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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: March ::
Re: Transmission of the Quartos
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0232.  Tuesday, 15 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Mar 94 10:13:19 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0225  Re: Transmission of the Quartos
 
(2)     From:   Thomas Clayton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Mar 1994 08:25:50 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Q1 _Hamlet_
 
(3)     From:   William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Mar 1994 19:55:55 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0225  Re: Transmission of the Quartos
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Mar 94 10:13:19 EST
Subject: 5.0225  Re: Transmission of the Quartos
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0225  Re: Transmission of the Quartos
 
I am anything but an expert on issues of transmission of text, but if a humble
theatre geek might interpose a comment...
 
James McKenna mentions that "our idea of the fixed text was barely formed in
Jacobean London".  True enough.  But it may be worth noting that modern
playwrights don't necessarily believe in a fixed text, either.  A few examples
off the top of my head:
 
Yeats's _The Countess Cathleen_ was published in 1892, *radically* revised and
re-published in 1897, first performed in 1899, re-published with significant
changes in 1900 (whether the performance text was the 1897 or 1900 version --
or neither -- is a matter of some debate), re-published again with even more
changes several years later.
 
Camus' _Le Malentendu_ was radically revised (and IMHO signficantly improved)
between the mid-'40s original and a 1959 re-write.  The changes are profound
enough that when I directed the show several years ago, I considered it worth
my time to translate the revised version, since the only available English
translation was of the earlier text.
 
Both Peter Nichols's _[A Day in the Death of] Joe Egg_ and Peter Shaffer's
_Lettice and Lovage_ show slight changes between the officially "published"
editions and the "acting editions" available from Samuel French (or DPS, or
whoever it is who holds the rights).  Indeed, what is fascinating about these
texts (and I'm sure many others, as well) is that if everyone follows the
rules, the play-going and play-reading audiences will necessarily, by law, be
confronted with different texts.
 
I realize that this doesn't tell us much about differences between various
editions of Shakespeare, but it does begin to suggest, I think, that ALL of our
assumptions must be re-examined.
 
Rick Jones

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Clayton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Mar 1994 08:25:50 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Q1 _Hamlet_
 
In SHK 5.0182, "Re: Q1 of _*Hamlet_," Charles Frey wrote that he would
"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): Origins, Form, Intertextualities_ (1992) the latest and best word?" etc.
As the editor, I scarcely qualify as even a "_relatively_ neutral authority,"
but I am prompted by the question to say a few things about the volume, in case
anyone is interested, partly because Q1 is of interest on a number of accounts
not necessarily related directly to the question whether memorial
reconstruction played a part in its coming to be as it is. The contributors'
abbreviated working title was _Q1 Now!_ Here and now I use "_Q1 Then_."
 
_Q1 Then_ was intended to be informative, argumentative, suggestive,
provocative, even imaginative, but _not_ "definitive," in treating Q1 _Hamlet_
from a number of perspectives. Steve Urkowitz wrote of it here about a year ago
(SHK 4.0215 R: "Q1 _Hamlet_ Texts for the Stage," 4 April 1993) that "a dozen
fresh- baked articles about Q1 appear in Tom Clayton, THE HAMLET FIRST
PUBLISHED (Delaware 1992): tasty bits on casting, staging, history, textual
analysis by a variety of critical practitioners all over the map. One by me
[Steve], too."
 
Like _The Division of the Kingdoms: Shakespeare's Two Versions of "King Lear"_
edited by Gary Taylor and Michael Warren (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1983), _Q1 Then_
began with papers written for a seminar held at the annual meeting of the
Shakespeare Association of America: _Division_ (1983) SAA 1980, _Q1 Then_
(1992) SAA 1988. The world of difference between the two is due in part to the
limited lights--if you insist, low wattage--of the editor of _Q1 Then_, no
doubt, but a number of the differences were designed, too; in any case the
essays speak very well for themselves, as the work of a strong group of
contributors. The overall difference was stressed in the first sentence of the
Preface of _Q1 Then_, with the requisite and regulation allusion to "The Love
Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (who aptly was "not Prince Hamlet"): "This is not
_The Division of the Kingdoms_ nor was meant to be..." (15).
 
