Fire Destroys a Shakespeare Theater in Stratford Connecticut

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.018  Tuesday, 15 January 2019

 

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

     Date:         January 15, 2019 at 7:31:15 AM EST

     Subj:         NYTimes: Fire Destroys a Shakespeare Theater in Stratford Connecticut 

 

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

     Date:         January 15, 2019 at 7:59:21 AM EST

     Subj:         Shakespeare Theater Fire a Loss for Stratford, Theater Community 

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 15, 2019 at 7:31:15 AM EST

Subject:    NYTimes: Fire Destroys a Shakespeare Theater in Stratford Connecticut

 

From The New York Times:

 

Fire Destroys a Shakespeare Theater in Stratford Connecticut 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/13/arts/stratford-shakespeare-theater-fire.html

 

Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Conn., Is Destroyed by Fire

By Emily S. Rueb

Jan. 13, 2019

A Connecticut theater that was known for its Shakespearean productions and where Oscar-winning actors once took their bows was reduced to a smoldering mound of mangled steel after a fire early on Sunday morning, officials said.

 

The 1,500-seat venue, which was modeled after the Globe Theatre in England, opened in 1955 as the American Shakespeare Festival Theater, with teakwood donated by the French government and brass drinking fountains.

 

But while the stage once featured performances by the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Helen Hayes and Christopher Walken, the Stratford, Conn., theater struggled with its identity over the years and has been closed since the late 1980s.

 

In recent years, a group of supporters was working to revitalize the site, which sits on a wooded plot on the banks of the Housatonic River, where theatergoers once picnicked and children explored a garden with 81 species of plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.

 

[ . . . ]

 

To the dismay of some, the town has long been tethered to its English cousins.

 

In 1927, the mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, England, visited the Connecticut town in a gesture of “friendship between one of England’s old historical, towns associated with the name of its greatest poet, William Shakespeare, and the town of its namesake in the new world,” according to a letter from the English town to its American counterpart.

 

The idea for an American Shakespeare theater was credited to the playwright and producer Lawrence Langner, who enlisted the help of Lincoln Kirstein, co-founder of the New York City Ballet, and the philanthropist Joseph Verner Reed.

 

The theater was barely completed in time for its first performances of “Julius Caesar” in 1955. Christopher Plummer, Raymond Massey and Jack Palance (who later became host of the television show “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” and an Academy Award winner for the 1991 movie “City Slickers”) took the stage for performances that The New York Times called “routine and uneven.”

 

Nevertheless, the theater became central to the production of Shakespearean plays in America.

 

By 1982, the theater had run out of money and benefactors, and the state took ownership. In 2005, the town reclaimed the deed and struggled to figure out what to do with it.

 

“You’ve got half the townspeople thinking it’s our legacy, it’s our heritage, it’s our privilege and responsibility to maintain this,” said Wendy Canfield, whose grandmother ran the theater’s costume museum and whose mother and two aunts had summer jobs there, told The Times in 2009. “And you’ve got a lot of other people who think of it as an arsonist’s dream, an albatross. It had its time, it had its place. All great things come to an end.”

 

[ . . . ]

 

No one was injured in the fire, which was reported around 1 a.m. Its cause was under investigation.

 

[ . . . ]

 

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

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

Date:         January 15, 2019 at 7:59:21 AM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare Theater Fire a Loss for Stratford, Theater Community

 

https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Shakespeare-theater-fire-a-loss-for-Stratford-13530370.php

 

Shakespeare theater fire a loss for Stratford, theater community

By Julia Perkins 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

 

STRATFORD — The local and theater community was devastated Sunday after the historic Shakespeare theater was ravaged in a fire.

 

The blaze started around 1 a.m. Sunday and completely destroyed the building where actors and actresses such as Katharine Hepburn, James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer performed.

 

The theater opened in 1955, but has been shuttered since the 1980s. Only the property’s grounds have been used for productions by the Shakespeare Academy at Stratford in recent years.

 

“Today is a tragic day for our whole community,” the academy said on Facebook. “We know we are in good company though, the original Globe burned down and today we still love and perform Shakespeare's works and will continue to do so. The Shakespeare Theater is all but gone, but the history and magic of the place is not.”

 

The organization’s buildings and resources survived the flames, so the academy said it plans to return this summer for outdoor performances of “ Coriolanus,” “A Winter's Tale” and “Twelfth Night.”

 

“We will continue to keep the stories of Shakespeare alive in Stratford,” the post said. “We will not let this beautiful place be forgotten.”

 

At the scene Sunday, dozens of residents lined up behind fire scene tape to take pictures and share memories.

 

[ . . . ]

 

But the theater struggled to stay open after funding for the theater died with philanthropist Reed in 1973.

 

The final full season of shows was held in the building in 1982 with productions including “King Henry IV,” “Twelfth Night” and “Hamlet” with Christopher Walken and Anne Baxter.

 

The state took over the theater in 1983 and other theater companies held shows there in the 1980s. Stratford has owned the building since 2005.

 

For a time, it appeared the Stratford Stage Group would build a luxury hotel on the property and use the money to fund shows, but Town Council dropped plans with the developer in 2016.

 

The following year, Town Council voted to hire an architect to keep the building from falling apart.

 

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.017  Monday, 14 January 2019

 

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

     Date:         January 13, 2019 at 1:11:39 PM EST

     Subj:         Chetwinde, from the NOS Thread 

 

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

     Date:         January 13, 2019 at 3:38:33 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[3] From:        Anthony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 13, 2019 at 10:07:23 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER:  NOS and Its Scene Divisions 

 

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

     Date:         January 14, 2019 at 2:45:52 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 14, 2019 at 3:53:16 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[6] From:        Mac Jackson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 14, 2019 at 4:29:51 AM EST

     Subj:         The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 13, 2019 at 1:11:39 PM EST

Subject:    Chetwinde, from the NOS Thread

 

In the digest of 10th January, Larry Weiss asked (of Chetwinde’s additions to the second issue of the third Folio) 

 

“It seems likely that Chetwinde’s additions were included to create a new work for sale in a market that was already saturated with the old editions."

 

Or perhaps Chetwinde had a purpose that was not simply commercial. There is a feature about his seven additions that I don’t recall have been remarked on. Pericles, Locrine and the rest of the seven constitute all of the plays outside the Jaggard Folio that were published in Shakespeare’s lifetime with his name or strong pointer to his name (‘W.S’) on the title page (and no other kind of attribution was added). And thus the new issue could be seen as making the Folio really complete, by adding all of those plays which seemed, from the perspective of 1664, to have a legitimate claim to be associated with Shakespeare, in a way that the posthumous quarto of The Two Noble Kinsmen or the attributions of the mid-century booksellers’ lists did not. Or in other words, his purpose might be editorial as well as commercial. 

 

Two things might seem to militate against this suggestion of unity. First, the quarto of Oldcastle naming Shakespeare as the author is one of the 1619 Pavier quartos; but with a fake date of ‘1600’ on it and with the loss of bibliographical knowledge between 1619 and 1664, and indeed long after, the Oldcastle edition would seem to Chetwinde to be the same as London Prodigal or Yorkshire Tragedy. Second, the 1611 reprint of Troublesome Reign of King John had an attribution to ‘W. Sh.’ But surely no-one would expect it to be included in a book which already contained what could be regarded as a duplicate version of the same play (after all, we are only just getting to the point of including alternative versions in our own Shakespeare editions). So I remain confident that Chetwinde’s impulse was serious as well as commercial and guided by the best information available to him at the time.

 

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

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

Date:         January 13, 2019 at 3:38:33 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians

 

Pervez Rizvi claims to have read and understood the article “Stylometric analysis of Early Modern period English plays” (Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 33 (2018): 500-528), written by Alejandro Ribeiro, Mark Eisen, Santiago Segarra, and me. Indeed, he has written a critique of it that American Notes and Queries has published. Rizvi objects to my claim that “The WAN method” that the article demonstrates “uses Shannon’s mathematics of word sequence probabilities” because he finds that the article “neither mentions Shannon nor cites any work by him”.

 

This is like claiming that a mathematical paper can’t be using the differential calculus invented by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz unless it mentions and cites Newton or Leibnitz. The distinct impression given by Rizvi’s complaint is that he cannot recognize the parts of the paper that use Shannon’s mathematics of word sequence probabilities, and that would suggest that he doesn’t understand the field of Information Theory that Shannon invented.

 

The key idea we have to thank Shannon for is the notion of entropy in language. Before Shannon, nobody had ever suggested that the notion of entropy (which first arose in physics) had any application to the study of communication. Shannon not only showed that the notion of entropy from physics has a direct parallel in the use of codes for communication (as in human languages), but also that the same fundamental calculation, “p times log(p)” in the form used in Information Theory, governs both.

 

The word “entropy” appears 38 times in our article “Stylometric analysis of Early Modern period English plays”. We could have written “Shannon entropy” every time, but that would be like writing “Newtonian calculus” every time one wants to refer to calculus. All the key equations in the article use versions of “p times log(p)”, the fundamental element of Shannon entropy calculations. Rizvi thinks that “Egan’s invocation of Shannon is just an attempt to clothe himself in Shannon’s good name”, but anyone who understood our paper and the Word Adjacency Method that it describes would see immediately that they are Shannonian to the core.

