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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0740  Tuesday, 19 April 2005

From:           Elliott Stone <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Apr 2005 22:32:16 -0400
Subject: 16.0559 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0559 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor

I can agree with Mr Briggs that Heminges and Condell were certainly not
the first editors of Shakespeare. However, the accolade should rightly
be bestowed on Ben Jonson and not on Ralph Crane. We all know that
Jonson's fingerprints are all over the front matter of the First Folio
including having written the very material that Heminges and Condell's
names were subscribed.

I do not believe that this should be called a "dubious honor". It must
have been a monumental task for Jonson who was superbly qualified to do
the job.  Jonson must have been especially proud of his completion of
Shakespeare's work on the Tempest. This surely is the reason for its
rather striking place as the first play in the First Folio. The very
wrong idea that Shakespeare in the Tempest cribbed from William
Strachey, who was himself the personification of the plagiarist, must
once and for all be rejected. The correct understanding is that Jonson
gave the Bermuda material to Strachey from work on the Tempest that he
was in the process of revising. Professor Kitteritge understood that the
island was in the Mediterranean. This point was sadly allowed to slip by
Mr Jonson.

Mr Strachey and Mr Jonson were partners in the Children's Theatre. I
join Prince Hamlet in shuddering at what actually must have taken place
at that venue. It makes my blood boil when individuals allege that
Shakespeare had to resort to plagiarism from the known deadbeat,
traitor, liar, swindler William Strachey!

Best, Elliott H. Stone

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