Texts of King Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.207  Thursday, 13 July 2017


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

Date:         July 4, 2017 at 7:57:17 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: Texts of King Lear


These are my last posts on Q1 2.4 and its F additions (blue) and alterations (red), from the Blayney/Stone/Vickers continuum. I had intended shorter, separate analyses. I appreciate Hardy's patience: 


                             Enter Lear and Gloster.

   Lear. Denie to speake with mee, th'are sicke, th'are

They traueled hard to night, meare Iustice fetches, (weary,

I the Images of reuolt and flying off,

Fetch mee a better answere.

   Glost. My deere Lord, you know the fierie qualitie of the

Duke, how vnremoueable and fixt he is in his owne Course.  90

Lear. Vengeance, death Plague, plague Death, confusion, what fierie quality,

Fiery? What quality?

why Gloster, Gloster, id'e speake with the Duke of Cornewall, and [E4v, outer]

his wife.

   [Glo.  Well my good Lord, I haue inform’d them so.

    Lear. Inform’d them? Do’st thou vnderstand me man.]

   Glost. I my good Lord.

   Lear. The King would speak with Cornewal, the deare father

Would with his daughter speake, commands her , tends, seruice,

[Are they inform’d of this? My breath and blood:]

Fierie Duke, tell the hot Duke that Lear,                                100

Fiery? The fiery Duke, tell the hot Duke that ---------

. . .

Goe Tell the Duke and's wife, Ile Il’d speake with them

Now presently, bid them come forth and heare me,

Or at their chamber doore ile beat the drum,

Till it cry sleepe to death.

   Glost. I would haue all well betwixt you.

   Lear. O me my heart, my rising heart. But downe.

   Foole. Cry to it Nunckle, as the Cokney did to the eeles, when

she put vm it h pâst aliue, she rapt vm knapt ‘em ath coxcombs with a stick,

and cryed downe wantons downe, twas her brother, that in pure 120

kindnes to his horse buttered his hay.


Earlier I’ve discussed both my agreement with Blayney on F’s derivation of ‘Fiery? The fiery Duke’ from Q miscorrection and my inference that F’s ‘commands, tends, seruice’ conflates Qu’s ‘come and tends seruise’ with Q2’s ‘commands her seruice’(from Qc). Uncorrected Q1 intended come and tend’s, just as ‘the Duke and’s wife’ means and his. F is understandably helpless in printing house mix-ups resulting in two faulty versions from which to choose.


Stone posits Gloster’s and Lear’s F additions as augmenting ‘I my good Lord.’ “That [the initial two] lines did not belong to the original text is shown by their association with the next addition . . . to suppose that both passages were omitted from Q would be virtually to assume a method and purpose in the omissions” (241). But if a separate Q omission had to be restored, the three lines would not be missed (by readers) if removed to obtain space. For example, eyeskip from one ‘Cornewall’ to the other would also omit two of the added F lines; removal of a third (‘Are they inform’d . . .’) allows room for a partial Q foul proof restoration. Some such accident and repair explains otherwise unlikely “revision” in the running stream of corruption in an obvious reprint. It’s not as if the lines couldn’t belong: expendable in a pinch, they were recovered in F; or so my hypothesis goes.



My last on Lear 2.4; Vickers’s One Lear led Blayney to impart his long-withheld conclusions on Q1 printing, which actually support Sir Brian’s hypothesis that Q printer’s copy was more like a Q/F conflation than recently supposed. Special circumstances in printing and reprinting a report indicate that F restored Q omissions. Upcoming editions (Variorum & Oxford) will probably stick to mistaken assumptions and resultant theories but a full statement of probabilities can wait on their publication. Q1 2.4:   


                                    . . . no you vnnaturall hags,

I will haue such reuenges on you both,

That all the world shall, I will doe such things,

What they are yet I know not, but they shalbe

The terrors of the earth, you thinke ile weepe, [F3r, outer]

No ile not weepe, I haue full cause of weeping,   280

But this heart shall breake, in a 100. thousand flowes

Or ere ile weepe, O foole I shall goe mad.

                      Exeunt Lear, Leister, Kent, and Foole.

   Duke. Let vs withdraw, twill be a storme.

   Reg. This house is little the old man and his people,

Cannot be well bestowed.

