John Newdigate III, Gilbert Sheldon, and MS A414 106r
Among its numerous revisions, the Arbury version of The Humorous Magistrate bears a rare editorial note on page 106r: 'Dr S. this speach not so cleare & perspicuous'. With Johnstone and Inglis’s conclusive attribution of the manuscript to John Newdigate III, the doctor in question is almost certainly Gilbert Sheldon, Newdigate’s long-time friend and confidant. Though Sheldon would one day go on to become Archbishop of Canterbury, I here concentrate on his earlier correspondence with Newdigate to examine the context and scope of his potential involvement with the manuscript and its revisions. Topics analysed include Sheldon’s role as a literary mentor to Newdigate, the texts he proffers corresponding to Newdigate’s interests, and whether he could have been directly involved in editing the Arbury MS. By conclusion I suggest that Sheldon’s influence on Newdigate is a valuable lens through which to analyse his writings and career as an amateur dramatist.
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