British Shakespeare Educational Project

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0449  Wednesday, 7 November 2012

 

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

Date:         November 7, 2012 11:00:25 AM EST

Subject:     British Shakespeare Educational Project

 

I found the following announcement of considerable interest. 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20206307

 

In time, it would be very worthwhile to hear about the experiences of those teachers involved.

 

Alan R. Young

Professor Emeritus, Acadia University

 

********

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20206307

 

Shakespeare schools cash means all the world's a stage

 

By Judith Burns

BBC News education reporter

 

Thousands of children in the UK will get the chance to stage a Shakespeare play in a theatre to mark the 450th anniversary of his birth in 2014.

 

Some 50,000 pupils and their teachers will get use of a local theatre, plus expert rehearsal and staging tips.

 

The Shakespeare Schools Festival plans to spend £3.2m to treble the number of schools it reaches.

 

Education Secretary Michael Gove said he wanted pupils to “stage their own version of Shakespearean magic”.

 

The Department for Education has announced a donation of £140,000 to help the Festival kickstart a major expansion in England, particularly into primary schools. It currently works in 700 schools but aims to reach 1,000 by 2013 and 2,000 by 2014.

 

The charity’s chief executive, Penelope Middelboe, told BBC News there was still a lot more money to raise but said: “It is really helpful for us to know the government is supportive of the project.

 

 

Key role

 

“We place so much importance on the role of drama and Shakespeare in schools. We have seen it change lives. It is key to education - not just an add-on.”

 

Concerns have been raised about the future of cultural education in schools after the government announced plans for an English Baccalaureate for 16-year-olds to be taught in schools from 2015.

 

[ . . . ]

 

The department is also giving the Royal Shakespeare Company £125,000 to provide all state secondary schools with a free copy of the RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers, a hoard of information on Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 

 

‘Depth and power’

 

Mr Gove said: “I was enraptured by a Shakespeare Schools Festival performance of Macbeth by a primary school at the Royal Court earlier this year. The Festival enables students to bring the plays of the great playwright to life and does fantastic work to improve cultural education in our schools.”

 

Ray Fearon, currently appearing in the RSC’s Julius Caesar, said: “For passionate English teachers, the challenge is similar to that of the RSC, which seeks to widen access to Shakespeare’s work - how to bring the depth and power of this material to a new audience without compromising its integrity or patronising that audience.

 

“Through the Toolkit, the RSC shows how the techniques of one of the world’s leading theatre companies can be applied in the classroom to unlock some of the richest, most challenging and rewarding texts in the English language. Thanks to the Department for Education, every state secondary school will have their own copy.”

 

[ . . . ]

 

Play Length

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0448  Tuesday, 6 November 2012

 

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

Date:         November 6, 2012 2:19:02 PM EST

Subject:     Whack-a-mole, anyone?

 

I’m pleased, puzzled, and a little dismayed by Gerald Downs’ response to my essay, “Did Shakespeare’s Company Cut Long Plays Down to Two Hours Playing Time” in the most recent issue of SHAKESPEARE BULLETIN (30, 2012) 239-62.  

 

If he had written only this line, “I agree with Steve that longer plays were acted essentially as written” then we’d have gone out for a pizza and traded Textual Scholarship jokes. That’s all I wanted to prove in this essay, one more brick in a wall of evidence I’m building to separate the reasonable from the unfounded speculations about these early scripts.   But he found other chunks he disagrees with.

 

For example, he claims: “There can be no real doubt that the corrupt texts derive from plays nearer to the better texts.” 

 

First, I have to stress that my goal in this essay was to counter the hypothesis that ALL of Shakespeare’s long plays were cut down for performance. I didn’t offer any evidence about sources for the shorter versions of plays like Q1 Romeo and Juliet. The more modest goal was to show evidence that some plays were longer than two hours and need not have been cut down to that length. As part of my conclusion I said only that those textual arguments which depended on the shorter texts as being derived from the longer ones should be re-examined.

 

But ““There can be no real doubt “is a debater’s trick that gives the appearance of certainty without the obligation for further evidence or argument on the order of “There can be no real doubt” that the Earth is flat. or “There can be no real doubt” that Democrats are engaging in voter fraud.  But important, consistently-structured and patterned textual variants he ascribes to “corruption” could with greater likelihood arise from different sources found in related documents such as authorial manuscripts. (Downs’s favored sources, hypothetical, corrupt transcriptions from dictation, or shorthand, or from memory, however, do not account for any of the rich theatrical embrocation and varying connections to source material found among the “bad,” and the “good” quartos and the folio texts. But that’s not the issue in my essay under discussion.) 

