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New Variorum Shakespeares in the Twenty-First Century.

We are supposedly witnessing the end of the meaningful editing of Shakespeare's plays. That is the claim made in a recent essay by Marvin Spevack, the editor of the lately published New Variorum Antony and Cleopatra.[1] Noting that seventeen columns are now devoted to Shakespeare editions in Books in Print, he argues nevertheless that editors in the first seventy-five years of this century have added very little to our understanding of non-accidental details of Shakespeare's texts. His proof mainly consists of the calculated number of new substantive verbal changes proposed during this period. Using evidence collected during his collation of editions of Antony and Cleopatra, he figures the percentage of change in the minuscule range of 0.0008156-0.0009039 of the total estimated number of word-tokens or graphic entries (885,000) in texts (pp. 79-80). Moreover, he points out that the changes, as a rule, amount to alternative readings, none (or few) of which has found general acceptance. According to Spevack, the textual notes of the Arden 3 edition of Antony and Cleopatra (1995) reveal 'that all the substantive changes not found in the First Folio originate no later than in Dr. Johnson's edition of 1765, the largest number already found in the Second Folio of 1632'. 'Reluctantly, but inescapably', he concludes 'that as far as substantive verbal changes are concerned the text of Shakespeare is for all intents and purposes fixed' (pp. 79-80).

As a result of this state of affairs, the work of Shakespeare editors more so than ever before consists of editing earlier editors' commentaries on single words and phrases, lines of poetry and prose, and whole passages. Gloomily, Spevack pronounces however that 'the commentary situation is, surprisingly or not, much the same' as that involving verbal substantives. Thus he predicts that electronic hypertexts will take the place of Shakespeare editions in the twenty-first century, mainly because with supposedly so little new to offer, the process of editing Shakespeare 'has become rampantly encyclopedic with commentary expanding to include not merely the traditional diversions of sources and parallels but interpretations and possible interpretations, with notes being complemented by longer notes, longer notes by appendices' (p. 82).[2] Today's editions point toward digitalized hypertext, whose phenomenal mass of information may encourage and allow readers to become their own editors; and hypertext resembles the Old (Furness) and New Shakespeare Variorums, in the sense that all three contain a super-abundance (overpowering for many users) of sifted and unsifted material on a given play. Spevack suggests in this respect that we may be completing a historical circle. He concludes his article, paradoxically granted the acclaim that his own variorum edition has received, by implying that a charge once made against the second volume of Furness's variorum Hamlet may one day be made against Shakespeare hypertexts: 'There is much no doubt that is exceedingly clever, but, taken as a whole, [the work amounts to] an almost impenetrable mass of conflicting opinions, wild conjectures and leaden contemplations, a huge collection of antagonistic materials which, if not repulsive, is certainly appalling' (p. 85).

If Shakespeare editors are reduced to editing other editors' materials, one would think that Shakespeare variorums would become valued texts, if for no other reason than that they represent huge repositories of centuries of editorial opinion. But by comparing variorums to hypertexts, which he criticizes as disjointed (and so perhaps unusable) amalgams, Spevack leaves us with no rationale for appreciating or defending his own magisterial New Variorum Antony and Cleopatra. What follows represents a defence of the importance and usefulness of the New Variorum Shakespeares for the twenty-first century, whose early years at least I assume will reflect the postmodernist ideas and practices of the 1990s. After witnessing the beating that the New Variorum Shakespeare texts took from a group of panellists in a session at the 1993 MLA meeting in Toronto, I (as editor of the New Variorum Cymbeline) became concerned about the ultimate fate of the concept of variorum editions in a postmodern world, especially as that fate has been portrayed by Michael Bristol, Stephen Orgel, and Margreta de Grazia, among others. I want to reassert the usefulness of variorum editions of Shakespeare, mainly in terms of postmodernist aesthetics that are often used to debunk the methodology and worth of variorum texts. The final part of my paper employs a series of eighteenth-century emendations of specific verses in Cymbeline in order to illustrate virtues consonant with the postmodern experience described for example by Jean Baudrillard and Fredric Jameson. But first, a description of recent rejections of variorum editions is in order.

