January

Richard III

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.017 Wednesday, 31 January 2018

 

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

Date:         January 31, 2018 at 2:44:35 AM EST

Subject:    Richard III

 

Steven Urkowitz cites R3 3.5, which I excluded from my long review of his article. Almost every scene is textually worthwhile. (Last post, I had Uncle Rivers as Dorset’s brother, not intending to add to confusions; my excuse is that the Queen’s sons are a Grey area.) About Steve’s first text:

 

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]

 

At a glance, one may not recognize Q1 or F, which reprints Q. But this modernized conflation of sorts can’t convey the nature or extent of problems. For example, ‘wert’ is Q, but ‘Tut, I can . . . reflects F’s propensities to toss half-lines and fix meter:

 

           Buc. Tut feare not me.

        I can counterfeit . . . (Q1)

 

I presume ‘feare not me’ was recorded in performance. F agents kept ‘Tut’; this stuff adds up. Steve (inadvertently, no doubt) reworks some F evidence:

 

        Speake, and looke backe, and prie on euery side,

        Tremble and start at wagging of a straw :

 

‘Tremble . . . straw’ isn’t in Q. Steve (rightly?) follows Capell to transpose these lines. Misplaced interpolation implies restoration or revision without F access to ‘good’ text. If revision: Why? If restoration, why not from Q1 printer’s copy? Such evidence colors Steve’s choice for comment. Even punctuation has effect; If Shakespeare is personally, at least partly, responsible for Q & F, why is pointing so bad in Q (& F)?

 

        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. (F)

 

        To grace my stratagems.        Enter Maior.  (Q1)

 

I believe F’s revision here is to replace Catesby as Hastings’s unlikely 3.4 executioner and to establish his presence in 3.5 (as attested by Q speech). The F ‘editor’ was ready ‘At any time’ with redundant short-line-fillers.

 

Incidentally . . . Richard’s speech artfully describe[s] one of Shakespeare’s many uses of . . . 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 . . . .

 

After Wiki, this seems neither description nor example of aposiopesis; however, there may be a grammatical abnormality:

 

        And then beginne againe, and stop againe,  (Q1)

 

        And then againe begin, and stop againe,       (F)

 

How often do we again begin? Is this ‘true and perfect copy’ or revision? And whose? 

 

Back to RICHARD III 3.5. In the second line below, Buckingham addresses the Mayor, and Richard calls out . . .

 

 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.

 

If Steven (et al) assume less of the early texts, a better picture emerges; as everyone, I hadn’t thought about this before now; the reported dialogue is key. Bucky is “left alone”: all dialogue is his as he ‘acts’ just as promised, until Richard tells him to be quiet. He starts and stops and even ‘looks back.’ Except for its concern about Catesby (when Q1 editing presumed he took delivery of the noggin right off the block), F swallows Q’s speech prefixes completely. Ratcliffe is F’s flub. 

 

. . . . 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.

 

The Folio version gives a slightly differently . . . .

 

                Enter the Maior, and Catesby.

        . . . 

        Buck. God and our Innocencie defend, and guard vs.

 

Q’s line is a syllable short with ‘innocence’; I suppose ‘innocencie’ was meant to cure, but it was left as changed when F instead added ‘guard us,’ which scans with ‘innocence.’

 

. . . [T]he specific command for pushing forward the decapitated head,  “Looke ye my Lo: Maior,”  does not appear in the Folio. . . . 

 

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,

        . . . 

        That his apparant open Guilt omitted,

        I meane, his Conuersation with Shores Wife,

He liu'd from all attainder of suspects.

 

The Mayor was right there to see the head. Richard’s speech (as Marshall notes) addressed the Mayor only indirectly. Q’s ‘Looke ye . . . ‘ is misplaced (I agree with Marshall and Capell). Arden 2 says it “looks intrusive.” I tend to agree with Capell that the half-line belongs with F’s own and unusual (for F) other half, seven lines later:

 

        That ever lived. Look ye, my Lord Mayor,

        Would you imagine . . .

