, Fisher Unwin, 1891, p. 189 ; Burke Peter, Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe, London, Temple Smith, 1978, p. 277.

54 . Darnton Robert, “Peasants Tell Tales”, in The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, London, Allen Lane, 1984, p. 62-65.

55 . “An old wives’winter’s tale” : Peele George, The Old Wives Tale, Binnie Patricia (ed.), Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1980, line 99 ; Marlowe Christopher, The Jew of Malta, 2.1.24-26 ; Doctor Faustus, 5. 136, in Christopher Marlowe : The Complete Plays, Romany Frank and Lindsey Robert (ed.), London, Penguin, 2003, p. 273, 364.

56 . Davis Natalie Zemon, Society and Culture in Early Modern France, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1987, p. 229.

57 . Darnton Robert, “Peasants Tell Tales”, in The Great Cat Massacre, op. cit., p. 29, 55.

58 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto”, rpt. in The Winter’s Tale, Pitcher John (ed.), op. cit., p. 406 ; Davis Joel, “Paulina’s Paint and the Dialectic of masculine desire in the Metamor- phophosesephoses, Pandosto, and The Winter’s Tale”, in Papers on Language and Literature, vol. 39, n o 2, 2003, p. 115-130.

59 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto”, rpt. in The Winter’s Tale, Orgel Stephen (ed.), op. cit., p. 274.

60 . See Melchiori Barbara, “Still Harping on my Daughter”, in English Miscellany, vol. 11, 1960, p. 59-74.

61 . The Winter’s Tale, Pitcher John (ed.), op. cit., p. 56.

62 . Eagleton Terry, William Shakespeare, Oxford, Blackwell, 1986, p. 92 ; Richards Jennifer, “Social Decorum in The Winter’s Tale”, in Shakespeare’s Late Plays, Richards Jennifer and Knowles James (eds.), op. cit., p. 78.

63 . Ibid., p. 75-79 ; see also Barton Anne, “Leontes and the Spider”, in Essays, Mainly Shakespearean, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 161-181.

64 . Parker Patricia, Shakespeare from the Margins : Language, Culture, Context, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. 21, 23.

65 . Leavis F. R., “Shakespeare’s Late Plays”, in The Common Pursuit, London, Chatto & Windus, 1962, p. 180-181 ; “People talked” : “Joyce and the revolution in the word”, in Scrutintiny, vol. 2, n o 2, 1933, p. 200.

66 . Laroque François, Shakespeare’s Festive World : Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 156, 185.

67 . Braudel Fernand, The Wheels of Commerce : Civilization and Capitalism 15 th-18 th Century, Siân Reynolds (trans.), London, Collins, 1982, p. 582-585.

68 . Ibid., p. 66 ; Cohen Walter, “The Undiscovered Country : Shakespeare and Mercantile Geography”, in Marxist Shakespeares, Howard Jean and Shershow Scott Cutler (eds.), London, Routledge 2001, p. 144.

69 . “Queen of Flowers” : Parkinson John, Theatrum Botanicum, London, 1629 ; qtd. in Coats Alice, Flowers and their Histories, London, Hulton, 1956, p. 71.

70 . Googe Barnabe, qtd. in Coats Alice, Flowers and their Histories, op. cit. ; Gerard John, The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, London, 1597, qtd. in Moreton Oscar C., Old Carnations and Pinks, London, George Rainbird, 1955, p. 4.

71 . Moreton Oscar C., Old Carnations and Pinks, op. cit. ; Evans R. J. W., Rudolf II and his World : A Study in Intellectual History, 1576-1612, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1973, p. 119-120, 207 et passim.

72 . For the theory of “transculturation” see B For the theory of “transculturation” see Brook Timothy, Vermeer’s Hat, op. cit., p. 21, 126 and passim ; Ortiz Fernando, Cuban Counterpoint : Tobacco and Sugar, 1940, rpt. Durham NC, Duke University Press, 1995.

73 . Ellison James, “The Winter’s Tale and the Religious Politics of Europe”, in Shakespeare’s Romances, Thorne Alison (ed.), Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, p. 171-204. For Rudolf and the beginning of the tulip craze, see Schama Simon, The Embarrassment of Riches : An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, London, Collins, 1987, p. 351.

74 . Tigner Amy L., “The Winter’s Tale : Gardens and the Marvels of Transformation”, in English Literary Renaissance, vol. 36, n o 1, 2006, p. 114-134 ; Evans R. J. W, Rudolf II and his World, op. cit., p. 121.

75 . Greene Robert, “Pandosto”, op. cit., p. 236 : Bellaria would walk with him in the garden, where they two in private and pleasant devices would pass the time to both their contents.”

76 . Pitcher John, “Some Call him Autolycus”, in In Arden, op. cit., p. 265 ; Duncan Jones Catherine, Ungentle Shakespeare, op. cit., p. 229-230.

77 . Baldo Jonathan, “The Greening of Will Shakespeare”, op. cit., p. 8.

78 . Karim-Cooper Farah, Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, p. 13 ; and see p. 81, 139.

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