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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0351  Monday, 24 February 2003

[1]     From:   Elliott H. Stone <
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        Date:   Sunday, 23 Feb 2003 15:59:40 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus

[2]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Sunday, 23 Feb 2003 17:36:36 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus

[3]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Sunday, 23 Feb 2003 21:53:42 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elliott H. Stone <
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Date:           Sunday, 23 Feb 2003 15:59:40 EST
Subject: 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus

The first question that arises in my mind. Were Heminge and Condell
really the editors of the First Folio? Their letter in the F1 states
that they were.  However, it appears quite clear that Ben Jonson
composed that material and a much better case can be made that he was
actually the editor. The statement that someone in the printing house
decided to invent four new lines for Q2 of Titus Andronicus seems to me
to be a stretch. Could there be censorship involved in the decision to
eliminate these last 4 lines? My Riverside Press Edition reads, "See
justice done on Aron that damn'd Moore, /By whom our heauie haps had
their beginning:/ Than afterwards to order well the state,/ That like
euents may nere it ruinate."

If the audience for the play might have believed that the "state" was
not "Rome" but "England" and that the play was a parody of events in
Elizabethan England then there might have been a powerful reason for
eliminating these final lines!

Exeunt. /Finis

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Sunday, 23 Feb 2003 17:36:36 -0500
Subject: 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus

Richard Burt's "restoration" theory is an interesting one save for the
following problems.

First, there is almost no evidence that the text of a play quarto
mattered a great deal to 16th- and 17th-century printers.  I suggest
that Peter Blayney's essay in _A New History of Early English Drama_ be
consulted on the subject.  In other words, although we are very
concerned with the texts of Shakespeare's plays, there is very little
evidence that most Stationers of the Early Modern period were very much
concerned with such matters.  There were certainly no people around in
1600 when Q2 Tit. was being published who might be described as Burt's
theoretical "editors."  Also, I know of no one who would describe Q1
Tit. as "a perfect transcription of what Shakespeare wrote."  The most
any editor would say is that Q1 exists one step closer to such a
transcription.  I would hope no editor of Shakespeare in 2003 would
think that she/he is offering "a perfect transcription of what
Shakespeare wrote."

A second matter is where these changes occur.  In my last posting on
this I gave the readings and physical problems with Q1 leaf K4 [by the
way, I'd like to take this opportunity to correct the last word in the
first passage in Q2 from "use" to "woe"], but there are similar problems
at a similar point with leaf K3 as well [note that on the recto the
changes are at the front of the lines and on the verso at the back of
the lines, just as we should expect if the leaf is damaged at the foot].

Q1, K3r, TLN 2597-2601
And force you to commiseration,
Her's Romes young Captaine let him tell the tale,
While I stand by and weepe to heare him speake.

  Lucius. Then gratious auditorie be it knowne to you,
That Chiron and the damn'd Demetrius,

Q2
Lending your kind commiseration,
Heere is a Captaine, let him tell the tale,
Your harts will throb and weepe to heare him speake.

 Lucius.  Then noble auditory be it known to you
That cursed Chiron and Demetrius,

Q1, K3v, TLN 2634-2637
And from the place where you behold vs pleading,
The poore remainder of Andronicie,
Will hand in hand, all headlong hurle our selues,
And on the ragged stones beat forth our soules,

Q2
And from the place where you behold vs now,
The poore remainder of Andronicie
Will hand in hand all headlong cast vs downe,
And on the ragged stones beate forth our braines,

