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Pedestrians Crossing Cairncross

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0210  Tuesday, 29 May 2012

 

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

     Date:         May 28, 2012 4:17:45 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Peds 

 

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

     Date:         May 29, 2012 5:48:58 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Peds 

 

 

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

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

Date:         May 28, 2012 4:17:45 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Peds

 

>The pendulous Foucault stuff didn’t do much for me.

 

Really?  Puh-leese!  I enjoy a good pun as well as the next guy, but this isn’t a good one.  I suspect “pendulous” here is an unintentional malaprop for “ponderous.”

 

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

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

Date:         May 29, 2012 5:48:58 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Peds

 

In Gerald E. Downs's posting I find an observation that embarrasses me:

 

> “McKerrow’s alternative explanation . . .  won the day”

> (Robert Knowles); “McKerrow’s explanation has won out”

> (Egan). Coincidence? “Montgomery, who in a sense curbs

> the excesses of Caincross” (Knowles); “Curbing the excesses

> of . . . Cairncross’s Arden edition . . . Montgomery observed”

> (Egan).

 

No, this can’t be coincidence. As Downs shows, my essay echoes Ronald (not “Robert”) Knowles’s edition of 2H6. I reviewed Knowles’s edition of 2H6 shortly before writing my essay and it is clear that I have borrowed the essence of Knowles’s phrases “McKerrow’s alternative explanation . . . won the day” and “curbs the excesses of”. I trust that SHAKSPERians will accept that this borrowing was unconscious.

 

> I would like to ask Gabriel if he thinks Contention is a

> memorial reconstruction. Does he think Q3 supplemented

> F copy? I couldn’t get his views from the article.

 

I’m sorry that Downs wasn’t able to get my views from my essay. I think that York’s bungled account of his own family tree in the quarto of 1594 points to memorial reconstruction being at least part of the explanation for the Q1/F relationship. I don’t know whether Q3 supplemented F copy: my essay draws attention to some problems in Montgomery’s argument that it did, most notably the small Q3/F differences at the points of alleged dependence. Roger Warren’s article on the problem (Review of English Studies 51 (2000): 193-207) convinces me that Q1 and F are also separated by F containing late authorial revisions.

 

This is a problem, then, of overdetermination: we have more explanations than we need to account for the textual situation. Thus our efforts should be focussed on eliminating one or more of the explanations. That is why I mentioned John Jowett’s article eliminating the possibility that memorial reconstruction underlies Q1 R3; this seems to me the right response.

 

Downs proposes a new complication: the use of shorthand. Adele Davidson also advocates the shorthand theory, in a series of articles and a book on the texts of King Lear. It seems to me that those advocating shorthand should set themselves the task of finding at least one clinching textual example where shorthand just has to be the explanation. Finding a collection of examples where it is plausible is much less persuasive than finding one certain case. The analogy would be with York’s bungled genealogy clinching the case for memorial reconstruction in CYL/2H6.

 

Gabriel Egan

 

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