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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: LLW
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2420  Tuesday, 23 October 2001

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Oct 2001 20:51:23 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2407 Re: LLW

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Oct 2001 09:15:04 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.2394 Re: LLW


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Oct 2001 20:51:23 -0400
Subject: 12.2407 Re: LLW
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2407 Re: LLW

> I am baffled why so many, knowing what we do of editorial and printing
> practices of the time, and the specific history of the Folio itself,
> expect that it was complete.    --M. Yawney

I think it likely that the First Folio contained all of Shakespeare's
non-collaborative plays because:

(1) it DOES contain all the extant plays that scholars agree were his
alone;

(2) Heminges and Condell, who were his intimates for some thirty years,
SAID they'd collected all his plays.

But I do not find it baffling that some still believe the First Folio
did not contain all of Shakespeare's non-collaborative plays.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Oct 2001 09:15:04 +0100
Subject: 12.2394 Re: LLW
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2394 Re: LLW

Larry Weiss wrote:

>An odd mistake to make, and one which I do not believe Meres made
>anywhere else.

Hmm.  I think I'm being bluffed here!  I know absolutely nothing about
Meres and his work (other than the passage normally quoted) but I do
recollect reading somewhere that Meres was quite young when he wrote
Palladis Tamia, and that it should be regarded (in modern terms) more as
a piece of journalism than a mature work of scholarship.  Meres lists
six comedies and six tragedies (not four comedies, four tragedies and
four histories as stated earlier).  The six comedies are "his Gentlemen
of Verona, his Errors, his Loue labors lost, his Loue labors wonne, his
Midsummers night dreame, & his  Merchant of Venice".  This seems fair
enough: two of the titles are not in their modern form, but they had not
been printed then.  What then were his tragedies?  They were Richard II,
Richard III, Henry IV, King John, Titus Andronicus and Romeo and
Juliet.  Now, R2, R3 and KJ could easily be described as tragedies, but
could either part of H4?  And Senecan tragedy at that?  This seems to me
a clear example of Meres writing beyond his secure knowledge!

C. Fortunato wrote:

>What evidence is there that it was printed?

This could be a subtle and important point, just the sort of
breakthrough we were looking for.  All our assumptions are that the
reference to LLW is to a printed quarto text, but if it was to a
manuscript copy the picture would be altered.

Larry Weiss also wrote:

>and it is even possible that the quarto
> was not printed until after 1623.

This is another way out of a difficulty.  Unfortunately for both C.
Fortunato and Larry Weiss, T.W. Baldwin concluded (this is second-hand,
I still haven't been able to access my copy of his book!) that the two
leaves found in a binding in the early 1950s were from the ledger of a
stationer in Exeter.  They gave some details of sales during August 1603
and a list of books in stock.  Baldwin's interpretation has been
challenged, of course, but the challenges have not been taken seriously,
and his conclusions seem eminently reasonable.  Unless we are to believe
that there was a brisk market for literary manuscripts in Devon, then we
must conclude that there was a book with Love's Labours Won in its title
in circulation in 1603.

John Briggs

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