The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0354.  Thursday, 13 March 1997.

From:           Paul Werstine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 12 Mar 97 20:17:32 EST
Subject:        [Re: New Folger Editions]

Thanks to my colleague Alan Somerset for sending me Steve Urkowitz's
latest slam at editing.  I'm not sure why Steve is particularly URKed by
the New Folger edition's treatment of textual multiplicity when, alone
among editions currently available for purchase, the New Folger employs
different kinds of brackets within its edited text to allow interested
readers to identify the particular early printed texts from which
passages and readings derive. Using these brackets, readers of the New
Folger HAMLET, for example, can read Q2 or F or Q2/F (to the extent that
the linearity of print allows).  The same is true of Q1 and F LEAR and
Q1 and F OTHELLO, as well. In view of the limitations imposed by the
linearity of print, the New Folger also tries to include in its textual
notes all the variants between such multiple texts as Q2 and F HAMLET;
in this respect it's unique among current editions aimed at school
audiences, so far as I know.  It's due to the impact of scholars like
Steve that we have paid this kind of attention to textual multiplicity.

A little while ago, someone on SHAKSPER (I apologize for not having
noted this correspondent by name) pointed out that the New Folger
paperbacks will not stand up to library use; I think he's probably
right.  That's why the Folger is now selling the edition in leather
bindings.  So far only HAMLET is available, and it can be purchased only
directly from the Folger Library.

Lest this message seem completely self-serving, I want to note that
royalties from the sale of the New Folger go the Library, not to the
editors.  The Library's value, for me, is that it houses the early
printed texts themselves in all their textual multiplicity - the source
for both editions (for those who want 'em) and facsimiles (for their


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