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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Shakespear's(?) Titles
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0264  Thursday, 10 February 2005

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Feb 2005 08:51:48 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0251 Shakespear's(?) Titles

[2]     From:   Sarah Cohen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 Feb 2005 15:11:38 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0251 Shakespear's(?) Titles


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Feb 2005 08:51:48 -0000
Subject: 16.0251 Shakespear's(?) Titles
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0251 Shakespear's(?) Titles

Regarding Roger Schmeeckle's enquiry about whether the titles of
Shakespeare's plays might be "attributable to others (printers,
publishers, etc" Holger Syme wrote:

 >We have absolutely no evidence either way.

That's not right because we have eyewitness accounts of the plays in
performance. That Simon Forman wrote that he saw Macbeth, The Winter's
Tale, and Cymbeline is evidence that these were indeed the titles used
in performance.  Likewise multiple eyewitness accounts confirm the title
All is True in preference to Henry VIII and Antonio Foscarini's account
of the Venetian ambassador Giustinian's trip to a play called Pericles
confirms that title. (In the first 4 of these plays, the account
precedes first known publication, so there's no reason to suppose that a
book influenced the account.) These titles, then, are not attributable
to printers or publishers.

Somewhat less secure arguments could be made from the records of early
performance of The Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, and The Two
Gentlemen of Verona in relation to their publication histories. There's
evidence alright.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sarah Cohen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 Feb 2005 15:11:38 -0800
Subject: 16.0251 Shakespear's(?) Titles
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0251 Shakespear's(?) Titles

A publisher may have modified the titles of plays to avoid confusion,
but I doubt he would have done so to avoid copyright issues. As far as I
know, the first copyright statute in England was enacted in 1710.

Sarah Cohen

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