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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: 3 Henry VI
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2700  Friday, 30 November 2001

[1]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Nov 2001 10:11:01 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2694 3 Henry VI

[2]     From:   Briggs John <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Nov 2001 15:47:00 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.2694 3 Henry VI


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Nov 2001 10:11:01 EST
Subject: 12.2694 3 Henry VI
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2694 3 Henry VI

Just a quick word: (Can't resist!)

<< Robert Greene parodied a line
 from 3 Henry VI in a booklet entered in the Stationer's Register in
 September, 1592  >>

Without wishing to sound anachronistic this line was presumably parodied
from the stage in which case it was unlikely to be parodied from the
First Folio first published in 1623. The only play performed before that
from which it could have been taken (if that's the way it was) was True
Tragedy first published in 1595 in Octavo format but not entered on the
SR. Furthermore we do not know that it was Robert Greene who parodied
the line since the pamphlet in which the 'parodic' lines occur is likely
to have been written by Chettle. It is not called Greene's Groatsworth
of Witte for nothing (i.e. how many authors writing serious parody
include their own name in the title?).  Whether or not the Octavo text
of TT is memorial is open as they say, to contention.  Call me pedantic
but nothing in textual studies is:

> obvious enough that we didn't have to make it explicit

Whether or not the illustrious editors agree with Werstein or Maguire
seems irrelevant to me in a scholarly edition (without substantiation
that is).  Surely the point is to make as much evidence available as
possible in order that the reader may decide for himself. Crucial
ellipses of information make for crude histories of 'performance'.

Having said this I have not yet had time to read the new editions of
3HVI - being too engaged on statistical analysis of the Henry Sixth
sequence as a whole.

Can the question of authorship be answered? Probably not to everyone's
satisfaction. Should it be left open to further investigation?
Certainly.  "The Third Part of Henry Sixth by Christopher Marlowe" would
rather change the implications of the play would it not? (Not to mention
its performance and publication history).

All the best,
Marcus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Briggs John <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Nov 2001 15:47:00 -0000
Subject: 12.2694 3 Henry VI
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2694 3 Henry VI

John Cox is too kind in calling my remarks a review: I called them
"preliminary comments" and I stand by that!  Anyway, thanks are due to
him for responding so promptly, although I fear I am not totally
reassured by his response.  My own thinking is heavily influenced by the
Arden3 editions of Burns (Part 1) and Knowles (Part 2), so I was puzzled
that the editors of Part 3 were not so influenced (or influenced in the
same way by the scholarly climate of opinion that influenced them)!
Both Burns and Knowles are in agreement over date and sequence: that it
was Part 1 which was first produced at the Rose in 1592, and that Parts
2 & 3 had been produced (somewhere, and probably by Strange's Men) by
1591 at the latest.  Collaborative authorship was seen as a particular
issue for Part 1, although it was allowed for Parts 2 and 3.  I shall
look again at pages 44 to 49 in case I have missed something important
(as I may well have done: my "close reading" has only reached page 14!)
but I was under the impression that the question of collaboration was
being discussed without reference to suggested collaborators, or to Part
1 being "different".

I would accept that "Argument about the order of the Henry VI plays is
closely related to arguments about date and authorship", although I
would suggest it is more closely related to arguments about date than
authorship!  (The various protagonists' views on order and collaboration
are not necessarily logically connected to each other.) I am baffled
that any editor could be agnostic about order; after all, the evidence I
point to below might suggest the order 2,1,3: could anyone believe that
possible?

My position on the octavo is not that I regard it as a memorial
reconstruction.  I regard it as a "bad quarto".  But I favour Peter
Blayney's suggested explanation for "bad quartos" that is cited in the
Cox & Rasmussen introduction.  My position is that O derives (in some
way, as Blayney suggests) from a later production of Part 3 (under
whatever title), but not necessarily from a "reduced touring version".

During my dispute with Marcus Dahl I pointed out that roses figure
largely in Part 1 (hardly surprising for a production at the Rose!) and
yet Parts 2 & 3 contain no reference to the wearing of roses in the
text.  The SDs of O do, however, contain references to wearing of roses.
This can all be explained if Part 1 postdates Parts 2 & 3, but O derives
from a performance subsequent to the production of Part 1 (I must have
found this argument in Burns.)

John Briggs

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