Friday, March 19, 2010

So, Somebody Speak To Me Of Editors

It’s been an interesting week for the importance of editors.  At the one end we’ve got the maybe-Cardenio, which has been through so many editors hands that it’s probably got little Shakespeare left.  On the other we’ve got Barton and his Playing Shakespeare, where every comma and line break means something in how you build the character so you’d better pick the right version.

It’s a distinction I’ve never fully appreciated.  I mean, I have the Complete Works on my iPhone.  Similarly, if I need to lookup a quote while at my PC I will typically hit up the MIT collection.  For my own personal projects I also keep the XML-formatted versions handy (the geek in me likes to process structured files rather than plain text).  In none of these cases could I tell you *whose* version these are, or what that means.

When people speak of carrying around a First Folio, what edition are they talking about? I mean, I know what a First Folio is, but somebody point me to it on Amazon or something.  How big, how much did it cost, who did the editing/publishing, etc?

6 comments:

Phil said...

One of the most common is a facsimile, like the Norton Facsimile . This is basically a copy of the first folio, which is how Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies (the 1623 folio), reproducing page by page in something like a photographical representation. I've used this. But its a very heavy book to carry around. In playing Shakespeare, when they talk of the folio they usually are referring to a facsimile of the 1623 edition.

Neil Freeman published a series of books, where the individual plays were reproduced in modern type (unlike the facsimile which can be difficult to read as it contains the v for u and the short s which are unfamiliar to modern eyes), but retains the punctuation and extra spellings. In the back of each book, Freeman discusses choices that were made, and choices that modern editors often make. These are my favourites, and my go-to choice when I need to approach one of the plays as an actor.

william sutton said...

Hi Sh geek,

boy do i have a link for you!
http://shakes.meisei-u.ac.jp/e-index.html

this takes you to Meisei University's copies of 1st 2nd, 3rd, 4th Folios. all scanned and ready for perusal.

Even more exciting their first folio contains marginal notes by its first owner!

yours,
Will

Duane said...

Thanks guys. I've seen similar Folio-viewers, Phil, but never had one bookmarked and could never find it when I wanted. That's going on my resources page!

Phil, I wonder if the surging popularity of ebook readers like Kindle (and, soon iPad) might mean we could all be carrying around the Norton one day very soon?

Phil said...

Duane, if there was an iphone app for the first folio...I would certainly be addicted to it.

Any app developers out there?

JM said...

There are paperback versions available. The print is smaller than the original, but it's all there.

One I recommend for carrying around without the need of wheel barrow, though not a "pocket version", is published by Applause (1995) (Doug Moston). Moston goes into some detail in his notes about history, background, etc. and things to look for--some of the "clues" in the text. This doesn't cover everything by any means, but it's a good start.

Angela said...

I own the Applause First Folio in Modern Type. It loses something of the charm of the Norton Facsimile, but it makes up for it in ease of legibility.