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Richard III: Histories—Transformations—Afterlives”—Deadline extended to January 13, 2015

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.021  Monday, 19 January 2015


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

Date:         January 18, 2015 at 4:25:31 PM EST

Subject:    CFP “Richard III: Histories—Transformations—Afterlives”


“Richard III: Histories—Transformations—Afterlives”—Deadline extended to January 13, 2015


The conference “Richard III: Histories—Transformations—Afterlives”

is extending the deadline on its Calls for Papers by a couple of

weeks until the end of January 2015. Here are the details.


Date: 25 March 2015


Venue: De Montfort University, Leicester


Coinciding with the interment of King Richard III in Leicester, De Montfort University’s Centre for Textual Studies and Centre for Adaptations are co-hosting a one-day conference called “Richard III: Histories—Transformations—Afterlives”. 20-minute papers are invited on all topics related to:


* The historical King Richard III


* The various dramatic/fictional King Richard IIIs onstage and elsewhere


* The genre of the history play in its own time and after


* Textual problems in the early editions of Shakespeare’s history plays


* The relationship between history and tragedy in Shakespeare’s time and after


* How Richard III changes in adaptations


* History plays and the shifting geographies of England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom and beyond


Please send proposals for papers comprising titles and abstracts (100-300 words) to Prof Deborah Cartmell and Prof Gabriel Egan by 31 January 2015.


The conference day programme and the registration fee include a private guided tour of the newly opened King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester city centre, which commemorates the discovery in 2012 of Richard III's remains just 200 metres from the De Montfort University campus.


Professor Gabriel Egan, De Montfort University.

Director of the Centre for Textual Studies

National Teaching Fellow 2014

The Agas Map

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.020  Monday, 19 January 2015


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

Date:         January 18, 2015 at 9:29:19 AM EST

Subject:    The Agas Map


From Internet Shakespeare Editions FB page January 17


Congratulations to our sibling project, The Map of Early Modern London, on the launch of their new map!


Project director Janelle Jenstad writes: “Happy Beta to the long-awaited Agas map! Try searching for a location, selecting locations by category, and even DRAWING your own points, lines, and polygons on the map. Bookmark your personalized map and send the link to yourself or your class. And please send us feedback! 


The new map is the product of a tremendous amount of work. Kim McLean-Fiander pored over the three remaining copies of the Agas map during a research trip to the UK in 2013 and worked with the London Metropolitan Archives to obtain new scans. Greg Newton stitched the map together and made thousands of tiny corrections. Kim and I worked with local artist Jillian Player to reconstruct missing parts of the map. Martin Holmes built the OpenLayers framework; transferred hundreds of locations from the two previous editions of the map to this new edition; wrote the documentation; developed a suite of tools for selecting sites, drawing on the map, and bookmarking customized maps; and implemented a time-saving feature that generates TEI for MoEML researchers to add to our XML files. As the Project Director, I am so very proud of this incredible team and their work at MoEML.”

The Agas Map


Gay Bard

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.019  Friday, 16 January 2015


[Gentle Reminder: It is my policy that when a thread becomes two individual contributors talking primarily to each other that it is then time for the thread to end and discussion to be taken off-line. –Hardy]


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

     Date:         January 14, 2015 at 11:19:15 AM EST

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard


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

     Date:         January 15, 2015 at 12:15:10 AM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard 


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

     Date:         January 15, 2015 at 5:42:00 AM EST

     Subject:    Gay Bard 




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

Date:         January 14, 2015 at 11:19:15 AM EST

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard


>I read ___X___ as _______ from my perspective as ___Y___ .<


The above formula is brilliant and embraces the delusion of objectivity. It just says it as plain as day.


