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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Date of King John
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0315  Wednesday, 16 February 2005

From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 14:35:16 -0500
Subject: 16.0303 Date of King John
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0303 Date of King John

Michael Egan describes 1 Richard 2 as follows: "a series of stage
managers and/or directors, altered, added, subtracted and in various
practical ways amended the text.  Speeches and lines are deleted or
inserted, entrances changed, speech-heads corrected or redistributed,
etc."  And Eric Rasmussen, "The Revision of Scripts," writes: "Every
extant dramatic manuscipt from the period shows signs of revision"
(441).  So we must expect manuscript revisions.

Michael continues: "Despite the signs of heavy theatrical use indicated
by alterations to the original,  the MS of 1 Richard II is perfectly
playable and without the contradictions and mistakes in John previously
itemized."  Since I do not have a copy of the manuscript, I will agree
for the sake of argument that the script is actable as is.

But my question about what compositors might do with such a script is
really unanswerable. Would they try to print all of the alterations,
additions, subtractions, insertions, changes, etc., or would they become
confused, make educated guesses, and possibly cut what Michael may deem
needful for an actable script? I imagine that each compositor might
react differently to such an ms.

Regarding the deposition scene in Shakespeare's Richard II, it is not
absolutely certain that the scene was cut. Perhaps it was not written
until after Elizabeth's death.

Bill Godshalk

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