Several observations can be made, and have been made as long ago as 1929
by Joseph Bolton, as Andrew Murphy pointed out in his posting on this
subject.  First, the probable damage to leaf K3 is smaller than that to
K4 as one would expect, the former being one leaf further into the
book.  Second, it would not be unusual for an unbound play quarto to
suffer such damage as the examination of many books from the period
demonstrates (the one surviving copy of Q1 has almost certainly lost its
first leaf and serious damage has been done to bottom corners of B2 and
E1).  Third, by 1600 copies of Q1 may have been in short supply and seem
to have soon completely vanished until the single copy was discovered in
1905 (a similar mysterious history exists for Q1 Hamlet until the
discovery of a copy in 1823 and another in 1856), and Roberts'
compositors may not have been able to get another copy had they wanted
to.  Fourth, Q2 is a very faithful reprinting of Q1 save for the last
two leaves, including the centering of the speech prefixes on I2r of Q1
and I1v of Q2 (TLN 2237-2240), and Roberts' compositors depart from Q1
only in matters of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and the use of
italic.   I think nothing in this explanation of the Q2 readings assumes
that the printers were, "too dumb to recognize the real ending, which is
supposedly good and marked by the final, redundant couplet and  . . .
smart enough to rewrite the final line (of Q1) and then make up the
final four lines (of Q2) themselves."  What it does assume is that the
compositors were dealing with a text which had a very low commercial
priority; that they did not have time to go out looking for another copy
of Q1, if they could have found one; and that they knew by this stage of
things how long a type page was supposed to be and roughly how the plot
was all going to end and used their imaginations.  They did not know, as
they were not fortune tellers, that all copies of Q1 would go missing
for 300 years; that the author of this play, if they even knew his name,
would become so famous that we would be spending our time arguing these
cases; or that it really mattered if they did this cleaning up of
things.  They did not worship the text before them and were used to
making regular the irregular (there are scores of instances in this play
or in pretty much any other you would care to name which went through
two, or more, editions at the time).  They were just doing their job.

However, in fairness I must add that it is Q2 which cuts ". . . and at
this day, / To the Monument of that Andronicy / Done sacrifice of
expiation, /And slaine the Noblest prisoner of the Gothes. (TLN 43+ -
+3, A3v), though a compositor, or Roberts, might have noted that the
sacrifice is taking place on B1r and cut it without consulting anyone.
And there is the curious matter at D4v (TLN 976) where Q1 reads "bereaud
in blood," and in the one surviving copy this is crossed out and written
in the margin is "heere reav'd of lyfe" in secretary hand; the
compositors of Q2, perhaps also trying to make sense of this set
"embrewed heere".

As I said before, if this is revision it is of a very curious sort.

William Proctor Williams

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Sunday, 23 Feb 2003 21:53:42 -0000
Subject: 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0340 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus

Richard Burt may not have been born to be an editor: he is certainly not
a textual bibliographer.  I am sure that others will berate him for his
willful failure to grasp the argument so clearly outlined by Andrew
Murphy and William Proctor Williams.

But I wish to take issue with an idea that seems to spreading: the idea
that Shakespeare's texts were in some way edited for publication.
Richard Burt seems to think that there were editor(s) for the original
quarto publications.  I should say firmly that, whatever the origins of
the various quarto texts, there is no evidence that the printers or
publishers worked with editors.

The situation is less clear cut for the First Folio, and even David
Scott Kastan - who really ought to know better - in his Arden3 edition
(2002) of King Henry IV, Part 1 blithely writes about Heminge and
Condell being the editors of the First Folio and preparing the play for
the press.  He even seems to think that Heminge and Condell expurgated
the Folio text of 1H4.  I don't have access to ANQ, and I am not sure
how I would get access to it, but my enthusiasm for reading William B.
Hunter's "Heminge and Condell as Editors of the First Folio," is
diminished (despite Carol Barton's chiding) by his claims that John
Heminge's parts in MND, Much Ado, Titus and LLL influenced the FF stage
directions.  There is a far simpler explanation for FF stage directions,
one which is clearest in the case of 1H4, but which could well also
apply to the other texts in question, especially MND and Titus - that
they derive from late (post c.1609) theatrical texts.

Despite the evidence that Ralph Crane was employed to make manuscript
copies of some of the plays, I would maintain that the only editorial
procedures that we can be certain were undertaken on the First Folio
texts were:

(a)  Obtaining the texts of the plays, and selecting which texts to
print,
and
(b)  Dividing the plays into Acts.

Step (b) may have been done by the printer, but if we could understand
why it was done at all, I suggest that we would have a clearer idea of
what editorial work was done on the FF texts, and by whom.

John Briggs

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