Everyone who approaches the Works comes from a set of assumptions. For instance, Henry W was 17 years old, 9 years younger than Will S, and away at Oxford when Will S most likely arrived in London. Will S was related to the Wriothesleys through the Ardens. Lady Mary W, Henry’s mother, wrote to her father, the Viscount Montague, that she would do everything in her power to persuade the headstrong young Henry to marry Burleigh’s choice, even though Henry had already refused. Burleigh gave her until Henry’s 18th birthday to give him her decision or he would come down hard on the house of Wriothesley. If Will had presented himself to Lady Mary upon his arrival in London, it is completely reasonable that she engaged him to write sonnets to her son to encourage her son – not to wed, which he has already refused, but – to procreate to save the roof over their noble house. Read from that perspective the procreation series suddenly takes on a decidedly different hue. Henry was not the patron, Lady Mary was. Shakespeare even refers to Lady Mary in sonnet 3, a rare departure from his usual writing discipline.


Dan Decker



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

Date:         January 15, 2015 at 12:15:10 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard


David Basch’s interpretation of Sonnet 40 is interesting.  He suggests the loss suffered by the speaker may have been a reference to the death of Hamnet, Shakespeare’s son.


But Sonnet 40 is part of a theme continued in Sonnets 41 and 42. And in those latter two sonnets, the speaker seems to be clearly speaking about losing a woman to the addressee.  How does David reconcile those two sonnets to his theory?



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

Date:         January 15, 2015 at 5:42:00 AM EST

Subject:    Gay Bard


In my previous posting (SHAKSPER, January 8) I posed two challenges to David Basch, reproduced below:


(1) Here then is my take of David’s latest position (in this forum, if not elsewhere): that if readers have a form of faith they may interpret Shakespeare’s Sonnets (and plays) from a perspective of that faith. I have long accepted the truth of this condition. Of course, it presents no obstacle to the preferment of any number of other interpretations, including those based on objective evidence.  


(2) As for the solutions to the problems of the Sonnets offered by my argument, David says he will leave it to others to judge. Nevertheless, he proceeds to judge: by dismissing what he terms my “attempts at overlaying speculative and largely invented historical settings in the life of the poet to explain them”. Come on, David! You cannot expect to command respect for your opinions if you are not prepared to justify them. Please identify the speculative and largely invented historical settings to which you refer and explain how your assessment disqualifies my reasoning.


Responding to Challenge 1 (SHAKSPER, January 14), David implies that he is not trying to promote the superiority of his interpretations of, and his rationale for, the sonnets. He promptly initiates such an attempt with his assertions as to the character and thinking of the author (for example: “...what the poet believes are essential spiritual forces that vie for expression in our lives..... These are part of the spiritual dimensions of a religious life which the poet obviously believes is necessary to the good life”).


Shakespeare’s history points to a showbiz man from middle England with a genius for word-expression and the development of others’ works: he is ambitious, perceptive, entrepreneurial, acquisitive and a social-climber. There are no indications of unusually charitable or spiritual leanings (Judaic or otherwise). However, based solely on his interpretation of the author’s works, David has adopted a faith that the poet was a rabbi of saintly disposition who must have created the sonnets to dispense spiritual wisdom. Others, with similar methodology and disregard for facts, have adopted a faith that he/she was an Irishman, a Frenchman, a young woman or an aristocrat: though less than saintly. Each of the above can provide interpretations of the sonnets to accord with his/her faith, albeit with varying degrees of fancy and internal consistency.


David can trot out his sonnet interpretations, his intuitions, his “dots” and his Rorschach readings until he is blue in the face - but these will not alter the facts outlined above. He has no objective evidence to support his theories. Indeed, such evidence points against him.


David is yet to offer a response of substance to Challenge 2. He associates me with an opinion expressed by Hardy, with which I have always agreed: “You are not going to prove any of the above [interpretations] by the sonnets themselves...”. He thinks that I paint the poet as “masochistically inclined” and as a “disturbed individual” - though how he arrives at these caricatures is a mystery. He has not bothered to analyze or test that independent history which I call upon to support my interpretations and which he described as “speculative and largely invented”. Perhaps he now accepts its truth, but does not think remarkable the extent and qualities of its consistency with the entire content of the 1609 Quarto. In any event, he has no excuse for his lack of clarity. I have repeatedly offered the means to test the facts and principles on which my argument depends. Here, yet again, is a starting outline. Let David test those facts and principles before he seeks to dismiss the argument.


I shall shortly be away for a week or so, during which time I am unlikely to have access to SHAKSPER. I will, however, respond to relevant developments after my return. 


