Peter Holland to Receive 2012 Sheedy Award


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0479  Wednesday, 28 November 2012


From:        Actors From The London Stage <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 28, 2012 12:18:33 PM EST

Subject:     Peter Holland to Receive 2012 Sheedy Award


The Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually to an outstanding teacher in the College of Arts and Letters [at Notre Dame College]. Professor Peter Holland is the 2012 Award Recipient. The Sheedy award was founded in 1970 in honor of Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of the College from 1951–69, and acknowledges a faculty member who has sustained excellence in research and instruction over a wide range of courses. This individual must also motivate and enrich students using innovative and creative teaching methods and influence teaching and learning within the department, College, and University.

Peter Holland, one of the central figures in performance-oriented Shakespeare criticism, served as Director of the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon before coming to Notre Dame in 2002. He is editor of Shakespeare Survey as well as a number of other series. Among his books are English Shakespeares: Shakespeare on the English Stage in the 1990s and a major study of Restoration drama The Ornament of Action. He has also edited many Shakespeare plays, including A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Oxford Shakespeare series. In 2007, he completed publication of a five-volume series of collections of essays entitled Rethinking British Theatre History. In 2007-08, he served as President of the Shakespeare Association of America. He was elected an honorary fellow at Trinity Hall, his alma mater and one of the 31 colleges that comprise the University of Cambridge.

Legacy of Richard III


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0478  Tuesday, 27 November 2012


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

Date:         Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Subject:     Legacy of Richard III


From Sunday’s Washington Post


Unverified Remains Dig Up the Twisted Legacy of England’s Richard III

By Anthony Faiola

November 24


LONDON — Tyrant or hero? Rightful monarch or childkiller? Despotic hunchback or brave scoliosis sufferer? Now is the winter of our debate over one of England’s most notorious villains: Richard III.


Underneath a drab parking lot 90 miles northwest of London, archaeologists have unearthed what may become one of this nation’s finds of the century — half-a-millennium-old bones thought to be the remains of the long-lost monarch. But if the discovery has touched off a feverish round of DNA tests against his closest living descendants, it has also lurched to the surface a series of burning questions in a country where even arcane points of history are disputed with the gusto of modern-day politics.


What was the true nature of a king famously depicted by William Shakespeare as a twisted soul who locked his young nephews — and rivals to the throne — in the Tower of London, never to be heard from again? Did Shakespeare offer a fair accounting of historical record, or was the Bard the Karl Rove of his day, a spin doctor for the House of Tudor that assumed power after the monarch fell with fateful cries of “Treason!” at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485?


Whether the bones prove to be Richard’s or not, the discovery in September has already set academic journals, Web sites, university lecture circuits and the mainstream media abuzz across Britain, sparking intense and occasionally impolite exchanges. On the floor of the House of Commons, members of Parliament are eloquently clashing, with representatives from York — for whom Richard was the last hope against rival Lancastrians in the War of the Roses — demanding the restoration of his tarnished image. One organization of die-hard Richard III supporters (there are at least two) is running a national ad campaign to clear the king’s name.


There are even calls for a state funeral, giving the medieval king a send-off steeped in the pomp and circumstance of contemporary Britain.


[ . . . ]


Where to lay the bones?


Yet if the remains are indeed those of the long-lost sovereign — something archaeologists call extremely likely — it also raises a conundrum: Where to bury one of England’s most demonized characters?


Under Church of England protocol, the bones, should they prove to be Richard’s, appear destined to end up in the cathedral at Leicester, the city where the remains were found. But many insist they should instead go to the Anglican cathedral in York, the city where history suggests that he wanted to rest. Still others question whether burial should be in an Anglican cathedral at all, as he died a Roman Catholic, reigning by the grace of God and the pope.


Some of his staunchest backers — who paint him pious, brave and unyieldingly loyal to England — suggest that he deserves nothing less than a spot at Westminster Abbey, an honored resting place of legendary historical figures. But that option seems to have been quickly nipped in the bud by Queen Elizabeth II, who owes her own arrival on the royal stage to a chain of events set off by Richard’s death, which changed the course of history.


[ . . . ]


Questioning Tudor history


That bones were found at all is a testament to the tenacity of Richard’s supporters. After his death, the king’s body was interred at a Leicester monastery and became buried in time and memory. But earlier this year, screenwriter and Richard III aficionado Philippa Langley cobbled together $52,000 to finance what become a single-minded ambition: finding his remains.