 

Regards

Gabriel Egan

 

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

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

Date:         January 13, 2019 at 10:07:23 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER:  NOS and Its Scene Divisions

 

Jim Ryan and I are in extremely close agreement.  Where I differ is simply this: A sequence of thoughts expressed at the beginning of a play in separate scenes may recur at the end of a play — chiasmically — return to those thoughts, but without requiring them to be expressed by repeating the original sequence of separate scenes. Beyond our theoretical disagreement, he and I could surely attend any play and enjoy it in the same way for the same features.  

 

Perhaps with no scene divisions at all.

 

Cheers,

Tony   

 

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 14, 2019 at 2:45:52 AM EST

Subject:    Re: NOS

 

Although ‘Shall I Die’ can have no legitimate canon-candidacy, I disagree with much of Brian Vickers’s attitude toward both poet and poem. Granting Gary Taylor’s ‘Palter to the People’ Foster-parenting, I’ve taken the modest work for what it is (this side Autry-idyll: ‘Listen to the Rhythm of the Range’).  

 

The poet’s difficulties are self-inflicted. He chose a very ambitious rhyme-scheme. In each eight-line stanza . . . six of the lines contain an internal rhyme, with the second and fourth in each stanza also rhyming at the ending, but with an added level of difficulty, in that this rhyme is feminine . . . . [R]hymes can occur every three syllables, or even two (Being set, lips met). Of the 429 words in the poem 162 (38 percent) are rhyme-words, a far higher ratio than in authentic Shakespeare lyrics. . . . Elsewhere he rhymed banner / upon her and commendations / admirations. . . . The lover is apparently allowed to kiss the lady’s “Thin lips red”, or rather: “is granted / There to trade, and is made/ Happy, sure, to endure / still undaunted”. Does this sound like Shakespeare?

 

A ‘chosen’ rhyme-scheme needn’t sound like any authentic self—and this doesn’t. But Gabriel Egan’s usual Pence-sieve-ness (‘You can’t prove Taylor wrong’) is no help, neither.

 

Usually described as anapaestic . . . George T. Wright classified [the meter] as “. . . Latin cretic measure … having first and third syllables of equal length and force” . . . . The first line is regular: “Shall I die? | Shall I fly?”, but many others are not: “Pretty chin | doth win”; “No blot | no spot”. Wright was hard put to find a coherent stress pattern . . . but the real culprit is the poet’s rhyme scheme, which clashes with the metre (whatever that is). Unable to co-ordinate the two, he produces oddly elliptical phrases (“O admiring desiring |Breeds, as I look still upon her”), or simply truncates the metrical foot, omitting one, or two syllables, most disconcertingly in the initial position. While the rhymes echo unceasingly, the metrical stresses are unpredictable . . . . Both disorders have a knock-on effect on the syntax, which is forced into such contortions as this: “for beauty | Sure will not seem to blot | Her deserts, wronging him doth her duty” . . . .

 

Neither Pendleton nor Foster gave reasons for ‘anapaestic’ in their extensive articles. What kinda dele is that? The poem ‘is devoid’ of anapests. Taylor never identified the meter, far as I know. Wright based his ‘cretic critique’ on the first line but intelligently backed off, for reason that meter must be sustained, not forced—foot after plodding foot. Outside Latin, syllable length is no prosodic issue; it’s stress or un-, strong or weak.

 

Brian well describes a missing meter for good reasons—there’s no meter, and that’s the rub. With very few exceptions (‘pretty’, but never enough to rule) each syllable easily, stressfully resists demotion that occurs in other works as a matter of course, as Vickers’s citations show; even ad-, as, up-, to, and deserts get the spirit, seems to me. True to convention, feminine line endings don’t help to define the meter, no matter how many occur. All this must not only be intentional, it must be—with the mass of rhyme—the long and long of authorial intention. 

 

Tom Pendleton pointed out that the poem never uses the: Taylor has searched out other instances and has found 130 other Renaissance lyrics lacking the definite article. But it is the words that are present in “Shall I die?” that make it un-Shakespearian, not what it omits. Having noticed that the lyric prefers doth to does and uses the variant form whilst . . . . In any case, they are irrelevant to the poem’s failure at every level of poetic accomplishment.

 

Because the definite article and other ‘initial syllables’ don’t fit, they aren’t there; doth and whilst make the grade. The indefinite article promotes naturally enough. The poet accomplishes what he tries quite well. It can’t be expected to sound normal. But neither can it be pinned to Shakespeare, even with one early label.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

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

Date:         January 14, 2019 at 3:53:16 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Gabriel Egan wrote:

 

The answer to how the Word Adjacency Network method finds function words is best got from the articles that describe in detail its working.  I’d be happy to send Weiss copies if he has any trouble getting them. (Pervez Rizvi’s account of the method given on SHAKSPER is erroneous...

 

I’d like to say something about this “erroneous”. The method Egan and his co-authors invented has a list of 100 function words. They could have used all 100 words in every attribution test, but that is not their method. Instead, for each test they use only some of those words; e.g. they tell us that they used 76 words for one test, and 55 words for another, and they list those words.

 

What is missing from their published work is any explanation of how they chose the words. All they tell us is that they chose the words for each test by a “training” process, but they give no information about that training process. Now, you might think: “What’s the problem? There are only 100 words, so try them all and just pick the best set.” Unfortunately, the number of ways of picking different sets of words out of the list of 100 is astronomically large; it’s not just in the trillions, it’s in the trillions of trillions. If the Pentagon gave you access to some of their supercomputers, you would have a chance of trying every possible combination of words before human life becomes extinct, but not otherwise. 

 

So, you have to be selective and just try a sample of sets of words out of the full 100. How do you intelligently choose that sample? That’s important to know, because you get different results - and therefore different attributions - depending on which sample you pick. Egan and his co-authors do not tell us the training process, so not only can we not judge if it’s reasonable, we cannot try the method for ourselves either. If I am erroneous in saying this, as Egan claims I am, then he can prove me wrong by quoting the relevant paragraph from one of his articles. 

 

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 14, 2019 at 4:29:51 AM EST

Subject:    The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

On the subject of the efficacy of the use of Word Adjacency Networks for attribution, Gabriel Egan responds to one of Pervez Rizvi’s main criticisms of the method, that (to quote Egan) “the validation runs in our experiments were flawed—were subject to circular logic—because the training stage that selected which function words to use for a particular attribution was not independent of the application of that set of words to the particular attribution”. Egan writes that “this independence was scrupulously maintained”, but Rizvi charges Egan with “playing his usual game of answering a criticism of his own invention rather than the one actually made”. 

 

This strikes me as unfair. In his critique, Rizvi’s complaint about circularity was that “Since the function words used in the tests were changed until they yielded the claimed success rate, the success rate can hardly be used as evidence of the method’s correctness”. Isn’t Rizvi arguing that since words were selected in order to distinguish Chapman’s plays, say, from those of other dramatists, their success rates in doing so depend on circular reasoning? And doesn’t this stricture ignore the statement in Eisen, et al. “Stylometric analysis of Early Modern period English plays”, DHS 2018—listed in Rizvi’s critique as one of two “Works cited”—that “When attributing any given play, profiles are built using the plays listed in Table 1 excluding the one being attributed” (page 507). So far as I can see Egan’s sole mistake is to attribute this statement to a footnote, when in fact it is plainly made in the body of the article’s text, but perhaps he was thinking of page 242, note 12, of the Shakespeare Quarterly 2016 article (the other one in the “Works cited” of Rizvi’s critique). which directs readers to the DHS article for details of “the validation process”.

 

I understand Eisen et al. to be stating that each Chapman play, for example, was in turn tested against a Chapman profile constructed to distinguish a Chapman corpus of all the other Chapman plays from plays by other dramatists, and that the same procedure was carried out for Jonson, Middleton, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Fletcher. This, it seems to me, means that the circularity to which Rizvi objects was avoided, and that Egan’s response is germane.

 

MacDonald P. Jackson

 

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.016  Sunday, 13 January 2019

 

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

     Date:         January 12, 2019 at 12:21:52 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 12, 2019 at 2:37:13 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[3] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 12, 2019 at 6:13:27 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 13, 2019 at 7:21:20 AM EST

     Subj:         Act and scene divisions in the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 13, 2019 at 8:03:20 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[6] From:        Jim Ryan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 13, 2019 at 8:15:03 AM EST

     Subj:         NOS Scene Division

 

[7] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 13, 2019 at 11:01:45 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: NOS - 1HIV Citation 

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 12, 2019 at 12:21:52 PM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Letter to SHAKSPER 11.1 19

 

Dear SHAKSPERians,

 

Gabriel Egan thinks that my “animosity towards the New Oxford Shakespeare for how it treats this disputed poem [‘Shall I die?’] is in danger of looking personally motivated”. That phrase “in danger of” is unusually tentative for him, but my animosity is directed against this miserable poem and those who have foisted it on Shakespeare, Gary Taylor, and now Egan. Ever since I read with disbelief Taylor’s essay in the TLS 1987, I have been horrified that any so-called Shakespearian could have so little “sensibility”, so little taste, judgment, knowledge, call it what you will, to think that he could have written such a banal piece. The fact that Egan loyally supports Taylor places him in the same class, which may not help his reputation, given the remarkably universal rejection of the attribution. (There are very few issues on which all Shakespearians are agreed, but this is one of them.)

