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Home :: Archive :: 2011 :: February ::
Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0057   Wednesday, 23 February 2011

[1]  From:      Larry Weiss <
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     Date:      Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:56:49 PM ET
     Subj:      Re: SHK 22.0024 Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare 

[2]  From:      Jeffrey Kahan <
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     Date:      Friday, January 28, 2011 12:39:40 AM ET
     Subj:      RE: SHK 22.0024 Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare 


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Larry Weiss <
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Date:         Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:56:49 PM ET
Subject: 22.0024 Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare
Comment:      Re: SHK 22.0024 Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare

>Can anyone offer a compelling argument for The Oxford Shakespeare's decision to 
>emend Bottom's speech in 1.2, where he promises to "move stones" (Oxford 
>Shakespeare 1.2.24) rather than to "move storms" as he does in Q1 (1600), Q2 (1619), 
>and F (1623)?
>
>That the editors made the change without any clear textual warrant for doing so 
>is somewhat baffling, but it is even more puzzling when one considers that the 
>basis for the emendation appears to be Collier's forged MS annotations to the 
>Second Folio.
>
>Don't we risk confusing students and readers of Shakespeare by giving editorial 
>sanction to a "correction" produced by a forger?

Taylor says he was influenced by Antony's speech at JC,III.ii.226-30 (Riv.) about rhetorical skill that 
"should move / The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny."  However, while the difference between "storms" 
and "stones" is, as Taylor says, "an easy minim" difference, I also am not convinced that "stones" is 
correct.  It may be that Collier, like Taylor, was also influenced by the external analogy in JC. Without 
better textual support, or at least the need to correct a patently absurd text, I would not make the 
change. This is especially so as the sense of the QF reading is better as "storms" -- Bottom is saying 
that his histrionics will produce storms of tears in the audience's eyes.

As an aside, Collier was much more than an adept forger, and it would be a mistake to dismiss all his 
scholarship because of his hobby. There is no reason to suspect that his tendency to make mischief caused 
him to make deliberately false emendations when he spoke in his own name.


[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Jeffrey Kahan <
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Date:         Friday, January 28, 2011 12:39:40 AM ET
Subject: 22.0024 Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare
Comment:      RE: SHK 22.0024 Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare

Before his forging of the Perkins (1852), Collier had a long and distinguished career, one that is not 
totally overshadowed by forgery. John Payne Collier did more than any early scholar with the exception of 
Edmond Malone to promote archival scholarship. He discovered countless documents, including Simon 
Foreman's visit to the Globe Theatre, attributed Tamburlaine to Marlowe, and transcribed Coleridge's 
lectures for posterity. His key contributions seem to have been generated by genuine scholarship, though 
as Arthur Freeman and Janet Ing Freeman have pointed out, his scholarship on Marlowe does sometimes 
touch, if not cross, the line.  In other instances, his  so- called forgeries might have  been honest 
errors. The Freemans point out that his transcription of Henslowe diary's "mr maxton" was a mistake for 
"mr marstone" (211-12).  And, as I have argued, is it just possible that some of Collier's forgeries were 
actually perpetrated by Steevens, characterised by Gifford as "the Puck of Commentators!"

Jeffrey Kahan (
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