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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: May ::
Re: Mislineation & Punctuation
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0373.  Tuesday, 14 May 1996.

(1)     From:   Eric Armstrong <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 May 1996 14:35:52 +0000
        Subj:   Re: Mislineation & Punctuation

(2)     From:   Richard Kincaid <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 May 1996 11:27:02
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0359  Re: Mislineation


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric Armstrong <
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Date:           Monday, 13 May 1996 14:35:52 +0000
Subject:        Re: Mislineation & Punctuation

David Lindley, University of Leeds, writes:

>But to suggest that the Folio lineation (or punctuation for that matter) is
>somehow closer to a real theatrical text is, I'm afraid, just to misunderstand
>the nature of the copy that the Folio printers had and the liberties they (and
>scribes) were prepared to take with it.

As an actor, I have always enjoyed using the punctuation in the Folio and
Quarto texts as a clue to the "flow" of the text and how the argument of the
speech develops. I understood there to be a relationship between the rhetoric
of the speech and the punctuation, noting a difference between a semi-colon,
full-colon, comma and full-stop. I also enjoy reading a modern punctuation
edition (especially early on).

 I didn't realize that it is considered to be as "dodgy" as the lineation -
were the compositors making up the punctuation too? Obviously there were
different "rules" for its use - but were the compositors as "free and easy"
with it as they were with lineation?

Thanks,
eric

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kincaid <
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Date:           Monday, 13 May 1996 11:27:02
Subject: 7.0359  Re: Mislineation
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0359  Re: Mislineation

Not only did Shakes punctuate for more or less 'natural' intervals, that is, to
conform more to what we hear rather than what is now proper written English (as
Greg G. wrote), but also (MOSTLY!) to give the actors direction. Editors
corrected punctaution, Capitalizations, made sentences of parenthetical
phrases, and spelling errors, all of which Shakespeare had done purposely.

Remember his troupe didn't have months to rehearse and there was no such thing
as a "director." (lucky them)  The actors saw nothing but their lines and their
que, never the whole play, so he had to convey his "direction" through the way
he wrote: if he wanted the actor to "plow through" a speach, he'd use a colin
when a period seems proper. If he wanted to make sure the Actorr didn't lose
the "R" at the end of a word, he's spell it with two "R"s. If he wanted the
actor to stress a something so the audience would take note that This is
important to the plot, Shakespeare would capitalize it.

Hope that helps
 

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