“…a writer essential to the others…” ∗: further reflections towards a methodology and case study of a potential exemplar of Shakespeare’s hand in annotations to an edition of the Eirenarcha (c1605?)

panel / roundtable
  1. 1. Hart Cohen

    Western Sydney University

  2. 2. Harold Short

    Department of Digital Humanities - King's College London

  3. 3. Gerald Cohen

    Independent Scholar

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“…a writer essential to the others…” ∗: further reflections towards a methodology and case study of a potential exemplar of Shakespeare’s hand in annotations to an edition of the Eirenarcha (c1605?)


University of Western Sydney, Australia


Department of Digital Humanities, Kings, London, UK


Independent Scholar, Montreal Quebec Canada


Paul Arthur, University of Western Sidney

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751
Paul Arthur

Converted from a Word document



Panel / Multiple Paper Session

Common Law

sustainability and preservation
databases & dbms
resource creation
and discovery
stylistics and stylometry
text analysis
authorship attribution / authority
content analysis
renaissance studies

The panel will offer 3 papers that focus on different aspects of a research project relating to the analysis of handwritten annotations found in an original but unrecorded edition of Lambarde’s Eirenarcha (1605?). The engagement with this material brings to the fore questions of methodology in the ideas and affordances provided within digital research and scholarship.
Title: “…a writer essential to the others…”
∗: further reflections towards a methodology and case study of a potential exemplar of Shakespeare’s hand in annotations to an edition of the Eirenarcha (c1605?)*

*(McMillin, Scott, (1987).
The Elizabethan Theatre and the "Book of Sir Thomas More". Cornell University Press. P. 159.)

The full sentence reads: “What can be said about the authors’ identities strengthens these assertions but is not necessary to them: let Munday, Chettle and Shakespeare be collaborators on the original version [of Sir Thomas More] let Dekker, Heywood and perhaps Chettle be the revisers a decade later;
let Hand C be present on both occasions – a writer essential to the others; [our emphasis] and these names fit easily into the pattern of theatrical characteristics.”

“…a writer essential to the others…”
∗: further reflections towards a methodology and case study of a potential exemplar of Shakespeare’s hand in annotations to an edition of the Eirenarcha (c1605?)

Gerald Cohen

Paper 1 develops the research set out in Cohen & Cohen (SAA: 2013).
1 Our subsequent digitization of the full text of a copy of the Eirenarcha reveals further annotations, marginalia and other markings, all of which seem to add support, in the form of palaeographic and literary evidence, to our initial provisional attribution of the entire corpus of markings to Shakespeare. These include:

1. Marginalia: ‘H3 the law in Latin’ – referencing ‘Justicer’ and ‘Jusitciar,’ which appear in print lower down on the page (ref. King Lear);
2. Marginalia: ‘Night Watches’ (ref. Hamlet, Much Ado);
3. Faintly marked: a poem excerpt from Martial: (ref. King Lear); Inter raucos ultimus Rogatores, Ores caminae panis improbibuccas. And ranged last among the roaring rogues, In vaine a morsel may he begge of bread, so bad, as hungry dogs disdaine to byte.
4. Annotation: ‘Testymonyal of a Roge 190 193’ – the Testimonial reads: “…and he is limited to be at
Sale aforesaid, within tenne daies, now next ensuing at his peril.” (ref. King Lear);

5. Annotation: [beside ‘sermo Iosuae ad Achan’] ‘the Chapter [ie, 7, in print,
below]: 19 Verse’ (ref. King Lear);
6. Underlined: ‘shoale’ (ref. Macbeth);
7. Underlined: ‘Common duetie in Charitie’ (ref. King Lear);
8. Marked in margin: ‘burning in the hand’ (ref. Richard II);
9. Marked in margin: ‘The grace and dispensation of the prince may not be strained beyond the words.’ (ref. Merchant of Venice).
Ink smudge near ‘if a common Player of Interludes (other than as belong to a

Baron) has wandered abroad’.

As the growing preponderance of evidence appears to tip the attribution of these annotations toward William Shakespeare of Stratford, it may be reasonable (even at this early stage) to speculate on some direct implications for critical research. Based on this potential evidence, Part I of this paper will bring to the fore heretofore unexplored dimensions and characterizations of Shakespeare’s literary and dramatic technique, focussing specifically on one structural element, viz., Shakespeare’s apparent selection, adaptation, and staging of choice legal-lexical items contained in this unrecorded copy of Lambarde’s Eirenarcha. Inasmuch as the source text (the Common Law) comprises material firmly rooted in the living social context of Shakespeare’s day, I will present
arguments touching upon Shakespeare’s assumed broader purpose of furthering legal equity.

