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The Library chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin.

[Austin, Tex. : M.B. Lamar Library : 1970http://hdl.handle.net/2027/inu.30000004648238

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The

Library

CHRONICLE
OF THE UNIVERSITY

OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

pjumk^^^H1
The

Library

&***-%

CMIROMICLE
OF THE UNIVERSITY

OF TEXAS

AT AUSTIN

133

,73

V-30

Mr*****************-**********]
Volume 20, Numbers

Indiana University

1/2
s

SEP

3^

7 1990

Library

Copyright0 1990 by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center,


The University of Texas at Austin

ISSN

0024-2241

Cover illustration: Woodcut from St. Bernard's The Golden Pistle. printed in 1531 by Robert
Wyer. Reproduced from Hand-Lists of English Printers, 1501-1556, Part IV, ed. E.G. Duff,

H.R. Plomer, A.W. Pollard (London: Blades, East & Blades,


September 1913). HRHRC Collections.

for the Bibliographic Society,

The

Library Chronicle

is published by

the Harry Ransom Humanities Research

Center

and the General Libraries

The University of Texas

at

Austin

Dave Oliphant, Editor


Robin Bradford, Assistant Editor

The

Printed and bound by


The University of Texas Printing Division

Library Chronicle

Editorial Board
Thomas F. Staley

Carlton Lake
Sally Leach
Cathy Henderson
Harold Billings
William B. Todd

The Library Chronicle is issued quarterly at a subscription rate of $30.00 for four issues. The
purpose of the Chronicle is to present information on available materials in the special collections
at The University of Texas at Austin, to publish scholarly articles based on these materials, and to
record matters of interest concerning new acquisitions, exhibitions, and other events related to
the University's special collections. Writers should query first before submitting articles for
publication. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editors, P.O. Box 7219, Austin,
Texas 78713.

Contents

Larry Carver Introduction

Jerome McGann How to Read a Book

Michael Warren
Beckett,

J onson,

Randall McLeod

The Theatricalization

13

of Text:

Shakespeare
from Tranceformations in the Text

of" Orlando Furioso"

61

D.F. McKenzie Speech-Manuscript-Print


Ian Willison Editorial Theory and Practice
and the History of the Book

Lotte Hellinga Editing


of Printing
Hans

39

Walter Gabler

87

111

Texts in the First Fifteen Years

Textual Studies and Criticism

127
151

Anne Middleton Life in the Margins, or,


What's an Annotator to Do?

167

Notes on Contributors

184

tts

ft

'

7/-

ft
I
ntk"-.

v*^(

""Edward the Seventh1*1


solemnly,

rattling

,0On coronation

day, on coronation
merry time,

O, won't we have
Drinking

his bucket,""

2nd sings with soli

day,

)'

r"(dances slowly,
contentment

whisky, beer and wine!'"1

Private Carr
Here. What are you saying about my king?

Stephen

it

20

is

throws up his hinds) O, this


too monotonous! Nothing. He wants my
money and my life, though want must be his master, for some brutish
empire of his. Money
haven't*. he searches his pockets vaguely Gave
to someone.

Private Carr
?

Who wants your bleeding money

Ufa) AT *,.,<

k,n,!,.7,K.ng.lR

^.
,, *uc*,] ,.*** al'

Above: pages 552 and 553 of the Texas page-proofs of James Joyce's Ulysses, bearing additions in
the author's hand. Below: from page 1300 in Hans Walter Gabler's Ulysses.
Critical and
Synoptic Edition (Garland, 1984), reflecting through editorial markings some of the additions
made by Joyce to the Texas page-proofs.

HRHRC Collections.

Introduction

This special issue of The Library Chronicle is devoted to the papers given at
The Harry Ransom Conference on New Directions in Textual Studies held at
The University of Texas at Austin on 30 and 31 March and 1 April 1989. Harry
Huntt Ransom, our late friend, esteemed colleague, accomplished adminis
trator, and man of letters, considered among his greatest accomplishments
the creation of the Humanities Research Center, one of the world's finest
collections of rare books and manuscripts. In large part the Center, renamed
in 1983 in honor of its founder, owes its reputation to Harry Ransom's
and to his love of books and his
extraordinary
energy and leadership,
understanding of their central place in the life of this culture. Thus, the
HRHRC proved a particularly propitious setting for a conference of scholars
from the United States, Canada, England, and Germany gathered to assess
the developments in one of the most controversial and rapidly changing of
scholarly fields, that of textual editing. For not only did the participating
scholars reflect Ransom's personal and professional vision of the value of the
humanities, but in developing and testing their textual theories they also
made use of the HRHRC collections that have provided and will continue to
provide evidence for their work.
In between sessions, Jerome McGann, no stranger to the HRHRC, found
another chance to look over the Ezra Pound Collection; Hans Gabler
examined the James Joyce materials; and Michael Warren and Donald
McKenzie were able to work with the newly acquired Pforzheimer Collection
with its first folio of Shakespeare and its rich holdings in seventeenth-century
printed books. For Ian Willison, the Clarence Cline Distinguished Professor
of English for the spring semester of 1989 at The University of Texas and one of
three editors of the forthcoming A History of the Book in Britain, the HRHRC
collections have proven especially helpful in understanding the history of the
book from its beginnings the realities of medieval texts and manuscript
production as revealed, for example, by the HRHRC's Cardigan manuscript
of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales up to the book's current relationship with
film as evidenced, for instance, by the HRHRC's David O. Selznick archive.
Lotte Hellinga, whose most recent work sheds light on editorial procedures in
early printed books, was able to examine, though all too briefly, the marginal
annotations in the HRHRC's Gutenberg Bible. In her judgment, this copy

may be a "rare

if not unique

example of direct evidence of emendation

for

liturgical practice.

Clearly, systematic
Anne
Middleton had the opportunity to look at Owen Rogers's 1561 reprint of Piers
Plowman, examining the text for marginalia that might give her clues as to how
this poem was actually received by sixteenth-century
readers. Randall
McLeod somehow found time to further his study of the first editions of
Harington's translation of Orlando Furioso (and illustrate the virtues of the
McLeod Portable Collator) by collating the HRHRC's 1591 Pforzheimer
another

usage" besides

analysis

of this monumentally important book

monastic

has just begun.

edition.

If

one of the goals of the conference

HRHRC's

was to open up the riches of the

collections to visiting scholars, the other was to make a contribution

to understanding what has been happening in the field of textual studies in the
past decade, a decade that has seen the relationship of editor to critic, the
procedures for editing books, and the very idea of authorship itself all being

While those engaged in literary textual studies have


known that critics need to understand textual history and that editors need to
exercise always and at every level literary judgment, this knowledge has often
remained tacit. In Anglo-American letters over the past forty years, for
example, few editors, even fewer critics, have explored in any depth the
for practice and theory of W.W. Greg's 1949 paper "The
implications
Rationale of Copy-Text" and Fredson Bowers s refinement and application of
that theory. Greg, in his disarmingly short, straightforward paper, had given
scholars a means by which to choose a copy or base text for editing printed
books. In application, Bowers had shown the usefulness of this theory but in
ways that seemed to the critic increasingly complex, even arcane. As a result,
editor and critic remained content for the most part to leave the establishment
of the text to the one, the interpretation to the other. In the late 1970s,
however, this working arrangement began to be reconsidered.
Under the influence of deconstruction, new historicism, and reader
response criticism, the tacit awareness that the concerns of the editor should
be those of the critic and vice versa became increasingly conscious and
increasingly debated in the profession as a whole. The most urgent critical
questions, those concerning the stability of the text, audience, and authorial
intention, turned out to be closely related to the perennial questions faced by
editors and served to raise those questions in interesting ways. New wine was
being poured into old bottles with often explosive results as critics and editors
debated such questions as: Which text was and now is produced? Who
decided? Who now decides? What kind of edition do we publish and for
whom? Is it possible to discover an author's intentions? Should we try? Or
should we publish a diplomatic text or a "best" text as decided by the editor?
What format should an edition take? How are punctuation and spelling to be
handled?
called into question.

The publication of Michael J. Warrens "Quarto and Folio King Lear and the
Interpretation of Albany and Edgar" in Shakespeare, Pattern of Excelling
Nature, edited by David Bevington and Jay L. Halio; Jerome J. McGann's A
Critique of Modern Textual Criticism; Hans Gablers Ulysses. A Critical and
Synoptic Edition; and D.F. McKenzies Bibliography and the Sociology of
Texts to mention a few of the more significant contributions in the past

decade gave evidence in engaging, often elegant ways that textual scholar

bound together. At the same time,


they raised profound questions about the nature of literature and of human
communication
that served both to enrich and challenge the orthodox
editorial theory of eclecticism developed under the sign of the New Criticism
by McKerrow, Greg, and Bowers. The Bansom Conference invited some of
the best-known people in the field to Austin for three days to assess where,
after a decade of question, challenge, and debate, editorial theory is going.
While the papers vary widely in topic and method, they share a common
theme, a call for editor and critic to pay increasing attention to the social
setting in which authors live and write their works. In his opening address,
"How to Bead a Book," Jerome McGann pursues the argument he first
developed in A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism that texts are "funda
ship and literary criticism are inextricably

mentally social rather than personal,"

but does so from, as it were, the other

side. He reminds us, that is, that reading is the complement of editing. To be
an aware reader, according to McGann, is to read "radially," which "involves

decoding one or more of the contexts that interpenetrate the scripted and
physical text." In turn, the critical edition fosters radial reading "because it is,
to this point in time, one of the most sociohistorically self-conscious of texts."
Implicit in McGann's argument is a call for readers and editors to be aware "of
the materials, the means, and the modes of textual production as they develop
and interact over time."
Michael Warren, drawing upon his own experience in the theater, calls
attention to the validity of and need for multiple texts of plays both to reflect
historical reality and to meet the needs of contemporary audiences. As one
solution to his dissatisfaction with the tradition of editing plays as literary
texts, he envisions an electronic text "capable of storing text in forms that
would allow for the easy representation of the four endings of Every Man Out
of His Humour, for the immediate construction of Q or F Cynthia's Revels, for
the simultaneous display of Q and F King Lear."
Editors have traditionally stressed the need for taking into account all the
relevant evidence, but the increasing emphasis on the history of the book, on
historical audiences,

and on format, paper, type design, and page layout has

of what constitutes relevant evidence. In his acute


of Orlando Furioso,
Bandall McLeod does not directly address the question of how one decides
which variants are textual, that is, which have bearing on authorial intention
expanded the boundaries

reading of the first edition of Harington's translation

and which would be of interest


contemporary

to someone

studying

the reaction

of the

audience to his text. Rather he provides a witty, often stunning

display of what constitutes relevant evidence

if an editor

wishes to represent

"what the Renaissance was saying and how it said it." McLeod's essay, about a

third the length of his original talk, has both in its presentation and in its
findings more than a little of the maverick, is rebellious, perhaps even
revolutionary. In emphasizing the particular, McLeod mounts a nominalistic
assault on past editorial practices, calling into doubt the validity of making
general statements, of establishing principles of textual criticism.
In his 1986 study, Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts, D. F. McKenzie
argued for a concept of "bibliography as the study of the sociology of texts" that
"directs us to consider the human motives and interactions which texts involve
at every stage of their production, transmission, and consumption" and that
"alerts us to the role institutions, and their own complex structures, play in
affecting the forms of social discourse, past and present." Here, in "SpeechManuscript-Print," McKenzie continues to define and explore "bibliography
as the study of the sociology of texts." In this case, by citing an impressive
range of writers literary, religious, and legal McKenzie is able to show
how the concern over the shift from orality to print in seventeenth-century
England became embodied in printed form, influencing that form and in turn
reflecting the intentions of the authors. McKenzie's sociology of the text, that
is, seems to be headed in a different direction from McGann's. While both
seek to widen the definition of relevant evidence that editors should examine,
McKenzie does so in order to shed light on authorial intention, not to call into
question its existence or to redefine it as a collective enterprise.
Ian Willison would appear to be headed more in McGann's direction.
Citing G. Thomas Tanselle's Textual Criticism Since Greg: A Chronicle, 19501985, Willison sees the issue as turning "on whether one is willing to admit the
legitimacy of being interested

in the artistic intentions of authors as private


individuals rather than as social beings accommodating their intentions to
various pressures emerging from the publishing process." As an historian,
Willison argues that he must come down on the side of the author and his text
as social constructions.
He then goes on to suggest some of the ways that A
History of the Book in England might contribute to the theory and practice of
editing. He surveys the medieval "continuum of scribe-compilercommentator-author";
the emergence of manuscript into book (1557-1695);
the growing dominance of print and the rise of the "common reader" (16961815); "the zenith of the ubiquity of print" (1815-1903); and the modern period
in which imperialism of print gives way to the rise of radio, film, and
television.

While Lotte Hellinga confesses that "nobody expects to put the Rationale of
"
Durandus on stage, she is nevertheless able to show that the textual critic has
an important role to play in examining books produced in the early years of
10

printing. By focusing on text and not, as is commonly the case, on the


technical procedures followed in printing houses, Hellinga is able to cast light
on the "methods and standards prevalent" at the time and is even able to catch

"uniquely creative moments" of authorial and editorial decision making at the


dawn of printing.
Hans Gabler argues that out of the revolution in Shakespeare studies has
come a new paradigm to guide textual critics, one that Gabler thinks will not
so much replace as complement the Greg-Bowers model of trying to establish
a copy-text and from there working toward an eclectic text that reflects more
accurately

than any extant text the author's intentions.

Such a "versional"

approach to editing is of high interest to Gabler in part because it "chimes with


central tenets of editorial theory and practice developed for German litera
ture." "Version-oriented textual criticism" does not seek "to ascend from the
extant textual states to the recovery

of

a lost

purer text behind them" but

the compositional and transmissional descent." Exercising


literary judgment, the editor chooses a version of the text manuscript, first
rather "follows

edition, play-house version, or other state. It is that version that is given,


except in the cases of outright error, without emendation. It is the apparatus
that in turn carries the burden not of showing textual contamination but the
various states of other versions of this particular text. In the need to decide
which version to publish, in the incorporation of the other versions into
reading the one chosen, in the opening up of the authorial decision-making
process, Gabler sees version-oriented editing bringing back together the
concerns of editor and literary critic.
Anne Middleton is interested in the relationship of editorial theory to the
theory of annotation. Her article raises important questions about what the
function of the annotator should be when the editorial principles underlying a
work, in this case the Athlone edition of Piers Plowman, assume that it is not a
finished work or a work capable of being finished but is instead an ongoing
cultural production, unfinished in its time or in ours.
The papers offered here are presented in the order in which they were
given at the Conference. We hope that they will spark the same intellectual
excitement and thoughtful discussion concerning the fate of the Greg-Bowers
model and of the place of the social setting in the editing of books and
manuscripts as they did a year ago on those spring days in Austin.
In closing a few words of thanks. Without the vision and tenacity of W. O. S.
Sutherland, the Ransom Conference would have never taken place. For the
past six years, Bill has served as Chair of the English Department and has
made a determined and successful effort to see that bibliographical and
textual studies, in the tradition of Ransom, remain strong at The University of
Texas at Austin.

Larry Carver
11

Dustjacket of Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1940).

HRHRC Collections.

How to Read a Book

By Jerome McGann
I.
For eight years everyone in this room some of us more than others could
scarcely avoid reading, over and over again, the following "text," which came
to us as a narrativized series of sounds and images on the TV screen. In the
background is the White House (or Camp David, or a ranch in California,
etc.). In the middle distance is a large helicopter, its rotors sending out their
characteristic chuffing noises. The decibels are running fairly high. Then the
camera picks up Ronald and Nancy Reagan, often with their dog in leash-tow,
moving diagonally acrpss the screen from the background building to the
waiting helicopter. Both are smiling and waving toward the TV camera, which
serves as the surrogate of ourselves, the watchers.
At the corners of this camera's eye can be seen a group of agitated
journalists. As soon as the Reagans and their dog emerge from the building
and come into the field dominated by the helicopter and its noise, the
journalists begin hurling questions. The questions, like the obedient children
of legend, can be seen but not heard or not heard distinctly by ourselves
the watchers, or (evidently) by Ronald Reagan, who continues to smile as he
cups his ear, appearing to try to make out what he is being asked. He will
shrug his shoulders alas, the noise is just too great, the questioned cannot
hear the questioners.

