May

Blackfriars Conference Colloquy Registration

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.192  Tuesday, 30 May 2017

 

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

Date:         May 26, 2017 at 3:09:46 PM EDT

Subject:    Colloquy Registration

 

The Blackfriars Conference Colloquy registration closes on June 1, if you are interested in participating, please sign up to participate in a collegial conversation at the 2017 event.  We look forward to seeing you in October.  You can make your selection (and learn more about the format) here: http://americanshakespearecenter.formstack.com/forms/blackfriars_conference_2017_cfp_copy

 

 

Bodies on the Early modern stage:

 

A: Disability: How do we explore staging disability? From Othello’s epilepsy to the mental health of King Lear and the physical deformity of Richard III, these plays present a challenge by prompting us to attempt to portray disability on stage. Why does Shakespeare include an epileptic fit during Othello? Is King Lear suffering from dementia? Does Macbeth suffer from PTSD? We invite conversation on the ways in which actors present disability on stage.

 

B. Body Types: Early modern plays display a variety of bodies in some way altered from the actor’s natural state. How did early modern actors convey pregnancy, dismemberment, insanity, dancing, “monstrosity”, extreme weight, divinity, etc? What options can modern productions employ to achieve those same ends? 

 

C: Gender and Casting: In this seminar, we would like to interrogate the historical practice of single-sex performances and how this impacted the performance of gender. We also welcome papers that explore the effect of cross-gendered casting, such as the so-called “breeches casting” at the turn of the 20th century where women were cast in leading male roles, or modern productions which incorporate cross-gender casting, regendering of characters, or the exploration of the non-binary gender spectrum on stage. 

 

New Media Tools: Moving into a new digital age, modern media is becoming ever more present in Shakespeare. Utilizing apps within performances and for educational purposes, Shakespeare is being realized for a new audience using innovative approaches. We can now access Shakespeare’s text online and on our mobile devices through Folger Online, Open Source Shakespeare, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology online complete works. Performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe are now being filmed and shown live. How does the integration of media and performance impact the audience’s understanding of the text? Will the future of media and performance be intertwined? We invite papers that investigate the relationship between media and performance. 

Race: What can we discover by studying Shakespeare and race together? Ayanna Thompson, author of Passing Strange, states that in order to truly investigate this topic, we must first shift our view. As a society, we have many different perceptions of both Shakespeare and race, so in order to properly investigate them, we need to identify our meaning. The Tempest, Othello, and Merchant of Venice are arguably Shakespeare’s most prominent pieces with references to race. The aim of this exploration is to interrogate the ways in which race factors into the performance of Shakespeare.  How do Othello’s interactions with characters in the play contrast with the societal view of color? Is Merchant of Venice an anti-Semitic text? We welcome papers that explore the topic of race in performance, the notion of non-traditional casting, the historical impact of Shakespeare’s time on his writing, and the role of racial dynamics in modern productions.

 

 

Early Modern Staging Conditions:

 

A: Audience Focus: This colloquy explores the staging of Shakespeare’s plays and audience experience. Performance companies such as the American Shakespeare Center at their Blackfriars Playhouse and, until recently, Shakespeare’s Globe have engaged in what some refer to as “original practice” Shakespeare. What is the essence of these conventions?  What drives theatres to take them on and/or to give them up?  What measures might be helpful in determining the impact on the audience experience? Of late, reactions to changing conventions have been mixed, with some critics and audience members seeming to prefer that the Globe remains the way it has always been and others insisting that the changes were beneficial to bringing in new audiences. How can the academy and/or practitioners fruitfully convene regarding the impact of such practice on the audiences at these and other theatres? 

 

B: Production Focus: This seminar explores the use of early modern staging conditions when staging Shakespeare’s plays. Performance spaces such as the American Shakespeare Center and The Globe have been performing under these conditions, until more recently when Emma Rice, the current artistic director of the Globe, brought in lighting and amplification. How does staging in original conditions affect the production? What adjustments do actors and crew members make when transitioning from one practice to another?

 

 

Rhetoric:

 

A: And Education/Literature: Scholars have long examined the use of rhetoric within Shakespeare’s plays. This seminar explores, but is not limited to, the impact of rhetoric throughout Shakespeare’s plays and the impact that his writing has today, how his education impacted his use of rhetoric, and how our modern day literature has been impacted by his use of rhetoric.