   Gon. Tis his own blame hath put himselfe from rest,

And must needs tast his folly.

   Reg. For his particuler, ile receiue him gladly,

But not one follower.                                                           290

   Duke. Gon. So am I puspos'd, where is my Lord of Gloster?            Enter Glo.

   Reg. Corn. Followed the old man forth, he is return'd.

   Glo. The King is in high rage, & wil I know not whe-    293

   Re. Corn. Tis good best to giue him way, he leads himselfe.(ther.


  [Glo. The King is in high rage.

   Corn. Whether is he going?

   Glo.  He cals to Horse, but will I know not whether.]   


   Gon. My Lord, intreat him by no meanes to stay.

   Glo. Alack the night comes on, and the bleak winds

Do sorely russel, for many miles about ther's not scarce a bush.

   Reg. O sir, to wilfull men

The iniuries that they themselues procure,        300

Must be their schoolemasters, shut vp your doores,

He is attended with a desperate traine,

And what they may incense him to, being apt,

To haue his eare abusd, wisedome bids feare.

   Duke. Shut vp your doores my Lord, tis a wild night, 305

My Reg counsails well . . .    Exeũt


Stone was convinced that redundant F additions are non-authorial, though his explanations are incautious: Q1 l. 293, “being hypermetrical, the reviser has split it . . . and, with the interpolated matter, makes . . . pentameters. Since the plot involves frequent journeys on horseback, he probably felt it safe to introduce the detail . . . . Subsequent events [show Lear] on foot” (242).


Hypermetrical lines are usually corrupt, pentameters correct. 3.1 shows Lear left an entourage that hadn’t departed afootback. With little reason for revision, F recovery is a likely alternative.


If outer F proofing wasn’t in reference to copy (Blayney), mishaps would compound. The margin was set by “quotation quadrants” that minimized space metal but cramped longer verse lines. Such a quad was used to set Gloster’s entry in the far right margin (a standard location for the device but here expediently supplying an entry missing from the text).


F and Q ascriptions (for Cornwall, Regan, and Goneril) play musical jeers. We shouldn’t assume correct/incorrect or alternate authorial versions; theatrical reporting of multiple speakers is conjectural without dialogue indication. Arden3 credits the “F editor,” implying non-authorial assignment. But both texts must be taken into account. Of course, Leister’s exit with Lear is a red flag. If a compositor failed to note Gloster’s reentry (whose line is squeezed in) or if he set line 291 as two (with two speakers, and included the set direction, Q1 evidence is consistent with reduction by a line. The F-only reading itself comprises a line-and-a-half and two prefixes. By omitting the Duke’s ‘Whether is he going’ and Gloster’s ‘He cals to Horse,’ Q1 will have made room for two lines, should we ‘reason the need.’


Experience shows eyeskip occurs almost anywhere, often to be caught by copyists themselves. For example, skipping from Regan’s to Cornwall’s ‘Shut up your doors . . .’ (301, 305) eliminates three lines while ‘My Reg counsails well’ warns that she is no longer the speaker. But proofing a filled-up forme would require reference to copy and room-making. Here’s possible (though not suggested) Q copy after speakers were assigned (some by the stenographer—mine in blue) and as Bordeaux predicts (where lineation, punctuation, and set directions were ignored and where words were turned up or down for placing some prefixes in the left margin):


no ile not weepe I haue full cause of weeping but this heart

shall breake in a 100 thousand flowes or ere ile weepe O foole

I shall goe mad )Duke )Let vs withdraw twill be a storme (bestowed

    Reg  this house is little the old man and his people cannot be well

    Gon tis his own blame hath put himselfe from rest and must needs tast

   Reg    for his particuler ile receiue him gladly but not one follower (his folly

  Duke so am I purpos'd  )Regan) where is my Lord of Glo   [290]         (rage

 Reg Duke followed the old man forth, he is return'd  )Glo  ) the king is in high

  Duke  whether is he going )Glo ) he cals to Horse but will I know not whether

 Re Duke Gon [?] Tis good to giue him way he leads himselfe

 Gon Reg my Lord intreat him by no meanes to stay )Glo) alack the night comes

on and the bleak winds do sorely russel for many miles about ther's not

  Reg     O sir, to wilfull men the iniuries that they themselues procure  (a bush

must be their schoolemasters shut vp your doores he is attended with a

desperate traine and what they may incense him to being apt to haue his

eare abusd wisedome bids feare )Duke) shut vp your doores my Lord tis

a wild night my Reg counsails well come out at'h storme    Exeũt


In this imagined circumstance, Cornwall has consecutive marginal prefixes (all guesses). If the Q1 compositor missed out Duke whether . . . whether’, the easiest fix would be to add ‘& wil I know not whether’ to Gloster’s initial line, for which there’s little room. Repairing the lines, F would shuffle speakers, though Cornwall and Regan seem to rule this neck of the prairie.


