The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0522 Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Date: December 17, 2012 9:52:04 PM EST
Subject: Shorthand R&J
Steven Urkowitz replied to some R&J memorial corruption:
> Here in Q1, “stufft” can mean also “supplied with
> stuff,” or “comprised of” as “my household stuff,”
> not necessarily “crammed to full capacity,”
This sounds like George Carlin’s “stuff” to me.
> as appears to be the different usage in the Q2
> version, “an allegater stufft”:
This passage is simply mis-remembered, much as Q1’s ‘Queen Mab’ speech, of which van Dam observes: “we see that nearly every word is right but that the sequence of the words is in the greatest disorder . . . . [T]he whole of the quoted text is a mechanical recital of words and cadences while the actor did not know what he was saying. We [me & van Dam] do not think it possible to explain such passages in any other way. Even Mssrs. Pollard and Wilson’s pirate actor . . . could never have written down the nonsense of the quoted text.”
> and as for Downs’ evaluation of Q2, it is just too
> silly to contemplate that Shakespeare would have
> converted “stufft shop” to “An allegater stuft.”
That’s correct, because there’s a far better, ‘memorial’ explanation.
> from Brooks’ Romeus and Juliet:
> And in his [stuffed] shop he saw his boxes were
> but few. And in his window, of his wares, there
> was [stuffed] so small a shew;
> Many of the specifically Shakespearean variants
> in rhetoric and characterization that she describes
> show up only tentatively in Q1 but are more fully
> realized in Q2.
But that’s to be expected in a cut, memorial text.
> There never was a final Romeo and Juliet, a single
> authoritative or authorial version of the play. There
> were only versions, from the start. Scripts to be acted,
> they presumed multiplicities and contingencies, the
> conditions of the theater (189).
Of course there was once at least one authorial version of the play, but otherwise I agree with Goldberg. The funny things are: We have by a miracle (repeated for other plays) an actual recording of one of these versions of R&J, replete with theatrical contingencies and conditions; and we just can’t face up to the evidence. Heywood said it; Heminges & Condell said it; George Buc said it. Q1 is, in my opinion, a shorthand report of a performance shortened from a Q2-like text, perhaps by the stenographer who recorded Bordox.
Gerald E. Downs