I could
instance,

go on describing further details

of this fascinating

the image of the journalists growing increasingly

scene: for

frantic in their

hole of the helicopter; the


of
the
correspondent (and contrastive) image
security people, who exhibit
perfect self-control, appearing to care only for their (selfless) task of looking
after the welfare of the President, oblivious to the turmoil in which the
journalists are involved; that slick final moment when the Reagans reach the
steps to the helicopter and turn to make their last ceremonial waves and
smiles, the moment when the journalists take the cue and fall silent it is too
late for questions now now there is time only for the ritual farewell of the
ritual head of state.
questions

as the

Reagans

near the entrance

13

The most important persons in this text are invisible. They are ourselves,
the unseen presences for whom the display has principally been constructed.
The scenic narrative is a classic example of what is meant by propaganda in
this case, the manipulation of the social institution of the so-called free press
for certain state political purposes. This is not a "news event," it is the illusion
of a news event, a ceremony of the news.
Many people are aware of this, of course, and while the scene has been
critically commented upon before, no one, so far as I know, has pointed out
the following extraordinary fact: that in a scene where speaking and communi
cating with words appear to be of central importance, language has been
structurally translated into visual and oral tokens as image, or as nonlinguistic sound. Complex meanings are being communicated here, but the
verbal discourse what Ezra Pound called "logopoeia" functions principally
along nonverbal lines. To understand this text it is not necessary actually to
hear anything said by Reagan or anything asked by the reporters.
This is the form of what I suppose we should now have to call "Great
Communication" to be named as such after its principal vehicle, the Great
Communicator, who employed itor rather, who was employed by it
between 1980 and 1988.

But of course this is a "media event" not a book, and least of all a poem.
Reading a book is very different from reading a TV screen. Nonetheless,
"Reagan's Farewell" (for such is the title I shall give to this text, Reagan's best
performance in a short-subject film) exhibits a textual structure which can
help us understand how books and even poems communicate just as the
latter can help us, reciprocally, to understand the character of a text like
"Reagan's Farewell."
Let us begin to explore these matters by posing this question: What is the
structure of the act of reading? The question has fascinated Americans, and
especially American educators, throughout this century. Mortimer Adler's
How to Read a Book. The Art of Getting a Liberal Education (1940) was one of
the most famous and influential of a whole series of similar books, pamphlets,
and textbooks designed to teach the "art" of reading. Almost equally famous
and (finally even more) influential was Ezra Pound's ABC of Reading, first
published in 1934. Adler's book has been out of print for some time;1 Pound's
book is still available from New Directions, and is even taught in some schools
(though usually as part of specialized courses in twentieth-century literature
or culture).
Unlike Adler's book, ABC of Reading is aggressively anti-academic.
Nevertheless, it shares with Adler's book the view that "the fate of reading" (as
it were) is the Great Book (so-called). Learning "how to read a book" means
'In 1972 a revised edition of Adler's How to Read a Book, prepared by Charles van Doren, was
issued by Simon and Schuster.

14

putting oneself to school to those who know how to read and even more
important who know what are the important books to read. Reading has to
be grounded in the Great Books because they alone can provide stable models
of excellence standards by which to measure other texts, both good and bad.
In this sense, How to Read a Book and ABC of Reading are both about how to
read a great book (or text). In each case, active readers are postulated who will
put themselves to school to the best that has been known and thought in the
world.
In Adler and Pound's books they are quite typical of the genre "reading"
is equated with deciphering the linguistic text. This equation is most clearly
maintained in Adler's book, which is academically grounded. For Adler, "how
to read a book" means learning how to decode "one kind of readable symbol,
the kind which men invent for the purpose of communication the words of
human language."2 To read is to acquire possession of the text's verbum, its
logos, its conceptual content. Adler's model of reading is ultimately a
hermeneutic (as opposed to a constructivist) one: in a seventeenth- or
eighteenth-century battle of the books, Adler would come down on the side of
the ancients rather than the moderns.3

Although Pound's book,

at its expository

level, makes many of the same

about the act of reading, its structure and format suggest very
different commitments. ABC of Reading has engaged in the battle of the
books, but finally it has not been able to make up its mind whether reading is
an act of decoding or an act of construction. ABC of Reading is at least as much
a text about writing as it is about reading.
The differences between Adler's book and Pound's are nicely displayed at
the most physical and apparitional levels. Adler's book is twice as long as
Pound's, and while both are published by established houses (Simon and
Schuster, in Adler's case; Faber and Faber, and Yale University Press, in
Pound's), Adler's book is a much more sober performance. Half of Pound's
book is comprised of reading exercises and exhibits, while Adler's by
contrast is a 400-page tome written in a style that is at once clear, ponderous,
and inexorable. For all its title of "How to," Adler's book resembles a series of
assumptions

academic lectures.

Pound's text, on the other hand, does resemble a "How to" book. This
feature is quite apparent in its long series of "Exhibits," which Pound uses as
practical illustrations of certain kinds of writing. But it is also foregrounded in
a dramatic way by the book's formatting. ABC of Reading uses caps, boldface,
'Mortimer Adler, How to Read a Book. The Art of Getting a Liberal Education (New York:
Simon & Schuster, 1940), p. 18.
3For a good discussion of contemporary reading theories, and the crucial choice of emphases
(decoding v. constructing), see Gregory G. Colomb, "Cultural Literacy and the Theory of
Meaning: Or, What Educational Theorists Need to Know about How We Read," New Literary
History 20 (Winter 1989): 411-450.
15

and italics to emphasize one point or another

like

advertising

texts, public

or (the descendants of such texts) like a modernist


Furthermore, the parts of the book sentences, paragraphs,
sections are strategically arranged to draw the reader's eye into the book: to
involve the reader's visual encounter with the text, in the arguments which
notices,

broadsides,

manifesto.

the text is making.

These physical aspects of Pound's book carry out his expository argument at
the work's illustrative level. Pound is, like Adler, committed to the tradition of
the Great Book, but his engagement with that tradition is largely constructivist and modern (rather than hermeneutic and neo-classical/romantic).
example, Chapter Six begins like this:

For

I have done what I can.


I have translated the TA HIO so that they can learn where to start
THINKING. And I have translated the Seafarer; so that they can see
For those who read only English,

more or less where English poetry starts.

. . .

You can get Ovid, or rather Ovid's stories, in Golding's


"Metamorphoses," which is the most beautiful book in the language
(my opinion and I suspect it was Shakespeare's).
Marlowe translated the "Amores."
And before that Gavin Douglas had made something of the
Aeneids that I, at any rate, like better than Virgil's Latin.
The pair of pages in figure 1 from Chapter Four, with its interesting discussion
of phanopoeia and melopoeia, is equally typical of the book. See figure l.4 The
physical presentation of these texts is a display of their conceptual content.
The use of italics, caps, and paragraphing are aggressively constructivist.
Pound's Gavin Douglas who made a translation that is being judged, in
Pound's text, "better than Virgil's Latin" is afigura of Pound's constructiv
ism. Pound's Great Books, it turns out, comprise an archive of great originals
and great reconstructions the latter often rivalling and even surpassing their
forebears. Pound is himself the master of these ceremonies of reconstruction.

II.
In this general context, then, let me ask once more the question: "What is
the structure of the act of reading?" Like Adler, we commonly think this
question will be addressed by analyzing the linear processes of the linguistic
text. That is to say, we seek to investigate that form of reading by which one

'Ezra Pound, ABC of Reading (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934), pp. 44, 28-29.
16

moves from grapheme to word to phrase to sentence and thence on through


the larger rhetorical and generic forms which make up the linguistic text.

Once again Pound's ABC of Reading is a most useful point of departure


because Pound's theory of writing and reading is caught in a conflict of
commitments, as we see clearly in the following famous passage from Chapter
Four:
The charging of language is done in three principal ways . . . called
phanopoeia, melopoeia, logopoeia. You use a word to throw a visual
image on to the reader's imagination, or you charge it by sound, or
you use groups of words to do this.

ABC

ABC of Reading

of Reading

Bion's was an afterthought mentioned out of


place, and that I had mistaken it for a poem of

Moschus which he himself had translated. That is


what comes of trying to bore people as little as pos
sible, and to put down one 's matter in the least pos
sible space.
The Bion is separated by centuries from the
Homer and Sappho. In studying the earlier parts
of the list, the attention would, I think, have gone
to the WRITING, to the narrative, to the clarity of
expression, but would not have naturally focussed
itself on the melodic devices, on the fitting of the
words, their SOUND and ultimately their mean
ing, to the tune.
The Bion is put with those troubadours for the
sake of contrast, and in order to prevent the reader
from thinking that one set or a half-dozen sets of
melodic devices constituted the whole of that sub
ject.

AT ABOUT THIS POINT the weak-hearted


reader usually sits down in the road, removes his
"
''
shoes and weeps that he is a bad linguist
or that
he or she can't possibly learn all those languages.
One has to divide the readers who want to be ex
perts from those who do not, and divide, as it were,
these who want to see the world from those who
merely want to know WHAT PART OF IT THEY

LIVE IN.

When it comes to the question of poetry, a great


many people don't even want to know that their
own country does not occupy ALL the available

surface of the planet.


to insult them.

The idea seems in some way

Nevertheless the maximum of phanopoeia [throw


ing a visual image on the mind] is probably reached
by the Chinese, due in part to their particular kind
of written language.
In the languages known to me (which do not in
clude Persian and Arabic) the maximum of melo
poeia is reached in Greek, with certain develop
ments in Provencal which are not in Greek, and
which are of a different KIND than the Greek.
And it is my firm conviction that a man can learn
more about poetry by really knowing and examin
ing a few of the best poems than by meandering
about among a great many. At any rate, a great
deal of false teaching is due to the assumption that
poems known to the critic are of necessity the best.
My lists are a starting-point and a challenge.
This challenge has been open for a number of years
and no one has yet taken it up. There have been
general complaints, but no one has offered a rival
list, or put forward particular poems as better ex

of a postulated virtu or quality.


Years ago a musician said to me: "But isn't
there a place where you can get it all [meaning all
of poetry] as in BachT"
There isn't. I believe if a man will really learn
Greek he can get nearly " all of it " in Homer.
I have never read half a page of Homer without
finding melodic invention, I mean melodic invenamples

Figure 1: Pages 28 and 29 from Chapter Four of Ezra Pound's ABC of Reading (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1934). HRHRC Collections.
17

HEWSai

ND
^^|^B^'D

^^Kf^Z

the poor devils living


of cold, outside Sorano,
dying of
$2V\/@
And from the other
W- -'(I
other side, from inside the chateau,
Orsini, Count Pitigliano, on the 17th of November:
"
Siggy,darlint, wd. you not stop makingwaron insensible

"

objects, such as trees and domestic vines, that have no


means to hit back ... but if you will hire yourself out to
" a commune
(Siena) which you ought rather to rule than
serve . . ."
which with Trachulo's damn"d epistle . . .
And what of it anjhow? a man with a ten acre lot,

"

a lump of tufa,
And S. had got back their horses
And the poor devils dying of cold . . .
(And there was another time, you know,
He signed on with the Fancsi,
and just couldn't be bothered . . .)

Pitigliano

And there were three men on a one man job


And Careggi wanting the baton,
And not getting it just now in any case.
And he, Sigismundo, refused an invitation to lunch
In commemoration of Carmagnola
Venice, between the two columns
(vide

where Carmagnola was executed.)

Et
" anno

metso a saccho el signor Sigismundo"


As FilippoStrozzi wrote to Zan Lotticri, then in Naples,
" I thinkthey'l) let himthrough atCampiglia"
1i .I
fkremt,Ankm 5flrf, 4/*Ssr'vi
" U C.M^rg
4l Sftii ftrmtrJiPiligUm."

And he found Carlo Gonzaga sitting like a mud-frog


in Orbetello

And

he said:

" Caro inio, I can not receive you


It really is not the moment."
And Broglio says he ought to have tipped Gorro Lolh
But he got back home here somehow,
1 And Piccinino was out of a job,
EV

Figure 2: From Canto X of Ezra Pound's A Draft of XVI. Cantos (Paris: Three Mountains Press,
1925). HRHRC Collections.

Thirdly, you take the greater risk of using the word in some special
relation to "usage", that is, to the kind of context in which the reader
expects, or is accustomed, to find it.5
In this formulation Pound remains tied to a linguistic model of language. His
linguistic orientation is most apparent in his definition of phanopoeia, which
evidendy does not correspond to his own practice as a writer. For in Pound's
work, phanopoeia may be observed not only in "images" evoked by words and
strings of words; it operates as well in rhetorical and even abstract construc
tions of the page as a visual field. We have already seen Pound employ
constructivist procedures even in ABC of Reading, but the method is most
elaborately deployed in the Cantos.6 Two examples, from Cantos X and XVII
(figures 2 and 3), use decorative materials in ways that distincdy (and
deliberately) recall the tradition of ornamental books which was passed on to
Pound by William Morris and the late nineteenth century in general. Because
Pound is "quoting" those traditions, however, the illustrative materials
function at an abstract and cognitive level at least as much as they do at an
"imagistic" level. Though grounded in the tradition of symbolic book illustra
tion, this kind of page is highly abstract and self-referential,
and distinctly
anticipates the presentational forms developed by Action painting and that
movement's more representational

(postmodern)

inheritors.7

The second example, from Canto LXXXVI, underscores the point. Much
has been made of Pound's "ideogrammic" theories, and the view persists
through some of Pound's own misleading (and contradictory) misconcep
tions that the ideogram is for Pound a kind of image. On the contrary, the
ideogram is for Pound the idea of the image. In the Cantos, therefore, Chinese
like
ideograms function not linguistically or logically but phenomenologically,
the abstract and conceptual forms in Action paintings. On page 567 from
Canto LXXXVI (figure 4), for example, the ideograms are carefully arranged
on the field of the page as a kind of "unwobbling pivot" for the more nervous
play of the European text.8 Phanopoeia, melopoeia, and logopoeia become, as

"Ibid., p. 32.
These illustrations are taken from the first two book installments of Pound's cantos, A Draft of
XVI. Cantos (Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1925) and A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 (London: J.
Rodker, 1928).
'Pre-Raphaelite decorative traditions, which the early cantos allude to and invoke, are
themselves located squarely in the tradition of pictorial abstraction which the twentieth century
has pursued so resolutely. Pre-Raphaelite pictures are illusions of representations "quoted"
representations; their highly decorative and ornate surface features disrupt the integrity of the
images and call attention to the medium. More than anything else, in fact, Pre-Raphaelite art
carries out a disguised attack upon the conventions of pictorial representation.

The text here and in the subsequent illustrations from Pound's Cantos is from the recent (1986)
reprinting of the New Directions edition of The Cantos of Ezra Pound.
19

ggXSH
cjfyuo

\_)
vines

THAT THE
burst from

my

fingers
And the bees weighted
with pollen
Move

heavily

in

the

vine-shoots :

-chir-rikk
a purring sound,
I

And the birds sleepily in the branches.


ZAGREUS ! 10 ZAGREUS 1

With the first pale-clear of the heaven


And the cities set in their hills,
And the goddess of the fair knees
Moving there, with the oak-wood behind her,
The green slope, the white hounds
leaping about her ;

And thence down

to the creek's mouth, until evening,

Flat water before me,


and the trees growing in water,
Marble trunks out of stillness,

On

past the palazzi,

in the stillness,

The light now, not of

the sun.

