Thomas Kyd

Proposal for a New Edition of The Works of Thomas Kyd

Brian Vickers, 23 May 2016

The last edition of Kyd’s Works was edited by F. S. Boas in 1901, and reprinted in 1951. Apart from many textual inaccuracies, it included two works now known to be spurious: The Murder of John Brewen (1592) and The First Part of Ieronimo (1605). In addition to the three accepted plays (The Spanish Tragedye, Solyman and Perseda, and Cornelia) the proposed edition will include several anonymously published plays. After several years of research I can attribute to him, I believe on very strong evidence, King Leir, Arden of Faversham, and Fair Em (see Brian Vickers, “Thomas Kyd, the secret sharer”Times Literary Supplement, 18 April 2008, pp. 13-15; Martin Mueller on Brian Vickers and the Kyd canon; and a Comparative Analysis of the Canons of Shakespeare and Kyd by Dr Albert Yang). In addition, I ascribe to Kyd parts of two plays that are presently associated with Shakespeare alone. In the original version of 1 Henry VI Nashe wrote Act 1, and Kyd wrote the remainder, apart from three scenes (2.4, 4.2 and 4.5) which Shakespeare added after the Lord Chamberlain’s men acquired the play in 1594. Edward III was a collaboration in which Shakespeare wrote four scenes (1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 4.5) and Kyd the remainder.

All texts will be based on the early editions, in the original spelling. Since the primary aim of this edition will be to establish Kyd’s canon, it will not compete in annotation and other features with the extant single-play editions in the Arden, Oxford, and Cambridge series. The notes will be limited to glossing unfamiliar words and expressions, but separate commentaries will document the many links of language, thought, and dramaturgy that define and distinguish his oeuvre.

Date Title Word Length
1586 Verses of Prayse and Joye 510
1587 The Spanish Tragedye            22227
1588 Solyman and Perseda 18800
1588 The Housholders Philosophie (tr. from Tasso) 24645
1589 King Leir 22488
1590 Arden of Faversham 21108
1591 Fair Em 12497
1592 I Henry VI 22449
1593 Edward III 20743
1593 Letters to Sir John Puckering 1263
1594 Cornelia (tr. from Garnier) 15661
Appendix The 1587 edition of Robert Garnier’s Cornélie 14850
Total 197241

For a PDF version of this proposal, please click here.

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