Stern Noting Q1 Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.018  Friday, 16 January 2015


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

Date:         January 16, 2015 at 12:16:43 AM EST

Subject:    Stern Noting Q1 Hamlet


Professor Holland responded to my inference that Tiffany Stern’s “Noting” was not peer reviewed (as it were):


> Gerald Downs’ post about Tiffany Stern’s article on

Hamlet Q1 includes the following statement: ‘No doubt,

> Tiffany Stern’s article was written by invitation, which

> bypasses the editorial process (I hope).’ 


> As editor of Shakespeare Survey, I want to make clear

> the nature of Gerald Downs’ error over this. Professor

> Stern was invited to give a paper at the 2012 biennial

> International Shakespeare Conference, papers from

> which form some of the contributions to Survey,

> a process which has been the same ever since the ISC

> and Survey both began in the 1940s. The invitation was

> issued by those who run the ISC, not by Shakespeare

> Survey. As usual, Survey’s Board met during the

> conference to decide which of the papers would be

> selected for Survey. No, this is not anonymous

> peer-review but it is review by a large number of the

> world’s most distinguished Shakespeare scholars,

> many more than the two who would normally read

> submissions to journals. This is not ‘bypass[ing] the

> editorial process’ but is instead a rigorous process

> consequent on the link between the ISC and Survey

> for more than 60 years.


Thanks for the clarification. If the cause is reported aright, Stern did write by invitation. As “You’re pre-approved!” is my favorite greeting, I don’t object per se; just wondering how a faulty essay got by the scholarly firewall.


For the same 60 years shorthand has been almost completely ignored by the same most distinguished Shakespeare scholars; so much for authority—almost; voted isn’t vetted, in my book. Hypothetically, scholars-that-be may welcome (invite?) a bad essay blessing bad tradition. But my “asperities of expression” result from trying to understand an article uncorrected before “setting forth,” not to complain about publication.


I was hoping for some discussion about the issues. There are better ways to try than to belabor a bad paper, I grant. But it’s easy to see that Stern’s conclusions, mistakenly manufactured as they are, nevertheless provide an ‘invitation’ to set the bad quartos aside as post-theatrical oddities.


Instead, I recommend rational inquiry; argument, even. Are the bad quartos evidence of theatrical history itself? I think so. And in that spirit I’ll conclude my review of the article with remarks left over from my earlier responses. I’ll gladly discuss any of the issues.


Except for text read to dictation, shorthand implies a memorial transmission. Bad quartos are memorial reports. A theatrical report is first “reported” by actors in performance. Yet Stern allows performing actors little chance to cause any differences between Q1 & Q2: “Sometimes in Hamlet Q1 there seem to be traces of memorial corruption. That, too, can be ascribed to note-taking, however. . . . There is no suggestion, then, that noting precludes memory . . .” (13). That is, ‘noters’ may fail to recall or to reproduce properly what they ‘noted’ or failed to ‘note.’ But there is plenty of evidence in the bad quartos that actors’ memory fails of its own accord.


Stern also examines other kinds of corruption to find that shorthand (or vague cousin ‘noting’) and its aftermath may be their cause. But assigning error isn’t easy; scribes, performers, revisers, printers, and editors all chip in to corrupt the texts. The trick is to identify evidence that admits of as few causes as possible (one?). In the meantime, we are apt to bog down in tangential issues; bad argument obscures matters even more.


Readers may keep the fact in mind that Stern and I both posit a theatrical report (TR) behind Q1. Memorial reconstruction (MR) is not TR, though each is memorial transmission. My own hypothesis (I haven’t thought it through) is that Q1 Hamlet derives from a combination of the two R’s and an extensive textual history; one supposing competent shorthand reporting must assume that even memorial texts have been recorded in performance. That is, I’m not one to argue against MR in every case and I’m not talking about 1602 Globe goings-on.