 

Another problem: For R&J, he claims that “Q1 is the record of a performance, as a comparison of the prologues shows” Well, dears, Gerald can SAY that a comparison will show, but in order for standers-by to believe him he really should do the showing. (I always told my writing students, “If you want someone to believe what you believe, show them what you saw that made you believe it yourself.”) Maybe Q1 R&J indeed was performed as it appears in the printed text. Or a performance with quite different words and actions may have been badly transcribed and the transcriber accidentally and creatively came up with what we read in Q1.  

 

The proposed story I think Gerald believes of it being a record of performance, i.e., a transcription taken down by shorthand – or memorially reconstructed, or generated through a transcription of a  purposefully compressed Q2 text in order to reduce it into two hours traffic – though appealing to most editors including Lukas Erne, the most recent editor of Q1, is still quite shaky and requires us to buy into many subsidiary and unlikely hypotheses . (I’ve published some pieces of a longer study about the “bad” quartos which is now in the works, (and if I ever stop juggling dead fish with Jerry Downs I’ll get back to writing it.) Nevertheless, that whole kettle ain’t important to my essay.

 

Jerry asks, “What reason do actors have to speak quickly?” Ah. Here we’re at the aesthetics of performance.  Slow speech by actors of Shakespearean texts yields b-o-r-i-n-g performances. You like ‘em that way? Fine. But my experience as a director and as a member of audiences tells me that verbal quickness is a sign of lively performance. What reason do dancers make quick steps? why do musicians enjoy flighty arpeggios? Why not?

 

Jerry also suggests that the corruption of the early printed versions is proven because “Shakespeare’s “fellows” denounced the published texts.” But the “stolne and surreptitious copies” stuff from the Folio preliminary pages represent a jaunty appeal by Heminges and Condell to encourage purchases, not a true avowal or declaration that the earlier publications were all untrustworthy.  

 

But then Gerald Downs swings at one of the fine practitioners of our scholarly craft. He says: “Grace Ioppolo hasn’t identified any foul-paper text satisfying any definition, including her own.”  

 

This is where I have to get off this particular Bibliographic Train. I just ain’t interested in riding anymore with Jerry. Grace Ioppolo has done the tough and painstakingly detailed work of examining the documents. Here’s a sample: “Heywood’s 1624 autograph manuscript of his play The Captives is a foul-paper text that offers a full example of an author in the act of composition. Other foul-paper manuscripts also survive, although they have not always been recognized as such. . . . In his manuscript of The Captives, Heywood is obviously in the act of composing, not copying, unsure as he writes which characters will appear in which scene, at what point they will enter, what they will say, and even what relationship they will bear to one another (Dramatists and their Manuscripts in the Age of Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton and Heywood, pp. 94-5). Her discussion is crystal clear, her illustrations abundant, and her conclusions consistent with the evidence she so generously provides.   

 

If Gerald Downs can’t see the virtue and validity in Grace Ioppolo’s work, then all I can do is recommend that we all look at Grace’s work and learn from it, And that we then turn to Gerald Downs derogation of her excellent scholarship and hold him up to the ridicule of the polis. Pugh!  

 

It’s Tuesday. Let’s go out and vote. Clear the air. Likely after the results are in I’ll come back with shovel and broom to continue cleaning up after the Textual Circus parade. That’s Show Biz.

 

Steve Bozowitz

 

Reading Upsy Downs and the Pathologies of Argumentation

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0447  Tuesday, 6 November 2012

 

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

Date:         November 5, 2012 7:32:31 PM EST

Subject:     Re: All Argumentation

 

Steven Urkowitz writes:

 

> Gerald Downs deploys several fascinating argumentative

> tactics in his latest contribution to our dialogue. One is

> really cute. Where the Oxford/Norton text of LEAR ascribes

> to Peter Blayney the “authority” of its creative speech prefix

> in the speech in 5.3, “All. . . . . I pointed out that Blayney’s

> speculative “ALL” just ain’t a bibliographical argument,

 

No one said it was a bibliographical argument, other than “Alb” itself suggesting a graphic misreading. I did say Blayney reserves his textual analysis for Volume 2, where the argument belongs.

 

> nor has Peter’s explanation for his suggestion been published

> anywhere. So, in a seeming chunk of explanation, Gerald Downs

> suggests that . . . Oxford . . . “may have got it from Halio.”