 

The poet’s difficulties are self-inflicted. He chose a very ambitious rhyme-scheme. In each eight-line stanza (Taylor makes ten lines) six of the lines contain an internal rhyme, with the second and fourth in each stanza also rhyming at the ending, but with an added level of difficulty, in that this rhyme is feminine (tormentor / venture in Taylor’s modernised spelling). As I pointed out in ‘Counterfeiting’ Shakespeare (2002), this means that rhymes can occur every three syllables, or even two (Being set, lips met). Of the 429 words in the poem 162 (38 percent) are rhyme-words, a far higher ratio than in authentic Shakespeare lyrics. Does any other poem such a density of rhymes? To commit yourself to such a demanding rhyme scheme sets the bar far too high for this poet, who is forced to repeat himself, echoing sweets / meets with meet / sweet, and not/blot with blot/spot. In the first stanza he rhymed breeding / proceeding, in the second he rhymed breeding / deceaving – according to Rawlinson MS 160. Taylor, however, tried to save the poet from this solecism in his both Oxford editions by emending deceiving to conceiving, claiming a “failure of rhyme” here (Textual Companion 453).  But the poet evidently regarded the repeated suffix -ing, coupled with a similar vowel sound (ee / ea) as an acceptable rhyme. Elsewhere he rhymed banner / upon her and commendations / admirations. (Incidentally, Taylor’s lengthy textual notes, running to 5 closely printed columns, are absent in the 2016 edition, so far as I can see. Readers will not know how much “editing” has gone on here.) The need to echo rhymes at such a short interval creates heavy pauses, with a damaging effect on the line.  The lover is apparently allowed to kiss the lady’s “Thin lips red”, or rather: “is granted / There to trade, and is made/ Happy, sure, to endure / still undaunted”. Does this sound like Shakespeare?

 

As if the rhyme-scheme didn’t pose enough difficulties, the poet chose an unusual metre. Usually described as anapaestic, the prosodist George T. Wright classified it as “an English stress-equivalent of the Latin cretic measure … having first and third syllables of equal length and force” (cit. Vickers, ‘Counterfeiting’ Shakespeare 11). The first line is regular: “Shall I die? | Shall I fly?”, but many others are not: “Pretty chin | doth win”; “No blot | no spot”. Wright was hard put to find a coherent stress pattern, admitting that some of his solutions were “implausible”, but the real culprit is the poet’s rhyme scheme, which clashes with the metre (whatever that is). Unable to co-ordinate the two, he produces oddly elliptical phrases (“O admiring desiring |Breeds, as I look still upon her”), or simply truncates the metrical foot, omitting one, or two syllables, most disconcertingly in the initial position. While the rhymes echo unceasingly, the metrical stresses are unpredictable; reading the poem is like trying to anticipate where a frog will jump next. Both disorders have a knock-on effect on the syntax, which is forced into such contortions as this: “for beauty | Sure will not seem to blot | Her deserts, wronging him doth her duty”, an utterance worthy of Beckmesser.

 

Shakespeare was too good a poet to be guilty of such a disjunction between rhyme and rhythm, but Taylor was (and now Egan is) oblivious to the misfit. Unable to concede that his gut feeling in 1985 that he’d discovered “the literary equivalent of Sleeping Beauty” was mistaken, Taylor defends himself by picking on verbal details which are irrelevant to the poetic failure. Tom Pendleton pointed out that the poem never uses the: Taylor has searched out other instances and has found 130 other Renaissance lyrics lacking the definite article. But it is the words that are present in “Shall I die?” that make it un-Shakespearian, not what it omits. Having noticed that the lyric prefers doth to does and uses the variant form whilst, in 2005 Taylor searched LION and found just one poem that had both those words while omitting the: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 37 (AC 228-9). Only an extremely naïve scholar, or one enamoured of his own hypothesis could imagine that these details are bona-fide authorship markers. In any case, they are irrelevant to the poem’s failure at every level of poetic accomplishment. 

 

In his SHAKSPER posting Egan states that 

 

the evidence and argument in [Taylor’s AC essay] are new and have not been addressed in any of Vickers’s published works. I judged the evidence to be worth the space it took up in the “Datasets” section.

 

But the “evidence” listed in the Datasets consists mostly of indices to the manuscript’s contents and have nothing to do with Taylor’s arguments. The only section of the datasets related to authorship attribution is a list of “Rhyme-Parallels in ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’” (626-7). In his essay Taylor claimed that Shakespeare used 25 of the 29 rhymes in that parody in other “contexts that are not obviously comic”, and that therefore “a single rhyme-parallel cannot tell us anything about the intended tone, or respectability” of a rhyme (227). We may grant that Shakespeare intended that playlet to be comic, and that the author of this lyric was not intentionally comic. But that is irrelevant to the effect of these 162 rhyming words (out of 429), which might be described as sonic saturation, unexampled in Shakespeare. In the section on “Canon and Chronology” Taylor and Loughnane write that 

 

The poem has a number of features the make conventional methods of attribution difficult, particularly its unusual stanzaic form and rhyme scheme, and its highly artificial diction may not convey many of the linguistic attributes of its author. (AC 518)

 

There are many examples of special pleading in the NOS, but few as blatant as this. How would we know what a poet’s “linguistic attributes” might be, other than from his diction? More to the point, how can such poetically tone-deaf people as Taylor and Egan think they can edit Shakespeare?

 

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

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

Date:         January 12, 2019 at 2:37:13 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians

 

Larry Weiss points out that in creating the Fourth Folio “. . . the book seller Henry Herringman was only one member of the syndicate which published the collection”, and so he questions whether the siglum HERRINGMAN used in the New Oxford Shakespeare is accurate. Herringman’s name was chosen for the siglum because he led the syndicate. If Weiss has evidence that he didn’t lead the syndicate—as all the accounts I’ve seen maintain—then I’d be grateful to hear of it.

 

Weiss also asks, apparently in connection with the Word Adjacency Network method of authorship attribution, “how does the program distinguish that [an infinitive such as “to bloviate”] from two words consisting of a function word and a verb?” The answer to how the Word Adjacency Network method finds function words is best got from the articles that describe in detail its working.  I’d be happy to send Weiss copies if he has any trouble getting them. (Pervez Rizvi’s account of the method given on SHAKSPER is erroneous. As with his misunderstanding of the ‘microattribution’ method that caused his attempted replication to find 759 matches rather than the 18 found in the original study, he blames the original study’s explanation rather than his own misreading.)

 

In response to my query about the relationship between book format and economics, Al Magary gives a detailed account of the printing of Hall’s Chronicles. I was hoping for something about the economic considerations arising from the choice made between the formats in which we find Shakespeare early editions—octavo, quarto, and Folio—since the question arose from Magary’s defence of the use of sigla beginning “O”, “Q”, and “F” on the grounds that, because shaped by economics, the formats of the early editions matter more than the printers’ and publishers’ names.

 

Even those who are keenly aware of the differences between book formats might well decide that the sigla need not reflect the format and that the letter “Q” really just denotes any pre-Folio single-play edition. E. K. Chambers certainly knew that the 1595 first edition of ‘Richard Duke of York’ / ‘3 Henry VI’ was in octavo not quarto format, yet his ‘Table of Quartos’ identified it as “3 Hen. VI. Q1”.  (‘William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems’ 2.394.)

 

Magary has clarified that when he referred to his skill at “reading galleys of type (upside and backwards)” he meant upside down and backwards. What I really wanted to know was why he used the word “and” in that phrase, since depending on how one looks at it, type that has been set in English is either upside down or backwards but never both. I assume then that he meant that he is good at reading it from either position, so “and” governs his reading skill not the orientation of the type.

 

I agree with Magary that practical experience of printing helps make sense of early books but disagree that in order to get this experience “you’d have to find a shop that still uses hot metal type”. The term “hot metal” is not synonymous with letter-press printing but rather it refers specifically to the process invented in the 19th century in which type is cast from liquid metal at the moment a compositor selects a letter (in the Monotype process) or completes a line (in the Linotype and Ludlow processes). After printing, the type in a hot-metal process is melted down to replenish the supply of liquid metal. There are plenty of places one can still learn the art of letter-press printing much as it was practised in Shakespeare’s time, using type that is cast in advance and reused many times in different works.

 

Regards

Gabriel Egan

 

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

Date:         January 12, 2019 at 6:13:27 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Pervez Rizvi observes that editions which include material that should not be there

 

"don’t just hurt the people who read them; they also do consequential damage in the future. The Third Folio misled Nicholas Rowe to include the spurious plays in his edition, and so the damage continued into the 18th century. The NOS will find the place it deserves in due course, but it will do some damage before then."

 

An instance of this is that future generations will regard A Funeral Elegy as Shakespearean, or at least apocryphal, just because the publishers of the Norton, Riverside, et al., included it to avoid someone else beating them to it and to be certain of publishing “complete works.”

 

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

Date:         January 13, 2019 at 7:21:20 AM EST

Subject:    Act and scene divisions in the NOS

 

Since the turn of the year some posters in the NOS thread have taken the edition to task for one or two features that are by no means unique to that edition. One wonders, for example, why anyone would single it out because it proposes some act and scene divisions that vary from older editions, when this practice has been happening for years to some extent. Half a century ago, I read at school a Macbeth with four scenes in act 2 and went home to a two-scene act 2 (the first three scenes sensibly being run together as continuous). In the mid-1990s, Jonathan Bate’s Arden 3 Titus Andronicus, while still dividing the play into acts (a division originating in the Folio, not the Quarto tradition), started act 2 with what was usually dubbed 2.2 with scenes in the rest of the act being one out in the traditional count (and the change not visible in the running-titles). 