An obvious circumstance separates ‘pirate’ from stenographer. One familiar enough with a play to report it, even as poorly as Q1, might be expected to get speech prefixes right. The same may be said of the (dis-)orderly team Stern envisions, whose conjectured division of labor might have kept track of matters. But if Bordeaux is to be trusted, the stenographer trusted the recorded dialogue itself to identify speakers. For example, I supposed Q1 s.p.’s ‘Rossencraft and Gilderstone’ would not match Q2. In fact they are shuffled; two peas in a shorthand pod. A pirate may get s.p.’s wrong, but a stenographer will get some wrong. Stern’s “see-what-sticks” method of argument doesn’t consider this issue:


“There are certainly reasons for thinking . . . Q1 a combination of different people’s work . . . . Some sections are ‘right’, then ‘wrong’, and then ‘right’ again, as when the . . . dumbshow consists of ‘the King and the Queene’, while the play it flanks calls the same people ‘the Duke and Dutchesse’. . . . A combined text would explain how this . . . came about – not least because, as in Q2 ‘Gonzago is the Duke’s name’, a version of the play visited by one of the noters might have had a Duke and Dutchess instead of a King and Queen” (18).


Why posit yet another separate version of the play and its ‘noter’ in attendance—only to construct a weak argument? (And what is least?) Q1 assumes (post-transcription, perhaps, since the dumb show is not what it says but what it doesn’t say) that Lucianus poisons his Kingly uncle. Maybe so; Q2 s.p.’s are ‘King’ and ‘Queen’. However, Q1 takes another cue from Hamlet’s chorus line:


. . . mary how trapically: this play is

The image of a murder done in Guyana, Albertus

Was the Dukes name, his wife Baptista,

Father, it is a knauish peece a worke: but what

A that, it toucheth not vs, you and I that haue free

Soules, let the galld iade wince, this is one

Lucianus nephew to the King.


Neither Q1 nor Q2 identifies the speakers in the ‘play within the play’ by its dialogue. In Q1 the s.p.’s are taken from ‘the Dukes name,’ while the ‘dumb show within the play within the play’ picks up on ‘Lucianus nephew to the King.’ A hint to the sequence may be found in Bordeaux, where the scribe informs someone of the placement of the dumb show (‘as you know’) but doesn’t describe the action. Jenkins rightly credits doubt of the Q2 dumb show's authenticity. Q1’s is necessarily made up, at least in its wording. Q2 may simply inherit and improve its Q1 ‘dumb show printer’s copy’ (in Shakespearian style only for a true believer), where the King’s nephew is ID’d. Certainly Hamlet tells the ‘real’ King and Queen that the historical characters are Duke and Duchess.


If we presume the dumb show was not explicit but enigmatic, we can stop wondering why Claudius did not respond to its graphic murder "reenactment." All this is more apparent if Theobald is correct that Hamlet should have said, ‘nephew to the Duke’, an easy mistake for the actor in performance who botched many another line, and who personated a ‘nephew to the King’ himself.


Notwithstanding the textual question, playing, reporting, revising, editing, and reprinting supply all the agents and circumstances we need to explain the text. Stern’s invented additional version and Mutt & Jeff ‘noting audience’ are unnecessary multiple hypotheses. 


Stern grants theatrical reports but not that their corruptions stem from the histories of each play up to and including the recorded performances. Her method of determining who and what caused Q1’s massive corruption is then limited to asking whether an ‘actor-pirate’ or her ‘noting group’ is responsible for the transmission of specific passages in the play. By a series of "mighty" assertions she eliminates the ‘pirate’ to leave the ‘group’ as the last guess standing. I’ll examine some of these assertions and expand the list of agents for comparison.


Q1 Hamlet requires a complicated solution. Stern appeals to different post-notation operations to patch ‘Noting Bee’ holes. But her first agent is a ‘pirate,’ endowed with memory enough not to have spoiled Hamlet’s text. Although the freebooter is a New Bibliography Survivor (on life-support), she advances her theory only by assuming that his recollection would be error-free, which denies the tradition that a pirate’s faulty memory is responsible for Q1. She insists instead that his memory—however and whenever he came by his knowledge—was too good to have produced the corrupt Q1 text:


“Finally, Hamlet Q1 is filled with gaps” (16). So may be textual argument. Stern wishes to show that where the pirate’s memory may be impugned by the MR, a congregation might instead have augmented and worsened their faulty notes:


1) “For an actor-pirate, trained to remember a text by sound and rhythm, a synonym is less obvious than the correct word” (12).


