The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.015 Monday, 209 January 2018
Date: January 27, 2018 at 1:25:34 AM EST
Subj: Re: Reconsidering R3
Date: January 28, 2018 at 8:59:25 PM EST
Subj: RICHARD III CONTINUES -- Q and F and possible pedagogical
Date: January 27, 2018 at 1:25:34 AM EST
Subject: Re: Reconsidering R3
I think the earliest extant R3 text (Q1) isn’t the start of a theatrical life but how it was acted at a moment in time, at some remove from the author, and a product of new forms of transmission that wrested control from originators. Shorthand leaves its marks on playtexts already varied in performance, but otherwise preserved; publication manhandles and patches, often deceptively. An editor’s retrograde goal is to undo the bad for the author’s sake—not to dismiss interchange but to unpile it stratigraphically. In “Reconsidering R3” Steve asks:
Did . . . Shakespeare write the version found in Q1 and then in . . . revising it . . . in the company of his fellow players did [he] also work out the significant [F] changes . . .?
[MR] . . . ignore[s] Shakespeare’s position . . . . [By ignoring] we do not have to consider that [he] may have written iambic lines with more or fewer than five feet, and we do not have to think that [he] . . . may have substituted one word for another . . . or added or subtracted a major or minor player . . . or changed the purpose of a scene, or made a change that left an inconsistency noticeable to a sharp-eyed scholar.
Memorial evidence points to multiple agents. But shorthand reporting ends authorial input and begins with the vagaries of a repertory company performance. Others abscond with the stolen text; it’s not contradictory to leave Shakespeare behind. To decide the issues, rather than only to “may have,” we must examine Q and F fully.
R3 is primarily iambic pentameter. Q1 is corrupt in that respect but we should also reckon with F “absolute numbers”—they’re more persnickety than can be expected of an author who didn’t care the first time round. Words are substituted, not just one for another, but by dozens, for no immediate reasons. Characters are mismanaged in Q1 and F in ways authorship cannot explain. Justly valued scholars notice inconsistencies that muddle each text. Steve notes that in Q1 3.5,
Catesby enters with Hastings’ head, and in [F] it is carried in by Ratcliffe and Lovell. Patrick proposes that the “adapter” of the Quarto cut out Ratcliffe and Lovell and economically replaced them with Catesby (454).
But this isn’t an isolated question; Ratcliffe also appears at ‘Pomfret’ in Q and F at 3.3:
Enter Sir Richard Ratliffe, with the Lo: Riuers,
Gray and Vaughan, prisoners
Ratl. Come bring forth the prisoners.
Ryu. Sir Richard Ratliffe let me tell thee this:
To day shalt thou behold a subiect die,
For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
Gray. God keepe the Prince from all the packe of you:
A knot you are of damned bloudsuckers.
Ryu. O Pomfret Pomfret . . .
. . . . (13 lines)
Rat. Come come dispatch, the limit of your linea is out.
Riuers. Sir Richard Ratcliffe . . .
Grey. God blesse . . .
. . .
Vaugh. You liue, that shall cry woe for this heere-
Rat. Dispatch, the limit of your liues is out.
Riuers. O Pomfret . . .
. . . .
Rat. Make haste, the houre of death is expiate.
F’s Ratcliffe conducts executions (Pontefract Castle, West Yorkshire) on the same day F also has him in London ‘dispatching’ Hastings (before supper). Although F reprints Q, the avriants(!) are many. Before getting to what Steve may believe are all Shakespearean revisions (or errors and revisions), editors question the F 3.4 sub for Q1’s Catesby: neither character works for Hastings, whose final guard is probably only only(!) a guard, though Q1’s repeated ‘dispatch’ may indicate that the Ratcliffe personator doubled the hatchet man. In the absence of set directions, Q and F workmen assumed the necessity of known characters. At 3.3, I think Q and F wrongly give Grey ‘God keep the Prince from all the packe of you . . .’ which sounds like Ratcliffe. Arden 2 accepts that F 3.4 “leaves the awkwardness of Ratcliffe’s dual location . . . as a problem for the producer.” It’s a problem for editors—and for Steve.
