Re: Dating and Revision

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1351  Friday, 30 July 1999.

From:           Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 Jul 1999 22:44:08 EDT
Subject: 10.1326 Dating and Revision
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1326 Dating and Revision

Some bleary-eyed suggestions, smarting in our sweaty heat wave:

Jean Brink asks:

>Could I get some recommendations on the most important studies updating
>Taylor and Wells' Textual Companion on the charts used to establish a
>chronology of the plays?

On dating, try Don Foster's slouching-towards-completion work in
Shakespeare Newsletter and the material he has on file here in the
SHAXPERE archives.

Foster, Donald W. "SHAXICON 1995." Shakespeare Newsletter 45 (1995): 28,
30, 32.

 >Revision seems to be an increasingly popular idea.  Has anyone tried
>sort out or draw distinctions between authorial revision and the
>interventions likely to have been made by compositors who wanted to
>impose the style of a particular printing house?

Here one must stumble through the foggy mists of bibliographic studies.
Moxon's guide or advice to printers (later in the 17th century) gives an
idea of what styling changes were expected.  They're not much like what
authors do. A way (I think) to go about sampling the differences between
authorial and compositorial changes would be to work through alternative
texts of  the Ben Jonson plays that we know he revised, and then look at
later editions of those texts set in another printing house.  When I was
working through the LEAR texts I clocked the changes made by the
compositors when they set the 1619 second Quarto from the 1608 First.
B-o-r-i-n-g.  Sort of thing that made "textual studies" synonymous with
dietary bran.  Necessary but not amenable to normal discourse.

>Has anyone responded to Prof. Maguire in defense of memorial

Kathy Irace's work tries to support the memorial reconstruction stories,
but I think she's building on no foundations.(and her book was published
before Laurie Maguire's). She also more recently edited the Cambridge U
P volume of the Hamlet First Quarto.  I don't know if she answers
Maguire in it.

Irace, Kathleen O. Reforming the "Bad" Quartos: Performance and
Provenance of Six Shakespearean First Editions. Newark, Delaware:
University of Delaware Press, 1994.

Jay Halio pushes the memorial reconstruction case for the texts of Romeo
and Juliet in a collection of essays he recently published.

The major glaring problems that the memorial reconstruction folks have
to blink away from are raised by Peter Blayney and others who look at
the economics of publishing, the regulations of play licensing, and the
practices of playwrights observable in extant manuscripts and printed

What is most fun is to look at chunks of variant material bigger than a
line or two.  Then you see that if those were pirates at work they were
exciting pirates.  Fine playwriting pirates.  "Romeo Q1--1597" by
William Shakespeare and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter.  That Ethel
deserves a monument.

Steve Ethelwitz

Can anyone supply a title?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1350  Friday, 30 July 1999.

From:           William Sutton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 Jul 1999 09:03:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Can anyone supply a title?

Hello Everyone,

Especially those interested in rhetoric and the lang. lit. problem. I
have the list of contents photocopied and no title page for a 20th C.
book. Please assist if you can.

0.1 The lang.-lit. problem
0.2. A descriptive rhetoric
0.3 Poetic language and 'ordinary' language
0.4 A possible misgiving

1 Poetry and the Languages of Past and Present
2 The Creative Use of Language
3 Varieties of Poetic Licence
4 Foregrounding and Imitation
5 Verbal Repetition
6 Patterns of Sound
7 Metre
8 The Irrational in Poetry
9 Figurative Language
10 Honest Deceptions
11 Implications of Context
12 Ambiguity and Indeterminacy

Plus all their chapter subheadings. A great book explaining the nuts and
bolts of poetic language by the way. If anyone recognises the author
could you save me hours checking possibilities. Many thanks.

Yours in the name of Will,
William S.

Bears I Have Known

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1348  Friday, 30 July 1999.