2) “While an actor is likely to remember a word because he remembers its context . . .” (14).


3) “These Q2/F lines . . . might be expected to stick in the mind of an actor, for they are about the trade of playing . . .” (14).


4) “Here an actor might be expected to recall the elongated ‘long Purples’ . . .” (14). Short ‘long purples’ are forgettable, however; or so I've heard.


5) “[A]n actor may have various productions in his head [like elephants, they never forget] – but needs to observe their differences to avoid switching the performance to the wrong play” (16).


One gets the idea that any gratuitous argument will do when the object is to claim that actors’ memories cannot fail. But to take the last example; Stern makes the counter-claim that a “noter who has records of several productions has reason to be conscious of their similarities”. And reason to be oblivious, perhaps. Stern drags in hypothetical “records of other plays” to patch a “gap” in her evidence (as in the ‘Duke’ example above.) In light of Q1’s multiple borrowings from other plays, who would have a supply of dialogue from any number of dramatic works, and who might (consciously or not) retrieve some for use? Who else but a player? Cairncross has some interesting remarks about this likely phenomenon, as does van Dam. Their insights are valuable.


Though Stern’s defense of actors’ memory is weak, some of her arguments against the concept of MR by one or two actors are more meaningful. For example, “if an actor-pirate was playing Voltemand, it is surprising that, in addition to misrecalling his entrance in the last scene, he also cannot remember his name.” But we shouldn’t extrapolate MR expectations too hastily. If Stern and I are right that Q1 Hamlet is a theatrical report, then we must agree on explaining some of its features. Yet it’s mistaken to think every valid argument against MR and its ‘actor-pirate’ applies to reported performance of an entire cast. Straw ‘pirates’ aren’t merely convenient alternatives to ‘noting’ but red herrings hiding performers from the mix, as if MR & TR are alike.


The stenographer’s great concerns are speed, legibility, and accuracy; he probably would not ‘note’ whether Voltimand arrives on the death-scene as an ambassador “back from England.” The identity was probably presumed afterwards because ‘ambassadors’ are called such in the dialogue; someone jumped to a ‘Voltemar’ conclusion. As for the botched names, Stern cites Bales to the effect that two letters suffice for names that can be memorized (or, more likely, recovered from early, full transcription). ‘Gilderstone’ may have been phonetically attempted only once and abbreviated afterwards. Thus stenographers and their prey aren’t subject to all criticisms of ‘pirates’ but they have errors of their own.


Because of this “review” I’ve been reading some interesting old books about shorthand. I may cook up a note on how an early stenographer could have worked. Methods of shorthand were controversial and competitive in later days. Their advocates state their cases and reveal interesting biases to provide some insights into the Bordeaux method and vice versa.


Gerald E. Downs

Authentic Forgeries! (Announcement)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.017  Friday, 16 January 2015


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

Date:         January 15, 2015 at 2:24:00 PM EST

Subject:    Authentic Forgeries! (Announcement)


For anyone passing near or through the Baltimore, MD area, Peabody Library is hosting through Feb 7 (not Feb 1) 2015,  an exhibition of 70 “Fakes, Lies, and Forgeries”:


The ‘authentic’ forgeries include:


--- Ben Jonson manuscript verse letter to his “special goode Friende Sr Wm Davenant” at the “Swanne Taverne by Charinge Crosse”, probably an early 19th C. forgery. Davenant was knighted five years after Jonson died.


--- William Henry Ireland’s ‘rediscovered’ Shakespearean play VORTIGERN presentation copy from 1799.


--- The 1796 broadside bill for the above VORTIGERN played only April 2, 1796 at the Drury-Lane Theatre Royal.


--- The same Ireland’s MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS AND LEGAL INSTRUMENTS UNDER THE HAND AND SEAL OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1796). Includes love letter and (?) “lock of hair” sent to his wife “Anne Hatherrewaye”.


--- The same Ireland’s ‘improved’ copy of John Camilton’s 1610 anti-Jesuit pamphlet containing forgeries of Shakespeare’s signature and of Shakespeare’s anti-Catholic notes.



Joe Egert

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