The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.052  Saturday, 9 February 2019

 

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

     Date:         February 8, 2019 at 6:14:03 PM EST

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

 

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

     Date:         February 9, 2019 at 9:00:00 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS 

 

 

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

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

Date:         February 8, 2019 at 6:14:03 PM EST

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

 

NOS, Shakespearean multiple-text plays, and the “band-width” of textual information

 

Gabriel Egan announces the forthcoming NOS publication of its COMPLETE ALTERNATIVE VERSIONS volume. I hope they are thinking about the potential users of their volume. I very much hope the Press plans a series of facing-page parallel texts, marked to signal the different staging possibilities where they are, indicated by the alternative scripts. Otherwise they’ll be yet another exercise in obscurity. Experienced scholars actors, directors, and newbie first-time readers have difficulty visualizing—“realizing” the plans laid out schematically in scripted words and stage directions—in even a well-edited single-play text. Parallel columns and sign-posted differences should greatly aid visualization and comparison. 

 

Gabriel Egan skips over the substance of my post, however. I would still like to hear from our statistically-fluent comrades-in-scholarship about when they run their tests on those earlier-printed quarto versions of Shakespeare’s plays. Thomas V.N. Merriam and Robert A. J. Matthews in “Neural Computation in Stylometry II: An Application to the Works of Shakespeare and Marlowe,” LITERARY AND LINGUISTIC COMPUTING, 9.1 (1994), 1-6, came up with the interesting result that the Folio-only passages of 2H6 plots out much more Shakespearean than the Quarto-only passages, which lean more towards the Marlovian end of whatever scale they used. This ought to lead us to think about the dynamics and the directions of alteration. More testing of those “bad quartos,” please. Moving on as if this ain’t a problem just invites obscurity and continuing error.

 

I still wait for a response to my questions about the distribution of hendyadis in HAMLET Q1 and Q2. and the “destructive wind” images found solely in the Folio versions of both the Shakespearean and the Marlovian scenes of 2 & 3 H VI. My theory is that the six instances in Q1 and the sixty-six in Q2 and the windy chunks of F 2&3 H VI result from Shakespeare revising the earlier printed into the later-printed forms. The current belief that the early-printed versions somehow were generated without authorial intervention after Q2 (and thus the wind-image-and-hendyadis-extraction-engines aren’t relevant to an authorship study) is supportable only if you tippee-toe around these big chunks o’ evidence (and many other similar).  

 

Debaters are really good at such light-footed dancing. Thomas Kuhn, THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS, shows how scientists have the very same problem. And the “brain-function” studies on the persistence of error as a basic structural problem built into our cerebral machinery show the same-same.

 

So I suggest that a hopeful path is to bring those unedited texts into your classrooms and rehearsals. Have fresh eyes look at ‘em with the tools of theatrical production—reading words aloud and walking through indicated actions. You’ll be astonished at the powers of observation of engaged students and actors. My publications point to specific scenes and passages that you’ll find helpful. Try, for instance, 2H6 1.1, with Q offering a seated king and modest queen when the standing nobles greet her, and the Folio offers an upright king and bold queen standing with nobles kneeling. (Of course, be sure you aren’t using the slightly older Oxford edition where the editors come up with a script calling for the modest queen to be sitting as in Q and, following F, the nobles to be kneeling as well. That’s called editorial flattening of stagecraft.) 

 

Whilst we wait for the NOS alternative texts, I am happy to send out to any interested people a set of my prepared parallel texts for chunks of the H6 plays, R&J, HAMLET, MERRY WIVES, and LEAR with annotations.   

 

Joys of Valentine’s Day to all,

 

Steve Parallelowitz

 

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

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

Date:         February 9, 2019 at 9:00:00 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

 

Just when you thought it was safe to come out from behind the sofa...I’d like to mention briefly a further resource now available to people who have read our discussion of the function word adjacency networks method (by which the NOS editors disintegrated Henry VI). 

 

In my previous posts I drew on my own article, recently published in ANQ, in which I criticised the method. That article is deliberately non-technical, and I kept out of it my objections to the mathematics behind the method, which I consider to be quite unsuited for use with early modern plays.

 

I have now put those objections online (www.shakespearestext.com/wan.htm). I hope some people will be interested enough to read them there (hint: use Reader View in your browser if you are reading on a computer rather than on your phone or tablet).

 

 

 

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