The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0015 Wednesday, 12 January 2011
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Subject: Style, Volume 44, Number 3 (Fall 2010)
I am honored to announce that the Volume 44, Number 3 (Fall 2010) issue of STYLE, "Shakespeare and
Intention" is now in print and available for purchase -- more about that in a moment.
In the fall of 2007, a lively discussion on "Authorial Intentions," took place on SHAKSPER. Early in
this discussion, John V. Knapp, a Professor of English at Northern Illinois University and editor of the
journal Style, sent a Call for Papers to the list. Professor Knapp believed that "the readers of STYLE
would be very interested in reading a special issue on authorial intent in drama. As such, I would like
to issue a Call for Papers (CFP) that could grow out of any round-table conversations (suitable edited,
of course) about authorial intent in dramatic literature, especially primarily concerning major authors
like Shakespeare, Marlow, Chekhov, etc. What might begin as an extended argument in the round-table
could then get developed into full-blown mini-essay exchanges, gathered in one issue of STYLE."
I was excited by Professor Knapp's offer and contacted him by e-mail before I distributed his call for
papers. He and I discussed the possibility of a collaboration between SHAKSPER and STYLE. We envisioned
having a guest editor who would moderate a Roundtable on "Shakespeare and Intention" and then edit the
special issue of STYLE.
Cary DiPietro, one of the thoughtful contributors to the first SHAKSPER Roundtable and to the "Authorial
Intentions" thread applied for the job of Roundtable Moderator and journal Guest Editor, and John Knapp
and I decided that DiPietro was the person we were looking for to conduct our collaborative experiment.
On April 3, 2008, the second SHAKSPER Roundtable began and a few weeks ago the special issue of STYLE
based on that Roundtable was published.
STYLE is sponsored by the English Department of Northern Illinois University: http://www.style.niu.edu/
You can find subscription information here: http://www.style.niu.edu/subscript.html
Style is published four times a year. Subscription rates are $60 for institutions, $40 for individuals,
and $23 for students. Foreign subscribers add $6 to the above rates for postage and handling.
Requests for information and subscriptions should be sent to:
Associate Editor for Business Affairs
Style, Department of English, Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115-2863
Or you may telephone 815.753-6618 tel, 815.753.0606 fax, or e-mail (
) Style regarding your
request or questions about a subscription.
If any of you are interested in ordering a copy of this special issue, you can find an order form at this
Below, I reproduce the portions of the Table of Contents related to the majority of this special issue
about "Shakespeare and Intention." Then I reproduce the biographies of the contributors to the
"Shakespeare and Intentions" essays. Finally, I reproduce the abstracts of those essays.
This collaboration was a fascinating one, and the only such collaboration I know of between an online
academic resource like SHAKSPER and an academic print journal like STYLE. I encourage anyone who is
interested to purchase a copy of this issue of STYLE.
Finally, I produced two versions of my essay, "SHAKSPER Roundtable on Intentions: The Origins of the
Collaboration with Style," for this volume. The version published in STYLE is approximately 6,600 words;
the longer version is twice that length, about 12,000 words. In the spirit of collaboration the led to
the second SHASKPER Roundtable and to this volume of STYLE, I make my longer version of my essay
available at <http://www.shaksper.net/~hcook/style.pdf>. You can also find links to the entire
discussions that made up the Second SHAKSPER Roundtable here:
The three of us behind this collaboration, John Knapp, Cary DiPietro, and myself, have work tremendously
hard for a long time, and I believe that we collectively are proud of the results, the Roundtable and
this special issue of STYLE. I have deeply enjoyed working with John and Cary. I must, however, conclude
with a special thanks to Cary DiPietro without whose hard work, dedication, and commitment neither of
these results of our collaboration would exist. Thank you John for a wonderful idea, and thank you Cary
for bringing the idea to fruition.
