The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0217  Friday, 1 June 2012


From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         May 31, 2012 5:44:25 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Pedestrians Crossing Cairncross


This line didn’t do much for Larry Weiss:


> The pendulous Foucault stuff didn’t do much for me.

> Really?  Puh-leese!  I enjoy a good pun as well as the

> next guy, but this isn’t a good one.  I suspect “pendulous”

> here is an unintentional malaprop for “ponderous.”


Larry doesn’t enjoy a bad pun as well as some guys. By pendulous I meant the F stuff had been hung (appended) to the topic. What pun? For what it’s worth, my malaprop(ism)s are intentional, or so I’ll claim. “Ponderous”? Not to me. But Larry, what do you think? Was F 2H6 partially influenced by Q3 “Contention”?


Gabriel Egan observes:


> No, this can’t be coincidence. As Downs shows, my essay

> echoes Ronald (not “Robert”) Knowles’s edition of 2H6.

> I reviewed Knowles’s edition of 2H6 shortly before writing

> my essay . . . . I trust that SHAKSPERians will accept that

> this borrowing was unconscious.


I wouldn’t suggest otherwise; my point was that plurality of coincidence shows influence.


>> I would like to ask Gabriel if he thinks Contention is a

>> memorial reconstruction. Does he think Q3 supplemented

>> F copy? I couldn’t get his views from the article.

> I think that York’s bungled account of his own family

> tree in the [Q] points to memorial reconstruction being

> at least part of the explanation . . . . I don’t know whether

> Q3 supplemented F copy . . .

> This is a problem, then, of overdetermination: we have

> more explanations than we need to account for the

> textual situation. Thus our efforts should be focussed on

> eliminating one or more of the explanations.


Don’t we do this by determining which are wrong? For instance, TT, Lear, Hamlet, R&J, R3, etc., all use quarto copy. Much evidence shows the same for 2H6 (Q3). Why can’t we eliminate the “I don’t know”?


When the evidence is contradictory in textual matters the bad theories have to be weeded out and the good ones overlaid to account for all, or most all the evidence (without contradiction). Because agents and their behaviors complicate things, things get complicated.


Gerald E. Downs

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