The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0324 Monday, 17 September 2018
Date: September 14, 2018 at 11:43 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Young Hamlet
I began a reply to Gerald Baker on the Young Hamlet thread. I appreciate his interest, which I hope will continue through my discussion of John of Bordeaux.
Downs’s posting on 3rd August (if you want to look at the speeches without . . . ellipses . . . speeches are on sig. B4r in Q1, C1r-v in Q2).
I advocate first sources and accessible editions. Hardy’s post-length great offender, I rely on ‘. . .’
such transposition cannot prove corruption if there is another possible cause . . .
Single instances can be powerful evidence; the case against Q1 is also furthered by the numbers in each corruption category. The Qs provide many instances; other possible causes are overworked.
Downs suggests “…the player of Hamlet probably learned the lines as in Q1.”
Is he saying that the Q1 speech is an accurate transcript of what the player spoke? [Yes, probably.] [Then] the corruption . . . stems from the player—in which case we’re not far from [MR], except in [MR] the player is remembering inaccurately, and in this case the player would be learning inaccurately . . .
To reiterate (imo), Q1 must be bad MR badly performed and theatrically reported. I cite van Dam’s analysis by which he supported shorthand transmission. He attributes some Q1 corruption to ‘revisers,’ who I think were ‘reconstructors.’ He neglects that possibility. My concept for a good while has been to ‘conflate’ reconstructor-memory and performer-memory. Van Dam’s arguments apply to both and it is hard to know which agent is responsible for which error. However, some mistakes can really only be explained by performance, as Leartes’s, ‘I will . . .’ Van Dam asserts that no writer or rewriter would originate (or transpose) such a senseless line at that spot; therefore, it was an actor’s muff. That’s why I quote his argument. In Q2, to ‘stay’ means to ‘support’—not to ‘stop’ (though in each case meaning derives from to ‘hold up’ (see Schmidt—and Clarence in R3 1.4). Moreover, the King puts the dialogue back on track. I’m going to show a similar sequence in Bordeaux.
In the instance where Baker objects to my ‘probably’, van Dam notes that the player managed to get all the elements into the speech, but in the wrong order. I suppose that would happen in a reconstruction phase, when the reporter had time to wrack his memory; an actor is unlikely to succeed as well onstage. That’s why I say he probably learned the lines as the original reporter remembered. Q1 is too corrupt for simple explanation.
(I assume . . . GD reckons the ‘correct’ version of the speech is something close to the Q2 version [right] if . . . that were also significantly corrupted, then we are in total freefall).
Q1 is far more corrupt than F or Q2.
The player . . . is presumably Richard Burbage . . . is GD saying that [he] . . . was incapable . . .?
The ‘Hamlet’ associated with Q2/F would not be associated with the corrupt Q1 performance. That is, the players were not the King’s Men. However, we can only know how good they were by shorthand reporting (our only time machine, which some doubt).
1st August, he considers Bourus’s critique of van Dam [64-8]. He says that she “seems not [to] have seen his book . . .” That’s actually a pretty insulting accusation . . .
An inference. Van Dam treats theatrical reporting, as readers must know. Bourus assumes he’s arguing MR: misleading her readers, especially at the given passage. Scholarship is subject to criticism. Bourus herself seems to believe in harsh criticism; I presume she enjoys correction, as all should.
[GD] talks of phrases ‘missed out’ in Q1 . . . The phrases are absent from Q1: he has to demonstrate that they should have been there and suggest the agency by which they came to be absent: to say something is ‘missed out’ is to assume that which is to be proven.
This mistakes my (unclear) suggestion. Laertes’s ‘My will . . .’ is obviously transposed to later in Q1 than in Q2, as van Dam saw. The player knew the line, but Q1 dialogue somehow kept him from delivery in the proper spot; renewal of ‘revenge’ talk induced his later error. I agree with van Dam that the line is senseless as transposed, but is good evidence of theatrical reporting. That’s inference, not assumption. Q1 is proven a travesty to most who study the evidence.
5th August, he lambasted Bourus [who, I claim] “neglects textual evidence, confuses issues, and too readily trusts authority.” If anyone is “too readily trust[ing] authority” in this discussion, it is not Bourus: she is not the person citing one author over and over again---she engages with many writers, ancient and modern, in the course of her book.
I cite Jenkins and van Dam, who argue the texts rather fully. Bourus cites Maguire, who disallows all comparisons. Bourus follows suit, as I supposed she would. My citations point to actual analysis, most of which I support. Pervez rightly cites Duthie, who argues MR. Van Dam is worthy of citation, especially as a supporter of shorthand theory.
[GD]: “interpolation in Shakespeare’s days and plays seems reasonable enough; it’s a matter of evidence and literary judgment.” But said evidence is only ‘apparent’: and ‘literary judgment’----well, that’s where authority and experience and subjectivism come in……
I cite Jenkins on F interpolation and van Dam on Q2, who also analyzes Q1. Textual analysis is literary judgment. I agree with their analyses, usually. Even Bourus seems to acknowledge interpolations. Jenkins says we ought to face up to them, and I agree.
I understand that . . . there may lie a whole system of thought [about Shakespeare corruption,] . . . but if so a reader . . . needs to be convinced that it’s [worthwhile] to inspect that larger system, and on the evidence so far presented in this thread (and others) GD has not convinced me to spend my time on it.
Most Shakespearians aren’t curious about corrupt text. For example, Scott McMillin argues Q1 Othello is (in effect) a memorial report. I agree. Of course, I don’t insist on others’ interest. Q1 is a bad quarto; I’ve written up the “Bad Quarto That Never Reached Print” (as Hoppe called John of Bordeaux). I ask Gerald Baker to consider my SB 58 article and some postings now, then get back to me: is Bordeaux a shorthand report? If not, why not?
Gerald E. Downs