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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: December ::
Re: Last Lines of Lear
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0932.  Thursday, 12 December 1996.

(1)     From:   Ron Moyers <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 14:31:27 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

(2)     From:   Michael C LoMonico <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 16:34:32 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

(3)     From:   Sara Vandenberg <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 15:09:06 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

(4)     From:   Keith Richards <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 18:15:21 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

(5)     From:   Virginia M. Byrne <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 19:44:32 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0930 Q: Last Lines of Lear

(6)     From:   A.E.B. Coldiron <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 20:00:49 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0930 Q: Last Lines of Lear

(7)     From:   Pervez Rizvi <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Dec 96 12:19:15 GMT
        Subj:   Last speech in Lear

(8)     From:   Skip Nicholson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Dec 1996 18:42:48 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Moyers <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 14:31:27 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

The last four lines of _King Lear_ are assigned to Duke (Albany) in the 1608
quarto; they are assigned to Edgar in the first folio.  Most modern editors use
the folio assignment, particularly due to the "we that are yong" statement
seeming to be more appropriate from Edgar.

--Ron Moyer

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael C LoMonico <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 16:34:32 EST
Subject: 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

In response to Ed Wells' question, the last four lines of Lear are given to
Albany in the First Quarto (Pied Bull).  All subsequent quartos and folios give
the lines to Edgar.

Mike LoMonico

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sara Vandenberg <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 15:09:06 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

Q assigns the last lines to Albany. As Kenneth Muir comments in his Arden
edition of the play, "Critics have argued that the last speech "should be given
to the person of highest rank who survives.  But Edgar has to reply to Albany's
speech, and the words 'We that are young' come somewhat more naturally from his
mouth than from that of Albany."

Sara van den Berg
University of Washington

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Keith Richards <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 18:15:21 -0500
Subject: 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

Albany speaks the last 4 lines in the 1608 Quarto (as printed in the Oxford
Shakespeare).

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Virginia M. Byrne <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 19:44:32 -0500
Subject: 7.0930 Q: Last Lines of Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0930 Q: Last Lines of Lear

I have always given it to Albany..never even entered my mind to give it to
Edgar...

Have you noticed that Major characters never seem to have the last lines
(Richmond in R3, Fort in H, Mal in the scot play...ok so Antony in JC)

(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           A.E.B. Coldiron <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Dec 1996 20:00:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0930 Q: Last Lines of Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0930 Q: Last Lines of Lear

Just happened to have my copy of the First Folio facs (Hinman) in reach; p. 817
(Folio 309) has Edgar speaking what he feels, or what he ought to say. Ditto
Bevington. Pelican notes that the quarto has Albany at 324. (My Riverside is
out of town, sorry.) Summary of issues involved w/the quartos (Q1, 1608? the
"Pied Bull" Q; and Q2, 1619 with a fake date of 1608) & folio (1623 of course)
is in Bevington Appendix I ppA-17-18, for a start.  Interesting stuff--I'll bet
the real experts are on this very list.  There's an essay collection--_Division
of the Kingdom: Shakespeare's Two Lears_ or something close to that--early 80s.
 Pollard's study early in the century of folios and quartos is always good.
Peter Blayney also wrote on this, I believe.

Your query reminds us how important textual and bibliographic annotations are
(or should be) to transcribers of electronic texts. Hope that helps, for a
start at least,

A. Coldiron
Visiting Scholar, Johns Hopkins University
Assistant Professor, Towson State University

(7)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pervez Rizvi <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Dec 96 12:19:15 GMT
Subject:        Last speech in Lear

On the question whether the last speech in Lear belongs to Albany or Edgar:
this is another of the differences between the Quarto and Folio texts, one of
the others being the absence from F of the servants' compassionate dialogue
after Gloucester's blinding, discussed here a few weeks ago. Q gives the speech
to Albany, F to Edgar.

If the current theory, that F represents Shakespeare's revised version of Lear,
is correct, it justifies giving the speech to Edgar in modern edited texts. But
one or two things can be said in favour of Q:

- It is usual in the tragedies for the senior figure of authority left alive at
the end of the play to say the final words (e.g. Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth,
Romeo, Julius Caesar, Timon, Coriolanus, Antony and Cleo, Cymbeline). In Lear,
this means Albany.

- The actual speech prefix in Q is "Duke". This is the kind of s.p. usually
found in foul papers, suggesting that, at least when he first wrote the play,
Shakespeare gave the speech to Albany.

- There's the theory that the copy for Q was put together by an actor or
someone else familiar with the play as performed. If so, this supports Albany
because such a person could be expected to remember accurately who spoke the
closing speech.

(8)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Nicholson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Dec 1996 18:42:48 -0800
Subject: 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0930  Q:  Last Lines of Lear

You get your choice. The first printing of _Lear_, the 1608 quarto (which the
editor of the on-line version you found in Sydney uses) says Albany. The First
Folio of 1623 gives the lines to "Duke." _Lear_ is a particularly messy play
textually since the disagreements between the quarto and the folio are more
frequent and more substantial than happens with most of the other plays. About
the last four lines, Kenneth Muir, editor of the 1972 Arden Shakespeare
edition, argues: "These lines are given to Albany by Q[uarto]; and critics have
argued that the last speech should be given to the person of highest rank who
survives. But Edgar has to reply to Albany's speech, and the words 'We that are
young' come somewhat more naturally from his mouth than from that of Albany."

And that's where Muir puts them. You pays your money and you takes, &c.

Skip Nicholson
 

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