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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Re: Martius or Marcius
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1098  Wednesday, 30 June 1999.

[1]     From:   Douglas McQueen-Thomson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999 10:34:14 +1000
        Subj:   Martius or Marcius

[2]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Jun 1999 19:13:05 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1089 Martius or Marcius


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas McQueen-Thomson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999 10:34:14 +1000
Subject:        Martius or Marcius

Jack Heller writes:

>Is there a reason for preferring either Caius Marcius or Caius Martius
>as the original name for Coriolanus?

I have been wondering about that very question myself. Harry Levin's
Pelican edition uses 'Caius Marcius'. R.B. Parker's Oxford edition uses
'Caius Martius'. This latter edition includes the following explanation:
'Instead of correcting Plutarch's Marcius, Shakespeare retains North's
misspelling (also found in Holland's translation of Livy)'. (p. 168)

So, it seems that Plutarch used the spelling 'Martius', and North's
translation used 'Marcius'. I have not consulted a Folio facsimile,
though it sounds as though Shakespeare (or the compositors of
Coriolanus) used 'Marcius'.

If this is so, I wonder if there is a sufficient additional reason for
changing the name back from 'Marcius' to 'Martius'. The latter has a
more obvious military association, however this sounds like heavy-handed
editorial intervention to me.

And I am confused about pronunciation also. If the spelling was
'Martius', I would pronounce it (with Australian accent) as 'Mar -
shus', with two syllables. If the spelling was 'Marcius', I would say
'Mar - see - us', with three syllables. The BBC/Time-Life television
adaptation uses the pronunciation 'Mar - see - us'. Any further
explanation would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Douglas McQueen-Thomson

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Jun 1999 19:13:05 -0600
Subject: 10.1089 Martius or Marcius
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1089 Martius or Marcius

Jack Heller wrote:

>Is there a reason for preferring either Caius Marcius or Caius Martius
>as the original name for Coriolanus? I have found both forms in various
>editions of the play. I don't have a folio facsimile to consult on this
>question, but since the folio is the earliest extant copy of
>Coriolanus-the copy text for any edition, I'm not sure that consulting
>the folio would help. Why does Martius/Marcius vary among edition? And,
>by the way, how would one pronounce Marcius? Responses will be
>appreciated.

The Folio has "Martius" (following the spelling used in North's
Plutarch, Shakespeare's source), but the influential Lewis Theobald's
1727 edition changed this to "Marcius", a reading which has been
retained by some later editors.  Of the editions I have immediately at
hand, the Riverside, Arden, and the Norton retain the Folio's "Martius",
while the Penguin follows Theobald and has "Marcius".  I don't have the
Variorum handy to check, but my guess would be that as you go back into
the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries, the incidence of "Marcius"
would increase, since Theobald's influence was greater then.  But that's
just a guess; consult the Variorum (published in 1928) to be sure.

Dave Kathman

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