As early as 1965, E. A. J. Honigmann posed alternatives that placed the Herculean editor at a crossroad. 'Some say that Shakespeare rewrote his plays many times, and behind each inconsistency they detect a botched version: others say that he wrote his plays only once and behind each variant there lurks an incompetent scribe or a drunken compositor'.[3] To the persons mentioned in this latter alternative, one might add editors beginning with Rowe and Pope who thought they were improving either Shakespeare's texts or the taste of the readers who consumed them. Until the late 1970s and early 1980s, editors of Shakespeare's plays generally made assumptions that directed them to the second of Honigmann's alternative accounts of the status of the playwright's texts. As established by W. W. Greg, Alfred W. Pollard, and Ronald B. McKerrow and as championed by Fredson Bowers, editorial practice imitated the Lachmann Method created for producing Classical editions. This procedure has been neatly described by Jerome McGann. Lacking the author's original documents, possessing only a more or less extensive set of later manuscripts, the Classical editor developed rules for tracing the internal history of these late manuscripts. The aim was to identify and eliminate textual errors by revealing the history of their emergence. Ultimately, the Method sought to ' "clear the text" of its corruptions and, thereby, to produce (or approximate) -- by subtraction, as it were -- the lost original document, the "authoritative text" '.[4] In the majority of cases, editors in the Lachmann tradition reconstruct an imagined 'lost original', the author's definitive text, by judiciously and fully assembling different editorial variants into a composite document, created according to the editor's educated understanding of the author's 'intentions' and his or her cultural and literary milieu.

Recently, several literary critics have identified the weaknesses of the Lachmann Method when applied to Shakespeare's plays. Unlike a hypothesized Classical text, a Shakespeare play amounts to an always unfinished fluid script whose improvisational nature almost certainly made every performance different from preceding and following stagings. To fix such a text, as though it were the Aeneid, constitutes (so the argument goes) a gross misunderstanding of the dynamics of its production and its impermanent status. 'Access to Shakespeare's original compositions may not be possible', Michael Bristol has judged. 'More radically, it has been suggested that the play's first form of existence was a series of more or less ephemeral "versions", and even that no finished originals of any kind ever existed.'[5] 'When we make our editions, of Shakespeare or of any other dramatist, we are not "getting back to the author's original text" ', Stephen Orgel asserts. We know nothing about Shakespeare's original text. We might know something about it if, say, a set of Shakespeare's working notes or rough drafts ever turned up, or if we ever found the text that Shakespeare presented to the company as their working copy. But if we did find such a manuscript, that would be something different from the play.[6]

Compounding this problem is the apparently multi-source composition of the Shakespeare First Folio, the sole repository of approximately half of Shakespeare's plays. Margreta de Grazia has noted that 'by one conservative account there are at least thirteen different possible sources [of the plays in the 1623 Folio], including the actual holograph, transcripts, prompt-books, earlier printed quartos, theatrical reports, and composites of various possibilities'.[7] This unstable text presents insurmountable problems for a variorum editor, according to Bristol. 'The idea of rationalizing the history and the dispersal of the text through a complete archive of its variants has real cogency', he admits. 'However, it seems evident that such an archive cannot itself take the form of a printed edition, since any determinate edition instantiates the very problem the archive is supposed to overcome, that is, the concretization of a historically determinate set of editorial decisions' (p. 101). Later, I shall defuse this seeming paradox concerning variorum editions of Shakespeare's plays.

It appears that the scholarly autonomy and relatively isolated working conditions of variorum editors lead them to assume mistakenly a similar autonomy on the part of Shakespeare in matters of creation and final intentions. For how can a variorum edition of a Shakespeare play be produced when both yesterday and today drama is the joint production of playscript writer, scrivener, prompt-book keeper, director, special-effects people, actors, and participatory audiences? In this crowd, the unified author Shakespeare vanishes. De Grazia argues that the historical construct called Shakespeare 'can no longer be so readily assumed after the recent challenges, founded primarily on the work of Foucault and Barthes, to the modern notions of author and work, after the Oxford Shakespeare's recharacterization of the Shakespearean text as malleable, permeable, and even multiple, and after the new-historicist and cultural-materialist emphasis on the production and reproduction of Shakespeare as performance and as text within institutional, ideological, and political contexts' (pp. 1-2). The disappearance of the playwright Shakespeare in postmodernist analysis means that McGann's proposal for rediscovering the authoritative text of a work in the wake of the bankruptcy of the Lachmann Method does not apply to variorum editors of his plays. Noting that 'the production of books, in the later modern periods especially, sometimes involves a close working relationship between the author and various editorial and publishing professionals associated with the institutions which serve to transmit literary works to the public', McGann suggests that, instead of focusing upon an author's holograph or instead of trying to reconstruct a so-called lost original, editors might better locate textual authority in the intimate working relation -- the 'socialization' -- of author, editor, proofreader, and typesetter (pp. 34-35). But when the author with his documented revisions and statements of intention (in letters, say) disappears in this formula, as is the case with Shakespeare with regard to the posthumous 1623 Folio, McGann's alternative proposal is useless.

