December

The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0469  Monday, 31 December 2018

 

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

Date:         December 31, 2018 at 4:56:58 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

A couple of comments on Gabriel Egan’s latest contribution:

 

The development of standards of referencing in printed scholarship is one of the Enlightenment’s great achievements.

 

That’s why it’s so deplorable that the New Oxford Shakespeare edition trashed the long-established system of referring to the Folios and quartos. It renamed every quarto and every Folio. For example, the great book published in 1623 that until now everyone had referred to as the First Folio, the Folio, F1 or just F, has been renamed JAGGARD. What we used to call Q1 of Hamlet has been renamed 1SIMMES. Q1 of Othello has been renamed 1OKES, Q1 of King Lear has been renamed 1OKES as well, and so on, for all the quartos and Folios. This unnecessary innovation destroys continuity with all previously published scholarship. A really irresponsible thing to have done.

 

(They decided to do that damage, but they didn’t have the competence to do it right. The title page of Q1 Romeo and Juliet inform readers that the book was printed by John Danter, but in fact only the first four sheets were printed by him. As, for example, the Arden edition by Brian Gibbons tells us, Danter’s premises were raided while he was printing the play, and his printing press seized and destroyed, making it necessary for the rest of the quarto to be printed by someone else, who has been identified as Edward Allde. It appears that the NOS forgot about this, because they renamed the quarto from Q1 to 1DANTER, forgetting that Allde printed most of the book. They must have remembered when their book had already been typeset. What we find in the list of works cited is this: “...printed by John Danter [and Edward Allde]...” That parenthetical mention of Allde was apparently added because that was all they had the space to add (the previous page is almost full). A reader who did not already know the story of the printing of Q1 would be left in the dark by the unexplained mention of Allde.)

 

A quick correction to something Egan wrote:

 

The New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion has a section called “Datasets” running to 71 pages containing around 27,000 words.  Its purpose is to reproduce as much as possible of the primary evidence upon which the essays in the book rely.

 

When I first saw the book, I wrongly assumed that this Datasets section contains the datasets for the whole book. Then I turned over each of its 71 pages and discovered that it’s not true. It contains the datasets for only five chapters, but this is not mentioned. A reader of any chapter of the book is left to fend for herself if she wants to know whether the data is given somewhere in the chapter itself, is given in the Datasets section at the back, or not given at all.

 

I have looked at Egan’s review of Freebury-Jones and Dahl’s critique of Microattribution. It is a travesty, misrepresenting me at several points, let alone Freebury-Jones and Dahl. I respectfully ask readers to check for themselves some of the things that Egan claims, when they read him.

 

A very happy New Year, with my thanks, to all who are reading this important thread. 2017 was the year in which the NOS editors thought themselves masters of the universe; 2018 was the year in which they were found out. I hope 2019 will leave no doubts in anyone’s mind about this edition.

 

 

 

Doubling Your Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0468  Monday, 31 December 2018

 

From:        Brett Gamboa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Sunday, December 30, 2018 at 12:13 PM
Subject:    Doubling Your Shakespeare

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

Please forgive this one-time advertisement. I’m writing as the lights go out on 2018 is out and while my book on Shakespeare and theatrical doubling, Shakespeare’s Double Plays, is still warm off the Cambridge press.

 

I hope that scholars and theatre makers interested in early modern performance may find the book useful, particularly those interested in casting, doubling roles, dramaturgy, phenomenology and audience reception, boy actors and female representation, metatheater and more. It offers a new theory of Shakespeare’s working practices and early performance, and it includes tables and charts with casting requirements and possibilities for each play, so it may be helpful for student actors and directors to have in hand for their own productions or as a basis for course exercises in dramaturgical analysis.

 

With libraries ordering fewer books, I hope you will encourage yours to order a copy. Of course, it would be great, too, if you recommended it to colleagues and students to whom it may be of interest, as well as favorite theater companies and directors, less favored theater companies and directors, etc. The link above and attached flyer have more information and a discount code for Cambridge UP. Thanks for your consideration and warm wishes for the New Year.

 

Yours,

Brett Gamboa

 

 

How Now Hecate

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0466  Sunday, 30 December 2018

 

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

Date:         December 28, 2018 at 7:35:53 AM EST

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Hecate

 

In response to Aaron Azlant (“Hecate”) on my essay.

 

Thanks for your reading of my essay. Some of your interests might be addressed at least from my perspective by reading my book, Fantasies of Female Evil: The Dynamics of Gender and Power in Shakespearean Tragedy. Newark: U of Delaware P, 2003, which features the Macbeth reading and also begins with a reading of Elizabeth I. I do some more work on Juliet, as well. This book is out of print, unfortunately, but is available through Google (both Google books and also as an electronic book for sale) and on Questia, which some libraries subscribe to.