 

By “it” I wasn’t referring to Blayney’s argument for ‘All’ but to the Oxford citation. As far as I know Halio is the only editor who’s seen Blayney’s beginnings of Volume 2, so I suggested Halio was the source of the citation. That’s no “argumentative tactic,” just trying to help. “Alb.” and “All.” are each mistaken, I think.

 

> “. . . Edelman [pp.156-7] pointing out that interference with a

> battle of chivalry was strictly forbidden, is ‘led to agree’ with

> Theobald’s suggestion that ‘the words are meant to be spoken

> by’ Gonoril since it is logical for her ‘emotionally to beseech her

> soldiers to step in at a moment when Edmund appears to be in

> danger” (in Wells’ single volume Oxford KING LEAR p. 165n).

 

I hadn’t seen Edelman’s observation but I agree with Theobald also, and for the same reasons.

 

> We just have to believe now that whoever wrote down

> the lost or mis-read ALL somehow was REALLY intending

> to inscribe “Gonoril”?

 

Not at all; if Q1 is a shorthand report, as I believe, the speakers are inferred from the dialogue. When a number of characters are present in a scene speech headings are apt to be mis-assigned. For example, I’ve noted that Q1 Philaster has sixty erroneous ascriptions (as determined by the better Q2, with which any analysis must agree). In this case, Q1 got it wrong, Theobald got it right. Whoever was responsible for the Q1 error was trying to get it right, but that doesn’t mean he was trying to write “Gon.” F simply follows Q1, but without a good text we have no way of knowing all of the errors.

 

> One last bit. Gerald Downs announces, “Q1 gets lots of

> [speech prefixes] wrong, many of which are followed by

> or mishandled in the derivative F.”

> “Lots” by my count equals “zero.”

 

“Lots” by my count is enough to show Q1 is likely a reported text.

 

> but if Gerald will please repeat Stone’s analyses of the “lots of”

> speech prefix errors in Q1 . . .

 

Stone’s The Textual History of King Lear should be available. It’s the best analysis by far. Appendix B1, “Ascription of Speeches in Q1 and F” (228-32), lists a number of errors. I think there are more. Q1 also ascribes speeches to unnamed characters (‘Gent’ becomes ‘Stew’, then ‘Oswald’ after he is named in dialogue, then back to ‘Stew.’) Stone is right to see the implications.

 

Stone’s appendixes are instructive, even in their titles: “Misreadings in Q1”; “Phonetic Errors”; “Complex Errors”; and etc. (175-279). Insofar as Stone published in 1980, the same year as Urkowitz, and because Stone was very influential among the contributors to Division, it seems odd that Steven isn’t familiar with the book. I have always held it among the best of Shakespeare scholarship.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

[Editor’s Note: There were two typos in Steve Urkowitz’s original Argumentation posting. I have corrected them in the archive and below. –Hardy]

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0443  Monday, 5 November 2012

 

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

Date:         November 2, 2012 9:20:01 AM EDT

Subject:     Reading Upsy Downs and the Pathologies of Argumentation

 

Hello, out there, all you (both of you?) continue readers! I do gamely hippity-hop along, Mr Bluebird on my shoulder, cheerfully hoping that laughter will bring its healing sense of reconciling incompatible oxymorons. (“Who you calling an oxymoron, Urkowitz? I’m a textual scholar, see?”)? Out of disagreement, after turns in different directions, there may come a return, a reconciliation, a joining of hands, salutations, and departures towards other pleasures.

 

Whatever. Gerald Downs deploys several fascinating argumentative tactics in his latest contribution to our dialogue. One is really cute. Where the Oxford/Norton text of LEAR ascribes to Peter Blayney the “authority” of its creative speech prefix in the speech in 5.3, “All.  Save him, save him” where Q and F have instead “Alb” I pointed out that Blayney’s speculative “ALL” just ain’t a bibliographical argument, nor has Peter’s explanation for his suggestion been published anywhere. So, in a seeming chunk of explanation, Gerald Downs suggests that the Oxford Little Rascals “may have got it from Halio.”  