_Q1 Then_ contains strong scholarly disagreements, even 180- degree opposition,
quite deliberately not resolved. While coming into being, _Division_ became
more or less homogeneous, not in editing out idiosyncrasies but in
contributors' being encouraged to write in, in some degree, the means and
markers of a synoptic complementarity, each of the essays arguing from its
(author's) own perspective for the conclusion that F _King Lear_ (1623)
represented a revision of the play as presented in Q1 _King Lear_ (1608). As a
contributor to _Division_ ("'Is this the promis'd end?' Revision in the Role of
the King"), I think it is fair to say that all contributors held approximately
the same hypothesis, that _King Lear_ did indeed show signs of revision
(wherever one went from that very general position), but not necessarily in the
same way or to the same degree--_partly_ because not all con- tributors
characteristically _see_ anything in exactly the same way. For my part, I moved
from some skepticism to becoming convinced in the course of my research that
there was more telling  evidence of revision than I had previously recognized;
but by the end whatever remained of my doubts was vestigial in expression,
because _Division_ was finally not _about_ doubts or circumspection but about
demonstrated and argued-for revision.
 
With _Q1 Then_ I decided early on that a collection of essays expressing very
different, even opposing, views would have value, whether in a postmodern
climate where it should be quite at home with _The Protean Self_ (see Robert
Jay Lifton's book on _Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation_), or a
pre-postmodern, where settled orthodoxies almost always need some shaking up
and discontinuities help unsettle.
 
How to arrange this "diversity" of essays? Categories of some kind are always
within reach, but they don't always facilitate grasp. Experimenting with
various arrangements, I noticed that alphabetical-by-author produced some
striking and illuminating juxtapositions of more than one kind. George Hibbard
vs. Kathleen Irace on the descent and relative chronology, Sidney Thomas vs.
Steve Urkowitz on the literary qualities and inferable provenance, would
obviously link in almost any scheme; but a sequence that would not is the
alphabetically determined one of Scott McMillin on the pragmatics of casting,
followed by Giorgio Melchiori on Q2 _Hamlet_ as literary drama, Marga Munkelt
on the vagaries of editors' use of Q1, and Marvin Rosenberg on Victorian
attempts at staging Q1. Likewise with the three--not in isolation but as a
set--of Bryan Loughrey's interview with persons of the theatre associated with
two recent Q1 productions (as noted here in SEC, Loughrey has been defending in
the _TLS_ his and Graham Holderness's edition of Q1), Janis Lull's
consideration of Q1 in its sociocultural context, and Philip MGuire's critical
comparison of three textual "Fortinbrases"--not all the same or spelt so.
Leaving Alan C. Dessen standing at the head with "Weighing the Options in Q1
_Hamlet_."
 
It seemed to me that by the relationship and contrast between these essays, the
life as well as the range and complexity of the enterprise of scholarly enquiry
on an apparently finite bibliographical subject emerged both instructively and
interestingly, and that Q1 was the livelier and more familiar for it --
admittedly still in need of "definitive" identification (hence last year's
discussion of Q1 and the current one here). And I hoped that readers would
notice not only the limitations most perspectives, and selections of evidence
and method, have alone and as such (and how we also find what we wish to find),
but the value individually and collectively of their differences, all tending
toward the completion of a larger picture but _not_ in every case of the same
design or even valence.
 
Or, you may say, since a better arrangement didn't suggest itself, the
alphabetical one would do as well and, all things considered, better.
 
Because each author was to have his or her own say in his or her own way,
substantially, I had to decide what to do about major disagreements and
differences of conclusion, whether to say nothing and let them emerge in the
reading or call attention to them in some way. I rejected a system of cross
references as gratuitously imposing a grid upon the essays, and provided,
instead, not abstracts but a one-paragraph "condensed representation" of each
of "The Twelve Essays in Brief" that "stresses major points of theme, argument,
conclusion, assertion, and, in general, position, quoting extensively and
trying to maintain a ratio of resemblance to the whole, while leaving
comparison of argument and conclusion--which must be seen in full to be fairly
assessed--to the reader" (53).
 
