The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0010 Monday, 7 January 2008
From: Gerald E. Downs <
Date: Thursday, 3 Jan 2008 17:04:44 EST
Subject: 19.0004 Understudies
Comment: Re: SHK 19.0004 Understudies
Steve Urkowitz writes:
Two brilliant books I'm reading right now do much to de-mystify the
processes of playwriting and transcription: Grace Ioppolo, DRAMATISTS
AND THEIR MANUSCRIPTS IN THE AGE OF SHAKESPEARE, JONSON, MIDDLETON, AND
HEYWOOD: AUTHORSHIP, AUTHORITY AND THE PLAYHOUSE (Routledge, 2006) . . .
I haven't seen the second title, but I'm familiar with Ioppolo's book
and I wouldn't characterize it as brilliant. Because her subjects are
possibly not well known, students ought not to be recommended the book
without a worthy reading list for comparison and a warning to look for
poor argument. 'Foul papers' is a major topic. Renaissance play-makers'
rough drafts got a lot of attention when the New Bibliography postulated
them as printer's copy to account for corruption in a large number of
Shakespeare's (and others') plays, particularly the 'good quartos' and
Folio texts. Imperfections in foul papers were determined by errors
found in printed works that seemed to be in a state of near readiness.
For twenty-five years Paul Werstine has led a critical inquiry into this
'mere construct', since "there are no complete manuscripts in single
authorial hands that bear out the features of Greg's foul papers"
('Shakespeare', in Scholarly Editing, 267). Commentary often ignores
this circularity. For example, some early Shakespeare editions include
actors' names in the text. Werstine examines the theory that the names
were supplied in early drafts by Shakespeare himself ('McKerrow's
Suggestion', 167-68). Greg endorses the possibility in The Editorial
Problem: "It is true that [the suggestion] is unsupported by any
evidence in the extant manuscripts . . . but to this it may be replied
that it is in the foul papers that the author's use of actors' names
would appear, and that they probably would be eliminated in the course
of preparing the promptbook" (40). Werstine notes of this 'tortured
logic': "It is ironic that McKerrow's 'Suggestion,' so much a product of
his imagination, should continue to be supported as editorial theory by
imagined evidence." Werstine is responding to Greg's concept of foul
papers, idealized as "the text in the form the author intended it to
assume" or "the text of a play substantially in its final form" ('Plays
in Manuscript', A New History of Early English Drama, 488). Ioppolo
adjusts the definitions of Greg and Bowers (created to reflect the state
of the printed criteria) in order to nominate Heywood's 'The Captives'
as foul papers. Honigmann suggested years ago that general theorizing on
foul papers "turns on this text" (Stability, 200: he argues that The
Captives is a fair copy). An unintended consequence of a restricted
definition is that validity of the hypothesis has come to depend on
discovery of at least one manuscript to give the genre an empirical
basis. The question is not whether dramatists began with rough draft
pages, but whether complete draft copies survived to serve as the
printer's copy-texts; or might their anomalies result from actions on
'fair copies,' which are well represented in the real world? One example
of foul papers will not establish a norm. Practically, Heywood's 1624
play could not be much help on the question of printer's copy for
Shakespeare plays; but it could confound assertions that no foul papers
exist. Ioppolo finds her definition not in good quartos but in the
familiar word-processing continuum: first draft to something worth
delivery, and anything in between. Foul papers so nebulously defined are
not of use because the printed texts too obviously drive the foul-paper
hypothesis. Further, Heywood's manuscript does not fit Ioppolo's own
definition, despite her claims beginning a few years ago. In "The
Transmission of an English Play-Text" (A Companion to Renaissance Drama,
2002), Ioppolo ascribes a definition to the dramatists: "By 'foul'
papers authors meant the first complete draft of a new play . . ."
(165). Raising the issue of The Captives, she notes: "Although some
scholars have claimed that no extant example of foul papers exist [they
probably phrased it differently] . . . The Captives . . . is clearly a
foul paper text" (165).
