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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Transmission of the Quartos (Was Q1 of *Ham.*)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0182.  Friday, 4 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Charles Frey <
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        Date:   Thursday, 3 Mar 1994 09:21:01 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0169 Re: Q1 of *Hamlet*
 
(2)     From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Thursday, 03 Mar 94 22:30:24 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0174  Re: Q1 of *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Frey <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 3 Mar 1994 09:21:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 5.0169 Re: Q1 of *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0169 Re: Q1 of *Hamlet*
 
I don't see why irked wits need turn things ugly, but I guess it's common that
they do.  As one of the uninformed but interested, I'd appreciate a posting
from a relatively neutral authority telling us how to obtain a balanced view of
this debate over memorial reconstruction.  Is the volume edited by Thomas
Clayton and titled _The Hamlet First Published (Q1, 1603):  Origin, Form,
Intertextualities_ (1992) the latest and best word?  Should we look at work by
Lois Potter, Kathleen Irace, and others cited in _SQ_ Bibliographies?  Has
anyone played with the notion that what might be memorial reconstruction could
occasionally offer phonetic spelling (as in, for example, Mistress Quickly's
"tashan contigian" of the _Henry V_ Quarto), spelling that might aid in
reconstructing Elizabethan pronunciations?  (If "tashan" was how a memorial
reconstructor _heard_ what we _see_ in our texts as "tertian," then that could
say something about who may or may not have pronounced or heard the medial "r"
or how broadly the "e" sound was sounded in that particular case?)
 
Charles Frey
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Thursday, 03 Mar 94 22:30:24 EST
Subject: 5.0174  Re: Q1 of *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0174  Re: Q1 of *Hamlet*
 
In a grumpy reply to Paul Werstine, I find his benign equilibrium between
weighing the memorial reconstruction case and the possibilities of authorial
revision a mark of astounding literary and theatrical obtuseness.
 
Two issues: First, the Patrick/Hammond stuff on RICHARD III, and second, the
sleight-of-hand effort to dismiss authorial revision by re-defining the word
author according to everyone's favorite lexicographer, M. Foucault.
 
Patrick supports a weak hypothesis with foolish misreadings of texts and
sources.  He stupidly uses, for example, a 19th century  SHAKESPEARE'S
HOLINSHED instead of a complete modern text or an original edition in order to
claim that Shakespeare couldn't have been responsible for Q1 Richard III.
Hammond whoops and cheers his man Patrick, even though he knows, or should
know, that Patrick 's house of cards floats on smoke.
 
Werstine looks at the few very ugly spots in the "bad" quartos and finds them
so contagious that they disqualify the rest of those scripts from further
consideration.  Since St. Foulcault has declared that an "author" can't be
responsible for "good" and "bad" writings, then the "bad" quartos couldn't have
been generated in any part by our "good" Shakespeare.
 
What ever happened to the possibility that a single manuscript that could have
been brought to a printer might have lots of neatly written pages and a few
blotchy uglies?  But the big problem that Werstine's Olympian posture
effectively hides is that so much of the "bad" quarto texts are so good but
different.
 
Okay.  Let's say that the critters responsible for Q1 Marry Wives, or Q1
Hamlet, or Q1 Richard are NOT authors.  Say they are monkeys setting type in
those print shops in St.Paul's.  Wow!  Those are some terriffic monkeys, 'cause
they manage Shakespearean vocabulary, Shakespearean sources, Shakespearean
theatrical stage movement, Shakespearean characterizations . . . frequently in
ways that professional actors and directors find piquantly different but quite
as stageworthy as THE AUTHOR.
 
The current debate is not the same old debate.  The thundering wizards get
revealed more quickly for the flatulent poseurs they have always been. Critics
now more often look at and benefit from the alternative texts of the
multiple-text plays.
 
Just because Paul Werstine can't embrace one of those happy old texts, it
doesn't mean that those texts aren't fertile sources of delight for students,
scholars and actors.  Show your students the monkeys' version of Juliet
entering Friar Lawrence's cell to embrace Romeo, and then show them "the
author's" version.  They'll learn more about how a scene is constructed than if
you show them only a modern edited text.  (She doesn't embrace Romeo in the
1599 text.)
 
Werstine is sounding like an investment counselor: be prudent, stay away from
those frivolities.  I'm peddling whimsy, irresponsible leaping into
UNAUTHORIZED documents!!!
 
                                See yez all in Albuquerque,
                                St.Alburquequitz
 

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