Desperate Remedies (Annotated) (Large Type Print)

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When Stansby returned to the play, all went well until about four pages from the end, when he belatedly realized that he was seriously short of space. From this point, the Quarto has room for lines, but the Folio only But one thing is sure: a story of the stationer who ran out of paper is no fantasy. So he attempts to disqualify my argument in advance:. Without accomplishing these objectives, the entire anti-revisionist thesis of The One King Lear collapses.

He continues to contest this point, in the process digging a large hole for himself — or, rather, a series of holes. As a printer, Okes made some idiosyncratic decisions. Accordingly, the text of the Quarto ends on the penultimate recto, leaving the final page of the 10th sheet blank. The same practice, applied to the beginning of a play, means that the title page has to be placed on page three, as we would number them, with page four blank. Having used a half-sheet for this purpose, Okes left three of its pages blank. Other printers often set the preliminary material last, allowing the author or printer to add a preface or epistle as the production process was drawing to an end.

I argued that, given these choices, Okes had to work even harder to accommodate the nearly 3, lines of this play on the 79 pages left, at 38 lines per page. Syme continues this argument to its conclusion:. There certainly was no need to repeat the title of the play on the first page, let alone in such large type. I have used italics to bring out the strange course this argument has taken.

He never realizes that printing a text was a dynamic process; mistakes and errors would arise in the course of setting, and expedients of all kinds had to be found to remedy them. In any case, we cannot second-guess why an early modern printer made the choices he did. Syme now proceeds to elaborate on the choices he thinks that Okes should have made:. In two cases, however, they added an extra line — demonstrating that his press could easily print pages with 39 lines of text. It would therefore have been easy, simply by adding an extra line per page, to accommodate an additional 77 lines of text.

When one adds up all the additional space readily available to Okes in the Without interfering in the text at all, he could have found room for well over additional lines — far in excess of the Vickers says he was forced to cut. In trying to demolish my argument, Syme ignores all the other evidence I have accumulated of the means Okes used to save space, from setting verse as prose, lengthening verse lines, running speeches together, and all the standard typographical tricks — turned letters, tildes, ampersands, and so on.

He does mention the first of these devices but gives it a very strange interpretation:. Finally, as Vickers describes at length, Okes set verse as prose with some frequency; extending this practice would have been a far easier and far less invasive means of saving space than cutting lines … emphasis added.

Having committed himself to this argument, Syme pursues it to its completion, mounting a counter-thesis:. Other printers took this desperate step occasionally when caught for space, but no other play quarto did so for page after page. As a teacher of English literature, Syme should realize that a poet-dramatist would not be pleased if a printer reduced his carefully formed verse to prose, not just altering the text but ruining it.

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Holger Syme either ignores my arguments or misrepresents them. Evans in recent years, but I am the first to bring out the full implications of this insight. Syme seems not to like me citing scholars from beyond his horizon, to judge from this disparaging comment:. He tends to rely on works published before World War II rather than in the last few decades.


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But he gives a totally false impression of my reading. Of my footnotes, the great majority refer to works published in the last few decades. The only prewar scholar I cite with any frequency is Madeleine Doran, who has a good claim to be the heroine of my book. While this shows considerable self-assurance, it is not always justified. The advantage of the first method was that the printer could start work without a careful casting-off. Over and over again, Vickers claims superior knowledge about historical objects and phenomena than could have been available to the people who made and lived with those objects.

Perhaps the most baffling of those assertions comes late in the book, when Vickers mocks […] MacDonald P. Jackson […] for assuming that Shakespeare knew that printers often mixed proofread and corrected sheets with uncorrected ones.

In claiming the moral high ground, or perhaps ascending the highest branches of a tree in order to pelt me more effectively, Syme is guilty of careless misreading. Syme may well find this to be the most embarrassing of his frequent claims that I have misrepresented other scholars. Syme, however, failed to notice that Knowles was referring to two different things. In the first passage I cited, which Syme does not quote, Knowles reported the results of a computer-aided search that showed that. F rejects some 1, substantive readings found in Q2, and seems to accept a mere Moreover […] the F readings could all have been arrived at independently by such natural means as the substitution of obviously correct readings for Q1 misreadings.

Both F compositors obviously derive their substantive readings from elsewhere — i. Knowles continues:. It seems as if Syme is unaware of the most fundamental difference that a textual scholar must know, between substantive and accidental variants. These charges are all false, as will be seen from the discussion on my website. The original revisionist claim, made by Gary Taylor, was that Shakespeare revised the play in —11 by annotating a copy of the first Quarto.

Several scholars have objected that it would be extraordinarily difficult to mark up in its relatively restricted margins all the corrections that would be needed, starting with the pages of prosified verse that would need relineation, together with the many verse lines forcefully extended, the many missing stage directions to be added, and about a thousand verbal variants to be changed.

As I showed, the evidence for this was first produced in by Madeleine Doran, that long unacknowledged pioneer of textual scholarship on this play.

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Partridge and Jay L. In summarizing my argument, Syme only mentions the first part, making it sound superfluous:. Vickers spends a long section summarizing and slightly extending the case Madeleine Doran made for this position in , but he is pushing at open doors. And that is all he has to say. Syme accepts the case made for the Quarto by the best modern scholarship, while concealing that for the Folio. Only Shakespeare can have written some lines, we believe, but anyone can delete any line in any canon.

