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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: April ::
Speech Headings
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0204  Saturday, 5 April 2008

From:		Tom Reedy <
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Date:		Friday, 04 Apr 2008 07:40:25 -0500
Subject:	Speech Headings

I heard a talk a couple of weeks back where the lecturer said that the 
Shakespeare plays that have actors' names as speech headings (such as in 
Shrew, 3H6, 2H4, etc.) were most likely prompt copies rather than 
author's drafts.

Does anyone know how many of the other 300-some-odd Early Modern plays 
other than Shakespeare's have actors' names as speech headings? (I don't 
mean when actors appeared as themselves, as in *The Malcontent*.)

It seems to me that labeling them as prompt copies because of the speech 
headings is a bit of an overstatement, given that Shakespeare wrote for 
a specific troupe. If it were true that it is a characteristic of prompt 
copies, it seems to me that other examples from printed plays of the 
time would have a certain proportion of actors' names used as speech 
headings. The Battle of Alcazar, for instance, is most probably a 
shortened prompt copy, but I don't recall seeing any actors' names in it.

Tom Reedy

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