R3 1.4

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.032  Tuesday, 2 February 2016

 

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

     Date:         February 2, 2016 at 12:34:47 AM EST

     Subject:    R3 1.4

 

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

     Date:         February 2, 2016 at 10:40:47 AM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: R3

 

 

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

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

Date:         February 2, 2016 at 12:34:47 AM EST

Subject:    R3 1.4 

 

I forgot to post my thoughts on the first lines of R3 1.4. I’ve divided my comments (amoeba-like) to keep from overwhelming my think-as-I-go non-method, but I meant to get things in order. The amendments to the text here are based on the evidence later in the scene, on which I have one more segment.

 

Q1 R3, 1.4 shares evidence of reporting. F seems to correct Q1 but most of its editing either smooths or attempts to “cure” Q1 for inclusion in Shakespeare’s collected works as one of the “good,” independent versions hailed by Jonson’s Front Matter. The result is too often merely different; that is, Q’s “badness,” in every sense, cannot be judged by comparison to F, though the many variants support a tradition that Q1 stems from an F-like text (instead of the other way round). Crucially, memorial evidence shows that Q1 isn’t authoritatively transcribed. For example, it gives Brakenbury ‘In Gods name what are you, and how came you hither?’ (925), which line seems to inspire Clarence’s ‘In Gods name what art thou.’ (995) and ‘Tell me who are you, wherefore come you hither?’ (1002). Memorial reconstruction accounts for repetitions by the faulty recollection of reporting actors but scribal or compositorial error cannot well explain them. Shorthand reports require any repeated or anticipated lines (phrases, or words) to have been spoken in stage productions. At first glance, it seems unlikely that Clarence would repeat parts of the keeper’s speech. Yet as the player-Duke was “asleep” while listening to the dialogue—performance after performance—it isn’t so hard to believe the keeper’s line was more ‘imprinted’ than his own. In other words, theatrical reporting can get away with murder; erstwhile problems work themselves out. The question is not whether Q1 is a memorial report (it is) but how to reconcile the report to its strangely altered, 1623 reprint.

 

What about F? It reprints Clarence’s ‘In Gods name, what art thou?’ but alters Brakenbury’s earlier line to read, ‘What would'st thou Fellow? And how camm'st thou hither.’ Clarence’s second repetition is altered to ‘Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?’ Did an F editor consult authoritative text to correct (and confirm) one anticipation and one repetition in Q, or did he simply object to Q repetitivity? The F redactor’s aversion to repeated words has been well noted; was he justified by Shakespeare’s text, or did he carry arbitrariness to extremes by noticing even the distant errors of repetition? Either method confirms Q as memorial (in a 1623 opinion, at least) but faithful recovery of authorized text does excuse an otherwise extraordinary practice. But if that was the case, why wasn’t Q taken out of the process, and why is F still so contaminated? (According to classical scholarship, the series of Q1 reprints is contaminated by F. However, I aim to recover what Shakespeare wrote—to reverse spoliation—in editorial tradition: contamination is where you find it.)

 

‘Editing’ 1.4 from a new point of view may seem radical because most of the obviously objectionable text emerges later in the scene. But as it becomes clear that textual errors and their misinterpretation apply across the board, reappraisal makes more sense. I was myself slow to appreciate the need. 

 

              Enter Clarence, Brokenbury. (Q1, 1.4) 

Brok. Why lookes your grace so heauily to day?

Clar. Oh I haue past a miserable night,

So full of vgly sights, of gastly dreames,

That as I am a christian faithfull man     840

. . . .

Brok. What was your dreame, I long to heare you tell it.

Cla. Me thoughts I was imbarkt for Burgundy   845

. . . .

Cla. O Brokenbury I haue done those things,      906

Which now beare euidence against my soule

For Edwards sake, and see how he requites me.

I pray thee gentle keeper stay by me,

My soule is heauy, and I faine would sleepe.

Bro. I will my Lo: God giue your Grace good rest,

Sorrowe breake seasons, and reposing howers

Makes the night morning, and the noonetide night,

Princes haue but their titles for their glories,   915

. . . .

                The murtherers enter.

In Gods name what are you, and how came you hither?

Execu. I would speake with Clarence, and I came hither

Bro. Yea, are you so briefe.                             (on my legs.

2 Exe. O sir, it is better to be briefe then tedious,

Shew him our commission, talke no more.

