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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: Parallel Texts
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1259  Wednesday, 21 June 2000.

From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Jun 2000 19:25:35 EDT
Subject: 11.1246 Re: Parallel Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1246 Re: Parallel Texts

I'm not sure what "Obvious interpolations" Sean Lawrence refers to,
however if one is interested in how a text attains print and the
'origins' of that text - namely - Shakespeare, Greene, The Queens Men,
Tilney, Creede, Pavier etc then it is most important that the text is
not mauled by yet further hands (however well intended). As Pollard
pointed out, if two experienced students of writing Sir Walter Greg or
E. M Thompson when thinking only of the correct transliteration of a
text could produce different textual variants it makes a considerable
addition to the argument for the use of unammended and unedited texts (
here I would of course not disapprove of end note explanations of
textual or interpretative problems). Since the account given by other
influential critics such as Gary Taylor and Stanley Wells of the
chronology and authorial division/ stylistics and general vocabulary of
Shakespeare's works is also resting on largely unexamined historical
generalisation, textual interpretation and editorial theory (here I
point to you to the Textual Companion and the Oxford Works wholly
adopted textually and without comment by the Norton editors) I think it
is extremely important to the objective nature of critical exegesis that
there are texts available which represent as wholly as is possible (i.e.
facsimile or similar) the actual renaissance texts the critics purport
to discuss. I also refer you to what I perceive is a chronological
vagary in Stephen Miller's chronological account of A Shrew - namely it
was printed in 1594 so any apparent allusion to a DuBartas printed after
that date must be anachronistic (unless Shakespeare or whoever wrote A
Shrew read the poem in the untranslated original). I would also add that
many famous parallel texts (e.g. Rene Weis's King Lear or the Oxford
Works - 'History of King Lear / Tragedy of King Lear' ) which one might
read for a comparison between two purportedly 'original' texts are in
fact edited and as such of no use to any critical arguments concerning
authorship priority, revision etc . Issues of chronology are themselves
often high jacked by critics with an apriori agenda - e.g Bloom, Bate et
al. who without any research into the actual historical facts concerning
a text go on to make large scale attributions of 'genius' or 'failure'
etc without a hint of empirical doubt. This in my mind amounts to -at
best - critical laziness and -at worst- dishonesty. The 'obviousness' of
areas of textual interpretation and ambiguity seems to me precisely a
contradiction in terms.

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