After comparing ancient maps and modern city plans, a team of archaeologists at Leicester University pinpointed possible locations of the old monastery and had a stroke of luck when the most likely site for Richard’s grave was found to be in a city parking lot. Spurred by the hope of tourism dollars, the city approved the dig, which in September uncovered the remains of a man — exactly where texts said the monarch was buried — who was of the right age and nourishment level and who had suffered battle trauma and spine damage.


DNA tests against a Canadian descendant of Richard’s eldest sister should be completed early next year. Yet even if the remains turn out not to be his, Richard III supporters have nevertheless already succeeded in provoking a nation to rethink his legacy.


“So much of what we know about him currently is wrong, and in the past we accepted the Tudor version of history unquestionably,” she said. “But not anymore.” 


Indeed, for historians and Shakespearean scholars the find has also dug up the centuries-old debate over a much-maligned monarch.


Experts say there are few objective depictions of Richard III from his reign. Rather, his legacy was built largely on “Tudor propaganda,” including Polydore Vergil’s landmark “Anglica Historia” and the works of John Rous, who assured the medieval world that Richard III had been born with teeth and hair after two years in his mother’s womb.


What is clear is this: After decades of war between rival houses, Richard III became the last king of England to fall on the battlefield, slain while defending his crown against a marauding upstart backed by France. That upstart, Henry VII, seeded a House of Tudor that over a century would break with the Vatican, humble mighty Spain and usher in a golden age of British arts, enlightenment and power.


Analysis of the bones may also suggest the extent to which Shakespeare and early historians — upon whose accounts the writer drew — took creative license with the king’s appearance. He was described in Shakespeare’s “Richard III” as a hunchback “so lamely and unfashionable that dogs” barked at him as he went by. But the remains found in Leicester instead suggest a man with a less-dramatic curvature of the spine, likely from scoliosis.


Even Richard III backers tend to acknowledge that he is guilty of locking up the “princes in the tower” — his two nephews, 12 and 9, who were declared illegitimate so he could seize the throne after the death of his brother Edward IV. But the scant, unclear evidence of their fate — especially whether he took the step of having them killed — is now facing its deepest scrutiny in the better part of 500 years.


[ . . . ]


Play Length


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0477  Monday, 26 November 2012


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

     Date:         November 24, 2012 8:18:08 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Play Length 


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

     Date:         November 25, 2012 12:02:58 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Play Length 


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

     Date:         November 25, 2012 1:18:43 AM EST

     Subject:     Play Length, A Speculative Excursion 


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

     Date:         November 26, 2012 12:14:56 PM EST

     Subject:     Play Length String, The Ball Continues Rolling 




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

Date:         November 24, 2012 8:18:08 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Play Length


Steve Urkowitz writes: “why-oh-why, oh pray tell me why did this luftmensch-impractical author with literary aspirations actually fail to get half of all his plays into print?”


A simple explanation why Shakespeare did not get everything into print may be the same reason why so many other writers do not publish every single thing they write. They may simply feel that some of their other material do not match up in standard with those they do publish.


Kenneth Chan



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

Date:         November 25, 2012 12:02:58 AM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Play Length


>It’s not as if he didn’t have experience AND easy contacts 

>with printers. Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece

>demonstrate that he could generate literature with the best 

>of them out there. This is the same guy who could negotiate 

>with the Heraldry office for a coat of arms, who made big 

>bucks as one of the sharers in the most successful theatrical 

>troupe in London and as one of the owners of the Globe, 

>and who dealt in commodities and real estate back home.


And who was probably a close personal friend of fellow Stratfordian Richard Field, one of the most successful printers in London.  Field printed both V&A and R/L, as well as the 1601 edition of Love’s Martyr, containing The Phoenix and Turtle. They were close enough for Shakespeare to pun on his name in Cym, IV.ii.377, where Imogen tells Lucius that she is “Richard du Champ”.)



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

Date:         November 25, 2012 1:18:43 AM EST

Subject:     Play Length, A Speculative Excursion


Steve Urkowitz writes: 


“Erne and others are confident that Shakespeare wrote his too-long scripts as literature to be appreciated by and passed down for discerning readers. Okay. So our Will is a little impractical, and he and the company had to perform extra labor to do that cutting. Sure. So the long versions would still be printed. Right.”