The double plots run in parallel, each casting a bitterly ironic light on the other, coming together when Goneril and Regan fight for the sexual favors of Edmund, shortly followed by the catastrophic ending. Another unique feature deriving from this complex plot is that events take place in at least six different locations, with the 12 main characters frequently moving from place to place; but Shakespeare made sure that we always know where they are. We receive notification of their comings and goings from their announced intentions, from the many letters sent or intercepted, and from reports, not always reliable.

This means that scenes and speeches that might seem unimportant in another play can be vital here. Act Three begins with a long conversation in which Kent tells an anonymous Gentleman that the French soldiers who are on their way to rescue Lear are about to land in Dover, and gives him a message to take to Cordelia.

Delius rightly objected:. The actors overlooked the fact that the omission of this passage renders that which follows incomprehensible. Naturally such a palpable error cannot have emanated from Shakespeare, who better understood the plan of his drama. Delius makes many such penetrating comments on the damaging effects of the Folio cuts on the play. It diverges from practically all recent scholarship on King Lear , which holds that the text includes additions by Shakespeare or someone else as well as alterations and cuts that are either authorial or not.

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He never argues this claim. As will now be evident, Syme expends a great deal of time and energy disputing positions that I hold, alongside others that he falsely attributes to me, while ignoring large parts of my argument, particularly those that provide the strongest challenges to the Two Versions theory. Yet the whole basis of scholarship in the humanities, as in the sciences, rests on an open engagement with conflicting interpretations and a readiness to discuss differences.

Although the revisionists have done their best to ignore any evidence of disagreement, the fact is that, between and , over a dozen independent scholars produced cogent, fully documented critiques of the revisionist theory.

What is phishing?

Their critiques were published in a dozen major English and American journals, and Evans listed most of them in the second edition of the Riverside Shakespeare Wells and Taylor pointedly ignored their critics in the revised edition of the Oxford Shakespeare , as elsewhere. When these critiques are brought together for synthesis and analysis, as I do for the first time, they add up to a complete refutation of the Two Versions theory.

The scholar who has done most to expose the deficiencies of this theory, in essays and reviews across the whole period from to , has been Professor Richard Knowles of the University of Wisconsin. Knowles has been working for 30 years preparing the New Variorum King Lear , which will be the most important edition of the play ever published. He completed it in , and since then it has been languishing in the vaults of the Modern Language Association of America, a shameful dereliction of duty for a scholarly publisher.

There are in Folio Lear no new scenes, characters, or episodes; no rearrangements of plot or scenes or speeches; no omissions or renaming of named characters; no new speeches to introduce new themes or different motives.

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The few reassignments of speeches have seemed to editors to be in most cases either errors or the correction of errors. Though revisionist critics have made the most of existing differences between the two texts, the fact is that […] the speeches and actions of the characters remain on the whole unchanged. Most remarkably, virtually no speech of any length seems to have been either wholly reworked or replaced by a different one.

If Shakespeare really had revised this play, it is hardly conceivable that he would have been content to do so merely by making cuts. To say that a deletion leads to a faster playing time of the surviving material is merely a tautology. How could it not?

Every omission necessarily results in streamlining and acceleration; what is not effectively shown is why this acceleration and streamlining are really virtues. The Folio cuts the whole of Act Four, Scene Three, in which we see Cordelia again for the first time since the opening scene, 2, lines earlier, a longer absence than any other major character in Shakespeare. The audience needs to see the intensity of her love for her father and to be reassured that she comes from France to rescue, not to conquer.

The scene also brings us news of Lear, gradually regaining his sanity and experiencing profound shame at the way he has treated Cordelia, an essential preliminary stage to the later scene where we see him reunited with her. One revisionist critic justified the omission of 4. Everything up to this point comes from the Quarto, which preserves the whole scene. Alas, the Folio abridger cut 40 lines from one of the most remarkable scenes in European drama, with its juxtaposition of Lear, who has really lost his senses, with the Fool, whose trade is to speak amusing nonsense, and Edgar, who is pretending to be mad.

With the omission, Lear has hardly entered when he speaks of Regan, and then he falls asleep. It is striking that all seven productions preserved the Quarto text of the mad trial, even though they were purportedly based on the Folio. Nicholas Hytner RSC, planned to use the Folio but was unable to convince his actors that its cuts in the mock trial were viable. Many who love King Lear would salute the director for translating that insight into a visible form that brings out the continuities in this tightly woven drama.

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The best that Holger Syme can manage is to rebuke me for paying undue attention to. Those dismissive comments contain several serious misrepresentations. The key issue here is the notion of consensus. Normally, in the humanities as in the sciences, new discoveries or interpretations can be gradually accepted by the scholarly community, but also modified or rejected; a consensus will eventually be established. Between and , as I showed, some of the leading scholars and editors of our time refuted the Two Versions thesis.

In their eyes the revisionists had utterly failed to change the consensus. Some members of the revisionist group, however, did not wait for a larger community to endorse their claims, but in effect formed a mutually validating community of their own.