Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus: The First Quarto, 1594, Reproduced in Facsimile from the Unique Copy in the Folger Shakespeare Library

Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus: The First Quarto, 1594, Reproduced in Facsimile from the Unique Copy in the Folger Shakespeare Library

Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus: The First Quarto, 1594, Reproduced in Facsimile from the Unique Copy in the Folger Shakespeare Library

Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus: The First Quarto, 1594, Reproduced in Facsimile from the Unique Copy in the Folger Shakespeare Library

Excerpt

The source of Titus Andronicus--presumably some obscure pseudo-historical romance--has hitherto escaped the most painstaking search of scholars. However, I am now able to point to an early English rendering of that source in a unique chapbook entitled: " The History of Titus Andronicus, The Renowned Roman General . . . Newly Translated from the Italian Copy printed at Rome. London: Printed and Sold by C[luer]. Dicey in Bow Church-Yard, and at his Wholesale Warehouse in Northampton." To this work is appended the well-known ballad headed: " The Lamentable and Tragical History of Titus Andronicus . . . To the Tune of Fortune my Foe, &c." The prose story, told as veracious history, begins with Titus Andronicus as "Governor of the Province of Achaia," in Greece, who, hearing of Rome's dire distress at the hands of a besieging army of Goths, "sold whatever he had of value to hire Soldiers," and gloriously rescued the city. Next it relates in detail the ten years' arduous campaign of Titus and his sons against the Goths, which finally the Emperor, "desiring Peace," ended by a formal treaty involving his marriage to Attava, the Queen of the Goths, and the promise that "in case he should die without Issue, her Sons [ Alaricus and Abonus] might succeed in the Empire." The subsequent chapters, involving the sufferings of Andronicus and his . . .

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