Next, Urkowitz poses a reasonable question for those thinking that Shakespeare wanted his ‘too-long’ plays to be read: 


“So then why-oh-why, oh pray tell me why did this luftmensch-impractical author with literary aspirations actually fail to get half of all his plays into print?”


One possible answer is that it was the theatre companies that held the rights to plays, having bought them from the authors (or author’s agents, or those who had ‘memorially reconstructed’ them from performing roles or seeing performances).  If theatre companies wanted to have plays published/printed, they first had to sell them to a publisher/printer who would register the plays with the Stationer’s Company (an organization of printers and publishers that held a monopoly of the printing trade) after which the plays could be published/printed.  


However, theatre companies had practical reasons for not wanting their plays published/printed.  As Stanley Wells has it (William Shakespeare, A Textual Companion):


“The beginning of a play’s transmission into print is its acquisition by a publisher or printer.  When a playwright sold a play to a company (for, usually, £5 to £8) he lost his rights in it, and in the normal course of events lost physical possession of at least one and perhaps all of his manuscripts of it.  A theatrical company preferred Londoners to pay their money for entry to the theatre rather than for purchase of a book; nor did it want other companies to acquire the text of a play (for which it had paid), and so become able to perform it in the provinces.  Consequently, playwrights were theoretically unable, and companies theoretically unwilling, to sell play scripts to publishers.”


Judy Prince



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

Date:         November 26, 2012 12:14:56 PM EST

Subject:     Play Length String, The Ball Continues Rolling


As with other strings, if you feel this is going on too long, please skip reading. And please come up with further aspects or repeat unanswered or inadequately answered questions. My own tenacity comes from having sat quietly for decades watching what I first thought was in innocent error mushroom into an entire entitlement program or real estate bubble of free-floating speculation. Weed-whacker hanging from my shoulder, I am trying to reclaim one segment of our overgrown lawn for the flowers (which are my favorites), the interestingly variant quarto and folio texts of Shakespeare's plays.


So, bzzzzzzzrrrrrrrrrrtttttttttttttttttt. Steve Roth asked, “Is Steve suggesting, does he think, that Shakespeare’s plays were always played uncut? Sometimes? Often? Occasionally? Did these proportions vary by venue and audience?”   


Great question that calls up important documents.  


First off, look at King Lear. A long version gets printed in 1608, shorter one gets printed 1623. (See my Shakespeare’s Revision of King Lear for the details.) Were they BOTH in the repertory of the King’s Men at the same time? Were they both staged? The Q1 title page says “As it was played before the Kings Maiestie at Whitehall vpon S.Stephans night in Christmas Hollidayes. By his Maiesties seruants playing vsually at the Gloabe on the Bancke-side.” Like the various two-hour citations for play length, just because the title page says “As it was played” doesn’t mean we can conclude that these very words were performed. But something recognizable as King Lear did happen. Did the actors have two versions ready to go? The Q text AND the shorter F version? Based on my personal experience working with amateur and professional performers, I don’t think so. 


An anecdote: One Saturday afternoon in the 1980s, along with Allan Dessen, Phyllis Gorfain, Audrey Stanley, Murph Swander, and Michael Warren, I did an “open workshop” with the five-actor ACTER- Actors from the London Stage troupe that was presenting Lear. We amused and alarmed them with chunks of the variant versions, which they played for us with truly astonishing engagement and enlightenment for the players themselves, the scholars, and the audience. Wheeee! Hooorah for Textual Scholarship! Isn’t this fun? But then at the following performance, the guy playing Lear “went up,” lost his place in his role and had to come “out of character,” stop, back up a bit to recover, and then go on. Twenty-five years later I still feel guilty because I believe (without ever having spoken to him about it) that he got lost and tangled and tripped up by the extra contradictory and incompatible versions he had ingested that very afternoon. Anecdote ain’t scientifically verifiable evidence, but . . . . that story along with my eight years working with a professional vocal-music ensemble that had in its repertory some frequently-repeated programs, some one-off programs, and some revivals-after-several-years-asleep programs, which taught me that unless there’s a strong reason and a big financial reward involved you don’t really want to fuss with the kinds of variants that show up in Shakespearean multiple-text plays. 


