With Quarto is called the early 22 individual prints of 20 of Shakespeare dramas, the first printed editions, all except the quarto edition of Othello were published (1622) in Shakespeare's lifetime, and which as earliest surviving source texts for today's scientific outputs from edition critical point of view, is of great importance. The name actually only means the quart paper format on which they were printed. There are several quarto editions of various of these pieces.
After the appearance of the first four-high editions or their subsequent follow-up editions, many of them were reissued several times. The respective textual historical sequence of the successive four-high editions of a certain work is referred to in the specialist literature with abbreviations such as Q 1 , Q 2 , Q 3 etc.; accordingly, reference is made to the sequence of different folio editions of a piece with abbreviations such as F 1 etc.
A total of around 55 single editions of Shakespeare's dramas in four-high format were published. Regardless of the fact that Shakespeare wrote his works almost exclusively as stage texts for a theater audience, the overwhelming part of the historically transmitted testimonies, which prove the paramount importance of Shakespeare as an author, come from readers and not from theater goers.
However, only in a few isolated cases was the second or subsequent quarto prints based on a newer and improved manuscript, for example Romeo and Juliet (1599) and Hamlet (1604/05). With regard to the relative reliability of the handwritten master copies, however, the degree of textual authority of the text versions printed in the early quartos and in the first complete folio edition differs greatly and can only be determined more precisely for each individual work with the help of text-critical methods, both in the In general, analyze the printing and publishing conditions in England at the time and, in particular, analyze those specific clues or documentary evidence that provide information about the creation of the respective print versions.
Publication of Shakespeare's dramatic texts in Elizabethan times
Autograph manuscripts from Shakespeare's own hand have not survived; Neither are there any external references or reliable evidence of the exact way in which the individual drama texts reached the printer or publisher from the author himself or his own or other theater troupes. In most cases, the first documentary evidence of the existence of a Shakespeare work is a registration initiated by the respective publisher in the Stationers' Register , the main directory of the London guild of booksellers, printers and publishers, whose members thereby obtain the printing or publication rights for a work as a publishing product secured, since a "copyright" in its current form did not yet exist in Shakespeare's time.
The regulation and recognition of the printing and publication rights for the various four-high editions as well as for the subsequent full folio edition was a purely internal matter; A previous entry in the Stationers' Register was not even, without exception, a mandatory precondition for printing . The authors' copyrights were not secured at the time; Often such an entry in the Stationers' Register for printing registration was only used to prevent possible pirated prints in order to protect the authors or the actors who were in possession of the respective original manuscripts from print pirates.
However, this was repeatedly unsuccessful; The simple publication of a work was sometimes sufficient as proof of printing authorization, provided that the publisher knew how to get himself into possession of the manuscript and succeeded in obtaining the imprimatur of the Elizabethan censorship for it. The origin and quality of the manuscript were irrelevant.
In the Elizabethan era and Elizabethan theater, dramatic or acting texts were essentially not intended for printing and for additional publication as literature . They were the raw material that the drama troops used for their performances, thus a substantial part of their working capital and as such closely guarded. Publication was therefore not in the interests of theaters or drama troops. Probably less because it was believed that people would rather read than go to the theater than out of fear that the competition might copy and market a successful play. As a rule, dramas were therefore only released for printing after they had been played on the stage or unauthorized persons had already come into possession of the manuscript texts and published them.
Regardless of this, individual prints of Shakespeare's dramas were coveted by publishers, apparently promising certain sales success and profit at a price set by the guild of six pence and a maximum circulation of 1,200 to 1,500 copies. The only obstacle to this was the aforementioned unwillingness of the theater troupes to publish their stage texts and approve them for printing.
There is a record of a case from 1600 in which the drama company The Admiral's Men offered a printer 40 shillings to prevent him from printing one of their plays, Patient Grisell . Likewise, in 1608, some London theaters made a formal agreement to respect each other and not publish their plays.
Nevertheless, unofficial pirated prints often appeared, because some printers wanted to make a profit with the titles of successful pieces. These editions were mostly of poor quality and since the beginning of the 20th century, representatives of the New Bibliography (or analytical bibliography) , as unauthorized prints, were increasingly termed so-called bad quartos in editing practice and specialist literary discussions .