Bro. I am in this commanded to deliuer  He readeth it.

The noble Duke of Clarence to your hands,

I will not reason what is meant hereby,

Because I wilbe guiltles of the meaning:

Here are the keies, there sits the Duke a sleepe,

Ile to his Maiesty, and certifie his Grace,     935

That thus I haue resignd my charge to you.

Exe. Doe so, it is a point of wisedome.

 

                       Scena Quarta.

               Enter Clarence and Keeper. (F, 1.4)

Keep. Why lookes your Grace so heauily to day.

. . . .

Keep. What was your dream my Lord, I pray you tel me

Cla. Me thoughts that I had broken from the Tower,

. . . .

Cla. Ah Keeper, Keeper, I haue done these things   915

 

Through line numbers (TLN) refer to F; Q1 roughly corresponds. F doesn’t retain Q’s ‘Brokenbury,’ which is in the dialogue where F has ‘Keeper, Keeper’. Because Clarence refers to a ‘Keeper’ elsewhere in the Q1 dialogue and because conversational tenor fits the lower station, Brakenbury seems to be imported (from his earlier scene with Gloster and Clarence) to take the keeper’s role in Q1. Oddly, F also assigns Brakenbury the keeper’s last lines (though with no exit, the keeper apparently keeps on keeping) while Clarence sleeps but the change isn’t important. Clarence’s ‘Me thoughts that I had broken from the Tower,’ is not in Q, but such matters are numerous and often of too minor concern to note. At other times, omission and restoration are keys to understanding the text.

 

The executioners quickly become ‘1’ and ‘2’ in the speech headings. Few doubt the individuality of the characterizations (not in the Peter Falk/Truman Capote extreme) but their lines weren’t easy to assign. For example, alternating speeches may actually be meant for one actor, or some of Clarence’s words should be spoken by a murderer. Shorthand report ascriptions are either inferred or arbitrary; they are not authorial.

 

Notice below that F disagrees at once with Q1; that is not to say F is right. (By 1 & 2, Q and F refer to the same individuals but often give them one another’s speeches). Because 1 is the more no-nonsense guy, my guess is that at first he has one line only; ‘let him see . . . talk no more.’ The executioners promised Richard that they ‘would not stand to prate.’ I tend to agree that F’s ‘Ho, who’s here’ spoils the quiet, sinister entry of Q1. It was added by the F redactor in conjunction with the alteration to the keeper’s line; the changes from ‘you’ to ‘thou’ reflect Brakenbury’s place in the pecking order.

 

1. Mur. Ho, who's heere?   (F)

Bra. What would'st thou Fellow? And how camm'st

thou hither.

2. Mur. I would speak with Clarence, and I came hi-

ther on my Legges.

Bra. What so breefe?

(2*) 'Tis better (Sir) then to be tedious:

(1*) Let him see our Commission, and talke no more.

 

The executioners are legitimate, as far as their warrant goes. I agree with Hudson, that “men often laugh and sport themselves through the perpetration of crime [or anything else,]” and with Marshall (the chess champ), “that these Murderers were not taken from the low or peasant class. They seem to have been acquainted with the history of the time . . .” Speech assignment confusion has given the scene an undeserved, clownish feel. Clarence himself treats their speeches as rational.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

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

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

Date:         February 2, 2016 at 10:40:47 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: R3

 

About RIII --- Murderer Variants maybe NOT resulting from stenography?

 

I wish to call attention to several earlier writings that might curb or at least focus Gerald Downs’ enthusiasm for “correcting” the supposed blunders of people behind the early printed versions of Richard III.

 

First, prior to the murderers of Clarence, Shakespeare generated two radically different versions of the murder of the Duke of Gloucester in the 1594 quarto and  the Folio texts of 2 Henry VI.  When observed side-by-side, it is easy to see that in the Quarto both murderers (designated by numbers, as in RIII) seem equally enthusiastic about their job-of-work. “ . . . hees dead I warrant you,” says One; “All things is hansome now my Lord,” crows 2.  

 

In the Folio text, however, Murderer 1 is laconically business-like responding to their client’s questioning:  “ . . . have you dispatcht this thing?  /  1  I my good Lord, hee’s dead.”  And  “ . . . Is all things well, / According as I gave directions?  /  1   ‘Tis, my good Lord.”   Meanwhile, only in this version, Murderer 2 is repentant “Oh, that it were to doe: what have we done? / Didst ever heare a man so penitent?”   