Lear in F and Hamlet in F both have “final” versions somewhat cut down (10%-ish) from their longest printed texts. And Othello has similar-length chunks added or cut, depending on who is doing the counting. But unlike what we can readily see in the Padua promptbooks, these Q-F cuts or additions aren’t designed to modify the plays to a standard length, nor would the versions they represent be easily alternated—see, for example, the Q2-F Hamlets  immediately prior to Ophelia’s mad entrance.  


But to Steve Roth, I’d say that if the King’s Men got a fat stipend to modify a play for the Court, then sure they might revise with to-order-composed prologue and epilogue, and by adding, or cutting, or both. But then (I want to believe, sans evidence) they’d go forward to keep solely the new version in their repertory rather than flip back to the earlier one. (Actually, my memory now tickles me about playhouse manuscripts described by Grace Ioppolo with markings for alternative presentations, but they may have been for different companies. Or—Help! – was that Leslie Thomson talking about The Two Merry Milke-Maids?) So, although they could have been juggling their versions, I wouldn’t.


David Frydrychowski suggests longer texts with redundancies were being performed at the Globe, with shorter versions done at the Blackfriars to a more attentive upper-class audience. My objections to the difficulties of having multiple versions “at play” at roughly the same time apply here as well.  Also, I get the feeling from the various enactments of plays-within-plays that Shakespeare didn’t think much of the kindness or attention-spans of those more aristocratic audiences he shows onstage in MND or LLL or Hamlet. By and large, a nasty and inattentive bunch o’ snots.  


And, in general, a comment (prompted by Bob Grumman’s mild speculations about uncut versions for private venues, shortened for the big houses) on the supposed incapacity of Shakespeare’s groundling audiences, wherever they might have been found: Notwithstanding, Hamlet’s snotty “caviar” remark (meant to position him as a tyro aristocrat-amateur talking about craft to seasoned professionals), as a kid myself from the groundling-class Bronx and distinctly non-caviar CCNY, I also believe that as time went on Shakespeare’s accumulating experience onstage with his actors AND with his evidently wildly disparate audiences seems to have led him to write more and more difficult and demanding and lengthy plays. Hence Antony & Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, and Henry VIII. It seems that he wrote to raise up the layers of civility and sensibility of his fellow actors and his audiences of every degree. That’s how morally conscious artists seem to work. So, do I take o-so-easily scornful slurs by modern critics against Shakespeare’s supposedly incapable working class audiences personally? F-ing aye, Jack .


“If you prick us . . . .?”  



Steve F-Urkowitz 

Q1 R&J


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0476  Monday, 26 November 2012


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

Date:         November 25, 2012 8:52:04 PM EST

Subject:     Q1 R&J


On 11/6 Steven Urkowitz had a suggestion for me about Q1 Romeo & Juliet:


> For R&J, he claims that “Q1 is the record of a performance,

> as a comparison of the prologues shows” . . . . Gerald can

> SAY . . . but in order for standers-by to believe him he really

> should do the showing. (I always told my writing students,

> “If you want someone to believe what you believe, show them

> what you saw that made you believe it yourself.”) Maybe Q1

> R&J indeed was performed as it appears in the printed text.


I will show some of what helped me to reach my conclusion and I’m willing to discuss all the evidence. I’ll also show how not to go about the evidence.


> Or a performance with quite different words and actions

> may have been badly transcribed and the transcriber

> accidentally and creatively came up with what we read in Q1.


Though it’s the only alternative to memory, transcription (accidental or creative), isn’t a promising explanation of a Q1 that’s manifestly corrupt, as is other early stolen Shakespeare. The bad quartos should never be wholly isolated; similar evidence added to the pile isn’t so easy to deny. Neither should the evidence I discuss be taken as the only evidence in Q1 R&J. Hoppe’s book is good, though it is flawed by his determination to fit the evidence to “memorial reconstruction” rather than to shorthand reporting. (The categories have a lot in common but are not mutually exclusive and I shouldn’t reject MR too hastily. I believe MR happened before shorthand reporting in a number of cases, such as Q1 Hamlet and A Shrew.)


Van Dam called Q1 R&J shorthand reporting (in an early article worth reading). Most editors acknowledge the memorial character of the text. Yet the authority most students consult in lieu of historical scholarship is probably Laurie Maguire’s Suspect Texts, wherein she pronounces Q1 “Not MR.” Among the criteria she lists is “External echoes: No” (301-2). Hoppe, however, cites quite a number of “Borrowings,” many of which I find convincing. Who’s right? How might one judge ‘echoes’ as evidence of reporting?