The newly defined ephemerality and 'authorless' status of Shakespeare's texts have thrown into relief the unexamined Platonic values of Bowers and other modern practitioners of the Lachmann Method of editing. 'The eventual purpose of scientific bibliography is to achieve an established text that represents, as nearly as possible, the "ideal text" as it existed before the fall into materiality and corruption', Bristol shrewdly states (p. 103). By his methods of scientific bibliography, Bowers, in idealist fashion, attempted to reverse the temporally progressive stream of editorial corruption and disintegration of an early modern text. But in Shakespeare's case this endeavour would apparently prove futile, for the simple reason that an ideal text never existed in the first place. Concerning the 1623 Folio, Orgel notes that 'because of the practice of making proof corrections during the course of printing, and of assembling the finished book using both corrected and uncorrected sheets indiscriminately, every copy of the Shakespeare folio is different from every other copy'.[8] In de Grazia's words, 'the degree of typographic irregularity in the First Folio is extraordinary: some 600 different typefaces have been identified' (p. 16). No full collation of the variants among the preserved copies of the First Folio exists. The most comprehensive was Charlton Hinman's collation of the copies lodged in the Folger Shakespeare Library, a number approximately one-third the world's supply. This means that every variorum editor working on a Shakespeare play for which the 1623 Folio is the sole authority must be resigned to knowing that almost certainly many unknown and uncollated variants of the components of his or her base text exist.

Postmodernist Shakespeareans have seized upon this and other facts to claim that variorum Shakespeares are not possible because every version (or text) of a Shakespeare play is different from every other representation of it (whether among Folio versions or between quarto and Folio versions), and thus that every unique text deserves to be edited without regard to other manifestations of it. Furthermore, 'both Randall McLeod and Michael Warren have argued against editing Shakespeare in any form, and Steven Urkowitz has urged a reconsideration of "bad" quartos as legitimate stages in Shakespeare's composing and revising process rather than the illegitimate result of a pirate's process'.[9] The principle of indeterminacy apparently dooms the enterprise of traditional Shakespeare editing. Grace Ioppolo has concluded that 'those textual and literary ideologies and theoretical discourses, which scholars so scrupulously create and apply in order to capture the determined elusiveness of a literary work, can only thrive on a text's own indeterminacy and its own lack of finality for both the author and his audience' (p. 187).

For many postmodernists, variorum editions represent a hallmark of obsolete modernism, that of the freezing of meaning in a static form that challenges time's flux.[10] Variorum Shakespeares have often been regarded as 'the still point in the turning world of texts, a text which would arrest, and even reverse, the processes of textual change and corruption'.[11] By their massive size and daunting apparatus, they lend the appearance of finishedness to an enterprise that can never be finished. With the Shakespeare text pushed to the top of the page, an opened variorum displays mainly the playing field of disputants, sometimes jockeying for a larger space of property rights. This disproportion suggests that variorums may not be so much about Shakespeare's plays as they are about commentators staking claims to their own readings. Finally, variorums appear patriarchal to critics such as de Grazia, great tomes/tombs establishing masculinist rights of authority and heritage by means of a commanding appearance and structure.

