One of John’s favorite books

Visit the University of Illinois’ webpage devoted to T. W. Baldwin’s William Shaksperes Small Latine and Lesse Greeke (2 vols., 1944) a study he admired very much, and whose copy I inherited.

On Joseph Crosby

See John’s edition of Crosby’s letters to Joseph Parker Norris, One Touch of Shakespeare (1986)


iamque opus exegi

John was the founder of this edition of Julius Caesar, and an important contributor to the post-Furness New Variorum Shakespeare enterprise, as his many citations in the Handbook attest. He began his work in 1966, was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1974, and continued editing and annotating the play throughout his thirty-year tenure as Professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin.John1965 After a final dispute with some of the General Editors, he abandoned the manuscript in 1999. It subsequently passed into other hands, then fell into mine in 2004. He drafted the commentary notes and unadopted conjectural emendations, hired a typist to transcribe the F1 copy text to paper, and began an account of the history of the text. His most significant contribution, however, was his collation of over eighty editions of the play and his version of the textual notes. Needless to say, this heroic effort was absolutely essential to the project as well as elegantly and eloquently executed. No one, before or since, has paid such attention to the minutiae of Julius Caesar. Especially groundbreaking was his important research about the vexed issue of the place that the seventeenth-century (or “Restoration”) quartos should occupy in the play’s print history, and acknowledged as such by true students of the art of textual criticism. (See the PBSA article below.) He was proudest, and justly so, of his Shakespeare and the Classical Tradition: A Critical Guide to Commentary: 1660-1960 (1968). To complement the edition he was in the process of making obsolete, he published “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar”: A Bibliography to Supplement the New Variorum Edition of 1913 (1977). He was also expert in navigating the sometimes bizarre world of nineteenth-century Shakespeare editorial controversy, and his One Touch of Shakespeare: Letters of Joseph Crosby to Joseph Parker Norris, 1875-1878 (1986), is a levelheaded and valuable contribution to the field. John1968His edited collection, Shakespeares English Histories: A Quest for Form and Genre (1996), reflects another interest of his, Shakespeare’s history plays. John was a distinguished teacher and lecturer, a championship talker, and a master storyteller, a true raconteur. His book of reminiscences, Exit Pursued by a Bear: Encounters with Shakespeare and Shakespeareans (2008), almost brings him back to life. (Here is a brief sample, as well as the ordering information I have available at this time.) His obituary from the Austin American-Statesman gives a brief account of him. He retained his optimism and positive demeanor in spite of considerable financial, personal, and physical hardship: cancer, arthritis, and the cruelties of type 2 diabetes. Two passions were Shakespeare and the Texas (football) Longhorns. He would suffer no detraction about either in his presence.

John wrote many articles about Julius Caesar in the course of his participation in our project. Many of them are available on Project Muse, JSTOR, and in other databases on university library websites. (I will create links where I may.) Their presence in our commentary notes certainly enhances this edition.

“‘If I Were Brutus Now . . .’: Role-Playing in Julius Caesar.” Shakespeare Studies 4 (1968): 149-59
“‘Pirate Hills’ and the Quartos of Julius Caesar.” Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America 63 (1969): 177-93.
“The Text of Julius Caesar in the Second Folio: Two Notes.” Shakespeare Quarterly 20 (1969): 95-98.
“Clemency, Will, and Just Cause in Julius Caesar.” Shakespeare Survey 22 (1970): 109-118.
“Caesar’s Deafness.”  Shakespeare Quarterly 22 (1971): 400-01.
“Undular Structure in Julius Caesar.” Modern Language Review 66 (1971): 21-30.
Review of Julius Caesar, ed. Maurice Charney.  Shakespeare Quarterly 22 (1971): 73-76.
“Two Emblems in Brutus’ Orchard.”  Renaissance Quarterly 25 (1972): 307-15.
“Cassius as a ‘Great Observer.’”  Modern Language Review  68 (1973): 256-59.
“An Early Eighteenth-Century Cast List for Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.” Theatre Notebook 29 (1975): 18-20.
“‘Nothing Undervalued to Cato’s Daughter’: Plutarch’s Porcia in the Shakespeare Canon.” Comparative Drama 11 (1977-78): 303-15.
Orator and Imperator in Julius Caesar: Style and the Process of Roman History.” Shakespeare Studies 15 (1982): 55-75.
“The Collier Controversy Redivivus.”  Shakespeare Quarterly 36 (1985): 106-15.
“Disambiguation in Recent Editions of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: The Silent Tradition.” AEB: Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography n.s. 2 (1988): 1-11.
“The ‘Mutual Pair’ in Plutarch and Shakespeare.” Poetica 48 (1997): 141-55.
With Sarah C. Velz. “Publius, Mark Antony’s Sister’s Son.”  Shakespeare Quarterly 26 (1975): 69-73.