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Home :: Archive :: 1991 :: February ::
Quartos in the Classroom (Authorial Revision)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 70. Tuesday, 26 Feb 1991.
 
(1)   Date:   Tue, 26 Feb 1991 07:29:16 -0500                (51 lines)
      From:   Stevesteventhethebibinocnoculularar <SURCC@CUNYVM>
      Subject:      Re: SHK 2.0069  Authorial Revision
 
(2)   Date:   Tue, 26 Feb 1991 08:43:00 -0500                (14 lines)
      From:   
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
      Subject: RE: SHK 2.0069  Authorial Revision
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Tue, 26 Feb 1991 07:29:16 -0500
From:   Stevesteventhethebibinocnoculularar <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        [Steve Urkowitz, City University of New York]
Subject: 2.0069  Authorial Revision
Comment:      Re: SHK 2.0069  Authorial Revision
 
Oooh, the unhappy slide into denigrating the theatricality of those
early texts!  If students don't know what to do with Q and F 2HenryVI
and you fear that they will stuporify if you show them, then maybe
you're also similarly afraid of giving them 2HENRYVI alive or pickled
in a modern version.  Do I detect a whiff of irony in the appelation
"Q1 Enthusuast"?  I'll get a t-shirt made . . .  Any of this stuff,
edited or facsimiled, is deadly dull if it isn't presented carefully.
How come?  Well, scripts are not literature.  Try feeding someone
the recipe for chocolate cake instead of chocolate cake.  It ain't
mad enthusiasm that leads me to give my students, last night,
f'rinstance, the parallel texts of Alexander Iden's self description
just before he chops Jack Cade.  In Q he says he's equal in size to
Cade; in F he says he's MUCH bigger than Cade.  So the students grin,
and they see that scripts are contingent, at least in this case, upon
the physical creatures that are going to play them on any particular
day.  Hmmm. . . Fat shareholders in F vs impecunious underfed pirates
in Q?  I leave that to the TheoryofText Department.  Or the opening
scene in 2H6 where in Q Queen Margaret demurely talks of her modesty,
sits next to King Henry, and is welcomed by upright nobles.  In F
instead she proclaims her own boldness, she does not sit (or she's not
invited to sit) and the nobles kneel to her.  Oh, yes.  The pirates,
you see,  . . . or they pirated Shakespeare's revision (sez the OUP).
I see my job as teaching my students how to interpret theatrical
scripts.  The q-f variants help immensely in that task, whoever
was responsible.  They are tools, not relics of the true religion.
 
What is our stock in trade anyway in these classrooms?   Well, I
work with the documents written and transmitted from the past, my own
achievements of professional analytic skills and strategies, and,
(wheee!) against all worldweariness, my pleasure, my delight, my giddy
enthusiasm over "the achieve" of that theatrical recipe-book-in-many-
versions.  Werstine sneers at my enthusiasm and he repeatedly
misrepresents my conclusions and my program.  Well, he's gotta live
inside that grumpiness; I, on the other hand, gotta dance.  Ya wanna
dance?  Try finding not the "errors" in the naughtyquartos but the
pleasures they offer.  One last cookie to look at in 2H6: check out
the two versions of the fellas who undo good duke Humphrey.  In one
they are lively dudes, "All things is handsome" one says about the
execution of their command, and in the other they sound like grim
functionaries, one with a guilty conscience.  Go on, lookit!  All
it'll take is the time to open that 2H6 facsimile and the Folio.
And try it out on your freshmen, or your graduate class.  C'mon.
Take a brave taste.  Ignore the grotty bits that come with any
old-typeset stuff.  Dig in or sniff and sample.
 
Just a dancin' fool, Urk.  When ya gonna grow up?  SURCC@cunyvm
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------29----
Date:   Tue, 26 Feb 1991 08:43:00 -0500
From:   
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    [Skip Shand, Glendon College]
Subject: 2.0069  Authorial Revision
Comment: RE: SHK 2.0069  Authorial Revision
 
Janis says that it would take "a real quarto enthusiast" to succeed in
giving classroom life to different entrances from different quartos, etc.
Not so, I think: It simply requires that we learn, as one of the many
strings to our bows, to read playtexts, whatever their authorial
provenance, as scripts for performance, manifesting at all sorts of points
an intelligent and intelligible openness of a sort which is closed by actorly
performance in a BROADLY determinate fashion--that we seek in these texts
the living and demonstrable drama and theatre, rather than the will o' the
wisp author. I sort of thought this was the old orthodoxy!
 

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