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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: April ::
Re: Folger Ham.; Variorum; Cordelia and the Fool
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0438.  Wednesday, 9 April 1997.

[1]     From:   Paul Werstine <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Apr 97 10:57:24 EDT
        Subj:   Folger Hamlet

[2]     From:   Paul Werstine <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Apr 97 11:13:22 EDT
        Subj:   Variorum

[3]     From:   Robert G. Marks <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 09 Apr 1997 23:39:39 -0700
        Subj:   Speech Prefixes in "Lear" Cordelia, the Fool


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Werstine <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Apr 97 10:57:24 EDT
Subject:        Folger Hamlet

Many thanks, Fran, for using the New Folger HAMLET.  Sorry we couldn't
find a way of getting Q1 into the book along with Q2 and F, but the Q1
text is so widely variant from both Q2 and F that our system of brackets
just could not accommodate so much variation.  I like to use overheads
of passages of Q1 in class just to show my students what some of it
looks like.  My favorite Q1 bit is "O what a dunghill idiot slave am I."

Regarding "How all occasions" being marked as appearing only in Q2, not
in F: it's not just the soliloquy "How all occasions" that is in Q2
alone; most of the scene is in Q2 alone. What we call 4.4 is only 9
lines long in F, and consists only of dialogue between Fortinbras and
his captain; Hamlet does not even appear in F. So the square brackets
that in the New Folger identify a passage as Q2-only open  before the
entrance of Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and others ( [p. 201, 6
printed lines from the top of the page] the point where Q2 begins to
depart from F) and close after Hamlet exits, having delivered the "How
all occasions" soliloquy.  Hope this clarification helps.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Werstine <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Apr 97 11:13:22 EDT
Subject:        Variorum

Recent volumes in the New Variorum Shakespeare are Richard Knowles's AS
YOU LIKE IT (1973), Mark Eccles' MEASURE FOR MEASURE (1980) and Marvin
Spevack's ANTONY AND CLEOPTRA (1990); the next one, THE WINTER'S TALE,
will shortly be published.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert G. Marks <
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Date:           Wednesday, 09 Apr 1997 23:39:39 -0700
Subject:        Speech Prefixes in "Lear" Cordelia, the Fool.

I was delighted to read Greg McSweeney's response to my earlier post on
variations in the Q and F for _Lear_. I particularly liked his
description of how the Fool drops out of the play "sans glory, sans
thanks, sans any acknowledgment of the crucial palliation he's provided
the king's downward spiral."

I liked it because, as I believe that the Fool was really Cordelia in
disguise, for me these words apply to her, and our failure to
acknowledge her service to her father. I believe that she was the Fool
and that the original audience, King James I, would have seen her going
to heaven, at her death, to receive her Heavenly Father's reward in
fulfillment of Matthew 6:1-4, which says in part,
        when thou doest almes, let not thy left hand know,
        what they right doeth: That thine almes may be in secret:
        And thy father which seeth in secret, himself shall
        reward thee openly.

That this principle was highly valued by James I can be seen from this
excerpt from his _Basilikon Doron_:
        To conclude then, both this purpose of conscience
        and the first part of this booke; Keepe God more
        sparingly in your mouth, but aboundantly in your
        heart: be precise in effect, but sociall in shew:
        kythe [make known] more by your deeds then by your
        words the loue of vertue and hatred of vice: and
        delight more to be godlie and vertuous in deede
        then to be thought and called so; expecting more
        for your praise and reward in heauen then heere:
        and apply to all your outward actions Christes
        commaunde, to pray and giue your almes secretly:
        so shall ye on the one part be inwardly garnished
        with true Christian humility, not outwardly (with
        the proud Pharisie) glorying in your godlines:
        but saying, as Christ commandeth vs all, when we
        haue done all that we can, Inutiles serui sumus.
        And on the other part, ye shall eschew outwardly
        before the world the suspition of filthie proud
        hypocrisie and deceitfull dissimulation."

