CFP: Special Issue of Shakespeare: A Journal

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.157  Tuesday, 18 April 2017


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

Date:         April 17, 2017 at 5:15:23 PM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Special Issue of Shakespeare: A Journal 


Call for Papers


For a special issue of Shakespeare: A Journal, marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, we are inviting submissions of reviews, to be published in the Performance section of the journal, in which the reviewer, who is experienced in Marxist Shakespearean criticism, reviews a current Shakespeare theatrical production, film or other form of performance, broadly defined, using a lens that may include historicising, contextualising socially and economically, close-reading form, and reading dialectically. Reference to the situation in our contemporary world as part of the overall argument would be welcome as well. 


The proposed length for the reviews is variable and negotiable – with an upper limit of 4000 words. It will depend on how the Performance section comes together. Some reviews might be short (around the 500-1000 word count), while others might require more space to do their job.  


Send proposals including details about the production under consideration for review by May 31, 2017, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Final versions will be due at the end of Sept 2017.


—Hugh Grady




Roadshow Commonplace Book

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.156  Monday, 17 April 2017


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

Date:         April 16, 2017 at 12:07:13 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Commonplace Book


Re: Roadshow Commonplace Book


There are a number of seventeenth-century manuscripts with Shakespearean quotations in them. These range from:

  • the earliest, which generally include Shakespeare among other poetic or literary material (such as Edward Pudsey’s famous commonplace book with lines that were likely copied during a performance of Othello)
  • to the mid-century, where we have a handful of manuscripts devoted entirely to copying parts from plays, including Shakespeare’s (like Abraham Wright’s miscellany, where he quoted from and commented on Hamlet and Othello, but overall, preferred James Shirley)
  • to the late seventeenth century, where Shakespeare starts to gain prominence over other playwrights of his day, in manuscripts like BL MS Lansdowne 1185, an entirely Shakespearean miscellany composed ca. 1700.

If you’re interested in the contexts of people copying parts from early modern plays, I have an entire book on the phenomenon, Dramatic Extracts in Seventeenth-Century English Manuscripts ( The book focuses on plays written before 1642 and their reception as registered in manuscripts from 1600-1700.


I agree with Judith and the many other wise commentators on social media who suggest the Roadshow manuscript is not likely a manuscript copied in Shakespeare's lifetime. It could, however, be one more piece in the larger puzzle that is reception history. I look forward to hearing how and if this will be made available to scholars.


Laura Estill




April 21 Conference at UPenn: In-Quarto, A Symposium on Formats and Meanings in Early Modern England and Spain

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.155  Monday, 17 April 2017


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

Date:         April 14, 2017 at 2:41:29 PM EDT

Subject:    April 21 Conference at UPenn: In-Quarto, A Symposium on Formats and Meanings in Early Modern England and Spain 



A Symposium on Formats and Meanings in Early Modern England and Spain


Friday, April 21, 2017, 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM


Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, sixth floor, rooms 626-627

University of Pennsylvania

3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 

Free and open to the public (please show photo ID at entrance). Advance registration requested.


Full program and registration:


This day-long symposium will bring scholars of Spanish Golden Age and English Renaissance literature into dialogue through focused investigation of a dominant publication form that their dramatic literatures share: the quarto. The English play quarto and the Spanish pliego suelto are composed in quarto gatherings: printed sheets folded twice to make four leaves. The Spanish author Lope de Vega even used this format in the composition process of his dramatic manuscripts. What can we learn from a comparison of quarto publications, across languages and cultural contexts? How did quarto publication shape genres other than drama? Symposium participants will engage directly with books and manuscripts from Kislak Center collections. 


Participants: Michael Agnew (Pine Tree Foundation/New York University), Laura Aydelotte (University of Pennsylvania), Claire Bourne (Pennsylvania State University), Roger Chartier (Collège de France/University of Pennsylvania), Steve Vásquez Dolph (University of Pennsylvania), Margaret Greer (Duke University), Seth Kimmel (Columbia University), Zachary Lesser (University of Pennsylvania), Marissa Nicosia (Pennsylvania State University), Victor Sierra Matute (University of Pennsylvania), Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania)


Questions and information:

John Pollack, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Texts of King Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.154  Friday, 14 April 2017


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

     Date:         April 13, 2017 at 11:28:31 PM EDT

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: Texts of King Lear


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

     Date:         April 14, 2017 at 2:26:12 AM EDT

     Subj:         Re: Texts of King Lear




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

Date:         April 13, 2017 at 11:28:31 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Texts of King Lear


Extracting pure essence of Shakespeare from the available texts, while

assigning parts to other writers, with the aid of word-counting

algorithms, has limits beyond its need for long samples. Just because

a section sounds like Marlowe, that doesn’t mean Shakespeare didn’t

write it. He could have been mimicking Marlowe—and others—whether

consciously or not.


