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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Van Dyck's Suckling and the Running Title
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0704  Tuesday, 16 March 2004

From:           Ivan Lupic <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004 17:39:21 +0100
Subject:        Van Dyck's Suckling and the Running Title

This is, of course, mere pedantry but I would appreciate any kind of
clarification nonetheless.

In his book _Shakespeare and the Book_ (Cambridge, 2001) David Scott
Kastan mentions a full-length portrait of Sir John Suckling by Anthony
Van Dyck (now in The Frick Collection, New York). He describes it as
follows:

"His [i.e. Suckling's] left hand is at the book's upper-left corner,
holding down about half its pages; his right holds up the bottom of a
single leaf, revealing the double-columned page beneath that sits atop
the remainder of the thick folio volume. The running title of the
right-hand page exposed by the lifted leaf is marked HAMLET, and a label
protrudes from the volume's fore-edge with a word written in Roman
majuscules: SHAKSPERE." (p. 11)

_Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist_ by Lukas Erne (Cambridge, 2003)
reproduces the portrait in colour on its jacket indicating that "[t]he
book Suckling is holding is a Shakespeare Folio, the running title on
the right-hand page being HAMLET".

Because I am obviously not much of a bibliographer I find the term
"running title" a little confusing here. The running titles I see in
this picture are right above the two columns of print (on both the left-
and the right-hand pages) and they do look like the usual running titles
found in the Shakespeare First Folio (the only Shakespeare Folio
available to me in facsimile). I would, in addition, expect some sign of
a page number on the right-hand page (as part of the running headline)
but that may be just a bit too much to expect from a painting. The word
HAMLET, however, appears above one of these "running titles" and it does
not look to me like a running title at all (nor like a title, for that
matter). Was it usual for running titles to be set in capitals? And in
case HAMLET is neither a running title nor a title, what is it?

Ivan Lupic'

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