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Gobbo Name

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.163  Wednesday, 25 March 2015

 

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

Date:         March 24, 2015 at 9:14:27 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gobbo

 

>I also assume that he spent time in Stratford before he died 

>revising his work, and died before he could finish. 

 

And this assumption is grounded on ....(?) 

 
Criticism of Erne

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.162  Wednesday, 25 March 2015

 

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

     Date:         March 24, 2015 at 9:11:53 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Erne 

 

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

     Date:         March 25, 2015 at 7:24:53 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: Criticism of Erne 

 

 

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

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

Date:         March 24, 2015 at 9:11:53 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Erne

 

>Steve Urkowitz offers a pointer to his own article on the topic of 

>how long play performances were.  I read the article when it came

>out and if my notes on it are accurate then Steve thinks that play 

>scripts were routinely cut by about 10% for performance, whereas 

>Erne thinks they were cut by 30%.

 

It seems to me that assumptions that play scripts were cut to accommodate playing times of two hours or so run aground on the research showing that Eliz/Jac entertainments ran to about four hours, with juggling, singing, dancing, etc. preceding and following the play proper.  See Michael Hirrel’s article Duration of Performances and Lengths of Plays, 61 Shakespeare Quarterly 159-82.  If a play’s performance ran too long, the surrounding entertainments could be shortened to allow a full presentation.  The criticisms of Erne’s theories, pro and con, need to take account of this research.

 

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

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

Date:         March 25, 2015 at 7:24:53 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: Criticism of Erne

 

I’ve stayed out of this discussion to avoid diffusing it, but I’d like now to share briefly my rebuttals, if not refutations, of Erne’s ‘Literary Dramatist’ book. The book has been reviewed in dozens of places so I may be repeating someone else’s points. 

 

Erne demonstrates that by the turn of the century Shakespeare was a popular published author. He demonstrates that many of the plays were too long to be performed. But he appears to me to be saying that we should take the length of the plays as evidence of Shakespeare’s desire to write for readers. Against that thought, several points can be made:

 

The publication of Shakespeare quartos dropped sharply in the 17th century. But that is also when most of the longest plays were written. Erne does not confront the problem that, per his hypothesis, for about a decade in the 17th century Shakespeare wrote thousands of extra lines for readers, even though there were no readers for those lines because the plays were not being published.

 

Erne cites the handful of quartos (none by Shakespeare) which tell readers that they are being given more than was acted on stage. But he does not try to explain why none of the Shakespeare quartos make such a claim. Was Shakespeare content to be a secret benefactor to his readers by writing long passages just for them, but never told the publisher of any of his quartos, and so his readers never knew the favour he was doing them? It had to have been a favour he was doing: Shakespeare could not have had a financial motive for writing long plays for readers. If claiming that a quarto had more material in it than was acted on stage was a significant boost to sales then we should have had many more quartos making that claim (truthfully or not). Moreover, Moseley’s testimony, which Erne quotes, is that at least for private transcripts, people were willing to pay large sums just for the shorter, acting versions.

 

Erne does not consider the obvious alternative explanation for the long plays, i.e. that Shakespeare found that it was the best way for him to work. Perhaps when his creativity was in flow, with his hand and mind working together, he found it best to let his pen run on and write too much; and then cut it later with the advice of his colleagues. He could afford the paper. This is essentially a version of Andrew Gurr’s idea of a ‘maximal text’. I am not saying that’s what happened, but it’s an explanation just as consistent with the evidence.

 

As others have noted, Erne is least convincing when he argues for a ‘coherent strategy’ of publication in the late 16th century which was abandoned in the 17th century. He could have considered another explanation, directly opposite to what he claims. Suppose Shakespeare was never interested or willing for his plays to be published. In the mid-1590s, when quarto publication of his plays began, he was a useful playwright but nothing more and his influence with his company would have been in accordance with that. But by the turn of the century his colleagues would have been in no doubt that he was a goose laying golden eggs who would go on laying them. His influence then must have been huge. Suppose he then put his foot down and insisted that the quarto publication of his plays must cease? Again, I am not saying this is what happened but it is also consistent with the evidence.

 

Erne might have done better to claim that Shakespeare wrote long plays so he could sell private transcripts of them, rather than get them published as quartos. That would have avoided the problems I’ve noted above. But he shies away from that explanation, presumably because it is not consistent with Moseley’s testimony about transcripts being the short versions.

 

I like Erne’s book very much. It was badly needed as a corrective to performance criticism, which had gone too far, almost to the point of saying that we shouldn’t read Shakespeare. I think he establishes his premises very convincingly. I just can’t accept all the conclusions he draws from them.

 
 
Hiatus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.161  Wednesday, 25 March 2015

 

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

Date:         Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Subject:    Hiatus

 

Dear Subscribers,

 

Early tomorrow morning, after dropping off the dogs, Oliver and Honey, at the Doggie Spa and putting out food for my son-in-law, Bill, to feed the Cockatoo, Berowne, I leave for The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA. I sure hope the snow has melted by the time I arrive.

 

I return on either late April 7th or early April 8th and will commence to editing SHAKSPER submissions as soon as I am able. Keep them coming to continue the discussions.