Even if Marlowe wrote parts, the plays have Shakespeare’s name on

them. Why would we not think that Shakespeare sketched a play out,

maybe even revised a co-writer’s work in places—and at any rate

approved of the whole?


When it comes to editing, I would say the essential truth of

Shakespeare is beauty. Why else do we concentrate on him? Editors

should take a stand, choosing from the variants the most beautiful

reading and giving reasons for their choice. Beyond that you might

follow Rowse and substitute words, or go further and revise the plays

to improve them—if you could. But that becomes something else. For now

I would just go for arguable truth and maximum beauty. Use

constructive criticism to construct the best Shakespeare you can.


A good teacher can bring Shakespeare to life whatever the approach,

but the virtue of pluralism can be variously interpreted. Steve

Urkowitz’s students, diving into the weeds with him, spend time

considering different versions of one play which they could spend

discussing other questions, or other plays. In Steve’s case, nothing

may be lost, but I think teaching the best text—in the teacher’s

view—as if it were the play itself would work better as a general

rule. At least in doing what I think should be the first thing:

inspiring students to become not scholars, but lovers, of Shakespeare.



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

Date:         April 14, 2017 at 2:26:12 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: Texts of King Lear


I’ve chosen text indicating varied reasons to conclude that Q1 compositors initially omitted a lot of verse lines. Adding review citations makes for a long post. Blayney finishes his criticism of Vickers’s One Lear chapter, “Okes Abridges It”:


As the chapter wears on we come to more extensive Folio-only passages, including one thirteen lines long that fails to appear on D2v. Here we are told that “as with the previous passages considered, it is clear that the need for space . . . motivated Okes to cut these lines” (156–7). But . . . to claim that there is “bibliographical evidence of systematic cutting” is a blatant misuse of terminology. (Blayney, 94)


Blayney had explained F’s additional “D2v” lines as non-Shakespearian revision helping intentional F omissions (of Q1 text) to “emasculate” Albany (64 – 5). Although One Lear’s “bibliographical misuse” occurs at p. 130, Blayney suggests that Vickers applies the term to his whole chapter. Textual analysis (faulty or not) bears the brunt of Lear investigation, call it what you may. What bothers me about Sir Brian’s 1.4 ‘omission discussion’ is his statement that Q1 “simply omits thirteen lines” (156). 


Stone concludes the lines are eyeskip omission recovered in F from Q1 printer’s copy. Neither Vickers nor Blayney mentions that, yet Stone may be right. If so, Okes couldn’t restore thirteen lines to D2v and they aren’t revision but belated correction of Q1; bibliography may contribute.


For the majority of Vickers’s alleged cuts there is not an iota of physical evidence on the Quarto’s pages to suggest that those words or lines existed in the manuscript copy in 1608. The fact that they were present in a different manuscript fifteen years later does not in any way alter that. Textual hypotheses and bibliographical evidence belong to entirely different species. (Blayney, 94)


Majority allows exceptions. “Alleged cuts” depend on second presences; that’s “physical evidence,” as it occupies the same location in F as (tautologically) in Q. Whether an addition itself suggests omission is a textual question. However, any hypothesis, whatever its inspiration, may account for unexpected iotas, and vice versa. I’ll test Q1 verse for omission:


     Glost. Good friend I prithy take him in thy armes,

I haue or’e heard a plot of death vpon him,

Ther is a Litter ready lay him in’t,& driue towards Douer frend,

Where thou shalt meet both welcome& protection,take vp [thy

Ifthou should’st dally half an houre,his life with thine   (master,

And all that offer to defend him stand in assured losse,

Take vp] the King and followe me, that will to some provision

Giue thee quicke conduct. (Q1 3.6.95–104, G4v 7–14)