F changes (to 3.3’s 30 lines) seem arbitrary: keepe/bless; soule/seat; all/here. Arden 2 notes that transposing to ‘Richard . . . Hastings’ from Q’s ‘Hastings . . . Richard’ is “not self-evidently” right. Some variants seem naively meant to disguise reprinting but other inceptions are likely; editing began pre-Q1 and slowed post-F. Later work should have been to undo meddling while appreciating the probability that a reported R3, for good and ill, is our main resource. 18th- and 19th-century analysts understood that better than moderns. For example, in the takes-one-to-know-one file, H. H. Vaughan (1888) observes of Vaughan’s last-laugh remonstrance:
The words ‘you live,’ . . . could not be addressed to persons at all unless they lived. May not the right line be:
You laugh, that shall cry woe for this hereafter.
. . . Lord Hastings [later] says in the same spirit:
‘They smile at me, who shortly shall be dead.’
Supposing the line to have been written from recitation, the mistake of ‘live’ for ‘laugh’ was not unnatural. . . . [This is] confirmed by the fact that one of those specially referred to [by Shakespeare] in this line must be Hastings, who, on receiving the intelligence of this [Pomfret] execution, is made to exclaim . . .
‘But I shall laugh at this a twelvemonth hence.’ (3.4)
and yet . . . after . . . his own unexpected sentence of death, breaks out:
‘Woe, woe for England.’
Thus as to him, Vaughan’s prophecy was literally fulfilled if we read ‘laugh’ . . . (82-83)
Vaughan’s prophecy is apt if on handing the ‘bloodsuckers’ to the headsman, Ratcliffe laughed; he limited out at Bosworth Field. Shorthand systems usually represent f and v sounds similarly and omit vowels regularly; the lf/v ‘outline’ could be ambiguous outside the context provided by the two Vaughans. My guess: the “recited” F line restores but doesn’t correct a Q1 omission.
‘Come come dispatch . . . your liues is out’ couldn’t outlive meter-monitoring, but the F revision, ‘Dispatch . . . your . . . out’, transposes to Vaughan’s added speech. Ratcliffe’s variant final line, ‘Make haste, the houre . . . is expiate’, violates my own presumption that Q lines were spoken in place. F demonstrably abhors Q repetition; it may revise ‘Come come . . .’ a second time: F’s ‘expiate’ seems out of character, if not meaningless; but there’s no accounting for my taste.
Ryu. O Pomfret . . .
Within the guilty closure of thy wals
Richatd the second here was hackt to death:
And for more slaunder to thy dismall soule,
We giue thee vp our guiltlesse blouds to drinke.
Furness cites F. A. Marshall: “Compare: ‘Within the gentle closure of my breast.’—Sonn. 48. ‘Into the quiet closure of my breast.’—Ven. & Ad., l. 782. These are the only two other passages in which Shakespeare uses [closure] in this sense.”
Rivers’s personification, ‘guilty closure of thy walls,’ refers to a thirsty prison; enclosing, among the rest, its soule. F alters to seat, not getting the drift. No matter how many F substitutions do service, the large number of faulty alterations questions authorial revision. The list isn’t limited to lone words. Only trust in a “good” F stems the tide. For example, Arden 2 suggests:
We must . . . consider the possibility that as Shakespeare, in locating Ratcliffe in two places at once had . . . blundered . . . the alteration [from balladic Rat to Cat in Q] was made by . . . other[s] associated with the company . . . . [O]ther variants . . . might fall into this category. . . . [F 2.2.66-7ff] reads
Of you and you, Lord Riuers and of Dorset,
That all without desert haue frown’d on me:
Of you Lord Wooduill, and Lord Scales of you.