One such example is an edition of Hamlet from 1603, which was so corrupted that a reader who had not seen the play would get a completely different impression of the work than when reading an authentic text version. In this case, the Lord Chamberlain's Men made an exception and even had an official version of the text printed, probably to counteract the bad impression in the public.
Obviously, among contemporary recipients of Shakespeare's dramas, in addition to a pronounced interest in visiting the stage performances directly, there was also a market for dramatic texts that were printed and published in large numbers. Shakespeare was an unusually successful playwright, and so his plays kept appearing in new editions: for example, Richard II was printed in 6 editions between 1597 and 1623 (the year when the official Shakespeare anthology, the folio , was published), Henry IV. Part 1 in 7 editions from 1598, Romeo and Juliet in 5 editions from 1597.
Pirated Copies and Suspected Black Copier Methods
The determination and proof of the existence of various pirated prints led, especially among the representatives of bibliographical and edition-critical Shakespeare research, to the question of the origin and the path of origin of these pirated prints and, associated with this, to the attempt to explain or clarify the methods used by the black copiers, to get a print template for the pirated publications of the respective works.
The nature of the errors, the inaccuracies, the text contamination and deviations in the unauthorized prints suggested various methods used by the pirates, some of which could also be detected with a certain degree of certainty in these text prints.
In the previous Shakespeare research, the following hypotheses or assumptions were mainly represented:
A member of the theater could have sold the text himself. But since there were only a few - handwritten - copies within the troupe, often only with the text for the individual role, the actor in question had to add the remaining text from memory. In such a text output, some text passages would then be significantly better than others.
Another possibility would be to have a reporter sent to the theater by interested publishers during the performance.
At that time there were actually early systems of shorthand in England, for example charactery , which was basically based on a picture font. So you could write down the essential meaning of what was said on stage, but poetic effects and many puns had to be lost. As an example (taken from the book by Anthony Burgess, Shakespeare, Harmondsworth 1970 ) the famous sentence from Hamlet may serve: “ To be or not to be, that is the question ” ( to be or not to be that is the question ): “ To be ”: so one wrote the sign for“ life ”-“ not to be ”: that is the opposite -“ that is ”: here an equal sign sufficed -“ the question ”: the corresponding sign meant both question and disagreement or argument . And so the famous sentence in the quarto edition of 1603 reads "To be, or not to be, I there's the point."
Apart from the fact that a stenographer would presumably have been discovered during a theatrical performance and prevented from taking notes, current investigations also show that the systems in question were clearly not efficient enough for the entire transcription of a stage text spoken at play speed. At best, therefore, a very shortened version of the stage text could have been recorded, with the possibility of hearing errors not being excluded either. Essential text passages would then have to be reconstructed from memory or appropriately corrected later before going to press.
Nor could the subtleties of Shakespeare's language be adequately reproduced with the existing first types of shorthand. With regard to the “bad quartos”, the consistently uneven extent of the deviations, corruption and depravity in the course of the text of the individual editions speaks most likely, according to current knowledge, against the acceptance of a shorthand transcription of the listed stage texts, which is not error-free, but at least a relatively constant one either good or bad result would have been expected.
One could of course have stolen the original manuscript text secretly or made an unauthorized copy. Then the result would undoubtedly have been reasonably reliable in print; The manuscripts, however, were very well secured according to the current state of knowledge and not so easy to get into their hands, so that, as a rule, in all likelihood the above-mentioned prerequisites for at least partial reconstruction from memory for the pirated prints apply.
The so-called "bad quartos"
The term “bad quartos” in contrast to the “good quartos” with proven printing rights was coined by Alfred W. Pollard at the beginning of the 20th century, primarily with regard to the character of these “bad quartos” as pirated copies. As an established terminus technicus , the designation was not only adopted for the unofficial prints by the leading representatives of the New Bibliography , which, in addition to Pollard, included well-known Shakespeare scholars such as Ronald Brunlees McKerrow or WW Greg , but was also widely adopted and used in the following Shakespeare research up to the present day as a general term in the sense of a rough division for those prints in four-high format that were secretly brought into circulation by fraudulent middlemen as pirated print editions in stolen and mostly in frequently spoiled or corrupted versions.