Lines G4v 9–14 comprise seven verse lines as crowded prose, with no need to save paper. Yet within three lines, spaces are eliminated five times, two ampersands appear, ‘in’t’ is elided, ‘Ther’ and ‘frend’ are so spelt only here, and ‘master’ is turned down. These features indicate restoration of three verse lines. Having set or read ‘take vp’, the compositor’s eye fell on the second ‘take vp’ and he omitted copy from ‘thy master . . . through ‘assured losse,’ and one ‘take vp’. Regularized (as copy may have read), the text should be:


There is a Litter ready, lay him in it,

And driue towards Douer friend, where thou shalt meet

Both welcome and protection, take vp* [thy master,

If thou should’st dally half an houre, his life

With thine and all that offer to defend him

Stand in assured losse, take vp] the King

And followe me, that will to some provision

       (G4v 9 . . . omission bracketed)


*As this line is extrametrical, I now think the eyeskip was from ‘take’ to ‘take’; that ‘vp’ “originally” followed only the second occurrence; and that its “recovery” here is a miscorrection.   


When foul proofing caught the error, four lines were adjusted to accommodate the restoration. Readers should watch for eyeskip, both in Q1 and the F reprint. Evidence takes different forms; from Q1, F1v to the top of F2r (2.4.210–215):


A  No rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse (Q1)

B  To wage against the enmitie of the Ayre,

C  To be a Comrade with the Woolfe and owle,

D  Necessities sharpe pinch, returne with her,


Blayney points out that because “the transposed lines both begin with ‘To’ . . . it would have been extremely easy for the compositor to omit one of them by eyeskip.” (Vickers, 33; Blayney, V.1, 215).


Q1 copy would read:


A  No rather I abiure all roofes, and chuse

C  To [be a Comrade with the Woolfe and [h]owle,

To] wage against the enmitie of the Ayre,

D  Necessities sharpe pinch, returne with her,


After setting A, although the compositor knew his next line began with ‘to’, his eye(s) fell on B and line C was omitted. C was restored to a full F1v. Had D stayed there, the catchword on the right margin [‘Why’] would be moved to line 40—two lines below the text of F2r38 (the neighboring page). Blayney plausibly guesses D was moved to F2r so the ‘new’ catchword, ‘Necessities’, at F1v39 would look marginally nicer abutting F2r39.


The compositor miscorrected to put B above C, as Q1, Q2, & F repeat. Editors infer omission from the switch, which also explains F1v’s 39 lines. Reversing inferences, The 39 Steps iotally indicate restoration and miscorrection.


    Fran. Is it no more but this, a tardines in nature,

That [often leaues the historie vnspokethat] it intends to

My Lord of Burgundie,what say you to the Lady?     ( do,

Loue is [not loue when it is] mingled with respects that

Aloofe from the intire point wil you haue her?     (stãds

She is her selfe and dowre.  (Q1, 1.1.237 – 243)


The verse seemingly bellies up to an early “quotation quad.” Why? Space is no issue; the pentameters aren’t long. I mark possible eyeskip omissions from ‘that’ to ‘that’ and from ‘is’ to ‘is’ to show how ready chances may occur. Something must explain crowded verse justified to artificial margins (bibliographical facts that both need and provide reasons).


At the bottom of D4v (2.1), Regan’s dialogue precedes Gloster’s reply on F1r:


Lay comfortes to your bosome,& bestow your needful councell

To our business,which craues the instant vse.                  (Exeunt.


Glost. I serue you Madam,your Graces are right welcome.

                          Enter Kent, and Steward. (2.2)


Obviously, ‘Exeunt’ applies also to Gloster, whose prefix beginning F1r is the catchword, and who has no exit (after addressing nobody). I guess eyeskip from the first ‘your’ to the third (or some such); restoring the resultant omission drove Gloster’s reply to F1r. ‘Exeunt’ was left on D4v in error, where it originally followed Gloster’s last line. Misplaced exits cross between textual and bibliographical evidence.


