mad middleton


In the summer of 1984, having co-edited the complete works of Shakespeare before reaching the age of thirty, Gary Taylor sat in the Bodleian Library, read all of Middleton and had an epiphany:

“Sometimes quietly moved to tears, sometimes unable to contain my laughter . . . I thought, again and again, why was I never told to read this? . . . Why have I never seen this performed? . . . why have I never been introduced to this Dickensian, Dostoevskian riot of life? Vindice, DeFlores, and Beatrice Joanna I’d encountered in college, but what about Allwit and all the rest? Lucifer, Candido, Quomodo, Sir Bounteous Progress, Dampit, Pieboard, Tailby, Weatherwise, Pompey Doodle, Captain Ager, Plumporridge, Simplicity, Simon, George, Lepet, the Yorkshire Husband, the Black Knight and Fat Bishop and White Queen’s Pawn, the Tyrant, the Lady, the Young Queen, the Duchess of Milan, Mistress Low-water, Mill, Valeria, Hecate and Madge Owl, Livia and Bianca and Isabella – where have you people been all my life?”

He vowed to right the wrong of the centuries’ neglect, to give Middleton the Collected Works he deserved, serving him as John Heminge and Henry Condell had served Shakespeare in the First Folio.

more from the TLS here.