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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: July ::
Re: Transmission; Brazilian *Oth.*; Life, etc.; "wood"
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0595.  Wednesday, 6 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   E. P. Werstine <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Jul 94 10:54:38 EDT
        Subj:   skepticism
 
(2)     From:   Peter Paolucci <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 05 Jul 94 23:58:55 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0588 Q: Brazilian or Cuban *Othello*
 
(3)     From:   Harry Hill <HILHAR@CONU2.BITNET>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Jul 1994 10:54:53 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0592  Re: Life and Art, Character, and Similarities
 
(4)     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Monday, 04 Jul 94 22:51:33 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0587  Re: "wood"/"woo'd"
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. P. Werstine <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jul 94 10:54:38 EDT
Subject:        skepticism
 
For David Wilson-Okamura, who inquired of a statement in our intro. to the New
Folger edition of King Lear ("as scholars reexamine all such narratives about
the origins of the printed texts, we discover that the evidence upon which they
are based is questionable, and we become more sceptical about ever identifying
with any certainty how the play assumed the forms in which it was printed") "is
this true? Can anyone name names? Which scholars are sceptical?"  Here is a
very rough and ready bibliography of some sceptics--mind you these are not all
connected to Lear in particular, but they all bear on the problematic of
identification of the MSS behind early printed texts.  The bibliography is not
complete, and I apologize in advance to everyone I have left out and ask them
please to put themselves in.  Thanks for the question.
 
Orgel, Stephen. "The Authentic Shakespeare." Representations 21
(1988): 1-25.
 
---. "What is a Text?" Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama
24 (1981): 3-6.
 
Goldberg, Jonathan. "Textual Properties."\Shakespeare Quarterly\37
(1986): 213-17.
 
Long, William B. "'A bed / for woodstock': A Warning for the
Unwary."\Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England\2 (1985):
91-118.
 
---. "Stage-Directions: A Misinterpreted Factor in Determining
Textual Provenance."\TEXT: Transactions of the Society for Textual
Scholarship\2 (1985): 121-37.
 
De Grazia, Margreta and Peter Stallybrass. "The Materiality of the
Shakespearean Text." Shakespeare Quarterly 44 (1993): 255-83.
 
De Grazia, Margreta. "The Essential Shakespeare and the material
book." Textual Practices 2 (1988): 69-86.
 
Werstine, Paul. "'\Enter a Sheriffe\' and the Conjuring Up of
Ghosts."\Shakespeare Quarterly\38 (1987): 126-130. (See also\SQ\37
[1986]: 98-100 and\SQ\38 [1987]: 124-26, 130.)
 
---. "'Foul Papers' and 'Prompt-books': Printer's Copy for
Shakespeare's\Comedy of Errors.\"\Studies in Bibliography\41
(1988): 232-46.
 
---. "The Textual Mystery of\Hamlet\."\Shakespeare Quarterly\39
(1988): 1 -26.
 
---. "Narratives about Printed Shakespearean Texts: 'Foul Papers'
and 'Bad' Quartos" Shakespeare Quarterly 41 (1990): 65-86.
 
P.S. I do not think of the Folger edition as either eclectic or conflated.  It
is not eclectic in any usual sense (as for example are the Arden or the
editions of my good friend David Bevington) because it does not prefer what the
editors think is the "better" reading from either Quarto (1608) or Folio (1623)
every time there is a choice.  Instead it sticks with Folio until it is driven
from the Folio by the conviction that the Folio is in error--it lists and
discusses all these cases in the intro.--not just in the textual notes.
 
It is not a conflated edition either (as again are the Arden and the Bevington
editions I have used myself often). It does not "blow together" (the literal
meaning of "conflate") Quarto and Folio versions--instead it marks the
Folio-only and Quarto-only passages in the text with brackets so that the
reader can keep them apart, if that's what the reader wants to do.  That way
the reader can conflate the texts (ignore the brackets) if she wants, or keep
them separate (attend to the brackets) if she wants. This policy is used
because we cannot decide if the Quarto and Folio should be kept apart or put
together since we don't know where either came from-- that's the editorial
aporia. (I acknowledge that this policy is not perfect because Folio and Quarto
readings are often mutually exclusive--to print one is to consign the other to
the textual notes at the back--a regrettable but unavoidable situation in
anything resembling the conventional edition format that is marketable today.)
The edition claims no authority--that is, it does not claim necessarily to be
closer to what the "author" wrote than either of the early printed texts; it
could hardly do so, of course, since we don't know what the "author" actually
wrote.  All the edition tries to do is present (in a form accessible to today's
reader) the Folio version with the Quarto-only passages bracketed in.
 