 

Hammond sees no mechanism but if the Q1 compositor skipped from Look to Look before catching his error, he may have left in place the half-line that F omitted. Q1 messed up the lines containing ‘That ever . . . ‘ to misalign several lines by shifting, which F corrected with ‘That ever lived’ standing alone. One needn’t be right about unrecoverable details to see how things are. Corrected, the dialogue and meter make sense. How modern actors dally with a rubber head has nothing to do with it.

 

We should note recognition of mistaken speech headings by commentators who don’t expect them as I do. At 3.5.49 F and all others give two lines to Buckingham, though Q1 ascribes them to the Mayor on ending his speech, and before Buckingham’s reply:

 

           Buck. I neuer look’d for better at his hands,

        After he once fell in with Mistresse Shore:

 

Yet I had thought almost like Marshall, who also assigned the lines to  [B]: “They seem entirely out of place (in Q) as spoken by the Lord Mayor . . . . The next ten lines: ‘Yet we had determine’d,’ etc., should . . . be given to [Richard] without any hesitation. [B] would hardly have dared to talk as if he were, in any respect, the source of supreme authority. . . .” Insofar as Richard has it in for Hastings and Ms. Shore, I give him the other lines in question also. Q1 sp’s are guesses. 

 

Davison refuses to require his readers . . . 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.

 

We can require of our readers? Why didn’t I think of that? Hall (for one) notes that Richard had summoned various persons to the tower, so their presence is not entirely imaginary. Why ask a mayor to be so easy to fool?

 

Of course, many knotty passages may . . . 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.

 

Steve’s concessions are hard to come by; I appreciate this one, provided “other transcribers” includes stenographers. Virtually every R3 passage is knotty.

 

[B]its of textual matter—sometimes because they are identical in different texts, sometimes because they are different—require . . . revisions . . . between . . . 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.

 

Identical megabits indicate F’s reprinting of Qs (1, 3, & 6). Recorded is the meaningful term. We all know performances are ‘remembered’ (or not). Printers were late in the game. If you give it a chance, R3 textual analysis is interesting but involved. F reprints a bad quarto.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 

 

Speaking of Shakespeare with Keith Baxter

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.016 Tuesday, 30 January 2018

 

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

Date:         January 29, 2018 at 4:08:17 PM EST

Subject:    Speaking of Shakespeare with Keith Baxter

 

Speaking of Shakespeare with Keith Baxter

 

Thursday, February 1, at 12:15 p.m.

Woman’s National Democratic Club

1526 New Hampshire Avenue NW in DC

Luncheon and Program $30

For Reservations, call 202-232–7363

 

Best known to most of us as the actor who depicted Prince Hal in “Chimes at Midnight,” the 1966 Orson Welles classic in which the filmmaker portrayed Falstaff and Sir John Gielgud played Henry IV, Keith Baxter is now at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, where he is charming audiences as the Ghost, the Player King, and the Gravedigger. Mr. Baxter will talk about those and other memorable roles with John Andrews during a luncheon conversation near Dupont Circle in Washington.

 

John F. Andrews, President

The Shakespeare Guild

14 Via San Martin

Santa Fe, NM 87506

www.shakesguild.org

1-505-988-9560 (Home, Office)

1-505-670-9815 (iPhone)

 

 

Shakespeare in Practice 2018

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.014 Monday, 209 January 2018

 

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

Date:         January 26, 2018 at 8:08:32 AM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare in Practice 2018

 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shakespeare-in-practice-2018-tickets-42561177628

 

Shakespeare in Practice 2018

 

A Free One-Day Conference on the study of Shakespeare in Performance

 

University of Central Lancashire, Preston

Media Factory Innovation Studio

University of Central Lancashire

Preston

PR1 2HE

United Kingdom

 

14th April 2018

10.30 – 5pm

 

Confirmed Speakers: Andrew James Hartley, Kathryn Prince, Alexa Alice Joubin, Stephen Purcell, Darren Tunstall, Peter Kirwan, Theresa Saxon, Bridget Escolme and Stuart Hampton-Reeves

 

Sponsored by Shakespeare Bulletin

 

Call for Papers

The Shakespeare in Practice network launched in 2008 to bring together scholars developing performance-based approaches to the study of Shakespeare. To mark our tenth anniversary, and to celebrate the latest volumes in the Palgrave book series Shakespeare in Practice, we invite all scholars working on the study of Shakespeare in performance to submit proposals for short papers and non-paper presentation formats (15 minutes) on any aspect of the subject. We are particularly interested in new and daring approaches to performing Shakespeare, as well as issues facing contemporary theatre such as non-directed Shakespeare, immersive performance and digital theatre. Proposals offering new insights into theatre history in relation to Shakespeare are also welcome, as are papers on any of Shakespeare’s contemporaries in performance. To submit a paper, please send a 200-word abstract to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 28th February.

