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Adventures in Original Pronunciation

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.091  Friday, 27 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 26, 2015 at 4:59:42 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: OP

 

John Drakakis throws up a pretty good smoke-screen. Let’s try to peer through it.

 

I pointed out that Kennedy’s article on type depletion in Q1-MV is poor bibliographical scholarship and that Jowett’s article on type depletion in Folio JC is a model of this kind of work. That is, had Kennedy done his analysis of quarto MV in the logical and scrupulous way that Jowett did his analysis of Folio JC, Kennedy’s article would have been as reliable as Jowett’s instead of being entirely unreliable.

 

From this Drakakis pretends to understand me as saying that type depletion in Folio JC throws light on type depletion in quarto MV:

 

> How the practice in one printing shop, dealing with

> one format, can be used to determine mechanically the

> practices in other printing shops during the period

> (and in this case in relation to a Folio text) escapes

> me. Perhaps I have missed something.

 

It’s an old rhetorical trick and I hope no SHAKSPERians fall for it. I compared the scholarship of Kennedy with that of Jowett, not the books they wrote about.

 

Drakakis’s ignorance of matters bibliographical is clear right across his Arden3 edition of MV and in his howlers in his last posting here on SHAKSPER. Allow me to list those howlers:

 

> in sheet B there are some obvious type substitutions:

> in particular italic cap I for Roman cap I

 

The appearance of an italic typeface where one expects a roman one is not “substitution” until one has established that it is intentional rather than merely the result of the sort-box containing a mixture of italic and roman type, which itself might be accidental or deliberate.

 

> The most common [substitutions] that I have encountered

> (though not necessarily in Shakespeare's texts) is u/v

> substitutions, and vv/w substitutions

 

Those are not substitutions either. Early editions of Shakespeare were printed at a time when there were competing conventions about the choice of whether to select the “u” or the “v” shape in handwriting and printing. The old convention was to choose the shape according to the letter’s position in the word, and the new convention (which survives today) was to choose the shape according to the sound the letter makes. Likewise, using two letters “v” with no space between was merely an old convention, not a substitution.

 

Next howler:

 

> In any case, for a quarto printing was by formes (setting 

> might be by a combination of seriatim and formes, although

> in concurrent printing – where we might detect it – casting

> off copy would have been a desideratum), and we should

> distinguish printing from setting.

 

This is gibberish. To say “printing was by formes” is as meaningful as saying “printing was done with ink and type”. It’s true, but only self-evidently, since “forme” is the name for a body of type ready for printing. Furthermore, “printing was by formes” for all formats, not just quartos, so Drakakis’s qualification “for a quarto . . .” is misleading. Setting might indeed be done seriatim or by formes, but this has nothing to do with concurrent printing and concurrent printing has nothing to do with casting off copy. To dispel the impression that he’s talking gibberish, would Drakakis care to tell us what he understands by “concurrent printing” and how he thinks it is connected to the casting off of copy? (I have an inkling about what he might mistakenly think “concurrent printing” means, but I’ll keep it to myself until he shows his hand.)

 

When Drakakis writes “we should distinguish printing from setting” he gives the impression that there’s a lot more to all this than is currently under debate. There isn’t, but it’s a good rhetorical manoeuvre to give that impression when you’re out of your depth.

 

> Of course, I am interested in solving a bibliographical

> problem, and in the case of MV that starts with collation

> of as many of the copies of thee authentic Q1 that I could

> lay my hands on.

 

I’d be fascinated to hear which copies of Q1 Drakakis claims to have collated. His Arden3 edition contains no list of press variants and mentions no discoveries about them and he cannot claim that his collation of copies of Q1 informed his claims about type shortage and type substitution. Where Drakakis does try to go beyond the argument made by Kennedy, he is even more wrong than Kennedy. (I detail this on page 341 of my review.) There simply is no connection between collation of Q1 and supposed type shortage.

 

At just one point in his edition does a press variant come into sight and it’s a well-known variant that’s been discussed since at least the Cambridge-Macmillan edition of 1863-66. At 4.1.72-73 there is a press variant in Q1, with one state having Antonio say “well vse question with the Woolf, | the Ewe bleake for the Lambe” while the other has “you may as well vse question with the Woolfe | why he hath made the Ewe bleake for the Lambe”.