 

In my more recent book, Women and Shakespeare’s Cuckoldry Plays: Shifting Narratives of Marital Betrayal, Routledge, 2017. “Women and Gender in the Early Modern World," a chapter on Othello focuses on Emilia.

 

Also, (just the trial of my life), my name is spelled without the “h” customary in English. :-)

 

All best,
Cristina
Professor

Hunter College, CUNY

Department of English

 

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0467  Sunday, 30 December 2018

 

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

     Date:         December 28, 2018 at 9:57:33 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: NOS (specifically, broken URLs)

 

[2] From:        Darren Freebury-Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 27, 2018 at 3:13:58 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

[3] From:        Darren Freebury-Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 30, 2018 at 8:18:30 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

 

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

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

Date:         December 28, 2018 at 9:57:33 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: NOS (specifically, broken URLs)

 

Dear SHAKSPERians

 

I respectfully disagree with Al Magary’s assertion that “Broken links offer no occasion for any aspersions about the quality of scholarship . . .”. If we cannot follow up a piece of scholarship’s references to other pieces of scholarship then we cannot situate it within the ongoing scholarly debate nor check that its claims to build upon previous work are honest and true. The development of standards of referencing in printed scholarship is one of the Enlightenment’s great achievements. Our use or misuse of the new digital media can strengthen or undermine that achievement and are worth worrying about. Those who don’t agree may want to stop reading now, as I’d like to develop this theme by putting that concern in the context of the means by which we conduct our present debates over the contested authorship of early modern plays.

 

In my review of Darren Freebury-Jones and Marcus Dahl’s recent article critiquing Gary Taylor and John V. Nance’s article “Imitation or Collaboration? Marlowe and the Early Shakespeare Canon”, I claim that some phrases that Freebury-Jones and Dahl assert are unique to certain plays (defined by date) are not unique and so do not count as evidence for authorship in the way they think they do.

 

One way that this kind of disagreement can occur is by investigators using different datasets for the same primary materials, which almost certainly is the case here. Different datasets often disagree on the dating of certain plays. As I point out in my review, Literature Online (LION) dates the first performance of ‘Grim the Collier of Croydon’ to 1593 while other authorities date it later. Making the problem even worse, online datasets change over time. Because the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) is still keyboarding texts and adding them to its dataset, the database Early English Books Online (EEBO), which for most subscribers incorporates the TCP (to form EEBO-TCP), will return different results for searches performed a few years ago and searches performed today or next year. The contents of the successive tranches of the TCP are well documented, but LION’s addition of new texts is not.

 

I referred in a previous post to the problem of online scholarly essays that may change over time. One of the essays depended upon by Freebury-Jones and Dahl, written by Martin Mueller, contained a broken link that Mueller subsequently edited in order to fix it. As Larry Weiss has pointed out here, this capacity for digital texts to change over time is a serious danger to scholarship. Any remark that a reader or reviewer makes about an essay mounted on the Worldwide Web can be invalidated by subsequent rewriting of that essay.

 

What are we to do about these two problems of datasets and cited secondary resources changing (or disappearing) over time? I’ll mention here two steps that can be taken by humanists who care about the infrastructure of scholarly communication:

 

  1. 1) Where possible we can get publishers to print supporting materials rather than mounting them on line. The New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion has a section called “Datasets” running to 71 pages containing around 27,000 words.  Its purpose is to reproduce as much as possible of the primary evidence upon which the essays in the book rely. It was no fun compiling this section, but I thought it worthwhile because it enables readers directly to be shown the data on which the book’s claims are based, rather than referring them to online materials that may, over time, change or disappear.  Obviously, one cannot print the whole of LION or EEBO-TCP in a book, but one can, it turns out, provide a usefully large set of data in printed form if the publisher is persuaded that it’s a good idea.

 

2) We can put materials into online repositories that do not permit subsequent alteration and that promise to maintain them so that they will continue to be accessible for many years. Most universities now provide Institutional Repositories that meet this need and allow their employees to deposit materials in them. This is preferable to relying on individuals using their own personal websites for the purpose of giving access to supporting materials. Some publishers also provide this service for materials that support the books and journals that they publish.

