Early modern drama, and Shakespeare’s works in particular, have a very troubled past. So troubled that, especially in Shakespeare’s case, editors have been fighting over what exactly were Shakespeare’s “true words”. Early modern methods of printing, copying, and ideas of copyright were varied to say the least. Thanks to nearly infinite variation that comes from this, any play that has Shakespeare’s name should also have the names of its editors. So much is involved in editing Shakespeare and early modern plays, the length of time involved in editing the Cambridge Edition of Ben Jonson’s works comes to mind, that any editor could easily be considered a coauthor. Editors resolve variant issues anywhere from single words, like “hath” or “have”, “Ay” or “I”, etc., to complete passages, like in Act 3.1 of King Lear. Editors have fought over these issues for so long, contrasting schools have formed, and different editions have be published in response to others, that I feel like a particularly modern question must be asked of this early modern “drama”: “Do individual words matter, specifically in literature?”
Category Archives: Shakespeare
I have been meaning to write this post for a couple of months now, but I have not sat down long enough to get it done. I recently published an article with Apollon eJournal which I had been working on since the winter of 2010. In fact, my views and critical stance had changed so much that I significantly revised it past fall before publication. I wanted to supplement the article with this post because some of the materials I sent where simply too awkward to be included in the article proper. For one, I wanted to talk about what does not often get discussed with discussions of Docuscope and that is mainly the effect of the text itself upon the evaluative tool Docuscope is. I discussed most of this in my post here but I wanted to add the underlying structure of Docuscope itself.
I went to the British Library for the first time today and I was simply blown away by the amount of materials I was able to access in one place at one time. I went to the Rare Book and Music room and viewed about twenty editions of Shakespeare’s works, mostly pre-1850. I cannot believe that this is a free public library and a veritable construct of reading space. On their website it said something to the effect of the British Library building near St. Pancras in London being the biggest building built in the UK in the 20th century. Absolutely incredible.
In York I received a flyer that was uniquely individualized. A couple of weeks prior, for Thanksgiving dinner, my partner Emily and I ordered out from Pizza Hut and we bought two “Create Your Own” pizzas. In the advert we received later, there is a picture which is presumably Pizza Hut’s portrayal of a normal “Create Your Own Pizza” and it states that “Your Create Your Own Pizza was just the beginning . . .”. We realized that the ad was tailored to our past buying trends but the same ad, with a change in type of pizza on the front, had gone out to our friends’ houses as well. To me it seemed like a printed form of Google’s personalized web ads based on your browsing history. In both cases, each visitor receives a unique response but in essence the website applies the same algorithm to every visitor. On my WordPress blogs, I also receive a lot of spam “comments” in which a stock phrase or statement is pasted into the comment box of blog posts but caught by a program called Askimet. I usually take time to read them all before deleting them and they seem to follow the same format as the ads for Pizza Hut and Google. For instance, there is usually a space filled in by information pertinent to the viewer, usually an outgoing link to other things is present (in Pizza Hut’s case it was printed pictures of additional pizzas), and the use of other acquired information within a set framework. Because the ad was printed like this, I began thinking about fill-in-the-blanks in literature, particularly in terms of genre and mode related to textual features. Continue reading
I think this is the last old post I had to write. This is focused on my final project for Prof. Witmore’s class in May:
Over the course of a semester, Professor Witmore introduced our class to writings about relational patterns and networks, then subsequently applied them to the study of literature. We read books such as Graham Harman’s “Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics”, Franco Moretti’s “Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History”, and Alexander, Ishikawa, and Silverstein’s “A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction” which slowly coalesced in my mind and led into my final project; a Java program designed to help render Docuscope quality text from a plain or formatted transcription.