 

I rummaged through my KING LEAR shelf-o’-editions and came up with the longer equally non-bibliographical but quite a bit more detailed explanation offered by Stanley Wells: “HalioQ and Weis retain Q’s ‘Alb[any]’ though Halio F admits that Alb could be a misreading of All, which could also make sense dramatically. Edelman [pp.156-7] pointing out that interference with a battle of chivalry was strictly forbidden, is ‘led to agree’ with Theobald’s suggestion that ‘the words are meant to be spoken by’ Gonoril since it is logical for her ‘emotionally to beseech her soldiers to step in at a moment when Edmund appears to be in danger” (in Wells’ single volume Oxford KING LEAR p. 165n). Don’t you love these guys? Knock’em down with any huge pile of basic data contradicting their speculations and like bantam roosters they’re bounding back up, bloody but unfazed. (Hey, wait just a sec’: I do that too!)  

 

We just have to believe now that whoever wrote down the lost or mis-read ALL somehow was REALLY intending to inscribe “Gonoril”? Or wanted to somehow indicate that Shakespeare meant for Gonoril AND a posse of her supporters were to say SAVE HIM SAVE HIM? “Wheeee!  All aboard for the net train to Cloud-cuckooland!” (A lot of traffic on that line, getting closer to the Election Day.) But that’s how conspiracy theories work, and there are all too many souls locked up in maximum security prisons for us to take such reasoning as an innocuous scholarly foible. (Urk, you said you were hoping for reconciliation? Oops. In the Bronx, we’re still fighting the War of the Spanish Succession. Never Forget. Never Forgive. JOKING.)

 

One last bit. Gerald Downs announces, “Q1 gets lots of speeches [i.e. speech prefixes] wrong, many of which are followed by or mishandled in the derivative F.” “Lots” by my count equals “zero.” There’s one speech prefix in Lear’s role that is printed in the middle of a continuing speech, and then there are many that in one text go to one character and in a later text go to a different character. In each case, both versions make sense. But such a coarse judgment as “making sense” is no qualification for accepting an argument, as Marion Trousdale herself attests in her denial of authorial revision in LEAR. (Nice lady, Marion is, but last time we spoke I failed to notice her Aura of Infallibility.)

 

I have to go about today’s business, but if Gerald will please repeat Stone’s analyses of the “lots of” speech prefix errors in Q1 (since I can’t find ‘em, and it would likely help the others equally bewildered in this fog o’ argument), we can carry on this mental tai chi exercise.  

 

Ever,

Urquartowitz

Cordelia’s “I am” and York’s “Six and Seven”

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0446  Tuesday, 6 November 2012

 

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

Date:         November 5, 2012 5:50:45 PM EST

Subject:     Alan Dessen’s Comment on “Cordelia’s ‘I am’”

 

Subject:   Cordelia’s “I am” and York’s “Six and Seven” 

 

I was delighted by Alan Dessen’s recent observation (in “Cordelia’s ‘I am,’” October 31) about the differences between the Quarto and Folio versions of King Lear, 4.2.69.

 

I experienced a similar epiphany a couple of decades ago when I was editing Richard II for The Guild Shakespeare (New York: GuildAmerica Books, 1989). Like most of my predecessors who have wrestled with this text, I was having problems with the uncharacteristically irregular verse of a long speech near the end of 2.2 in which the Duke of York bewails a “tide of woes” that have come “rushing on this woeful land at once.” After attempting in vain to address my difficulty by emending the lineation of the passage, I suddenly noticed something that no modern edition of the play had prepared me to observe. In both the Quarto and Folio versions of his concluding words (2.2.120-22 in the Riverside collection), York says:

 

     I should to Plashy too, but time will not permit:

     All is uneven, and every thing is left at six and seven.

 

As with the second “I am“ in the Folio version of Cordelia’s evocative reply in King Lear, the expressive power of this unrhymed couplet is, at least in part, a product of its hypermetric deviations from the pentameter norm. Appropriately for a lord who feels “left at six and seven,” the first line is a hexameter, and the second is a heptameter. And the word “uneven” accounts not only for the couplet’s own ungainliness but for the rough-hewn quality of several phrases in the reflections that precede it.

 

As Polonius would have been among the first to note, York’s creator here conveys a character’s perplexity through an “effect defective” that “comes by cause.”

Play Length

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0445  Monday, 5 November 2012

 

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

Date:         November 4, 2012 9:15:48 PM EST

Subject:     Re: Play Length

 

I’ll comment on some of Steve Urkowitz’s Shakespeare Bulletin article on play length.

 

> As a corollary argument, it is reasoned that the radically

> shorter first-printed “bad” quarto versions of plays such as

> Romeo & Juliet, Henry V, Hamlet, and The Merry Wives

> of Windsor represent texts somehow derived from the

> supposedly cut down “originals” found only in their

> later-printed and longer forms.

