Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: January ::
Re: Editions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0152  Friday, 29 January 1999.

[1]     From:   <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jan 1999 10:27:12 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0142 Re: Editions

[2]     From:   Ronald Moyer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jan 1999 10:20:22 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0142 Re: Editions

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jan 1999
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0129 Re: SHK 10.0112 Editions

[4]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jan 1999
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0132 Re: Editions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer
<
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 28 Jan 1999 10:27:12 -0500
Subject: 10.0142 Re: Editions
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0142 Re: Editions

Michael Ullyot asks if old spelling editions of Shakespeare's plays
don't offer some scholarly benefit.  In comparing quarto and folio (both
facsimile and-I don't know the proper term-clear-type), and the Oxford
and Norton editions of RJ lately, I've found benefits that are clearly
aesthetic.  I haven't thought about it enough to make a call on whether
that would transfer to scholarship.

The graphic arrangement of the original editions-the margins, the shape
of the letters on the page, the shape of the words, the shape of the
lines, the shape of the text blocks-is interesting to me, as it offers
an almost tactile alternative to the readable but plain look of the
modern-spelling editions, and especially our modern, bland, right- and
left-justified printing.  (Old title pages are a particular joy, with
their freedom of font, point size, style, &c.) There are a number of
limited-edition twentieth-century releases of the plays which utilize
elegant page arrangements and type faces that Prof. Ullyot might
consult; some are even illuminated, to a degree, often with spectacular
result.

The spelling itself can be a hoot: it's a pleasure to see how words have
changed (and change within a text, speech, or even phrase).  It's a
delightful instability.  I often find myself smiling as I read
old-spelling editions, purely as a result of those spellings.  For some
reason (also unexamined) it makes the plays "feel" more immediate as I
read them.

(A morose aside: why don't I have the same pleased reaction when my comp
students demonstrate such variability in spelling, font, point size,
style?)

Both of the above are unscholarly observations, to be sure.  There may
be scholarly writing related to them.  I do know that an SAA seminar of
which I was a member tended to treat Shakespeare in print as a kind of
performance, an idea which I also seem to remember seeing in some form
in Laurie E. Osborne's "Rethinking the Performance Editions: Theatrical
and Textual Productions of Shakespeare" in _Shakespeare, Theory, and
Performance_ (Ed. James C. Bulman.  London:  Routledge, 1996)168-86.

This is a long way round the patch from Prof. Ullyot's original
question.  I guess my short answer is, I do think there's scholarly
benefit in old-spelling editions.  I just don't know where to go from
these initial impressions.

Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Moyer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 28 Jan 1999 10:20:22 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 10.0142 Re: Editions
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0142 Re: Editions

 [Much deleted]
>If anyone is aware of old-spelling editions of Shakespeare, readily and
>cheaply available, I would be buoyed to know of them.

Applause Books in New York has started publishing a series of
single-play, paperback editions of Shakespeare F1 texts.  These texts
are "Prepared and Annotated" by Neil Freeman, and are based on the texts
Freeman has self-published for several years.  Freeman, long an advocate
of the use of early texts as acting scripts, writes:

        What the First Folio sets on paper will be the basis for what
you
        see.  In the body of the play-text that follows, the words
        (including spelling and capitalisations), the punctuation (no
        matter how ungrammatical), the structure of the lines (including
        those moments of peculiar verse or unusual prose), the stage
        directions, the act and scene divisions, and (for the most part)
        the prefixes used for each character will be as set in the First
        Folio.

Freeman's introductory materials discuss early texts, changes in modern
texts, his approach to the structure of the scripts, and his footnoting
apparatus.  He does not provide glosses of words or phrases, but offers
extensive notation of variations in the early texts and
choices/additions/ variations in modern texts and uses symbols within
the text to guide the reader to notes and unusual structures.

I have happily used Freeman's folio texts as the bases for scripts when
directing and will soon begin rehearsals as an actor using one of his
editions.

Amazon.co.uk lists eleven (Cymb., Com., WT, H5, Caesar, Macb, Measure,
Merchant, MND, Romeo, Temp) of the Freeman/First Folio editions, as well
as Neil's Shakespeare's First Texts, a thorough discussion of his
approach to the early texts.

They list for (UKpounds) 8.99 (6.92+postage via Amazon.co.uk) or
(US)$12.95 ($10.36+postage via Amazon.com).  I have not priced them
through other vendors, as Amazon was closest to hand.

Best,
Ron Moyer, Univ. of South Dakota

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 28 Jan 1999
Subject: 10.0129 Re: SHK 10.0112 Editions
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0129 Re: SHK 10.0112 Editions

>Who was it who wrote (on the sonnets, I think) about losing
>shades of meaning when early modern becomes modern spelling?
>
>Michael Ullyot

I think this may have been Robert Graves in A Survey of Modernist
Poetry, in an analysis of Sonnet 126 (which influenced William Empson in
_Seven Types of Ambiguity_).  This would be maybe late twenties, and
Graves later reprinted the essay in The Common Asphodel.

Robin Hamilton

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 28 Jan 1999
Subject: 10.0132 Re: Editions
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0132 Re: Editions

>For serious work, though, a single volume is unwieldy. The only reason
>to choose a single-volume complete works is price.
>
>Ray Lischner  (http://www.bardware.com)
>co-author (with John Doyle) of Shakespeare for Dummies

I don't want to keep on harping on Nortons, but in scholarly terms, it's
textually better than Jenkins' Arden3 Hamlet of 1982 (when the composite
text debate was already well under way).  It lays the evidence out, more
conveniently than the Oxford Complete, by italicising the Quarto
additions, and so lets readers make their own judgements.  Also it's got
reasonable notes, and a selective collation list.  Beyond that, +no+
single edition is adequate.

And having the whole corpus in one's hand saves (at the least) traipsing
back and forth to the bookshelf.

But I do wish the paper was thicker (though the points have been made to
me that [a] it makes it feel like a Bible, and [b] if you're in prison,
you can tear bits out -- the introductions rather than the text, I'd
presume - to use to make roll-your-own cigarettes).

Robin Hamilton
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.