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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2334  Friday, 12 October 2001

[1]     From:   Steve Roth <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 07:57:21 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

[2]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 11:29:24 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 13:38:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2313 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

[4]     From:   Tony Burton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 14:58:04 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 07:57:21 -0700
Subject: 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

>From: Steve Sohmer

>1603. Next?

Okay, so when is your Othello paper coming out? (Some of us couldn't
make Valencia.) Next EMLS?

Thanks,
Steve
http://princehamlet.com

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 11:29:24 EDT
Subject: 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

What about the incongruous rhyming couplets scene between Brabantio and
the Duke that sounds like a passage in Selimus? Clearly Othello was
co-written by Greene just before he died and was resuscitated by Chettle
(and it's in the FOLIO).

...When remedies are past, the griefs are ended,
By seeing the worst, which late on hopes depended.
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone,
Is the next way to draw a new mischief on.
What cannot be preserv'd when fortune takes
Patience her injury a mockery makes.
The robb'd, that smiles, steals something from the thief;
He robs himself, that spends a bootless grief...

etc

Oh the poetry, oh the wisdom of the bard!!

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 13:38:21 -0400
Subject: 12.2313 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2313 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

John Briggs:

>The problem of "Othello" is this.  It is widely accepted that the Q text
>derives from Shakespeare's "foul papers".  There is similar agreement
>that the F text derives from an edited "fair copy," presumably by
>Shakespeare himself.

Yes, it is widely accepted, but Paul Werstine challenges these accepted
truths. How can you prove that a printed text is derived from rough
draft (i.e., "foul papers") or a "fair copy"?  The manuscript has been
prepared for the printer, and a compositor or two and a corrector of the
press stand between us and the manuscript from which the script has been
printed. We should also, perhaps, consider Bill Long's work on early
modern "promptbooks."

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony Burton <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Oct 2001 14:58:04 -0400
Subject: 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2324 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

The references to verbal "echoes" Shakespeare may have stolen from
himself, either from Hamlet to Othello or vice versa, or in other
comparable situations seem to me to go far into the realm of casual
speculation and poor critical methodology.  We are not talking about two
different authors, one of whom was creative and the other a magpie.
Shakespeare's inner creative vision gave rise to both examples (in every
such case), and HE is the authentic source of each one.  To say that he
copied, echoed, or borrowed from the earliest example of a particular
expression is entirely absurd, especially in light of the problematic
issue that we don't know whether he had written copies of his scripts
lying around to which he could refer.  We can use Occam's razor to
expose the most reasonable treatment of these correspondences:  he found
a later situation that brought to mind and image or phrase of his own
that aptly described an earlier example of a similar situation.  For
those who object that one case is different from its supposed parallel,
the challenge is for them to find the common feature which prompted a
literary genius to come back from the well of his imagination with the
same pitcher, and not to assume that his creativity suddenly escaped him
and left him grasping for old near-solutions.

Tony B

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