Restoration of a substitute omission remote from an initial eyeskip can’t be proved. Revision is contradicted rather by dense, anomalous Q1 and numerous F additions more suited to earlier text. Still, eyeskip occurs enough to suggest other instances. At F2v, Blayney’s “correction in some fashion” may include “miscorrection of a particular kind [that] from the proof-reader’s point of view [is] misinterpreting the instructions . . . or carrying them out imperfectly” (221):


   Lear. O reason not the deed need . . .

Allow not nature more than nature needes,

Mans life as cheape as beasts, thou art a Lady,

If onely to goe warm were gorgeous,    [Q1, 2.4.265?]

Why nature needes not, what thou gorgeous wearest

Which scarcely keepes the warm . . .


Furness cites Walker on the first gorgeous, who “doubts if this word be the correct one.” I’m with him, though editors assume meaning merely because it’s ‘Shakespeare.’ If the copy read, ‘If only to go warm were what thou needst’; a skip to ‘what thou gorgeous wearest’ would be caught in proofing. But confusion about the error’s cause and repair could lead to interpolating  ‘gorgeous,/Why nature needs not,’ instead of ‘what thou needst,/Why nature needes not,’ (or whatnot).


Gerald E. Downs




Q: Academia.edu

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.206  Thursday, 13 July 2017


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

Date:         July 4, 2017 at 9:30:27 PM EDT

Subject:    Academia.edu


I joined Academia.edu more than two years ago but true to form never got around to using it. Now I learn that some are protesting its role as a privately held “open source” entity.


My “Pay to Play” notions went out with $20 lift tickets so I wasn’t curious about the outfit’s late $ervice offers. But uploading one’s work seems like a good idea.


Now others are raising questions about profit, peer review, copyright, favoritism, etc. What do Shaksperians think about the site?


I’ve always felt that a moderated list (such as HOPOS) would be best for open discussion of Shakespeare.


It’s hard to imagine a less efficient operation than Lear scholarship of the last 35 years.


Gerald E. Downs




Applications for Associate Editor

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.205  Thursday, 13 July 2017


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

     Date:         Thursday, July 13, 2017

     Subj:         Applications for Associate Editor


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

     Date:         July 5, 2017 at 8:55:48 AM EDT

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER Associate Editor




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

Date:         Thursday, July 13, 2017

Subject:    Applications for Associate Editor


Dear Subscribers,


I am soliciting applications for consideration for becoming SHAKSPER’s Associate Editor.


On Tuesday, July 4, 2017, I wrote a long message describing what it takes to become an Associate Editor for SHAKSPER: https://shaksper.net/current-postings/32039-becoming-shaksper-s-associate-editor .


At the end of the message I mentioned that “SHAKSPER has made my professional reputation, and being SHAKSPER’s Associate Editor would be an appropriate place for a young assistant or tenure-track professor to make her mark.” 


While some might not consider that editing and moderating SHAKSPER might not be as prestigious as editing an academic journal, I have found this not to be the case. In a PS, I added “I recently learned that I have been selected to be a recipient of the 2018 Who’s Who ‘Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.’ The 2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Lynda Carter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tim Cook, Colin Powell, and other academics and professionals.” I am delighted to be included in the same company as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tim Cook, and Colin Powell.


I further wrote, “I am beginning a search for an Associate Editor who I can train to take over from me when I am away. The thirtieth anniversary of SHAKSPER is approaching, and I have given thought to handing over the list to a worthy successor. The problem is that SHAKSPER is like my third daughter and giving her up feels as if I am putting a cherished child up for adoption.”


If you are interested in being considered such a position, please send me CV and essay about why you believe you have the interest and qualifications to edit SHAKSPER during my absences.”