 

B: And Character: Throughout his plays, Shakespeare uses rhetoric to craft characters’ voices and to direct their actions. Rhetoric can illustrate power such as the different types of rhetoric that ultimately affect the plebeian’s decisions in Julius Caesar as Brutus and Antony fight for their allegiance, and it can also create an audible difference between a King Richard, a Toby Belch, and a Beatrice. What rhetorical devices most strongly affect a character’s voice? How does rhetoric affect the audience’s perception of character? We invite papers that investigate the use of rhetoric as a device for shaping character throughout Shakespeare’s works. 

 

Adaptation: Where does the original play end and the Adaption begin?  This colloquy invites discussion around adaptation of early modern plays.  Participants may address the considerations behind adapting (historical setting, audience, language) and/or particular adaptations and explorations which engage Shakespeare and other playwrights in new conversations.

Biography: From Bates to Greenblatt to keynoter Lena Orlin, the biography of Shakespeare seems ever ripe for exploration. The elusive history of the man behind the plays has prompted much supposition, speculation, and invention. This colloquy invites participants to argue the motivations behind the on-going fascination with Shakespeare’s life and to delve into the limitations of such inquiries.

 

Bibliography: This pedagogy-focused conversation invites participants to present their methods for bringing textual studies into the undergraduate and/or secondary classroom.  We welcome specific experiences that have illuminated the value in this kind of teaching and a discussion of any unexpected challenges or successes.

 

Parts: Parts, sides, cue scripts have been part of theatrical practice for centuries.  Whether in contemporary summer rep or musical theatre, or in work like the ASC’s Ren Season, modern theatre companies continue to incorporate this “technology” into their working habits for numerous reasons.  How have you used the technology of parts in your research, publications, or classroom practice?  Share with the group your methods for creating and deploying cue scripts as well as any discoveries you have made in historical use, authorial specifics, or actor preference.

 

Extra-Textual: Considering Tiffany Stern’s recent work looking at  pre-show/post-show performance, this colloquy invites participants to consider the impact of pre-show, interlude, and post-show activities as practice in theatres both historically and today.  How might audience expectation play into the choices that theatres make? What message is a theatre attempting to convey with curtain speeches or musical selections? How do the extra-textual components fit with the themes of the production, if at all?

 

Theatrical Architecture: With the opening of Shakespeare’s Globe in 1997, a movement to embrace the architecture of Shakespeare’s “original” theatres was born.  As companies from the American Shakespeare Center to Atlanta’s Shakespeare Tavern, from University of California at Irvine’s Swan to Pigeon Creek Shakespeare, and Royal Shakespeare Company explore audience position, background, set and/or room decoration, open air or roofed spaces, what are the discoveries coming to light?  This colloquy encourages data driven information, production history, and other avenues for discussing the impact of theatre architecture on company mission and performance.

 

Performance history: It’s no surprise that people who go to theatre enjoy talking about the plays they’ve seen.  Professors and teachers require students to assess productions in assignments; dramaturgs relay information to designers about past takes on a title; directors and actors may study or recall a particular performance.  What are the best practices for relaying information about the ethereal and elusive world of live productions? What information would scholars recommend that theatres archive regarding their productions?  How can modern technology help to preserve the theatrical experience, and what limitations does technology still present? Taking your own guidelines into account, this colloquy will explore production history through an analysis of a variety of reviews and materials, and formulate suggestions for student and professional work moving forward in this area.

 

Experiential Shakespeare Pedagogy: Teaching Shakespeare through staging is something that happens in few college classrooms, which tend towards the lecture format.  Since instructors are likely to teach as they were taught, the hurdles in embracing staging Shakespeare are higher than merely asking students to play through scenes.  This colloquy invites participants to share successful methods for staging Shakespeare with English students over a term or just a week.

 

Playing Politics: Because theatre’s societal role has so often been to question, to challenge, and to provoke, it has been inextricably tied to politics throughout the centuries. In the early modern period, playwrights were subject to approval and censorship by government authorities. How did some playwrights push those boundaries, and how did others play within them? How can modern productions of early modern plays speak to our own political reality?