 

There is general agreement that the former is the uncorrected state of the text and the latter reflects stop-press correction made during the print run. Trouble is, why does Antonio say that a ewe would “bleake” where we would expect a ewe to bleat? Drakakis thinks these matters are related: “. . . this error seems compositorial rather than authorial . . . and the existence of variant states of these lines in Q indicates some difficulty in deciphering the MS at this point” (Drakakis, 4.1.73n).

 

In fact, if one accepts that the difference between the two states is due to intentional stop-press correction (and Drakakis’s textual notes show that he thinks it is) then the printers misreading their copy (setting “bleake” for “bleat[e]”) becomes harder to accept, since they must have consulted the manuscript a second time to recover the omitted phrases (“you may as well” and “why he hath made”) and yet still failed to fix the nonsense word “bleake”. Even if the manuscript was hard to read, as Drakakis supposes, ewes should bleat not bleak.

 

One of Drakakis’s dismissive remarks about the unknowability of bibliographical facts seems by the end of its sentence to have lost touch with how it began:

 

> . . . the assumption that it is possible to calculate

> how many sorts a compositor may have in his cases at any

> once time is very difficult to determine.

 

Presumably Drakakis means that the assumption is unwarranted or that the matter is difficult to determine, since he surely doesn’t mean that “the assumption  . . . is very difficult to determine”, although that is what he has written.

 

If Drakakis really does believe that we don’t know how many pieces of type the compositor had in his sort boxes, then he needs to retract all that he has written about type substitution. If we don’t know how many pieces there were, then everything he has claimed as a consequence of the compositor(s) of Q1-MV being short of certain letters has no basis.

 

I wish he would retract all the nonsense about type substitution in his Arden3 edition of The Merchant of Venice. It’s all such poor scholarship that Messrs Proudfoot, Kastan, Thompson and Woudhuysen were remiss in allowing it to appear in print under their

imprimatur.

 

Gabriel Egan

 
 
Shylock and the Greek Debt Crisis

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.090  Friday, 27 February 2015

 

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

     Date:         February 26, 2015 at 12:51:09 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Shylock/Greece 

 

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

     Date:         February 27, 2015 at 12:30:42 AM EST

     Subject:    Re: Greece/Merchant of Venice 

 

 

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

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

Date:         February 26, 2015 at 12:51:09 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Shylock/Greece

 

>Given that the country pressing most loudly for the repayment 

>of the Greek debt is the one that imposed such immense 

>hardship on Greece not that long ago, I find it hard to be 

>appalled by Dr. Appelbaum’s plea for clemency.

>

>Of course, the fact the nature of the Axis occupation complicates 

>the Shylock analogy still more . . .

 

The Nazis did not cause the current problem, and they do not stand to benefit from repayment of the loans or suffer from default. The cause of the problem can be found on the doorsteps of the Greeks, who for a generation or more have funded their overly generous welfare state with Other Peoples’ Money, while they lived well, worked little and notoriously evaded their taxes.  They obtained generous loans from other EU countries by solemnly promising to repay them and then, when they could not, obtained more money and extensions of the original loans by solemnly promising to adopt austerity measures to enable them to make the repayments.  Now they renege on even that.  I find it difficult to sympathize with them.  

 


It is not the Third Reich who will bear the losses from default, but the current generation of Germans (and French, Belgians, Dutch, Norwegians and other victims of the Third Reich) and their descendants who will suffer because of the defaults, while the Greeks continue to live well, work little and refuse to pay their taxes.


The fundamental difficulties with the Greek economy can probably be solved if Greece cedes the economically stagnant parts of the country to neighboring states who have cultural and ethnic ties with them.  If Western Thrace were returned to Turkey (which would be glad to take it on) and northern and northwestern Greece attached to Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania, with are culturally and ethically similar, the rump of the Peloponnese and the Aegean islands could survive very well with their lucrative tourist, fishing and sponge industries.

  

But what has any of this got to do with Shakespeare? 

 

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

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

Date:         February 27, 2015 at 12:30:42 AM EST

Subject:    Re: Greece/Merchant of Venice

 

Robert Applebaum’s idea to look into Shakespeare for insights into the Greek debt crisis is excellent. To see just how excellent, first some background is in order. 

 

First, Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, has termed Karl Mark the thinker “responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day.” 

