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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0772  Friday, 22 April 2005

[1]     From:   Elliott Stone <
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        Date:   Thursday, 21 Apr 2005 16:17:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0746 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Apr 2005 02:05:24 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0740 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elliott Stone <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 Apr 2005 16:17:00 -0400
Subject: 16.0746 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0746 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor

It may be that I was wrong in my belief that the finger prints of Ben
Jonson were all over the front matter of the First Folio and so I
decided to check this out again and ran over to the Widener Library and
looked at their copy.  I noticed that on the very first page there was a
poem addressed "To the Reader". This was signed "B.I." which I believe
are Mr Jonson's initials. I looked at the second page and saw the famous
Shakespeare portrait. I noticed that it was drawn by one Martin
Droeshout who went to the same church as Mr Jonson. I went to the third
page and saw a Dedication to the Lord Chamberlaine who I believe was Mr
Jonson's employer. I then examined the "Epistle Dedicatorie" which I had
been taught, 50 years ago, was NOT written by Heminge and  Condell but
was in fact the work of Ben Jonson. I then marveled once again on one of
the greatest poems ever written in praise of William Shakespeare that
was signed by Ben Jonson.

I am not sure why there should be anything controversial about the first
of my claims?

I cannot take exception to the statement by that most learned scholar G.
Blakemore Evans who tells us in The Riverside Shakespeare p32 (I use the
1974 edition)that some of the plays have been "set from some form of
scribal copy: some from specially prepared transcripts by Ralph Crane".
This statement tells us nothing about Mr Crane being "The Accidental
First Editor". I have no dog in this fight, however, I have placed my
bet on Mr Jonson!

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 22 Apr 2005 02:05:24 +0100
Subject: 16.0740 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0740 Ralph Crane: Accidental Editor

Elliott Stone wrote:

 >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.

Well, I for one don't know that!  In fact, I can't make head or tail of
the "front matter".  It consists of a regular gathering of three sheets
(six leaves, 12 pages), with a non-conjugate leaf inserted (the engraved
title page, reverse blank), followed by a single sheet (two leaves, four
pages).  Why this extra sheet should be necessary is a bit of a mystery:
the two versos are blank, but there are three blank versos in the main
gathering that could have been used!  Does Hinman discuss the mystery
(and the order of printing) in Printing and Proof-reading?

 >It makes my blood boil when individuals allege that Shakespeare had to
 >resort to plagiarism from the known deadbeat, traitor, liar, swindler
 >William Strachey!

Was he related to the Lady of the Strachey who married the Yeoman of the
Wardrobe?

John Briggs

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