Some Likely Intertextuality/Bob Dylan as Prospero?


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0307  Thursday, 19 July 2012


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

Date:         July 18, 2012 2:59:17 PM EDT

Subject:     Some Likely Intertextuality/Bob Dylan as Prospero? 


Anyone interested in intextuality may find interesting the announcement Tuesday of the upcoming Bob Dylan album, TEMPEST. It will be his 35th studio album, to be released on September 11.  The album cover photo seems to be a modification of Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Theresa. I might as well note that the album’s second listed song, “Soon After Midnight,” is rumored to be 14-minute song on a shipwreck (the Titanic).


The New York Times notes the Shakespearean resonance of all of this:


Dylan is 71 years old as this album is released.


“Shakespeare, he’s in the alley with his pointed shoes and bells”


Jack Heller


[Editor's Note: You can see the album cover here:  image  Dylans TEMPEST    -Hardy]




The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0306  Wednesday, 18 July 2012


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

     Date:         July 17, 2012 1:37:36 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: SHand 


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

     Date:         July 17, 2012 3:16:06 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: SHand 


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

     Date:         July 17, 2012 9:21:09 PM EDT

     Subject:     Peer Review 




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

Date:         July 17, 2012 1:37:36 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: SHand


Gerald Downs’s diatribe is kind of boring. It would be nice if he fought his little battles away from this site.



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

Date:         July 17, 2012 3:16:06 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: SHand


Regarding the suggestion that in King Lear, F’s “Take up, take up” reflects Shakespeare’s revision of Qu’s nonsense “take up to keep”, although he had originally written “take up the King” (Qc’s reading), Gerald Downs writes:


> No author would revise other people’s travesties.


That is to say, the author wouldn’t build on another’s error but would return to his original reading. That was also P. W. K. Stone’s assertion about this problem in King Lear.


In fact authors demonstrably do what Stone and Downs say they would not do. Gary Taylor gives examples of James Joyce revising Ulysses using proofs containing printers’ errors, and in each case rather than returning to his original reading Joyce builds upon the error to make something new and, sometimes, inferior. Taylor also points to Charles Dickens doing this. See Gary Taylor “King Lear: The Date and Authorship of the Folio Version” in Gary Taylor and Michael Warren (editors) The Division of the Kingdoms: Shakespeare’s Two Versions of King Lear (Oxford: Clarendon, 1983), pp. 351-468 (pp. 401-2).



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

Date:         July 17, 2012 9:21:09 PM EDT

Subject:     Peer Review


On the “Shorthand” thread Gabriel Egan expressed a preference that might be discussed in various ways:


> Gerald Downs presents mountains of evidence and

> interpretation in his postings, and I for one would

> rather deal with such claims in the form of a journal

> article that has first been through peer review,

> which tends to sort the strong from the weak claims.


Evidence mountains bear discussion; discussion groups may be good places to start. Much that I put forward is neglected or poorly handled over years of articles and books. Shall it stay that way until someone else navigates a peer review? A few citations derive from SHAKSPER; are they valid only if stamped “approved”? From my perspective, “peer review” often isn’t; it leaves a lot to be desired.


Most publications can use pre-publication discussion. Obviously, some don’t get it. In that respect, peer review is not very efficient. Though not inclined to publish, I have some recent experience trying; assuming for the nonce that I have something of worth to say on topics of interest to me, description of a peer review or two may be in order.


First, some ancient history. My Shakespeare interests persist because so many questions remain unanswered and my opinions develop with no thought of publication. I like footnotes, but not to write them. Moreover, I’ve naively assumed others would straighten things out without my help. That’s still my feeling, but—not in my lifetime.


I’ve answered some questions to my satisfaction—that is, until details lost their charm. In which cases I would be happy to air my views but wouldn’t cross the street to alter anyone’s belief. My mind was partly changed by four topics I’ll mention (and some I won't).


If one realizes van Dam was correct to see STM’s Hand D as that of a copyist, the first part of a difficult question (What’s Hand D?) gets easy. Over the years I wrote it up and showed two scholars in 1996, one of whom suggested publication. His professional interest made me feel an obligation; anyone wishing to follow up would have to wait on me. For that reason (and to credit van Dam, whose work in general gets short shrift) I rushed to submit a paper—in 2004.


Studies in Bibliography (my 2d choice) undertook an eleven-month peer review ended favorably by the same person who encouraged me years earlier. Was I one to look a gift-horse in the mouth? It bothered me to have a leg up, but that was justified by a number of improving revisions and the essay was scheduled for printing in 2007.


Because of a thread on this group, Douglas Brooks and I corresponded in 2004 and I showed him the article for some feedback—but declined his request to submit it to his journal for a peer review. It was under review elsewhere and little thought was given to his offer. In 2007 he published the essay without my knowledge. Why? Who knows. Once SB was told, the essay was understandably withdrawn. I took it pretty hard, but mention it now only because Brooks later confirmed that the piece got no peer review. So much for twelve years in the making, yet I’m still mulling over Hand D because it still hasn’t been figured out and it’s pretty interesting.