 

As far as I can see, there are three different ways of referring to, or locating, a scene or passage in early modern plays, including Shakespeare. One is to identify it by act and scene, yes (or by scene alone in some editions of some plays where this is appropriate) -- in which case it’s incumbent on writer or journal to indicate what edition is cited. Another is Through Line Numbering (Norton First Folio facsimile and Malone Society Reprints). A third is to give the signature of the original early modern edition used as a witness to a text (as Bowers and his colleagues do in the Beaumont and Fletcher Dramatic Works and as the NOS does in its original-spelling edition). One of the skills a scholar needs—and which those who teach need to inculcate in their students—is to navigate between these methods. Is it that difficult? Cases like the battle-sequences ending Macbeth and Troilus and Cressida may have slightly different arrangements in different editions, but the scenic units are usually short and it’s fairly easy to find (say) Siward escorting Malcolm into the castle or the entry of Margareton in the small area of text involved.

 

Standards change: standard editions change (to say nothing of the very notion of a ‘standard edition’). From the mid-1920s to early this century the Oxford Jonson of Herford, Simpson and Simpson had the same respect and dominance in its field as the Cambridge and Globe editions did in Shakespeare scholarship a hundred years before. Then came the Cambridge Jonson of Bevington, Butler and Donaldson, and now that is the edition one refers to and cites from. There’s a good deal of older material that cites Herford and the Simpsons, and newer material cites the Cambridge, but translation from one to the other can be done.

 

The Henri Etienne ‘Stephanus’ references that locate a place in Plato (Sean Lawrence mentioned this a few days ago) don’t constitute an exactly parallel case to Shakespeare editions. The Etienne references take you to a specific section of a dialogue, but won’t take you to a specific line of text or its translated equivalent, you still need line references from other editions. It works as well as it does because it’s been used for so long and because the edition was presumably once ubiquitous. If there is a case for a default (i.e. universally acknowledged) edition to cite from, it would surely have to be the 1623 Folio, the nearest equivalent in Shakespeare studies to the Etienne Plato. But that would have its own problems----notably, absent texts.

 

The practice of numbering scenes from start to finish of some plays in one sequence without acts is a practice that might seem irritating, but it’s not new, and it’s appropriate for amphitheatre plays before 1608. An indication of act-divisions where no act-divisions existed actually does affect one’s sense of the pace and structure of a play. However vestigial or discreet the act-scene division on the page, I find I am still aware of it and I am making pauses in a way I don’t if I read in a straight-through scene numbering. The change needs to be made and borne with.

 

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

Date:         January 13, 2019 at 8:03:20 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Gabriel Egan tells readers:

 

We are aware of Rizvi’s critique and are writing a rebuttal.  I don’t want to say too much until that rebuttal is written...

 

He is entitled not to give anything away yet. However, it would be very unsatisfactory if a scholar were able to shield his published work from criticism by saying “Wait for my next work.” Accordingly, I will continue to comment on what he has actually published (for brevity I may sometimes refer to him alone, but I do not mean to deny credit at any time to his three co-authors). As a reminder, I am talking about the two articles by Egan and his co-authors, one published in DSH with the mathematics and one in Shakespeare Quarterly to use it to divide up the Henry VI trilogy between Shakespeare and Marlowe.

 

Egan provides an analogy from police work in reply to a criticism I made, which Brian Vickers quoted, that the method ignores some critical evidence. Let me explain what that's all about.

 

The premise of the method is that we can distinguish between authors by looking only at the function words they use, the order of those words, and how far apart they are. Imagine if one author sometimes or often uses a pair of function words in proximity to each other, but another author never does. On the face of it, this is the most significant kind of evidence if we accept the premise. Believe it or not, the method excludes all such evidence from consideration. Why? Because one of its formulae divides one number by another; and if an author never uses a pair of function words, one of these numbers is zero. As you’ll remember from school days, we can’t divide by zero. 

 

When faced with this problem, a good researcher would have invented a better formula, one that doesn’t fail when one of the numbers is zero. What Egan and his co-authors did was to keep their formula but exclude the evidence that’s not compatible with it. This might have been acceptable if the problem was largely theoretical and not likely to occur much in real-life texts. But, as I say in my article, I found thousands of pairs of function words for which this is a real problem, and I gave twenty examples in a footnote. Of the 10,000 possible pairs of function words that Egan and his co-authors were considering, I found that 2,786 were either found in Shakespeare but not Marlowe, or vice versa, meaning that these researchers excluded the 28% of evidence that was possibly the most significant. I say “possibly” because we can’t know for sure without doing the test - but we can’t do the test because the method can’t handle the evidence (hence the exclusion). How can we have confidence in authorship attributions for the Henry VI plays which were made after excluding so much potentially vital evidence?

 

Having, I hope, now understood the problem, readers can judge for themselves whether Egan insulted their intelligence when he fobbed them off with this rebuttal:

 

That we didn’t consider function words that authors don’t put close to one another, only those that they do. This is like complaining that the fingerprint bureau didn’t consider the missing fingers from which no prints were taken.

 

Egan also says that he rejects my criticism of the their claimed success rates, because of an unspecified footnote that I allegedly missed. From his paraphrase of me, it seems that he is playing his usual game of answering a criticism of his own invention rather than the one actually made.

 

Egan misrepresents Vickers’ other criticism by making it seem that he rejected an entire branch of science, when he only objected to Egan’s unsound use of it. Eventually, he says: “The WAN method uses Shannon’s mathematics of word sequence probabilities.” The DSH article, which actually gives us the mathematics, neither mentions Shannon nor cites any work by him. Shannon is mentioned in the SQ article, but only for show, since the article with the mathematics in it tells us that the method is the one given in an earlier article by Egan’s co-authors, which told us that it was introducing a new method (and that seminal article does not mention or cite Shannon either). Egan’s invocation of Shannon is just an attempt to clothe himself in Shannon’s good name.

 

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

Date:         January 13, 2019 at 8:15:03 AM EST

Subject:    NOS Scene Division

 

Anthony Burton does not think that scene divisions can be determined by means of the chiastic design of Shakespeare’s plays. I hope to dispel some misunderstandings in his objections.

 

I completely agree with Burton that “the application of modern thought habits to those of Shakespeare’s audience is a basic error.” What Burton does not seem to realize is that chiasmus (ABCDCBA), far from being a “modern thought habit,” is an organizational pattern found in the Hebrew Bible and in other ancient works, including Greek epics. Mary Douglas, in Thinking in Circles: An Essay on Ring Composition, traces in these early texts exactly the pattern I detect in Shakespeare’s plays, except that Shakespeare does not close the “ring”; his plays are better visualized as arches. Otherwise they contain the same inverse parallelism (that is, chiasmus) and central “burden” of meaning “flanked by two sections that are nearly the same” (58, 56) as ring compositions. To take the clearest example of an action in the central scene “burdened” with thematic significance and flanked by actions “that are nearly the same,” consider Cymbeline. The central scene (3.3) introduces Belarius and the princes leaving for the hunt, the elemental sacrificial action—agon, kill, cooking and communion—that will be analogously enacted through the second half of the play until it is extended to the sacrificial ritual that seals the peace between Rome and Britain. In each of the flanking scenes Pisanio gives a letter to Imogen—her letter from Posthumus (3.2) and his letter from Posthumus (3.4). The pattern of thematic center flanked by scenes containing identical actions equivalently staged is detectable in every mature play (excepting three that have obviously contrasting actions in the flanking scenes). This pattern is not in any way comparable to the arbitrarily created mnemonic devices Burton describes. (It is to the point that Mary Douglas and I arrived at a perception of the pattern independently. My first essay utilizing the chiastic design—on scene division in Twelfth Night—was published in 2000; her book appeared in 2007.)

 

I also agree with Burton that Mark Rose made no contribution to the determination of scene division. He did, however, make a valuable contribution to the analysis of the internal organization of individual scenes and, in some cases, groups of scenes. It is that contribution I build on. There is a certain irony in Burton’s praise of Rose’s “fascinating symmetries” since they are, in fact, instances of chiasmus. For example, Rose outlines the “framing principle” in the first scene of King Lear based on the topics of conversation by different characters: Lear’s judgment, subplot villain, love test, Kent’s “treason,” love test, main plot villains, Lear’s judgment: ABCDCBA. With actions as the repeated elements, this is precisely the organizational pattern of Shakespeare’s mature plays.

 

Underlying Burton’s post seems to be a basic misunderstanding expressed in his first sentence: “Jim Ryan seems to think that every shift from one thought to another implies a scene division.” My analysis has nothing to do with shifting thoughts or “the vocabulary of abstract thinking current in modern academia, rather than one borrowed from the concrete world of a reader’s (audience’s) personal experience.” My analysis has everything to do with symmetrically mirroring actions such as those I described above and in my last post—one in each scene and hence capable of indicating scene division. Can there be anything more immediate to a playgoer’s experience than the action onstage? 