_The Captives_ (Malone Society, 1953, ed. Arthur Brown) was completed
in 'Ink 1' before Heywood went through it again with 'Ink 2', revising
a bit and cutting a large number of lines. Thus the manuscript is more
(and maybe less) than a first draft, even before taking into account
cuts and revisions by another, 'Ink 3'. Ioppolo may have noticed the
discrepancy, since in _Dramatists_ her definition of foul papers becomes
"simply . . . the working draft by the author(s)" (7). But it is not so
simple; her definition expands in the appropriate chapter: "for
dramatists . . . 'foul' papers meant the working draft of a new play,
full of the types of cuts, additions, revisions, confusions, false
starts, incomplete outlines and loose ends and inconsistencies commonly
made in composition. These foul papers could contain 'currente calamo'
changes . . . or later changes made after the scene or entire play was
finished" (79). We can review Ioppolo's own loose ends.
1) 'Foul' copy is "a distinct category for a play manuscript, meaning
the completed authorial, working draft" (41).
2) " . . . foul papers could represent a completed draft but could be
less than complete" (78).
3) " . . . in making such [fair] copies authors could and did revise or
alter their texts in minor or major ways. As long as the text was
legible it need not have been consistent, regular, perfect, or even
visually appealing . . ." (7).
4) "The differences between the two texts . . . suggest an author
rewriting slightly in the act of copying from foul papers or another
fair copy, as well as making some major revisions" (100-01).
5) " . . . Heywood routinely tried to avoid copying his foul papers
whenever possible, finding his original compositions and revisions
6) "It was probably a rare dramatist who wrote his first draft so
legibly and fluently that it could be passed along to his theatre
company without being copied" (95).
7) "Heywood's secretary hand looks sloppy in The Captives, but it is a
fast, cursive hand that is still engaged in the process of composition"
8) "When [The Captives] is compared with Heywood's partly foul and
partly fair copy of The Escapes of Jupiter . . . it proves . . . to be
foul papers" (94).
These quotations comprise both the rationale and the failing of
Ioppolo's effort to relegate The Captives to foul paper status. One
needn't argue with some of the precepts: rough drafts may contain all
kinds of alterations; fair copies are tinkered with: but when the lines
are blurred between fair copy and rough draft (as they may well be)
proof of the nature of copy-text in the print-house must derive from
evidence. But Heywood's habits of are open to evidentuary question.
Ioppolo finds Heywood's 'routine' in three examples; Captives, Escapes
of Jupiter; and Hand B of Sir Thomas More (not by any means confirmed
Heywood). Captives may be a fair copy (a la Heywood). Ioppolo claims
that his hand was different if composing; but she acknowledges a 'partly
foul' Escapes of Jupiter. According to Greg, there "does not appear to
be any difference in style between the handwriting of the two plays"
(Collected Papers, 164). Henry Janzen (Malone Society reprint, 1978)
notes that Escapes agrees with Arthur Brown's account of The Captives,
and reports that Greg in Dramatic Documents even says that Escapes "is
rather looser" (vi).
Most of Escapes is derived from two other of Heywood's plays, though
much is virtually rewritten. Apparently no investigator has detected a
difference in form, and Ioppolo makes no such argument. Both Escapes and
Captives then are mostly (fair or intermediary) copies, or Heywood was
consistently sloppy and no judgment can be made about any 'composing
hand' in The Captives. Heywood must have known his own limits; If he
'routinely' passed off unreadable copy, he would not have been employed
and he wrote of his "difficult" and sometimes "unacquainted" hand
(presumably referring to a fair copy). Yet the theatrical reviser seems
to have been able to read The Captives. The question must be decided by
evidence in the manuscript. Ioppolo's case for foul papers in this
respect is deficient. She either misrepresents features of the
manuscript or she opts not to fully explain her observations. For
example, in her discussion of its first page, (fol. 52a):
"[Heywood] has made some major cuts in Treadway's and Raphael's early
speeches by simply drawing a vertical line close against the margin . .
. . These deletions are also 'currente calamo' because they begin with
. . . 'for instanns, who so ffond', which was rubbed out while the ink
was still wet. However, Heywood probably added the second horizontal
line . . . sometime later . . ." (98).