Furness [observed, citing Daniel] that Shakespeare had been misled by . . . Hall: ‘The gouernaunce of this younge Prince was committed too Antony Wooduile erle Ryuers and lord Scales, brother to the quene’. Earlier in the play Shakespeare . . . knew that Anthony Woodeville was Rivers’s name; Scales was one of his titles. . . . In Q, however—
Of you Lo: Riuers, and Lord Gray of you,
That all without desert haue frownd on me
—the third line is omitted. This correction [of F by Q1 is not] coincidental . . . nor need it have originated with the author (17-18).
Hammond, Daniel, and most others (as Steven observes) suppose F variants “originate with the author.” F error belies the assumption. Q1’s entry direction, typically short, is yet correct: ‘Enter King, Queene, Hastings, Ryuers, Dorcet, Etc.’ F’s usual elaboration repeats its mistake: ‘Enter the King sicke, the Queene, Lord Marquesse Dorset, Riuers . . . Wooduill.’ And F similarly goofs a few lines later:
King. . . .
Dorset and Riuers, take each others hand,
Dissemble not your hatred, Sweare your loue.
Q gets the sides right, ‘Riuers and Hastings, take each others hand’; these enemies were named in following dialogue. Hall mentions the King’s gathering of lords, “at variaunce, in especiall the lorde Marques Dorset sonne to the queene and lorde Hastynges . . . .” I guess a curative editor meant to replace Q’s Rivers with his brother but omitted Hastings instead and failed to change Q speakers. Numerous arbitrary F changes throughout the scene show that F reprints Q. Steven, if consistent, believes variants are authorial; that Shakespeare, after writing the Q text, revised it erroneously. These almost-informed errors probably come from casual consultation of sources that the author knew well.
Gerald E. Downs
Date: January 28, 2018 at 8:59:25 PM EST
Subject: RICHARD III CONTINUES -- Q and F and possible pedagogical
To extend the discussion of the RICHARD III texts in a somewhat oblique way, I’d like to go back to a very cute set of revisions (okay, okay—let’s just call them “textual alternatives”) in RICHARD III, the moments when Richard and Buckingham and Catesby triple-team the Mayor of London to convince him that they are in the middle of a dangerous uprising and that they have therefore justifiably executed Lord Hastings. The textual differences offer a grisly/comic and different but deliciously grand-guignol-gory teachable, yucky, severed-head joke. Prop-masters and teen-age boys seem to relish these. This is one more textual variant that I’ve gathered in my long hunt for “how-to-read-a-play” illustrative examples connected to Shakespearean textual studies.
The text of RICHARD III, 3.5 begins with an obvious and underlined “spoiler-alert.” The first two characters enter and immediately reveal that the upcoming action will involve improvised theatrical fakery. Richard asks his co-conspirator Buckingham if he will join a spirited “let’s-make-believe”:
Come, cousin, canst thou quake and change thy colour?
Murder thy breath in the middle of a word?
And then again begin, and stop again,
As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?
Buckingham: Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,
Speak, and look back, and pry at every side,
Intending deep suspicion; ghastly looks
Are at my service, like enforced smiles,
And both are ready in their offices
At any time to grace my strategems.
Enter the Lord Mayor [Richard III, 3.5.1-12]
This is NOT some revelation of subtly hidden motives, but rather it is laid out openly for the audience’s delight in skullduggery. It’s a set-up. Incidentally, the last two lines of Richard’s speech artfully describe one of Shakespeare’s many uses of the rhetorical figure aposiopesis, to “Murder thy breath in the middle of a word . . . And then again begin, and stop again,” the interruption of “normal” grammatical structures with crafted gasps and pauses, enacting discontinuities to portray intense paralysing emotion. [By the by, one of the personal reasons I persist in my own textual/theatrical efforts is because so many of my editorial buddies seem to be technically clueless when they ascribe such Shakespearean interrupted speeches to errors of transmission. Check out their frequently groping analyses of the beautifully orchestrated “interrupted speech” variants—another even more theatrical kind of aposiopesis involving more than a single actor’s speech—in Q and F LEAR 3.1. “Hello, Sir Brian! Ahoy, Richard Knowles! You guys awake yet?"]