Despite repeated attacks upon them, New Variorum Shakespeares not only continue to perform valuable functions at the close of the twentieth century, but they also surprisingly accommodate in hitherto unidentified ways certain postmodernist interests and values most likely to characterize the early twenty-first century. New Variorum editions of Shakespeare's plays can combine comprehensive factuality, the record of the text's transformative life through time, with the very principle of indeterminacy voiced by Ioppolo.[12] The appearance, distortion, disappearance, and re-emergence of variants for phrases, words, even marks of punctuation, within single lines of a base text convey more powerfully the indeterminacy of the Shakespeare text in its passage from Rowe to Bevington and Greenblatt than any other kind of edition, modern or postmodern. And is not the large proportion of commentary compared to a text on a variorum page precisely the kind of reversal apparent in playful postmodern foregrounding of the marginal, the ephemeral, the secondary at the expense of a reduced primary subject? Bristol criticizes Shakespeare variorums for being unfinished. But is not always unfinished finishedness precisely the kind of postmodern paradox appreciated by Baudrillard? One can admit that the Folio texts ought not to be treated authoritatively and still point out that they deserve authoritative treatment because they are the only texts of approximately one-half of Shakespeare's plays. If we did not have them, we would have nothing. And should we treat them unauthoritatively simply because we do not have competing scripts? Ironically, a most likely never finished playscript such as Cymbeline was finished for all time by existing in only one surviving form, that published in the First Folio, while variorum editions of Shakespeare's plays, which some might think amount to perpetual archives, appear destined to remain forever incomplete.

It is time we stopped thinking of Shakespeare variorums as timeless, finished works. There will be future generations of variorums, as new editions and commentary appear and as old errors are corrected. Like the emerging third generation of Arden texts, Shakespeare variorums will someday constitute a third generation. Variorums are not meant to be ideal texts, fashioned by Platonic editing. If we realize and grant the provisional status of variorum texts, many of their detractors' criticisms vanish.

Another postmodernist feature of variorum Shakespeares involves the elimination of the white spaces associated with Steevens in his 1793 edition by the careful reproduction of the lineation and spacing of the editor's base early modern text. Steevens's white spaces, which have become standard editorial practice, show by varying deeper indentation of the short utterances of two or more characters a single iambic line that the brief speeches supposedly make up. Paul Bertram, in a generally unknown but important study, has revealed that the Steevens to Cambridge-Globe (1864) establishment of textual white spaces in Shakespeare's plays reflects a usually unacknowledged mixture of previous editors' revisions of quarto and Folio words and metre.[13] Thus nineteenth and twentieth-century Shakespeare editions often stray far from the unindented combination of prose and verse in the Folios. Bertram argues that the frequently non-pentameter, irregular arrangements of early modern Folios and quartos very likely more accurately represent the spoken cadences that Shakespeare intended for dramatic speeches. The mechanical white spaces associated with Steevens superseded the subtle white spaces of the Folios' columns. By comparing specific passages in early modern and post-Steevens texts of Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Macbeth, and The Tempest, Bertram persuasively illustrates certain ideational meanings suggested by early modern line and spacing arrangements lost through the late-eighteenth-century precedent for categorically revising lines and spacing. White spaces (in a different sense) and related concepts of absent presences/present absences and the purposeful creation of irregular aesthetics have become signatures of postmodern thought.[14] Thus it is surprising that postmodernist literary critics would not prefer the texts of Shakespeare variorum editions over the twentieth-century ones that they often cite in their writings and that they themselves in several cases have edited in the Steevens tradition.

By including the fullest record of alternative textual readings, variorum Shakespeares, unlike other editions, consistently represent significant later 'improvements' of Shakespeare's lines. Honigmann has claimed that 'some of the best improvements have been unconscious, the result of a lapse of memory in quotation' (p. 164). For example,

One could regard Hazlitt's misquotation of Cymbeline 3.3.37 as 'better than Shakespeare'. Hazlitt created the marvelous line, 'wind and rain beat dark November down' in place of F's
 When we shall heare
 The Raine and winde beate darke December? How
 In this our pinching Caue, shall we discourse
 The freezing houres away?


In short, 'editorial meddling', according to Honigmann, 'can give us words and lines "better than Shakespeare" -- for the simple reason that a mature poet will not always load every rift with ore'. Postmodern critics usually subscribe to some version of the so-called death of the author. Variorum Shakespeares offer postmodern critics the best opportunity to learn how the playwright's text has become destabilized, undercut, distorted, and even on occasion wished out of existence by major revisions, omissions, and improvements, some of which produce poetically superior readings through a new kind of collaboration. No other kind of Shakespeare edition allows postmodern critics the chance to assemble their own texts as the basis for postmodernist readings.