 

Marx posits progressive stages of history where each stage or epoch creates a new class or invention that leads to its downfall. (“However the downfall would not be an automatically negative event, since with each step humanity at large would benefit. Each passing stage would therefore raise the standard of living of the masses while at the same time be doomed to its own downfall because of internal contradictions 

and class conflicts.”—from Wikipedia)

 

Shakespeare may be also easily seen to offer a similar notion of progressive stages in history. He sets out the idea in “Romeo and Juliet” with the four stages visible in the scenes where the lovers play together (they are alone, functionally set off from interacting with other characters). Man worships the sun (party scene), man is separated from the sun (separated from nature worship) (balcony scene); man is economically separated from the sun (through the economic process, to burn fossil fuels) (morning scene); man returns to the sun as the primary source of economic inputs (tomb scene). 

 

Both Marx and Shakespeare base their frameworks on materialist ideas. For Shakespeare, the earth starts by being sun-powered, then a portion of humanity switches over to fossil fuels (England was the first country though not the last to switch to fossil fuels as primary fuel source and this transition was complete by 1603, when Shakespeare was in London, the most intense area of fossil fuel (coal) use in the world at that time.) Fossil fuel use is globally ramped up and up until its internal contradictions (it’s a finite energy source) lead to the end of fossil fuels (maybe within a hundred years; various groups and organizations have various projections on this and I invite readers to Google this topic on their own). As Sheikh Yamani, Oil Minister in KSA, famously said in 1973: “The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil."

 

The very first line of “Romeo and Juliet” is “Gregory, on my word, we’ll not carry coals” (I.1.i)—and this could be read as a coded statement very similar to Sheikh Yamani’s prediction: fossil fuels will simply become uneconomic to produce eventually. 

 

Marx also famously posited a “metabolic rift” as he put it, the “irreparable rift in the interdependent process of social metabolism, a metabolism prescribed by the natural laws of life itself.” Marx’s metabolic rift indeed may be seen as the cumulative impacts of fossil fuels:

 

“Over the last decade and a half ecological researchers have utilized the theoretical perspective of Marx’s metabolic-rift analysis to analyze the developing capitalist contradictions in a wide array of areas: planetary boundaries, the carbon metabolism, soil depletion, fertilizer production, the ocean metabolism, the exploitation of fisheries, the clearing of forests, forest-fire-management, hydrological cycles, mountaintop removal, the management of livestock, agro-fuels, global land grabs, and the contradiction between town and country.” (‘Marx and the Rift in the Universal Metabolism of Nature’ by John Bellamy Foster)

 

But let me return to Robert Applebaum’s interesting idea about the Greek debt crisis and “The Merchant of Venice”.

 

In my reading, based on the important dichotomy between the sun and fossil fuels, just as the phrase “Juliet is the sun” gives away Juliet’s identity as the sun in the hidden allegory in “Romeo and Juliet”, the description of Portia gives away Portia’s identity as another sun figure:

 

In Belmont is a lady richly left; 

And she is fair, and, fairer than that word, 

Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes 

I did receive fair speechless messages: 

Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued 

To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia: 

Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth, 

For the four winds blow in from every coast 

Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks 

Hang on her temples like a golden fleece; 

Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand, 

And many Jasons come in quest of her. (I.i.161-172)

 

This first characterization of Portia functions as a litany of words from classical mythology and the religion of Antiquity (temples, golden fleece, Jason, Colchis, sunny) as well as giving her an aura of being tremendous beyond a human scale (wide world, four winds, wondrous, speechless messages, sunny). The presentation of her secret identity as the sun is through the interaction of the two worlds: the Classical world, tied to its nature gods, and the cosmic world of vastness. The word “sunny” is the only direct iteration of her hidden identity, and it connects both the cosmic, huge world, and the world of Antiquity. “Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth” also clues us in to the notion that the sun was the base of economies everywhere, and the Elizabethans had some knowledge of the economies of other countries and regions in the world. Later, in Act Five, after Portia has defeated Shylock in court, and is on her way back to Belmont, she says to Nerissa:

 

So doth the greater glory dim the less:

A substitute shines brightly as a king

Until a king be by….(V.i.93-5)

 