In addition to these “bad quartos” , the so-called “contention plays” , which the editors of the folio edition of 1623 denounced as depraved, are particularly important . H. parts 2 and 3 of Henry VI (1594 and 1595), which appeared as The First part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of York and Lancaster and The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke and were both reprinted in 1600 and 1619 as well as Romeo and Juliet (Q 1 , 1597), Henry V (1600, 1602, 1619), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1602), Hamlet (Q 1 , 1603) and Pericles (Q 1 - 6 , 1609 to 1635) and According to some Shakespeare scholars, possibly the four-high text The Taming of a Shrew . Other unauthorized quarto traditions from Richard III (Q 1 - 6 , 1597–1622), King Lear (1608, 1619) and Othello (1622), on the other hand, cannot be put qualitatively on the same level as those mentioned above from the point of view of today's textual criticism Pirated prints.
The characteristic textual features of the so-called “bad quartos” , on the basis of which the direct origin of authoritative or more authentic theater manuscripts could be ruled out with a high degree of certainty, were in particular continuous repetitions, assumptions, recourse, an abundance of contaminated words, phrases and lines and extensive flattening of expression as well as a frequently perturbed metric and lengthy borrowings and takeovers from both other Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare works.
Taken together, these characteristics, from the point of view of the majority of Shakespeare researchers and editors, lead with a high degree of certainty to a reconstruction of the text versions from memory and are therefore also sometimes referred to as so-called "reported texts" or "memorial reconstructions" in current specialist literature , However, there is by no means all Shakespeare researchers unanimous about the motivation and circumstances or even the identity of the alleged text sub-carriers.
Although the so-called "bad quartos" in their unauthorized and mostly corrupted form do not provide any authentic text versions, they are still regarded in current Shakespeare research by numerous Shakespeare scholars and editors as thoroughly relevant documentary testimonies or sources of information, especially from a text-critical point of view help to gain additional knowledge about theatrical and performance practice in the Elizabethan period.
At the time, Alfred W. Pollard viewed the prints of Shakespeare's dramas, which he called "bad quartos" , as already explained above, primarily from the point of view of text piracy; Above all, the other leading representatives of the New Bibliography or analytical bibliography linked the assumption that the artwork for the pirated prints was created using a shorthand recording of the stage text, with the incomplete or missing passages being replaced by a memory reconstruction.
With the increasing abandonment of this shorthand hypothesis in current Shakespeare research, Pollard's assumption of the predatory practices lost more and more weight, while on the other hand the idea of text mediators was retained. As is now increasingly assumed, they would have seen or heard the original pieces or at least authentic theatrical versions of these works, albeit possibly in an abbreviated or otherwise modified form, or even as participants in the theater and stage practice and recorded handwritten from their memory or dictated.
It is assumed that Romeo and Juliet Q 1 , The Merry Wives of Windsor and Hamlet Q 1 , for example , show with great certainty that these text versions were reproduced by actors who had a supporting role in performances of the authentic pieces. While their own roles are often reproduced almost verbatim, and scenes in which they played are at least roughly recorded, those parts of the dramas in which they did not appear remain relatively shadowy or blurry. Likewise, the formulation of various stage directions speaks, as it were, from the point of view of a participating player for the participation of actors in the creation of these so-called "bad quartos" . However, there is also the possibility that other people familiar with the originals, such as theater writers or prompter , could have been involved in the reconstruction or production of the respective text templates for the unauthorized prints of the "bad quartos" .
Furthermore, in today's discussion it is also suspected or even viewed by some of the researchers as proven that, especially in the case of Romeo and Juliet , Hamlet Q 1 and Q Henry V, those texts of which "bad quartos" were subsequently printed, were initially created for performance purposes, for example for tours of smaller actors in the province. Due to various text interventions or editorships, such as changes in the sequence of scenes or shortening of certain text passages, this assumption is largely very likely at the current state of the discussion.
In Hamlet Q 1 , for example, the text of the Hamlet drama The punished fratricide , which was played by English actors in Germany, points in this direction, since the unauthorized Q 1 print by Hamlet is much closer to the version of the drama played in Germany than the text versions of both Q 2 and F 1 .
Against this background, a growing number of today's Shakespeare editors or scholars generally tend to support the postulate for the entire group of "bad quartos" that they represent regular cuts or changes for provincial performances or at least based on such adaptations in theater practice ( "Prompt books" ).
