The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0661  Monday, 12 April 1999.

From:           William Kemp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 11 Apr 1999 14:26:18 -0400
Subject: 10.0626 Citing Quartos; Line Numbers
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0626 Citing Quartos; Line Numbers

Sean Lawrence seeks a facsimile of Lear Q1 which includes through line
numbering and asks for suggestions on citing lines in quartos.

Michael Warren's *The Complete King Lear* includes such a facsimile.

But isn't citing the actual quarto pages (and line numbers on that page
if necessary) more generally helpful? If the purpose of citation is to
help one's reader find the passage one is writing about, surely a system
which allows the reader to consult the quarto facsimile (or edition)
closest to hand is preferable.

Line numbers for Renaissance plays don't make much sense anyway, since
the plays nearly always mix verse (in which the line is a unit of
structure) and prose (in which the line is an artifact of typesetting).
The habit of numbering Shakespeare's lines appears to be a small
manifestation of the tendency to make his texts high culture artifacts
-- that is, literature; and especially poetry, the most prestigious kind
of literature.

Line numbers seldom match perfectly from edition to edition, but we
manage to struggle along without paying much attention to the problem.
Wouldn't numbering some structural feature (like speeches) be more

Bill Kemp

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