A question from the University of Toronto

I came across your blog while doing some research for my PhD on Shakespearean actors. Your page about the actor Humphrey Jeffes and his brother is enticing, and I’m wondering if you might be able to connect me to any sources from which you derived the information, specifically about the brothers being twins.

This is the page I’m referring to:



This presentation is part of a reconstruction of the first night of Romeo & Juliet as it may have been performed on Wednesday 31 July 1594. And reconstruction is a scientific method of bridging gaps in the available knowledge. For that reason, each player has the facts mentioned that connects him to the Chamberlain’s Men. If not with a proper source-indication, I used my standard sources :

  • David Kathman : Reconsidering The Seven Deadly Sins (Early Theatre 7.1 : 2004)
    my reconstruction of the original cast of Romeo and Juliet produces an independent
    duplication of its correction of the plot sheet’s dating
  • Wikipedia : King’s Men personnel

To my knowledge there is no evidence that proves the Jeffes brothers of equal age. And in consequence my research has been restricted to showing it a plausible part of Shake-speare’s design for 1 Henry VI : the deployment of twins rewrites the historical nonsense of scene 4 ; 3 (5 ; 3 in the Internet Shakespeare Edition) as rather inventive logic :

In the battle of Paris (8 September 1429 ; the year of Queen Margaret’s birth),

  • York captures the pregnant nemesis of Talbot (17)
  • Suffolk captures the future nemesis of York (and England)
  • England strikes back after the recent defeat at “Bordeaux” (Castillon ; 17 July 1453)

From which follows that Margaret is pregnant. Of a son (born 13 – 10 – 1453) who will die in 3 Henry VI at the age of 17

  • in the same pretentious spirit as La Pucelle
  • in the same circumstances as La Pucelle
  • in York’s revenge on Margaret
  • in the likeness of a female soldier
    the part is evidently written for a high voice

In short : Shakespeare’s Margaret is a Pucelle in woman’s dress. And in the scene’s next section (scene 5 ; 4) the nemesis indeed claims Margaret’s great ancestry. She also declares herself responsible for the Wars of the Roses. Which conflict was to be initiated in 1455 by Queen Margaret.

The result is a scene in which

  • no audience will consider the possibility of La Pucelle’s actor to double as Margaret
  • no playwright will consider the option of casting two different actors

A conflict that is easily resolved by brothers of similar countenance. To which effect the deployment of twins would be perfect. And the ranks of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men include the brothers Anthony and Humphrey Jeffes as likely candidates.

A younger brother would give Margaret a more feminine voice than La Pucelle, which is a tempting option, because it makes her the more attractive woman. Just as the scene apparently introduces her. However, this option goes at the cost of La Pucelle’s credibility as a most charming witch. While the part of Queen Margaret in 2 & 3 Henry VI seems to me rather challenging for a single youth. A problem that Shakespeare – according to my own reconstruction of the first night of Romeo & Juliet – could solve without resorting to look-alikes.

Balancing the evidence, I prefer twins.

But I can be wrong.

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A Dutch comment on The Art of Text Interpretation

A Dutch blog by name of  The Hidden Law  has recently dedicated a few lines to my paper on Emily Dickinson. Which is good news. And bad.

The good news is the positive comment. The bad news its observation that this author has a grudge against Literature Studies. Which would be rather ungrateful. If this site offers a better view on poetry than usual, it is because this author took the liberty to place it on the shoulders of giants. And on the diligent research by Literature Studies as a whole. With exception of Literary Criticism, that is. For the obvious reason that its methods don’t work.

Because it is such a fine example of building a case on other people’s research, and because the scheduled publication of a paper on Twelfth-Night has been delayed,  I have forwarded the arrival on this site of my reconstruction of Romeo and Juliet. The scheduled piece will soon be ready to follow.

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Shakespeare 1616 – 2016

This site now celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with putting the missing word from Sonnet 146 back into place. And with a thorough attempt to prove Shakespeare an illiterate figurehead. To a very satisfying result actually. And by the simplest of methods. Which makes one wonder why Shakespeare Studies failed to pay The Bard this tribute itself.

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Two poems by Emily Dickinson

The promised paper on the poetry of Emily Dickinson has arrived on this site with the first chapters of  The Art of Text Interpretation. With it came a new organisation of pages. Some of the navigation links on the new page are still to be installed, but these short chapters have no real need for them. They will be in place when the discovery route to the conclusion of this paper comes on line.

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Part Three is online

12,378  words checked on errors, and several pages adapted to HTML lay-out. There will always be the occasional adjustment more to make, but Revolutionary Art is open to the public. The sheer size of this document, however, is of some concern, because I do not yet know how to install internal tags. A problem that I for the moment circumnavigate by means of a chain of linked documents to move from chapter to chapter parallel of the main document. The new Contents and Summaries page can be used as a sidebar. Because the previous parts add up to almost the same size, they have been modified to the same effect.


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After a coma of some ten years, this site has finally found itself a new webmaster. His first priority has been the re-editing of the current pages. And as a result the distorted composition scheme in Vaughan Williams’s Five English Folk Songs is now forced back into a shape that makes sense. The lay-out of the pages on the three partsongs has been adjusted, according to the author’s original intentions. Next on the list are some minor revisions of the original text, and the publication of parts two and three. And then this site will be ready to move on to new topics. The first of these will be the poetry of Emily Dickinson, but the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death will not pass unnoticed.


On the Five English Folk Songs

In 1913 Ralph Vaughan Williams published a small collection of  four part settings of folk songs . Four of them combine excellently on a common theme. The fifth one is on its own. Why did RVW add a Christmas wassail to a spring time love story?


On the three Elizabethan Partsongs

The Art of Ralph Vaughan Williams deals with textexpression in this composer’s  “Three Elizabethan Part Songs”. A method to shed a complete new light on three independent texts by William Shakespeare and George Herbert. And to prove them an unity. Parts One and Two of this article investigate the anomalies in the composition of the poems themselves. Part Three investigates similar anomalies in their musical settings. Anomalies that turn three independent songs into an equally close knit unity. In the process proving that the scores have been antedated.


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