This hypothesis is also sustainable without the simultaneous assumption of a poorer textual substrate in contrast to other better preserved versions of Shakespeare's works. The so-called “bad quartos” could therefore, in the context of the current literary or theater studies and editorial- critical discussion of the Shakespeare dramas, further help to shed light on the relevance of divergent text traditions, including their respective potential as reflections of different versions of the work.
Text criticism and editorial history background
About half of Shakespeare's plays that appeared in the first folio edition in 1623 were already on the market in more or less poor print editions, such as Richard III. , Titus Andronicus , Lost Love's Labor , Romeo and Juliet , A Midsummer Night's Dream , Richard II , The Taming of the Shrew , The Merchant of Venice , Henry IV. Part 1 and 2, Much Ado About Nothing , Troilus and Cressida , Hamlet , King Lear , Pericles , Prince of Tire , Othello , Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor .
In the 18th century the beginnings of textual criticism developed, which endeavored to restore the not perfectly transmitted Shakespeare plays. The early editors primarily used the method of conjecture, i.e. the text improvement through conjecture, in order to replace the passages in the four-high editions or the folio edition that they considered corrupt or spoiled with versions that were semantically or syntactically better with clear similarity in the wording fit into the respective context, and thus made the dark areas more understandable. The majority of the substantial corrections or changes found in modern Shakespeare editions can be traced back to these text corrections from the 18th century.
One weakness of the early textual criticism, however, was that the first editors, in their extensive and restless improvement efforts, often went far beyond the original goal and, in some cases, even for no compelling reason, provided the dramas with a myriad of factually in no way necessary or objectively hardly justifiable emendations . Only in the further course of the more recent Shakespeare editions did this extremely active or aggressive attitude in text criticism, partly based on purely subjective taste judgments, change into a more cautious or conservative position, which leaves the text of the first editions as intact as possible. Particularly since the beginning of the 19th century, the often unconditional emendation activities have been severely restricted in the sense of an anti-emendation position. As a result, numerous old emendations gradually disappeared in the more important scientific editions with the intention of getting closer to the original text bit by bit.
A fundamental change took place in the current edition system: The previous basic assumption that there was only one authoritative version of each piece that could be reproduced by the textual criticism was abandoned. New insights into the transmission path from the autograph manuscript to the first printed versions of the quartos and the folio edition from 1823 now led to the assumption that at least the majority of Shakespeare's plays were already in the play during his lifetime with the participation of the author himself and other theater people Performance practice has gone through a continuous process of change, which makes the attempt to restore a single authoritative source text with sole validity impossible.
Among the various printed versions, one version is not necessarily more authentic or less corrupt than another with regard to the discrepancies, but rather different snapshots from the process of changes in the performance history or practice of the works at that time. At present, for example, dramas with different traditions such as Hamlet or King Lear are currently being published in their different versions as separate works under their own law.
Nevertheless, a critical examination of the various surviving text versions must endeavor to come as close as possible to the original texts written by Shakespeare in their revised or revised versions. With this in mind, the following rules or requirements apply to a conscientious present publisher, among others:
- Actually, the author's original manuscript would be the basis. However, no (hand) written or other recordings of his plays by Shakespeare himself have survived.
- Accordingly, the text transmission that is closest in time and space to the original must be used. This is a first the preserved generally Quarto -pressure. However, as can be seen from the example of Hamlet , the first printed edition can sometimes be of unusually poor quality. In this case, it makes sense to use a subsequent, less corrupted and already revised or corrected edition as the textual basis for today's edition.
- Spelling and printing conventions of the time must also be taken into account, as the printer may have changed an original text to suit his own taste or "improved" it, especially in areas that are difficult to read. Obvious misprints, on the other hand, are relatively easy to spot. If sentences are completely meaningless, there must be a mistake in the printing. Nevertheless, such a decision is often a question of interpretation, in which the various editors often do not agree in their text-critical readings.
- Since the folio edition from 1623 was issued as a commemorative edition by the publishers of the time with a certain degree of care, if there are obvious discrepancies between the various text versions preserved, it can be given preference. However, it should not necessarily be assumed that the folio text versions are closer to the original, since their editors used what they had in their hands for printing: possibly good autograph manuscripts, but also copies of copies, good quartos as well as bad ones. In the case of around 15 dramas in the folio edition, the text version presented here is inferior to that of an earlier four-high edition, so that the textual situation can vary greatly depending on the drama.
