Shakespearean Originals King Lear


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.145  Monday, 2 April 2012


From:        Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:        April 1, 2012 12:05:55 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Lear


I learned a couple of things over my many decades of arguing. The first is that arguing generally won’t change the mind of the person you’re arguing with. But then again it may have some impact on the opinions of folks standing around watching the fight. I’m having too much other fun today and the sky here in Maine is brilliant blue, calling me out to ride my bike, so I can’t spend a lot of time just now on Gerald Downs’s very serious (and nicely witty) responses to my irreverent and slangy comments.  But in the meantime for a start let me suggest that folk check into opinions about John of Bordeaux other than Downs’s. He proposes that manuscript is a “remarkably accurate” document that supports the whole project of memorial and/or oral-via-shorthand rather than direct scriptorial(?) transmission.


>The text of John of Bordeaux, phonetically transcribed throughout, 

>is remarkably accurate. Some object that readers must agree with 

>my conclusion that the play is a shorthand report before they can 

>accept the implications I describe; that’s true. But I’m willing to put 

>my arguments and the textual evidence to the test.


One might look at Grace Ioppolo’s DRAMATISTS AND THEIR MANUSCRIPTS . . .esp. pp. 120-1 for a less fantastically speculative analysis of what that manuscript represents.  And to clear some of the sour taste of the dyspeptic reviews he cites of my really quite jolly REVISION OF KING LEAR book, I invite readers to taste the book itself rather than the unhappy refluxes of the book’s (few, maybe five out of thirty-plus total number) bitterly negative reviewers.  


More about this some later time, though. I’m out to ride in the sun.


Steve Ur-bike-owitz


Hebrew Verbs


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.144  Monday, 2 April 2012


From:        Hannibal Hamlin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 31, 2012 2:41:42 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: Hebrew Verbs


Others on the list with Hebrew less rudimentary than mine will no doubt be able to answer with more precision, but, yes, it is my understanding that Hebrew does not have tense in the same way European languages do. Hebrew verbs have forms designating complete or incomplete action. In terms of Exodus 3:14, the result is that while the Geneva translation is correct, it is also reductive, since one might translate equally accurately using different English tenses—I am be what I will be, etc. One implication is that God’s self-description—not really one, let alone a name—includes eternal immutability—was, is, will be.


My point in the Blackwell’s “Shakespeare and the Bible” piece was that Iago’s “I am not what I am” is a demonic parody of Exod. 3:14, an expression of utter vacuity in contrast to God’s eternal plenitude.


If I’ve erred or muddled, expert Hebraists please clarify.




Associate Professor of English

Editor, Reformation

Co-curator, Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible

The Ohio State University

164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall

Columbus, OH 43210-1340

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Internet Shakespeare Editions Update


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.143  Monday, 2 April 2012


From:        Michael Best <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Friday, 30 Mar 2012 09:52:42 -0700

Subject:     Internet Shakespeare Editions Update 


[Editor’s Notes: I have, with permission, edited the following from a Progress Report to the Editors of ISE editions from Michael Best, the Coordinating Editor, into an update of activities with the Internet Shakespeare Editions project: Disclaimer: I am a member of ISE Editorial Board and an editor, thanks to the ongoing patience of the Coordinating Editor. –Hardy M. Cook]



New Appointments


It has been our good fortune to make two important appointments:


1. Alex Huang has accepted the position of Performance Editor


Alex brings remarkable energy and experience to the position. You can see a fine example of his work, in association with Peter Donaldson, in Shakespeare Performance in Asia ( 


2. Janelle Jenstad has accepted the position of Assistant Coordinating Editor.


Janelle is Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, and has a great deal of experience both in Early Modern drama and Digital Humanities. Her project on the Map of Early Modern London ( is an immensely useful resource both for literary and historical studies, and she is currently embarking on an edition of The Merchant of Venice for the ISE.


Broadview Editions


David Bevington’s As You Like It is in print, and John Cox’s Julius Caesar well on the way. Congratulations to both, and thanks to David for the work he put into blazing a trail for the rest of us. Two plays are close to completion for final submission: Henry IV, Part One (Rosemary Gaby) and Twelfth Night (David Carnegie and Mark Houlahan). Two additional plays should be ready in a couple of months: Henry V (James Mardock) and The Tempest (Paul Yachnin and Brent Whitted).


Progress on Online Plays


A good many plays are adding incremental improvements, with several close to a stage where the editors will be submitting proposals to Broadview. Overall I see a strong momentum.


Two proposals for editions have been approved this last year:


1. The Merchant of Venice (Janelle Jenstad)

2. Henry IV, Part Two (Rosemary Gaby)


Two additional proposals, for Romeo and Juliet and Henry VIII, are currently under consideration.


Improvements on the Site


We have recently moved to a new, more powerful server. 


A number of technical developments are being experimented with, including the display of variants, animation of intransigent ambiguities, variant lineation between Q1 and F, and an “inclusive” text that displays all variants on a single interface.




Finally, I am pleased to announce that we have launched our “Making Waves Fundraising Campaign.” The aim is to raise an endowment of 1.5 million dollars to provide continuing stability in funding the site’s maintenance without relying on the vagaries of granting agencies. We are asking university libraries to become “Friends of the ISE” by contributing a membership fee; subscribing institutions gain some additional benefits—a “print” view of each page, and a pop-up citation for inclusion in research essays.


On the page “Why Participate?” you can download a letter to librarians and a brochure, both in PDF format.


Michael Best

Coordinating Editor, Internet Shakespeare Editions


Department of English, University of Victoria

Victoria B.C. V8W 3W1, Canada. 


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