The Shakespeare Newsletter

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.035  Thursday, 4 February 2016


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

Date:         February 4, 2016 at 4:07:43 PM EST

Subject:    The Shakespeare Newsletter




The Shakespeare Newsletter (SN) has just published its Fall, 2015 issue. It offers 60 pages of news and reviews--60 pages because SN will henceforth be published twice a year, in Fall and Spring. The frequency of publication has been changed but not the total number of pages offered to readers. Highlights of the new issue include Mike Jensen’s “Talking Books” feature, this time with Zachary Lesser as interlocutor; Grace Tiffany’s “Review of Periodicals”; ten book reviews—among the reviewers are Edward Pechter, Ken Tucker, and Arthur Kincaid; and a number of theatre reviews, including Druid Theatre’s first Shakespeare productions and the RSC’s recent Othello, as well as an extended overview of the 2015 season at Ashland. Check out the SN webpage { for details about subscriptions. Don’t forget to take a look at SN’s Blog, “In the Glassy Margents,” where John Mahon offers a preview of a forthcoming extended review of the recent Broadway production of the award-winning West End play, King Charles III, written in blank verse and using Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies as sources for development of the plot (



Abstract Deadline for 37th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum Extended!

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.034  Thursday, 4 February 2016


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

Date:         February 3, 2016 at 11:16:16 PM EST

Subject:    Abstract Deadline for 37th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum Extended!


With apologies for cross-posting: 


Abstract deadline extended: Monday February 15, 2016


37th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum 

Keene State College 

Keene, NH, USA

Friday and Saturday April 15-16, 2016


Call for Papers and Sessions

“The Local and the Global in the Middle Ages”

Keynote speaker: Suzanne Conklin Akbari, University of Toronto  


We are delighted to announce that the 37th Medieval and Renaissance Forum will take place on April 15 and 16, 2016 at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire.  This year’s keynote speaker is Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Professor of English and Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.  Her research focuses on intellectual history and philosophy, ranging from neo-Platonism and science in the twelfth century to national identity and religious conflict in the fifteenth. Akbari's books include Seeing Through the Veil (on optics and allegory), her important and influential study on images of Islam and Muslims in medieval Europe (Idols in the East), and a book on Marco Polo.  She is currently at work on Small Change: Metaphor and Metamorphosis in Chaucer and Christine de Pizan


We welcome abstracts (one page or less) or panel proposals on all medieval and Renaissance topics from all fields and on the reception of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance


Students, faculty, and independent scholars are welcome. Please indicate your status (undergraduate, graduate, or faculty), affiliation (if relevant), and full contact information (address and e-mail address), on your proposal. 


Undergraduate sessions are welcome but require faculty sponsorship.  


Please submit abstracts, audio/visual needs, and full contact information to Dr. Meriem Pagès, Director. For more information please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Presenters and early registration: March 15, 2016


We look forward to greeting returning and first-time participants to Keene in April!



Lexicons of Early Modern English Update

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.033  Thursday, 4 February 2016


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

Date:         February 3, 2016 at 2:55:16 PM EST

Subject:    Lexicons of Early Modern English Update


Lexicons of Early Modern English now includes over 722,000 word-entries!


Lexicons of Early Modern English is an ever-expanding online database of historical English dictionaries, printed between 1475 and 1755. LEME offers scholars unprecedented access to early books and manuscripts documenting the growth and development of the English language.  


With the recent additions of the immense Latin-English text, Ortus Vocabulorum, White Kennett's very detailed etymological work, Parochial Antiquities (1695), and Nathan Bailey's 900-page Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1737), this incredible resource now boasts more than 722,000 word entries derived from 206 historical dictionaries! The addition of Ortus Vocabulorum completes LEME’s series of the four large Latin and English dictionaries in manuscript and print at the end of the fifteenth century (Promptorium Parvulorum, Catholicon AnglicumMedulla Grammatice in Pepys MS 2002, and Ortus). 


Recently added to Lexicons of Early Modern English -

·         Richard Recorde, Vrinal (1547)

·         Peter Levins, Manipulus Vocabulorum (1570)

·         William Thomas, Principal Rules of the Italian Grammar (1550)

·         Gazophylacium Anglorum (1689) 

·         Nathan Bailey, Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1737)

·         White Kennett, Parochial Antiquities (1695)

·         Ortus Vocabulorum (1500)


Coming soon to LEME

·         Benjamin Defoe, A New English Dictionary (1735)

·         Henry Hexham, A Copious English and Netherdutch Dictionary (1647): 33,000 word-entries.


Use Modern Techniques to Research Early Modern English!

206 searchable lexicons   

158 fully analyzed lexicons 

722,617 total word entries

520,146 fully analyzed word entries

60,891 total English modern headwords


LEME sets the standard for modern linguistic research on the English language. LEME provides researchers with more than 722,000 word-entries from 206 monolingual, bilingual, and polyglot dictionaries, lexical encyclopedias, hard-word glossaries, spelling lists, and lexically-valuable treatises surviving in print or manuscript from the Tudor, Stuart, Caroline, Commonwealth, and Restoration periods.


LEME provides exciting opportunities for research for historians of the English language. More than a half-million word-entries devised by contemporary speakers of early modern English describe the meaning of words, and their equivalents in languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other tongues encountered then in Europe, America, and Asia.


For a partial bibliography of publications that employ LEME, see here –


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Sign up for important news relating to Lexicons of Early Modern English. You'll receive emails highlighting new and upcoming additions to the database, editorial announcements and LEME news. You can unsubscribe at any time and we will never publish, rent or sell your contact details to anyone . Sign up here –


University of Toronto Press Journals 

5201 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON, Canada M3H 5T8

Tel: (416) 667-7810 Fax: (416) 667-7881 

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Posted by T Hawkins


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




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



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,



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




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