Maguire faults Hoppe’s examples as inconsequential. More important, she excludes (from consideration as evidence) possible authorial ‘self-echoes’, possible ‘non-self-echoes’ (authorial borrowings from other authors), common phrases, general resemblances, echoes of one line or less, and plain vocabulary. She recognizes the limits of her “suspect” analogy, where text is tried much as a lucky or rich criminal defendant, by excluding evidence: “Strictness . . . does not enable us to identify all plays reconstructed from memory” (165). Strictly speaking, all evidence should remain in play, “textual human rights” notwithstanding. The more text properly identified as memorial, the more reason to presume other “guilty” plays.


Maguire has been justly criticized (but not enough) for excluding “good” editions of the bad quartos as evidence. Q2 is indispensable for judging Q1 R&J; taking it off the table is not strictness, but tunnel-vision laxity. I propose a hard look at the ‘borrowing’ by analyzing Hoppe’s suggested instances together with the Q2 evidence. External echoes? Yes.


Maguire on Hoppe’s method: “the alleged borrowings frequently appear only in Q1 R&J; when they feature in both Q1 and Q2, the Q1 phrasing tends to be closer to that of the putative source [another Shakespeare text] than to Q2. However, variance and/or partial agreement may stem from causes other than memorial reconstruction” (161).


Maguire doesn’t take Q2 into account in forming her own opinion of Q1 (alternative texts are purposely ignored by her methodology), nor does she cite from Hoppe any Q2 counterparts to Q1 echoes of other plays (which aren’t themselves alleged borrowings). It’s not enough that there “may be other causes” than borrowing; the investigator’s responsibility is to rate causes (in general, since proposed instances vary in value).


From Hoppe's 161-5.


TA 3.1.156

And that shall be the ransom for their fault.


R&J 1.1.90

Q1 Your lives shall pay the ransom of your fault.

Q2 Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.


Q2 does not echo TA. If Q1 is an early version with an authorial self-borrowing, why should this be revised? Why any of the others? The evidence is not merely in the echo, but in the suggestiveness of a Q2 line that could induce the echo from the actor’s stock-in-trade memory, simply by the ‘cue’ of the first half of the line. Multiple instances add up to conviction that Hoppe is right and exclusion of evidence is mistaken. The echo is short but meaningful; why toss it out? Because we insist on an alternative, a priori explanation?


By itself this instance isn’t proof of memorial transmission. It possibly has another cause, as Gabriel Egan might point out (if memory serves). Is that a reason to ignore evidence? Exclusion allows other exclusions and allows the treatment of corroborative evidence in isolation.


2 Gents, 1.2.60   And how stand you affected to his wish?


Q1  how stand you affected to be married?

Q2  How stands your dispositions to be married?


2 Gents  5.4.26   How like a dream is this I see and hear.


Q1  All this is but a dream I hear and see,

Q2  Being in night, all this is but a dream,


2 Gents   . . . a ladder quaintly made of cords.


Q1  I must provide a ladder made of cords.

Q2  To fetch a ladder by the which your love


2 Gents  How he her chamber-window will ascend


Q1  Ascend her chamber-window, hence and comfort her

Q2  Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her


Q1 mis-remembers, with a little help from 2 Gents. Though Q2 doesn't borrow, a word or two is enough to direct the player to another line in his memory. He wouldn't skip a beat, but notice that 'chamber-window' adds a couple, which in iambic pentameter is corruption.


R3  Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity.


Q1  O peace for shame, if not for charity.

Q2  Peace ho, for shame, confusion's care lives not


Again Q1 is led astray. The essence of the pattern is not that words in common show up in Q2 and elsewhere, which is going to happen in any dialogue, but that they shake out other dialogue from the memory tree. The examples of borrowing that haven’t counterparts in Q2 (suspected echoes added to a parent text) are corroborated by the Q2-reinforced instances. A last interesting echo:


R3 1.4.16-18:  As we paced along (Q2-8 passed)

Upon the giddy footing of the latches

Methought that Gloucester stumbled.


R&J 5.3.77 & 126:


Q1  Did not regard him as we passed along

       . . .

      Stumbled at graves as I did pass along


Q2  Did not attend him as we rode? I think

       . . . 

       Have my old feet stumbled at graves. Who's there?


