The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2354 Tuesday, 16 October 2001
Date: Monday, 15 Oct 2001 12:27:42 -0400
Subject: 12.2344 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
Comment: Re: SHK 12.2344 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
David Crosby contributed a useful clarification that sharply reduces the
differences between our views. But he goes on to say
"All modern editions I am familiar with reject Q1 as having any textual
authority, and base their texts either on Q2 or F."
In fact, Q1 does have textual authority, and from as early as Dover
Wilson's "The Ms of Sh's 'Hamlet'" it was conceded to be a useful
control to consult in dealing with difficulties in the two better
texts. Albert Weiner's introduction to his edition of Q1 also defends
the play in other terms, and Steve Urkowitz has written at length in
favor of its claim to a fair share of literary and dramatic respect and
against its glib rejection as an inauthentic and incoherent document.
As an aside, my impression is that the modern editions, generally, cite
Q1 once or twice in support of editorial choices -- while taking care to
scatter the necessary caveats like radar-defeating chaff, in all
Since we are, here, talking about a "difficulty" in textual study
(relevant to a question of dating), it still strikes me as poor
methodology to bring to the table any dismissive prejudgment about the
authenticity or authorship of a piece of evidence about which the very
task before us is to form a clear opinion of its standing as either
authentic or faulty, as either authorial or the creation of others,
before drawing conclusions about whether it was derived from another
document presumed (but of course never with provable certainty) to be
authentic and authorial.
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