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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: March ::
Re: Facsimiles
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0305.  Monday, 3 March 1997.

[1]     From:   Louis Marder <
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        Date:   Saturday, 22 Feb 1997 11:40:20 PST
        Subj:   Re: Facsimiles

[2]     From:   Ken Steele <
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        Date:   Monday, 3 Mar 1997 07:49:32 -0500
        Subj:   Facsimiles


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Marder <
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Date:           Saturday, 22 Feb 1997 11:40:20 PST
Subject:        Re: Facsimiles

Mention has been made of the Yale Folio.  Fredson Bowers told me when it
came out:  "Louis, be careful about what you say about the Yale
Facsimile.  It is the only "facsimile" with errors!"  What happened is
that when they made the negatives to print this edition, the pages
showed many show-throughs.  To avoid difficulties in reading they used a
pen or brush to obliterate what showed through.  In doing this,  they
obliterated some of the ascenders of the d's and decenders of the y's,
etc., disguised some punctuation destroying the character of the
letters. See the articles in The Shakespeare Newsletter for several
reviews and comments. (Vol. 4, 1954, pp15,34,37,40,41 and Vol. V. 1955,
pp.27,33 )  Professor Helge Kokeritz put act, scene, and line numbers at
the foot of each wide-margined page which measured 9 x 11 1/4, a
reduction of about 5%. Charles Tyler Prouty wrote a brief Introduction
that suffered unfortunate comparison with W.W.  Greg's huge volume on
the folio that he was preparing as an introduction for his own facsimile
of the Folio.  This latter edition had been expected and there were some
who said that Yale rushed its edition into print to grab the market.
With 3200 in the first edition and two subsequent editions in which they
claimed that all the "errors" were corrected, the Oxford facsimile never
did appear. Some British critics were accused of anti-American bias.
Actually a reviewer said that not all the copies were bad, but had
suffered in the printing.  But after all, the edition was sold for
$12.50 (it had foundation support) with a $2.50 discount for SNL
readers. It was called "the poor man's Folio".  A two volume interleaved
limited edition of twenty-five copies was also issued and sold for
$25.00.   Halliwell [Philliipps'] octavo edition of 1887 was printed
with ten lines to the inch; the Yale with seven lines, making it easier
to read.  Charlton Hinman,  the great folio collator said that the HP
had "touched up" and interpolated better pages,  but it was quite
correct after all.  See my Bibliography of first folios in SNL which I
compiled for 1973, the 300th anniversary of the first.  Most of these
are in my own collection if anyone wants to come to look at them.
Consult Charlton Hinman's two volume analysis of the Folger's folio
collection for all you would want to know about the great volume. Louis
Marder >
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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ken Steele <
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Date:           Monday, 3 Mar 1997 07:49:32 -0500
Subject:        Facsimiles

I've been waiting for the more eminent textual scholars among us to
point this out, but so far none has.

There are some serious "editorial" issues, even in the purchase of a
supposed "facsimile" text of Shakespeare. Other than quasi-facsimile
transcripts, which are obviously not the "text itself," the real risk in
purchasing a facsimile other than the Norton is that you will be seduced
into believing you have the First Folio as originally printed (whatever
that is) in front of you.

Randy McLeod and Steve Urkowitz will be quick to point out that, even if
you are reading the Hinman (Norton) facsimile, that nothing can be
trusted. But at least Hinman did the most thorough job researching
stop-press variants and type damage in the Folio, and presented the
"later" versions more carefully than most "cheap" facsimiles.

Notwithstanding its shortcomings, the Hinman facsimile is the most
scholarly approach to a Folio facsimile so far. Anything else is a
quasi-talismanic, perhaps spiritual experience, but not a scholarly
text. Whatever you do, don't blindly use a facsimile - ANY facsimile -
for scholarly work on Shakespeare.

Yours,
Ken Steele, President & Creative Director
Stainless Steele Communications
 

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