The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0054 Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Date: February 18, 2011 2:50:31 PM EST
Subject: Arden3 "The Merchant of Venice"
John Drakakis' Arden3 edition of "The Merchant of Venice" has been published [exactly when is a bit of a
mystery: the book is dated 2010, but it seem to have been released -- or escaped -- this month.]
It has some odd features, whereas others take existing Arden3 trends further. The 159-page discursive
(some would say rambling) introduction seems totally unstructured, and just doesn't cover some topics
that one would expect -- I can find no discussion of the date of composition, for example. The annotation
is satisfactorily ample -- so much so, that "Longer Notes" have had to be banished to a separate section
(presumably because they wouldn't fit on the page.)
Somewhat surprisingly (and against current trends, Keir Elam's "Twelfth Night", for example), Shylock and
Lancelot Gobbo have become "Jew" and "Clown" in the speech prefixes (there is a complicated -- and not
particularly relevant - argument regarding shortage of type in printing Q1). Even more striking, the
clown has become "Lancelet Giobbe" -- the original text alternates "Iobbe" and "Gobbo", apparently
representing two different stabs (and misses) at the Italian for "Job". But I thought the Arden3 "The
Taming of the Shrew" eschewed "Petruccio" in favour of "Petruchio"?
Appendix 1 has a somewhat confusing doubling chart -- which looks remarkably similar to the chart of type
shortages in Appendix 2. Appendix 3 does actually discuss the text of Q1, for which I suppose we should
On page 112, Drakakis sensibly concludes that Richard Burbage took the role of Antonio -- but on page 403
he assigns it to James Burbage!
There is much puzzling over who might have originally taken the role of Shylock, and here I would like to
make a suggestion -- as a quasi-comic role (but not a clown's one), I would suggest that it was played by
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