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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: May ::
Re: Masks; Student Edition
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0450.  Sunday, 22 May 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Hana Scolnicov <
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        Date:   Saturday, 21 May 1994 23:00:20 +0300 (IDT)
        Subj:   masks
 
(2)     From:   David Scott Wilson-Okamura <
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        Date:   Saturday, 21 May 94 17:05:06 CDT
        Subj:   A student text based on the Folio?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hana Scolnicov <
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Date:           Saturday, 21 May 1994 23:00:20 +0300 (IDT)
Subject:        masks
 
The ongoing network discussion of masks in Shakespeare shows how little we know
about his theatre! In the absence of "concrete" or visual evidence (surviving
masks, period paintings) one must tread carefully, refraining from assuming the
use of masks where there is no specific textual reference.
 
In May 1993, the Theatre Arts Department at Tel-Aviv University organized a
Conference on the general subject of "The Mask". At this conference I presented
a paper on "The zoomorphic mask in Shakespeare". An extended version of this
paper will appear in the 9th issue of *Assaph* (published by Tel-Aviv Univ.). I
will gladly send an electronic pre-publication copy to anyone interested.
 
The paper focuses on *MND* and *MWW*, interpreting the special use to which the
masks are put and tracing their mythological and paleolithic associations. I
also glimpse briefly at other instances of masks in Shakespeare, some of which
have been mentioned in the present discussion. Has anyone come accross other
work on the subject?
 
Hanna Scolnicov
Department of Theatre Arts
Tel-Aviv University
Tel-Aviv, Israel
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Scott Wilson-Okamura <
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Date:           Saturday, 21 May 94 17:05:06 CDT
Subject:        A student text based on the Folio?
 
A couple months ago Mr. Godshalk remarked,
 
> So, okay, the 18th century has definitely given us their text of
> Shakespeare's plays and poems, and we have until recently accepted their
> gift with little or no thought, or so it seems.  Now, the scales have
> dropped from our eyes, and we know the shadows from the true sun.
>
> Nevertheless, the texts we teach from (e.g., Riverside, Bevington, Wells
> and Taylor, Signet) are contaminated--thoroughly contaminated--by 18th
> century editorial decisions.  For example, look at Folio A&C, TLN 3108-
> 3199 (V.i), and compare the scene in the Folio with, say, the scene in
> Wells and Taylor (4.6).  Note the added stage directions, the changed
> speech headings, the changed characters.  The Folio's Menas (Pompey's
> former sidekick) is conventionally changed to Maecenas--without comment.
>
> Is there a proposed new edition based on the Folio to remedy this per-
> ceived problem?  If now, why not?
 
I was wondering whether the new Folger editions might not do for this
purpose.  The introductions are written for something like a high school,
rather than a college audience, it seems to me, but they are cheap
($3.99/play), gloss more vocab than the Signets, have lots of pictures
(including colorful covers), and . . . they show you what the editor has done
to his base text ***in the text***, not in the apparatus (which is at the
back).  Thus Mowat and Werstein (the editors of the series) use the Folio
text for _King Lear_, emended from Q1 where there seems to be "a gap" in F,
along with "all the passages and a number of the words that are to be found
only in Q1" (p. lxi).  So far, just another conflated text, right?  Ah, but
unlike previous student texts (and for that matter, unlike any scholarly text
I've seen), all emendations (from Q1 or editorial) are marked off thus, in
the text itself:
 
- All words found only in Q1 are printed in pointed brackets, <thus>.
 
- All "full lines" found only in F are printed in square brackets, [thus].
 
- All editorial emendations (e.g., from Rowe, from Pope, etc.) appear in
  half-bracket--well, I can't do them on this keyboard.
 
To be sure, this is not the Folio text Mr. Godshalk was pleading for.  On the
other hand, it gives students a fair idea of what Shakespeare looked like to
Keats or Tennyson (no small thing, that), *and* it makes it pretty easy to
see what the Folio looked like to Jonson.  A nice compromise, I should think.
 
 
                                                Yours faithfully,
                                                David Wilson-Okamura
                                                
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