Associate Professor Hart Cohen

Building on Cohen & Cohen (SAA: 2013), the second paper reflects on the potential for modelling a database approach to the textual analysis of the seminal text in the research case. This section begins with a reflection on the evolution of medium theory, its concern with the technical and material properties of different media and its ability to amplify memory and experience (McLuhan: 1964). The emergence of digital technologies introduces re-mediation (Bolter and Grusin: 2000) and in this way opens up questions about the incorporation of texts into new contexts of audiences, narratives and distribution. The impact of the digital has now outstripped the initial projections of re- mediation with a quantified data model for both culture and the self. Mediation has adapted to a different form of memorialisation and this has foregrounded the
interface (Galloway: 2012) defined as “…traces of the past coming to appear in an ever expanding present…” My intention is to bring this kind of analysis to the annotations, marginalia and markings found in this volume of the Eirenarcha. These materialisations are beyond textual representations in the usual sense but rather are the media of sensation – what Parikka refers to as
geo-media – where the materiality is like stored energy whose “…intensities, affordances and tendencies are not just passive, waiting for the activity of form(ing) by the human…” (Parikka 2012:84).
2 In our earlier paper, I referred to Stephen Greenblatt’s use of the concept of
energia (ενέργεια)
, and his further development of this concept into
social energy to characterise the motivated and contingently made works of Shakespeare. In combining Parikka’s new materiality of media with the social energy referred to by Greenblatt, this may lead the way to a methodology that is a non- representational form of mediation – something more akin to algorithmic and database determinations of the annotations and markings found on this edition of the Eirenarcha. The layers of mediation are located at the interface, where the new temporalities and the affordances of digital infrastructure open the text to its own materialities.

Professor Harold Short

The third paper will develop the Digital Humanities context as the most appropriate one to further develop the analysis of this research case. Digital Humanities is broadly conceived as a collaborative space between computational methods developed in fields such as computer science and the arts and humanities disciplines.
3 Its history goes back several decades, but recognition of its potential and importance has been growing rapidly in recent years. Shakespeare scholars have been very active in this arena for a long time, and there is no reason to doubt their continuing engagements and the importance of their work, both for Shakespeare studies and for the digital humanities.

The most visible work to date, and arguably the most influential, has been to do with online scholarly editions and an increasingly wide range of support and contextual materials, including not only facsimiles of source material and scholarly commentaries and essays, but also tools for retrieval and analysis that encourage
and enable any user, whether academic or pursuing general interests, to engage
with Shakespeare in new and previously unimaginable ways. Foremost among these
are such sites as Michael Best's Internet Shakespeare Editions
4 and the Folger Digital Texts
5 but there are numerous others. There has also been an increasing engagement with performance, and projects such as The MIT Global Shakespeare Project
6 seek to include a range of photographic and video materials in what is made available online to the researcher. The British Universities Film & Video Council's International Database of Shakespeare on Film, Television and Radio gives primacy to records of performance. The number of websites and the range of materials offered appear to increase almost daily!

Another major strand of digital Shakespeare scholarship has been in the field of stylometry and authorship attribution. Among many others, one prominent scholar in this field is Hugh Craig of Newcastle, New South Wales, who has published extensively on his work over many years using statistically-­‐based analytical methods developed by and in collaboration with John Burrows.

The research presented in this session fits comfortably within the general tradition of scholarly digital research in Shakespeare studies, and also draws to some extent on the methods developed by scholars such as Craig and Burrows, particularly in the development and use for analytical purposes of databases (corpora) of texts written by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. As, however, with the case of Koppelman and Wechsler and their copy of John Baret’s Alvearie
8, additional methods are needed, for example detailed paleographic analysis.
9 Here we are adapting methods developed in a somewhat different field of humanities research – Anglo-­‐Saxon manuscript studies. The DigiPal Project at King’s College London
10 developed methods based on high resolution scans of manuscripts and the creation of

databases of individual character forms as well as character groups, along with
analytical tools to aid detailed comparisons to be made. DigiPal is a very recent project – completed mid-­‐2014 – and represents an important new approach to digital scholarship. The demonstration of its relevance in a different scholarly context takes it a stage further.

1 Cohen G., and Cohen H., (2013) “…a writer essential to the others…”
∗: further

2 Parikka, J., (2012) What is Media Archaeology? Polity: Cambridge.

3 McCarty, W,
Humanities Computing, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, chapter 3 ‘Discipline’ pp.114-­‐157, and esp. diagram p. 119.




7 Craig DH, Kinney AF,
Shakespeare, Computers and the Mystery of Authorship, Cambridge University Press, 2009


9 As suggested by Michael Witmore and Heather Wolfe:


10 http:/

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