Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 788.  Sunday, 14 November 1993.
From:           Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sat,urday 13 Nov 93 09:57:45 EST
Subject: 4.0746  Re: "Versions" of Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0746  Re: "Versions" of Shakespeare
John Mucci doesn't quite get the raw data of the quarto/Folio differences if he
thinks that "too too solid flesh" or "too too sullied flesh" (which is really
"sallied flesh" in the document-but who cares about evidence anyway since we
can trust the editors, that's why we buy their overpriced texts) is a typical
example of a textual alternative.  We don't have what I think John Mucci's
Grand Central Station model implies.  There aren't forty steel tracks laid down
by a steel driving John Henry along which many different engines and trains
tootle. The documents we have reveal the fluidity of their creation, and they
reveal the hit-and-miss quality of what got written down as possible record of
those liquid changes.  The documents are deliciously evocative and
untrustworthy.  Just as the promptbook of the Twelfth Night I'm working on
right now fails to incorporate the heart-stopping changes that actors generated
in last night's performance.
We've been talking about Gertrude and what she knows and how audiences respond
to her.  Q1 gives us one version where she protests her innocense and announces
her firm alliance with Hamlet against Claudius.  Q2 generates a more ambiguous
creature; we can't easily decide what she knows.  And F gives us a moment, just
before Ophelia enters mad, where uniquely in this version Gertrude stands alone
onstage considering her spotted soul.
Come on, Shaksper, sneck up (whatever that means).
Steve Urkowitz SURCC@CUNYVM

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