Rather than to extend an indefinite list of (more or less probable) omissions noticeable in Q1 verse, I’ve paged to a new (for me) example of eyeskip ubiquity. At 5.1.55 – 62 (K3v), Edmund evaluates the ladies:


    Bast. To both these sister haue I sworne my loue,

Each iealous of the other as the sting are of the Adder,

Which of them shall I take, both [one or neither,neither can bee

If both] remaine aliue, to take the widdow                         (inioy’d

Exasperates,makes mad her sister Gonorill,

And hardly shall I cary out my side

Her husband being aliue . . .


(Consulting the Internet Shakespeare “alternate” (BM2) facsimile, one will find better punctuation:


. . . both, one, or neither; neither can bee inioy’d

If both remaine aliue; to take the widdow

Exasperates,makes mad her sister Gonorill;  F omits these lines: to masculate G&R?).


There’s no seriatim reason for three lines printed as two with a turn-down. Both boths share blame if neither neither got printed. Steevens(?) suggests Goneril and Edmund expected Albany to meet them en route (4.2), where he would be rubbed out. Now that Regan is widowed, Edmund needn’t ‘cary out’ the murder. He’s not “desperate” (Foakes); he’s a Star. I punctuate closer to Q (and BM2):


    Bast. To both these sisters haue I sworne my loue,

Each iealous of the other as the stung

Are of the Adder: which of them shall I take,

Both, [one, or neither, neither can bee inioy’d

If both] remaine aliue. To take the widdow                          

Exasperates, makes mad her sister Gonorill,

And hardly shall I cary out my side,

Her husband being aliue . . .


Last, Blayney notes that “G2r, like F2r, contains 39 lines. . . . The fact that each . . . is the third page of a sheet is, I suspect, the joint result of a coincidence and a choice. The coincidence lay in the discovery of an omitted line in the first half of [F2] and the choice was to lengthen a recto rather than a verso. I have been unable to find any evidence to suggest what may have been omitted and restored . . .” (Vol. 1, 216)


Restoration won’t always give itself away, especially in justified text; but Blayney correctly infers repair from a lonesome bibliographical fact (39 lines). On G1v and G2r, numerous opportunities arise for error, as distance from the extra line isn’t a factor. A repair may be incomplete or revised; it may cause other text to be revised or supplanted; or it may be foregone to keep to 38 lines. In an ostensively corrected reprint, one may ask whether F text added at that very spot sheds light on such a sequence, or whether it is “coincidental” revision. That question will come up on examining the prose eyeskips, where no room was available for restoration until a corrected edition was printed.


Gerald E. Downs




Roadshow Commonplace Book

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.153  Friday, 14 April 2017


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

Date:         April 13, 2017 at 9:46:23 PM EDT

Subject:    Notebook


The episode of Antiques Roadshow (UK) which featured this notebook aired I think on April 2; I have not seen an airing on a North American network. When I heard about it I looked up various newspaper reports, and checked out Matthew Haley, the assessor. The best news report I found is that from the Telegraph, which consists almost entirely of direct quotation from Haley. Others (Mirror, Mail, Express, etc.--but not Guardian) get increasingly inaccurate and sensational. Haley is quoted as saying “As far as I could see the author was writing down quotes, passages or phrases that he liked.” He also speculates that the author might have read “one of the first four printed editions of Shakespeare” by which I suppose he means the four folios, thereby suggesting that the date of the notebook is post 1685 (certainly not in Shakespeare’s lifetime, as one journalist suggests).


Most of what Haley said, as reported by the Telegraph but stripped of hyperbole, indicates that this is a type of commonplace book. If this is so, then it may well, as he suggests, contain quotations from other authors besides Shakespeare. He does not indicate that there are comments on the quotations, and it seems to me unlikely that these jottings could be considered early editorial activity, or reveal anything about multiple authorship of the plays, or even plausible variant readings.


A printed work that might be considered comparable (though more extensive) is Josua Poole’s The English Parnassus (1657), containing many quotations from a long list of authors including Shakespeare. My husband Dick Kennedy enjoyed exploring Poole’s choices, and published a couple of articles identifying the quotations from Herbert before becoming unable to bring any other material into form. Poole’s quotations do not always agree with printed texts, but I do not think anyone would argue that he was proposing variants or had access to manuscript or other sources, or was engaging in the editorial activity of establishing or even “improving” texts.


I look forward to hearing the opinion on this notebook of someone expert in 17th century manuscripts and literature, and Shakespeare.


Judith Kennedy

St Thomas University





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