The difference between Cordelia's (as Fool) and Kent's service to Lear
is just that Kent (who like Malvolio is a kind of a Puritanical
Pharisee) blows his own trumpet while Cordelia says nothing of what she
intended nor of what she did. She left it to Lear to make known what she
had done with his "And my poor Fool is hanged....", though, of course,
she had no way of knowing that he would make it known.

Greg's objection to Cordelia's refusal to go along with her sisters in
their aged father's little game is not a new objection. But it ignores
the fact that James I was also very interested in the problem of
flattery. James wrote to his son that in choosing servants he should be
careful to choose those who were "speciallie free of that filthy vice of
Flattery, the pest of all Princes, and wracke of Republickes".

We cannot overlook the attitude of Cordella expressed in the 1605 _Leir_
"O, how I do abhorre this flattery!" Nor should we turn a blind eye to
her response to Gonorill's claim "I love my father better then thou
canst", namely, "Cor. The prayse were great, spoke from anothers mouth:
But it should seeme your neighbours dwell far off".

Cordelia's repeated "nothing" is a refusal to participate to a greater
degree even than her sisters in something that was abhorant to herself
and to King James I. She's no flatterer. She will "love and be silent" -
love and not say anything about it. Now that is love! She is not just
refusing to play along with her siblings and father.

I too find 1:4 interesting. The audience knew who Lear was, and who
Goneril was, but they didn't have a name for the Fool. About the same
time I think it was Dekker who had a play (the name escapes me at the
moment) which had a Fool named Shadow. If the members of the public for
whom, I believe F was designed, had thought of Dekker's Fool when the
words "Lear's shadow" were spoken by the Fool, then the Fool could have
been thought of by some, at least for a moment, as thinking about his /
her own identity.

This focusing on the identity of Lear followed Lear's meeting Goneril's
accusation, that he is encouraging riots among his followers, with the
question, "Are you our daughter?" But this followed immediately upon the
Fool's words about the cuckoo. Lear, of course, is addressing Goneril,
but the juxtaposition of the speeches could cause members of the
audience to suspect that the Fool is a daughter - Cordelia.  After the
bit about the shadow Lear questions Goneril's identity with the words,
"Your name fair gentlewoman?" But this question, like his earlier one
"Are you our daughter?" is juxtaposed with a statement by the Fool -
"Which they [Goneril and Regan] will make an obedient father" in Q, and
"Lear's shadow" in F. Following Goneril's further protest Lear
determines to go to Regan with the words, "Yet have I left a daughter."
Now the audience knows her heart already, both from the sources and Lear
to this point, and they know Cordelia's intention also from the sources
and from her earlier claims in this play, and could have seen her here
in the Fool.

Greg McSweeney wrote of the differences between Q and F arising out of
transcription of performances. The theory of memorial reconstruction is
often blamed for the differences.  But I don't believe it necessary to
postulate this theory. I believe the differences are largely calculated,
and probably come from Shakespeare's own hand. Consider, for example,
the following: It is evident from the text that no one else in Lear's
world came to identify the Fool as having been Cordelia. She received no
acknowledgment. Cordelia had said at the love test (1.1.224) that she
would do what she intended doing without speaking about it, "that you
[Lear] _may_ know" (Q), or "that you [Lear] _make_ known" (F) that her
reply to Lear in the contest didn't come with the evil connotation that
he had placed on it. In Q at the end of the "my poor fool" speech, Lear
can only manage "O,o,o,o,o." He makes the connection himself, he "may"
know himself, but he does not "make" it known to the people of his world
nor the audience - King James I and his court no doubt had made the
identification long before and seen the beauty of Cordelia's service and
the "Puritanism" of Kent. In F version, the version for the public, if
any members of the audience had not seen Cordelia in the Fool, they
would hear Lear "make" it known to them at the end when he says "And my
poor fool is hanged!....Do you see this? Looke on her? Looke her lips,
Looke there, looke there". These five short questions and statements
correspond in number with Q's "O,o,o,o,o". This difference between Q and
F is not caused by Q's being a "memorial reconstruction" by audience or
actors, but a deliberate revision, no doubt by Shakespeare himself.

If you would like to read a full treatment of this, send for my book
_Cordelia, King Lear and His Fool._  Email me for more details or send
order to:

Bob Marks
 

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