I happened onto John of Bordeaux about 2006 and came to see that it is important to those who should care (but don’t). For learning’s sake, I’m grateful that Studies in Bibliography accepted my 2008 submission after another year-long review. Again suggestions were helpful and the article was published in 2010. Not that anyone has responded. I hoped Studies would continue publishing online; no such luck. My other gripe was that extended-in-time-but-not-substance peer review is frustrating, even though I cause far more delay on my own. As Shane says, I’d like it to be my idea. When reviewers take months and months to turn down articles they don’t understand . . .


I’ve spent a lot of time on the text of King Lear because it isn’t easy and much of the scholarship makes it harder. I sent a working-copy article to Richard Knowles some time ago. We hardly corresponded, but I realized his forthcoming edition wouldn’t agree with my opinions and decided on submission (on the off chance) ahead of his Variorum in order that it not seem a response but an independent work. I expected a negative review but again the process dragged on.


One of the reviewers seems to have been Richard Knowles. If that is correct, two questions occur to me. Should one unwilling to discuss an article pre-submission pass judgment on its worthiness later? In such cases should reviewers inform editors of prior correspondence? Else any druthers for arguing only a peer-reviewed piece are obviated by the review itself. Reviewer 1, Author 0.


In a PBSA exchange with Adele Davidson on shorthand transmission, Knowles stated that no evidence had been put forward in support of theatrical reporting. Yet by that time my article on Bordeaux was out and I naturally cited it to support my Lear theme (in agreement with Stone) that Q1 is a reported text. That is, I claim powerful evidence of shorthand reporting does exist. I think a reviewer would be obliged to evaluate that evidence, since it has a direct bearing on the issues. But the reviewer allowed that he could not evaluate this key evidence; then how can he judge the article on Lear? Beats me. At any rate, one may ask whether an editor putting the (telegraphed) finishing touches on his edition is the “peer” to review a mass of contradictory fact and opinion. May as well ask a Scaliawag or a Doubting Clarence.


A third reviewer was called in to break a tie. He said the article should be published—somewhere else. OK, I had no illusions of acceptance (until the process sputtered) and even felt a bit guilty laying elaborate and serious argument on an editor who said it was hard to find qualified reviewers. Add ‘unbiased’ and you see how it is.


As that affair lingered, I got the bright idea to submit another long piece dealing with shorthand reports. Most scholars (even the peerage) have given shorthand little thought and have in fact a distinct bias against it. I thought to support the first article with the second. Didn’t work.


I recently repeated a part of that article on this group with an evaluation of Q1 Philaster, which must be a shorthand report (I say). It was one of a series of plays Walkley published that included Q1 Othello, which has been thought a dictated reconstruction (by the respected scholar Scott McMillin). My idea was to bring shorthand into the mix. For that article one of the reviewers was (I’m sure) Gabriel Egan, with whom I had discussed an earlier version. He has now officially judged the essay and would rather not discuss that which didn’t pass peer review. But it could enlighten us to learn more about the process. Are my arguments weak or do they just contradict the reviewer? Did the editor know we had corresponded? Those questions and others will be the topic of my next “peer” posting.


Gerald E. Downs



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0305  Wednesday, 18 July 2012


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

Date:         July 17, 2012 10:41:41 PM EDT

Subject:     Re:  Corambis


Re:  Duncan Salkeld on Corambis:


“I’m sure I’m not the first to suggest that ‘Corambis’ might be a contraction of [I quote OED] ‘coram nobis before us (i.e. the sovereign) = in the court of King’s Bench’.”


That is a very good possibility, and got me thinking about pairing coram to bonus, e.g., coram bonae, bono, etc.  Using the pl. abl. bonis and making it one word, corambonis, brings up the work of Gunnar Sjogren who noted that “Corambonis” appears as a name in a John Florio text.  It relates to the woman John Ford wrote about in his play “The White Devil,” Vittoria Corombona.  Sjogren says, “I suggest that [Corambis] is merely a corrupted form of Corambonis. “  I think Sjogren’s idea is worth mention here.  The Florio text was printed in 1585.

New DVD: Shakespeare’s Sonnets


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0304  Wednesday, 18 July 2012


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

Date:         July 17, 2012 5:05:13 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: DVD Son.


Hannibal Hamlin is in a state of disbelief:


Kim Catrall !?


>For Release 20 July 2012 by Illuminations

>Shakespeare’s Sonnets 

>Illuminations, with Touch Press, Faber and Faber and The Arden 

>Shakespeare, present an exclusive DVD release, Shakespeare’s 



Why not Kim Catrall? Her IMDB bio says, “At 11, she returned [from Canada] to her native country and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She returned to Vancouver and, at age 16, graduated high school and won a scholarship to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. During her final year at the academy, she won a part in Otto Preminger’s Rosebud (1975). Following her film debut, Kim returned to the theatre, first in Vancouver and then in repertory in Toronto prior to winning a contract at Universal in Los Angeles . . .”  Her list of film and TV credits since 1975 is very long:


No one else in the cast list for the DVD has sex appeal too?



