The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0426 Wednesday, 1 March 2000.
Date: Tuesday, 29 Feb 2000 08:32:51 -0000
Subject: 11.0410 Re: Twelfth Night
Comment: RE: SHK 11.0410 Re: Twelfth Night
I am actually quite circumspect in my assertions, but I shall try and
answer Bill Godshalk's points as best I can. Firstly, I regard 1623 as
"contemporary": whoever made the transcript of TN that was the printer's
copy (and whenever they made it), they were considerably closer to the
time of the performance of the plays than we are. Secondly, I make the
rash assumption than the person (presumably the transcriber, possibly an
"editor") who inserted the act and scene divisions knew what they were
doing: if we think they were "wrong", how do we know we are "right"?
Act divisions are believed to post-date 1609 (don't ask: it is
presumably something to do with indoor theatres...), and hence not be
authorial. Scene divisions are relatively unusual in the First Folio
(about one third of the plays). Thirdly, the "scene division" in
question (exit without a time-break), is not particularly unusual: there
are three examples in Edward III, and the latest editorial thinking is
not to insert a scene division in these circumstances.