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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Complete Works; A. L. Rowse
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1146.  Friday, 14 November 1997.

[1]     From:   John McWilliams <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 15:02:12  +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1141  Re: Complete Works

[2]     From:   Stephanie Cowell <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 16:22:12 -0500
        Subj:   Complete Works, and A.L. Rowse


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John McWilliams <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 15:02:12  +0100
Subject: 8.1141  Re: Complete Works
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1141  Re: Complete Works

> Surely, this must be a joke: the NEXT definitive edition? Why from an
> author long since dead, we should demand a brand new definitive edition
> every year!
>
> What is the matter, can't you just ENJOY?

Dear P.H.,

It wasn't meant to be a joke... The Riverside has been the definitive
edition for a long time (not just a year) - by definitive, I mean the
one agreed to be the standard by scholars. Like the Margoliouth edition
of Marvell - anyone 'seriously' (sorry to use the word) interested in
Marvell knows that edition. I'm aware of textual difficulties with
Shakespeare and perhaps the idea of a standard edition is indeed out of
date, or was always an impossibility. I was hoping perhaps to raise some
discussion on this topic if anyone was interested - I think it's an
interesting topic, anyway.  Also, I want to buy a complete edition and
can't afford more than one - I was just asking advice as a few have been
published very recently, it's a tough decision and I thought the
list-folk might help.

Of course I enjoy Shakespeare (I just finished re-reading Henry IV Part
I and it's fantastic - very funny and really quite gripping). But JUST
enjoy... you're kidding, I'm a would-be academic - you can't expect me
to be that hedonistic, can you?

Cheers,
John

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Cowell <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Nov 1997 16:22:12 -0500
Subject:        Complete Works, and A.L. Rowse

This is my first response to the data base. My heart leapt up at John
McWilliam*s letter re the plethora of Shakespeare editions and his words
*Can't you just enjoy?* I am a historical novelist (*The Players: a
novel of the young Shakespeare,* out last spring from W. W. Norton) and
I just recently joined the Electronic Shakespeare.  I am quite
fascinated by what everyone has to say in all the e-mails I receive
daily, but my main interest and passion is reading the work itself.  I
want to let the words and characters wash over me, I swim in them, and
simply love them.  Now and then I've begun to wonder what's the matter
with me that I don't want to hunch over five editions comparing them.  I
simply want to be with WS's words and characters and through them, the
sense I get of the man, an emotional rather than a pedantic response.
Does that make me a lightweight Shakespearean? But I guess each fan to
his own methods of loving the writer and his work, the production and
purchase of new editions being one....my own, which is to try to make
him come alive in fiction, is scandalous enough to some!

By the way, for anyone interested, I have a little article in the next
Shakespeare Newsletter about  the late Dr. Rowse whom I knew and who was
my historical mentor and, to me, a kind, humorous, and generous man.
Does my affection and admiration for him make me persona non grata with
many scholars? Hope not!
 

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