Finally, only Shakespeare variorums reproduce the literary history of editing the words and lines of the playwright so that readers might understand the successive re-creations of Shakespeare to meet the cultural needs and reflect the tastes of different centuries. Margreta de Grazia thinks, for two reasons, that this unique feature of variorum Shakespeares amounts to a drawback rather than an advantage. First, she claims that 'once the [variorum] text with its variants could be selected on the basis of documents, it became lodged in remote history recorded in those documents, removed from both the site for reception and the process of transmission and fashioned instead to its distant authorial and historical origin' (p. 70). Describing the historical record of textual readings in a variorum this way makes it appear dusty, outmoded, a dead letter. Secondly, she argues that the tripartite arrangement of the variorum page, with the record of textual variants and the commentary on individual words, phrases, and lines making up the second and third parts, 'stakes out critical property at the same time as establishing what properly and authentically belongs to Shakespeare. The proprietary relation assigned to Shakespeare is thereby reproduced in the territorializing of the critical field' (p. 214). Regarded from this critical perspective and coloured by this diction, a variorum's historical record of textual variants appears significant mainly as the egoistical fabrication of a competitive editor bent on carving out his or her own turf for the purposes of contemporary recognition.

But the historical record of textual variants in a Shakespeare variorum could prove illuminating and especially useful to postmodern Shakespeareans. My brief examples come from Cymbeline. When Posthumus, enraged by Iachimo's report of Imogen's seeming infidelity, pornographically imagines the act of betrayal, he characterizes Iachimo as 'a full Acorn'd Boare, a Iarmen on, [Who] Cry'de oh, and mounted' (TLN 1354-55). It was Nicholas Rowe who first revised 'a Iarmen on' to 'a German one'. Both Alexander Pope and William Warburton disregarded this emendation, which has been adopted by practically every editor since them, and substituted the bizarre phrase 'a-churning on' instead. Apparently Pope attributed greater importance to Folio's 'on' than Rowe did and made the retention of this word the authority for his fanciful phrase 'a-churning on'. Initially, one supposes that Pope, reflecting eighteenth-century standards of gentility, modified the line for the eyes of female readers. But immediately one notices that the phrase 'a Iarmen on' plays only a possibly secondary role in the pornography of the line and that Pope's substitution 'a-churning on' actually makes the sexual image of mounting more rather than less obscene.[15] Finally, one suspects that politics may have influenced Pope's emendation. In 1714, the German Elector of Hanover had become King George of England; thus Pope may have feared angering the ruling class by keeping Shakespeare's oversexed boar a German one. For English men and women, the German boar/boor had become a national caricature. Only a variorum edition permits the fullest reconstruction of the likely socio-political milieu of an emendation, a pre-requisite for the interpretations of cultural materialists and new historicists. Such a reconstruction also reinforces the postmodernist tendency to find matters of consequence in the most inconsequential details. It also makes possible the kind of whimsical intellectual play prized by artists of the late twentieth century.

At the end of Act ii, Scene 1 of Cymbeline, Second Lord, pitying Imogen bereft of her husband Posthumus, portrays her crude suitor as
 a wooer
 More hateful than the foul expulsion is
 Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
 Of the divorce he'd make! The heavens hold firm
 The walls of thy dear honor. (11.1.59)[16]