Of course, Portia (the sun), by implication is the “king” whose true power has been revealed, in comparison with Shylock’s (in the hidden allegory he is associated with coal through his use, in his despairing speech about “stones” and “ducats” (coals look like stones and money or a market economy lay at the base of their attractiveness)), to be much greater than his. She has underscored her status as a “king” (a cosmic king, that is, the sun) in her famous “the quality of mercy is not strained” speech (IV.i.) where she uses a heavy and notable abundance of words like “awe”, “majesty”, “throned monarch”, “kings”, “mightiest in the mightiest”, “God”, “power”, all words of supreme power which all get associated with her, whose voice utters them. For those interested in further details of my idea, please see my paper: “’None but a holy hermit’: the Hermetic solar allegory in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and its Relevance to the Global Debt Crisis” http://www.slideshare.net/Fantasia47/the-merchant-of-venice-k-imura

 

Sincerely yours,

Marianne Kimura

 
 
Adventures in Original Pronunciation

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.089  Thursday, 26 February 2015

 

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

     Date:         February 25, 2015 at 2:17:32 PM EST

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: OP

 

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

     Date:         February 26, 2015 at 1:32:32 AM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: OP

 

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

     Date:         February 26, 2015 at 7:27:32 AM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: OP

 

 

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

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

Date:         February 25, 2015 at 2:17:32 PM EST

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: OP

 

Gabriel Egan has opened a hornet’s nest.

 

For his information, I did not ‘get it’ from Kennedy’s articles, though I was pleased to find when I read them that they raised issues that I had encountered independently in my own collations of MV.  Thanks anyway for the links, and I will refresh my memory of the Jowett analysis.  Since Gabriel Egan is interested in ‘facts’ he might like to observe that the only text for Julius Caesar is the Folio text, and I presume that he does not want to try to persuade us that James Roberts’ compositors had a hand in that. How the practice in one printing shop, dealing with one format, can be used to determine mechanically the practices in other printing shops during the period (and in this case in relation to a Folio text) escapes me.  Perhaps I have missed something.

 

That there is something odd at the beginning of the text of Q1 MV is obvious to anyone who asks themselves the question why in the text of the play in sheet B there are some obvious type substitutions: in particular italic cap I for Roman cap I. Substitutions are not uncommon and we can interpret them in a number of ways; for example, it may be that the compositor has exhausted his supply of particular sorts, and has to wait to redistribute type to replenish his cases before proceeding.  The most common that I have encountered (though not necessarily in Shakespeare’s texts) is u/v substitutions, and vv/w substitutions.  Occasionally italic cap ‘I’ may be substituted for its roman equivalent and vice versa.  So much for the empirical evidence. How that evidence came into being could be because of the depletion of type case, but behind that could be another issue that might take us into thee question of concurrent printing. The question now is what we can do with all that. How Gabrieel Egan can reason from a play set in Folio to a play set by another printer in quarto that an issue concerning setting by formes as opposed to setting seriatim defeats me. On MV Brown’s Arden 2 edition was published in 1955, and was up to speed on bibliographical debates of the time. 

 

However, since 1969, and particularly since Peter Blayney’s work on Nicholas Okes’s printing house in 1982 and beyond, things have changed way beyond the imaginings of the New Bibliography. So the assumption that it is possible to calculate how many sorts a compositor may have in his cases at any once time is very difficult to determine. In any case, for a quarto printing was by formes (setting might be by a combination of seriatim and formes, although in concurrent printing – where we might detect it – casting off copy would have been a desideratum), and we should distinguish printing from setting. Why does Egan gloss over the business of casting off copy? And why was there a need to cast off copy? These questions are Textual Bibliography 101 and take us back to Moxon, it seems to me. 

 

Having said all that I am doubtful whether the faith placed in ‘statistical’ evidence helps us that much here, since there is a gap between ‘the facts’ and how we interpret them.  And at my back I hear the ghost of Terry Hawkes whispering that ‘we’ create the facts, and ‘we’ endow them with meaning.  Of course, I am interested in solving a bibliographical problem, and in the case of MV that starts with collation of as many of the copies of thee authentic Q1 that I could lay my hands on. The rest is history.