 

Marlowe: One of the greatest early modern playwrights was also one with a tragically short career. In just a few years, Christopher Marlowe shaped the English stage in ways that would resonate for decades to come, and his plays remain popular in the modern age. This colloquy invites discussion of the master of the mighty line, his influence on Shakespeare and other playwrights, and his enduring legacy, as well as speculation of what-might-have-been had he lived past 1594.

 

Collaboration: The role of the early modern playwright was almost never an isolated one. Whether officially co-writing plays, influencing and being influenced by each other, or spinning off of similar themes and source material, Shakespeare and his contemporaries were in frequent conversation with each other. This colloquy invites discussion of collaboration between playwrights, between actors, and in the classroom. How can the study of early modern collaboration enhance classroom experiences? What elements of early modern collaboration are retained by modern production companies?

 

Applied Shakespeare: Theory driven modes of studying Shakespeare have been de rigeur for decades, more frequently in recent practice, the tables are turning and Shakespeare has become the vessel for teaching other subjects.  From the American Shakespeare Center’s Leadership programs, to Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s Bullying, to work in prisons in Kentucky and Indiana, Shakespeare is the tool agencies are using to illuminate their particular aims.  What is the impact of this kind of program on Shakespeare studies?   How does “using” Shakespeare alter Shakespeare?  What is the history of this practice? 

 

Status Workshop: Bill Gelber and Kelly Parker offer a workshop in Keith Johnstone’s Status exercises, which allow theatre practitioners to identify and produce those behaviors that reveal social, political and psychological motivations. Status itself deals with how human beings express their dominance or submission to others, and how these attitudes may be adjusted based on a given situation. Gelber and Parker will demonstrate the ways in which Status can be physically and vocally recreated, based on the clues in Shakespeare’s texts. Concentrating on this particular facet of the human condition makes for more complex and interesting figures onstage, and is a shorthand for characterization. 

 

Theory and Original Practices: “Original practices”--a heterogeneous mix of principles and practices taken up by a variety of theater companies around the world—has seemed, especially in its earliest phases, resistant to theoriziation. More recently, however, scholars and practitioners have increasingly begun to generate theoretically sophisticated accounts. This colloquy has traditionally been an incubator for experimenting with possible intersections between theory and “OP”—the latter understood as both historical staging practices in their early modern setting as well as present-day practices seeking in different ways to index or recreate past practices in the now. This year, participants will each read a specific theoretical text—Ranciere’s The Emancipated Spectator—as a shared intertext to generate readings, not of this text but with this text as a lens for analyzing particular aspects of “original practices.”

 

Sarah Enloe

American Shakespeare Center

Director of Education

Office: 23 North New Street

Staunton, VA 24401

540-466-5869

 

The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joy and accessibility of Shakespeare's theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education.

 

 

   

 

Texts of King Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.191  Friday, 26 May 2017

 

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

     Date:         May 24, 2017 at 11:43:06 PM EDT

     Subj:         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:         May 25, 2017 at 2:18:13 AM EDT

     Subj:         Re: Texts of King Lear

 

 

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

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

Date:         May 24, 2017 at 11:43:06 PM EDT

Subject:    Texts of King Lear

 

Please note: this posting was indeed written (but lost in e-space) prior to the earlier posting that uses the goofy elephantine metaphor.  That one got sent out accidentally, “before its time.”    Gives “post hoc ergo propter hoc” a whole ‘nother twist.  But this one has some examples, and it has been augmented tonight.

 

====================

Like dust-bunnies, the repetitions of erroneous claims that Shakespeare’s multiple text plays were “really” single compositions distortedly represented in the “bad” quartos  must be challenged forcefully before their actual ephemerality seems to solidify into alt-truths or post-truth factoids. 

 

Let me sweep up a few dust-clumps (commonly accepted as if their bunny-ness were real) and replace them with some clean stuff in order to encourage you all to go back and look at the bright, hard-edged, and tangible theatrical richness of those earliest texts. 

