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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Texts
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0291.  Wednesday, 19 April 1996.

(1)     From:   W. Russell Mayes, Jr. <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 09:16:59 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Old Spelling Texts and Drama Textbooks

(2)     From:   Kay Pilzer <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 08:51:56 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Intro texts

(3)     From:   Michael Kischner <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 12:37:07 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: Everyman/Andrews Hamlet


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. Russell Mayes, Jr. <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 09:16:59 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Old Spelling Texts and Drama Textbooks

I have brief responses to two recent postings.

First, to Todd Lidh's request about Intro. to Drama textbooks.  I have used the
Jacobus text (Bedford) and agree it has some strengths.  I would add to its
list of weaknesses, though, the lack of a full Roman play (not
Shakespeares--they have only scenes from Plautus and Seneca).  As far as
non-western drama goes, it does include Soyinka's _The Strong Breed_ which,
though not terribly far removed from the western dramatic tradition, does come
from a non-western culture.

My response to Surajit Bose's interesting post on old-spelling texts is an
encouragement to consider the genre.  When writing as a dramatist,
Shakespeare's puns would not be visual in nature; they would be aural.  Thus,
as you note, the spelling of "fowlly" versus "foully" makes no difference
whatsoever.  A good analogue would be Spenser, a poet whose work is almost
impossible to put into modern spelling.  Spenser's puns are very often visual
in nature, and to change the spelling of his poems would change the meaning. Of
course, even with Spenser it is hard to know at all times when a spelling
variant is intended and when it is a compositorial alteration.  So, I agree
that there is less value in an old-spelling Shakespeare text in most cases. Old
spelling may be useful in rhymed speeches, and there is certainly some value, I
believe, in old spelling non-dramatic texts.  However, in most cases, I would
lean toward modern spelling editions for introductory students.  I would only
want an old spelling edition if I were teaching a course that was going to
bring up the problem of the texts (I have taught such a course).  To go back to
the earlier pun, if we were suddenly to recover Shakespeare's foul/fowl papers,
old spelling might become more important.

W. Russell Mayes, Jr.
Department of Literature and Language
University of North Carolina at Asheville

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kay Pilzer <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 08:51:56 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Intro texts

Since I haven't seen them mentioned, let me vote for the Folger Library
paperback editions:  good intros to Elizabethan theatre and Shakespeare's life,
and (in the new editions) one good essay in the back.  Facing-page notes and
even some illustrations.  My students liked them best of the editions we tried
this semester (including the Everyman).

Professors stressing performance, though, might be interested in the Applause
editions:  facing page notes--which include notes detailing performance
practices for the line/action glossed.  Some might find these notes too
interventionist, but I think some will find them interesting from the viewpoint
of how a scene has been played.

Applause Books phone:  (212) 496-7511

Folger Library Editions from Washington Square Press, a division of Simon and
Schuster in New York.

Happy ordering!

--Kay Pilzer
  Vanderbilt Univ.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Kischner <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 12:37:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Re: Everyman/Andrews Hamlet

Returning to the teaching of Shakespeare after some years, I followed a
friend's suggestion that I use the Everyman paperbacks edited by John Andrews.
I'm glad I did, since they make the texts strange both to me and my students
and thereby prompt thought and discussion.

I assume that when these first came out they occasioned debate.  Am I correct?
Can anyone recall major points brought up in the debate?  Was Andrews suspected
of occasionally putting an antic disposition on, or at least of going a bit too
far to make the text strange?

I have a particular question concerning Hamlet 2.2.109-11, Polonius reading
from Hamlet's letter to Ophelia:

'To the Celestial and my Soul's Idol, the most *beautiful* Ophelia -- ' That's
an ill Phrase, a vile Phrase; *'beautified'* is a vile Phrase. . .

Where can that "beautiful" (instead of "beautified") have come from? Neither Q2
nor F1, I gather.

Michael Kischner
North Seattle Community College
 

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