Chrysophrase,
And the water green clear, and blue clear;
On, to the great cliffs of amber.
Between them,
Cave of Nerea,
she like a great shell curved,
And the boat drawn without sound,

Without odour of ship-work,


Nor bird cry, nor any noise of wave moving,
Nor splash of pocpobe, nor any noise of wave moving,

Figure 3: From Canto XVII of Ezra Pound's A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 (London: J. Rodker,
1928). HRHRC Collections.

Iou Wang,

770

JQ

King Jou

killed by barbarians
"I

IP
in angustiis

Houo

me defendisti,

'Millet wine, fragrant,


and a red bow

with

hundred arrows

and a black bow


and a hundred arrows,
ne inutile quiescas.

'Will

end quote.

not rusde catde,

will not
will

"

take oxen and horses,

close all traps and pitfalls

that they have set for wild game"


Pe

to

K'in

order for mobilization


by tribes from t'other side

of the

against

insurrection

Houai river

Figure 4: From Canto 86 of The Cantos of Ezra Pound, reprinted by New Directions in 1986, p.
567.

completely interinvolved, and the page emerges as what Roy


Wagner has called a symbol that stands for itself.9
This concept of the self-standing symbol is all but explicit in Pound's theory
of the ideogram. The Chung character, which means (approximately) "center"
or "balance," is Pound's figura of the unwobbling pivot for reasons that are
clear enough if we simply look at one or another of the appearances of that
character in the Cantos for example, as in figure 5 from page 464. Pound,
however, generalizes his theory of the ideogram in the Cantos by making all
the Chinese characters function as figurae of stability in relation to the
sequential and temporalized orders of Western language syntaxes.
So, in reading page 567 from Canto LXXXVI (figure 4), we may take the
ordered line of Chinese ideograms as a phanopoeic allusion to Pound's idea of
the unwobbling pivot. The page may, in this respect, "throw a visual image [of
the unwobbling pivot] on to the reader's imagination." But the page need not
be taken that way; it may also be read as a gestalt for organizing the way the eye
will scan the page and its heteronomous characters. The latter is its
principal that is to say, its rhetorical function. This function is perhaps
even more clearly shown on page 566 (figure 6), where the different sizes of
the ideograms correspond to the rhetorical use of typography which we saw
earlier in ABC of Reading.
a consequence,

The abstract and conceptual aspect of the melopoeia of these texts can be
observed by paying attention to another feature of Pound's presentation of his
Chinese material (figure 7 from pages 544-45). Pound's text supplies the
ideograms with their oral equivalents, but it does this conceptually as the
numerical superscripts indicate. These numbers are the conventional signs by
which linguists indicate the tonal values to be given to the different phonetic
equivalents of the ideographic characters. The tones are crucial because in
Chinese the same "word" will "mean" completely different things, depending
upon the tone of the utterance.
This last example shows very plainly, therefore, how the linguistic and
linear reading model may not by any means comprehend the structure within
which the reading process is to be executed. At least two other structures
operate in every act of reading. The first of these spatial reading is
repeatedly called out by the Cantos and even ABC of Reading; but it is a
ubiquitous function of texts, although some dramatize its demands more than
others.

To read Blake's illuminated poems, or any newspaper, is to be reminded of


which spatial relations play in the structure of texts.
Printed in a newspaper, texts have a spatial structure very different from those
printed in a book, or even in a magazine. The differences are important
because they involve semiotic codes which readers will decipher more or
the crucial importance

'See Roy Wagner, Symbols That Stand for Themselves


1986).

22

(Chicago:

University of Chicago Press,

LXXVII

nd this day Abner lifted a shovel


instead of watchin' it to see if it would
take action

Von Tirpitz said to his daughter. .as we have elsewhere


he said : beware of their charm
recorded
But on the other hand Maukch thought he

would do me a favour by getting me onto the commission


to inspect the mass graves at Katin,
le beau monde gouverne

if not

toujours

some sort whereto

at any rate it is a level of


things

tend to return

Chung

in the middle

upright or horizontal
"
and having got 'em (advantages, privilege)
there is nothing, italics nothing, they will not do
whether

to retain 'em

"

Up out of Tuscany, Leopoldine.


"We don't hate anybody."
Quoted

(Austrians 1914)
"Decent chaps" (Schwartz
"Mais le prussien!
Le prussien

Kungf utseu
Entered the Bros Watson's store in Clinton N. Y.

and ceased with a rumpus of glassware


(unbreakable as it proved)
and with the enquiry:

" I'll

WOT IZZA COMIN'?

tell you wot izza comin'


Sochy-lism is a-comin'

43)

"a shame that we have to fight 'em."

yrs truly

preceded by a crash, i.e. by a


huge gripsack or satchel
which fell and skidded along the 20 foot aisle-way

Konody,

"We fight when our Emperor says so."

e'est un chic homme."


Said the aged femme de menage with four teeth out.
"Vous voullez me rouler,
mais 'ous ne me
roulerez pas,
"paaasque je suis trop rosse."
litigantium

dona

fc,

pao

non coelum non in medio


but man is under Fortuna
t that is a forced translation!
La donna che volgo

Man under Fortune,

CHEN

in
Figure 5 (left): From Canto LXXVII of The Cantos of Ezra Pound, reprinted by New Directions
1986, p. 464, and Figure 6 (right): from Canto 86 of the same edition, p. 566.

or not. Such differences are clear to us


text (say
poem) in
typescript or
manuscript, and of reading the same text in printed and published format.
The physical space occupied by the text is, in each case, very different and
calls out correspondingly different modes of reading.
The reading eye does not move only in linear direction. Blake's works are
particularly useful for reminding us that the reading eye
scanning
mechanism as well as
linear decoder. We are familiar with Mallarme's Un
Coup de D6s and Apollinaire's Calligrammes, and the spatial deployments of

is

we think of reading

if,

less fully, and whether consciously

for example,

THE FOUR TUAN'

and jump to the winning side


(turbae)

II. 9. have scopes and beginning!

tchSung
cheu
or foundations.

jen*

chih*

Hulled rice and silk at easier

i-h

are called chung1'4

(with the bachiheld under their aprons


From Tang's time until now)
That you lean 'gainst the tree of heaven,
and know Ygdrasail

(Sat, Mlhtvn)

shih*

poi

tt

all

it

no mere epitome without organization.


The sun under

"Birds and terrapin lived under Hia,

Justice, d'urbaniti, de prudence


wei heou,

ch'en*

C &

beastand fish held their order,


Neither flood nor flame falling in excess"

Soipls

(No, that

is

the sheltered grass hopes, chuch, cohere.


noi philological)

pou

but

is

Not led oflusting, not of contriving

gning

as the grass and tree

Perspicax qui excolit se ipsum.

eccellenza

Their writings wither becausethey have no curiosity.


not led oflusting,

24

From Canto 85 of The Cantos

pole,

Ezra Pound, reprinted by New Directions in 1986, pp.

of

7:

Figure
544-45.

that they hoist on

This "leader", gouged pumpkin

not of the worm, contriving

the page carried out by many other modern poets.10 These texts are not so
different from ideographic works like Herbert's "The Altar." But all poetry,
even in its most traditional forms, asks the reader to decipher the text in
spatial as well as linear terms. Stanzaic and generic forms, rhyme schemes,
metrical orders: all of these deploy spatial functions in scripted texts, as their
own roots in oral poetry's visual arts of memory should remind us. Even the
prose poem communicates through its spatial arrangement. When the prose
a purely linear appearance into the text, it
poem artfully reintroduces
paradoxically heightens our sense of the spatial form of the work. Consciously
or not, readers of prose poems recognize and decode that spatiality.

When Yeats reprinted, in his Oxford Book of Modern Verse 1892-1935


Pater's famous description of the Mona Lisa, he graphically demon
strated the semiotic power of the spatial arrangement of a text. Yeats printed
the original prose passage as a piece of free verse. In doing this he was
by no means the only
implicitly offering a theory of the prose poem
one,
and
contrasts sharply
symbolist
possible theory). Yeats's theory
with the more recent constructivist theory elaborated by Ron Silliman. "
In addition, however, he was making an argument about the literary history
of modernism itself. Yeats did not elaborate his argument in expository detail,
however. He used the format and organization of the anthology to make his
argument literally, to cast his argument into physical shape appropriate to
his thought. The title of his book defined the schematic boundaries of Yeats's
history (the title carried as tail piece the dates 1892-1935), but the placement
of the famous text from Pater first printed when Pater's The Renaissance
move to bring Yeats's theory of modernism into
appeared in 1892 was
sharp and concrete focus. Yeats put the free verse Mona Lisa text at the very
beginning of his edition, and in so doing he visibilized complex historical
argument about the origins of modernism. Crucial to the decipherment of
Yeats's argument
close reading of the spatial text reading of the text's
linear arrangement, on one hand, and its position in the book as whole on the
it

is

is

(it
is

(1936),

other.

This last point the position of Pater's Mona Lisa text within Yeats's book
draws our attention to another important spatial form which the reading eye
decodes. Reading much contemporary work on texts one might easily
overlook the relevance of these kinds of materiality.12 But all texts come to us
in one or another material form, and each of those material forms carries rich
of

's

"The best treatments of this subject in relation to early modem writing are Marjorie Perloff
The Futurist Moment. Avant Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language
Rupture (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1986); see also Willard Bohn, The Aesthetics of Visual Poetry 19141928 (Cambridge, [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press,

1986).

"See Ron Silliman, The New Sentence (New York: Roof Books, 1987), especially Section II.
UI am thinking of the traditional work of G. Thomas Tanselle and Fredson Bowers; see
5.

especially Trevor Howard-Hill's defense of this tradition in the forthcoming volume of Text, vol.

25

When Yeats put his transformed Pater text at the


of
his
beginning
anthology, he forced his book to make an important statement
about that text. The illustration is simple enough, but theories of texts and
theories of reading tend to ignore these crucial simplicities. Poems and
literary texts provide many good instances of the way texts call out spatial
modes of reading in their audiences. But all texts do the same, only some
operate more clearly than others. One thinks, for example, of advertising
texts, which typically are collaged assemblies of different kinds of scripted
materials, including many different type fonts and sizes. Advertising texts,
like poems, insist that their audiences manipulate both linear and spatial
modes of reading. Two great styles have dominated the spatial form of such
semiotic

potentials.

texts the "soft" and the "hard"

and

advertises a Mercedes Benz or a

BMW

both are instantly recognizable: one


with a "soft" text, whereas "hard" texts

are typically used to market the cheaper lines of cars.

These two spatial styles (or codes) appear in a wide range of variant types.
We do not have to read a single word of many newspaper texts in order to have
already "read" part of what they are saying. Material printed in The New York
Times will necessarily be read very differently from material printed in, for
example, USA Today. Both represent themselves as national newspapers, but
the formatting of these two dailies is radically different, and the difference
calls out to very different reading expectations and procedures.
News

including their
magazines like Time and Newsweek organize their materials
advertisements with great care, and the formatting arrangements design
specific kinds of reading processes (which we can either follow, or choose to
resist or which, after that choice has become possible, we can once again
choose to follow). In the same way, the very physique of a book will embody a
code of meaning which the reader will decipher, more or less deeply, more or
less self-consciously. To read, for example, a translation of Homer's Iliad in
the Signet Paperback, in the edition published by the University of Chicago
Press, in the Norton Critical Edition, or in the limited edition put out by the
Folio Society (with illustrations), is to read Homer's Iliad in four very different
ways. Each of these texts is visually and materially coded for different
audiences and different purposes.
The way that advertising skills are taught in art school is significant and
illuminating. Every advertising text is theorized in two parts, the graphic and
the linguistic the one under the authority of the art director, the other of the
copywriter. The two can be one person, of course, and in the final product the
two functions must be coordinated. But in art school the student is first taught
to treat the entire work graphically, not linguistically. This fact appears in the
convention which governs the handling of advertising copy in student
advertising exercises. The linguistic text, which the student buys at an art
supply store (!), comprises a parodic kind of fractured Latin blocks of
linguistic nonsense organized into word strings, sentences, and paragraphs.
26

is

is

if

(if

In this textual imagination the "reading eye" is taken to be primarily


not
purely) ocular, as the "reading eye" and the physical organs of sight could be,
but do not have to be, distinguished. But there
third kind of reading
what have elsewhere called "radial reading" in which the activity of reading
regularly transcends its own ocular physical bases.13 When Pound speaks of
using words "in some special relation to usage," he had this form of reading in
mind. The elementary sign of radial reading
probably given by the figure of
book in order to look up the meaning of
person who rises from reading
word in dictionary or to check some historical or geographical reference.
So much has been made of Pound's ideas about logopoeia, melopoeia, and
that most have neglected what he had to say about "usage," and

phanopoeia

(therefore) of the Cantos' use of dialectal forms (in several


and
of
not to be an essay about Pound,
languages)
quoted materials. This
is

the importance

it

3,

2,

ming2 character, by collocating the two, draws us to see that ming2

is

is

if

1,

is

is

it

however, and raise this matter simply to call attention to the large functions
which Pound was imagining for his materialist textual innovations. Toward the
end of the Pisan Cantos in fact, at the penultimate page of Canto LXXXIV in
the New Directions collected Cantos we confront the text on page 539
am interested only in the last two lines of this text, where the
(figure 8).
Chinese "word" ming- appears in the English text that reads "These are
distinctions in clarity/ming2 [ideogram] these are distinctions."
This text
an enactment of the ideas
concerned with, ideas about
clarity, making distinctions, and ultimately about the need for paying
attention. The superscript "2" might have been
or draws
melopoeic distinction which has to be attended to we are to "read" the text.
The ideogram itself comprised of pair of independent characters, the first
being the character phonologically rendered "Jih," and meaning "sun," the
second the character phonologically "Yehuh," meaning "moon." This new
(literally)

distinctive character character whose "meaning" derives from the


evident similarities and differences between its two component parts. The
composite character "means" something like "the fall of light," which readers
of Pound will recognize as one of his key symbolic concepts. "
shall not extend my commentary

beyond this general observation:

that

is

it

if

is

is

Pound's highly spatialized text may indeed, must also be read as double
injunction. In the first place, the reader
called to pay the closest attention to
every detail of the passage. In the second, readers are enjoined to see that
not
natural but an acquired skill,
skill deeply imbedded in
"reading"
distinct societies and distinct histories. For Western reader, this text will
have to be put down for time, and returned to later,
to be read.
of

"See my "Theory of Texts," London Review


Books (18 Feb. 1988): 20-21.
MI am grateful to Paul Wellcn for helping me to understand the conventional representation of
Chinese forms.

27

And note the implication of this injunction. Because one must consciously
acquire the ability to read the Chinese material in the text, the passage tells us
something about the English text as well a part of the text which we native
readers (Pound's immediate audience) tend to forget: that there is no such
"
thing as a "natural language. All language is a constructive acquisition, and to
the degree that we treat it as a "natural" phenomenon, to that degree we have
abandoned the possibility of exercising control over it. For readers this means
that the texts will control us, and not we them.