 

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

Date:         January 13, 2019 at 11:01:45 AM EST

Subject:    Re: NOS - 1HIV Citation

 

In a recent post, I pointed out what I thought were deviations in NOS’s citation of the 1HenIV quartos from the style it announced it had adopted. NOS cites original quartos by the names of their printers, and it cites reprints by the names of their publishers. I thought that they had departed from this rule, for example, in citing the 1HenIV quarto designated “4LAW”; which I thought should have been “4SIMMES” as it appeared to be a new edition because neither the printer (Valentine Simmes) nor the publisher (Matthew Law) had been involved in the immediately preceding version, which had been published five years earlier. In making that observation, I overlooked that (as NOS says elsewhere) in the interim between the two editions the publication rights had been transferred to Law from the prior publisher (Andrew Wise).

 

Similarly, I thought that 8SHEARES and 9PERRY, named after the publishers, must have been new editions because neither the printer nor the publisher was the same as in the preceding edition. I suppose my prior persona as a copyright lawyer came into play; I could not imagine that an edition published and printed by firms different from the publisher and printer of the previous version could be a “reprint” unless the rights had been transferred or licensed, or the new edition was pirated. NOS does not claim that any of these circumstances is the case with respect to 8SHEARES and 9PERRY, so I assumed that they had to be new editions. I was also influenced by the fact that 8SHEARES was issued ten years after the preceding edition and 9PERRY was released eight years after that.

 

In an off-list exchange with Gabriel Egan, which he courteously initiated to avoid embarrassing me with a public disclosure of my error, he satisfied me that NOS had not actually departed from its announced principles, based on its view of what constitutes a reprint. Gabriel assures me that “the transference of rights isn’t the point: it’s a bibliographical question of textual dependence.” While I accept that position, I think it is fair to observe that the determination of whether an edition used a previous one as a template to create a reprint or as a copytext, to compose a new edition, may be a close question in many cases. We are compelled to rely on the judgment of the editors unless we are prepared to examine the technical and tedious issue for ourselves.

 

The situation with respect to 1HenIV's first two quartos is a case in point: The first quarto (traditionally designated Q0, called Q1 in the last Oxford collection, and cited in NOS as 1SHORT) is a fragment of four leaves on a single printed sheet containing the text of I.iii.199 through II.iii.516. The Textual Companion accompanying the previous Oxford collection says that the subsequent quarto, now called 2SHORT, "appears to be a fairly accurate reprint of Q1 [1SHORT] (which had been set from the same fount), but has been cast off anew to save space and notably omits 'fat' at 2.3.19" (Textual Companion at 329, emphasis supplied).  However, TC also refers to Q2 (f/k/a Q1, now 2SHORT) as "a second edition" (ibid.).  So, is 2SHORT a reprint or a new edition?  In his note to me, Gabriel says

 

"Yep, the Q1>Q2 situation is odd since the evidence we have, comprising a single sheet of Q1, suggests that Q2 was a reprint of Q1.  But we can't be sure for the parts of the play that Q1 lacks and in any case for those parts Q2 is the first edition we possess.  That is why NOS names the editions as it does."

 

I agree that the nomenclature adopted by NOS in this instance is the best solution under the constraints it imposed on itself. But all the confusion and self-imposed need for second-best decisions could have been avoided entirely if NOS (and its predecessor) had just retained the traditional Q0 siglum.

 

In summary, I was wrong to contend that NOS did not follow its own precepts in citing the 1HenIV. I was confused; understandably so, I believe. The confusion could have been avoided if NOS had explicitly set out what constitutes the difference between a fresh edition and a reprint and the bibliographical evidence supporting its categorical assignments of the 1HenIV quartos. But I do not fault NOS for not providing this highly technical exposition, which would be of interest to only an extremely limited group of textual scholars. However, I hope I may be forgiven for pointing out that all the confusion could have been avoided if NOS had not made its radical revision of the citation style, for reasons which still remain obscure.

 

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.015  Friday, 12 January 2019

 

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

     Date:         January 10, 2019 at 12:43:28 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 10, 2019 at 2:24:23 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: Scene Division 

 

[3] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 10, 2019 at 4:53:15 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 11, 2019 at 3:30:16 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 11, 2019 at 3:43:10 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[6] From:        Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 11, 2019 at 3:57:43 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 11, 2019 at 11:35:19 AM EST

     Subj:         One for the NOS Thread 

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 10, 2019 at 12:43:28 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians

 

Brian Vickers claims that Claude Shannon’s work on Information Theory can tell us about “the predictability of letters (or characters) and says nothing about words”. But here is Shannon himself, in his most famous book, on the subject of moving from the predictability of letter sequences to the predictability of word sequences:

 

Rather than continue with tetragram, · · · , n-gram structure it is easier and better to jump at this point to word units.  Here words are chosen independently but with their appropriate frequencies.

 

REPRESENTING AND SPEEDILY IS AN GOOD . . . (Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver ‘The Mathematical Theory of Communication’, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1959, p. 14) 

 

There is a vast literature on the probabilistic approach to word choices, which treats language generation as a stochastic process. Vickers dismisses this entire field, since “you would be hard put to know what word will most likely follow ‘American’”. In fact, that is exactly the sort of question that computer-driven corpus linguistics is equipped to answer and it does so every day. We would not have tools such as Google Translate if there were not a science of the probabilistic nature of language generation, which science Vickers thinks does not exist.

 

Vickers finds “decisive” the essay “Authorship Attribution for Early Modern Plays Using Function Word Adjacency Networks: A Critical View” by Pervez Rizvi that has appeared in ‘American Notes and Queries’, which critiques the Word Adjacency Network (WAN) method of authorship attribution described in two articles by Alejandro Ribeiro, Mark Eisen, Santiago Segarra, and me. The WAN method uses Shannon’s mathematics of word sequence probabilities.

 

We are aware of Rizvi’s critique and are writing a rebuttal.  I don’t want to say too much until that rebuttal is written, but I can summarize the points in the order that Vickers presents them:

  1. That function word choices are probabilistically connected to lexical word choices and we ignore lexical word choices. Indeed, we agree. This isn’t relevant because the WAN method is measuring the distances of function words from one another. To complain that we haven’t looked at lexical word choices is like complaining that the police who made an arrest based on fingerprint evidence didn’t measure the size of the suspect’s hands even though fingers are connected to hands. (I mean “connected” not merely in the anatomical sense but also the probabilistic sense: if you have fingers you almost certainly have hands, but quite a few people have hands without fingers.)
  2. That we didn’t consider function words that authors don’t put close to one another, only those that they do. This is like complaining that the fingerprint bureau didn’t consider the missing fingers from which no prints were taken.
  3. That the validation runs in our experiments were flawed—were subject to circular logic—because the training stage that selected which function words to use for a particular attribution was not independent of the application of that set of words to the particular attribution. We respond that Rizvi has overlooked a footnote in which we show that in fact this independence was scrupulously maintained. Thus we stand by our claimed accuracy rates.

I will let SHAKSPERians know when our written-up rebuttal of Rizvi is available.

 

Regards

Gabriel Egan

 

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

Date:         January 10, 2019 at 2:24:23 PM EST

Subject:    Re: Scene Division

 

Jim Ryan seems to think that every shift from one thought to another implies a scene division. In this, he begs the question of whether a scene division exists or not, the very error for which he accuses the supporters of “continuous action.” In either event, the application of modern thought habits to those of Shakespeare’s audience is a basic error. As David Bevington pointed out ages ago, it was a habit of the medieval mind to read texts visually, seeing them as pictures in a way entirely foreign to moderns. Shakespeare’s audience was largely composed of people who heard, read and thought the old-fashioned way, as the more abstract habits of today were just coming to be experienced by an Early Modern few. Also, the respected old memory manuals were heavily reliant on the reader’s ability to create loci, places with which one was familiar, and “store” images of ideas, in sequence in room to room to cranny to other features of that building or other locus. The sixteenth century reformer of memory systems, Peter Ramus, deplored such loci but replaced them with a similarly spacial and visual set of categories. And I can see in Robert Burton’s (no relative) endlessly divided and subdivided exploration of melancholy simply another form of visualizable organization for the reader to adopt and then keep in mind.

 

That all being said, the fascinating symmetries examined in Mark Rose’s book do not add or subtract to the inquiry whether “scene divisions” as such were called for. He simply accepted the conventional ones and then made his observations. But as to Jim Ryan, the very fact that he can describe those symmetries which interest him as “chiastic” invokes a visualizable organizing form on those portions of the text under consideration, not so different from the staircases, celestial spheres, and ramified trees of the past. It just happens to be a form borrowed from the vocabulary of abstract thinking current in modern academia, rather than one borrowed from the concrete world of a reader’s (audience’s) personal experience. In Ryan’s defense, however, I do not say his approach is always invalid. We regularly enjoy complex musical compositions which call for wordless appreciation of chiastic, echoic, interlaced and other patterns, and all with variations. For human beings, there is something “right” about that sort of organization. Yet the music can go on playing without necessarily requiring a new movement (“scene”) after each form, to drive home the composer’s craft or make things clear to an unperceptive audience.

 

Anyone who has directed, dramaturged or taught Shakespeare’s plays has surely come across some feature he or she wished very much to see emphasized with some un-renaissance feature of staging, lighting, or other tool. That’s what keeps the world going. I suppose that Ryan’s insights as to structure may be impeccable and helpful, but not in the matter of identifying scene divisions.