I don't deny that the result may have been in many or even all cases
regrettable, but I _did_ give serious thought to as many aspects of _Q1 Then_
as I recognized as requiring it, and accordingly did what I did for one or more
reasons. Thought as well as labor even went into my introductory essay,
"_Hamlet_'s  Ghost." But not enough of the right bibliographical kind of
attention, I admit, went into the proof-reading at two points consequently
requiring an errata insert to clarify. On those sites of contestation idiocy
was victorious, and to all the contributors I owe apologies as necessary and
one more expression of heartfelt thanks for their contributions and their
cooperation as we made our way together through the press.
 
Joanne Merriam mentions "Hamlet's Soliloquy" in _Huckleberry Finn_; in _Q1
Then_ it is one of two epigraphs and headed "Memorial Reconstruction of
'Hamlet's Soliloquy,'" etc. (11-13).
 
Cheers, Tom Clayton
_________________________________________________________________________
 
THE "HAMLET" FIRST PUBLISHED (Q1, 1603): ORIGINS, FORM, INTERTEXTUALITIES
 
                        Table of Contents
 
The _Hamlet_ First Published (Q1, 1603) [title page] ........ [5]
Dedication .................................................. [7]
Table of Contents ........................................... [9]
Epigraphs .................................................. [11]
List of Contributors ....................................... [14]
Preface ...................................................... 15
Acknowledgments .............................................. 19
Introduction: _Hamlet_'s Ghost
    THOMAS CLAYTON ........................................... 21
The Twelve Essays in Brief ................................... 53
 
Weighing the Options in _Hamlet_ Q1
    ALAN C. DESSEN ........................................... 65
The Chronology of the Three Substantive Texts of Shakespeare's
_Hamlet_
    G. R. HIBBARD ............................................ 79
Origins and Agents of Q1 _Hamlet_: Evidence from a New Recons-
truction
    KATHLEEN IRACE ........................................... 90
Q1 in Recent Performance: An Interview
    BRYAN LOUGHREY .......................................... 123
Forgetting _Hamlet_: The First Quarto and the Folio
    JANIS LULL .............................................. 137
Which Fortinbras, Which _Hamlet_?
    PHILIP C. MCGUIRE ....................................... 151
Casting the _Hamlet_ Quartos: Longer is Smaller
    SCOTT MCMILLIN .......................................... 179
_Hamlet_: The Acting Version and the Wiser Sort
    GIORGIO MELCHIORI ....................................... 195
Traditions of Emendation in _Hamlet_: The Handling of the First
Quarto
    MARGA MUNKELT ........................................... 211
The First English Staging of _Hamlet_ Q1
    MARVIN ROSENBERG ........................................ 241
_Hamlet_ Q1: First Version or Bad Quarto?
    SIDNEY THOMAS ........................................... 249
Back to Basics: Thinking about the _Hamlet_ First Quarto
    STEVEN URKOWITZ ......................................... 257
 
Works Cited ................................................. 292
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Tuesday, 15 Mar 1994 19:55:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0225  Re: Transmission of the Quartos
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0225  Re: Transmission of the Quartos
 
To Tom Berger regarding TROILUS AND CRESSIDA:
 
Yes, and what if Roberts did print a quarto of TROILUS in 1603? What if it was
a very limited printing and every copy has been lost? And what if Q1 was set
from this Ur-quarto?
 
And, okay, copy for F TROILUS may have been a scribal transcription that merged
manuscript material and Q1 into a coherent document from which the compositors
might set type. The scribe in many cases faithfully followed Q1. Was the scribe
following a theatrically annotated quarto? Or was he using a quarto to make
sense of a difficult manuscript? I suppose he could have been doing both. In
any case, I think you and I agree that copy for F TROILUS shows signs of BEING
a manuscript and having been influenced by the printed form of Q1. Have I said
that clearly?
 
If I say too much more I won't have a thing to say in Albuquerque. I guess I
can always go motorcycling on the desert. Yeah, that sounds right.
 
Yours, riding to live, living to ride,
 
Bill Godshalk
 

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