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Shorthand, et al.

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0526  Wednesday, 19 December 2012

 

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

     Date:         December 18, 2012 10:16:40 PM EST

     Subject:     Shorthand, Romeus, and Saloonio 

 

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

     Date:         December 19, 2012 8:14:08 AM EST

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Shorthand 

 

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

     Date:         December 18, 2012 8:52:58 PM EST

     Subject:     Shorthand and R&J 

 

 

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

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

Date:         December 18, 2012 10:16:40 PM EST

Subject:     Shorthand, Romeus, and Saloonio

 

Ah hah!  The moment has arrived for me to propose that Gerald Downs and I record for our standers-by a 2012 rendition of Stephen Leacock’s century-old great work of popular literary history and creative folklore, from his first collection, SUNSHINE SKETCHES, viz,  “Saloonio: A Study in Shakespearean Criticism.”  We can do TWO versions, one where I play Colonel Hogshead to Gerald’s narrator, and one where I narrate and he plays the Colonel.

 

It begins, 

 

They say that young men fresh from college are pretty positive about what they know. But from my own experience of life, I should say that if you take a comfortable, elderly man who hasn’t been near a college for about twenty years, who has been pretty liberally fed and dined ever since, who measures about fifty inches around the circumference, and has a complexion like a cranberry by candlelight, you will find that there is a degree of absolute certainty about what he thinks he knows that will put any young man to shame. I am specially convinced of this from the case of my friend Colonel Hogshead, a portly, choleric gentleman who made a fortune in the cattle-trade out in Wyoming, and who, in his later days, has acquired a chronic idea that the plays of Shakespeare are the one subject upon which he is most qualified to speak personally.

 

He came across me the other evening as I was sitting by the fire in the club sitting-room looking over the leaves of The Merchant of Venice, and began to hold forth to me about the book.

 

“Merchant of Venice, eh? There’s a play for you, sir! There’s genius! Wonderful, sir, wonderful! You take the characters in that play and where will you find anything like them? You take Antonio, take Sherlock, take Saloonio—”

 

“Saloonio, Colonel?” I interposed mildly, “aren’t you making a mistake? There’s a Bassanio and a Salanio in the play, but I don’t think there’s any Saloonio, is there?”

 

And it continues, deliciously, at 

 

 http://www.online-literature.com/stephen-leacock/literary-lapses/38/

 

Hardy Cook suggests that his new electronic platform for SHAKSPER might be able to support sound files, and it might be a treat to gather around the Yule fire for something other than A Christmas Carol.

 

Glad tidings of comfort and joy to all, and especially to our dear Hardy,

 

Ever yours,

Stephen Leakowitz

 

[Editor’s Note: Yes, let’s give it a try. I have not loaded any sound files yet, but I am confident I can load them and then provide a link in a file. Also, Steve, thank you for your kind words.-Hardy]

 

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

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

Date:         December 19, 2012 8:14:08 AM EST

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Shorthand

 

While I find the Urkowitz/Downs correspondence amusing and at times instructive, I wonder if this is something that should now be conducted privately.

 

Cheers

John Drakakis

 

[Editor’s Note: 

 

I have decidedly mixed feelings about John Drakakis’s suggestion. I have greatly enjoyed the displays of wit and commonsense at times; but as the person who formats and proofreads all postings included in the newsletters I distribute, I do weary of long, long lists of supposed examples that tire my eyes, but I will entertain PRIVATE responses to John’s suggestion. 

 

I should point out that my policy has been when threads come down to two contributors talking to each other I generally ask that the discussion be taken offline. However, I am not so sure what to do when contributors are talking past each other.

 

-Hardy]

 

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

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

Date:         December 18, 2012 8:52:58 PM EST

Subject:     Shorthand and R&J

 

Although scholars agree that Q2 R&J was partially reprinted from Q1 (and that numerous other plays were reprinted from inferior editions when Ms. Copy was apparently available), their proofs tend to be based on bibliographical evidence allowing of little argument to the contrary. The problem with this certainty is that the extent of Q1 use can’t be, and isn’t guessed at. The upshot is that one may assume parts of Q2 are not dependent on Q1 when they may in fact be reprinted, or partly so. A likelihood is that when Q1 text largely agrees with Q2, the latter text actually does reprint Q1 and the Q2 manuscript copy has less influence on the received text than it might have had (or than is assumed). In other words, Q2 is probably more corrupt than even knowledgeable editors may suppose. For example, Hoppe asserts that when using Q1 the Q2 compositor

 

> “referred to it only to supplement his manuscript . . . that he

> never elsewhere completely abandoned the manuscript in

> favor of Q1 . . . and that Q2 is essentially a transcript of the

> authentic manuscript. Hence, where the text of Q1 closely

> approximates Q2 we shall regard Q1 as well-reported. . .” (197).

