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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Texts
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0293.  Thursday, 18 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Milla Riggio <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 20:29:23 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0281  Re: Texts

(2)     From:   Milla Riggio <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 20:35:50 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0281  Re: Texts

(3)     From:   Joanne Walen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Apr 1996 00:08:28 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0281 Texts

(4)     From:   Nick Clary <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Apr 1996 08:45:07 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   "beautiful" Emendation in *Hamlet*

(5)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Apr 1996 14:32:50 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0291  Re: Texts


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 20:29:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0281  Re: Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0281  Re: Texts

I'm replying to Surajit Bose's inquiry about textual editing, though the
response may seem somewhat oblique.  When working on the Hartford Stage Company
production of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Mark Lamos, this past fall, we used
the Everyman edition of R&J as a script for the production.  Initially, it
seemed like a great idea to give the cast a text in which they had to SEE the
older puns visually and so forth. But I at least came to regret the choice.
First of all, the texts are highly inconsistent.  They are not original
spelling texts.  They are -- or at least R&J -- is, a text that intermingles
some older spellings with newer ones, no verification of which is which.
Moreover, there was a plethora of unauthorized capitalizations of nouns, which
Andrews explains as unverified by early texts but somehow in the spirit of the
early texts.  These drove me crazy, for they encouraged actor emphasis of nouns
that required little or no stress; they affected the way we all read the lines;
they were distracting, and they have no validity in the history of the texts.
I found notes to be inconsistent, also; sometimes even wrong.  More and more,
as we worked, both the actors and I migrated to the new Cambridge text, edtied
by Gwynne Evans, as the best and most reliable text, both in terms of the text
of the play and the notes.  I think I would never recommend an Everyman text
again after this experience.

As for textual editing, there are of course many schools of editing and I think
they are in flux particularly now.  As an editor myself, and I do edit, I
prefer some allegiance to original language if not spelling and grammar.  I
like readers, actors, and so forth to be able to follow a roadmap through an
edited text that leads them back to the sources from which that text has been
taken.  The maps may be subtly incorporated so as not to spoil the reading
experience, but I always want to know what the copytext actually looked like as
a reader and so, as an editor, I try to provide a method by which it can be
reconstructed by the reader, though I see little purpose in working with older
spellings of texts in the case of an author like Shakespeare whose works have
formed one of the staples of modern education.  I would never, however, add
stage directions, for I also think that readers and actors deserve the
opportunity to see how the script/text suggests (or not) its own actions, but
all these issues are, of course, a matter of editorial principle, and there is
rampant disagreement about them right now!

Milla Riggio

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Apr 1996 20:35:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0281  Re: Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0281  Re: Texts

And an appendix on the Everyman texts:  One thing I forgot to mention with
regard to the Everyman ROMEO AND JULIET was the number of actual textual
ERRORS, inexplicable and very careless, as when for instance 1.2 begins by
attributing Capulet's opening speech "But Mountague is bound as well as I..."
to -- guess who -- JULIET (and I kid you not!). There were at least a half
dozen errors just about as egregious and as obvious, but uncorrected, as this.

'Nuff said,
Milla Riggio

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joanne Walen <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Apr 1996 00:08:28 -0400
Subject: 7.0281 Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0281 Texts

Let me second Kate Moncrief's recommendation of the 3rd edition of *Stages of
Drama* if for no other reason than Miriam Gilbert's hand in it. The
introductions to the plays keep us always mindful that there is a difference
between "reading and witnessing" a play, not as two diametrically opposed
actions, but ones that require somewhat different strategies--that "the text of
a play is is actually a script for production." Wendy Wasserstein's short play
*The Man in the Case* provides a sort of "practice session" for the reader to
try out some suggestions for imaginative staging, with follow-up commentary.
This is a teaching strategy that students can then "use as a source of ideas
for reading other plays in this collection."  There are also Appendix
A--Analyzing a Play: Close Reading for Writing-- and Appendix B--Film and Video
Productions for plays in *Stages of Drama*--both useful for teachers--and
students. The book is hefty-- but in durable soft cover it is friendly to
use--and includes 41 plays.

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nick Clary <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Apr 1996 08:45:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        "beautiful" Emendation in *Hamlet*

Michael Kischner asks about the substitution of "beautiful" for "beautified" in
*Hamlet* 2.2.109-111.  A place to start looking might be the H.H. Furness
variorum edition (1877; rpt. Dover 1963).  Beginning with Theobald's emendation
"beatified" (ed. 1733), Furness offers a brief account of the commentary
pertinent to this subject.  He ends on the following gloss attributed to Dyce
(ed. 1857): "By `beautified' (which, however `vile' a phrase,' is common enough
in our early writers) I believe Hamlet meant `beautiful,' and not
`accomplished.'"  Furness, of course, is selective in his story of the
commentaries.  Members of the New Variorum Hamlet team, under the supervision
of Bernice W. Kliman, may be consulted directly for further and more detailed
information.  Eric Rasmussen is collating the section of the text in question.

Nick Clary

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Apr 1996 14:32:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0291  Re: Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0291  Re: Texts

Michael Kischner writes:

>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.

Remember that John Andrews was also responsible for the reading: "To be or to
be.  That is the question."  John was interviewed by Noah Adams on All Things
Considered regarding that little error.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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