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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: April ::
William Scott?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0193  Tuesday, 28 April 2009

[1] From:   Peter Holland <
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     Date:   Monday, 27 Apr 2009 16:41:40 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0186 William Scott?

[2] From:   Stanley Wells <
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     Date:   Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 12:46:44 +0100
     Subj:   RE: SHK 20.0186 William Scott?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Peter Holland <
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 >
Date:       Monday, 27 Apr 2009 16:41:40 -0400
Subject: 20.0186 William Scott?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0186 William Scott?

 >The recent portrait kerfuffle reminds me to ask about an earlier Stanley
 >Wells revelation, the mysteriously cloistered William Scott manuscript
 >he wrote up in TLS in 2003, which ms (he shared with us in 2005) was
 >since transferred to the BL.
 >
 >http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2005/1872.html
 >
 >Has anybody done any work on it? I've searched every so often (Expanded
 >Academic ASAP, Google Scholar, etc.) with no results. Can't even find it
 >in the BL catalogues. There are a couple of passing mentions in books
 >(all quoting from the TLS piece), but that's it as far as I can tell.
 >
 >Do we know who owned it or anything else about provenance?
 >
 >Has anyone created a facsimile or transcript? (And/or does anyone have
 >influence at the BL to move it up in the scanning queue?)
 >
 >Has anyone written about it at any greater length than the 2003 TLS piece?
 >
 >Has it suffered the fate of the Dead Sea Scrolls, or Indiana Jones' lost
 >ark?
 >
 >As Professor Wells said in concluding his article, the work is of
 >"multifaceted interest to scholars of the literature and language of the
 >period ... It is a major addition to the considerable corpus of
 >Elizabethan literary criticism . . . It is to be hoped that his work
 >will eventually be made available for detailed study in an annotated
 >edition."
 >
 >*Any* availability for detailed study  --  even any discussion  --  that
 >does not require traveling to the BL would be welcome.

Rumour says that an edition of the manuscript is to be published by 
Cambridge University Press in the future.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Stanley Wells <
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 >
Date:       Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009 12:46:44 +0100
Subject: 20.0186 William Scott?
Comment:    RE: SHK 20.0186 William Scott?

Here are answers to some of the questions raised by Steve Roth about the 
William Scott manuscript.

It has been bought by the British Library, and has taken rather a long 
time to go through their accession processes. I am not aware of the 
present state of play, but it has certainly been consulted and studied 
by one scholar, Dr Gavin Alexander, of Christ's College, Cambridge, who 
is the author of _Writing After Sidney: The Literary Response to Sir 
Philip Sidney, 1586-1640_ (Oxford: O.U.P., 2006), and editor of 
_Sidney's 'The Defence of Poesy' and Selected Renaissance Literary 
Criticism_ (Penguin Classics, 2004) - my TLS article appeared just in 
time for him to include a brief reference to it in the latter. Since 
then he has submitted an admirable proposal for an edition of the work 
to Cambridge University Press, and within the last few weeks has been 
contracted for this. He has authorized me to say that he hopes it may be 
published by late 2011. He regards it as comparable in importance to 
Sidney's _Apology_. Considering the youth of William Scott when he wrote 
it, it bears witness to the extraordinary excellence of the Elizabethan 
educational system, at least in literary studies.

I was not initially allowed to reveal the whereabouts of the manuscript 
for security reasons. And now I can say no more than that it is of 
impeccable provenance, having descended directly from the heirs of Sir 
Henry Lee.

List members interested in the Cobbe portrait of Shakespeare may like to 
know that it descended from the same collection as the Cobbe portrait of 
the Earl of Southampton, and that the relationship between the Earl and 
the poet is discussed in Shakespeare Found, an illustrated collection of 
essays with reprints on the narrative poems along with those of the 
Sonnets that are clearly addressed to a male, edited by me and published 
last week by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Cobbe Foundation.

A revised version of my TLS article appeared recently in _Shakespeare's 
Book, Essays in Reading, Writing and Reception_, ed. Richard Meek, Jane 
Rickard and Richard Wilson (Manchester University Press, 2009). In an 
essay in the same volume Richard Wilson comments on Scott's work, but 
regrettably confuses Scott's comments on _Richard II_ with what Scott 
says about _The Rape of Lucrece_ (pp.. 116-7). Paul Edmondson also makes 
critical use of it in his Introduction to the Penguin Shakespeare 
edition of _Richard II_.

Stanley Wells

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