The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0359  Wednesday, 24 July 2013


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

Date:         July 24, 2013 4:31:19 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Who edited Shakespeare?


From the intriguing glimpse he gives us in his Guardian piece, Saul Frampton’s evidence for Florio as editor of the Folio seems heavily based on “words never used elsewhere by Shakespeare, but familiar to Florio...”:


If we look at Hamlet, for instance, we notice that the editor of the Folio introduces a number of unusual words to the text. Thus in Act 1 scene 5, Hamlet instructs his sinews to bear him “swiftly up” to revenge. The Folio changes the quarto’s “swiftly” to “stiffely”, a word never used elsewhere by Shakespeare but familiar to Florio, who uses it four times. In Act 5 scene 2, “breed” is changed to “beauy” (bevy), again a word never used elsewhere by Shakespeare but which Florio uses three times. And the same can be said of a number of unusual additions to the play – words such as “pratlings”, “checking”, “detecting”, “quicknesse”, “diddest”, “daintier”, “hurling” and “roaming”. In Act 2 scene 2, Polonius tells how Hamlet was “repell’d” (rejected) by Ophelia. The Folio changes “repell’d” to “repulsed”, the latter a familiar word now, but one never used elsewhere by Shakespeare, or Marlowe or Jonson. But such a substitution would occur naturally to Florio, who uses “repulsed” four times, defining the Italian Ripulso as “repulsed, repelled”.


A question for attribution specialists: would the appearance within any given play - or act or scene of a play - of many such words, phrases and collocations “never used elsewhere by Shakespeare” but found in the work of X, be sufficient grounds for further stylometric investigation, which might turn up another unacknowledged co-author?


Marie Merkel 


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