If you are at the beginning of your career in the profession, please consider applying for this position.





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

Date:         July 5, 2017 at 8:55:48 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER Associate Editor


[Editor’s Note: The following is a message I received from Ken Steele, SHAKSPER’s founder. We all owe Ken a debt of gratitude for his vision for creating an academic discussion list dedicated to Shakespeare. Thank you, Ken. –Hardy]


Good morning Hardy,


Just wanted to let you know that I continue to be a “lurker” on SHAKSPER, actually reading more of the administrative news than the scholarly debates, watching the progress of my baby into — middle age?  


It’s hard to believe that it has been 27 years!  And it really puts it into perspective that all the late nights, conference presentations, and endless attempts to persuade serious scholars to join that I remember so vividly only amounted to 2 years — just the first 7% of SHAKSPER’s existence.  I have no doubt that SHAKSPER had more of a lasting impact on me, than I had on it.


And I can only imagine what an impact SHAKSPER has had on your own personal and professional life, for ten times as long.  In just 2 years, the tireless task of editing consumed far too much of the time I should have spent on my PhD thesis, introduced me to dozens of wonderfully generous scholars, and also to the darker side of academic rivalries and internet trolls. All of my experience was in the early, text-based and VAX-based days of the internet, prior to the invention of Google, the Mosaic browser or the world wide web. (Much less social media, mobile computing, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence).  The email listserv was cutting-edge technology when SHAKSPER began, and my job was largely convincing serious academics to learn to use it. We’ve come a long way, baby!


Thank you again for your tireless and diligent work, ensuring that SHAKSPER has survived and thrived for three decades!  I think the idea of enlisting an Associate Editor to assist you, and potentially to succeed you, is doubtless a necessary step to ensure that this scholarly community survives for another 30 years.


Yours always, 



Ken Steele

Higher Education Strategist, Speaker & Facilitator

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





The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.204  Thursday, 13 July 2017


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

Date:         Thursday, July 13, 2017

Subject:    Explanation


Dear Subscribers,


An explanation is due for the interruption. I got a new 27”, Retina 5K iMac to replace my older one. I gave the older one to my son-in-law and told him to wipe it. I restored using Time Machine, only to find that Time Machine did not restore my apps; so, after attending a wedding in South Carolina, I spent the past days trying to restore as many of them as I could. One that I couldn’t was PhotoShop CS5.1, but I do have a working Lightroom so I don’t have to shell out for a new version.


This interruption is yet another reason that I need an Associate Editor to take over when I am unable to edit Newsletters myself—more to come in this regard.





Agreeing with Urkowitz - Formerly “Texts of King Lear”

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.203  Tuesday, 4 July 2017


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

Date:         June 13, 2017 at 3:19:48 PM EDT

Subject:    Agreeing with Urkowitz - Formerly “Texts of King Lear”


[Editor’s Note: When I posted Jim Carroll’s Agreeing with Urkowitz - Formerly “Texts of King Lear,” I did not include the images that when along with the post. So I am reprinted the submission as it was intended. –Hardy]


I meant to respond to these posts by Steve Urkowitz (which I agree with %100 by the way) much earlier but a combination of bad sciatica, a longer commute and forced relocation prevented a timely response.


Here’s one of Steve Urkowitz’ responses from May 23, where he quotes part of an earlier post by Gerald Downs:


Urkowitz: --->Here's a conclusion to a recent Blind Guy One narrative:  note the diction of “superfluous” and “fatuous,” “corrupt” and “self-interested.”


Downs--->"The malady surely extended to passages in prose, where “space-metal” was conserved by using margins so wide that restoration in Q1 presented a difficult problem. I believe one solution was to remove superfluous text. Whether the cuts were recorded or discovered during F redaction, their frequent restoration indicates probable eyeskip omission of other text. That would explain the lack of normal evidence in Q and F and the fatuous nature of the F additions. Perhaps some examples will show why the inference is virtually forced: remember, Q is a corrupt report made over by a series of self-interested print house agents."