 

Dust-Bunny Destroyer # 1  -- Shakespeare wrote long plays!  (Gasp!) And they were played full-bore by his company.   We have no valid reasons to doubt that they were produced by his company in their long forms.  Extant documents describing performances ineluctably testify that some plays lasted a l-o-n-g time, much longer than “two hours traffic.”   REED volumes record plays attended by royalty with lengths exceeding three hours, sometimes extending as long as seven.  The much-touted work of Lukas Erne repeats the old fantastic erroneous claims that the earlier printed short versions of plays like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet were necessarily cut down from the “original” longer forms to fit into a Procrustian brief time slot.   That idea is just dead-wrong.  Like a modern “lunch hour” or “a weekend,” “two hours traffic” was evidently a metaphor, not a restrictive duration.   Extant playhouse scripts do show that both very long plays AND quite short plays were indeed cut.  Some cited by Erne lost around 5 to 9 percent of an original line-count.   But many plays were lengthened, their later-printed versions sometimes advertised as “Newly corrected, augmented, and amended”.    The scale of these changes for the Shakespearean “bad quarto” plays is on the order of thirty to fifty percent increase, not at all commensurate with the  more frequent small and local trimming and fitting.    Early Modern records report many lengthy performances of long plays and never report performances restricted by duration.  Further, while several long two-part plays (like Henry IV 1 & 2) were cut down for presentation as one single entertainment, the resulting cut-down (and extant)  texts were themselves very long, not at all resembling the “bad quarto” forms of R&J or HAMLET.  The bunny-dust obfuscations about unproducibly-long Shakespearean scripts proposed by Andrew Gurr, Stephen Orgel and Erne turn out to be as deeply fanciful, anti-theatrical and contra-factual as the worst of W.W. Greg and Alfred Hart.  (See my essays, “Good News about Bad Quartos” and “Did Shakespeare’s Company Cut His Plays  . . . “; also Paul Werstine, EARLY MODERN PLAYHOUSE MANUSCRIPTS . . . [2013] pp. 222 ff.). Lukas Erne, this decade’s Bunny-Dust Generator of Choice, applies critical-crowd-pleasing strategems of repeatedly mis-stating, misrepresenting, and absurdly misunderstanding basic issues of authorship, theatricality, and for-goodness-sake even arithmetic.  Instead of looking for dusty errors, spend your time looking for bright, transformative changes appropriate to a brilliant playwright.

 

Dust-Bunny Destroyer #2 -- Truly wonderful evidence of complex and sustained LITERARY REVISION (yes, he’s shouting!) exists which demonstrates that longer-and-later-printed versions followed rather than preceded the earlier-and-shorter versions.  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.  Except for HAMLET, where Wright finds an astounding sixty-six instances—way off the scale, 1000% over expectations from Shakespeare’s uniquely personal practice elsewhere.   I took Wright’s list of instances to check how many appear in Q1, in Q2, and in F.   Q2 and F counts of this figure are close together, but Q1 has only six (including one not found in Q2 or F), thus adhering to Shakespeare’s (but no other playwright’s) standard.  My simple (simple-minded?) explanation:  Shakespeare drafts his fast-playing version of HAMLET the quick-paced revenge tragedy that gets printed eventually as Q1.  He re-drafts that version into the much more slow-paced stutter-stop-start version of Q2 using  the recursive impulse of hendyadis as an aspect of a more contemplative dramatic rhythm.   This authorially revised version includes all the 66 instances of hendyadis.  I imagine that he later kicked at that longer Q2 text again to yield F.  (We don’t know altogether why, don’t know when, but see my essay “Back to Basics” in the Clayton volume on Q1 HAMLET.)   Devout believers in the mainstream “bad quarto” narrative have not bothered to notice this hendyadis outbreak perhaps since it would interfere with the favored-but-illusory “memorial reconstruction” story.   (The Revision-Deniers would have to say something like this: “Shakespeare writes only the version underlying Q2. All the hendyadis are there.  Some other textual transmitter manages to render out the fat of an excessively long play [they’re ‘transmogrifryers,’ don’t you see?] and manages to reduce the whole ‘original’ play found in Q2 by thirty percent.  But they also strip out NINETY PERCENT of the hendyadis, which no one else until George Wright ever since had noticed were even there.” Easy-peasy?)  Without the dust-bunny cloud of implausible circumstance, we should be able to see and appreciate how an author finds and applies a rhetorical technique that enhances the feeling of recursive consideration and cogitation so vital in Q2 HAMLET, less so in the more active Q1.