But I take it as axiomatic that reading, like writing and speaking, is a type of
communicative exchange, and hence works through a structure of reciprocals.
Consequently, the last example of a Poundian spatialized text points us in the
direction of what Pound called "usage." The spatial text already has a radial
inertia which no reader will find it easy to avoid.
Radial reading involves decoding one or more of the contexts that inter
penetrate the scripted and physical text. It necessitates some kind of
abstraction from what appears most immediately. The person who temporar
ily stops "reading" to look up the meaning of a word is properly an emblem of
radial reading because that kind of "radial" operation is repeatedly taking
place even while one remains absorbed with a text. Emily Dickinson tells us
that "There is no frigate like a book" in order to remind us that reading sends
us away from, and with, the books we enter.
Some texts foreground and encourage acts of radial reading whereas others
work to prevent or limit radial processing. A good instance of the latter would
be a Harlequin Romance or Bodice Ripper or some similar kind of text. In
these cases the text tries to establish a reading field that is as completely selfabsorbed as possible, so that the reader does not have to reflect upon the
scene of reading at all. Of course such works can and should be read critically,
and in the scholarship of popular culture we observe good readers brushing
such texts against their own grain in order to deconstruct the meanings they
work to transmit. But works like these do not positively call out to the critical
and self-conscious reader on the contrary, in fact.
In this respect, the Harlequin Romance stands in the sharpest contrast to
critical texts of various kinds, where radial readings in the scripted forms are
encouraged. What is called "scholarship" is one territory highly specialized
to be sure where radial types of reading are continually being put into
practice. To the extent that the work of scholarship is an intramural set of
operations we would have to see its radial readings as essentially technological
rather than critical. Nevertheless, because scholarly texts are works which can
only be read consciously and with great deliberateness, they provide a
number of excellent examples of texts which encourage radial reading.
Perhaps the most striking example of such a text is the so-called Critical
Edition for instance, the Cornell Wordsworth volumes, or any of the
editions of English authors produced through the Oxford English Texts series.
28

and my old great aunt did likewise

with that too large hotel


but at least

she saw damn all

Europe

and rode on that mule in Tangiers


and in general had

like Natalie

"

run for her money

perhaps more than was in

it

"

Under white clouds, cielo di Pisa


out of all this beauty something must come,

moon my pin-up,

chronometer
Wei, Chi and Pi-kan

Yin

had these three men

full of humanitas (manhood)

or jen2
Xaire Alessandro

Xaire Fernando,

il Capo,

Pierre, Vidkun,
Henriot
and

as

to gradations

who went out of industrials into Government


when the slump was in the offing
as against whom, prepense, got OUT of Imperial Chemicals
in 1938
so as

not to

be nourished

quand vos venetz al som

by blood-bath?
de l'escalina
yjdot

gradations

These are distinctions in clarity

ming*

w
fME-M

these are

distinctions

Figure 8: From Canto LXXXIV of The Cantos of Ezra Pound, reprinted by New Directions in
1986, p. 539.

One does not simply move through works like these in a linear way, starting at
the beginning and then proceeding page by sequential page. Rather, one
moves around the edition, jumping from the reading text to the apparatus,
perhaps from one of these to the notes or to an appendix, perhaps then back to
some part of the front matter which may be relevant, and so forth. The edition
also typically drives one to other books and acts of reading, ancillary or related
materials which have to be drawn into the reading process in order to expand
and enrich the textual and the reading field.
This is a process by which the entire sociohistory of the work from its
originary moments of production through all its subsequent reproductive
adventures is postulated as the ultimate goal of critical self-consciousness.
That the goal is in fact an unreachable one is clear. A practical move toward its
attainment is essential to criticism, however. Such a move appears as some
particular version of a work say, Hyder Rollins's Variorum edition of
Shakespeare's sonnets, or Stephen Booth's more recent critical edition. Each
is a particular attempt to define a comprehensive sociohistorical field for the
sonnets. Whereas Rollins works with a traditional apparatus, Booth's edition
is framed as a set of facing page texts which dramatize the historical gap
readers. The particular signifi
separating us from early seventeenth-century
cance of these two editions is as much a function of their limits as of their
special strengths, both of which they execute as corresponding sets of
presences and absences.

In this respect, the critical edition

is a

kind of analogue computer designed

to reconstitute past texts and versions in forms which make them usable in the
present and for the future.

edition over,

" The

special hermeneutic advantage of such an

edition" lies in its theoretical


the complexity of the critical edition allows one to
comprehensiveness:
imagine many possible states of the text, including various types of "reading"
and "student" and "modernized" editions. Non-critical editions are much
more limited in this respect.
Critical editions take many forms, of course, and some are better are more
accurate or more complex than others. Nor can that computer we might call
the critical edition be programmed to regenerate anything but analogues of
the texts it is interested in. This is one of its key structural limitations; the
other is the selection processes which will be built into its programs. Still, the
example of the critical edition is useful for clarifying the theory of texts
because it is, to this point in time, one of the most sociohistorically
self
'The symmetry

say,

a more

simple

"reading

and not a digital computer. The distinction is important


literary theory has had recourse to the operations of digital
computing. See, for example, the recent enthusiastic essay by Richard Lanham, "The Electronic
Word: Literary Study and the Digital Revolution," New Literary History 20 (Winter, 1989): 26590, and William Paulson, The Noise of Culture: Literary Texts in a World of Information (Ithaca:
because,

is to an analogue

in recent years,

so much

Cornell University Press, 1988).

30

conscious of texts. Because it also emphasizes,

in itself, the constructed and


agented character of a text, it has the additional advantage of opening itself to
critical reading, and thence of breaking down that spell of self-transparency
which hovers over all the texts we read.
When we teach reading in our classrooms, we typically stand to our
students in much the same relation that the critical edition stands to us when
we read (for example) Ulysses. That is to say, we try to structure the reading
field in order to encourage students to free themselves from the tyranny of the
immediate and the linear text. Good readers have to read both linearly and
spatially, but both of those operations remain closely tied to the illusion of
textual immediacy. Radial reading is the most advanced, the most difficult,
and the most important form of reading because radial reading alone puts one
in a position to respond actively to the text's own (often secret) discursive acts.
Let me begin to illustrate this point by recalling two of my earlier examples.
The reading of the Yeats Oxford Book of Modern Verse, and in particular of its
opening Pater text, acquires point and depth only when it involves a
simultaneous re-reading of the original passage from The Renaissance; and
this dialectical act of reading constitutes a textual translation that far trans
cends either of the two Paterian texts, or both together. It involves, that is, a
reading of a particular act of writing coded, but by no means fully visibilized,
in Yeats's book which is a radial text with many complex filiations that reach
out across time and space.

This example from Yeats may remind us how radial reading operates as a
function of linear and spatial reading. One sees the same connection in the two
volumes which comprise the first editions of Pound's first twenty-seven
cantos. As we saw earlier in the illustrations from Cantos X and XVII, each of
those books makes a clear historical allusion not only to William Morris and
the bibliographical face of the late nineteenth-century aesthetic movement,
but also to the longer tradition which those late nineteenth-century works
were invoking: the tradition of the decorated manuscript and its Renaissance
bibliographical inheritors. 16The linear and spatial codes of such a text function
properly only within the horizon of radial reading which the book has invoked.
But that radial field is by no means the only one in which Pound's book is
involved. Once again, we are cued to the presence of this other field by certain
material features of A Draft of XVI. Cantos. The title page states that the
decorative material in the book was done by the artist Henry Strater; there is
an Imprint on page [67] stating that the book was produced at Three
Mountains Press in Paris, over a fairly extensive period of time (MayDecember 1924); and a Colophon on page [2] declares: "The Edition of Ninety
Copies consists of Five on Imperial Japan paper autographed by the author
"For

a good introduction to the nineteenth-century tradition of this subject, see Gordon N.

Ray, The Illustrator

and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914 (New York: Pierpont Morgan

Library, 1976).
31

.1
//

T>%AFT OF

XVI.

CANTOS of EZRA POUND


for

the "Beginning

of some
now

of a

Toem

Length

first made into a Book


with Initial! by

HENRY STRATER

PARIS
THREE

MOUNTAINS PRESS
M. CM. XXV.

Title page from A Draft of XVI. Cantos of Ezra Pound (Paris: Three Mountains Press,
HRHRC Collections.

1925).

E Fifteen on Whatman paper numbered I to XV and Seventy on


Roma paper specially watermarked numbered 1 to 70." A Draft of XVI.
Cantos, in other words, is a collaborative project, as all books are. Its
lettered A to

are also of a very specific and determinable kind which Pound's

collaborations

poetical text not only summons but finally must submit to as well. The title
page, Imprint, and Colophon have to be carefully read if we want to be clear
about the context within which Pound's poem was being initially defined. Not
least important,

is the circle of readers which the book

in this connection,

embraces. Equally significant are the historical allusions being made through

of "fine printing" in the late nineteenth and early


twentieth century. When one reads the book titled A Draft of XVI. Cantos,
the purely linguistic text is imbedded in a radial network one can hardly fail to
register, so physically, so dramatically, has that network been presented at
the level of the book's bibliographical codes.
With the passage of time, new communicative circumstances develop
new editions are producedwhich turn the text into a kind of palimpsest. The
work called the Cantos which descends to us incorporates, however invisibly,
all of its accumulated history, and this history includes a book like A Draft of
XVI. Cantos (as the latter had included, self-consciously, the entire history of
book production). To read the Cantos in 1989 is therefore necessarily to
encounter all the earlier incarnations of the descended text in a translated
form. Reconstituting the presence of an ancestral text like A Draft of XVI.
Cantos is a highly specialized and self-conscious type of reading, but it is a
the use of the conventions

fundamental

and necessary exercise

indeed,

it seems to me the model for

even a reading which appears to be situated only and


wholly in the present. To read A Draft of XVI. Cantos, in the face of the
standard New Directions collected Cantos, is to explode the self-transparency
every act of reading,

of the latter
readiness

as a mere apparition.

alive

It

is to be placed in a position of reading

to the fact that the text is and has always been involved in

complex radial networks and communicative exchanges.


From the producer's point of view, every book indeed,

every scripted

text is a code of signals designed to put specific sets of such interchanges in


operation. Readers, for their part, decode the signals, but that is not all they
do. They also retransmit, functioning as secondary authorities who interact
with other readers, but who also re-act back on the initial code of signals,

complicating and altering the original messages.


In this very essay I am myself retransmitting Pound's work. Here is a brief
reflexive narrative of one new line of "meaning" I am trying to set in motion:
In

1925

Pound and his co-producers

of A Draft of XVI. Cantos

wanted to display their positive relation to late nineteenth-century


poetic traditions. With the development of the ideology of modern
ism, however, the Cantos came to be read as the prototype of the
33

twentieth-century's reaction against and critique of Victorian poetry,


in particular. Pound himself, a key
ideologue of modernism, did much to foster such a reading of literary
history. A radial encounter with the Cantos, however, exposes the
differential reading options which Pound's work embodies
exposes, in short, the contradictory aims of his own project.
and of the aesthetic movement

That "reading" is a reaction upon a textual field that comprises far more than
the linguistic text, far more even than the linguistic and the spatial text. It is a
reading which assumes that the physical texts of Pound's work are not only

linguistic and spatial, but multiple and interactive as well. It is a reading which
seeks to visibilize the textual field the scene of radial reading by a close
observation of the materials, the means, and the modes of textual production
as they develop and interact over time.

As the first example from Pound suggests, radial reading is a function of the

(if

historicity of texts. We observe its demands in the scene of a work's reception


history, and throughout the stages of its reproductive development.
John
Sutherland's acute studies of the differing institutional forms by which the
"best seller" is produced in England and in America expose one fundamental
scene of radial reading.17 Sutherland details, on one hand, the "English"
model of post-publication reading via the traditional reviewing institutions;
and, on the other, the "American" model of pre-publication reading via early
promotional apparatuses, advance printing and purchase orders, and various
peripheral schemes for disseminating (not necessarily the text but) the
presence of the text. In each case, a great deal of important reading goes on
which will not involve any direct encounter with the so-called "text itself."
Sutherland sees the pre-publication structures of reading as peculiarly
American, and while it is true that American trade publishers refined and
professionalized this kind of reading, they learned it from the English. Byron's
first installment ofChilde Harold in 1812 was a best seller, but its success had
not been anticipated by pre-publication readings. The first English poetical
work to use the pre-publication scene of reading in an important way was,
appropriately enough, Tennyson's In Memoriam (1850). Twenty years later
Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Poems (1870) was produced in an even more
not more successfully) defined process of pre-publication
consciously
moves and readings.

34

Popular Fiction

the 1970s (London: Routledge

of

"See John Sutherland, Bestseller:


Paul, 1981).

&

is

The most celebrated English poem of the twentieth-century, The Waste


Land, descends to us through
similar reception history. The famous story of
its all but collaborative composition history, with Pound's urgent and
sympathetic critical mind driving Eliot to reimagine and complete the poem,
only one fact of much more elaborate and important story. When the poem
Kegan

I DIAL

THE

NOVEMBER

1*922

THE WASTE LAND


BY T.

S.

.Yarn Sibyllam quidem

U di

in ampulla

pendert;

ELIOT
Cumis

ego ipse oculis met!

el cum Hit pueri dtcerent:

Itfi/XXa rl MXfii ; respondebat

ilia:

aro taniv Si\u

THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD


April is the cruelrst month, breeding
Lilacs nut of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little lite with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the .Srarnbergersee

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade.


And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar ieine Russin, stamm' aus Lttauen, edit deutseh.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.

In

the mountains,

there you feel free.

read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

Copyright 1922 by T. S. Eliot. An edition of The Waste Land with annota


tions by Mr Eliot will presently be issued by Borti & Liveright. The
Editors.

The first appearance


1922): 473.

ofT.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" in The Dial, vol.

HRHRC Collections.

LXXIII,

no. 5 (November

was finally published in book form in December 1922, its artistic importance
had already been institutionally imagined,

The story,

if not

now being retold in fascinating

actually and finally declared.

detail

by Lawrence Rainey,

involves a complex act of reading (and writing) The Waste Land by various
social agents and agencies in 1922. 181 shall not rehearse the story here, but I

will call attention to a few salient details. The Waste Land was first published
in The Dial in November 1922 in a complicated financial arrangement
between The Dial people, Eliot, and the publishers Boni and Liveright, who
had contracted to publish the poem in book form a few weeks after The Dial
publication. The terms included giving Eliot the Dial Award for the year 1922
as part of his publishing contract with both of the publishers. When the poem
appeared, in other words, it already wore the insignia of its special status and
importance. Many of the early reviews are written in full consciousness of the
import of those insignia. Their knowledge is perhaps most apparent in certain
hostile reviews, which registered their disapproval at the special privileges
which the poem had acquired for itself.
The first readers of Eliot's published poem encountered the work in a radial
reading field that had already been sharply, if not wholly, defined. That
horizon of reading would dominate The Waste Land's reception history the
legend of the poem for the rest of the century. To retell the story in all of its
details is to step outside the circle of that initial horizon, and hence to re-read
The Waste Land with a clearer understanding of why it is a radial, and not
simply a linguistic, text.

III.
field, that they interact with their
for the way we will read them. For
one thing, it forces us to realize that books involve a "reading" of their
audiences which those audiences may or may not realize, and may or may not
submit to. "Reagan's Farewell" means to interact with its audiences by
absorbing and regularizing the possible modes of response. Unlike The Waste
Land, it labors to minimize its own internal conflicts, as well as the possible
conflicts its message might generate. In order for us to read "Reagan's
Farewell," then, rather than simply be read by it, we have to explode the
illusion of contextual seamlessness which the work projects. We have to "step
outside" that fiction of a homogeneous context and read the work in a
framework and point of view which it has not already absorbed and antici
pated. This requires reading the work in those contexts which "Reagan's
Farewell" has tried either to forbid, or to declare nonexistent.
To

see that books

function in

a radial

contexts, carries important consequences

"Lawrence Rainey, "The Price of Modernism: Reconsidering the Publication of The Waste
Land," to appear shortly in The Yale Review.