 

I have changed my mind about point (2) in the past few years.  For the journal ‘Shakespeare’ (the organ of the British Shakespeare Association) the publisher, Taylor and Francis, produces a printed volume once a year but puts identically paginated versions of the same articles on line (for subscribers) as soon as they are typeset and proofed.  We the editors have in the past spotted errors in articles after they were published on line but before the paper volume was printed, and we have asked for correction of the errors. To our surprise, Taylor and Francis refused to make the corrections, insisting that the online version could not be changed and that the printed version had to match the online version in retaining the errors we had spotted.

 

At first, this policy seemed mistaken to us the journal editors. Why not take advantage of the ability to correct errors by changing the online text? I now think that Taylor and Francis are right to insist that once the ‘version of record’ has been published on line it must never be changed, since this provides the kind of stability that print used to give us. It would be intolerable if the printed books on the shelves in our libraries were magically to be altered after publication in the light of critiques they had received. The only reasonable response to having one’s errors pointed out is to publish something new acknowledging these errors, not to change the erroneous material at source. If we apply the same principles to digital publication, we can avoid some of the problems of the inherent impermanence that digital text entails. That is, we can enforce permanence if we care about it. We should.

 

Regards

Gabriel

 

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

From:        Darren Freebury-Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         December 27, 2018 at 3:13:58 PM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians,

 

I am delighted that Gabriel Egan has already written a review of my co-authored article, ‘The Limitations of Microattribution’, for his NYWES, which he says will be self-published in 2020. Through something occasionally referred to as the Streisand Effect, Egan is drawing further attention to his partisan scholarship and the major issues with the methodologies employed and the conclusions reached within his co-edited collection. Thus, I’m not sure if the Authorship Companion contributors will be thanking Egan for his swift and defensive posts on this forum.

 

I have a couple of errors to report to him at first glance, as requested. Egan gets the title of the article written by myself and Marcus Dahl wrong and the URL (at time of writing) that takes readers to his review is broken… 

 

There are several classic Egan rhetorical ploys in the two paragraphs that I can read from his review due to the (at the time of writing) broken URL, including misleading paraphrase or outright fallacies (‘Instead of quantitative methods, Freebury-Jones and Dahl suggest that we should go back to “reading-based approaches”’. Anyone who reads the article will instantly realise that Egan is being economical with the truth here: we argue that competent quantitative analysis using sufficient sample sizes should be supplemented by qualitative analysis, and though we offer several caveats about the former, we end the article by promoting a new shared database ‘that can bridge competing quantitative and qualitative methods’ and for ‘an agreed-upon set of quantifiable results’); feigned (one hopes) confusion or ignorance (‘they do not say why or indicate what flaw they are implying’); and opinions presented as facts (‘but they provide no evidence for this counter-intuitive claim. Instead of quantitative methods’. I have just consciously borrowed those lines from Egan’s review, much like a dramatist might borrow lines or phrases from a source; in the context of the point that this paragraph in the article makes, readers might note that these sentences contain so-called function words as well as so-called content words). Judging by the snippet I’ve read so far, this review is of yet another article Egan has written in his own mind (perhaps that article goes under the title he has invented).

 

I will respond to Egan’s review on my website in due course (https://darrenfj.wordpress.com/), as part of my annual roundup of critical misrepresentations in attribution studies, titled ‘A Response to Gabriel Egan’s NYWES’ (my response to his NYWES 2016 ad hominem attacks was published several months ago). In the meantime, I think Egan is doing more than enough to bolster the counterarguments in peer-reviewed articles by various scholars presented by Brian Vickers on this forum.

 

I wish all SHAKSPERians a very happy new year.

 

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Darren Freebury-Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         December 30, 2018 at 8:18:30 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians,

 

Following on from my last post, I should point out that Gabriel Egan not only paraphrases the title of my co-authored article but also manages to get the journal name wrong as well. Such errors hardly invite confidence that the review is carefully written or that the reviewer is a reliable, impartial witness, and this is before we even get to the review’s content, which at the time of writing cannot be accessed via the URLs provided. 

 

We might recall Pervez Rizvi’s evaluation of a previous hastily-written post by Egan and say that this  one also presents ‘a microcosm of what’s wrong with NOS scholarship and why you will go astray if you trust it.’

 

 

 

Beall's List: Predatory Journals

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0465  Sunday, 30 December 2018

 

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

Date:         December 29, 2018 at 5:20:55 PM EST

Subject:    Beall's List: Predatory Journals

 

Predatory journals can be reported to the extensive Beall's List, and suspect journals investigated, here: https://beallslist.weebly.com/

 

I took the liberty of suggesting that they add the International Journal of English and Cultural Studies to their update list.

 

Beset (typo for "best" and it stays because honestly more accurate),

 

Arlynda

 

 

 

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