From:           John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 Jul 1999 18:20:38 -0500
Subject:        Bears I Have Known

Melissa Aaron and others have been interesting in comments about how the
Bear Scene might have been done in Sh's time.  One possibility is what
was done in the production of WT that starred Ian McKellen as Leontes in
1974 (unless I am remembering some other WT).  Bear was a shaman who
wore a long robe and a bear mask carved totemically for a headpiece.  He
took Antigonus by the arm and led him gently off into the wings.  Later
the shaman came out as Father Time with the bear totemhead under one arm
and an hourglass in the other hand.  A rousing success; as an emblem of
"tempus edax rerum", the doubling linked the two parts of the play, the
two generations, the things dying and things newborn, winter and
spring.  Time (Sh's source was called *Pandosto: Or the Triumph of
Time*) is where the play is focused.

A quite different, very mimetic bear was my first role in a Shakespeare
play.  They rented a very realistic grizzly bear costume made of nylon
and insured it for $750, and this was in the mid-nineteen-sixties, so
multiply by about 4 to get $3000 in our dollars.   Open red mouth, very
awesome fangs, about 7' tall when erect (I saw through two holes in the
neck.)  The Antigonus was built like a linebacker, but was not one.
Very gentle spirit with a bushy red beard.  He and I were told first day
of rehearsal to try blocking our scene.  Director adopted it with a few
touches of his own.  Antigonus put Perdita down on the stage
stage-right, a realistic doll swaddled, and then delivered his lines
about Hermione over the footlights with his back to the baby.  Bear came
out of the wings stage right on all fours went up to baby and snuffed
it.  Audience gasped.  Antigonus sensed something behind him and instead
of rescuing the child or running for his life he turned around and went
up behind the bear who was still snuffling with his back to the audience
and gave the bear a mighty kick in the butt that left me bruised after
every performance.  The audience stopped the show with wild laughter.
Before it died down the bear reared up on his hind legs for the first
time and attacked Antigonus claws first.  Claws were about twice the
length of an adult's fingers.  Audience gasped.  Antigonus screamed and
ran all the way across the stage and into the wings stage left.  Bear
lumbered in hot pursuit.  Audience gasped. Antigonus screamed from the
wings as the bear got him and the theater was as silent as a tomb for a
count of about 3; and then Antigonus put two fingers down his throat and
uttered a belch that reverberated off the walls of the theater. I have
never seen anyone able to do this since.  Audience reacted with wild
laughter. Stopped the show every night.  This bit of byplay mirrored the
play as a whole.  Alternation between laughter and horror, between
tragedy and comedy.  I have seldom played a Sh. role that I enjoyed
more, but under those lights the bear costume was like a steambath.

Thanks for bearing with me.

John Velz

Re: Timon

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1349  Friday, 30 July 1999.

From:           Marti Markus <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 Jul 1999 15:39:30 +0100
Subject: 10.1341 TIMON OF ATHENS
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1341 TIMON OF ATHENS

> I have found something that is either a glaring error, or I have been
> misreading a scene for the last two months.
> The plot summary I found says that in act 3, scene 5:
> "At the Senate house, the senators decide Timon should die for his
> debts. The captain  Alcibiades valiantly plead's for Timon's life, but
> is ignored by the senators. Eventually, they tire of his pleadings and
> banish him from Athens, effective two days hence. Alcibiades decides
> privately to muster his armies and attack Athens."
> The way I read it, Alcibiades is defending a fellow soldier for
> committing murder.
> What say you all?

You are quite right, of course, although there have been attempts to see
Timon as the accused. In 19th century adaptations this scene was
sometimes changed in that direction, e.g. Timon being accused of having
murdered his daughters [sic] fianc

New Shakespeare URL

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1347  Friday, 30 July 1999.

From:           Judith Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 Jul 1999 16:10:29 -0500
Subject:        New Shakespeare URL

Like most late twentieth-century Shakespeareans, I have had to create my
own web page.  It is not prize-winning, but if you are interested, my
email address is available with my scholarly (and as yet unpublished)
article defending the view that Anne Hathaway's infidelity caused
Shakespeare's poetic career.  I defend this view with a close reading of
The Tempest.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of a close reading of The
Tempest, offering the critically unpopular view that Shakespeare was a
victim of Anne Hathaway's infidelity, you can receive one by snail mail
at the following URL:


Thanks, and I will try in the future to get the whole paper online.

Judy Craig

Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.