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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: Parallel Texts
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1314  Thursday, 29 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 28 Jun 2000 16:34:50 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts

[2]     From:   Ian Munro <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 28 Jun 2000 12:38:22 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts

[3]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 28 Jun 2000 21:46:52 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts

[4]     From:   Stephen Miller <
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        Date:   Thu, 29 Jun 2000 14:18:55 +0100 ()
        Subj:   Parallel texts (reply to SHK 11.1231, et seq.)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 28 Jun 2000 16:34:50 +0100
Subject: 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts

To stand one (or several) steps back from the arguments advanced by
Marcus Dahl  et alia.

There is the genetic text and the historicised text.

Marcus Dahl seems to be (implicitly?) arguing for a genetic text, where
every stage of the growth of the text (manuscript revisions, multiple
editions, etc.) is part of the text.

Perhaps, but this is a position which needs to be argued in theoretical
terms in its own right.  I'm dubious about this as a view of the nature
of the text we receive.  Leave alone several hundreds or thousands of
years of reader response to the nature of the text, and the way in which
most readers encounter +any+ text  --  with regard to dramatic texts,
how do you stage a genetic text?

I doubt if anyone would argue against the relevance of the documents
which underlie a text -- it's more whether these should be presented
+as+ text or +in+ footnotes.

As a non-Shakespearean analogue, consider the ballad-texts presented in
F.J.Child's +English and Scottish Border Ballads+ -- is the "text" of
any particular ballad one or the other of the texts which Child
provides, or the sum of these texts?

With regard to the historicised text, Shakespeare is complex but the
work of Sir Thomas Wyatt is (relatively) simple.  With Wyatt, the text
read any time before the early part of the twentieth century (by
Shakespeare, Donne, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, among others) was that
presented in +Tottel's Miscellany+ (1557).  The text read by present-day
readers is (with qualifications) based on the Egerton Manuscript.

It's not a question of which is the better text, but what +kind+ of text
we are reading.  and a reproduction of (simply) the Egerton, Devonshire,
Blage and Arundel manuscripts, together with +Tottel's Miscellany+
brings us no closer to "Wyatt's" text than a modern edited text based on
these witnesses.

Horses for courses -- who will uncrumple this much-crumpled thing?

Robin Hamilton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ian Munro <
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Date:           Wednesday, 28 Jun 2000 12:38:22 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts

Marcus Dahl writes:

>If there is more than one version of a work and this
>affects the meaning of the individual texts then I'm afraid you're
>rather bound to discuss the different variants as part of your study.

That sounds like a "yes" to my previous facetious question.  Given that
it takes Howard-Hill over 70 pages, plus notes and appendices, to
explore the relationships between the individual texts of _A Game at
Chess_, however, I'm not sure that this is a sensible possibility for
the 20 page article I just finished.  Perhaps we should stop writing 20
page articles.

>I am surprised that all you lovers of the
>so-called 'post-moden' do not relish the thought of multiple narrative
>and (apparent) equality of text.

I'm not sure who you have in mind here (did you mean "post-modem,"
perhaps?), but I imagine most of the people who are arguing with you do
relish doing some unediting of the Renaissance.  The problem is that in
pursuit of bibliographic purity you've put forward an absolute model
that a) seeks to stop people from doing perfectly reasonable things like
relying on the textual work of other scholars and b) has little to
recommend itself as an especially accurate picture of early modern print
culture.

Ian Munro

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 28 Jun 2000 21:46:52 +0100
Subject: 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1307 Re: Parallel Texts

To Marcus Dahl

>The Oxford eds. assume that 1HVI is a 'bad quarto' of
>some kind and yet the quality of evidence for this
>assertion is debatable.

Would you care to date and describe this quarto of 1H6, hitherto unknown
to Shakespeare scholarship?

>The ethos of Malone society is to present the
>text as clearly and with as little change as possible
>from the texts which they attempt to reproduce.

Your notion of "as little change as possible" needs closer examination
and reflection on your part. Printing something on acid-free paper is an
enormous change if your copy text is a disintegrating piece of vellum,
as is representing in typeface a text which only exists in handwriting
(as is the case with _The Book of Sir Thomas More_). You are privileging
certain changes (and certain decisions not to change) above others.
That's fine. But you pretend that your preferences represent minimal
interventions and others are maulings. That's unfair. So long as editors
explain their interventions, and don't pretend to have found an ideal
kind of intervention which suits everybody, their work should be taken
for what it is.

>If I am studying the authors, players, printers etc of the
>years 1590-1623 (say) then I wish to read as close a
>text as is possible to the texts those authors, players,
>printers produced.

Again I think you need to examine more closely your notion of "the texts
those authors, players, printers produced". The players might well think
their text to be the performance, and that isn't available in any
tangible form. The script might still exist, but if one wants to recover
the "performance" (ie what the players did on the stage) one might well
have to do certain things to the printed script to make it better
represent the performance. That's what certain editors--particularly
ones you disparage--do with great diligence.

Gabriel Egan

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Miller <
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Date:           Thu, 29 Jun 2000 14:18:55 +0100 ()
Subject: (reply to SHK 11.1231, et seq.)
Comment:        Parallel texts (reply to SHK 11.1231, et seq.)

On the Parallel texts question:

Why not print on facing pages a photo-facsimile of an early text and a
modernised edition of the same lines?  Richard Proudfoot suggested this
to me some years ago (and to a publisher who rejected it as too
expensive).  It seems to me as good a solution as possible to questions
surrounding textual emendation.

The modern editor could emend or comment as she or he pleases knowning
the reader can quickly spot alterations.  (The facsimile might need
annotation for variants too.)

Presumably an Internet version of this could be produced, though plays
with more than one source text would require ingenuity in laying out.

Sincerely, Stephen Miller
 

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