 

In RIII the variant texts as they are printed in Q1 and F give the same kinds of character variation.  In Q1 the two murderers are alike (as they are alike in Q 2HVI ) in that they both waver between empathy and antipathy towards Clarence, while in the Folio’s ascription of speeches and inclusion of additional lines Murderer 1 consistently goes for blood while Murderer 2 holds back.

 

I’ve described these textual variants at some length in an essay (which I will try to upload to the SHAKSPER site):  “’All things is hansome now’: Murderers Nominated by Numbers in Variant Texts of 2 Henry VI and Richard III,” in George Walton Williams, ed., Shakespeare’s Speech-Headings: Speaking the Speech in Shakespeare’s Plays (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1997), 101-119.  It’s an interesting essay, IMHO, and I commend it to your attention.

 

Indeed, to support Gerald Downs’ favoring of Stenography as a source of texts in the period, there have been some detailed and quite interesting studies of stenographic reporting, primarily of sermons.  But the documents produced by stenography, when compared with the very few examples of “originals” where we can observe the kinds of variants a stenographer might introduce, look nothing at all like the more interesting (not just verbal substitutions) of textual variants found in Shakespeare’s multiple-text plays.  

 

The genial nonsense of Gerald Downs’s speculations and his heavy-handed rewriting of delicate drama by re-assigning speeches as he pleases remains just that.  Sorry, Gerry, but you as well as lots of academics just don’t yet understand the ways theories and evidence need to be correlated and even tested to support rather than simply proclaim “truth-claims.”

 

And for those who enjoy this kind of academic guignol, please look forward to Sir Brian Vickers The One King Lear, a forthcoming counterblast against the gentle souls behind the King Lear textual revolution of away-back in the 1980s. b Here’s the Harvard University Press blurb:

 

Sir Brian Vickers demonstrates that the cuts in the Quarto were in fact carried out by the printer because he had underestimated the amount of paper he would need. Paper was an expensive commodity in the early modern period, and printers counted the number of lines or words in a manuscript before ordering their supply. As for the Folio, whereas the revisionists claim that Shakespeare cut the text in order to alter the balance between characters, Vickers sees no evidence of his agency. These cuts were likely made by the theater company to speed up the action. Vickers includes responses to the revisionist theory made by leading literary scholars, who show that the Folio cuts damage the play’s moral and emotional structure and are impracticable on the stage.

 

‘Twill arrive a little early for fertilizing my garden, but the gnashing of teeth will help keep me warm ‘til planting time,

 

Ever,

Steven Urkquartowitz

Demeritus Extinguished Professor of English and Theater

City College of New York

 

 

 

Shakespeare Lives On

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.031  Tuesday, 2 February 2016

 

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

Date:         Monday, February 1, 2016 at 3:25 PM

Subject:    Shakespeare Lives On

 

The British Council have just published new series of beautiful short videos on their youtube channel on how Shakespeare lives on.

 

How Shakespeare has inspired freedom movements

 

More videos on the right-hand panel on youtube.

 

Best wishes

 

Annie

 

Shakespeare Documented

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.030  Tuesday, 2 February 2016

 

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

Date:         February 1, 2016 at 1:54:55 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare Documented

 

I don’t think I’ve seen this on the list yet...

 

Cool stuff!

 

 

http://www.infodocket.com/2016/01/21/primary-resources-shakespeare-documented-launches/

 

The New “Shakespeare Documented” Online Exhibition of Primary Documents Debuts Online

Filed by Gary Price on January 21, 2016

UPDATE January 21, 2015: “Shakespeare Documented” is Now Live

 

On the site you will find images, descriptions, and transcriptions of:

 

  • 103 manuscripts that refer to William Shakespeare by name in his lifetime (spelled in many different ways, which was typical of the period), including four manuscripts signed by him, and one letter addressed to him
  • 89 printed books and manuscripts from Shakespeare’s lifetime that mention or quote his plays or poems, or that refer to him directly or indirectly as a writer
  • 34 Stationers’ Register entries for Shakespeare’s plays and poems, up to and including the First Folio (1623), five of which name him as author
  • 84 printed editions of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, up to and including the First Folio (1623), 62 of which include his name on the title-page or dedicatory leaf
  • More than 100 documents that refer to other members of Shakespeare’s family, including references to Shakespeare’s coat of arms

 

Shakespeare Documented web site: http://www.shakespearedocumented.org

 

 

 

 

Dr Paul Hamilton

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.029  Monday, 1 February 2016

 

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

Date:         January 27, 2016 at 1:40:40 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Dr Paul Hamilton

 

Do any of Dr. Hamilton’s friends have any insight as to the underlying reasons for HMG’s action?  It strikes me as particularly odd that they are concerned that someone they want to deport is a flight risk.

