The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1351 Friday, 30 July 1999.
Date: Thursday, 29 Jul 1999 22:44:08 EDT
Subject: 10.1326 Dating and Revision
Comment: Re: SHK 10.1326 Dating and Revision
Some bleary-eyed suggestions, smarting in our sweaty heat wave:
Jean Brink asks:
>Could I get some recommendations on the most important studies updating
>Taylor and Wells' Textual Companion on the charts used to establish a
>chronology of the plays?
On dating, try Don Foster's slouching-towards-completion work in
Shakespeare Newsletter and the material he has on file here in the
Foster, Donald W. "SHAXICON 1995." Shakespeare Newsletter 45 (1995): 28,
>Revision seems to be an increasingly popular idea. Has anyone tried
>sort out or draw distinctions between authorial revision and the
>interventions likely to have been made by compositors who wanted to
>impose the style of a particular printing house?
Here one must stumble through the foggy mists of bibliographic studies.
Moxon's guide or advice to printers (later in the 17th century) gives an
idea of what styling changes were expected. They're not much like what
authors do. A way (I think) to go about sampling the differences between
authorial and compositorial changes would be to work through alternative
texts of the Ben Jonson plays that we know he revised, and then look at
later editions of those texts set in another printing house. When I was
working through the LEAR texts I clocked the changes made by the
compositors when they set the 1619 second Quarto from the 1608 First.
B-o-r-i-n-g. Sort of thing that made "textual studies" synonymous with
dietary bran. Necessary but not amenable to normal discourse.
>Has anyone responded to Prof. Maguire in defense of memorial
Kathy Irace's work tries to support the memorial reconstruction stories,
but I think she's building on no foundations.(and her book was published
before Laurie Maguire's). She also more recently edited the Cambridge U
P volume of the Hamlet First Quarto. I don't know if she answers
Maguire in it.
Irace, Kathleen O. Reforming the "Bad" Quartos: Performance and
Provenance of Six Shakespearean First Editions. Newark, Delaware:
University of Delaware Press, 1994.
Jay Halio pushes the memorial reconstruction case for the texts of Romeo
and Juliet in a collection of essays he recently published.
The major glaring problems that the memorial reconstruction folks have
to blink away from are raised by Peter Blayney and others who look at
the economics of publishing, the regulations of play licensing, and the
practices of playwrights observable in extant manuscripts and printed
What is most fun is to look at chunks of variant material bigger than a
line or two. Then you see that if those were pirates at work they were
exciting pirates. Fine playwriting pirates. "Romeo Q1--1597" by
William Shakespeare and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter. That Ethel
deserves a monument.