The First Folio reads 'Then that horrid Act | Of the diuorce; heel'd make the Heauens hold firme | The walls of thy deere Honour' (TLN 897-99). While problematically placed, the semicolon does permit the reading of intelligible meaning. According to the Lord, Imogen hates Cloten more than she hates her husband's banishment, more than the horrid act of this divorce. Cloten's badness would (or will) make the Heavens strengthen Imogen's married chastity so that she can resist Cloten's lustful suit. By substituting a dash for the semicolon, Rowe and Pope none the less preserved these readings. It was Lewis Theobald who first decided that the semicolon was wrong and that a period should come after the word 'make' (Capell introduced the exclamation mark), thus giving later editions essentially the modern arrangement of these lines. Only a variorum text of Cymbeline allows readers most easily to realize that the passage's original pointing did create sense; and while it is a sense not preferable to Theobald's emendation, it nevertheless helps to make possible the kind of near-simultaneous similar yet different meanings postulated by postmodernist paradoxical thought.[17] Furthermore, only a variorum text records Thomas Hanmer's and Warburton's emendation of 'divorce hell-made'. Both editors follow Theobald's change in punctuation, but they shift by their revision the responsibility for the divorce from Cloten (a divorce that 'heel'd make') to a separation engineered by Hell. One could argue that Hanmer's and Warburton's emendation constitutes the kind of actual improvement of Shakespeare's line that Honigmann claims Hazlitt unknowingly made in the line about wind and rain beating dark December. By enabling the largest number of readings of a line of Shakespeare's text, variorum editors ought to appeal to postmodernists who believe that the production of literary significance derives from several contributors, only one of whom is the author.

By substituting a variant of a word for the word itself in a line, editors privilege their century's values, a subtle dimension recorded in variorum texts. When Arviragus professes his love for Imogen-as-Fidele, he justifies it by saying (in the Folio text), 'Love's reason's, without reason' (TLN 2271). While the compositor of the 1632 Second Folio removed the comma, it was Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton who substituted 'Love' for 'Love's'. Their emendation shifted a Shakespearean paradox so that it became less ambiguous, more apparent and more active. Arviragus in the 1623 Folio says that love's reason is paradoxically an irrational faculty (or that love's motive [its reason] is paradoxically an irrational motive). In either case, Arviragus excuses his affection. Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton's revision made love a more active personification, who reasons without reason (irrationally). The emendation eliminates the second original reading of Arviragus's utterance (the one given above in parentheses) in favour of an eighteenth-century pronouncement that love's thought processes will always be reasonless. In short, these editors heavily import the Age of Reason's ingrained distrust of passion into Shakespeare's line. Once again, the full textual record of the variorum edition permits the most comprehensive conjectures about culture-specific values driving editorial decisions, a phenomenon of particular interest to postmodernists, who frequently prize (more so than modernists) the radical relativity of literary meaning as the construction of projected cultural values.

The relativity of these constructions can perhaps be best appreciated in Cymbeline in the imaginative play surrounding the contemplation of eighteenth-century revisions of the following enigmatical lines of the work. Concerning the boys he has kidnapped and introduced to a life in the Welsh mountains, Belarius states, 'And though train'd vp thus meanely | I'th'Caue, whereon the Bowe their thoughts do hit, | The Roofes of Palaces' (TLN 1643-45). This nonsense disappears in modern texts, which typically read 'and though trained up thus meanly | I' the cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit | The roofs of palaces' (iii.3.82-84). When Warburton realized that the vexing phrase 'whereon the Bowe' might mean 'wherein they bow', the passage became accessible to nineteenth and twentieth-century editors. But during most of the eighteenth century, the passage became a pot-pourri of fanciful conjectures. Taking their lead from the compositor of the Third Folio, editors removed the comma after the word 'hit'. But then the problem remained of what to do with the vexed utterance 'whereon the Bowe their thoughts do hit | The Roofes of Palaces'. Rowe's revision: 'where, on the Bow, their thoughts do hit | The Roofes of Palaces', turns the boys into mental archers, whose feathered thoughts are so strongly shot that they strike the roofs of faraway courtly buildings. Pope took the easy way out by omitting the phrase 'the Bowe' in order to create the line 'wherein their thoughts do hit | The roof of Palaces'. Theobald however was more bold; 'there, on the Brow, their thoughts do hit | The roofs of Palaces'. (Hanmer varied this emendation to 'here, on this brow, their thoughts do hit | The roofs of Palaces'). But in neither case is the new sense very clear or satisfactory. A distant brow of a Welsh hill, upon which their heroic thoughts hit, is hardly a palace's roof. And if Belarius points to his own forehead in Hanmer's revision: 'here, on this brow', he risks negative judgement for necessarily implying in egotistical fashion that the skull covering his brain is the roof of a palace. These whimsical speculations derive from fanciful neoclassical revisions of First Folio's line, all of which are registered in the New Variorum edition. They make possible the postmodernist play of sense and nonsense about a Shakespeare text (in this case, a play that in a postmodernist manner scrambles historical styles),[18] and so for this and better reasons recommend the New Variorum as our companion during our voyage into the twenty-first century.