 

Whether or not close correspondence between Q1 and Q2 indicates a well reported Q1 is moot, but we must consider other factors before deciding which document (Q1 or Ms.) was the primary Q2 copy at that point. First, chronologically speaking, in these instances Q2 approximates Q1, not the other way round. Bibliographically, that is of real significance. Second, this view seems to miss the primary reason for Q1 use; the compositor was less interested in correcting the Ms. than in replacing it where he could. Printed copy was more to the taste of workmen paid to produce, but not necessarily to edit, which from their point of view (making a living) was a waste of time. The printer himself understood the mentality, which was not in any sense Bardolatry. Closeness between the texts means Q2 reprints Q1. Therefore, any difference between these texts implies interpolation from Ms. by way of attempted correction. The aesthetic values of the publishers, whatever they may have been, carried only so much weight.

 

My reading in R&J is not extensive (as usual) but I’ve not seen much comment on 3.3, except where Q2 variants are seen to indicate Shakespearean revision in his foul papers. My supposition at the moment is that van Dam is correct to peg the variants as interposed on Q1 reprinting.

 

Q1:

Fr: Romeo come forth, come forth thou fearfull man,

Affliction is enamourd on thy parts,

And thou art wedded to Calamitie.

Rom:Father what newes, what is the Princes doome,

VVhat Sorrow craues acquaintance at our hands,

VVhich yet we know not.

Fr: Too familiar                        FTLN 1808

Is my yong sonne with such sowre companie:

 

Q2:

Fri. Romeo come forth, come forth thou fearefull man,

Affliction is enamourd of thy parts:

And thou art wedded to calamitie.

Ro. Father what newes? what is the Princes doome?

What sorrow craues acquaintance at my hand,

That I yet know not?

Fri. Too familiar

Is my deare sonne with such sowre companie?

 

Say, that is too familiar; and it goes on for many lines. Is it really likely that Q1 approximates Q2? Most editors assume the bad quarto does just that. But memorial transmission and correspondence don’t mix for sixty lines. That’s especially so when the bad quarto proves to be Q2 copy elsewhere.

 

For anyone opting to ignore the evidence that Q1 R&J is a bad quarto, some hope may be held that transcription accounts for printed similarities. In that case, any incidental evidence approaching bibliographical may be of help (perhaps not to an opter, but to a disinterested inquirer), since otherwise, tons of correspondence may as well be a stone wall. I see a few Q1 anomalies also in Q2 that indicate repetitions of corruption.

 

Fr: A gentler iudgement vanisht from his lips,

Not bodies death, but bodies banishment.        Q1 1814

 

Fri. A gentler iudgement vanisht from his lips,

Not bodies death, but bodies banishment.        Q2

 

Editors try to make sense of ‘vanisht’ but it doesn’t. Bailey (Cam.) is right, I think, to read the theme-word of the scene, ‘banisht’. Punctuation is expendable in shorthand reporting but the result is confusion: “A gentler judgment, banished, from his lips; not body’s death, but body’s banishment.” Q2 got the misreading, mishearing, or mistranscription from Q1.

 

Thy fault our law calls death, but the milde Prince

(Taking thy part) hath rushd aside the law,     Q1 1829

 

Thy fault our law calls death, but the kind Prince

Taking thy part, hath rusht aside the law,        Q2

 

Whether it’s pushed, brushed, or thrust, as conjectured, ‘rushed’ seems unlikely, and unlikely to have occurred in Q2 if it weren’t influenced by Q1. Yet other evidence shows that Ms. copy corrects Q1:

 

Hence banished, is banisht from the world:

And world exilde is death. Calling death banishment,

Thou cutst my head off with a golden axe,    Q1 1825

 

Hence banished, is banisht from the world.

And worlds exile is death. Then banished,

Is death, mistermd, calling death banished,

Thou cutst my head off with a golden axe,  Q2

 

Q1 1824 is too long. Q2 supplies a dropped line that sets the meter right and incidentally rewords a phrase (worlds exile). There are other examples and I think it probable even more of Q1 would be altered had Q2 copy been in greater play.