 

For KING LEAR, a number of examples of this same kind of repetitive artistically fascinating manipulation of an early version into a later may be found in the variants between two-person exchanges of dialogue in the Quarto as they are changed into equivalent three-person exchanges in the Folio.  These involve either insertion of speeches for the third voice, as at 1.1.175 where a speech unique to F brings Alb.Cor. into an exchange which involves only Lear and Kent in Q, or a change of speech-prefixes, as at 5.3.160 “Ask me not what I know” ascribed to Goneril in Q as part of a short two-hander with Albany , is given to Edmund in F, turning it into a trio.  In all of the instances, the third voice is always appropriate, never a mistake.  The character is always already onstage, the impact of the third voice visually expanding the audience’s experience of theatrical tension.  Without the dust in our eyes, we should be able to see the value and purposeful implementation of theatrical craft.

 

The textual narratives countering Shakespearean revision offered by Downs, Vickers and Salkeld on SHAKSPER recently have underlying agendas promoting what in a fable would start, “The moral of the story is . . ..”  The unacknowledged moral of the No-Revision narrative is something like: Shakespeare the Good had no truck with Bad Texts.  Look at the stupid spellings!  Ha ha.   The moral of the  Revisionists goes: Shakespeare drafted and re-drafted.  That’s a good thing.  We can learn about dramatic art from closely observing how he worked and re-worked those lines, speeches, scenes, characterizations.  

 

Sorry about the Elephants.  Sorry about the Bunnies.  I just want our students to get a chance to learn how to read these plays as plays.  They can't do it until they get the kinds of practical help offered by generations of theatrical interpreters who respect the documents left to us in those early printed versions.  Many (most?) contemporary editions now available too often crudely disrespect those earliest texts and those of us who work on them.

 

Sincerely,

Steve Respectowitz

 

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

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

Date:         May 25, 2017 at 2:18:13 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: Texts of King Lear

 

Steve Urkowitz responds to my latest posting:

 

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

 

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 would object to Steve’s name-calling if it would do any good and if I hadn’t said “margins so wide” rather than “narrow.” That could be construed as margin blindness. Blayney, Stone, and others decry eyeskip omissions in Q1; I’ve found some instances, as noted. Blayney recently explained that type was set with narrow and rigid margins to save space-metal. That would make restoration difficult in foul proofing. I don’t recall what Steve says about these things.

 

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.

 

By superfluous I spoke of text the proofreader (perhaps Okes himself, as Blayney suggests) chose to omit if other text was to be restored, as I follow Vickers’s conjectural lead. I wasn't referring to my own judgment. With fatuous I extended Stone's term for some F additions to include others (after due consideration) if they are read as revisions. The word wouldn’t usually apply to restorations. Q1 is exceedingly corrupt, as is the F reprint. Since an author would surely not revise a contaminated report without "curing" it, other hypotheses must explain the texts. The self-interested print house agents caused a lot of problems. (For example, some formes were not read against copy because time was short). It is wrong to ignore a part of Lear's history that has been covered so well but incompletely by Blayney and Stone. I would like to hear from Steve about such things as foul proofing.

 

I’m currently writing up more F additions that may restore rather than revise. It is important (presumably, for editors) to question whether some of these passages derive from Q1 copy—a report—the One King Lear, so to speak. If true, the speculation is nevertheless not easy to argue.

 

Of course, I do object to name-calling on this list, for the list’s sake. I appreciate Steve’s reading my postings, even so.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 

 

CFP: Shakespeare's Extra/Ordinary Bodies

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.189  Wednesday, 24 May 2017

 

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

Date:         May 22, 2017 at 2:47:02 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: CFP: Shakespeare's Extra/Ordinary Bodies

 

In 2017, the SPRG proposes taking explicit advantage of the conference theme to invite papers addressing not only the diversity of extra/ordinary bodies framed by the dramatic interrogation of categories of racialized, sexualized, gendered, or even species identification posed by the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, but moments in the history of Shakespeare performance which hinged on the extra/ordinary work of specific actors, whose bodies were themselves sites of differential aesthetics (Kempe, Robeson). 

 

 I am thinking of proposing a paper provisionally entitled “Cross-cultural and inter-specific reification of cisgender, isomorphic and normative identifications in a post-human context, as exemplified by a discursive analysis of Timon of Athens.”  I am not quite sure yet what position I might take on the issue.

