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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Shakespear's(?) Titles
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0294  Monday, 14 February 2005

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 18:29:12 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 23:43:22 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles

[3]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 15:23:47 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0256 Greenblatt Discussion Forum / Shakespear's(?)
Titles

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 23:47:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 18:29:12 -0000
Subject: 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles

I hate to quibble when Hardy's time and patience are (necessarily)
limited, but Holger Schott Syme has shifted ground:

 >I insist that we have no evidence whatsoever that those
 >titles were coined by Shakespeare -- which was
 >Roger's question.

It wasn't Roger's question. That question (posted in SHK 16.0241 on 7
February 2005) was

<< Is there any evidence that the titles of Shakespeare's
plays are attributable to Shakespeare himself, either as the
author or having approved of them? or are they attributable
to others (printers, publishers, etc.)? or do we not know? >>

That the company performed certain plays under known titles is clear
evidence that Shakespeare approved those title, hence it was wrong of
Syme to answer "We have absolutely no evidence either way".

More interesting (and hence Hardy-worthy) than my pedantry about this
would be some examples from Syme of stationers entering books under
altered titles to avoid conflict with already-registered books. If there
are some well-known cases, I apologize in advance for not knowing or
having forgotten about them. I'd be genuinely interested to learn.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 23:43:22 -0000
Subject: 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles

Stanley Wells wrote:

 >In case anyone is still interested, the connection between Greene's
 >and Polonius's use of the word 'beautified' goes back at least as far
 >as M C Bradbrook in her Shakespeare: The Poet in his World (London,
 >Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978), p. 50: 'Yet it must be assumed, from
 >the pains he took to  counter it, that the attack cut deep. Years
 >after, Polonius remembered that "beautified" is a vile word.'

I am grateful to Professor Wells for pointing this out, but it makes it
all the more mysterious that neither Harold Jenkins in his Arden2
edition of "Hamlet" 1982, nor G.R. Hibbard in his Oxford edition of
1987, mentions this.  Indeed, Harold Jenkins doesn't mention
Shakespeare's use of "beautified" in Act 4, Sc 1, of "The Two Gentleman
of Verona", presumably on the somewhat misleading grounds that it isn't
there exactly an adjective. (He writes: "Though Shakespeare several
times uses the verb 'beautify', it is only here that he uses the
participial adjective /beautified/.")

John Briggs

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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 >
Date:           Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 15:23:47 -0000
Subject: 16.0256 Greenblatt Discussion Forum / Shakespear's(?)
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0256 Greenblatt Discussion Forum / Shakespear's(?)
Titles

Tom Krause wrote (on the Greene/"beautified" connection): "Holden has it
(as he does much of what's in WITW), so we can rest assured it's been
around for some time.  Holden also points out that Greene might have
been deliberately echoing Shakespeare's use of "beautified" in The Two
Gentlemen of Verona."

Thanks to Tom Krause for this information.  I would rather be inclined
to see Shakespeare's use of the word in "Two Gentlemen" as a riposte to
Greene, and that the date of the play is therefore somewhat later than
we have been thinking recently.  The "early start" theory has certainly
had a baleful influence!

John Briggs

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 23:47:22 -0500
Subject: 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0274 Shakespear's(?) Titles

 >"Copyright" as a technical term was sloppy. But we do know that
 >publishers who had entered a book under a specific title had the power
 >to challenge the right of other publishers to print entirely different
 >texts if their titles corresponded too closely to the previously entered
 >one.

All along I had been under the impression that the registration of the
book on the Stationer's Register gave notice that there already was such
a book, so plagiarists beware.  If all that were protected was the
title, I agree it would afford precious little protection.
Interestingly, under contemporary copyright law, titles are not protected.

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