Re Division of the Kingdoms: if one reads this book carefully, one sees that
not all the essays can be appropriated for the book's provocative title and
thesis--essays by McLeod, Michael Warren, and myself make no pretension to
knowing what kind of MSS the two texts of Lear were based on or of knowing
whether "Shakespeare" is the "origin of the differences" or not.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Paolucci <
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Date:           Tuesday, 05 Jul 94 23:58:55 EDT
Subject: 5.0588 Q: Brazilian or Cuban *Othello*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0588 Q: Brazilian or Cuban *Othello*
 
Ken ... thanks SO much for your prompt and accurate response to my query about
this film.  I'm surpised that it's SO much later than I had guessed (the
1960's/70's are a long way from 1984 -- all puns intended) but I found the
texture of the film to be so un-North American ...  that's what may have thrown
me off.  The NY address and the SHAKESPEARE ON SCREEN are two further leads I
will most surely pursue.
 
Cheers.
Peter Paolucci
York University
Toronto, Ontarion, Canada
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <HILHAR@CONU2.BITNET>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Jul 1994 10:54:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0592  Re: Life and Art, Character, and Similarities
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0592  Re: Life and Art, Character, and Similarities
 
      When scholars do with pedants vainly strive
      Amid the network's daily welcome talk
      And Godshalk from false Cardiff news receives
      Of further falsity of person, heart and bone
      That make a character an emblem high
      Sans voice, sans being -- extratext'al thing,
      A wordless wonder that gives air a grace
      But wooden O's an airy nothingness--
      We reach the bottom of the malmsey butt
      And with old arguments once more tell o'er
      The difference twixt life and art and stage
      'Til brains with bombast try to tell the dance
      From dancer. "It's a play, for God's sake, Bill,"
      And thus more real than real. Thus simple sense
      In actor, playwright and the unwash'd mass
      That pays its pound and knows the play refers
      To life but is not it, will through the craft
      Of well-trained movers, speakers, motivated
      By the rhythms of the script and situations there,
      Tell us all the stage is life and life's a stage
      That's echoed *other ways* upon a page.
 
      To you who know our little time here's not a book
      But one that's acted, greetings, Hardy Cook.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Monday, 04 Jul 94 22:51:33 EDT
Subject: 5.0587  Re: "wood"/"woo'd"
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0587  Re: "wood"/"woo'd"
 
Harry Hill is of course absolutely correct in suggesting that "I love *thee*
not" would run counter to the metre.  But it seems to me that such an
observation does not necessarily invalidate the reading.  It makes it a
stronger (read: "bolder", not necessarily "better") choice, but surely a
strict adherence to metre subjects actors and directors rather too much to
"rules".
 
Indeed, changes in metre occur frequently throughout Shakespeare: ranging
from Rosalind's "And I for no woman" (substituting prose for the regular
iambs which surround it) to Hamlet's "that is the question", which is
*generally* read as beginning with trochee rather than an iamb: i.e. the
reading suggests that H has just come to a realization, not that he is
re-asserting an idea articulated but discounted earlier.  (I've seen it done
convincingly using the latter interpretation, though.)
 
In my acting classes I have often started students' work on Shakespearean
verse with this assignment: assume that anyone who could the language as well
as Shakespeare did could have written "pure" iambs if he'd really wanted to.
Identify every foot that isn't an iamb and determine why Shakespeare would
choose to play changes on the rhythm in this particular place.  Not
surprisingly, students generally find that the "aberrant" feet mark changes
of intention, occur in moments of particularly strong emotion, etc.: i.e.
precisely when Shakespeare wishes to call attention to a particular line.
Coincidence?  I think not.
 
I generally tell actors that deviating from "pure" iambic pentameter in blank
verse sections is often necessary but seldom adviseable when not necessary.
Still, there's a difference between "seldom" and "never"...  As a director,
my temptation would be against the particular reading in question, but I'd
certainly want to listen to the argument of an actor who chose this
interpretation...
 
Rick Jones

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