The method of labelling something obviously good as bad probably has a name that I’m not aware of (not quite “poisoning the well”, where you begin an argument with something that actually is bad) but it’s a common technique in the pseudo-scholarship of Shakespeare studies. Vickers, in his awful book on supposed Shakespearean plays that may be co-authored, uses the technique as well as a variation on the poisoning-the-well technique, where he quotes some other idiot’s (like T.M. Parrott) poor opinion of Titus Andronicus before he begins his own disparagement.


For example, when Vickers wants to find likenesses between Titus and Peele, he accepts the F1 editorial changes:


Q1 2.2 The hunt is vp the Moone is bright and gray,

F1 2.2 The hunt is vp, the morne is bright and gray,


Early in the morning the moon could be up, and it would be both bright and grey, so the original Q1 version makes sense. But Vickers wants to find some comparison between this and Peele's Old Wives Tale: 


OWT: The day is cleare, the Welkin bright and gray


so he accepts the F1 version.


But when Vickers wants to use Parrott’s disparagement of the line in 1.1 that uses the word “pantheon”, he again uses the version that makes the least sense:


"Ascend, fair Queen, Pantheon. Lords, accompany"


which a modern editorial choice. Both Q1 and F1 have "pantheon" modify "lords":


Q1: Afcend faire Queene: Panthean Lords accompany


F1: Afcend Faire Qeene[sic],

Panthean Lords, accompany


Vickers quotes Parrott concerning the first version above, Co-Author, p157:


“As [Parrott] put it, ‘though one rose from the dead to persuade us, no ear trained to the music of Shakespeare’s verse could accept such lines as his’, indeed, Parrott could not find a single trace of Shakespeare’s hand in the whole act.’” 


Which is idiotic, since the act is full of Shakespeare’s usual touches. If you assume that “pantheon” in this case is just a figurative way of saying “most high”, and “accompany” is pronounced “accomp’ny”, it’s just a typical feminine ending.


Later (May 24th), Steve points out the use of hendiadys in Hamlet:


“Before looking at LEAR, first consider another instance of Shakespearean authorial revision from another multiple-text play. The rhetorical figure hendyadis—where two nouns linked with the conjunction “and” are used to describe another noun, as in “a rogue and peasant slave”—was included in rhetorical handbooks. In a prize-winning, often-reprinted essay in PMLA (1983) George T Wright noticed that alone among professional playwrights of his time Shakespeare regularly uses the figure hendyadis, averaging five or six instances in each of his plays.”


The Wright paper should be essential reading for any student of Shakespeare’s style. But Vickers uses another trick in the pseudo-scholar’s handbook, that of redefining the term in question, a kind of moving-the-goal-posts trick. Foster used hendiadys in his argument for the Funeral Elegy as Shakespearean, so Vickers proceeded to re-define the examples in the Elegy as non-hendiadys, and to re-define many of Wright’s examples as well! Foster also pointed out many of the likenesses between the Funeral Elegy and “A Lover’s Complaint”, so Vickers then tried to re-define ALC as non-Shakespearean, and the attribution to Davies that resulted is one of the more absurd attributions in the history of Shakespearean scholarship. This technique is not confined to Shakespeare studies, it happens in the sciences too.


Over the last 5 years or so it has been claimed that Neandertals mated with early modern humans. Such claims are easy to make when you rely on statistical analysis of genomes, without references to the fossils, or even without reference to basic concepts in evolution, such as speciation. That these two mated seems as unlikely to me as chimps and orangutans mating:



But without the pictures, how would you know? The Neandertal bones are vastly thicker, the orbits are much larger, the skull is low and long, the rib cage is conical like a gorilla’s:



If they mated, why didn’t human forms become more robust, rather than more gracile? Why would they differentiate in the first place if they could mate? Years ago on the ANTHRO-L listserv I postulated that the larger eyes of the Neandertals could mean that they were crepuscular and/or nocturnal, that they therefore occupied a significantly different environmental niche, and that would explain the speciation, as well as their robustness, as they might have had to grab and fight animals by hand rather than use a bow and arrow. Now, that may be completely wrong, but at least it makes sense. But when you point out the physical differences, the proponents of the mating theory just re-define what makes a fossil “modern human” versus “Neandertal”, and begin to include the more robust forms. The neandertal issue is also much like Vickers’ tricks with attribution in that Vickers depends on you not having a collection of Peele or Davies on hand to examine so you can see how ridiculous the claims are, he can just take words out of context at will.


Jim Carroll




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