36

Literacy is achieved when one is able to decipher, judge, and use many
different kinds of text. One may be as easily enslaved to the high-minded texts
of poets and philosophers as to more vulgar and demotic productions.
Producers of texts correctly assume that their audiences will possess reading
But many text-producers neither want nor expect anything
competence.
more than a purely responsive act of reading an act which will decode the
transmission in precisely the way that the sender desires.
If messages and senders were innocent and reliable agents, this idea of
communication would be all that we would require. It is the ideal of
advertisers, of course, as well as the ideal of all those who desire to create
homogeneous and self-gratified audiences. The many texts produced by our
government during the Reagan years offer a rich archive of materials designed
to short-circuit reflective and critical thought. For this very reason they are
texts which reading teachers ought to use as often as possible: if they are not
really "great communications," and least of all "great books," they are texts
which beautifully illustrate how communicators can manipulate their mes
sages to create certain meanings and prevent others. They are, in other words,
texts which show us how and why we must read beyond the linear im
mediacies of their powerful propaganda.
Let me close with one final reflection on my original text, "Reagan's
Farewell," which I have been treating as if it were authored by Reagan's media
staff. In point of fact "Reagan's Farewell" was put together, many different
times, by the public media, by news institutions like ABC and CBS and NBC
and their local affiliates. If "Reagan's Farewell" is a ceremony of the news, the
news machines more than cooperated in the presentation of that ceremony.
"Reagan's Farewell" is, like any Shakespeare production (on stage or in a
book), a social text. One of the more disturbing and grotesque "meanings" of
"Reagan's Farewell" lies in its revelation of the fourth estate's susceptibility to
This particular meaning one would expect to be
propaganda manipulation.
in
our
own
widely registered
society, where the idea of a free and critical press
is founded at the deepest institutional levels. That it has not seemed an
important meaning to many people, including people in the fourth estate, is
yet another, and even darker, meaning to be found in the text of "Reagan's
Farewell."
Even under the best of circumstances, messages and their senders are
neither innocent nor completely reliable. This is why readers must be
prepared to defend themselves against both the errors and the perversions of
those who communicate with texts.

37

Above: Jean Martin as Lucky and Roger Blin as Pozzo, with Lucien Raimbourg and Pierre Latour as
Vladimir and Estragon, in the premiere performance of Samuel Beckett's En Attendant Godot at the

Theltre de Babylone in Paris, January 1953. Below: Alvin Epstein as Lucky, Bert Lahr as Estragon
(Gogo), Kurt Kasznar as Pozzo, and E.G. Marshall as Vladimir (Didi) in the April 1956 production of
Waiting for Godot at New York City's John Golden Theatre. HRHRC Collections.

The Theatricalization of Text: Beckett, onson,


Shakespeare

By

I would like to begin with

Michael Warren

two quotations. The first is from an article of 1953

by J.C. Maxwell entitled "How Bad is the Text of The Jew of Malta?" In it
Maxwell engages in an attack upon the idea of "continuous copy" that plays
were subjected to regular modification in the playhouse, often by hands other
than the playwrights' a thesis much favored by those E. K. Chambers called
"disintegrators."1 Arguing for simplicity, common sense, and authorial sanc
tity, Maxwell states boldly: "It is worth while pointing out (a) that the doctrine
of 'continuous copy' is 'a figment of the editorial brain' and (b) that manu
scripts, unlike apples, do not become corrupt simply by lying in a drawer."2
My second quotation is from a more recent source, The New York Review of
Books of 6 December 1988. Denis Donoghue writes:
The text of Watting for Godot is providing

a long headache for the

scholars to whom that matter has been entrusted.

Whenever Beckett

has taken an interest in a particular production of the play, he has

tinkered with the references to time and place; notably for a German
production at the Schiller Theatre, a performance at San Quentin
Penitentiary, and a performance in Dublin last August. In any strict
sense, there is no established text of the play. The New York
production [of which Donoghue was writing] uses a text provided by
Samuel Beckett in August 1988, which will be published soon by
Faber and Faber.a
'For the

attack upon disintegrators, see

E.K. Chambers, The Disintegration of Shakespeare

(London: Oxford University Press, 1924).


J.C. Maxwell, "How Bad is the Text ofTheJewof Malta?" Modern Language Review 48 (1933):
438. Maxwell's quotations are from W. W. Greg, The Editorial Problem in Shakespeare (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1942, 1951), p. 43.
3Denis Donoghue, "Play

It Again, Sam," The New York Review of Books,

6 December 1988, p.

30. See Carlton Lake, No Symbols Where None Intended (Austin, TX: Harry Ransom

Humanities
39

These two passages provide a starting point for a consideration of a basic


problem in textual scholarship: the representation of theater works in
published form. I use that odd circumlocution deliberately to introduce two
themes of my paper: first, the changes of perception about theatrical texts that
have occasioned shifts in ways of conceiving play texts over the last 40 years or
so; and second, the peculiar consequences for textual thinking and editing of
those shifts. In respect to the first, I would argue that there has developed in
recent years a far more liberal and fluid notion of the status of plays that has led
to a less dogmatic approach to conceiving play texts than J.C. Maxwell
exemplified. This in turn has provoked the recognition of problems of the
instability of certain canonical texts or their intrinsic multiplicity, and
therefore a far more skeptical approach to traditional forms of textual
After all, Donoghue's report of Godot raises the simple
presentation.
question, "What do we talk about when we talk about Waitingfor Godot?" and
that form of question will be appropriate to every play that I mention here.
In respect to my second theme, I believe that a new and lively theatrical
approach has created an awareness of problems in making those perceptions
evident in printed editions. It is a matter then of how editions of plays are to
be, what they are to be for, and how they can manifest the theatrical awareness
of their editors, who seek to overcome the inertial tendencies of traditional
literary editing. How can the nature of performance texts be accommodated in
the act of publication? What should the editor do to avoid rendering the text
merely literary?
Unlike poems or novels, plays are always pointing beyond the boundaries of
their printing; even at their most literary, they remain blueprints for
performance, or retain traces of performances; or at least some of us are unable
to read them otherwise. This is hardly surprising, and should be accom
modated, in Shakespeare scholarship, for instance; anybody interested in
Shakespeare must have some sense of theater, one would think. However, to
as an important interpretive activity is not a
of critics or editors: some are interested in spectatorship,
indeed, but only a few in the details of performance.
Few editors of
Shakespeare since Rowe in 1709 have much knowledge of backstage. But
recently textual scholars have shown an interest in the stage less as a place for
manifesting a necessary prior interpretation of the text than as a place that
fosters diversity of interpretation of minute details as well as of large, that
emphasizes the experience of a sequence of events of temporal and spatial
proportions that are variable though determinate.
I wish to present three studies that will address aspects of the relations
between printed texts and stage performance. Two relate directly to editions

be interested

in performance

major characteristic

Research

Center, 1984), pp. 65-74, especially item numbers 124 and 130, for descriptions of
manuscripts, in French and English respectively, of Waitingfor Godot.

original autograph

40

and the problems that they present; the third uses theatrical experience

as

evidence in arguments surrounding two textual cruxes. I shall end upon the
subject of possible future texts.

II.
Unlike Marlowe or Shakespeare, Jonson cared profoundly about the
of his works for posterity. He appears to have attended to details
of publication in person, and to have paid extraordinary attention to what was
published. This is certainly the tone of his 1616 Folio, and many quartos also
preservation

show Jonson's desire to make his plays available to a reading audience;


consequently, the earliest printings are always potentially literary rather than
theatrical objects. Although Shakespearean plays may have undergone some
editing in preparation for the press, we can nevertheless usually assume some
relation to theatrical activity, but in the case of Jonson we have to be aware of
the possibility, and in places of the certainty,

of the authorial presence


the theatrical event and the page. Indeed, when Jonson
produced his Folio he revised many of his plays to present them as he wished
mediating between

to have them appreciated by the discerning readers of his own and future ages.
In so doing he established an authoritative text of much of his work, and later
editors, especially Herford and Simpson, who produced the standard edition
respected Jonson's wishes.4 But
and, I will suggest, obscured
in
his
revisions
Jonson suppressed
the theatrical reality while giving details of the plays' theatrical histories,
which currently available editions still tend to do.
Jonson's Every Man in His Humour is an excellent example of persistently
literary editing that obscures theatrical origins, and that tends to see revision
as replacement rather than as multiplication. EMIH was printed in a quarto in
1601; the title page says of it simply that it is "As it hath beene sundry times
publickly acted by the right Honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants."
The Folio prints EMIH as the first play of the collection, and the title page
indicates that it is "A Comoedie" and that it was "Acted in the yeere 1598. By
the then Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants"; at the end of the play appears a
similar statement, and there is a list of the "principall Comoedians," headed
between

1925

and 1952,

have generally

a great deal

and Burbage. Although the two play texts are


similar in plot and structure, the differences in detail are extreme. Most
notably, in the Folio the setting of the play shifts from Florence to London,
the characters have English names, and the action is thoroughly localized in
contemporary London. Jonson cuts and replaces, alters and develops charac
by the names Shakespeare

*C.H. Herford and Evelyn Simpson, eds., Ben Jonson, 11 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
I am following here their position with respect to Jonson's meticulous attention to his

1925-52).
text.

41

ters, shifts and eliminates emphases, and tinkers restlessly with a multitude of
details, including rewriting part of the conclusion.5

There can be no doubt


Humour,
and Herford and
that there are two plays called Every Man In His
Simpson acknowledged this when they printed the two versions in chronolog
ical sequence, accepting the integrity and interest of both plays. They thus
produced a valuable piece of historical scholarship which runs counter to what
appear to have been Jonson's own wishes, or "final intentions," since the
of the play in the Folio makes clear that Jonson was suppressing
the quarto version and replacing it with his revision. Strictly speaking, it is not

presentation

true in the Folio that "This Comoedie was first Acted in the yeere 1598" (my
italics), unless the statement on the Q title page is untrue. Jonson was acting as
editor of his own biography and theatrical history. Fortunately Herford and
Simpson do not follow him; however, the behavior of editors since them is
instructive in that most have agreed to represent in their texts Jonson's view of
what happened in 1598. In the New Mermaid edition (1966), Martin
Seymour-Smith prints an edited version of the F text after a reproduction of
the F title page. For the Yale Ben Jonson edition (1969), Gabriele Bernhard

Jackson also edits the F text, although she "restores . . . the Q stage
directions wherever their applicability has not been changed by Folio
revision"; she begins her appendix on "Text and Stage History," however,
with a statement that is notable for its contented ignoring of this important
issue:

Every Man In His Humour exists in two versions, for each of which
there is one authoritative text, apparently seen through the press by
Jonson himself. For the first version, set in Italy, it is the Quarto of
1601; for the second, set in England, the 1616 Folio of Jonson's
works. The present edition is based on the latter.6
Jonson's most recent editor, G.A. Wilkes, presents in his four-volume The
Complete Plays of Ben Jonson (1981) a modernized version of the texts of the
plays from the Herford and Simpson edition; he prints only a modernized
Folio text, neither justifying nor defending his action but merely stating flady
and exasperatingly that "It [the collection] is complete but for the early quarto
version of Every Man In His Humour (to which the later folio text has been
"7
By contrast with these editors, J.W. Lever confronts the
preferred).

...

'For an excellent brief summary of the changes, see Every Man In His Humour, ed. Martin
Seymour-Smith (New York: New Mermaid, 1966), pp. xxvii-xxxi; for a lengthy critical discussion
of the changes, see Jonas A. Barish, Ben Jonson and the Language of Prose Comedy (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 1960), pp. 130-141.
6Ben Jonson, Every Man In His Humour, ed. Gabriele Bernard Jackson (New Haven: Yale

1981), vol.

42

I.,

University Press, 1969), pp. 217, 215.


7G.A. Wilkes, ed., The Complete Works of Ben Jonson, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
p. v.

tp*

EVERY MAN IN
his Humor.

As

it hath bee ne fundry. times

publicly
.

afted by the right

Honorable the Lord Chamkrlainc hisjeruants.

Sh? $*** -^WiictcnbyBBM.

Iohnioh.

GuoAnon d<Mtproctrts,dabit

Hijlri*.

Histdtsmtn in nidus vatifluem fulfitdpafcunt.

Imprinted at London for Walter Bunt, and arc to


in Paules Churcb-jarde.
bcfotddat hisjboffe

1*01.

Title page from Every Man in his Humor by Ben Jonson (London: Walter Burre, 1601), with
inscription: "Sulcey Streats Book." HRHRC Collections.

issue properly by printing both plays in parallel format,

thus enabling the

reader to do what even Herford and Simpson do not permit (unless one has
access to two copies), which is to choose between reading each play for itself or
studying conveniently the nature of the revision, the marks of Jonson at work.8
Of these four publications, then, only one fully manifests the existence of an
early

EMIH,

though one (Seymour-Smith's)

gives a description of the changes

between the texts that will provoke any intelligent reader to seek out the Q
text.

The editing tradition and the economics of publishing both encourage the
I stress the curious overlooking of Q EMIH
because it has a special interest for historians of Jonson and the theater. The
dating of the revision of EMIH is a matter of doubt; the two dates most
commonly suggested are ca. 1605 (Chambers, Lever) and ca. 1612 (Herford
and Simpson, Barish, Seymour-Smith).9 An exact conclusion is not possible,
but the issue is relevant to our sense of the play on the stage in Jonson s
lifetime. Beyond the references to performances already cited, the only other
recorded performances prior to 1660 are a revival for James I on 2 February
10
While it is possible that the F text was
1605, and two performances in 1631.
played in 1631, which text was played in 1605 is a matter of uncertainty:
Chambers suggests that "this revival would be the natural time for a revision,
and in fact seems to me on the whole the most likely date . . . ,"" but Herford
and Simpson's view of a revision in 1612 would mean that King James saw the
Florentine rather than the London EMIH, and that what we most readily
think of as EMIH what played in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1986 was not
played during the heyday of Jonson 's career. Amid all this doubt three things
seem clear: first, contrary to the assertions on the title page of F, the play that
was played in 1598 was almost certainly the Q text; second, the play that
Shakespeare acted in was the Q text; and third, the customary hypothesis that
Shakespeare played the Elder Kno-well, a character in the F text only, is
carelessly formulated.12 One must in fact be very wary in one's statements
about EMIH, and very cautious of these editions. The play's study as part of
single-text edition. In this context

"Ben Jonson, Every Man In His Humour, ed. J. W. Lever (Lincoln, NE: Regents Renaissance
Drama Series, 1971), p. xx. This is not the first parallel-texts edition of EMIH; H. Holland Carter

produced such an edition in the Yale Studies in English series, vol. 52 (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1921). It should not go unremarked that the Everyman's Library Benjonson's
Plays, ed. F.E. Schelling, 2 vols. (London: J. M. Dent, 1910), prints both Q and F EMIH (though
not in parallel format),

yet both, unfortunately, appear at opposite ends

"E.K. Chambers, The Elizabethan

of the

same volume.

(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923): 3.360;


Lever, pp. xi-xvii; Herford and Simpson, 1.333; Barish, p. 130; Seymour-Smith, pp. xvi-xvii.
Jackson makes an elaborate study of the dating problems (pp. 221-239) and concludes that "The
Stage,

4 vols.

possibilities favor 1607-08 and 1612-13; but events do not always favor possibilities."
'"Herford and Simpson, 9. 169.
"Chambers, 3.360.
"Herford and Simpson, 9. 168.
44

the chronological sequence of Jonson's theatrical career is somewhat hazard


ous.

A similar pattern of behavior can be seen in regard to the two plays that
In His Humour in Jonson's folio. Although Herford and
declare
that
between Q and F Every Man Out Of His Humour
Simpson
Jonson "worked over the entire text with microscopic care, systematically
revising spelling, type, and punctuation" (the last at least to be considered
and that "it is the first play of which we have parallel
semi-substantive)
texts . . . and both were scrupulously edited," these editors do not publish
parallel texts;13 indeed, one of the most fascinating aspects of the texts and
their theatrical history is presented with remarkable obscuritythe fact that
the play has two different endings in each of Quarto and Folio for a total of four
endings to the play. Thus, for all the accuracy of Herford and Simpson's
apparatus and appendix material, the sequence and nature of these endings
are hard to discriminate from the information that they provide. I recognize
that parallel texts editions are expensive, but I would settle for an edition that
would at least print each ending clearly so that the theatrical movement would
be immediately intelligible in each case, and the history of the work on the
stage easily discerned. As it is, in a play that Jonson worked to render literary
"
by its expansion for publication even in Q, the editors conspire with him to
obscure the theatrical associations, the occasional qualities of the play, in favor
of the representation of the timeless, definitive, ultimately literary-historical
succeed Every Man

rather than theatrical-historical

textual object.

