The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2239 Friday, 17 December 1999.
Date: Thursday, 16 Dec 1999 09:30:34 -0800
Subject: Re: Quartos and Folios
Comment: SHK 10.2232 Re: Quartos and Folios
Since we are looking at Laurie Maguire's fascinating book, she says
something early on that bothers me very much, but I'm not sure if I
should be bothered.
She lists things unsatisfying about the memorial reconstruction theory.
On that list she puts something that is arguably one of its strengths.
It explains too much. It explains many, many problems in the bad
quartos, and Maguire sees that as a weakness.
In science that is considered a strength. Why was Einstein's theory so
readily accepted? Because one theory explained so many phenomena better
than the many theories it replaced. Why haven't physicist quit trying
to understand the universe? Because, there are still phenomena it does
IF developing a theory of the nature of these texts is analogous to
science, Maguire could be making an error. IF it has a different
nature, she may be on to something.
My problem is that I don't know how to evaluate the analog. Is it real,
or should this problem not be considered in the same way? I have been
butting against this for about six months, with no real progress. Of
course, that could mean there is no difference, but this seems like a
good opportunity to ask for help.
Granted, the elegance of memorial reconstruction to explain so much does
not make it right, but in science that elegance would make it the best
theory until it is replaced. That is why I reminded us that physicists
are still working to better Einstein. I look forward to someone
bettering New Bib and Maguire.
OK, that is the background. Here is my question. Has anyone a way of
evaluating the analogy? Should the preference for elegance apply to
theories of bad quartos (or as Maguire prefers, suspect texts)? In not,
why? How is the logic of problem solving different for science than for
these quartos? I can't find a difference, but would appreciate the
insights of this list.
Here is one thing I may have figured out. Maguire, perhaps, has not
succeeded in explaining the suspect texts, but she has done a good job
finding weakness in memorial reconstruction, thus giving others, like
current physicists, a chance to build on her work and formulate a more
elegant theory than memorial reconstruction.
Your comments are appreciated,