Band of Brothers: Who wrote Hieronymo/The Spanish Tragedy? Bronson Feldman says Thomas Watson... do you agree/disagree?
Bronson Feldman wrote an article/study (which I cannot find online) in which he credits Thomas Watson as the author of the play Hiernonimo/The Spanish Tragedy (which has traditionally been attributed to Thomas Kyd). My question: Do you think Watson wrote this play...? or was maybe involved in writing it in collaboration with Edward de Vere...? Did Kyd have any part in the writing of it...? I had hoped to have this question answered during the excellent Band of Brothers webinar yesterday - thank you for any answers/opinions you can provide.
In my opinion, the question of who wrote The Spanish Tragedy is open. The principal basis for Kyd’s claim to its authorship lies solely with the unreliable Thomas Heywood in 1612, and but for Heywood, Watson (with his known knowledge of the classics and especially of Seneca) would have seemed a better candidate for its authorship. Likewise the Earl of Oxford. But, in the absence of hard evidence, these possibilities must be put to one side.
Bronson Feldman outlined his theory that Thomas Watson wrote the play in The Bard (Volume 1, No 4, 1977, but written in 1951) in over twenty pages, employing phrases such as “in my opinion”, “could have come from Watson’s pen”, and “I suspect”—none of which is verifiable. Tempting as the theory at first seems, lack of proof renders it no more than that—a theory. Nevertheless, for daring to make such a radical suggestion and for taking on the academic establishment of the 1950s, Feldman deserves our admiration.
Bronson's article and my consideration of it can be found in Renaissance Man New Generation Publishing, 2020 (ISBN 978-1-78955-855-2).
Ian - Many thanks for your reply. I greatly enjoyed your presentation; it was quite timely to my current effort, I am writing 4 plays that tell the accurate life story of Edward de Vere, and I am at a point where I need to consider who was the author of The Spanish Tragedy re: its relationship to Hamlet. In fact, during your presentation, I ordered a copy of Renaissance Man and it is supposed to be delivered today - I greatly look forward to reading it. regards, Stephen Larsen