 

Best wishes to all,

Hardy

 
 
Latest Update of Shakespeare Plays and Festivals (March 22, 2015)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.160  Wednesday, 25 March 2015

 

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

Date:         Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Subject:    Latest Update of Shakespeare Plays and Festivals (March 22, 2015)

 

The Latest update of the “Shakespeare Plays and Festivals” (March 22, 2015) list is now available at http://shaksper.net/scholarly-resources/shakespeare-festivals-and-plays .

 

Our continued thanks to Kristin Backert for her work in keeping this list as up-to-date as possible.

 

Please send any additions, suggestions, or corrections to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

-Hardy

 
 
Gobbo Name

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.159  Tuesday, 24 March 2015

 

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

     Date:         March 23, 2015 at 6:18:24 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re:  Gobbo/Pronunciation/Punctuation 

 

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

     Date:         March 23, 2015 at 11:03:34 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gobbo 

 

 

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

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

Date:         March 23, 2015 at 6:18:24 PM EDT

Subject:    Re:  Gobbo/Pronunciation/Punctuation

 

G. Egan writes re: precedent/president:

 

“The two spellings are equally valid spellings of the same word.”

 

I think this reasoning could be applied in determination of the original pronunciation for Iobbe and Gobbo. They may not be unlike. At Q1 (1600) the second naming is “Jobbe,” a very early printing example of uppercase “J.” (first in Sh. texts?) The Q1 writer, composer, printer, apprentice typesetter, whomever, hereby opts to signal a soft g reading for the other Iobbes. Hearing Iobbe to resound near “Jobbuh,” such could be close enough to connote synonymy with “Gobbo.” More so if one uses a soft g for Gobbo’s first G. Such is not unprecedented in English for a back vowel, take “gaoler” said four times in MV. 

 

More likely, the orthographic inconstancy may arise from back-then uncertainty about things Italianate, and diversity within the Italian language itself wherein both Gobbo and Gibbo meant “hunchback.” According to Florio’s 1611 dictionary, Gobbo is “hunch or croope-backt.” A “Gobetto” is a little hunch or small-bodied hunchback, and a “Gobba” is “namely” the hunch, or “knob or croope” itself. Elsewhere “Gibba” defines as “a hunch upon ones backe,” “Gibosso” means “hunch-backt,” and “Gibbo” is simply defined “as Gobbo.”  Continuing backwards espies the entry “Ghibbo, as Ghembo, or as Gobbo.”  There is also “Ghembo, bent, crooked, bowed, writhing,” and, “Ghembare, to bow, bend, or writh crooked.” 

 

At Florio’s 1598 edition, the entries for Gobbo, Gobba are similar. So are those for Gibba and Gibboso, but the 1611’s “Gibbo, as Gobbo” is not present. Likewise the 1598 shows “Ghibbo, as Ghembo,” but shows no continuation to “or as Gobbo.”  The 1611second edition connects by cross-reference the hard g and soft g synonymous words. 

 

“Gibbo” reads/sounds to me as “Jibbo” in either standard Italian or English. Even if Gibbo was not pronounced so in “Italy” or relevant region of the same, an English person might think so, and I do not know if how the idea of “Gobbo” entered England back then anyway. The word spelled “Gobbo” is not spoken by a MV character, rather “I/Jobbe” is, the orthographic difference may signal a small pronunciation deviation from expectation. Or documentation that people disagreed on the pronunciation of the same foreign word. Or for something completely different, “Iobbe” is an affectation of Lancelot giving his name a snootier sound, in line with his wordplay elsewhere. Then there is the issue of “Job” gone over by others. My point: typographical divergences should be considered in light of possible underlying pronunciation, pronunciation differences, and pronunciation disagreements in early modern English language texts, especially with non-English words. This thread began as “Adventures in Original Pronunciation” and has been thoughtful all around, although its vigor could have been cooled about 10% or so, but makes me think. .Why the “J-obbe?” Why did Florio add “Gibbo, as Gobbo” to his second edition? Did people have the same sorts of arguments over “Gobbo” as we do today? Regarding the editing of pronunciation in MV let me add that after Nerriʃsa says, “How like you the young Germaine, the Duke of Saxonies nephew,” Portia retorts, “Very vildlie in the morning when hee is sober, and most vildly in the afternoone when he is drunke.” (1.2.81-84). The usual amendment to “vilely” is a total editorial travesty indicating a deficit of humor and an ignorance of basic foreign accents. Portia says “Very vildlie” with a mock German accent, a play on the German pronunciation of the English “wildly.” Of this I am completely certain, although whether Portia continues the German angle to the second “vildly,” I am still perplexed.      

 

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

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

Date:         March 23, 2015 at 11:03:34 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gobbo

 

I did considerable research before I wrote my article on the Trial Scene. I have stated my belief several times that mine is the only analysis of the Trial Scene that has been written by a qualified attorney. Each time I made that claim, I asked if anyone knew of any similar examination of the Trial Scene,

 

To date, no one has provided me with such a reference. I ask again.

 

In addition, I made quite a number of factual statements in that article. I asked anyone who found a factual error to let me know. Again, no such reference. I ask again.

 

I do not have easy access to an OED. I will try to look up “precedent” and “President.” It strikes me as too cavalier to write off the change as the work of a Demon Compositor. The two words not only look different, but they also have different meanings. An actor on stage could so enunciate the word “President” sufficiently to differentiate it from “precedent.” Anyone reading F1 would certainly catch on immediately. I provided what I believe Shakespeare’s reason might have been for making the change. Shakespeare knew more about words that any one, or two, or three of us combined.

 

Bill 

 
 
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