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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
The Use of Rolls?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0632  Tuesday, 5 April 2005

[1]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Apr 2005 16:13:11 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0617 The Use of Rolls?

[2]     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 01 Apr 2005 14:35:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0617 The Use of Rolls?

[3]     From:   Kim Carrell <
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        Date:   Friday, 01 Apr 2005 13:30:41 -0500
        Subj:   RE: The Use of Rolls


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Apr 2005 16:13:11 +0100
Subject: 16.0617 The Use of Rolls?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0617 The Use of Rolls?

Dear All,

There is of course Ed Alleyn's Part to Orlando Furioso which is
notoriously corrupt/ variant to the printed text (ascribed to Greene).

"Sir Walter Greg thought that the text of Orlando Furiosio provided
evidence of the Quarto's degradation from an original autograph of
Greene's play - while more modern critics such as Bradley explicitly
reject Greg's reading and, emphasising the importance of different
evidence, note the consistency of the play's quarto and scroll part with
the usual casting size of the Queen's Men - thus changing the question
of the manuscript's authority to one which concerns its theatrical
significance. A contemporary of Greene writing under the pseudonym of
'Cuthbert Cony Catcher', accused him in the satirical pamphlet 'Defence
of Conycatching' of selling his manuscript of 'Orlando Furioso' to both
the Queen's Men and to Strange's Men. If the accusation is true it could
provide a theatrical and authorial reason for textual variation: that
there were at least two companies performing or having access to two
'texts' of the same 'play' both written by the same author but
presumably adapted to the stage in different ways...

Alfred Hart, like Greg, thought the quarto text of Orlando Furioso to be
inferior in poetic merit to Alleyn's part and in his 1942 book 'Stolene
and Surreptitious Copies'   argued that Orlando Furioso Q1 retains
"barely three hundred lines of the version of Orlando's Part which
appears in the Dulwich MS [Alleyn's Part] but the mistakes made by the
actors offer proof that Q1 is surreptitious." Hart then argues that the
Q1 lines: (Q1.604-6)

Faire Flora make her couch amidst thy flowres,
Sweet Christall springs, wash ye with roses,
When she longs to drinke. Ah, thought my heavn;

are "defective metrically and in sense" and that the lines in Alleyn's
part are the correct ones - an answer to the "defective .stupidity" of
the other line. Hart argues that the Quarto is wrong to have ' with' for
'her'. Surely though, Hart is wrong: e.g.

Kinde Clora make her couch, fair cristall springs
Washe you her Roses, yf she long to drinck
Oh thought, my heaven, etc.

It is the Alleyn part that makes no sense - why would "clora" (Chloe
meets Flora?) want her roses washed if she wanted to drink? The Alleyn
plot is indeed quite different to the Q1 Orlando text which claims to
have been 'plaid before the Queenes Maiestie', but holds out rather a
different possibility that there are at least Three Kinds of Text -
Actorly, (Alleyn's Plot) Manuscript (Green's foul papers?) and Stage
Redaction / Revision (Q1) etc. There is perhaps no simple dichotomy (as
scholars such as Peter Alexander held) between poor memorial copy and
authentic autograph. There are several ways of viewing a theatrical
document - whether from a literary perspective, a bibliographic
perspective or a theatrical perspective - all of which views will
perhaps change our opinion of the actual document in hand - and the
evidence required in order to understand it.  For instance, Alleyn's
part does seem in many places to be either missing parts, or subtly
different. However the Quarto also contains what appear to be blind
repetitions (or transpositions to an earlier scene) e.g. l.759-769 not
in Alleyn's plot:

Villaine, provide me straight a Lions skin,
Thou seest I now am mightie Hercules:
Looke wheres my maisies club upon my necke.
I must to hell, to seek for Medor and Angelica,***
Or else I dye.
You that are the rest, get you quickly away,
Provide ye horses all of burnisht gold,
Saddles of corke because Ile haue them light,
For Charlemaine the Great is vp in armes.
And Arthur with a crue of Bristons comes
To seeke for Medor and Angelica.***

The above passage thus raises questions concerning (1) originality and
literary value -namely -is a single playwright capable of this kind of
repetition (or as in the earlier example, senselessness); - and (2)
bibliographic- namely- whether the repetition is not more likely to be
an unwitting printer error  -either a misreading of the author's text or
a mechanical print mis-setting rather than an author's or actor's
mistake (3) The new text could be a playhouse alteration: whereby an
actor creates a 'new' part by writing down his original part from memory
- perhaps to replace a lost or damaged part. This seems a likely
explanation of many obvious Quarto errors and such errors as those found
in Alleyn's part. It seems unlikely that a rowdy Elizabethan audience at
the The Rose or elsewhere would have noticed that a repetition or
omission had been made.  Indeed, the repeated lines could have been
adapted in order to provide a theatrical cue. In this way a text becomes
a sort of palinscript document and can be seen to have multiple authors
though it originates from just one.  For example, it may be that Greene
wrote Orlando Furioso, but that Alleyn rewrote his part from memory. If
any of Alleyn's amended parts were included in the quarto play, then the
text which was published has become a multi-part document: consisting of
some sections of Greene's original text and various actorly
memorialisations or adaptations..."

[From notes for forthcoming publication]

All the best,
Marcus Dahl

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 01 Apr 2005 14:35:18 -0500
Subject: 16.0617 The Use of Rolls?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0617 The Use of Rolls?

John Briggs doubts the existence of rolls. W. W. Greg, ed. 1931.
Dramatic Documents From the Elizabethan Playhouses: Stage Plots, Actors'
Parts, Prompt Books. Vol. 2: Commentary. 2 vols. Oxford. Clarendon
Press, gives some information about rolls, and as I recall an example.
John may also check the OED; "role" derives from the French r

 

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