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Home :: Archive :: 1991 :: November ::
Bowdlerizing: "Fixing What Ain't Broke"
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 308. Saturday, 23 Nov 1991.
 
 
(1)	Date: 	Fri, 22 Nov 1991 11:09:39 -0500
	From: 	Tim Pinnow <
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	Subj: 	Fixing what ain't broke
 
(2)	Date: 	Fri, 22 Nov 1991 11:34:00 -0500
	From: 	Kevin Berland <
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	Subj: 	Re: SHK 2.0306  R: Bowdlerizing
 
(3)	Date: 	Fri, 22 Nov 1991 22:33:00 -0500
	From: 	"George Mosley" <MOSLEY@UNC.BITNET>
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 2.0307  More on Bowdlerizing
 
 
(1)------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Fri, 22 Nov 1991 11:09:39 -0500
From: 		
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Subject: 	Fixing what ain't broke
 
Dear Shaksper gang:
 
I'm going to approach the question of editing and sanitizing Shakespeare as an
actor and director rather than as scholar--for if I do, I will surely impress
you as an idiot.
 
For the actor, ANY editing of the texts, whether in wording, spelling, or
punctuation, creates horrible problems for theatre artists.  The spelling
and punctuation, particularly, give the actor almost everything he/she needs
to know to speak the lines effectively.  In fact, many of us who teach acting
Shakespeare have forgone any hope of any edition ever being useful in favor of
sending our students to the school library to photocopy the folio housed there.
Moreover, in every Shakespearean theatre that I have worked, the director,
dramaturg, and most of the good actors, took the edition purchased and handed
to them and dutifully trekked back to the Folio (or quarto if they had access)
to check on what the editors had "improved" upon.  And in most cases, we went
right back to the folio.
 
Now, I do realize the utility of editing small bits and changing punctuation
and spelling in order to make the plays easier to READ, but I sincerely believe
that there is something lost in the effort.
 
                                Very Humbly Yours,
 
                                        Tim Pinnow
                                        pinnow@acc.stolaf.internet
 
(2)--------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Fri, 22 Nov 1991 11:34:00 -0500
From: 		Kevin Berland <
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 >
Subject: 2.0306  R: Bowdlerizing
Comment: 	Re: SHK 2.0306  R: Bowdlerizing
 
     The 18th-century rediscovery of Shakespeare came at a time when
he was considered a rude (wild) genius, and many were the editors who
tinkered with the texts.  Even Garrick, the first self-proclaimed
champion of Shakespeare, routinely used altered texts (they were more
proper, more seemly, more refined) -- for instance, he used Nahum Tate's
_Lear_.  Lots of work on 18th-century versions of Shakespeare exists;
indeed, I seem to recall that one of the facsimile presses has a whole
set of texts....
 
Kevin Berland
Penn State
 
(3)-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Fri, 22 Nov 1991 22:33:00 -0500
From: 		"George Mosley" <MOSLEY@UNC.BITNET>
Subject: 2.0307  More on Bowdlerizing
Comment: 	Re: SHK 2.0307  More on Bowdlerizing
 
I would like to thank all on the list who offered me citations
and directions for searching for the "fixing" of Shakespeare.
I had rather thought Pope, et al. to be at least somewhat
guileless about their emendations, and, I hope, less guilty
for that.  Again, thanks, all, and now I'm off to the library.
 
George Mosley (Mosley@unc.bitnet)
 

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