Hardy M. Cook
Owner, Moderator, and Editor of SHASKPER
Volume 44, Number 3 (Fall 2010)
Shakespeare and Intention
Edited by Cary DiPietro
Based on initial discussions on
SHAKSPER Edited by Hardy M. Cook
Introduction: Shakespeare's Intentions / 293
Giving Intention its Due? / 311
Shakespeare and "the I-word" / 328
Shakespeare's Dolphin, Dumbo's Feather, and Other Red Herrings: Some Thoughts on Intention and Meaning /
Peter J. Rabinowitz
Intention and Editing / 365
Intention in the Editing of Shakespeare / 378
The Elizabethan-Jacobean Script-to-Stage Process: The Playwright, Theatrical Intentions, and
Alan C. Dessen
Intentionality, the Theater Artist, and the Performance Historian / 404
Cary M. Mazer
SHAKSPER Roundtable on Intentions: The Origins of the Collaboration with Style /412
Hardy M. Cook
Notes on Contributors
Hardy M. Cook is Professor Emeritus at Bowie State University. He is the editor/moderator of the
SHAKSPER: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference, an academic listserv for Shakespearean
researchers, instructors, students, and those who share their academic interests and concerns. Dr. Cook
as authored a number of papers on subjects ranging from Shakespeare on television to the editing of
electronic texts. He is co-editor with Ian Lancashire of Shake-speares Sonnets and Louers Complaint 1609
and editor of an electronic edition of Venus and Adonis, part his edition of Shakespeare's Poems for the
Internet Shakespeare Editions. For his work with SHAKSPER and his other scholarly activities, Dr. Cook
received the University System of Maryland's Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Scholarship in
April of 1999.
Cary DiPietro teaches Shakespeare and non-Shakespearean drama, as well as courses in narrative and
twentieth-century literature, at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He is the author of Shakespeare
and Modernism (Cambridge UP, 2006; reissued 2009), which explores the interactions between two cultural
moments, Shakespeare's and that of the early twentieth century. Recent work includes articles in New
Theatre Quarterly, Shakespeare Survey, and the journal Shakespeare, and a chapter on "Shakespeare and
George Bernard Shaw" in Shakespeare and the Irish Writer (Eds. Janet Clare and Stephen O'Neill, UCD
Press, 2010). He will edit Volume 9 in the Great Shakespeareans series (Gen. Eds. Peter Holland and
Adrian Poole, Continuum, forthcoming 2011).
Alan C. Dessen, Peter G. Phialas Professor (emeritus) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,
is the author of eight books, four of them with Cambridge University Press: Elizabethan Stage Conventions
and Modem Interpreters (1984); Recovering Shakespeare's Theatrical Vocabulary (1995); Rescripting
Shakespeare (2002); and, co-authored with Leslie Thomson, A Dictionary of Stage Directions in English
Drama, 1580-1642. In 2005 he gave the annual British Academy Shakespeare lecture. Between 1994 and 2009
he was editor or co-editor of the "Shakespeare Performed" section of Shakespeare Quarterly.
John Drakakis is professor of English studies at the University of Stirling. He has taught widely in the
field of Shakespeare studies and is currently the director of the Scottish Institute of Northern
Renaissance Studies, and of the M.Res in Renaissance Studies at Stirling. He is the joint editor of
British Radio Drama, ed., (1981): Alternative Shakespeares (1985), Gothic Shakespeares, ed., (with Dale
Townshend, 2008) and Tragedy, ed., with Naomi C. Liebler, Longman Critical Reader Series (1998);
Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Richard III Q1, ed., Harvester Wheatsheaf (1996); Shakespeare: Antony and
Cleopatra, ed., Macmillan New Casebooks Series (1994); Shakespearean Tragedy, ed., Longman Critical
Reader Series (1991). He was the general editor of the Routledge English Texts series, and is currently
the general editor of the Routledge New Critical Idiom series. He has recently assumed the general
editorship of the revision of Geoffrey Bullough's Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, and he
is completing a monograph on Shakespeare's Discourses. He has contributed a number of articles and book
chapters to learned journals and volumes within the field of Shakespeare studies.
Gabriel Egan Gabriel Egan is the author of Shakespeare and Marx (2004), Green Shakespeare: From
Ecopolitics to Ecocriticism (2006), and The Edinburgh Critical Guide to Shakespeare (2007). His most
recent book is a history of the theory and practice of editing Shakespeare in the twentieth century
called The Struggle for Shakespeare's Text, published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. He teaches
students the art of hand-printing using a nineteenth-century Albion iron press and co-leads a project
called Virtual Printing Press to create a working wooden hand-press in Second Life.
Cary M. Mazer is associate professor of theatre art and English at the University of Pennsylvania. He
writes about Victorian and Edwardian drama and theatre, Shakespeare performance history, and dramaturgy.
His most recent articles and papers have explored the persistence of "emotional realism" in contemporary
Shakespearean scholarship and theatrical practice.
Peter J. Rabinowitz, professor of comparative literature at Hamilton College, divides his time between
narrative theory and music. He is the author of Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of
Interpretation and co-author, with Michael Smith, of Authorizing Readers: Resistance and Respect in the
Teaching of Literature. With James Phelan, he is co-editor of Understanding Narrative and A Companion to
Narrative Theory, as well as series co-editor of the Theory and Interpretation of Narrative series at
Ohio State University Press. His articles, which have appeared in such journals as Critical Inquiry,
Narrative, PMLA, and 19th-Century Music, cover a wide range of subjects, from Conrad to E.D.E,N.
