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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: May ::
Re: the Onlie Begetter
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0420  Tuesday, 5 May 1998.

[1]     From:   William Williams <
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        Date:   Monday, 04 May 1998 08:16:42 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0415  Re: the Onlie Begetter

[2]     From:   Simon Malloch <
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        Date:   Monday, 04 May 1998 22:17:39 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0415  Re: the Onlie Begetter


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Williams <
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Date:           Monday, 04 May 1998 08:16:42 -0500
Subject: 9.0415  Re: the Onlie Begetter
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0415  Re: the Onlie Begetter

Bill Godshalk says:
------------------------
Actually a British scholar whose name evades me (Honigmann? Jenkins?),
has suggested that, since in the secretary hand a long {s} might very
well look like an "h," the initials may have been "W. S." in the
manuscript, and misread by the compositor as W. H.

This explanation supposes that Thorpe (and/or Shakespeare himself) did
not read proof, and that Eld's proofreader didn't pick up the mistake.
If this printing was commissioned by Shakespeare himself, does this seem
likely?  Maybe. Maybe an author always expects his or her name to be
spelled correctly!

Yours,  W. H. Godshalk
----------------------------

However, long s exists only in lowercase in any hand, or print, and
although one very rare form of it does look like a modern uppercase H,
this would presuppose that whoever produced the manuscript wrote the
initials in lowercase (hardly likely, I would think) and that early
modern compositors had as much trouble reading Secretary Hand as we
have.

As to reading proofs, I assume horizontal collations (machine or by eye)
have been done.  Have any stop-press corrections turned up which would
indicate proofreading?

WPW

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <
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Date:           Monday, 04 May 1998 22:17:39 +0800
Subject: 9.0415  Re: the Onlie Begetter
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0415  Re: the Onlie Begetter

[W. L. Godshalk wrote]

> Maybe an author always expects his or her name to be spelled correctly!

Not always it seems,  especially given the spelling standards of the
period,  and,  indeed, the variations of spelling apparent in
Shakespeare's own signatures.

A different example: when Boswell quoted Johnson's correspondence,  he
manually included the extra letter "l" at the end of his own name, an
addition which Johnson seemed disinclined to credit.  No assumption here
it seems;  and one wonders whether it was important enough to be an
issue between them,  beyond Boswell's silent posthumous corrections.

One would, at the very least, expect that Shakespeare would have
corrected such a basic point as the first letter of his surname.
Perhaps he too was fooled by the handwriting!

Simon Malloch.
 

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