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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: April ::
WordHoard
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0362  Thursday, 27 April 2006

[1] 	From: 	Robin Hamilton <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 21:28:29 +0100 (BST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0355 WordHoard

[2] 	From: 	Martin Mueller <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 16:00:55 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0355 WordHoard


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robin Hamilton <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 21:28:29 +0100 (BST)
Subject: 17.0355 WordHoard
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0355 WordHoard

Norman Hinton

 >The Middle English Dictionary managed to cite the
 >individual manuscripts
 >of Chaucer in its entries, rather than attributing
 >all entries to an
 >editor's "Chaucer".  The remark quoted earlier in
 >the string about
 >conflated modern Shakespeare texts implies the same
 >problem with the
 >Word Hoard text of Shakespeare.

While I'd agree with the precision in citing individual prints and MSS 
rather than editorial reconstructions, I'm not sure whether the parallel 
here is entirely exact.  There are-what, sixty? -- MSS of The Canterbury 
Tales (as there are also, roughly, of +Piers Plowman+, where the problem 
is further complicated by the existence of the A-, B-, C-, and Z- 
versions).  The single-manuscript Gawain and the Green Knight might be a 
better analogy.  Hamlet and Lear are, in Shakespearean terms, closer to 
the exception rather than to the norm.

Robin Hamilton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Martin Mueller <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 16:00:55 -0500
Subject: 17.0355 WordHoard
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0355 WordHoard

May I repeat once more that there is no way in which WordHoard replaces 
"myne eres aken" with "my ears ache." It categorizes 'aken' as a plural 
present form of a verb that is listed in the OED under the lemma "ache." 
It tells you 'eres' is the plural form of the noun that the OED lists as 
'ear'. It is the case that WordHoard, like Benson's glossarial 
concordance, recognizes only the manuscript forms that are represented 
in the Riverside Chaucer. That is good enough for many purposes, but not 
good enough for others.

You can 'modernize' a Shakespeare text without messing up the prosodic 
structure of the text. A modern Shakespeare text could be defended on 
the grounds that it removes a phony layer of orthographic strangeness. 
Shakespeare's texts did not look old-fashioned to the readers of the 
First Folio in 1623. This is a version of the argument about the 
authenticity of performing older music on original instruments. Playing 
a Bach violin suite on a violin with gut string and playing without 
vibrato will not make the music sound as it sounded to Bach. What we 
hear above all is the difference from the sound of a modern violin.

You cannot 'modernize' a Chaucer text without messing up its prosody. 
You could create a standardized text that observes the prosodic features 
of the text but spells the same word the same way wherever it occurs. 
Talbot Donaldson did something like that many years ago, and a good case 
can be made for its utility.  It didn't catch on, perhaps because 
readers like the quaint variance of old spellings.

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