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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: September ::
WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0624  Wednesday, 19 September 2007

[1] 	From: 		Robert Projansky <
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	Date: 		Tuesday, 18 Sep 2007 02:06:15 -0700
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0617 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

[2] 	From: 		John Drakakis <
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	Date: 		Tuesday, 18 Sep 2007 13:44:58 +0100
	Subj: 		RE: SHK 18.0617 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robert Projansky <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 18 Sep 2007 02:06:15 -0700
Subject: 18.0617 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0617 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

Re Innogen/Imogen, is it not possible that in setting the type for 
Imogen the compositor simply used "nn" to make an "m"? I may be wrong, 
but I think that somewhere in my FF facsimile I've seen "vv" used to 
make a "w".

Bob Projansky

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Drakakis <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 18 Sep 2007 13:44:58 +0100
Subject: 18.0617 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0617 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

Sorry Gabriel,

I was writing from memory. Now that I have a xerox of M of V Q1 in front 
of me, let's get down to details. The line in question at 4.1 reads 
'Maisters of passion swayes it to the moode'. It occurs in the inner 
forme of sheet G where there is evidence of serious type shortages 
(especially roman cap W). From G3r to G4v the speech prefix 'Iewe' 
appears, and in the text these is substantial substitution of italic cap 
'I' for Roman cap 'I'.  These details are not insignificant.

'Maisters of passion' makes very little sense in this context and 
editors have sought to emend along the lines I suggested. It is possible 
that whoever set these pages in G(i)may (and I say this cautiously) have 
had in front of him something near to Shakespeare's foul papers. Some 7 
and 9 lines below the phrase verse lines beginning with 'm' are not 
capitalised ('must yield' and' more then'). 'Maisters' is capitalised, 
indicating either that the compositor had a small number of 'M' types 
available and/or that it was capitalised in the copy from which he was 
working. If we modernise the spelling to give the reading 'Masters of 
passion' then obviously this doesn't make sense. You may have noticed 
that in the Wells-Taylor Oxford Old spelling edition they print 'Mrs of 
passion  and in the modern spelling version they print 'Mistress of 
passion'. If the mss had contained 'Mistresse' then this surely would 
not have been confused with the plural 'Maisters'.  I reject Mahood's 
reading 'Masters oft passion' as being plausible but unnecessary. That 
leaves me with 'Masters'/'Mistress' as alternatives.

You are right to pull me up on my use of the term 'homophone' although I 
am sure that you will not need reminding that even Saussure admits to a 
phonetic element in language that we can't ignore. The issue here is not 
whether the terms 'masters' and 'mistress' sound the same OR whether 
orthographically speaking they could be confused with each other. I ask: 
is there a word that makes sense within this context that combines both 
meanings, and there is 'maistrice'. I then look to see if there are any 
similar occurrences of the conjunction between these two meanings in 
Shakespeare, and line 2 of Sonnet 23 provides just such an example. In 
the context of M of V' 'affection' IS the 'master/mistress' of passion, 
and so I make an editorial choice of 'Maistrice'.  It makes more sense 
than 'Maisters' and it does not alter the grammar of the line.  I am 
speculating that Shakespeare may have MEANT 'master/mistress', but I 
cannot be sure that in the ms. it was the spelling 'maistrice' that 
appeared.  In fact, I think that 'Maisters' may have been the 
compositor's version of it, but it might also have been Shakespeare's 
version of it too. We shall never know, but my conjecture aims to 
resolve the problem caused by the 'Master/ Mistress' alternatives, while 
at the same time seeking to maintain the grammatical structure of the line.

There you have it Gabriel. And apologies to others who may not be quite 
so interested in these textual minutiae.

Cheers
John Drakakis

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