Redating Pericles: A Re-examination of Shakespeare’s Pericles as an Elizabethan Play
Pericles's apparent inferiority to Shakespeare’s mature works raises many questions for scholars. Was Shakespeare collaborating with an inferior playwright or playwrights? Did he allow so many corrupt printed versions of his works after 1604 out of indifference? Re-dating Pericles from the Jacobean to the Elizabethan era answers these questions and reveals previously unexamined connections between topical references in Pericles and events and personalities in the court of Elizabeth I: John Dee, Philip Sidney, Edward de Vere, and many others. The tournament impresas, alchemical symbolism of the story, and its lunar and astronomical imagery suggest Pericles was written long before 1608. Finally, Shakespeare’s focus on father-daughter relationships, and the importance of Marina, the daughter, as the heroine of the story, point to Pericles as written for a young girl. This thesis uses topical references, Shakespeare’s anachronisms, Shakespeare’s sources, stylometry and textual analysis, as well as Henslowe’s diary, the Stationers' Register, and other contemporary documentary evidence to determine whether there may have been versions of Pericles circulating before the accepted date of 1608. I also delve into the printing and publication history of Pericles, as well as some stylometric analysis, to show how and why this probably early play might have been appropriated by victualler George Wilkins (1576-1618) and others, and revived to feed a growing demand for Shakespeare’s works.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Plot summary -- Analysis -- Chronology -- Themes -- Clues in the sources -- Personalities in Pericles -- Natural topical references -- The significance of the tournament and impresas -- Records and contemporary literary references -- Clues in writing style -- Conclusion -- Appendix: Timeline of events