 

 

 

Texts of King Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.190  Wednesday, 24 May 2017

 

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

Date:         May 23, 2017 at 12:46:21 PM EDT

Subject:    Texts of King Lear

 

Exposed to steady repetitions of falsehood, the human brain biochemically responds by accepting error as if it were truth. And then stories built upon such error assume a life as convincing as “what actually happened.”   The only way to alleviate the consequences such iterated misperceptions requires that we approach the errors through other narrative directions.  Same facts, alternative narratives. We have to listen to other, different stories about the same material.  Then the mind may choose among alternative tales.  

 

So here are two different blind guys groping the same-same elephant.  Blind Guy One stands under the tail.  “Jeez!,” he exclaims.  “Elephants stink.  Elephants drop huge numbers of discrete, spherical, heavy, object that on really close inspection show that they used to be edible plant material.  Look!  This was a leaf!  This was a stem!  It must have been chewed up and digested!  Disgusting!  Let’s get out of here!”  Blind Guy Two stands near the front.  “Oooooh!” he exclaims. “I feel this delicate soft appendage stroking my body.  It just inhaled my bag o’ peanuts! The rolling, coiling peanut-stealing appendage goes all graceful, delicately artickleyated and even playful!  I love it!  Let’s play some more.”  If the only voice you hear is Blind Guy One’s, you won’t hang around those elephants, any elephants at all.  

 

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

 

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.

 

Steven Urkowitz

 

 

 

Texts of King Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.188  Monday, 22 May 2017

 

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

Date:         May 8, 2017 at 2:25:24 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: Texts of King Lear

 

Some features of early Lear texts are difficult to reconcile except to the Vickers hypothesis that F restores Q1 omission. Although Blayney curtly rejects both space-saving Q1 abridgment of its copy and recovery of cuts from a parallel stemma, credible textual history supports correction of Q1 omissions in F by further reference to Q1 printer’s copy:

 

1). Q1 (1608) is a theatrical report (Stone, Bordeaux); the author wasn’t subsequently involved.

2). Seriatim-set Q1 was foul proofed before correction at press (Blayney).

3). F manuscript copy, reliant on Q1 and Q1 copy, helped and failed to help correct Q1 (Stone).

4). Text was accidentally omitted in Q1 verse, some of which was restored by foul proofing.

5). Prose and verse printed as prose were often too dense for simple restoration of omission.

 

These phenomena are generally misunderstood: authorial Q copy is mistakenly assumed; foul proofing is ignored; Q1 copy (the manuscript origination of printed transmission) is considered a one-off resource; and omission is deemed incidental.

 

Disturbed Q1 verse and F correction indicate eyeskip. Restored prose is harder to discover in margin-to-margin text and reprinting. But Stone noticed puzzling characteristics of F additions that may be explained by Q1 omission.

 

We cannot argue that, if some of the passages unique to F display the marks of interpolation, all must therefore be interpolations. . . . [T]hat none of the fresh material in F is strictly necessary may . . . argue either addition in F or omission in Q; but when we know that some of it has been deliberately added we may find it more significant that the Q text does not actually require the expansions it has received (69).

 

[E]vidence of style cannot be assessed altogether objectively: nevertheless it might be argued that . . . the style of the additional passages . . . is never particularly distinctive (81).

 

Thus the hypothesis of revision . . . is assisted rather than otherwise by the further hypothesis that the reviser was able to call in aid no separate authority but only the manuscript which had [served] in the composition of Q; besides resolving most of the remaining difficulties presented by the evidence, the second hypothesis supports the first [with] an intelligible motive for the revision . . . . (91)

 

[It is] reasonable to assume a double [Q] recension. . . . Collation with [Q copy] would result in a number of corrections . . . recovery of matter accidentally or mistakenly omitted from Q. . . . The second stage of revision would produce substitutions, expansions and cuts. (115–16)

 

Stone presumed (despite the “recovered matter” alternative) that most additions in F are post-Q1 and non-authorial. Their unimpressive content and quality were reasons for thinking so, as he indicates of separate instances:

 

[If] an interpolation, there is no particular reason for it. . . . Another redundant interpolation . . . . The additional lines in F merely make the connection more explicit. . . . The reviser has seen a pun . . . . The passage introduces two circumstances not alluded to in Q . . . . That these lines did not belong to [Q1] is shown by their association with the next addition . . . to suppose that both passages were omitted from Q would be . . . to assume a method and purpose in the omissions. (239–40)

 

These judgments are mitigated by the possibility that purposeful Q1 omission was employed. Stone noticed both early Q1 correction and recovery of text in F but missed their extent. Had he known Blayney’s explanation of crowded Q text, Stone may have suspected deliberate excision of unimportant text to make room for meaningful recovery. Consider the Q texts of 3.2 and 3.4:

 

    Foole. . . .