 

Registration is open now at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shakespeare-in-practice-2018-tickets-42561177628

 

More news and updates about the conference will be on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/146521912810236/

 

 

Richard III

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.015 Monday, 209 January 2018

 

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

     Date:         January 27, 2018 at 1:25:34 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: Reconsidering R3

 

[2] From:        Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 28, 2018 at 8:59:25 PM EST

     Subj:         RICHARD III  CONTINUES -- Q and F and possible pedagogical 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

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.

          (Q1, 3.3.1ff)

 

   Riuers.  Sir Richard Ratcliffe . . . 

   Grey.    God blesse . . . 

. . .

   Vaugh.  You liue, that shall cry woe for this heere-

after.

   Rat.  Dispatch, the limit of your liues is out.

   Riuers. O Pomfret . . . 

. . . .

   Rat.  Make haste, the houre of death is expiate.

          (F, 3.3.1ff)

 

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.

                (F, 2.1.6-7)

 

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

 

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

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.  

 

Steven Urquartowitz, 

Born and brought up only a few miles from the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY

 

 

 

Shakespeare Across the Disciplines

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.012 Wednesday, 24 January 2018

 

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

Date:         January 19, 2018 at 6:37:08 PM EST

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Across Disciplines

 

Re: Shakespeare Across the Disciplines

 

There’s a lot of extra-disciplinary attention to Shakespeare out there, both from before and after academic disciplines as we know them became self-conscious, card-carrying, intensified, and enclosed at the end of the 19th century.  Two more books from Political Science/Government come to mind:  Allan Bloom & Harry Jaffa, Shakespeare’s Politics, 1964, and Bloom, Shakespeare on Love and Friendship, 2000.  Many people from outside disciplines like Rob Valenza (math) and me (Government) have rushed in to tackle Shakespeare authorship questions where American English-department pros have long feared to tread.  See our “Oxford by the numbers” in the Tennessee Law Review’s Shakespeare authorship symposium 2004, and our “Language, Key to Authorship” in the Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare, 2016.  Quite a few of the other contributors to both references were not English Department regulars.  Let’s not forget E.K. Chambers, a giant among Shakespeare scholars, whose day job was adult education.  We outsiders are grateful to have been allowed in the tent, grateful not to have been called out for trespassing, and above all grateful that someone like Hardy took the time and trouble to provide a tent.    

 

Shakespeare lived in an age of rampant, sometimes ruthless agricultural enclosure, was heavily invested in it in Stratford, and must have profited from it, see Katherine Duncan-Jones, Ungentle Shakespeare, 2001,  Kevin Quarmby, “Bardwashing Shakespeare,” 2015.  In London he and his associates did his best to enclose and profit from his plays, and perhaps his poems as well.  It’s hard to think of a single economist other than Peter Drucker who has taken on Shakespeare, but economists have had more than most to say about the Tragedy of the Commons.  They tell us there is a strong relationship between enclosure, ownership, intensity of cultivation, investment, and productivity, and they are right. We wouldn’t have had the plays or the Quartos or the Folios, or civilization itself, if there had been no way for someone to close them off and charge admission. Marvin Harris, Cannibals and Kings: the Origins of Cultures, 1978.  We owe many good things to ounces and pounds of disciplinary self-enclosure, but it hardly follows that tons of it would be even better, or that Shakespeare studies should be kept watertight and militantly guarded, as medicine and law are, by appointed gatekeepers and bans on unauthorized practice.  There’s no such thing as unauthorized practice of Shakespeare.  Shakespeare may have lived on enclosure, but he’s too big a part of the world’ s cultural commons to be enclosed himself. As Leonard Cohen put it, “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.”

 

Yours,

Ward Elliott 

Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions, Emeritus

Claremont McKenna College

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

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