If I

may be forgiven a last example from Jonson, in the text of Cynthia's


Revels we confront Herford and Simpson also reprinting Jonson's Folio text,

which they assert "is a revision and expansion of the Quarto" by some 1000
lines. " Whatever the date of the F-only material, it is my suspicion that Q CR
is the play that was performed in the Blackfriars Theatre and at court, and that
F, whose title page insists that it was "Acted, in the yeere 1600. By the then
Children of Queene Elizabeths Chappell," is a literary expansion, almost a
closet drama. At least one notable critic of Jonson who treats F as if it were a
theater text declares that "the final act . . . is stupifyingly dull, and bears
painful witness to the extent to which Jonson's passion for detail and surface
has stifled his feeling for movement in the theater."'6 As a literary text, it
would seem to me to be an object inappropriate for theatrical judgment.
The pressure for the single published text obscures the question of
theatrical origins and reduces the range of possible perceptions.
"Ibid,

3.414, 412.

"Each of the three quarto printings indicates on its title page that the published text is "as it was
first composed by the Author B.I. Containing more than hath been publikely spoken or acted.
With the seuerall character of every person.
"Herford and Simpson, 4. 17.
"Barish, p. 113.

"

45

III.
Herford and Simpson were engaged in

a monumental

task when editing an

author whose extensive remains suggest an aspiration to the classic and the
lapidary.

On the whole, and in many ways appropriately,

all editors have

respected Jonson's formal aspirations and have not littered his plays with new
stage directions. If Jonson does not attract frequent performance, his editors
also see little obligation

to render his plays more imaginatively accessible by


the addition of explanatory stage directions, beyond the precise indication of

exits and entrances in place of Jonson's massed names at the beginning of a


scene. But with Shakespeare
produces curiosities.

the theatrical impulse has some role, and it


Many editors feel obliged to provide their readers with

some signals of stage action,

procedure is often exceedingly

although

my experience

suggests that the

erratic, that no criteria of relevance exist, and

that most editors seem conditioned by what has been printed before.

If one

is

to have editions, what should they produce? What stage directions should be
added, and why?

The recent Complete Oxford Shakespeare is notable for the extraordinary


amount of its editorial theory that appeared prior to publication. " It is the
general principle of that edition to print as far as possible what may most
closely correspond to performance texts of the plays in Shakespeare's time. It
is gratifying to read a Hamlet based on the folio text rather than the Second
Quarto, a Macbeth attributed to Shakespeare and Middleton that has the
songs from The Witch reproduced in full, and that accepts the existence of the
"
"other three witches. I can hardly feel unsympathetic to an edition that prints
two separate edited texts of King Lear. But the problem of the nature of the
intervention of theatrical imagination remains. Editors see their role as
explaining to whom a speech is spoken, whether it is an aside or not, who exits
when. This may appear laudable, but if it has been my complaint in the past
that no principle of discrimination exists, I fear that even in the new Oxford I
find eccentric explanation and customary silences. For instance, it is my habit
to open every new edition of King Lear first to the last speech to see to whom it
is attributed (an obvious move) and then to the passage in Act I where Lear,
offended by Kent, says either "O vassal recreant" (Q) or "O vassal! miscreant"
(F), and "Alb. Cor." say "Deare Sir forbeare" (1. 1. 161-2). ls Most editions lazily
reprint a version of Rowe's 1709 addition "Laying his hand upon his sword"
beside Lear's speech. The Oxford, edited from scratch rather than marked up
17Stanley Wells with Gary Taylor, Modernizing

Spelling, Three Studies in the


Shakespeare's
Clarendon Press, 1979); Stanley Wells, Re-editing Shakespeare for the
Modern Reader (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984). The edition itself appeared in 1986 in both
Text

of Henry V

(Oxford:

modern spelling and original spelling formats.


"Act, scene, line numbers are derived from The Riverside Shakespeare,
Blakemore Evans (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974).
46

textual

editor G.

on an earlier edition, eschews the beaten path, but it does not, as it well
might, decline to explain. Rather it prints its own direction "making to strike

him," which is equally unnecessary, because it is only one of any number of


theatrical possibilities at that moment, and determines unnecessarily the
reader's response. And why does that moment require explanation? Rather
than so many others?19 But I want to illustrate this habit further, because it
seems to me to be an acknowledgment
of theatrical action that ultimately
works counter to theatrical possibilities.
The text of Pericles is problematic: it survives solely in a quarto of 1609. I
would like to show how this text is edited by considering some fifth act stage
directions in a few standard editions.
In the Quarto the fifth act begins: "Enter Helicanus, to him 2. Saylers." The
Pelican edition begins, following Malone (1790):

it,

[On board Pericles' ship, off Mytilene. A pavilion on deck, with a


curtain before it; Pericles within
on couch.
barge lying beside
the Tyrian vessel.] Enter Helicanus, to him two sailors[, one
belonging to the Tyrian vessel, the other to the barge J.20

is

is

J.

is

The Riverside edition prints the same, omitting the sentence about the barge
but adding the word "close" before "pavilion" and "reclined" before "on
couch." The Arden adds that Pericles "reclined" and "unkempt and clad in
sackcloth" (following C. Maxwell in the New Cambridge edition). The New
Penguin restrained, and to the Quarto adds merely the discrimination of the
sailors. The Oxford reads: "Enter Helicanus [above; below, enter] to him at
the first door two Sailors, [one of Tyre, the other of Mytilene]," which appears
more practical, less pictorial, but
still unjustifiably prescriptive in placing
Helicanus' entrance "above."21 Later when Helicanus says "Behold him"

J.

"I discuss this passage and other similar instances of "editorial fossilizations" in "Textual
Problems, Editorial Assertions in Editions of Shakespeare," Textual Criticism and Literary
McGann (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. 23-37.
Interpretation, ed. Jerome

"William Shakespeare, The Complete Works, general editor Alfred Harbage (Baltimore:
Penguin Books, 1969); James G. McManaway was the editor of Pericles. The other editions to
which
refer here are: Pericles, the New Cambridge edition, ed. J.C. Maxwell (Cambridge,
[Eng.j: Cambridge University Press, 1956); Pericles, the new Arden Edition, ed. F.D. Hoeniger
textual editor G. Blakemore Evans
(London: Methuen, 1963); The Riverside Shakespeare,
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974); Pericles, the New Penguin edition, ed. Philip Edwards
(Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976); The Complete Works, general editors Stanley Wells and Gary
Taylor (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).

it

is

is

"The Oxford edition here uses "broken brackets": "At many points the requisite action
apparent from the dialogue; at other points precisely what should happen, or the precise point at
which
should happen,
in doubt and, perhaps, was never clearly determined even by the
to some extent

Inevitably, this

is

author. In our edition we use broken brackets

...

to identify dubious action or placing.


matter of individual interpretation
(General Introduc

..."

tion, p. xxxv).

47

by

66

P tricks Prince of
Tfrt.
fit/. SirjistlK goucrnot of A/tnline , who hearing of
your trie Iancholic ftatc,did come to Ire yout
Per. I embrace yougiuc me my robes.

I am wilde in my behoIding,0

hcauens blcfle my girlc,


Bur harkc what Mufickc ie\\yHeitc*Mi my A/anu*,
Tell him ore point by point/or yet he fcemes to doat.
How fore you arc my daughter,but what mufickc?
Hel My Lord I hcarc none.
Per. None,thc Mufickc of the Spherttjid my Mtrin*.
Ljf, Itis not good to erotic him,giue him way.
Per. Rareft found s,doyc not he atcI
Ljf. Mufickc my LordJ I hcarc.
Per. Moft hciucnly Mufickc.
If nips me vntulirtning,andthicke (lumber
Hangs vpon mine cycs,lct me reft.
Ljf. A Pillow for his head/o Icaue him all.
Well my companion fricnds,if this but anfwerc to my iuft
bclicfcjllc well remember you.
DitotM.

DU. My Temple ftandsin Epbefut,


Hie thee thither, and doc vppon mine Altar facrifice,

There when my maiden pricfts arc met together before the


people all, reucalc how thou at fca didfr loofc thy wife , to
mournc thy crones with thy daughters, call, & giuc them
repetition to the like,or performe my bidding, or thou liucft in woc:doo*r,and happic,by my filucr bow,awakc and
tell thy drcame.
Per. CelcftiallDM*. Goddclfc Arjr ehtim,
1 will obey thee HeUiaouu.
Hell. Sir.
Per. My purpofe was for 7*4>/w/,thcre to ftrikc,
The inhofpitable Cletm,b\x\ am for otherlertiicc firft,
Toward Ephcfus turnc our blownc fiylcs,
Eftfoones He tell thee why,flall we refrefh vs fir
vpon your
Ihore, and giuc yougoldcfoi fuch
prouifion as our in
tents wilhicede.

Ljf* S,

Act V, Scene 1 (verso) of the second quarto (1609) of William Shakespeare's Pericles reproduced
from the facsimile edition of the British Museum copy (London: C. Praetorius, 1886), p. 66.
HRHRC Collections.

it

it

is

it

5.

is

is

is

it

it

is

(5.

1.36), the New Penguin adds: "Helicanus draws curtain revealing Pericles
"
lying on couch. The Pelican also indicates that Helicanus draws curtain.
The Riverside and the Arden say non-committally "[Pericles discovered]."
The Quarto itself, naturally enough,
allows Helicanus to
discreedy silent;
"Behold
him"
and
the
to
as
will.
The
Oxford edition,
stage
say
company
however,
curtain, revealing Pericles lying
extravagant: "Helicanus draws
couch with
upon
long overgrown beard, diffused hair, undecent nails on
his fingers, and attired in sack -cloth."
After Lysimachus has described Marina's excellence (5. 1.44-52), somebody
no stage direction in the
presumably has to leave to get Marina; there
Quarto. New Penguin: "Exit Lord." Similarly Oxford, but with broken
Lord, who departs]." Riverside,
brackets. Pelican: "[Gives an order to
acknowledging its antecedents in Kittredge and Malone, produces largely the
same. But the Arden credits Malone and the Cambridge edition for:
"
"Whispers Lord, who goes off in the barge of Lysimachus. Two things here
require comment: first, "Whispers Lord" hardly modern English; second,
in the Arden editor's theater the barge, conspicuous in the first stage
direction, appears to sail away in fashion unexplained in any note (in the
Cambridge edition the barge returns at 1.64).
Explicit indications of staging are few in the rest of the scene in the Quarto,
but
does include one printing oddity. When Pericles has been left by
Lysimachus and his companions, there appears at midpage of V.i verso in
midline the word "Diana" (5. 1.240), and her speech follows without speech
prefix; like everybody else she does not get an exit. All the texts except one
interpret this oddity as "Diana appears to Pericles in vision" with or without
brackets after "Diana," and at the close Arden, New Cambridge, and
Riverside say "[Disappears]"; Pelican, "[Vanishes]"; New Penguin, "Exit."
attractive, since
The neutrality of the New Penguin
resembles
simple
probability of the Quarto text and not the illusionistic qualities that the other
editors presume (deriving their authority from Malone). Oxford introduces its
own illusionism, more specifically than the others: "Diana [descends from the
heavens]" and "[Diana ascends into the heavens]" (broken brackets).
This scene in the Quarto ends with an exeunt. The Quarto has no more stage
directions. Gower speaks unbidden, and says

At Ephesus the Temple see,


Our king and all his company. (5.2. 17-18)

is

it

For the last scene the stage needs (beyond some "maiden priests" specified by
Diana) the six main characters: Pericles, Thaisa, Cerimon, Lysimachus,
Helicanus, Marina. But the Arden, the New Cambridge, and the Riverside all
before Gower's speech;
adapt Malone's stage direction, placing part of
variation in accidentals among the three):
reproduce the Arden text (there
49


[Scene II The Temple of Diana at Ephesus: Thaisa standing near
the Altar, as High Priestess; a Number of Virgins on each side:
Cerimon and other inhabitants of Ephesus attending].

it

if I

is
a

it)

Later, after the words "[Scene HI The same.]" appears "[Enter Pericles,
with his Train: Lysimachus, Helicanus, and Marina.]," to which Riverside
adds "and a Lady." The Pelican produces a version of the above, but (actually
as M alone had
all after the speech of Gower. The New Penguin, while still
bringing in everybody after Gower's speech, observes theatrical decorum by
following the tendency of earlier stage directions in indicating entrances at
two doors, thereby avoiding the indecorum of having Diana's votaresses and
Pericles' company enter through the same door. But actually that indecorum
does not exist in the others, because their syntax suggests that the Temple of
Diana at Ephesus
tableau discovered its many denizens are given no
verb that suggests entrance. Oxford concurs in that decision, and places their
discovery and the entrance of Pericles and his company differently, putting
them
line apart and both dependent on Gower's "see" "At Ephesus the
temple" (5.2. 17). M alone and his editorial successors clearly expect things on
their stage that do not necessarily expect, although
accept their plausibil
However,
the play was originally played that way,
needed
ity.
large
discovery space.

In

of the New Penguin edition, all these texts


means of
discovery that would seem to accommodate the Quarto text of Pericles. The
nature of the literary theatrical imagination and its prescriptive role
irritatingly problematic in these editions.

is

more complex theater than the stage with two doors and

short, with the exception

suggest

IV.

wish to turn to an instance of successful theatrical intervention in an


to present the theater as place of testing
textual debate,
place that challenges the stability of texts.
The two texts thesis about King Lear has been current for over ten years
now.22
distinctive feature of the arguments around the Lear texts
their
A

is

argument about textual authority,

of

"See, for instance, my "Quarto and Folio King Lear and the Interpretation of Albany and
Pattern of Excelling Nature, ed. David Bevington and Jay L. Halio
Edgar," Shakespeare,
(Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 1978), pp. 95-107; Steven Urkowitz, Shakespeare's
Revision
"King Lear" (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980); Gary Taylor, "The War in

of

of

the Kingdoms: Shakespeare's


King Lear," Shakespeare Survey 33 (1980): 27-34; The Division
Two Versions
"King Lear," ed. Gary Taylor and Michael Warren (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1983). For the critique of the two texts thesis see, for instance, Sidney Thomas, "Shakespeare's

Supposed Revision of King Lear," Shakespeare


50

Quarterly 35 (1984): 506-511;

Kenneth Muir,

theatrical nature, the concern with the potential for performance


to marry aspects of performance criticism, however tentatively,

an attempt

with textual
But most of the published research on this topic has nevertheless
taken place in the study, and what I wish to record is a recent research
experiment that was performance-based, a product of group interaction it is
appropriate that the theatricalization of text should take place in groups. At
Rice University on 11 February 1989 I was invited to join five associates of
ACTER (the Alliance for Creative Theater, Education, and Research): Homer
Swander, Phyllis Gorfain, Alan Dessen, Audrey Stanley, and Steven Urkowitz; and five British actors: Bernard Lloyd, Geoffrey Church, Patti Love,
Vivian Heilbron, and Clifford Rose, in a research seminar on text and
performance of King Lear. The five actors were on tour presenting a version of
the Folio King Lear that they had developed and rehearsed for themselves,
working from the edited Folio text in the new Oxford Shakespeare a few
cuts had been made where doubling made conversation with oneself not just
difficult (which was tolerable Kent speaking with Gloster), but excruciating
hard for Lear to die and then get up and say Albany's speech). Time was
devoted to only two passages, yet each yielded crucial insights that were
available in the study but were arresting and apparently inevitable in the
laboratory of the rehearsal space; thus performance validated interpretive
(it
is

scholarship.

argument.
a

The first example was sequence that has been written about already by
both Steven Urkowitz and Randall McLeod, the events that succeed the
sounding of Goneril's trumpet offstage in 2.4.a The conventional text follows
F, which reads:

is

Is

Effects of Curtesie, dues of Gratitude:


Thy halfe o'th'Kingdome hast thou not forgot,
Wherein the endow'd.
Reg. Good Sir, to'th purpose. Tucket within.
Lear. Who put my man i'th'Stockes?
Enter Steward.
Corn. What trumpet's that?
Reg. know't, my Sisters: this approues her Letter,
That she would soone be heere.
your Lady come?
Slaue, whose easie borrowed pride
Lear. This
Dwels in the sickly grace of her he followes.
Out Varlet, from my sight.
"The Texts of King Lear," Shakespeare:

Contrasts and Controversies (Brighton: Harvester,

"Urkowitz,

Revision, p. 36-38; Randall McLeod,

"Gon. No more, the text

foolish," The

of

the Kingdoms, ed. Taylor and Warren, pp. 180-182. Their arguments are supported

by the events

Division

is

1985), pp. 51-66.

describe.
51

Corn. What meanes your Grace?