Those readers profoundly moved and philosophically informed by reading Shakespeare's plays would instinctively deny their classification as 'ephemeral writings, scripts penned for immediate performance, associated with publications of passing or limited interest like almanacs, joke-books, and coney-catching pamphlets or chap-books'.[19] Inherent in their denial is the concomitant desire for a comprehensive record of those texts through history, with a commentary containing both the most historic definitions and the choicest or most illuminating readings of phrases, lines, and extended passages of Shakespeare's plays.

[1] Marvin Spevack, 'The End of Editing Shakespeare', Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate, 6 (1996/97), 78-85. But see Paul Werstine, 'Editing after the End of Editing', Shakespeare Studies, 24 (1996), 47-54.

[2] Werstine concludes, however, that 'in light of the expense, inaccessibility, and long lead-time of [Shakespeare] hypertext, there will remain a place for the book in editing' ('Editing after the End of Editing', p. 52). Werstine believes that editing in the post-editing age partly involves showing 'textual multiplicity and difference' either by means of bracketed words, phrases, and lines from different texts of a Shakespeare play inserted into a whole text of that play or by the printing of two or more equally authoritative versions of a Shakespeare play in an edition of that play (pp. 52-53).

[3] The Stability of Shakespeare's Text (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), p. 5.

[4] Jerome J. McGann, A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), p. 15.

[5] Michael Bristol, Shakespeare's America, America's Shakespeare (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 98.

[6] Stephen Orgel, 'What is a Text?', Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama, 24 (1981), 3-6 (p. 6).

[7] Shakespeare Verbatim: The Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparatus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), p. 20.

[8] Stephen Orgel, 'The Authentic Shakespeare', Representations, 21 (1988), 1-25 (p. 11).

[9] Grace Ioppolo, Revising Shakespeare (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 41.

[10] See my 'Elizabethan "Modernism", Jacobean "Postmodernism": Schematizing Stir in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries', Papers on Language and Literature, 31 (1995), 115-44 (pp. 119-23).

[11] McGann, p. 93.

[12] Descriptions of the postmodern preoccupation with such phenomena as indeterminacy, the foregrounding of the marginal or ephemeral, and unfinished finishedness (or finished unfinishedness) can be found in Steven Connor, Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the Contemporary (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989); Martin Donougho, 'Postmodern Jameson', in Postmodernism/Jameson/Critique, ed. by Douglas Kellner (Washington, DC: Maisonneuve, 1989), pp. 75-96; Douglas Kellner, Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1989); John O'Neill, 'Postmodernism and (Post) Marxism', in Postmodernism -- Philosophy and the Arts, ed. by Hugh J. Silverman (New York: Routledge, 1990), pp. 69-79; Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991), pp. 1-44.

[13] Paul Bertram, White Spaces in Shakespeare: The Development of the Modern Text (Cleveland, OH: Bellflower Press, 1981), pp. 28-51.

[14] See Jameson, p. 175; Hugh J. Silverman, 'The Philosophy of Postmodernism', in Postmodernism -- Philosophy and the Arts, 1-9 (p. 5); and Hunt, p. 138.

[15] For an analysis of the editorial processing of this crux different from mine, one that privileges the phrase 'a Iarmen on' to mean 'his german on (penis erect)', see John Pitcher, 'Why Editors Should Write More Notes', Shakespeare Studies, 24 (1996), 55-62 (p. 57).

[16] Quoted from The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. by David Bevington (New York: Longman, 1997). The later modernized passage from Cymbeline (iii.3.82-84) is quoted from the same edition.

[17] Examples of this kind of postmodernist paradoxical thought appear in Kellner, pp. 114, 117; Connor, pp. 47-48; Jean Baudrillard, Simulations (New York: Semiotext(e), 1983), pp. 30-31; Mark Taylor, 'Back to the Future', in Postmodernism -- Philosophy and the Arts, pp. 13-32 (p. 13).

[18] Hunt, p. 129.

[19] de Grazia, p. 32.
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Date:Jan 1, 1999
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