The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1698 Thursday, 6 October 2005
Date: Tuesday, 04 Oct 2005 15:36:29 -0400
Subject: A Shrew
I have recently had occasion to revisit the issue of the relationship
between The Shrew and the 1594 quarto of A Shrew, and I find that the
current state of scholarship is murky. For example, the summary in the
textual note in Riverside 2d indicates that there is a consensus in
favor of the "bad quarto" theory and cites, inter alia, Wells/Taylor.
But the Oxford Textual Companion does not seem to adopt that view, or
any other. Is there a consensus, and, if so, for which theory? If not,
how do the various current textual scholars line up for the various
1. A Shrew is a memorial reconstruction of The Shrew. (Improbable it
seems to me, since the texts are so vastly different. Presumably, this
is why Gwynne Evans prefers the expression "memorial imitation.")
2. A Shrew is WS's source. Evans says this theory "is no longer accepted"
3. A Shrew and The Shrew have a lost common source
4. A Shrew is a revision of The Shrew
a. by Shakespeare (astronomically unlikely according to
b. by someone else (any ideas who?)
Of course there is the inextricably related question of what happened to
the Sly continuation --
1. WS lost interest in the Sly motif, which he had begun to follow from
The Shrew or the lost common source
2. The hypothesized reviser of The Shrew added those scenes
3. WS completed the Sly frame but it was blotted, and Compositor B did
not notice the blot until he had set the induction and first interscene.
If that was the case, who deleted the Sly motif -- WS, the book
holder, Hemmings & Condell -- and why?
4. A Shrew is based on a later version of The Shrew in which WS
completed the Sly frame, while F1 was set from an earlier version which
was still incomplete. This last conjecture is floated by Wells/Taylor,
who offer it as a "possibility" in Textual Companion.
Perhaps there are still other explanations.
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