Southworth, from the ideology of detective fiction to the rhetoric of musical structure. He has been
active as a music critic for more than thirty years, and is currently a contributing editor of Fanfare as
well as a regular contributor to International Record Review.
Duncan Salkeld is senior lecturer in English at the University of Chichester and author of Madness and
Drama in the Age of Shakespeare (Manchester UP, 1993). His recent principal publications include chapters
and articles on the Quarto and Folio texts of Henry V, presentism and microhistory, Shakespeare and
portraiture and a collation of new documentary sources for the Malone Society Collections. He is
currently completing a book entitled Shakespeare Among the Courtesans (Ashgate).
David Schalkwyk is director of research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, editor of
the Shakespeare Quarterly and professor of English at the University of Cape Town. He has published on
Shakespeare, Derrida, Wittgenstein and South African prison writing in, interalia, the Shakespeare
Quarterly, English Literary Renaissance, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Journal of
Aesthetics and Art Criticisim, Symploke, Linguistic Sciences and the Journal of Literary Studies. His
books include Speech and Performance in Shakespeare's Sonnets and Plays (Cambridge, 2002), Literature and
the Touch of the Real (Delaware, 2004), and Shakespeare, Love and Service (Cambridge UP, 2008).
Abstracts of Articles
David Schalkwyk. "Giving Intention its Due?" / 311
This essay argues for a minimalist or redundant concept of intention. It claims that as a heuristic
notion that shapes but does not seek to govern interpretation it may be useful, and as a way of deciding
which signifiers an author wished to use it may even be indispensable. The pursuit of embodied intention
in a text will respect intentionality as the incarnation of complex social actions, but it cannot reveal
the author's intention as the cause and determinant of the text's meanings. These unfold over time within
the constraints of a particular period, and encompass the manifold of contextual conditions, assumptions,
and relations that make it possible to mean and understand anything in a particular place at a particular
time, including collaborative procedures and the distribution of agencies exemplified by Shakespeare's
practice. As a concept used in interpreting a text, intention is thus a retrospective construct made
after the event; it does not consist of mental events that determine the meaning of any linguistic event.
Furthermore, the debate about intention in Shakespeare shows that the role of intention (and its implicit
appeals to certain kinds of authority) is at stake in the debate about authoritive critical discourse; it
can't be used to settle it.
Duncan Salkeld. "Shakespeare and 'the I-word.'" / 328
We can identify Shakespeare's intentions best when they are not clear, where he hesitates over a speech
prefix, or introduces a character to whom he then gives no lines, or when he cracks a joke and feels the
need to explain it. Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels's case that meaning and intention are one
offers a thought-provoking alternative to the anti-intentionalist dead-end that has too long been the
default position of theoretically-minded critics. Not even Derrida denied the possibility of literary
intention. This article gives several examples of Shakespeare puzzling over his intentions (mainly from
the two early quartos of Romeo and Juliet), and suggests that critical editions of his works that attempt
to avoid authorial agency and intention altogether are likely to fall into incoherence. Lastly, when
Dogberry, Mistress Quickly and Elbow fall into malapropisms, they say what they do not mean, and intend
what they do not say. Getting the jokes requires getting what is intended.
Peter J. Rabinowitz. "Shakespeare's Dolphin, Dumbo's Feather, and Other Red Herrings: Some Thoughts on
Intention and Meaning." / 342
The gaps between literary specializations sometimes seem as great as the gaps between literary studies
and other disciplines. Certainly, as a narrative theorist invited to participate in a conversation about
intention and Shakespeare, I found myself struck by the number of interpretive and editorial problems
central to Shakespeare studies that narrative theorists tend conveniently to ignore. At the same time, I
was struck by the degree to which Shakespeareans pass over techniques developed by narrative theorists,
even when those techniques might help them answer the questions they have chosen to ask. After setting
out some general distinctions I find useful in any discussion of literary intention, I focus more
narrowly on the heuristic value of rhetorical narrative theory in dealing with several areas of
contention that emerge in this collection: public vs. private, the multiplicity of interiority, and
literary purpose. I conclude with a plea for greater communication across scholarly specializations.