 

Tony Burton

 

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

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

Date:         January 10, 2019 at 4:53:15 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: NOS

 

Gabriel Egan offers a superficially persuasive explanation for altering the designations of the early editions, but one that does not withstand deeper consideration:

 

Yes, of course, some convention needs to be adopted to deal with the very rare, and increasingly infrequent, case in which an edition is discovered that is older than the most recent of the quartos, such as naming the latest discovered but earliest created edition of 1HenIV as Q0.  Otherwise it would be necessary to renumber the later quartos, which was the usage in the prior Oxford Shakespeare (see Textual Companion at 329), and that would confuse anyone studying, say, the relationship of Q5 to F1. But the NOS's new nomenclature solves very little, if anything, and creates new issues.

 

According to NOS (Crit Ref Ed at xciv) the numerals preceding the names of the printers or publishers in the NOS scheme are intended to indicate the order of publication. So, for example, 1SHORT is 1HenIV Q0 (a single sheet), or Q1 in the old Oxford style; 2SHORT is what used to be Q1 (or Q2 in the old Oxford). But what happens if we discover, say, that Mathew Law published a quarto in 1610 between what NOS calls 5LAW (1608) and 6LAW (1613)? Does the newly discovered edition become 6LAW and the previous 6LAW (f/k/a Q5) become 7LAW?\ How does that enhance our understanding of an analysis of the relations between Q5 and F1?

 

Gabriel’s analogy of the traditional citation style to the lineation situation resulting from the Globe edition’s so-called “standard” lineation is quite lawyer-like, but, like much such reasoning, it can’t withstand the facts. The case is not actually analogous. The Globe, published only about 150 years ago, did not actually establish “standard” line numbering that was set in stone. As soon as a subsequent editor decided to convert a passage to verse that Globe had set in prose, or vice versa, the need for adjusting the lineation arose. Other conditions also created that need. Subsequent editors felt free to use their own lining or added “+” signs for added lines. This is why most scholars will identify the editions they use when they cite or quote from the works, and why citation of Through Line Numbers has become popular.

 

By the way, it appears that NOS does not consistently apply the convention it sets out (Crit Ref Ed xciv) of identifying the early editions by the names of their printers, for the first edition, or the publisher for reprints. For example, with the exception of 1 SHORT and 2SHORT (Q0/Q1 and Q1/Q2), all the quartos of 1HenIV are identified by the names of their publishers, regardless of whether or not it is a reprint (id. at 540). If the announced convention were in fact followed, 3WISE would be 3STAFFORD, 8SHEARES would be 8NORTON, etc.

 

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 11, 2019 at 3:30:16 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Larry Weiss commented on the function words adjacency networks method which, we were told, clinched the co-attribution of the Henry VI trilogy to Marlowe in the New Oxford edition. Brian Vickers had cited my examples of function words that are obviously dictated by the non-function word that preceded them, but which the method ignores. For example, devoid of: the method ignores devoid and assumes that of was determined by the preceding function words only. Larry asks a question that I can answer:

 

And, of course, there are infinitives to deal with. For example, “to bloviate” is a single lemma; how does the program distinguish that from two words consisting of a function word and a verb?

 

There is no such sophistication in the method. It has a list of 100 function words (theand, to etc.). For each authorship test, the idea is to select only some of these words. Only those selected words are then used in the test. All other words in the play serve only as placeholders and it makes no difference what they are. As far as this method is concerned the phrase ‘O, for a muse of fire’ is the same as the phrase ‘O, for a couple of faggots’ (the latter is from Fletcher and Massinger’s The Little French Lawyer).

 

Vickers did not mention the other problem relating to this, that the inventors of the method did not tell us how to select which of the 100 words to use in the test we want to do. So much for replication.

 

Larry also mentioned the non-Shakespeare plays that appeared in the Third Folio, and asked; “Is there a moral here?” Apart from the obvious point, which requires no elaboration, a less obvious point is that bad editions don’t just hurt the people who read them; they also do consequential damage in the future. The Third Folio misled Nicholas Rowe to include the spurious plays in his edition, and so the damage continued into the 18th century. The NOS will find the place it deserves in due course, but it will do some damage before then.

 

P.S. I mention this just for people’s amusement, not as a complaint. Last year I invented the terms ‘formal N-gram match’ and ‘maximal N-gram match’. The concepts had of course existed for a long time but to my knowledge no one had ever given them names, so I ventured to do so. In an article published this week, Gary Taylor has renamed ‘formal’ to ‘formalist’ and ‘maximal’ to ‘maximalist’. Renaming things is obviously a bit of a compulsion with him. 

 

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

Date:         January 11, 2019 at 3:43:10 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Rather than sticking to the numbering that a set of sensible rules happened to produce in a popular edition of the 1860s, and thereby departing from the very rules that produced that numbering, we should instead stick to the sensible rules and let the numbers change as new circumstances dictate. That is the only way to maintain a standard.

 

When this thread is over, we may be able to produce an Egan Dictionary, since English words seem to mean something else to him. When I pointed out that Taylor had claimed to search “every word and every possible combination of words”, Egan told us those words mean something completely different. When some of us complained that renaming the sigla destroys continuity, he told us that it had been carefully done to preserve continuity. Now he tells us that changing the standard act-scene numbers is the only way to maintain the standard. And this after he told us that Goldilocks ate the porridge as part of her commitment to ensure that Baby Bear is adequately fed. (OK, I made that last one up.)

 

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

Date:         January 11, 2019 at 3:57:43 AM EST

Subject:    Re: NOS

 

Gabriel Egan asked me (in his post Jan. 10) two questions, the first about book format, in connection with my challenge about a NOS editorial decision. Format is determined these days by humans (the publisher, the designer, the marketing department, et al.) with consideration of economic factors, beginning with basic questions: what’s this going to cost? what’s the market—that is, how many copies can we sell for what price? (This ignores, for the moment, subsidiary rights like TV series and T-shirts, and the longterm investment in an author.) These questions have always been considered by publishers who don’t want to go broke.

 

Shakespeare’s publishers dealt with individual plays ranging from 14,000 to 30,000 words, and we know that 18 or more plays first took the form of quartos (plus two octavos), then were included in folios for the collected works. The calculations his various publishers made about book format varied. The shortest play to be published in quarto, Midsummer Night’s Dream, is some 16,500 words. The plays in the First Folio total about 900,000 words.

 

Let me illustrate with a work I am very familiar with, and happily it is one of Shakespeare’s sources. The F1-sized Hall’s Chronicle (1548, 1550) is some 800,000 words. Richard Grafton was not just the printer-publisher but also coauthor, completing the narrative of 1532-1547 (Hall died in 1547, a few months after Henry VIII). Grafton first had to decide whether to publish the whole thing as one volume. With some rewriting he could have split it in half—the Lancasters and Yorks in one volume, the Tudors in another. The market, though, would have forced him to sell the two separately, and that would have done violence to Hall’s title (The Vnion of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre & Yorke...) and theme, which he pounded over and over: the Lancaster-York dissension was ended by the ascension of the unifying Tudors (the red rose and the white rose joining in the Tudor rose). Grafton could also have decided to rewrite (i.e., butcher) the chronicle and put out an epitome or summary, but that practice of Grafton and other chroniclers was in the future. In the mid-1540s he probably saw the emerging market for a large history of recent times. So: one fat volume, as Hall and Grafton wrote it.

 

Next, Grafton would have calculated that the sheer number of words meant at least a folio-size book of around 1,300 pages—if set in one column. This touches on the art of casting off, which is estimating how much printed matter per page of manuscript and, for printing shops in the handpress period, dividing the work among compositors. For one column of type on a folio page, the text has to be readable, so the blackletter font called Great Primer (which is something like 17-18 point) would have to be used. Grafton’s shop had printed the Great Bible and other folios, so he would have had enough Great Primer to ease the choreographing of the composing and printing of a certain number of sheets before the forms would have to be dismantled and the type redistributed.  (This decision would depend on how much type he had, how many compositors,  how many presses, and so forth. And he would not dally as warehouse space was necessary for printed sheets, or signatures, and managing the growing inventory for Hall and any other books in progress would be challenging.)

 

If Grafton had decided on two columns per page, he could have used smaller type, which is what Holinshed’s printers did, but he would need a sufficient quantity. (He used some smaller and larger fonts for limited purposes in printing Hall.) As well, two-column typesetting is economical with paper but costs more in composition. Before automation, it was more labor-intensive to justify and hyphenate, and required more skill in arranging the type in the forms with all the other elements such as running titles, folio numbers, woodcut initial letters, regnal-year heads, sidenotes, and gathering marks. I note that the quarto page width, and narrow columns in the folios, are a natural choice for plays with short lines in verse.

 

And so on. Grafton knew that type had to be imported from the Low Countries, that paper had to be imported (mostly from France), that dense blackletter pages consumed a lot of ink. But he knew some cost-savers, besides paying low wages. Woodcuts, for example, were used till they wore out, and could be traded with other printers. He would also know that any set of decisions on format at the beginning would have impacts down the line. If casting off was not done well, the number of pages of MS handed to compositor A could create an overflow or shortfall of typeset matter and cause a problem for compositor B working on the next section, and in sum waste paper or cause text to be cut or crammed. I note the probability that many Shakespeare quartos could have been set by just one compositor in not many days, and arranged in forms for printing all at once, considerably simplifying the whole process.

 

At the end, the aggregate of decisions about formatting Hall’s Chronicle created a problem when the 1548 edition (perhaps well under 1,000 copies) sold out. As printing shops couldn’t have more than a few pages of standing type around, the 1550 edition had to be entirely reset, from title page to the colophon at the end. The most economical thing was to hand pages from the 1548 edition to the compositors and tell them to do it again. Which they did. Within a line or two, the text on each page of the 1550 edition is about the same as the 1548. However, each compositor, even when resetting pages he himself had originally done, was free to spell and abbreviate and justify as he was inclined. Thus, in the two editions there are a million variants but very few differences in substance. As with Shakespeare, there is no author’s MS for us to rely on.

