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Home :: Archive :: 2014 :: January ::
Scanning Shakespeare's Verse

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.055  Wednesday, 29 January 2014

 

[1] From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 28, 2014 at 7:11:00 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Scanning Shakespeare's Verse

 

[2] From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 28, 2014 at 7:11:00 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Scanning Shakespeare’s Verse 

 

[3] From:        Anthony Burton < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 28, 2014 at 12:59:19 PM EST

     Subject:    Scansion 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 28, 2014 at 7:11:00 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Scanning Shakespeare’s Verse

 

[Editor’s Note: Yesterday, I made an error in preparing Larry Weiss’ two posts. Below and in the following post are the corrected versions. I will also correct in the archive. My apologies. –Hardy]

 

>Larry Weiss is also correct: rhythm is not the same as meter, and a beat

>has no effect on the scansion. (Although a small correction: a syllable and

>a metrical foot are not the same thing. A metrical foot is a pattern of two 

>or three syllables. Perhaps ‘as’ was intended as ‘in’?)

 

Yes.

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Larry Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 28, 2014 at 7:11:00 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Scanning Shakespeare's Verse

 

[Editor’s Note: Corrected copy from yesterday. –Hardy]

 

>I think the debate over whether a beat, as opposed to a syllable, can be

>counted as a metrical foot illustrates why rhythm is not the same as 

>meter. A beat has no effect on the scansion; otherwise, the meter of any 

>line varies with how the actor delivers it. But it strongly affects how the 

>line sounds and, of course, how it is understood.”

>

>I am sorry to be so dense, but I am not sure what you are correcting 

>about my post. I thought I said that the description in question was 

>accurate only in terms of sound, and not technically accurate about 

>the meter. Is there some other level of distinction I am missing?

 

No.

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Anthony Burton < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 28, 2014 at 12:59:19 PM EST

Subject:    Scansion

 

I write this most reluctantly, because I generally despise long back-and-forth quibbles over minor faults in word selection. Gerald Downs makes it evident that I should have said that various claims to have found error in the texts are one simply one more excuse for overruling Shakespeare, and not referred to them more loosely as a “way to overrule.”  But I think he then introduced an unfair rhetorical trick and logical error in saying that I opposed “recognition of corruption.” 

 

That phrase begs the question and diverts attention from the important point of my comment. 

 

Once one assumes the both the existence and exact nature of a given corruption to be known and undisputed—if it is “recognized”—that’s the end of the matter. In that rare case, the necessary correction does not overrule Shakespeare but restores or reveals what he wrote. Of course I was referring to something different, to those scholars who adopt the practice of resolving difficult textual (and therefore interpretive) uncertainties by considering a single feature of Shakespeare’s dramaturgical tool kit—in this case, metrical pattern—as definitive, overriding many other well-known features that if given respectful consideration might point to a different and perhaps dramatically superior understanding of the material in question.  

 

I wouldn’t dispute Downs’ statement that editors take seriously “their responsibility to get the texts as right as possible.”  But the whole point of this thread is that some scholars place an unbalanced emphasis on a single tool for doing so  -- the hammer/nail metaphor of my original post—and  by elevating metrical tests to a final and exclusive standard for deciding what is right, misuse one of the many useful tools in a very large and well used tool kit.

 

Now where did I put my power saw?

 

Tony

 
 

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