A scientifically sound, text-critical edition of Shakespeare's works should in any case indicate the exact source of individual text passages as well as a reason for the preference of one over the other version, which should also be printed in the text commentary or annotation apparatus at the appropriate points in order to Allow readers to judge for themselves.
Overview displays (selection)
- Ina Schabert (Ed.): Shakespeare Handbook. Time, man, work, posterity. 5th, revised and supplemented edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , here in particular pp. 192-234.
- Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide . 3rd reviewed and supplemented edition, Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , pp. 357-371, here in particular pp. 29ff. and p. 47ff.
- Ulrich Suerbaum: Shakespeare's Dramas. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , pp. 302-312.
- Possibility to compare different quarto texts
- Shakespeare 'First Folio and Quartos on Shakespeare-online.com
- Folio and Quarto Texts of Shakespeare's Plays on Shakespeare Study Guide
- The Shakespeare Quartos Archive on quartos.org
- Textual Variations in Shakespeare's Plays on Shakespeare Online Study Tools
- See Ulrich Suerbaum : Shakespeare's Dramas. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , p. 303.
- Cf. Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , pp. 198 f. See also Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide . 3rd revised and supplemented edition, Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 47 ff. And Ulrich Suerbaum: Shakespeares Dramen. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , p. 302 ff.
- Cf. Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , pp. 198 f.
- Cf. Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 199.
- See the explanations in Ulrich Suerbaum: Shakespeares Dramen. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , pp. 302 ff, as well as Ulrich Suerbaum : Der Shakespeare-Führer . 3rd revised and supplemented edition, Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , pp. 29 ff. And 47 ff. Suerbaum describes in detail the two largely separate strands of oral performance practice and written reading in the history of Shakespeare reception from the beginning. See also Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 107 f. See also more detailed Hans-Dieter Gelfert : William Shakespeare in his time. Beck, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-65919-5 , p. 80 ff.
- Cf. Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 199. See also Hans-Dieter Gelfert : William Shakespeare in his time. Beck, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-65919-5 , p. 80 f.
- See, for example, the general remarks by Kenneth Muir on the hypothesis of a shorthand transcription of the stage texts played and the efficiency of the shorthand systems then available in: Kenneth Muir (Ed.): William Shakespeare: King Lear. The Arden Shakespeare. Second series. Methuen, London 1952, 1961, 9th rev. 1972, Introduction p. XIV ff.
- See in more detail, for example, the statements by Hans Walter Gabler: The text . In: Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , pp. 192-234, here mainly pp. 200 ff.
- See Ulrich Suerbaum: Shakespeare's Dramas. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , p. 303. In this context, Suerbaum expressly points out that there is, however, no evidence for the so-called "good quartos" either that Shakespeare ever took care of the correctness of the print versions during his lifetime. It was usually left to the printer to deal with the difficulties or errors and problematic or difficult to read passages in the manuscripts that were not always in the best condition, as well as the errors made by the printers.
- See in more detail the remarks by Hans Walter Gabler: Der Text . In: Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , pp. 192-234, here mainly pp. 199 ff.
- See for example the more general remarks in John Russell Brown: The Shakespeare Handbooks. King Lear. A Guide to the Text and the Play in Performance. MacMillan, New York 2009, ISBN 978-1-4039-8689-4 , here p. 2 f.
- See also the explanations by Hans Walter Gabler: Der Text . In: Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 201 ff.
- Cf. Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide . 3rd revised and supplemented edition, Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 58 f. as well as detailed Ulrich Suerbaum: Shakespeare's Dramas. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , pp. 305-308.
- Cf. Ulrich Suerbaum : The Shakespeare Guide . 3rd revised and supplemented edition, Reclam, Ditzingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-020395-8 , p. 59.
- See Ulrich Suerbaum: Shakespeare's Dramas. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , pp. 30303-305.
- See in detail the explanations by Hans Walter Gabler: Der Text . In: Ina Schabert : Shakespeare Handbook . Kröner, 5th rev. Edition, Stuttgart 2009. ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , pp. 192-234. See also Ulrich Suerbaum : Shakespeare's dramas. Francke Verlag, Tübingen and Basel 1996, UTB, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8252-1907-0 , p. 3310ff.