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The puritaine or The vviddovv of VVatling-streete.
1607

STC 21531 copy 1, title page

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STC 21531 copy 1, title page
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Title: The puritaine or The vviddovv of VVatling-streete. Acted by the Children of Paules. Written by W.S.
Date: Imprinted at London : By G. Eld, 1607.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 21531 copy 1, title page 
View online bibliographic record

 

Item Title
The puritaine or The vviddovv of VVatling-streete. Acted by the Children of Paules. Written by W.S.
Item Date
Imprinted at London : By G. Eld, 1607.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 21531 copy 1, title page

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Title: The puritaine or The vviddovv of VVatling-streete. Acted by the Children of Paules. Written by W.S.
Date: Imprinted at London : By G. Eld, 1607.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 21531 copy 1, title page 
View online bibliographic record

 

George Eld printed The Puritan; or, the Widow of Watling Street in 1607 with an attribution to “W.S.” The title page’s further information that the play was performed by the Children of Paul’s is the strongest evidence against the Shakespeare attribution as Shakespeare was known not to have written for this company. Several other candidates with the same initials have been advanced, but there is no evidence to support any of these.

The play was one of eight plays bound in a volume in the library of Charles I in the 1630s bearing the ascription “Shakespeare, Vol. 1” (Kirwan 2011), and Philip Chetwinde added it to the second impression of the Third Folio in 1664, where it was retitled The Puritan Widow. The play was then republished as Shakespeare’s in the 1685 Fourth Folio, in further editions of Shakespeare’s collected works including Nicholas Rowe’s in 1709 and Alexander Pope’s in 1728, and in competing individual editions of the play by Jacob Tonson and Robert Walker in 1735. Thereafter it was included along with the other major disputed plays in Edmond Malone’s Supplement (1780) and several other collections of disputed plays during the nineteenth century, culminating in C.F. Tucker Brooke’s The Shakespeare Apocrypha.

There is little dispute among contemporary scholars that the play belongs in the canon of Thomas Middleton (Sharpe 2013, 727-8). The work of David Lake and MacDonald Jackson has solidified the attribution to the point where it was included in the 2007 Oxford edition of Middleton’s Collected Works and excluded from Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen’s William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays (2013) on the basis of the Middleton attribution.

 

Written by Peter Kirwan

Sources
MacDonald P. Jackson, Studies in Attribution: Middleton and Shakespeare (Salzburg: Institut Für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 1979).

Peter Kirwan, "The First Collected 'Shakespeare Apocrypha',” Shakespeare Quarterly 62.4 (2011): 594-601.

David J. Lake, The Canon of Thomas Middleton’s Plays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975).

Will Sharpe, "Authorship and Attribution" in William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays, eds Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, with Jan Sewell and Will Sharpe (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013): 643-747.

Last updated February 16, 2017