Back to RICHARD III 3.5. In the second line below, Buckingham addresses the Mayor, and Richard calls out a series of alarums—likely in various directions, warning offstage unseen allies about imaginary further-offstage foes. Buckingham picks up the improvisatory cue at “Harke, I heare a drumme":
Glo. Here comes the Maior.
Buc. Let me alone to entertaine him. Lo: Maior,
Glo. Looke to the drawbridge there.
Buc. The reason we haue sent for you.
Glo. Catesby ouerlooke the wals.
Buck. Harke, I heare a drumme.
Glo. Looke backe, defend thee, here are enemies.
Buc. God and our innocence defend vs.
Enter Catesby with Hast. head.
Glo. O, O, be quiet, it is Catesby.
Richard directorially controls the mayhem, setting the stage for Catesby to display the severed head, at “Here is the head . . .,” quoted below. Richard then waxes eloquent about Hastings and confesses to having been fooled by him. Richard then in the Quarto somehow brings the bloody head to the mayor:
Cat. Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
The daungerous and vnsuspected Hastings.
Glo. So deare I lou'd the man, that I must weepe:
I tooke him for the plainest harmelesse man,
That breathed vpon this earth a christian,
Looke ye my Lo: Maior.
However Richard chooses to show off the head—in a sack, held up or opened to the Mayor’s view, or a full-scale visible, bloody prop grasped in his hand—we have a great recapitulation (groan) of a parallel moment in MUCEDORUS where the hero displays the severed bear’s head to his lady-love (who, with deep-deep stupidity asks, “Is he dead?” Duh?) and the similar moment in 3 HENRY VI where Richard also displays a severed head and Richard’s father, the Duke of York, asks it, “ But is your grace dead, my lord of Somerset?" (1.1.18).
The Folio version gives a slightly differently fine-tuned flim-flam. The Mayor is brought in by Catesby who in the Folio is present as another conspirator to manipulate and distract him.
And both are readie in their Offices,
At any time to grace my Stratagemes.
But what, is Catesby gone?
Rich. He is, and see he brings the Maior along.
Enter the Maior, and Catesby.
Buck. Lord Maior.
Rich. Looke to the Draw-Bridge there.
Buck. Hearke, a Drumme.
Rich. Catesby, o're-looke the Walls.
Buck. Lord Maior, the reason we haue sent.
Rich. Looke back, defend thee, here are Enemies.
Buck. God and our Innocencie defend, and guard vs.
We really should act this out in a classroom or a rehearsal room to catch the different rhythms and comic alarums possible as actors call out and feint towards and away from variously imagined ramparts. Like the o’erwatching of Malvolio’s Letter scene in TWELFTH NIGHT, having three players to baffle the Mayor is (I am guessing based on my own directing experience) much more fun than having only two.
Though the foolery worked by two is superseded in the Folio by a foolery-a-trois, alas the specific command for pushing forward the decapitated head, “Looke ye my Lo: Maior,” does not appear in the Folio. Richard MAY take up the bloody chunk-o’-Hastings during his love-lament, but in this text the display towards the Mayor just isn’t required.
Enter Louell and Ratcliffe, with Hastings Head.
Rich. Be patient, they are friends: Ratcliffe, and Louell.
Louell. Here is the Head of that ignoble Traytor,
The dangerous and vnsuspected Hastings.
Rich. So deare I lou'd the man, that I must weepe:
I tooke him for the plainest harmelesse Creature,
That breath'd vpon the Earth, a Christian.
Made him my Booke, wherein my Soule recorded
The Historie of all her secret thoughts.
So smooth he dawb'd his Vice with shew of Vertue,
That his apparant open Guilt omitted,
I meane, his Conuersation with Shores Wife,
He liu'd from all attainder of suspects.
James Siemon’s Arden 3 edition notes, “Hastings’ head has occasioned grotesque stage business; Donald Wolfit’s Richard ate strawberries while gloating over the head in a bag; Jose Ferrer’s Richard waved his bloody sack at the Mayor, driving him from the stage; Terry Hands’s 1970 promptbook calls for tossing the head to the Mayor, who faints.”