 

 

 

R3 1.4

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.028  Monday, 1 February 2016

 

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

Date:         January 31, 2016 at 11:27:18 PM EST

Subject:    R3 1.4 

 

The next sections of R3 1.4 include fifty lines where Q1/F speech headings agree (939ff) and a hundred lines often variant or problematic (990ff). I infer that all the murderers’ prefixes are subject to analysis more careful than applied by the editors of Q1 and F. Speech headings throughout the play were altered in years since and many others have been reasonably (and interestingly) questioned. To my knowledge, no modern editor has tumbled to the probability that the earliest edition garnered ascriptions from the dialogue only; yet the rate of error alone suggests the hypothesis.

 

Assigning speeches without authorial guidance required attention and searching about, though most headings would be obvious. Three-way or ambiguous dialogue, forms of address, and other matters lead to blunders (which may be all I can prove). Other bad texts suffer from such mistakes; where they occur in numbers there’s no handy explanation, except theatrical reporting. Yet veneration of the Shakespeare Folio, passive dismissal of surreptitious transmission (so readily conceded by F itself), and a conservative “biographical imperative” has editors in curiosity limbo.

 

Because conviction (Bordeaux, etc.) ran ahead of analysis, it was easy to reassign speeches but I missed some recovered nuance on the first passes. Themes are often forced on Shakespeare (as all must know, barring their own); I try to avoid publish-/perish-able nonsense like the flu (makes me sick). And yet I’ve noted a recurring Shakespeare topic, probably because its ironies were slower to disappear than the rest of my religious heritage. To this day, conventional Christianity offers not only the promise of Heaven or Hell, but an opportunity for grownups to switch tickets in their final moments. 

 

Shakespeare never quite got over that, whatever he personally believed. King Hamlet was ‘sent packing’ with his sins on his head; Claudius was spared when praying because Hamlet (mistakenly) held out for a chance to return the favor (when the murderer’s “readiness was all gone”). Richard got Clarence’s axe falling (1.1) by airily alluding to a problem other characters took seriously:

 

Simple plaine Clarence I doe loue thee so,

That I will shortly send thy soule to heauen,

If heauen will take the present at our hands:

 

Clarence (aka George Plantagenet) wasn’t simple enough to minimize the threat:

 

Cla. O Brokenbury I haue done those things,

Which now beare euidence against my soule

For Edwards sake, and see how he requites me.

I pray thee gentle keeper stay by me,

My soule is heauy, and I faine would sleepe.

 

Although he was ‘One o’ them smooth-talkin’ Dukes with a smart mouth,’ Clarence had probably done some serious praying in stir and was ready as he could get, evidence or not. But the executioners have only their own thoughts to guide them as “redemption” drifts fatefully through the scene. The Duke’s historical execution is a foregone conclusion but the way it comes about in the play is tied to religious norms. This is easier to see with reordered speech headings. Though the non-variant lines come first, I came to them last:

 

                     (Q1, 939ff)

2 What shall I stab him as he sleepes?

1 No then he will say it was done cowardly

When he wakes.                    940

2 When he wakes,

Why foole he shall neuer wake till the iudgement day.

1 Why then he will say, we stabd him sleeping.

2 The vrging of that word Iudgement, hath bred

A kind of remorse in me.      945

1 What art thou afraid.

2 Not to kill him hauing a warrant for it, but to be dānd

For killing him, from which no warrant can defend vs.

1 Backe to the Duke of Glocester, tell him so.

2 I pray thee stay a while, I hope my holy humor will

Change, twas wont to hold me but while one would tel xx.