The first line in each quarto is Romeo’s, the second the Friar’s. An MR reporter might be responsible for passing along ‘pass along,’ but each player in performance could make the same error. Yet a scribe is not being creative here, nor would he have reason to be. This is memory, one way or the other; the coincidence of ‘stumble’ in R3 and R&J is of no account until memory associates the word with ‘pass along.’ In the first instance Gloucester stumbles aboard-ship (in a dream), whereas the Friar is remarking the bad omen of stumbling over graves.


Q2 proves the Q1 borrowings. Anyone disposed to deny them must also deny the evidence of memory in other categories. For example, Hoppe lists numerous transpositions (he counts 85):


Q1  thou resemblest a sea, a bark, a storm.

Q2  Thou counte[r]feits a bark, a sea, a wind.


Though a scribe or compositor might occasionally transpose words or phrases, that can’t explain Q1 numbers. Maguire’s take: “transposition is of no value in diagnosing memorial reconstruction” (194). That is a mistake, given all the evidence—and all the other evidence. Consider R&J 1.4.9 & 33, 24 lines apart:


Q1  A torch for me, I am not for this ambling

       . . .

      Give me a torch; let the wantons light of heart


Q2  Give me a torch, I am not for this ambling

       . . .

       A torch for me; let wantons light of heart


A scribe or compositor could not transpose the requests for a torch. But the actor portraying Romeo could, and probably did. Transposition at a distance is as telling as “anticipation,” which itself abounds in Q1:


2.5.5-6 and 5.1.67-68


Q1  And run more swift than hasty powder fired

      Doth hurry from the fearful cannon's mouth.

      . . .

      As suddenly as powder being fired

      From forth a cannon's mouth.


Q2  Which ten times faster glides than the sun's beams

       Driving back shadows over lowering hills.

       . . .

       As violently as hasty powder fired

       Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb.


It is of course possible that Shakespeare used the same image twice in an early version, but that argument would have to be repeated for each of the numerous anticipations.


1.5.131-133 and 3.4.6-7, 34


Q1  I promise you, but for your company,

       I would have been abed an hour ago.

       Light my chamber, ho.


Q2  More torches here; come on, then; let's to bed.

       Ah, sirrah, by my fay it waxes late;

       I'll to my rest.

       . . .

       I promise you, but for your company,

       I would have been abed an hour ago.

       . . .

       Farewell my lord. Light my chamber, ho.


Hoppe notes, “Because it is the most substantial . . . anticipation in Q1 this variant has caught the attention of scholars, and because Capulet is the speaker, it has led some to identify the actor as a reporter. In so doing, they have failed to perceive that it is merely the most distinctive member of a large family.” In a shorthand report every player “reports” his own role. That causes problems for the MR mind-set, but Hoppe is right about one thing here; anticipation is a convincingly large category in Q1. The alternative (compositors and scribes eliminated) is that our author went through an early play (Q1, somehow a travesty of his later Q2 version) swapping phrases by the kilo (anticipations, recollections, transpositions, and repetitions) for no apparent reason. We can’t blame Shakespeare where it suits us and creative compositors where it don’t.


I wouldn’t characterize these examples as a berg-tip since the corrupt Q1 is wholly visible and described elsewhere. The memorial evidence is overwhelming in every category. I’m even impressed by the probable Chettle-meddling in Q1 because he and his print-pals were instrumental in the publication of sermons taken by shorthand. He also was in on the theft by shorthand of John of Bordeaux.


Now if the shorthand cats are let out of the bag there’s no getting them back in; therefore—to textualize the Matthau logic—don’t let them out. Is that really better than coming to grips with the evidence? I will go about R&J in a different way next time, but the results will be the same.


Gerald E. Downs

Blood Question


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0475  Monday, 26 November 2012


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

Date:         November 24, 2012 10:43:42 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Blood?


I’m definitely no expert on Elizabethan stage blood (I’m not sure, for example, what a “sheep’s gather” is), but I wonder if “3 viols of blood” might leave the word “stage” understood. In greeting ready for my spring production of Hamlet, my designer and I have talked about the need for blood. Both of us know we’re talking about stage blood, so there’s no need to state.  So, I’m not sure that the use of the word (even connected to sheep’s gather—is that a container for the blood?) means that the animal’s blood was used. It might, but I suspect not. 


C. David Frankel

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