Of these speeches Arthur Brown notes: "The deletion [of line 10, 'for
instanns . . . '], the cancellation of 11-34, the deletion of 'yet'
and insertion of 'all' in 35 are in Ink 2" (1). Ioppolo does not say why
she disagrees with Brown. (By 'horizontal' she must mean 'vertical', but
she does not quite say the parallel deletion lines are in different
inks, when Brown speaks only of Ink 2). Line 10 is deleted by a line
drawn through it in ink 2. Even so, the words are legible; one has to
wonder if Heywood really intended to rub them out first time round; here
and elsewhere he deletes by strike-out. Does 'currente calamo' even
describe a 26-line deletion? Why, after writing them, would the author
(of 200 plays) begin their excision by 'rubbing out' only the first
line? It is more likely that the whole passage was canned in a general
shortening after submission to the players, as were nearly 200 lines in
all. The only alteration of this page in Ink 1 (per the Malone Society
transcript) that affords an inference seems to be '[otian] Oceans' at
line 15, where the deleted 'word' may indicate that Heywood failed to
read his own writing while copying, mistaking a 'c' for 't'. Otherwise,
the page exhibits, as Honigmann asserts of the entire manuscript, a
"remarkable cleanness" (206). Ioppolo minimizes the extent of the
reviser's work (Ink 3): "What these conclusions demonstrate is that the
book-keeper's only substantive changes to dialogue and content are his
cutting of two minor characters and their speeches in one scene" (113).
But Ink 3 makes four cuts in Act 2 totaling about fifty lines. Heywood's
extensive cuts (in Ink 2) must have been with the concurrence of the
players. These deletions and the theatrical revisions therefore fall
outside any prior definition of foul papers.
After properly considering the evidence of handwriting, ink, and late
deletions, there is not much internal evidence capable of certainly
deciding the 'foul paper' issue for The Captives. Ioppolo implies that
the manuscript is more indicative than it is, not only by arguing the
first page (2003, 2006), but also folio 56a, "clearly a foul-paper text
(see plate 7)" (2002, 165). The plate's caption mentions "authorial
'currente calamo' revisions" (166). Yet again, lines 626-9 are canceled
in Ink 2 and lines 662-70 (as part of a larger deletion into the next
page) are cut by Ink 3; of which late revisions Ioppolo does not inform
her reader, who must suppose them to be 'currente calamo'. Alterations
by Ink 1 on this page are few and of little consequence. However, one
anomaly may be significant, though it seems not to have been argued: a
deletion occurs at the top of the page, in Godfrey's lines:
Sr Content But I hope your ffishermen have not
putt to Sea this [Im] night. Iff they have I sweare,
they have shewed them-selves mch madder then the
This passage exhibits a number of Heywood's habits: doubled letters,
especially ff; abbreviations; use of capitals, including 'C' (commonly
intended to avoid confusions caused by the lower-case secretary 'c').
Heywood probably used a majuscule initial 'I' for the same reason. For
example, at 603 he has 'to Indanger'. Most, but not all such longer
words begin with 'I'. Conversely, 'in' and other short words usually use
the lower case 'i'. Brown describes another Heywood habit: "The writer
shows complete indifference to the number of minims in such letters as
m, n, and u, so that it is impossible to decide, for example, exactly
how he spelt the word tumult" (viii). Of course the letter 'i' would add
to the confusion if it were dotted carelessly. I surmise that Heywood
used the upper case initial 'I' to avoid worsening this 'vague minim'
category. In line 598, the author corrects to 'put to sea this night.'
If no word beginning 'Im' fits the context, Heywood was not composing;
on misreading the first letters of 'night' as 'im' (from an extra minim)
he capitalized to 'Im' before noting his error, which would have
occurred only in copying. If so, the manuscript delivered to the
players was probably a 'fair copy.' I reported earlier on this group
that Ioppolo failed to explain her reasons for differing with prior
scholarship on Sir Thomas More. She has again 'come too short' by
failing to explain her treatment of the physical evidence of The
Captives. In a scholarly work that should be the first priority. She
compounds this error by habitually referring to controversial matters as
if they weren't. Werstine's critiques call into question the theory that
printed texts of Shakespeare derive from 'foul papers'. Ioppolo accepts
without question that eighteen of the canon were printed from drafts.
Yet she utterly disregards the definitions of 'foul papers' on which
Greg and others based their theory.
Gerald E. Downs
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.