 

A little perspective is in order. As literature, the best of Hall is not even low-grade Shakespeare—it’s valuable for other reasons—so I am not doing a variorum edition, only a reliable transcription of 1550 (complete) and a modern-spelling adaptation (done through H6).

 

To summarize, book format represents human agency all the way from the publisher’s first hefting of a stack of manuscript (foul papers, fair copy, or both), to the dispatch of printed signatures out the door to the binders. 

 

Gabriel’s other question was about reading the physical type in galleys. That was a useful skill decades ago. Metal type in a galley is of course mirror-image, so pulling galley proofs is best. But often, in order to insert and check corrected lines of type, it is curiously easier to read the “backwards” type upside down—that is, with the first line at the bottom of the tray. This is one of those things you learn by doing, but you’d have to find a shop that still uses hot metal type. 

 

That hands-on experience, though, plus designing and producing many publications, and transcribing and adapting Hall’s Chronicle, have given me insights into the realities of 16th-century publishing. And this has led to my conclusion that the work-product of sloppy compositors is something for us to cope with, not overly analyze, and certainly not to venerate in the designation of Shakespeare editions. For reference purposes, the time-honored numbering of Qs and Fs, with rare later adjustment, will suffice.

 

Cheers,

Al Magary 

 

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

Date:         January 11, 2019 at 11:35:19 AM EST

Subject:    One for the NOS Thread

 

Followers of the NOS thread who have not themselves used the edition will at this point have very little sense of the edition’s totality, because the thread has focused very much on the Authorship Companion component. Yes, clearly the attribution of the writings contained in any edition of an early modern playmaker will be an important part of it. But it’s not the only part, and there are other elements which I’d hope SHAKSPERians would be interested in and on which they’d have opinions (for my part, I’d especially like to know what people think of the chronology).

 

Whatever name or names may appear at the head of a play or poem, the writings still remain below them. They abide, visible, readable, playable. Does no-one have any opinion on how they’ve been edited, or how they’re presented? Can the several thousand pages which are not the AC really deserve no comment?

 

This posting was prompted not so much by the current level of discussion in the thread itself as by looking through the print edition of the latest volume (14) of Shakespeare, the British Shakespeare Association’s journal. Number 3 in that volume contains on pp.291-6 a review of the NOS by Lukas Erne. Erne is not any sort of cheerleader for the NOS team (collectively or individually) and he raises a number of issues in his review. But he does review the whole edition as it has so far appeared, not simply one component or selected chapters of one component, and SHAKSPERians will get a better idea of the NOS’s scope and nature from him than they have so far done in the NOS thread. They will hear about the “dense textual introductions”, many of which are “real treasure-troves”, as well as the musical introductions, variant designations in speech prefixes and stage directions, and other features in both modern-spelling and old-spelling versions. They will also encounter Erne’s final verdict that the NOS will be “an inevitable starting point for much editorial and critical work to come.” And that seems to me to appreciate the spirit and purpose of the NOS: it’s not to sum up and fix Shakespeare for all time or our time, but to set an agenda and propose directions for us to consider.

 

There are some points in recent postings I would like to comment on and hope to do this in the next few days.

 

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.014  Thursday, 10 January 2019

 

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

     Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:21:09 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:34:36 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[3] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:44:27 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[4] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:54:44 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

[5] From:        Jim Ryan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 9, 2019 at 5:04:33 PM EST

     Subj:         NOS and Scene Division 

 

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

     Date:         January 9, 2019 at 4:19:21 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 10, 2019 at 5:49:35 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

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

     Date:         January 10, 2019 at 5:52:53 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:21:09 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

“perhaps New York City should recognize that “Fifth Avenue” privileges number over human agency, and rename it for, say, the first contractor to pave it.”

 

For decades Sixth Avenue has been “Avenue of the Americas,” replete with the national arms of the various Western Hemisphere states, but no one cares and most still give directions to locations on Sixth Avenue.

 

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

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

Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:34:36 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

"Upside is always followed by down, looker(s) is followed by on, and devoid is followed by of. The attempt of Segarra et al. to detach function words from their dependence on content words fails utterly."

 

And, of course, there are infinitives to deal with. For example, “to bloviate” is a single lemma; how does the program distinguish that from two words consisting of a function word and a verb?

 

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

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

Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:44:27 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

In 1664, Philip Chetwinde published the second impression of F3, which he first published in 1663. The second impression added seven plays not theretofore included in any of prior collections—namely Pericles, Prince of Tyre; Locrine; The London Prodigal; The Puritan; Sir John Oldcastle; Thomas Lord Cromwell; and A Yorkshire Tragedy. Only Pericles has earned canonical status (in part). It seems likely that Chetwinde’s additions were included to create a new work for sale in a market that was already saturated with the old editions.

 

Is there a moral here?

 

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 9, 2019 at 2:54:44 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

NOS cites F4 as “H E R R I N G M A N”. Actually, the book seller Henry Herringman was only one member of the syndicate which published the collection. Other members included R. Bentley, E. Brewster, and R. Chiswell.

 

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

Date:         January 9, 2019 at 5:04:33 PM EST

Subject:    NOS and Scene Division

 

The wide variation of scene boundaries from one edition of Shakespeare to another, noted by Pervez Rizvi and Gabriel Egan, strongly suggests that our understanding of the Shakespearean scene is incomplete. I’d like to advance a novel approach. It is not a cleared stage or “continuous action” that ultimately determines scene division. It is the overall chiastic structure (ABCDCBA) in which one important element in each scene, usually an action, is reflected in the corresponding scene of the other half of the play. The symmetry of the architecture establishes the scene divisions.

 

Consider the last scene of Folio Macbeth. It is routinely divided at each cleared stage in the battle sequence, yielding three scenes: the killing of young Seward, the fight between Macduff and Macbeth and the ascension of Malcolm. But the Folio preserves a common Shakespearean practice of beginning and ending the plot action in the centers of the first and last scenes. Duke Vincentio confers his authority on Angelo at 1.1.43 of 83 and enters to retrieve his authority at 5.1. 277 of 540. In LLL the Lords’ vow of seclusion is sworn in the center of the first scene when Berowne signs the oath (1.1.155 of 315) and is forsworn (“We are again forsworn, in will and error”) in the middle of the last scene (5.2.471 of 931]). So, too, in Folio Macbeth, the charm the Weird Sisters initiate in the first scene ends at the center of the last scene when Macbeth, informed that Macduff was untimely born, says, “And be these juggling fiends no more believ’d” (5.7.49 of 104). The Folio scene should remain intact to preserve Shakespeare’s habitual central emphasis. (The play thus has not 29 but 27 scenes, perfectly in keeping with its other triplicities: 3x3x3.)

 

It is not only the overall plot action that is reflected in paired scenes of the chiastic design. Nested actions are also chiastically disposed, both in their beginning and ending actions and in their climactic incidents. Hector’s initial challenge and his death are paired in the third and third last scenes of TC (23 scenes, 1.3 and 5.8); Troilus and Cressida pledge fidelity in 3.2, and Cressida betrays Troilus with Diomedes in the paired 5.2. Parallel plots like the courtships of Romeo and Paris are mirrored step by step in corresponding scenes: the futile summoning of the suitor (2.1 and 4.3), the profession (or not) of love (2.2 and 4.1), planning the wedding (2.3 and 3.5), and setting the date (2.4 and 3.4). (These reflections, by the way, confirm that Romeo and Juliet contains 23 scenes.) Character actions are paralleled or contrasted: Caesar and Cassius consider omens of their deaths in corresponding scenes (JC, 17 scenes, 2.2 and 5.1); Goneril turns Lear out, and in the paired scene Cordelia embraces Lear (Folio Lear 1.4 and 4.6). In each mature play one element in every scene has its chiastic reflection.

 

“Continuous action” is no more reliable as a scene determinant than a cleared stage. The first two scenes of Folio Cymbeline, for example, are often run together because the two gentlemen in the first scene comment, before exiting and clearing the stage, on the approaching Posthumous, Imogen and the Queen. It begs the question to declare this a “continuous action.” But, clearly, the immediate stage business cannot decide the issue. Only the chiastic reflections explain the Folio’s division into two scenes here. The first scene is devoted to the family losses of Cymbeline, which are remedied in the reunion of his family in the last scene. In the second scene Posthumous is banished from his adoptive family; in the penultimate scene he has a vision of his biological family. Scene divisions cannot be determined by the local action, but they can be determined by the more comprehensive view of the chiastic design.

 

As a final example, consider scene 2.2 in Folio Lear that Gabriel Egan discussed in his recent post. In addition to the performance advantages of retaining the scene’s integrity that Egan mentioned, the chiastic reflections also recommend adhering to the Folio division. The central incident in the exceptionally long scene (481 lines) is the short conversation between the Fool and Kent on Lear’s fortunes, a mere 22 lines (238-260); this conversation is mirrored by the conversation between Cordelia and the Gentleman in 4.3 on Lear’s madness. This reflection extends the other suggestions in the play of the “melding” of Cordelia and the Fool (e.g., “And my poor fool is hanged! [5.3.306]). Though a full explanation of the reflections in these two scenes is beyond the scope of a post, I will point out that the chiastic design of the play and its scene divisions are based on the major characters in each scene; the reflection of Cordelia and the Fool thus has more support than the single scene pair might suggest.

