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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Re: Heminge and Condell
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0614  Monday, 31 March 2003

[1]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Mar 2003 14:04:03 +0000
        Subj:   Head Hitters

[2]     From:   Elliott H. Stone <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 Mar 2003 12:58:07 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0589 Re: Heminge and Condell


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Mar 2003 14:04:03 +0000
Subject:        Head Hitters

"Seems pretty clear to me", states Mr Grumman (24 March) on the subject
of editorship of the First Folio and so absolves himself of the horrible
anxieties of one of those irritating inconveniences of uncertainty that
so beset Shakespearean studies. I applaud his clarity of vision in such
an opaque world and wish I possessed such faith. Disappointingly there
is nothing that I can see that supports his contention. If he could
perhaps demonstrate what it is, within the substantial transcript of
prefatory material that he quotes, that specifically underpins his
belief I will applaud him to the echo.

"Nonsense", he writes, regarding Mr Stone's quote of W B Hunter quoting
W W Greg. What is nonsense?  The quote, the quote of the quote, or the
quote of the quote of the quote?  The primary sources are there for all
to read so it must be assumed that Mr Grumman's beef is with Professor
Greg's opinion.  Well, Greg has, of course, had his day and in more
recent times has been found wanting on the odd occasion - but not on
this topic. Another eminent scholar - Professor Wells - in his highly
readable Shakespeare for All Time, writes (p 97), "[...] We don't know
when the Folio was first planned, but my guess is that Shakespeare
discussed it with his colleagues during his last years. The men who took
prime responsibility for the book were John Heminges and Henry Condell.
[...] They were actors with no experience of editorial work, and they
carried out their complex task, or at least oversaw its execution by
others, with great diligence." This neatly summarises the potentials.

Perhaps they edited; perhaps they didn't. Possibly they co-ordinated,
supervised; even "collected and published"!

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not lie in Mr Stone's Ben Jonson camp
either.

Shakespeare's "Friends", as Heminges and Condell put it, comprised a
large number of experienced playwrights and many of them are to be found
in the King's Men. The one shortly to die of cirrhosis doubtless could
have been spared the rigours of treading the boards for a bit of
wielding the quill I would hazard.

Yours,
Graham Hall

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elliott H. Stone <
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Date:           Friday, 28 Mar 2003 12:58:07 EST
Subject: 14.0589 Re: Heminge and Condell
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0589 Re: Heminge and Condell

I do not understand why anyone would think, that Heminge and Condell had
anything more to do with the First Folio then to be the shepherds of the
collection, is to be considered new news Sir George Greenwood concluded
that the "dedication to the incomparable pair" drawing as it does on
Pliny and Horace may reasonably be supposed to have been written by
Jonson. Malone 200 years ago stated that Jonson had written at least
half of the address.  Chambers and Steevens were both inclined to favor
the claim for Jonson. The two dedicatees of the First Folio were William
and Philip Herbert the sons of the 2nd Earl of Pembroke and of Mary
Sidney. Mary Sidney is the famous Countess of Pembroke the devoted
sister of Philip Sidney. She collaborated with her brother on one of his
poetical works, was his literary executor, and was the patroness of the
poets that her brother had taken under his wing including Spencer. Her
son William surrounded himself with poets and scholars. John Donne was
one of his closest friends and Ben Jonson was his protege. In a bow to
the feminists on this site, it might well be believed that Lady Pembroke
was of great assistance to Jonson in the editing of the First Folio!

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

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