 

This brings us to the crux of the passage, which is taken as evidence of Shakespearean revision on the Q2 Ms. copy itself. Amid dozens of lines virtually identical in Q1, Q2 interpolates a few others, including an anticipation at 1843:

 

Rom: Tis torture and not mercie, heauen is heere

Where Iuliet liues: and euerie cat and dog,

And little mouse, euerie vnworthie thing

Liue here in heauen, and may looke on her,   Q1 1835

But Romeo may not. More validitie,

1) More honourable state, more courtship liues

2) In carrion flyes, than Romeo: they may seaze

3) On the white wonder of faire Iuliets skinne,

4) And steale immortall kisses from her lips;       Q1 1840

5) But Romeo may not, he is banished.                    1845

6) Flies may doo this, but I from this must flye.         1845.1

7) Oh Father hadst thou no strong poyson mixt,

No sharpe ground knife, no present meane of death,

Though nere so meane, but banishment

To torture me withall: ah, banished.

O Frier, the damned vse that word in hell:

Howling attends it. How hadst thou the heart,     Q1 1850

Being a Diuine, a ghostly Confessor,

A sinne absoluer, and my frend profest,

To mangle me with that word, Banishment?

 

Ro. Tis torture and not mercie, heauen is here

Where Iuliet liues, and euery cat and dog,

And litle mouse, euery vnworthy thing

Liue here in heauen, and may looke on her,       Q2 1835

But Romeo may not. More validitie,

1) More honourable state, more courtship liues

2) In carrion flies, then Romeo: they may seaze

3) On the white wonder of deare Iuliets hand,

4) And steale immortall blessing from her lips,     Q2 1840

A) Who euen in pure and vestall modestie

B) Still blush, as thinking their owne kisses sin.

C) This may flyes do, when I from this must flie,

D) And sayest thou yet, that exile is not death?

5) But Romeo may not, he is banished.                Q2 1845

6) Flies may do this, but I from this must flie:        Q2 1845.1

E) They are freemen, but I am banished.

7) Hadst thou no poyson mixt, no sharpe ground knife,

No sudden meane of death, though nere so meane,

But banished to kill me: Banished?

O Frier, the damned vse that word in hell:

Howling attends it, how hast thou the heart        Q2 1850

Being a Diuine, a ghostly Confessor,

A sin obsoluer, and my friend profest,

To mangle me with that word banished?

 

As the Q2 compositor had two copy-texts, we see, among the numerous identical lines in Q1 and Q2, that lines 5 & 6 (by my left-margin designations) are as likely Q1 text reprinted in Q2 as almost all the rest of the passage.

 

Editors reject Q2 line C/1843 (which F retains while ousting 6/1845.1 because F reprints Q3), taking C as a foul-paper extra (and proof of foul papers); and they logically transpose Q2 lines to read (in our modern texts):

 

4) And steale immortall blessing from her lips,     Q2 1840

A) Who euen in pure and vestall modestie

B) Still blush, as thinking their owne kisses sin.

5) But Romeo may not, he is banished.                Q2 1845

6) Flies may do this, but I from this must flie:        Q2 1845.1

E) They are freemen, but I am banished.

D) And sayest thou yet, that exile is not death?

 

Q2 is fouled up for sure – something has to be done to set it straight. Yet the likelihood is that only five lines come directly from the Q2 Ms. copy-text: A, B, C, D, & E. There is better reason to consider them genuine than the reprinted Q1 lines, which may be corrupt. (And Q2 is no check; even if Q1 and Ms. copy were close enough for Creede to allow Q1 to be reprinted, we can’t know how close that was except when the text varies – as now).

 

Alternatively, van Dam respects the Q2-only text by taking lines 5 & 6 as an actor’s corrupt delivery (analogous to the composite Q1 line 1824), where 5 “is the blending of a wrong repetition of [the first half of 1836] with [the latter half of E], and [6] is the slightly corrupted genuine line [C]. If we leave out from Q2 the two reprinted lines from Q1 and transpose the lines [D & E] we have recovered the genuine text . . .:”

 

C) This may flyes do, when I from this must flie.

E) They are freemen, but I am banished.

D) And sayest thou yet, that exile is not death?

 

“Misplacements of one or more lines happen . . . when the compositor has missed out a part of his text, discovers his inadvertence in time, and inserts the previously forgotten lines in the wrong place.”

 

This passage is a candidate for eyeskip omission and faulty interpolation of the omitted text, but I can’t discover a likely sequence. Van Dam says of other transpositions, “Inquiry is no use. The compositor himself does not know what he has done. If he had known, he would not have done it.”

 

That may be partly true in this case, but it seems likely that the lines were intended to be transferred accurately from Ms. copy to the Q2 reprint of Q1 when the duplicating presence of lines 5 & 6 induced a transposition. Rather than to edit out some of the text the workman chose instead to rearrange it. Van Dam is probably right with his solution and the mix-up is not evidence of Shakespeare at work.

 

Gerald E. Downs 

 
 

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