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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Heminge and Condell
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0584  Monday, 24 March 2003

From:           Elliott H. Stone <
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Date:           Saturday, 22 Mar 2003 14:41:52 EST
Subject:        Heminge and Condell

John Heminge and Henry Condell were both actors described as one of the
26 "Principal Actors" in the First Folio. Heminge was also apparently
the business manager of the King's Men. They both were left small
legacies in Shakespeare's will. They are best known for their claim of
responsibility for the First Folio. W.W. Gregg in his monumental thesis
the SHAKESPEARE FIRST FOLIO, as recently pointed out by W. B. Hunter in
ANQ: vol. 15 #4 Fall 2002, asserts that the two actors in their address
to prospective readers "say nothing to make us believe that they
personally performed the arduous duty of detailed supervision." However,
it has long been pointed out that it was very unlikely that they were
even the authors of their own dedicatory epistles.  Now there has been
further research to show that the sources of the First Folio were not
the papers that would usually be found at the playhouse but rather
manuscripts casting further doubt on the two actors claim that they
either collected or ordered the texts.

In view of the fact that Ben Jonson's fingerprints can be found not only
in this dedicatory letter but all over the first part of the First Folio
and for many many other reasons, we can certainly posit that he was the
man that did perform the arduous duty of detailed supervision. OR TO SAY
IT IN BRIEF, "JONSON WAS THE EDITOR OF THE FIRST FOLIO". This being
understood, we can then approach our understanding of various
alterations, additions, and even censorship of various aspects of
Shakespeare's work in the First Folio in the proper light. We might
start with the Tempest and find easy answers to troublesome age old
queries and then continue on to unravel page after page of this our most
renowned and celebrated book, our Homer and our Dante and truly our
Canon.

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

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