 

There can be no real doubt that the corrupt texts derive from plays nearer to the better texts. Urkowitz has long held that the shorter ‘bad’ texts predate the ‘good’ longer texts. The corruptions prove otherwise.

 

> Michael Hirrel, also writing in Shakespeare Quarterly,

 

Hirrel’s article is very good.

 

> there is no testimony that Shakespeare was forced either

> to cater to them or to cut his scripts to please them.

 

There is not much testimony that Shakespeare . . . anything.

 

> We do not know, though, anything at all about whether

> “the play [H5] as performed” more resembled the 1600

> Quarto or the 1623 First Folio. Gurr is simply assuming

> that his two hour theory is correct, that the shortened

> scripts resulted from economic or stylistic decisions by

> the acting company, and that artistic quality (in the form

> of about a third of the play’s longer Folio text) would be

> sacrificed for any number of exigent reasons.

 

When we realize that Q1 Henry V is a theatrical report we understand that it is “the play as performed.” Neither Gurr nor Urkowitz reach that conclusion but a “play as performed,” short & corrupt, isn’t necessarily as it was always performed. Bad quartos are short; short plays were played. Long plays were shortened, one way or another; the evidence stares us in the face. Still, I agree with Steve that longer plays were acted essentially as written. It’s not “either or” nor a question of “artistic quality.” And we are not limited to “acting company”; make them plural. After all, John of Bordeaux, which will go unmentioned (by others), was swiped for playing (by others). Q1 Hamlet is a memorial reconstruction played, recorded, and short. That doesn’t mean Hamlet wasn’t played in full. I guess it was – and that it was recorded.

 

> This essentially cynical view of Shakespeare, his fellow actors,

> and the enterprise of putting on plays makes them all seem

> like purveyors of adulterated . . . .

 

Cynical isn’t so bad. As per Hershel Brown, “the whole congregation was adulterated.” I have no gripe with the concept of “maximal texts” supplied by playwrights. Heywood’s The Captives is a good example; he and the players collaborated to chop its artistic quality. With a play written short, the druthers of the actors might send the author back to his desk (if he had one); but a longer text allows cutting without need for additions. However, there are common-sense limits to this practice and I don’t think it applies to Shakespeare’s plays very well.

 

> And [Ioppolo] has shown that the many dramatic manuscripts

> extant from the period—authorial foul papers . . .

 

Grace Ioppolo hasn’t identified any foul-paper text satisfying any definition, including her own.

 

> Like Orgel and Gurr, in his very well received

> Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist, Lukas Erne also claims

> that Shakespeare’s long texts had to be cut down to fit into

> a time limit of two hours. Like Hart, Erne cites many dramatic

> prologues and epilogues which mention two-hour playing times.

 

I didn’t receive Erne’s book very well; the evidence shows clearly enough that Shakespeare had nothing to do with the publication of his playtexts. All one needs for proof is Erne’s claim that the bad quartos were part of the official effort. Shakespeare’s “fellows” denounced the published texts.

 

I don't discount the “two hours” testimony; it is repeated often enough (with no reason to suppose the denizens couldn’t tell time). Van Dam cites Platter (Long before Alfred Hart van Dam argued plays were held to 2 hours): “Den 21 Septembris nach dem Imbiszeszen, ettwan umb zwey Uhren, bin ich mitt meiner geselschaft uber das waszer gefahren, haben in dem streuwinen Dachhaus die Tragedy vom ersten Keyser Julio Caesare mitt ohngefahr 15 personen sehen . . . .

 

> a plausible duration given quickly speaking actors

 

What reason do actors have to speak quickly? They do nowadays, only to show they shouldn’t cram a three-hour play into two hours.

 

> Nevertheless the same “two houres trafficque of our Stage”

> is repeated in the far longer Second Quarto [R&J] (1599),

> . . . . The inclusion of roughly 800 lines not found in Q1 makes

> a two-hour performance of Q2 very unlikely.

 

No doubt; but Q1 is the record of a performance, as a comparison of the prologues shows. Although play length is an important topic I don’t have much trouble with it because I take numbers of long editions to be shorthand reports, including R&J and Lear. Schmidt argued theatrical reporting for Lear more than a century ago; for him, the length question was answered. If one doubts shorthand, as Erne, then the short-play argument helps to decide against shorthand. If one concludes for other reasons that Q1 Lear is the report of a performance – Well King, this case is closed.

 

Gerald E. Downs

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