Enter Goneril.
Lear. Who stockt my Seruant? Regan, I haue good hope
Thou didst not know on't.
Who comes here? O Heauens!
If you do loue old men; if your sweet sway
Allow Obedience; if you your selues are old,
Make it your cause: Send downe, and take my part.
Art not asham'd to looke vpon this Beard?
O Regan, will you take her by the hand?
Gon. Why not by 'th hand Sir? How haue I offended?
All's not offence that indiscretion findes,
And dotage termes so.

(TLN

1463-87, 2.4.179-97)

Lear has the initiative as he presses the question of the responsibility for the
stocking of Kent, and assumes the central role in the theatrical action. Lear
maintains his dominance of the scene, ignoring the sound of the trumpet and
focusing on Oswald. At Goneril's entrance

(as indicated by the Folio stage


direction) Lear is still pursuing Regan on the subject of Kent's stocking.
Although Goneril enters, the primary stage action remains between Lear and
to which Regan promptly re
Regan with Goneril as a counter-attraction
sponds, or else does not respond; Lear acknowledges her presence at "Who
comes here," and makes his appeal to Regan later when she takes Goneril by
the hand, presumably a clear indication of Regan's move to Goneril. That is
standard stuff. However, the rehearsal of the usually unplayed Quarto text
produced a very different stage arrangement that made clear that the variants
"
"Gon./Lear. and "struck/stockt" could not be easily regarded as independent,
or incidental, or as mere printing house errors.

Gon. Who struck my seruant, Regan


Thou didst not know ant.
Lear. Who comes here? O heauens!

I haue

good hope

(Q1608, sig.

Flv)

While Lear might command the stage action at the beginning of the sequence
in the Quarto also, the entrance of Goneril with an immediate speech
required a very strong stage position for her that would reinforce the way in
which she immediately becomes the focal point of the audience's attention
and claims the dominant role in the action. Moreover, the speech to Regan
served to allow the actress playing Regan to develop a new dimension of her

M^iUiamShak-fpearc:
HIS

//

True Chronicle Hiftorie of the life and

death of King

Lear

and his three

Daughters.

With the ynfortunate life of Edgar, fonne


and heire to the Earle of Glofter, and his
Allien and afTumed humor of

//

At it

//

Tom of Bedlam:

VUfUjti

btfore tht Kingi Mtuflie tt Wktehtll


S. Stephens mght in Chrijlmts UtUidtyet.

vp*

By bit MaicAici feruants playing^vfually acthe Gloabe


on the Bancke-lide.

LONDON,
Butur, nd are to be foid at his fhop in tttUt
Church-yard at the iignc of the Pide Bull neere
S<. tyf'JIim Gate . I 6 o 8

Printed for

Ntibniil

ot^., J&zt.

*fo?

zS-

V
AT;

"*

Title page of the first quarto (1608) of William Shakespeare's King Lear reproduced from the
facsimile edition of the British Museum copy (London: C. Praetorius, 1885). HRHRC Collections.

subordinate

by Goneril,

relation to her sister, revealing her insecurity when challenged


a readiness that

could be almost fearful in its response to Goneril's

apparently aggressive challenge. And Goneril too revealed the various modes

in which she might address Regan: direct, appealing, reproachful, ironic, and
so on, expanding the categories to which all interpretation of the passages
usually conforms. But most crucially the actors found that they needed a
different blocking for each version: in the Folio version Lear appears to turn
from Oswald to Regan to Goneril, all the time assuming control of the scene,
but in the Quarto version Lear addresses Oswald and then loses the strong
position on stage: when he comes to say "Who comes here" it is after power
and stage focus have shifted to a different location. For the actors and the
scholars there was a common recognition, that the alternation of two words
radically alters the staging. To quote Bernard Lloyd, the actor playing Lear,
upon first walking through the Quarto version, "oh that makes a great
difference." His "great" was not hyperbole: good actors are the real close
readers of texts, and in this instance they vindicated the work of imaginative
scholars, work that has not been generally accepted.
The second pair of passages that I wish to address should be the major focus
of all debate concerning texts of King Lear, nothing in a work of art can really
be more important than the way it ends, nor in the constitution of a character
than the mode of death. In this case I want to concentrate on what is an
obvious question, but one which presents problems as one seeks a clear
answer. When does Lear die? What stage direction should be used for Lear's
death?

Lear. And my poore fool is hangd, no, no life, why should a


dog, a horse, a rat of life and thou no breath at all, O thou wilt
come no more, neuer, neuer, neuer, pray you vndo this button,
thanke you sir, O, o, o, o. Edg. He faints my Lord, my Lord.
Lear. Breake hart, I prethe breake. Edgar. Look vp my Lord.
Kent. Vex not his ghost, O let him passe,
He hates him that would vpon the wracke,
Of this tough world stretch him out longer.
Edg. O he is gone indeed.
Kent. The wonder is, he hath endured so long,
He but vsurpt his life.
Duke. Beare them from hence, our present busines
Is to generall woe, friends of my soule, you twaine
Rule in this kingdome, and the goard state sustaine.
Kent. I haue a journey sir, shortly to go,
My maister cals, and I must not say no.
Duke. The waight of this sad time we must obey,
Speake what we feele, not what we ought to say,
54

The oldest haue borne most, we that are yong,


Shall neuer see so much, nor Hue so long.
(Q 1608, sig. L4r)

Lear. And my poore Foole is hang'd: no, no, no life?


Why should a Dog, a Horse, a Rat haue life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Neuer, neuer, neuer, neuer.
Pray you vndo this Button. Thank you Sir,
Do you see this? Looke on her? Looke her lips,
Looke there, looke there.
He dies.
Lord,
faints,
Edg. He
my Lord.
my
Kent. Breake heart,

I prythee

breake.

Edg. Looke vp my Lord.


Kent. Vex not his ghost, O let him passe, he hates him,
That would vpon the wracke of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.
Edg. He is gon indeed.
Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long,
He but vsurpt his life.
Alb. Beare them from hence, our present businesse
Is generall woe: Friends of my soule, you twaine,
Rule in this Realme, and the gor'd state sustaine.
Kent. I haue a Iourney Sir, shortly to go,
My Master calls me, I must not say no.
Edg. The waight of this sad time we must obey,
Speake what we feele, not what we ought to say:

The oldest hath borne most, we that are yong,


Shall neuer see so much, not liue so long.
Exeunt with a dead March.
(F1623,

TLN

3277-3302)

I have yet to find an edition of Lear that does not indicate when Lear dies; with
two exceptions there seems to be general agreement in published editions
that Lear dies saying "Look there, look there," for the Folio provides us with
the stage direction "He dies" that has dominated all thought on this issue until
recently. Indeed, of Q's ascription of the speech "Breake hart, I prethe
breake" to Lear, Kenneth Muir can still print in his latest revision of the Arden
my favorite instance of unjustified editorial confidence represented in a
footnote: "Bradley suggests that Kent may be speaking of his own heart. Q,
55

impossibly,

gives the words to Lear who is already beyond speech.""

It would

seem then that Q's death of Lear needs not only locating but justifying also.
I would like, however, at this stage to introduce criticisms of Q from the

In the summer of 1982 Tony Church, who had been playing Lear in
the Folio version at Santa Cruz, rejected the Q version of his death speech in a
seminar, particularly criticizing its lack of two of the five "never's, and its
theater.

being not in blank verse. In this rejection he revealed two conventional habits
that are quite common among us all: first, in needing five "never's he
exhibited the tyranny of the known our incapacity even to entertain that
which is unfamiliar: after all, the five "never"s may be, as he suggested, the
greatest line of blank verse in Shakespeare, but "never, never, never, pray
you undo" (though less complete) is not bad verse; second, seeing printed
prose he assumed that it was prose, and rejected it as improper Lear should
not die in prose (the passage actually may be imperfect blank verse).
There is a record of a second practical examination of this scene: David
Rich in an reports a production at the University of Rochester that started from
the quarto text, but was ready to admit the "necessity" of introducing F
material if Q was found unsatisfactory. a Though much Q material was found to
be playable, Lear's death was not a success. Richman writes:

in rehearsal, Q's version of Lear's last speech


seemed when staged at best drab and at worst ridiculous. Groans

As we discovered

such as Lear utters in Q are used elsewhere in Shakespeare tragedy


notably in Othello and Antony and Cleopatra to suggest an over
charged and breaking heart being deprived of blood and life. But four
groans, whatever

their dramatic significance,

become ludicrous in

comparison to F's version of Lear's last speech. The very existence of


the Folio ending renders it forever impossible to perform the Quarto

ending with any degree of conviction."

Again the dominance of the familiar is apparent, although the same article
reports the success of playing the Q version of "Who struck my seruant."
At Houston, Bernard Lloyd began with similar misgivings to Tony
Church's, about the absent "never"s and the prose, but produced in ten
minutes of collaborative work with his colleagues a comfortable adjustment of
his regular performance of the Folio death speech to the Quarto lines.
"King Lear, the Arden edition, ed. Kenneth Muir (London: Methuen, 1972): 205n. For a full
discussion of the variants in Lear's role, see Thomas Clayton, "'Is this the promis'd end?':
Revision in the Role of the King," The Division of the Kingdoms, ed. Taylor and Warren, pp. 121141.

"David Richman, "The King Lear Quarto in Rehearsal


Quarterly 37 (1986): 375-382.

"Ibid.,
56

p. 379.

and

Performance," Shakespeare

However, it was in the other material that the revelations occurred. Lacking
"Do you see this
he slumped with a long groan on "O, o, o, o." The
spectators anticipated his death; those of us with preconceived ideas about the
scene awaited his quiet and willing prayer "Breake hart, I prethe breake," and
his gentle but prompt passing. Instead, to the surprise (I think) of all of us, he
exclaimed it as an angry outburst of self destruction from a man who in
desolation is exasperated that he cannot die sooner. And he did not die
immediately. He lasted (to my perception) until the end of Kent's three-line
speech so that Edgar announced the moment of death with "O he is gone
indeed." This was a different death from the one we are accustomed to, but
equally valid. Indeed in some respects it was far preferable. When Kent says,
"Vex not his ghost, O let him passe" about a man who is still alive, it makes
tender, painful sense. Edgar's "Look up my Lord" is different too, if Lear still
breathes. In the Folio Edgar is engaged in uncomprehending behavior beside
a corpse, while Kent talks consolation in the present tense in relation to a
person who is now past; by contrast, in Q Kent talks sense to the Edgar who is
watching Lear die. And indeed, that performance in a rehearsal space gave a
further dimension to what some had perceived in the study the extraordi
nary power of Edgar's silence after "O he is gone indeed," most notably

..."

interpreted by the actor as Edgar's response to having witnessed the second


death of an aged man in a very short space of time his father and his king. The
actor of Edgar, who illuminated this passage beautifully, was Geoffrey
Church, son of Tony Church.
I had not seen this passage played before. In action it surpassed my
expectations in theatrical terms, it worked, whatever happened at Roches
ter, and in interpretive terms it would cohere imaginatively with the rest of
the Quarto play. The theater vindicated the scholars' imagination but also
pointed out its limitations the very process of our work is necessarily fixing,
restrictive, reductivewe feel that we cannot leave things open, but must
decide where Lear dies, even though the theater knows that it is a place of
endless variant possibilities a place where there is no such word as
definitive.
It is in this context apt to mention the new Oxford Shakespeare again, a
work whose editors decline to consider their work as definitive and maintain
their philosophy of the provisionality of all text." That edition is the only one I
know, apart from M.R. Ridley's "New Temple" edition, that places the death
of Lear in Q after Kent's "Vex not his ghost" speech;" in so doing it fixed the
"Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, eds. with John Jowett and William Montgomery, William
A Textual Companion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987). Gary Taylor concludes the
"General Introduction" as follows: "A successful work of scholarship stimulates the very research
which will make it obsolete, and, with our own task now behind us, we look forward to our future
Shakespeare:

obsolescence"

(p. 62).

""King Lear," New Temple

Shakespeare,

ed.

M.R. Ridley (London: J. M. Dent,

1935).

57

death, gave the reader a place, guided a reading.

Of course it

place; in the theater Lear is likely to be perceived

is not the right

to die anywhere

in that

speech and in that respect the Q text is in an odd way admirable in that it
does not provide for an exact moment, even though Shakespeare had probably
made his conception

conclude

known to his actors in the playhouse.

that the nature of theater and the nature of editing produce

contrary impulses. The theater cannot live without editors

only a few

actors

are ready to pursue the intricacies of old spelling. But at the same time, the
edited text is so often a reading text; for all our vaunted delight in uncertainty,

in unlicensed interpretation, it is clear that what we seem to ask of editors is

In

the Oxford Shakespeare seems to me to be a


in this contest between literature and performance. No
collected edition has taken the idea of performance text more seriously; none
has entertained the idea of text as fluctuating object more seriously. But no
edition in recent years has looked so canonical its Biblical Oxford blue
binding, its ribbon to mark the verse at which you stopped reading. And
Stanley Wells called his collection of essays about the edition Re-editing
Shakespeare for the Modern Reader.
certainty.
symbolic

this respect

object

V.

I have tried to suggest

something of my dissatisfaction with the way in which

the tradition of editing plays functions.

In the case of the Jonson texts it tends

to conceal the theater history of works in their own time, conspiring with the
form of the play. Alternatively, one has the
edition that, in attempting to enable the reader to read with a quasi-theatrical
author to present his authorized
imagination,

risks decisions

about actions

that are in fact not necessary

decisions, and imposes particular potential actions that become embedded

in

the text.

What I am seeking is

of representing a play that will go some way


toward transcending the limitation of the ideal text format, that will allow for
the recovery of the historical quality of the successive states of the play's text,
and which in introducing if it must exits and entrances and indications of
deaths will do so in a way that allows them to be problematized as editorial
interventions. For several years I have been working on a book of texts that
might provide a satisfactory solution to the first problem; pretending to
encyclopedic status it is, I believe, a step in the right direction in reconceiving
and representing plays existing in multiple texts, manifesting in its design the
essential instability of the play's identity. What I have been compiling with
photo facsimiles of Ql, Q2, and Fl Lear, all published with a Parallel Text of
Ql and Fl, is a book aiming at providing total access to a large body of
58

a means

knowledge in a relatively unmediated form.39 In short,

I believe

working on a book that has aspirations to be a mini-library,

that

I have been

or a computer.

The electronic text should be capable of storing text in forms that would
allow for the easy representation of the four endings of Every Man Out Of His
Humour, for the immediate construction of Q or F Cynthia's Revels, for the
simultaneous
display of Q and F King Lear. The computer, relishing
multiplicity, would allow us to break with the Platonic Idealist notions so
inherent in editing the single text, and establish instead a world of unique
items manifesting difference. If R.B. McKerrow could conceive of various
equally satisfactory editions of Shakespeare designed to serve different
purposes, such a format would allow for their assemblage.30 As far as stage
directions are concerned, they could be presented in optional form at a series
of optional locations. The text could draw attention to its own indeterminate
features.