 

An awareness of the chiastic design assists in more than determining scene boundaries. It highlights the commonalities between scenes and scene pairs that underpin groupings of scenes into larger sections. In this way it reveals the constructive strategies that Shakespeare used instead of the traditional five acts, which are, as marked in the plays, in every case misleading.

 

It is worth noting the Folio plays that exhibit a chiastic design though their scene divisions are routinely changed: King Lear, MM, Macbeth, 2 HIV.  Too often we think of Shakespeare as a little messy and careless, in need of our tinkering and improving. The Rorschach Shakespeare may inspire our creativity, but it diminishes the breadth of his genius and the precision of his artistry.

 

I would like to acknowledge Mark Rose’s indispensable Shakespearean Design as a guide to scene analysis and as the spark igniting my spatial approach. (It is unfortunate that the Hallett’s in Analyzing Shakespeare’s Action: Scene versus Sequence, chose to make Rose the whipping boy in their insistence on an exclusively temporal, narrative reading of Shakespeare. A full appreciation of Shakespeare requires both a temporal and spatial analysis.) For a full discussion of Shakespeare’s scene division and the chiastic outlines of the mature plays, see my Shakespeare’s Symmetries: The Mirrored Structure of Action in the Plays, McFarland, 2016.

 

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 9, 2019 at 4:19:21 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians

 

As he says, Brian Vickers has indeed published much on Shakespearian authorship attribution using reason and logic. 

 

But his posting on SHAKSPER about “Shall I Die?” to which I was responding didn’t use reason and logic. Instead he simply quoted part of the poem and asserted the “universal disbelief” that it is good enough to be Shakespeare’s work. That is the “Behold!” method and it is unanswerable because it offers no evidence and makes no argument.

 

The evidence and argument in the New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion about the 17th-century manuscript “Rawlinson Poetry 160”, which attributes “Shall I Die?” to Shakespeare, are new and have not been addressed in any of Vickers’s published works. I judged the evidence to be worth the space it took up in the “Datasets” section.

 

The approach to this poem taken in the New Oxford Shakespeare edition itself is uncontroversial. “Shall I Die?” appears in a section called “Poems Attributed to Shakespeare in Seventeenth-Century Miscellanies”, between “Shakespeare Upon a Pair of Gloves” and “Verses on the Stanley Tomb at Tong”.  The Third Edition of the Norton Complete Works, an entirely independent edition recently completed, includes “Shall I Die?” in a section called “Attributed Poems”, placing it first, before “Shakespeare Upon a Pair of Gloves” and “Verses on the Stanley Tomb at Tong”.

 

For all I know Vickers might be right now harranguing the Norton editors for publishing “Shall I Die?” in their complete works edition. If he isn’t harranguing them, then his animosity towards the New Oxford Shakespeare for how it treats this disputed poem is in danger of looking personally motivated.

 

Regards

Gabriel Egan

 

[7]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 10, 2019 at 5:49:35 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians

 

Gerald E. Downs and Pervez Rizvi defend the practice of sticking with existing standards for naming early editions and counting acts, scenes, and lines even when new knowledge gives us reason to change our naming and counting practices, invoking for their arguments the desirability of maintaining a standard because doing so keeps past scholarship usable. I’d like here to show that what they propose in fact does intellectual violence to past scholarship, in order to advance my claim that less harm is done if we bite the bullet and rename and renumber things.

 

Downs argues that the discovery of an edition of 1H4 that is earlier than the one that had traditionally been labelled Q1 should cause us to name the discovery Q0 rather than calling it Q1 and renaming the existing Q1 as Q2, the existing Q2 as Q3, and so on. Sticking with the existing names, he writes, “allows F 1H4 derivation from Q5 to remain clear to all”. He means that we have existing scholarship (made before the discovery) that claims that Folio 1H4 derives from Q5, and this scholarship’s assertion will remain true so long as we don’t alter the sigla by renaming Q5 to Q6.

 

But think about what the existing scholarship actually asserts. The scholar who wrote that F 1H4 derives from Q5 meant that the Folio was derived from the fifth quarto edition; she had no foreknowledge that we were going to change the meaning of Q5 so that it would henceforth refer to the sixth edition. Downs’s solution to the problem created by the discovery retains the existing naming scheme at the cost of misrepresenting what scholars of the past were actually asserting in their writings.

 

Worse still, if for this one play we give up on the convention that the “1” in “Q1” means “first” and the “2” in “Q2” means “second” (as Downs proposes we do) then all the sigla for all the plays are thrown in doubt. We cannot confine to just 1H4 the harm done by this tweak to the standard.  Any reader looking at scholarly assertions about other plays (say, that Folio ‘King Lear’ is derived from Q2) will have to ask herself “are they counting from 0 or 1 in this case?”, that is, “is Q2 the second edition or the third, for ‘King Lear’?”. The existing convention that Downs’s tweak was supposed to conserve is in fact destroyed by that tweak, since an inconsistency has been introduced into the naming convention.

 

A final consideration is that such attempts to avoid renumbering by digging into the cellarage are unsustainable in the long term. What if an even earlier edition is discovered? Downs’s logic would require us to name it Q-1 (that is, “Q minus one”) in order to leave Q0 where it is.

 

The same objection about distorting past scholarship in the name of preserving it applies to Rizvi’s example of Kenneth Muir using the act/scene label of 5.7a in ‘Troilus and Cressida’ in order to impose a scene break where the Globe edition marked none (despite the clearing of the stage with “Exeunt”), while retaining compatibility with the Globe’s numbering. To make this work, Muir had to break with the convention that the first line of a scene is numbered as line 1. Instead, the first line of Muir’s scene 5.7a is numbered as line 9.

 

Consider the past scholarly assertions that are ‘broken’ by this attempt to retain compatibility with the Globe’s line numbering:

 

“Achilles, Menelaus, Paris, Thersites, and Margarelon appear in a single scene”. No longer true: Muir has put them in different scenes. This matters to anyone whose scholarship, perhaps under the influence of Emrys Jones’s Scenic Form in Shakespeare, treats the scene as the fundamental unit of dramatic construction. It also matters to theatre practitioners who organize their schedules around the rehearsal of scenic units.

 

“The opening stage direction of a scene is numbered as line 0”. No longer true: Muir numbers the opening stage direction of his scene 5.7a as “5.7a.8.1”, even though there is no line 8 in his scene 5.7a. That is, Muir’s opening stage direction to 5.7a is given the line number of the last line in the preceding scene. A reader who thinks she understands how line numbers are constructed and who is given the reference to Muir’s “5.7a.8.1” would naturally assume that this is a mid-scene direction but she’d be wrong because of Muir’s departure from the convention.

 

“The number of lines in a scene is equal to the line number of its last line”. No longer true: the last line of Muir’s 5.7a is numbered 23 but there are only 15 lines in it. A reader told that the final exit in 5.7a occurs on line 23 will have a false impression of the length of the scene.

 

The above consequences of Muir’s decision might not be important for one reader’s uses of an edition, but they might very well be important for another’s. The alleged advantage, though, is that Muir has retained compatibility with the Globe line numbering. Thus Rizvi writes that “. . . if a reader picks up a Globe reference in some book or article, say 5.7.10, she does not need to do anything different: she just starts at the beginning of scene 5.7 in Muir and moves her finger down the right margin to the line numbered 10”.

 

Even this advantage is illusory, however. Line 5.7.10 in the Globe edition is “at it. Now, bull! now dog! ‘Loo, Paris, loo!”. But line 5.7a.10 in Muir’s edition is “Now, bull! Now, dog! ‘Loo, Paris! ‘Loo now, my double-“. Because the speech is in prose, the lineation of Muir’s single-column edition is different from the lineation of the Globe’s double-column edition. A reader directed to look at Thersites’ interesting use of the phrase “at it” in line 5.7.10 (using a Globe-based reference) won’t find it there in Muir’s edition since it is 9 lines down in his edition, not 10.

 

In defence of modern editions using the Globe numbering, Rizvi remarks that “The most important point about a referencing system is that we should all use the same one”.  Trouble is, we can’t. Unless all new editions are going to be printed in the narrow columns of the Globe edition, line-number references are going to be thrown off by the relineation of prose passages. The ambition of a single act-scene-line numbering to rule them all is unattainable.

 

Rather than sticking to the numbering that a set of sensible rules happened to produce in a popular edition of the 1860s, and thereby departing from the very rules that produced that numbering, we should instead stick to the sensible rules and let the numbers change as new circumstances dictate. That is the only way to maintain a standard.

 

Regards

Gabriel Egan

 

[8]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 10, 2019 at 5:52:53 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Dear SHAKSPERians

 

In defence of naming formats instead of persons in sigla, Al Magary writes “Book format is exactly the product of human agency while coping with economics (e.g., cost of paper, compositor pay)”. I’d be grateful if he could indicate what he thinks economics has to do with book format, as this may help us understand why we disagree. Also, in his challenge “For speed in reading galleys of type (upside and backwards), I’ll take on anyone” it would help my understanding if could clarify what he means by reading galleys of type being “upside and backwards”.  These are genuine enquiries: I’m not being facetious.

 

Regards

Gabriel Egan

 

 

 

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