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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Burgundy and France
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2064  Tuesday, 23 November 1999.

From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Nov 1999 17:41:54 -0500
Subject: 10.2047 Re: Burgundy and France
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2047 Re: Burgundy and France

Pervez Rizvi indicates some of the possibilities confronting an editor,
and I'd like to point out some other possibilities.

First, the Oxford Textual Companion accepts the hypothesis that The
Tragedy of King Lear  (F) is Shakespeare's revision of The History of
King Lear (Q1). If we accept that "France" is a mistake for "Burgundy,"
then Shakespeare (apparently) made the same mistake twice, once in his
first draft, and then again in his revision.

But if the Oxford editors are correct (Companion 529), Shakespeare's
initial manuscript (his foul papers) was used to set the first quarto,
while a copy of the first quarto was used by Shakespeare for this
initial revision.  This marked up copy of Q1 was then the basis for
manuscript B (a prompt-book of the revision, or, as the Oxford editors
call it, a redaction).  This manuscript (B) was then used to mark up a
copy of Q2, which was then used as copy for setting the First Folio.
(Whew!)

So these two playbooks (original and revision) were read and/or copied
by various early seventeenth century professions: the playhouse
bookkeeper, perhaps two press correctors, two compositors, possibly an
independent scribe or two, plus, of course, our playwright.

Now, one might argue, for example, that the hypothetical change from
"Burgundy" to "France" was made by the compositor who set the line in
Q1, and that this mistake was simply not noticed by the corrector of the
press, Shakespeare, the bookkeeper, and/or any other interested person.

Or, one might argue that Shakespeare wrote "France" (and meant to write
"France") and that no other early seventeenth person who read the line
apparently thought it unusual enough to "correct." On the other hand,
the Enter Gloster and Edmund stage direction (Q) is changed (corrected,
if you wish) to Enter Gloucester, and Edgar in F.

In any case, I find that Duthie and Wilson (old Cambridge edition)
anticipate my suggestion that "compliment" is "sarcastic." They cite
1.2.23 where Gloucester says that France parted in choler-which can also
be construed as ammunition for Professor Wells' position!

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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