 

To Bill Blanton, I think we need to shift into a different register. Yes, Shylock is sometimes referred to as a ‘devil’ but the shifting between the appellation ‘Jew’ and ‘Devil’ is important culturally and is still, even in the 21st century, at the root of what we might identify as anti-Semitism. Perhaps we can say that Elizabethan England was ‘institutionally’ anti-Semitic in a religious sense, and it derived its vocabulary from a series of stereotypes that reach back into the Middle Ages, that were resurrected by Luther, and that finally reached an apotheosis in Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  We also have another problem since the were ‘officially’ no Jews in England in the late 16th century, and that moneylending for profit was carried out (as a number of usury tracts point out, by Christians). If you say that Shylock is referred to as ‘the devil’ and that therefore he cannot be ‘Jewish’ then you overlook a series of historical observations that challenge that rhetoric. If it’s simply a question of your wanting to pay your money and take your choice, then my response, both to you and Gabriel is: be my guest.

 

Debate is more fun though, especially when you know that the vulgar and often misleading positivism of statistics is little more than a combination of trainspotting and alchemy that no amount of invocation of secondary sources can disguise.

 

Cheers

John Drakakis

 

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

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

Date:         February 26, 2015 at 1:32:32 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: OP

 

D. Blanton writes,

 

“I am puzzled as to what I perceive as inordinate resistance to my identification of Shylock as not a Jew, but rather as the Devil. . .”

 

Because the plain reading of L. G/I’s spiritual struggle lines indicates Bassanio, not Shylock, would be the Devil. Shylock is merely “a kinde of deville.” The “fiend,” servant for or representation of Bassanio, is “the devill himselfe.”  In contradiction to L.’s expectations, his “conscience,” i.e. his good angel, counsels him to stay with Shylock. But L. decides to go for the potential booty that comes with the Devil’s side. Akin to Faustus. 

 

“But those same characters also refer to him as the devil. How does one reconcile these apparent contradictions?”

 

Nothing to reconcile, it was made for watching. It is satire.

    

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

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

Date:         February 26, 2015 at 7:27:32 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: OP

 

William Blanton wonders why his idea about Lancelot’s last name is meeting resistance:

 

> I speak only of Launcelet's surname as

> Shakespeare has Launcelet himself spell/pronounce

> it during his speech: Iobbe or Jobbe. I do

> not speak of Old Gobbo at all. I neither know

> nor care whether Gobbo is his first or last name.

 

That's the problem: you should care, William. You should care because the audience is clearly meant to understand that Old Gobbo is father to Lancelot and that Gobbo is their shared last name. (Unless, that is, you wish to suggest that Old Gobbo’s full name is “Gobbo Jobbe”, which you haven’t yet tried to do and which would meet a host of other objections).

 

Your theory requires the son to have a different last name from his father, and no-one is buying that. Nor should they, given the conventions of drama and English naming practice.

 

Gabriel Egan

 
 
Shylock and the Greek Debt Crisis

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.088  Thursday, 26 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 25, 2015 at 5:00:30 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Shylock/Greece; OP

 

Given that the country pressing most loudly for the repayment of the Greek debt is the one that imposed such immense hardship on Greece not that long ago, I find it hard to be appalled by Dr. Appelbaum’s plea for clemency.

 

Of course, the fact the nature of the Axis occupation complicates the Shylock analogy still more . . .

 

Julia Griffin 

 
 
PhD Studentship

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.087  Thursday, 26 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 26, 2015 at 8:44:19 AM EST

Subject:    PhD Studentship

 

SHAKSPERians who know suitable students looking for a PhD scholarship might be interested in the one on “Literary and Dramatic Adaptation: New Approaches and New Kinds of Evidence” currently being offered at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. What’s on offer to the best candidate is the payment of all PhD tuition fees plus the award of a maintenance grant of 14,057 GBP per year for three years.

 

The pitch to applicants reads like this:

 

>Applications are invited in the area of

>adaptations and the new technologies, ranging

>from the adaptations of Shakespeare and his

>contemporaries, Austen, Dickens and Gothic

>adaptations. The proposed PhD project will

>bring together the study of adaptation with

>computational methods and training will be

>offered in the computational methods to be

>employed. 

 

The adaptations side of the project will be supervised within the Centre for Adaptations (Director: Prof Deborah Cartmell) and the

computational side within the Centre for Textual Studies (Director: Prof Gabriel Egan).

 

Further details and instructions on how to apply are at:

 

 http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AKO123

 

Informal enquiries can be made to Prof Cartmell < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > or me < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >.

 

Gabriel Egan

 
 
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