Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Hamlet Texts
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1448  Wednesday, 29 May 2002

[1]     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 28 May 2002 08:53:13 EDT
        Subj:   HAMLET Texts

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 28 May 2002 08:46:57 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1426 Re: Hamlet Texts

[3]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 28 May 2002 23:36:08 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: Hamlet Texts

[4]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 May 2002 00:04:19 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: Hamlet Texts (BBC Radio 4)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 28 May 2002 08:53:13 EDT
Subject:        HAMLET Texts

The value of having three versions readily at hand?  If they are cued to
do it, students can see how any entrance works when they watch how a
playwright or an acting company manipulates some of the possibilities by
changing words, timing, or indicated movement.  Some of the Q1-Q2-F
variants offer such possibilities. (See for example the actions and
dialogue immediately prior to Ophelia's first entry gone mad.)  But I'd
hope that editions would somehow highlight these out for readers.
Conventional stage directions and scene divisions disguise the energies
possible in performance when a director can build excitement through
swiftly enjambing the end of one scene with the beginning of the next.

Over the last couple of decades I've published two somewhat-fat essays
that readers of the three HAMLETs might like to know about.

"Back to Basics: Thinking about the HAMLET First Quarto," in Tom
Clayton, ed. _The HAMLET First Published_(1992) 257-91, chops away at
all the evidence and arguments that supported the then-orthodox view of
Q1 as a pirated bad version.

Earlier, "'Well-sayd olde Mole': Burying Three Hamlets in Modern
Editions," in Georgianna Ziegler, ed., _Shakespeare Study Today_ (1986),
37-70, looks at relatively larger-scale differences than those cited in
Ron Rosenbaum's NEW YORKER article.

Steve NewYorkerwitz

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 28 May 2002 08:46:57 -0700
Subject: 13.1426 Re: Hamlet Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1426 Re: Hamlet Texts

I do not grasp the point of David Wilson-Okamura's objections.

>Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > wrote:
>
>>The arguments against the Arden 3 approach to *Ham* strike me as
>>misguided and simplistic.  There are a wealth of conflated texts, and
>>one may wallow in them to one's heart's content.  None of them come as
>>close to what Shakespeare probably wrote as Q1, Q2, and F do
>>independently.  They are false constructs, cobbled together in an
>>editor's study that fool people into thinking they have Shakespeare's
>>*Hamlet.*
>
>A couple of assumptions need to be flagged here:
>
>1. Q1, Q2, and F are closer to what Shakespeare wrote than an editorial
>conflation.
>
>   Isn't this begging the question?

I don't think that it is.  Please keep reading.

>    If the early printed texts were
>    self-evidently superior to editorial constructs, there would be nodebate.
>    Ditto if we knew that F records    authorial revisions. But we don't.
>    Hence the need for discussion.

I believe THIS begs the question, because we were not discussing this,
but whether it is appropriate for Arden to publish the three texts
instead of a conflation.

But I'll deal with your issue.  Are the two Qs and F superior to
editorial constructs?  Both Qs and F are what we know about *Hamlet*,
along with collation.  Conflated texts are guesses.  I prefer what we
know to what we guess.

>2. Composite texts are "false constructs, cobbled together in an
>editor's study."
>
>    Yes, composite texts are "constructs,
>    cobbled together." But what is the
>    alternative?    The early printed texts are also "constructs, cobbled
>    together" by compositors -- from what materials
>    we do not know, though
>    we can speculate, and "under conditions that seem unpropitious" if what
>    you want is a transcription, either of what Shakespeare actually wrote
>    or the text that his company performed. Although the Folio was proof-
>    read with some care, there are still    lots of concessions to things that
>    have nothing to do with establishing    an accurate text. E.g., how many
>    pieces of e type are available at    the end of a page? how much space is
>    left at the bottom of the page?    See the Textual Companion to the Oxford
>    edition for examples and a brief discussion.

I have, thanks.  Long ago.

I'm not sure I grasp your point.  Do you assume I don't believe an
editor can make canny guesses about what our old friends the foul papers
contained?

Please don't assume that.  They may, but we are still in the realm of
guesses, not knowledge.  All we know is what is in the extant copies of
both Qs and F.  I like smart emendations and learn from them, but I'll
begin and end with what we actually know, thank you.

>    As for Q1, do you _really_
>    want to defend it as a _text_? I'm not saying it's unplayable, but if
>    you think that's what Shakespeare sounds like then you need to get
>    your ears checked.

Sigh.

I don't know why you make this personal.  My comments were still about
the appropriateness of the Arden approach.  I'll defend Q1 as one of the
three basic texts of *Hamlet* that survive.  I don't know if Urkowitz is
right about it being authorial, if Maguire is right that a case can be
make for it being a memorial reconstruction, but not a strong case, or
exactly what Q1 is.  Smart people disagree about the nature of this
text.  It is whatever it is, and must be considered, not dismissed.

Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 28 May 2002 23:36:08 +0100 (BST)
Subject:        Re: Hamlet Texts

David Wilson-Okamura declares that 'in five years [...] we will all
suddenly "realize" that Shakespeare was a poet at heart and that he
hated actors'.

This sounds strange to me. I should be grateful if David could explain
why he is certain that Shakespeare hated actors (despite the fact that
he was an actor himself) and why he did not write only poems instead of
plays if he was 'a poet at heart'. Or did I either misunderstand his
argument or miss a joke (again)?

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 29 May 2002 00:04:19 +0100 (BST)
Subject:        Re: Hamlet Texts (BBC Radio 4)

I cannot thank John enough!

Now I'm curious if any SHAKSPERean knows how (if possible at all) to
save this Real Player file/document of BBC Radio 4 interview on a disk
(or CD). Thanks in advance.

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.