Good Nunckle in, and aske thy daughters blessing,  11

Heers a night pities nether wise man nor foole.

    Lear. . . .

I taske not you elements with vnkindnes,

. . .

You owe me no subscription,why then let fall your horrible

Here I stãd your slaue,a poore infirme weak &               (plesure

Despis’d ould man,but yet I call you seruile

Ministers,that haue with 2. Pernitious daughters ioin’d

Your high engēdred battel gainst a head so old & white

As this, O tis foule.               24

    Foole. Hee that has a house to put his head in . . .

    Lear.   No I will be the patterne of all patience  Enter Kent.

I will say nothing.                  38

. . .

    Kent.                    . . . hard by here is

a houell . . . repose you there, whilst I to this hard house . . .

which euen but now . . . denide me to come in, returne and

force their scanted curtesie.   67

. . .

    Lear.    . . . come bring vs to this houell?

             (Q1, 3.2.11–78, sig. F4)

 

                  Enter Lear, Kent, and foole

    Kent.   Here is the place my Lord . . . 

. . .

    Lear.                   . . . but I will punish sure,

No I will weepe no more, in such a night as this!

O Regan, Gonorill, your old kind father                  (lies,

Whose franke heart gaue you all, O that way madnes

Let me shun that,no more of that.

             (Q1, 3.4.1–21)

 

                         But I will punish home;

No, I will weepe no more; in such a night[,

To shut me out? Poure on, I will endure:  18

In such a night] as this? O Regan, Gonerill,

Your old kind Father, whose franke heart gaue all,

O that way madnesse lies, let me shun that:

                  (F, 3.4.16–21)

 

Stone rationalizes F’s ‘To shut me out? Poure on, I will endure: / in such a night’: “If this is a revision . . . [keeping No] necessitated the loss of as this . . . . and that the third line was devised to piece out the sense . . . until the whole phrase In such a night as this? Could be repeated in the fourth. . . . It [is] tempting to regard the passage as a case . . . of accidental omission in Q: the compositor’s eye might well have jumped from in such a night . . . to in such a night as this . . . . What lies between, however, is extremely suspicious. . . . Does [Lear] even know that he would be refused . . .? [Kent] has not yet started on his mission [to force the issue] before Lear speaks (in F) of being ‘shut out.’” (243)

 

As revision, the line-and-a-half serves little purpose other than to repair the meter. But 3.2 dialogue shows Lear refusing to seek his daughters’ aid; and Kent’s report confirmed that he could only beg for shelter. There’s insufficient reason to deny the addition’s legitimacy.

 

Eyeskip is highly probable: Q1’s first ‘in such a night’ picked up as this from the repeated phrase (and one ‘in such a night’ was omitted). Identical words in front and back of interpolation are too coincidental; the chances of revision repetitions in the same spots as proven omissions are less than for eyeskip opportunities. (Though dialogue repetition is common, the question is of placement). Further, Q1 meter is made good by dropping ‘as this.’ The harmless omission was ignored, recorded for future inclusion, or missed.

 

To argue revision is to ignore the pointlessness of this and similar additions and the lack of meaningful changes. The Q1 text should be examined for difficulties also inherited in F that may tell against authoritative sources. For example, at 3.4.25 ‘but Ile go in’, and 3.4.130 ‘How fares your Grace?’, F follows Q’s mistaken speech headings. At 3.2.19ff, Q1 breaks from regular verse (with “quotation quad” margins?) to crowd lines using various tools, if somewhat oddly. I guess more foul proofing restoration, of which I’ve now shown enough instances to establish chronic Q1 eyeskip omission and its consequences in Q and F.

 

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.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 

 

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.