I might uncharitably point out here a risible instance of the the basic a-theatricality found in so many discussions of Shakespearean textual problems. Peter Davison, editor of the New Cambridge Early Quarto Edition, THE FIRST QUARTO OF KING RICHARD III (1996), can’t quite imagine what is going on in the opening helter-skelter alarum part of the scene. With a kind of anti-theatrical fastidiousness, Davison refuses to require his readers or the actors who might use his edited script to expend the extra imaginative effort of Richard and Buckingham shouting out to completely imaginary “defenders” while they spin the Mayor through different false points of encroaching danger. Instead Davison rewrites the simple command “ Catesby, o’re-looke the Walls” (an address to an offstage imagined character) to read, “Buckingham—overlook the walls!” And he primly explains his substitution by appealing to logic: “In Q ad F this instruction is given to Catesby. In F this makes sense but in Q Catesby does not enter for another three lines (with Hastings’ head). Onstage the only actor available is the man playing Buckingham. By amending the text from Catesby to Buckingham, the incident, as rearranged in Q, falls neatly into place” (p. 174, additional note to 3.5.15). Sorry there, Jack. That ain’t the way “drama” is played. You’ve trashed the JOKE! It’s okay if SHAKESPEARE or his actors do that, but for a professor, in 1996, promulgating jack-ass fantasies about memorial reconstruction to denigrate the propaedeutic virtues of learning to READ stage action as inscribed? That’s poor play. That’s acadumia. (Prof. Davison doesn’t think all that much of my work either.)
Sometimes I just lack the sitz-fleisch to re-argue the textual arguments that I argued in super-fine detail in print thirty years ago. If our six or maybe nine readers are still attending to the interactions about passages in Q and F RICHARD III between Gerald Downs and me, I again suggest that they go back to read my early publications on the problem.
I look at the marks on the page and try to make sense out of them I treat them as if they were purposeful efforts designed for governing stage action and speech to be carried out by the professional acting troupes of Shakespeare’s time. The “theatrical code” in any of those early scripts misleadingly looks like “normal” poetry and prose, but it also commands or suggests or recalls speech-acts and gestures and physical movements and coordinated choreography quite opaque to many modern readers. Of course, many knotty passages may indeed have been errors generated in the initial or subsequent inscription of the text by Shakespeare himself or by other transcribers or people functioning as editors or scribes or correctors.
But according to a not-so-uncommonly-believed narrative there’s a push-me-pull-you very odd and unlikely genetic background to many of the most interestingly diverse textual alternatives. Arguments run roughly like this: “The First Printed Quarto of RICHARD III was actually derived from but also altered in transmission from a reduced-cast production of the Later-Printed Folio RICHARD III.
Three-Card Monte is easy if compared to many of the most interestingly diverse textual alternatives. Eggs first? Or was it Chickens? Angels on the Head of a Pin? Many? A few? Some critics argue that first-printed texts were distorted because the people who were attempting to inscribe the performed "true" version lacked physical access to the "true" written text. Instead these transmitter-folks tried to reconstruct the yet-to-be-printed true Shakespearean version by relying on their own memories of a performance which perhaps they had been actors in or perhaps had witnessed in a theater. I am not making this up.
Just because Angel tracks on Pin-heads are necessarily convoluted, bits of textual matter—sometimes because they are identical in different texts, sometimes because they are different—require that there were some kinds of revisions carried out between the inscription of the manuscripts underlying the later-printed versions and the manuscript underlying the performance “reported” or “recorded” or “remembered” by the people inscribing the first-printed version. “And it follows as the night the day . . “ Huh?
No, I am not making this up. In my native Bronx, such hypothesizing is called, technically and precisely, “bull shit.” It is the product of intellectually bovine digestion of quite elegant, dramatic, and initially appealing raw material found in the early printed versions.
It helps immensely if instead of looking at the post-hypothesis bovine-cudded four-stomached bull shit one looks back at the pre-consumption grass and flowers. They smell better. They play better. And if brought into classrooms much improve the fresh engagement of student-readers with very old treasures.
Born and brought up only a few miles from the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY