Variant Texts and Unstaged Scenes
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 326. Sunday, 15 Dec 1991.
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1991 12:45:55 -0500
From: Steve Urkowitz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [Variant Texts and Unstaged Scenes]
Weeks ago, an electronic eternity, I offered an example of an action
that is described in one text and rather-much-in-detail enacted in an
equivalent passage: they were the alternative forms of Clarence's return
to the York camp in 3H6. And the question comes up again, which version
is "preferable?" In the world of art it seems that there is an
emotional economy of largesse. Here's one version! And here's another!
Wheee! When I've worked with professional actors, showing them the
textaul aleternatives of KING LEAR or HAMLET, they've all gone
gigglyabout having the different scripts to try out. Then they've
settled on one or another version, sometimes conflating as the editors
do, sometimes remaining "pure and faithful" to one text. I prefer
having multiple versions to look at. I'm most puzzled by recent claims
put forward by editors who argue that Since We Don't Know For Certain
That Shakespeare Certified Q2 HAMLET or F HAMLET As Genuine, Then The
Globe Edition, Or MY edition Has a Claim Equal to Any Early Text. When
A.L.Rowse plays this game noses wrinkle with disdain, but more
respectable editors seem to be playing similarly. Ah well. Xeroxes of
facsimiles still can be made, and they remain economical and useful.
Steve Xeroxowitz, (SURCC@CUNYVM)