Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: "Leaking" Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0267  Monday, 5 February 2001

[1]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 04 Feb 2001 04:03:55 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0247 Re: "Leaking" Plays

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 05 Feb 2001 07:53:32 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0247 Re: "Leaking" Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 04 Feb 2001 04:03:55 +0000
Subject: 12.0247 Re: "Leaking" Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0247 Re: "Leaking" Plays

> I think that most scholars believe the 1604/1605 version (Q2) is related
> closely to Shakespeare's own autograph manuscript, while the 1623
> version (F1) is in some way -- there are different theories -- related
> to a theatrical manuscript, one that has been "edited" for performance.
> Q1 (1603) -- the leaked version? -- is anyone's guess, or should I say
> theory?  But note that Q2 went into print only a year or so after Q1.
> Did Q1 sell out very quickly, and was another edition called for?  Is Q2
> also a leaked version?
>
> Yours, Bill Godshalk

One explanation that makes sense is that the 1603 "bad quarto," the
pirated road version, forced Shakespeare to publish the true version (as
it stood at that time) in 1604, in order to protect his reputation as a
good writer. He may not have wanted to publish, but knew that the longer
the weak version was available, the stronger the impression in the minds
of the audience would become, and the harder to eradicate. He published
the 1604 version to replace the weak version with the better version, to
put the record straight, as it were. All the details seem to me to point
in this direction.

Stephanie Hughes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 05 Feb 2001 07:53:32 -0600
Subject: 12.0247 Re: "Leaking" Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0247 Re: "Leaking" Plays

This whole business of the early quartos seems to have gotten lost in a
labyrinth of inadequate information, leading to soothsaying not
criticism.  If a reasonable degree of historical fact about the
publishing of plays cannot be established, then any argument based on
cultural history is irrelevant.

If we go back to the texts we find that we probably ought not to
generalize too much. Some are quite satisfactory Elizabethan plays,
though arguably inferior to the later versions. Some are pretty badly
butchered, with a good deal of very inferior material mixed in with the
same or roughly equal texts as the later versions. For this latter
group, the "pirated-memorial-reconstruction" theory works out most
logically.

Now then, if you wish to attack the PMR theory and offer a substitute,
you need show how your theory explains the available data (that is, the
first/bad quarto as compared to the second quarto and first folio) more
completely than PMR. Arguing from other quartos, like arguing from hazy
and disputed history, gets nowhere.

(For my money, the fact that a good second quarto always seems to appear
after a first, inferior quarto is going to take a lot of explaining. But
I'm open to reasonable argument.)

Regards,
don
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.