1 How doest thou feele thy selfe now?

2 Faith some certaine dregs of conscience are yet with

1 Remember our reward when the deede is done.  (in me.

2 Zounds he dies, I had forgot the reward.

1 Where is thy conscience now?

2 In the Duke of Glocesters purse.

1 So when he opens his purse to giue vs our reward,

Thy conscience flies out.

2 Let it go, theres few or none will entertaine it,

1 How if it come to thee againe?      966

2 Ile not meddle with it, it is a dangerous thing,

It makes a man a coward: A man cannot steale,

But it accuseth him: he cannot sweare, but it checks him:

He cannot lie with his neighbors wife, but it detects

Him. It is a blushing shamefast spirit, that mutinies

In a mans bosome: it fils one full of obstacles,

It made me once restore a purse of gold that I found,

It beggers any man that keepes it: it is turned out of all

Townes and Citties for a dangerous thing, and euery

Man that meanes to liue wel, endeuors to trust to

To himselfe, and to liue without it.

1 Zounds it is euen now at my elbowe perswading me

Not to kill the Duke.                             980

2 Take the diuell in thy minde, and beleeue him not,

He would insinuate with thee to make thee sigh.

1 Tut, I am strong in fraud, he cannot preuaile with me,

I warrant thee.         [frame]

2 Spoke like a tall fellow that respects his reputation.

Come shall we to this geere.          985

1 Take him ouer the costard with the hilts of thy sword,

And then we wil chop him in the malmsey But in the next

2 Oh excellent deuice, make a sop of him.          (roome.

 

Among minor differences, Q1 attempts verse while F prints prose. Unlined shorthand transcription leads to these contradictions. Q1/F prefixes agree here; asterisks indicate my preferences below:

 

1* What shall I stab him as he sleepes?

2* No then he will say it was done cowardly

1* Why foole he shall neuer wake till the iudgement day.

2* Why then he will say, we stabd him sleeping.

The vrging of that word Iudgement, hath bred

a kind of remorse in me.      945

 

Murderer 1 is more likely to suggest action. His Judgment joke affects 2, who again remarks the unmanly (and suddenly un-Christian) attack by “legal” executioners.

 

1 What art thou afraid. . . .

2 I pray thee stay a while, I hope my holy humor will

Change, twas wont to hold me but while one would tel xx.

1 How doest thou feele thy selfe now?

 

1 needn’t await a full twenty-count since the preceding dialogue took some time. They take advantage of Clarence’s last nap to iron out their feelings, but the ‘holy humor’ persists.

 

2 Faith some certaine dregs of conscience are yet with

1 Remember our reward when the deede is done. (in me.

2 Zounds he dies, I had forgot the reward. . . .

1 How if it [conscience] come to thee againe?      966

2 Ile not meddle with it.

1* it is a dangerous thing. It makes a man a coward: a man cannot steale, but it accuseth him: he cannot sweare, but it checks him: he cannot lie with his neighbors wife, but it detects him. It is a blushing shamefast spirit, that mutinies in a mans bosome: it fils one full of obstacles.

2. It made me once restore a purse of gold that I found.

1* It beggers any man that keepes it: it is turned out of all Townes and Citties for a dangerous thing, and euery man that meanes to liue wel, endeuors to trust to himselfe, and to liue without it.

2* Zounds it is euen now at my elbowe perswading me not to kill the Duke. 980

 

2 says he will ignore his conscience; however, 1’s list of its “bad” effects backfires, resulting in a sermon on the positive worth of guilty feelings. Who would really want to lie with his neighbor’s wife? 2 needs more encouragement; 1 is hot to trot.

 

1* Take the diuell in thy minde, and beleeue him not,

He would insinuate with thee to make thee sigh.

2* Tut, I am strong in frame, he cannot preuaile with me,

I warrant thee.

1* Spoke like a tall fellow that respects his reputation.

Come shall we to this geere. Take him ouer the costard

with the hilts of thy sword, and then we wil chop him

in the malmsey But in the next roome.

2 Oh excellent deuice, make a sop of him.

 

1 calls 2 a tall fellow (that never happens to me) and he keeps the ‘malmsey butt’ plan he repeats later (accidentally, here or there, no doubt; Q1 abounds in repetitions). If various agents got many obvious prefixes wrong, there’s even more cause for error in ambiguity; if sense or characterization is preserved by emendation an authorial pattern may turn up. In this situation it is illogical to rely on either old text.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 

 

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