John Drakakis. "Intention and Editing." / 365
'Intention' has always been a topic that has impinged directly on the study of Shakespeare, usually in
relation to biographies that seek to establish a causal connection between the writer's experience, and
its subsequent recall as a striking theatrical or poetical image. The issue has recently attracted the
attention of editors, in particular in relation to the various discursive regimes that traverse the text
as a product of the early modern printing house. The states of particular texts such as Much Ado About
Nothing or The Merchant of Venice raise particular problems in relation to 'intention' and to the
distinction that needs to be made between a conscious decision on the part of the writer to choose one
strategy as opposed to another, and the writer as an 'agent' through whose own creative processes there
flows various kinds of 'knowledge' that do not have their origin in the creating mind. This process is
laid bare in a number of texts where the name of an actor appears instead of a character, and where the
printer's copy may very well have been the writer's 'foul papers.' Elsewhere in other texts, such as The
Merchant of Venice, the intervention of the compositor, charged with a series of decisions of a pragmatic
nature, can produce a text that opens up a series of gaps between the copy, and the printed result that
prove to be of some cultural significance. All of these examples raise questions about the extent to
which the distinction between 'intention' and 'agency' have been elided in the dominant discourses of
Gabriel Egan. "Intention in the Editing of Shakespeare." / 378
Play scripts differ from prose narratives and poetry because they are meant to undergo a further
transformation by practitioners before being consumed. Shakespeare's plays come to us via early printed
editions showing corrections, unwarranted adjustments, and fresh errors by copyists, compositors, and
pressmen. For one school of thought, Shakespeare's intention all but disappears under these extra textual
layers, and another school would have us consider the copyists, compositors, pressmen, and actors to be
equal partners with Shakespeare in the creation of his works. Add to that collaborative authorship and
multiple revision of scripts and the temptations of postmodern insouciance about intention overwhelm all
but the staunchest defender of the old certainties. Here it is argued that research into the material
conditions that produced the early editions of Shakespeare shows that the recent rejection of New
Bibliography (which embodies the most venerable of the old certainties) is mistaken and that intention
remains a vital notion for editors.
Alan C. Dessen. "The Elizabethan-Jacobean Script-to-Stage Process: The Playwright, Theatrical Intentions,
and Collaboration." / 391
As a theatre historian my focus is: What can be determined about authorial intentions in a manuscript
targeted at Elizabethan and Jacobean players, playgoers, and playhouses, a manuscript inextricably tied
to in-the-theatre practices largely lost to us? A playwright such as Shakespeare attached to a given
company could have played a significant role in the process of turning an authorial manuscript into a
performed play, but, despite the labors of generations of scholars, there is much of significance that we
do not know about the script-to-stage process in this period. In this essay, I first review the evidence
about material conditions in the theatre, including references to a playwright reading his work aloud to
an assembly of players, and then discuss what can be learned from the extant stage directions. What
emerges is a sense of a collaborative theatrical process, where playwrights took for granted the
professionalism and expertise of the players. In reading their playscripts today we therefore enter into
the middle of a conversation - a discourse in a language we only partly understand - between a playwright
and his player-colleagues, a halfway stage that was completed in a performance now lost to us. Although
we will never reconstitute that performance, we may be able to recover elements of that vocabulary and
hence better understand that conversation, whether the pre-production concept of the playwright or the
implementation by the players.
Cary M. Mazer. "Intentionality, the Theatre Artist, and the Performance Historian." / 404
Working theatre artists invoke authorial intention as a means of self-justification, impugning to the
playwright's authority their own aesthetic and interpretive decisions, once the cumulative weight of
their production choices take on their own coherent logic and generate their own sense of inevitability.
Rather than castigate theatre artists for the intentional fallacy, the performance historian-and in
particular the historian of Shakespearean performance-should treat such invocations of authorial
intentionality as historical gifts, evidence not just of what the artist (to use Terence Hawkes's phrase)
"means by Shakespeare," but of how the theatre artists of a particular period believe Shakespeare means,
i.e., how the prevailing aesthetic paradigms silently operate in the ways theatre artists understand the
dramatist's script and how it "works."
Hardy M. Cook. "SHAKSPER Roundtable on Intentions: The Origins of the Collaboration with Style." / 412
After broadly tracing the evolution of the academic uses of the Internet by Shakespeareans, this article
examines the issues that lead to the establishing of the SHAKSPER Roundtable and then traces the events
surrounding the collaborative experiment between SHAKSPER and Style that evolved from the online SHAKSPER
"Intentions" discussions to the essays of the special print issue of the Style journal. In the spirit of
this collaboration, an expanded version of this article <http://www.shaksper.net/~hcook/style.pdf> is
available online as a complement to the print version that appears in this special issue.
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.