Al Magary



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0303  Tuesday, 17 July 2012


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

Date:         July 13, 2012 7:22:20 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Shorthand


Steven Urkowitz objects by the numbers:


> But Downs is blowing smoke about the alleged

> stenographic source for speech prefixes designating

> actors by numbers rather than names: “1 Lo., 2 Lo. 3 Lo,“


I didn’t claim a stenographic source for the designations. Seems again uncareful reading of my observations.


> He claims, “At Q1 5.2 Richmond enters to address his

> ‘fellows in arms.’ Their prefixes are 1 Lo., 2 Lo., and

> 3 Lo. Why? They aren’t named in the dialogue, that’s why.

> F identifies them, but that’s F’s job. That would have been

> necessary also in any theatrical transcription.”

>  Nope. Not so.  Wrong-o.


That last is the kind of thing I wish I hadn’t written. Glad I didn’t. But of what I did write; Q1 R3 had no “identifiers” in its copy, either specific speech headings or dialogue indicators. Therefore, 1, 2, 3. That can happen in various ways, including shorthand transmission.


But that’s not the point. Jowett claims that Q1 derives from an F-like text by unbroken written transcription. If so, major characters named in F for that scene would have been transcribed accordingly. Q1 argues against that set-up.


> "Murderers Nominated by Numbers  in  2 HENRY

> VI and RICHARD III” . . . . I show that these pairs

> of . . . murderers in Q and F have only numbers,

> no names, in both versions.


The question is, whence these printed texts? Scholarship hasn’t really answered, though all before and after disagree with Urkowitz about Q.


> I . . . recommend Grace Ioppolo, DRAMATISTS

> AND THEIR MANUSCRIPTS . . . . I re-read this

> last month and feel much the stronger, wiser, and

> more familiar with the extant objects that contain

> the texts we talk about.   (Gerald, are you listening?)


Yes, to Carl Smith at the moment. On Steven’s recommendation some years ago I posted a review of sorts of Ioppolo’s book (“Understudies,” Thursday, 3 Jan 2008 17:04:44 EST). She does a shockingly poor job. The book was apparently turned down by her contracted publisher and her main adversary seems to be Paul Werstine, whose scholarship is much the better. I also wrote (2007) on this site of her STM opinions.


> You see . . . the noisiest folk get all the attention

> and hijack the discourse. That’s why I am on

> Gerald Downs’ case.


Shall we compare noise? If I’ve been getting attention it's news to me.


> Stenography? Well, I’ve been trying to track

> down English examples where we could compare

> a written composition and a later steno report of

> that written text.  I’d hoped to find one of Donne’s

> sermons transcribed while he spoke it and then

> later printed from his original. But it seems like it

> didn’t ever work out that way . . .


No one doubts the stenographic reporting of sermons. The best are those of Henry Smith, a truly gifted preacher who died young. Where Steven errs (this time) is to suppose sermons were written; as a matter of protocol, they weren’t. A preacher who read a sermon wasn’t worth his salt. That’s why Smith’s orations seem to be orations and why he first thought his sermons were reproduced from his own notes; there was no complete copy. That all changed with the printing of reported sermons, which proved to be marketable.


Scholarship did a good job showing the sermons could not have been taken by Bright’s system. That’s where scholarship folded its tent. My guess is that the phonetic talent was also directed to plays.


> So it isn’t that these things aren’t possible, it’s just

> that interested people ha[ve] to agree to the kinds

> of evidence that the community can find convincing.


Be careful. Once one allows shorthand a possibility a whole world of theatrical possibility opens. How about John of Bordeaux? I think its evidence (not me, not rhetoric) will eventually reach the community. For instance, the Lords got their numbers not from the scribe, but a reviser preparing the text for playing. It’s all there.


> Gerald Downs takes a tiny variant, “take up to keep.”

> . . . And he concludes that the repetition “ take up,

> take up” found in F was somehow so minor a change

> that it must be considered beneath Shakespeare’s

> magnificence.


Actually, Steven Urkowitz tries to make hay with the variant. My point was that the phrase is only one of many clear corruptions that found their way into F despite Q1’s revision. Magnificence hasn’t much to do with it. No author would revise other people’s travesties.


> Two points: (1) How does Gerald Downs know that

> Shakespeare wouldn’t make little changes like this?


I would bet Ward Elliott’s Thousand. It’s a matter of odds.


> the little change is part of a sweeping (not timid)

> change in the dramatic rhythms


Move over, Gary Taylor.


> If Gerald Downs would look at the abundance of

> evidence offered by Grace Ioppolo and others,

> he would see how flawed are his assumptions

> about how authors of the time actually marked

> up their own texts and texts of other writers.


I point up how badly Ioppolo misreports Heywood’s The Captives. That’s her primary manuscript for evidence but the reader is badly misinformed. It’s not a matter of opinion, but of clear mistakes.


Gerald E. Downs

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