Sunday, May 16, 2004

Words
Shakespeare didn't write any of his plays as we see them now. This isn't as controversial a statement as it might at first seem. When we go to the theatre now to see Romeo & Juliet or Hamlet are 'edited' versions of the plays, cobbled together by contemporary editors from a number of sources which we know are mostly acurate. Mostly. I was amazed when I read about all this while studying for my A-Levels. There are many versions of the plays and roughly fall into two camps, the Quartos and the Folios. Now at the time, bootlegging was rife and so these printings were often from not entirely trustworthy sources -- we have the editing together of the recollection of actors; a written copy of the script sold afterwards by a minor actor looking for some fast cash to supplement their pitiful actors earnings (the issue with this being that this not be Shakespeares final version of the play); a stage hand's version full of directions; a non-contemporary version of the play which has appeared a hundred years after Shakespeare's death. Different camps will argue endlessly about which can stake the greater claim for accuracy. This article tracks the history of the First Folio, one of the original collected works, now considered to well -- not too good really, and how a cult has developed around it's inception.

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posted by Blogger vuuk819grp, at 4:39 AM  

Now at the time, bootlegging was rife and so these printings were often from not entirely trustworthy sources -- we have the editing together of the recollection of actors; a written copy of the script sold afterwards by a minor actor looking for some fast cash to supplement their pitiful actors earnings (the issue with this being that this not be Shakespeares final version of the play); a stage hand's version full of directions; a non-contemporary version of the play which has appeared a hundred years after Shakespeare's death
posted by Blogger nerinossa, at 7:05 PM  

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The William Shakespeare Weblog is looking for contributions. If you want to comment or follow-up on something which has been mentioned or you have something which you think might of interest to readers please get in touch. We would particularly like to hear from anyone connected with a production of one of Will's plays for a prospective diary feature. Above all else Shakespeare's words are as relevant now as then and its important for this weblog to reflect that.
posted 09/05/2004 | link | email

(c) Stuart Ian Burns 2004

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