Who Wrote the Timon, ms.?
Scholars know a university manuscript play called Timon,
ms. (Dyce 52, Victoria and Albert Museum) is the source of Shakespeare's play of
similar title. (See Maxwell) In 1998 I authenticated the manuscript as Marlowe's in an
essay published in Notes and Queries. (A copy of which will soon be
However I recently noticed a paleographic connection
between Marlowe's university, Corpus Christi, Cambridge and the manuscript,
which I would share with scholars here. The following facsimile
is of a manuscript drawing of the campus of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
dating to ca. 1575. (CCCC Archive misc. no. 138)
What is so striking about it is the lovely Italic hand,
years earlier than scholars had anticipated. Its clear proof that this
particular institution was teaching the Italic hand in 1575 and had, on campus,
young scholars who could write
Now the following is a sample of a similar hand lifted from the Timon,
ms. Once thought to date to 1606 based on its hand. Obviously paleographic scholars were wrong. The hand of the Timon, ms.
could easily date to 1575 and very likely was learned at Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge, which Marlowe entered in 1580.
Scholars now have
good proof that the Timon, ms., was transcribed at Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge late in 1580 or early in 1581 as I have suggested. Likely by the
same scholar responsible for the map.
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