Octubre 05, 2004

"You're into Shakespeare, right?"

That was the subject of an email a coworker sent to me. The body of the message included the following link: Shakespeare in Quarto. The British Museum has posted digital scans 21 of his plays, as first published.

Not as originally written, nor as originally performed, in all likelyhood. As the BM site explaines:

None of Shakespeare’s manuscripts survives [NOTE: That is, nothing in Shakespeare's hand has survived], so the printed texts of his plays are our only source for what he originally wrote. The quarto editions are the texts closest to Shakespeare’s time. Some are thought to preserve either his working drafts (his foul papers) or his fair copies. Others are thought to record versions remembered by actors who performed the plays, providing information about staging practices in Shakespeare’s day.

For example, take Shakespeare's line from Hamlet, the one everyone knows: To be, or not to be, that is the question first appeared as To be, or not to be, I there’s the point.

Absolutely fascinating to look at.

Posted by Victor at Octubre 5, 2004 11:44 AM