Editing is a function of book production, of the materiality of bookness. Text


concrete, and stable. But electronic devices exploit
multiplicity and instability, and may just be better modes of representation of
the diversity of historical process.
I would like to return to the quotation from Denis Donoghue about Waiting
for Godot: "The text of Godot is providing a long headache for scholars to
whom that matter has been entrusted.
In any strict sense, there is no
established text of the play." Donoghue is quite wrong; Beckett has saved us
from our sins. There is no established text; there will not be one. Only Faber
and Faber and Grove Press need one. Beckett is behaving like a dramatist,
although somewhat more responsibly than T. H. Howard-Hill reports Thomas
Middleton, who appeared not to care at all in what condition A Game at Chess
appeared in manuscript.31 Any headache sustained by a scholar from the texts
of Godot will be a case of self-inflicted injury; we have what we do not have in
the case of Shakespeare and Jonson accurate documentation of the circum
stances and the alterations: a sense of the historical and theatrical circum
stances of each version. What more do we ask of the world? Are contingency
and mutability not good enough for us? Must we retreat from the material to
the ideal? We shall have texts, and documentation,
the foundations of
knowledge, the various manifestations of Godot. What will the scholar need to
do? The answer may lie in the text of Godot itself in the first spoken line, when
Estragon says: "Nothing to be done."
is to be rendered

...

^William Shakespeare, The Complete "King Lear": Texts and Parallel Texts in Photographic
Facsimile, prepared by Michael Warren (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).
XR. B. McKerrow, Prolegomena for the Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939),
pp. 1-2.

"T.H. Howard-Hill,
Chess," TEXT 3, ed.

"The Author as Scribe or Reviser? Middleton's Intentions in A Game at

DC.

Greetham and W. Speed Hill (New York: Transactions of the Society

for Textual Scholarship, 1987), pp. 305-318.

Title page of the 1591 edition of John Harington's translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.
HRHRC Collections.

from Tranceformations in the Text of "Orlando Furioso'

by

Random

Cloud

for Steven Urkowitz and Susan Spector

Y-

eros. Buon giorno. Oggi, Olrando Furioso April


1/89.

As my plane crossed ino Textas

I recoiled

Lyndon Johnson's cruel joke Gerald Ford


couldnt chew gum ir walk @ same time. About to
laugh at this presidental wit, when I chagrinned
to remember that

was comin to Augstin to

I can't I I I I can't
I can't read a book I can't
LOOK at it at the same time.

confess a similar problem.


simultanusly

READ

read

a book and

educ well, no sooner do

I pick up a book (this was my


,
training, you understand) than I fall into
which I now have a name for: "The Missionary Position of Reading." Sit in
chair back very straight hands above board feet on floor. Both hands above
board. Light falls onto page over left shoulder (just as it does when I am in the
other proper posiBut I never ever am to write in my book.) Open front cover
eye begins tracking rightwords from upper left along horizontal of the
"typefaith," I seemed always to mi shear. "Parallel to the Earth's Horizon," the
Brothers wouldintone. "Book as Geometry, for God gave man two Books, but
they are One." Title, By, Author's name, Publisher's, ISBN, Copyright down
to the "End" and the "." of "The End.". Period.
That's all they told us, but these other rules come out of now here! At the
end of each line, the eye is to dart without hesitation without any thoughts of
my own creeping in to the beginning of the next line down and so to bottom of
page, whereupon my eye leaps without the least stray thought that the object
of my abstacted graze has a physical body with its own structure opening and
disclosing herself to me. Both hands arl mean I mean disclosing itself to me.
To me? Who am I? Who are we? No one, having given ourself over completely
to the Author's Thoughts, word by word as He offers them, without peeking
ahead or glimpsing the recto page just finishing, as it wells up mirror image
My

logoeccentric

earliest

61

through the verso of its leaf, which you are now turning to gaze on. For the

light falling over your left shoulder still illuminates the opening that you have
Not a single solitary mirror-image word of it departing,
glimpsed before it could evenAt first I did very well in the Combray School. I
was training to be a textual editor.
The doctor they referred me after it happened the second time actually a
whole battery of them. One of them suggested that the backaches headaches
and dreams (and the "behavioural things") were concocted in some way with
this missionary position. This person thought up this term. (Would / have
dreamt of it on my own?) That I should left my eye sometimes go right where it
wanted to go. Or the other eye. That it was alright for either of them to want
to to do these things on its own. 'The book will not be hurt," she quiped.
"Let your eyeballs do their things it's OK," I can recall her quiping and
cajollying me encouragingly many times.
So five six years ago I've become as you see me now in that time. You
wouldn't mistake me for a textual editor, now, eh? I sought a way to adapt my
training. (No question ofjust chucking it!) I undertook a systematic MATURE
not fully closed.

SCHOLAR SEEKS VISUALLY ARRESTING BOOK NOT TO READ, and


at last I have chosen Harington's translation of Orlando Furioso. Have been

looking at copies of first two eds. ever since. (They are like big picture books,
but for grownups.) My project is not just not to read the Orlando, but not to
read it over and over again until I have a new way to read. (I will explain why I
slush epuiE Xq ojoijj
gaze at it upsidown in just a minute. )

62

O o

I I

it

it

it
is

if

092

still haven't read


word. Not that
don't have
do sometimes want to read the verse beginning in
inverted), but know
the upper left et cetera (or lower right
must
remember
she
balance
with Something Other. ("Something/un,"
quiped.)
So, I'll sometimes think of
as the emissionary text. (Just for fun.) Or the
a

After all these years,

fondness for the old way;

text. (Just for more fun.)


do enjoy books more, and the
backaches (And don't do those "behavoral" things any more) and headaches
and things are all in remittance.

omissionary

ft

more flexible and playful

the McLeod

for example? That's right,

it

to each eye? displaced against the background,


is

does. So, two images but you see only one object, right? (Explain that!) This
the precondition for seeing in
lateral displacement relative to background
a

depth. You don't "read" to find the depth, do you? So when the two copies of
book have lateral displacement

of type relative to the stable types on the pages


it

(it's in every copy of the Orlando]), you'll see the variant in depth on the
McPortable Collator. Again, you don't have to read to find it. You see
it

is

is
a

mere artefact of
(The depth isn't really "out there," of course;

the process of vision as


an artefact.) And then there are
rainbow
"shimmering" and "hollowness"
instantly.

and fusion/non-fusion
in the
same composite image and
these four effects on theM cLeod
Portable Collator will together
disclose all the graphic variations
between the images. (This essay
going to be about the kinds of

things

find on this gad get.) Any

ore

questions so far?

Good. Now
want to ask,
What do you see when you're off
this missionary jag? when you
don't identify with raster scan?
Well, you see words tranceform

'.'
'.'

I Ul

Hi
I o

is

'!<

it

it

attitude toward looking


devised this
Portable Collator.
call
the McLeod Portable
Collator, because
collates. And because
goes around you with under your
small case because the Orlandos are
airplane seat disassembled into
scattered between Los Angeles and Edinburgh. The two-tiered reading stand
holds two copies of the Orlando. One eye looks directly at one. The other eye
looks into the array of mirrors, and thence at the other. To forestall the
impulse to read, invert the books. No choice but looking now!
On the Collator the brain deals with superimposition of the images from
each eye. You know you are looking at two objects, but you can see only one.
Compare: In everyday looking, doesn't close object appear slightly different
machine,

it

For

Ho

&3

themselves as they float in space angles, orientation, depth, semantic space.


Like erosore, which surfaced in one of the sessions at the Clinic.

The letters express themselves now, right? Not enslaved in some mission
ary's definition. No morizontal, why this text leans at every goddam playmorphous angle there is except the horizontal! (Hint: there is a sensuous joke,
if you let yours elf think of it.) Or like this: before I used to have a lot of

difficulty with Finnegans Wake, like when Joyce talked about the allforabit
(joking naughtily about "ptee" and "holos" and about how the littliest
allfablesit). (Hint: think of peter and hole. That says it all too!)

JS

a firefing

PW

cd* a *??

H. yu

fiC '

^^F~ "

^^

so ptee
does dutv

**it

the eaSed !

f^P

I % I Face at the

^ *"" t0 **

** h* w.

soon grow

'When a

rf0f*

Kind of "69", Bane of Missionaries back in Combray. They edited that part
out of the Wake we used in class, faceless to faceless. But it all seems familiar
now because I've watched Harinton froglic in the same tradition, invoking the
downright heness of the male, by playing with his letters. Who says Joyce is an
innovator? Redefine the Renaissance, and she's a tradictionalist.

g"

fu

it)

An hundred y cares he liucd follitarie,


Bur afcer that (you know what humor bred
He lou'd dame,8c with his wealth wrought her
That at the laft
gat ofher daughter.

it

is

if

is

What defign? what accident? And even


text subscribes to one or to the
other essence, and God writes the Answer in his Book, what
like for us
mortals simply to experience in our world the straunge misshapes of the
"exitstential text" Michael Warren)?

W*^'

^trohau^inundaccor5

,cas.Jd

64

yetyour brother.

Emergingc learly from the "treatments" was that I wasn't always this way.
Memory is liberation. Before the missionaries Iwell let me just tell you the
story that arose to my Consciousness completely unassisted one day at the
Clinic not what it means.

At

Combray,

time when

ended, long before the

as every afternoon

should have to go up to bed, and to lie there,

^^'aDnornSfly wretttTn^gic

which used
to be set on top of my lamp while we waited for dinner-time
and glassto come: in the manner of the master-builders
the
for
opaguene^-*
painters of gothic days it substituted

and

trTs'itoJ ^^

'urmsnea^^

d'e

tram, for the first


time

Sa"

^ST^
Z^f S

Genevieve
curved line which
was in
transparent ovaTln

* vT'

Brabant had givln me an


for
moment and
aloud
my

depicted' as

sorrows were
*d JUSt
arrived- ^

"*
CUt

* *"
T<
short **

ff

^ Go,
S* **

C,[CUmferen of one of
PUShed int

and'embod^

SCemed

T*

**

stPP<*

Per*<%

"****

to

dWnot

* COnf0rm

ST TT^1
Att/eff':
2?

overcfme

h
,

givJ

'

by

~^""T^*
^t ^ ^ ** ** ***** "*

understand
hTmS
devoid of
degree oTmf.V
dications
nthe

his steed's
skeleton

a shifting

lantern,

t0 the *'

SUbStanCe

tfe ^oor-handle.tor

"

ble at such

instance, over which, adapting itself at


once, would float
invincibly his red cloak or his pale face, never
losing its
nobihty or its melancholy, never shewing
any sign of trou
trance substantiation.

65

Substitute Angelica for Genieve, and Olrando's quest is mine: the swelling

Imagine the whole


imaginative wordld like a hand gripped around your knob? I know now that
what I see can never be objective, The Way Editors See; it is projective like
this magic lantern slides its transubstantive hand onto the knob turns the door
opens up projection floods along the dark corridors of memory. SUDDEN
ILLUMINATION. YOU KNOW. 'Avryvwpicns. All Of My Childhood Shin
ing Up The Back Of My Fucking Head! Questing forward like amissionary for
The Thing Text Can you believe it? I am overtaken by THE TEXT
the driving folds,

curves,

on on onto the doorknob.

MYSELF.
*

There is so much to look at in the looking at the Orlando, that I thought I


would limit my few words and my magic-lantern show today to the first three
pages of the book title, index, and dedication. I'll also discuss an opening at
the centre of the volume. (Since it's black, it shouldn'tt ake too long.) But
since the project is not just seeing, but seeing how one sees since the project
is one of liperation, I wanted to include where I was coming from; so I'll also
discuss corresponding pages in a modern edition the way out of history
being back through it. (Who said that?) Unlike the Renaissance text, the
modern one is critical. A critical edition. Oxford. It will serve to indentify the
Achievent of English Editing which has been erecting itself since the 18th
Century. It will also serve to recall the missionary way with books, its
goddammed father-muckin gJBiffenftftlaff, OK I pull no bones about that. It
will be the Whipping Missionary. (But it's me really. It's really me.) In a
theraputative style, I will take them up in backwords order.

PART

2:

PLANNING THE PAST


By Randall McNutly

Opposite is a photograph of Harington's Dedication in my 1972 Oxford


edition. Three textual notes prop up the editorial constrict. They list
differences in diction among the first three editions (of 1591, 1607, and 1634),
which are referred to by the sigla A, B and C. Let us see how the first note
ructions.
3. first part

of the fruit BC. first

"

fruit A.

"3." is

a reference to line 3 of the editorial construct (the lineation of which is


counted by fives in the right margin.) The following phrase, "first part of the

fruit" is

from the edited text. (One presumes that the editor would
regard this quotation as "correct" or at least "authoritative." But since I'm
66

a quotation

TO THE MOST EXCELLENT


VERTUOUS, AND NOBLE PRINCESS,
ELIZABETH BY THE GRACE OF GOD QUEENE OF
ENGLAND, FRANCE AND IRELAND, DEFENDER
OF THE FAITH, &c.
Most Renowned

(and most worthy to be most re


nowned) soveraigne Ladie, I presume to offer
to your Highnes this first part of the fruit of the litle garden

of my

slender skill.

growing

It

hath bene the longer in

and is the lesse worthie

because my ground

the gathering

is barren and to colde for

such daintie Italian frutes, being also perhaps


overshaded with trees of some older growth, but the bcames of
your blessed countenance vouchsafing to shine on so pore a soile
shall soone disperse all hurtfull mistes that would obscure it and casily dissolve all (whether they be Mel-dews or Fcl-dcws) that would
starve this shallow

set plant.

desire to be briefe, because

love to

I am or can is your Majesties.

Your graci

ous favours have bene extended in my poore familic

even to the

be plaine. Whatsoever

to

it,

if

'5

it,

wish that your high felicities

20

if

it,

third generation, your bountie to us and our heires. Whcrforc this


(though imperfect and unworthie worke) I humbly recommend to
that gracious protection under which I enjoy all in which I can take
who dare reject it?
joy. If your Highnessc will reade
allow
who
can reprove it?
what Momus barking or Zoilus bi
protect
ting can anie way hurt or annoy it? And thus most humbly craving
cease to write, though
pardon for this boldnesse,
will not cease to
may never cease.

Your most humble servant,

3. first part of the fruit BC. first - fruit A.


heavenly A.

8.

Iohn Harington.

overshaded BC. overshadowed A.

dead, you'll never be able to find out. "BC.

"

9. blessed BC.

reports that the phrase originates

(I

is

is

is

is

if

is

is

It

in the second edition (B) and repeated in the third (C).


not found in the
first edition (A), however, which reads merely "first fruit." The editorial caret
draws attention to the space between "first" and "fruit" in A, as
to say that
thus transparently
there
something lacking there. The report from
editorialized: "first fruit"
don't care who
failure to include "part of the".
knows that editorialize as edit. Editing means you take charge of the text.)
variant diction
Inspection of all notes reveals that, wherever there
BC,
has
the
BC
between
and
readings: "part of the,"
preferred
my Oxford
"overshadowed" and "blessed". This choice likely reflects (on the one hand)
assessment, that Harington revised the text for the
the unexceptionable
second edition, and (on the other hand) McNulty's editorial decision to base
his edition on these revisions. But his exact motives are not revealed by my
note. And since I'm dead (as said), you'll never know why.
67

How would your perception of the status of my edited text change if you saw
the evidense? Here are photographs of the Dedication, taken from page Ulr in
exemplars of A and B. (I forget which copies.) With these before us, we are
now in a position to retrace the editor's steps.
To key his lemmata to these exemplars of A and B, I have underlined the
phrase "first frute" on A photograph, and the corresponding "first part of the

TO THE MOST EXCELLENT,


VERTVOVS, AND

NOBLE PRINCESSE,

BY THE GRACE OF GOD QVEENE OF


ENGLAND, FRANCE AND IRELAND, DEFENDER

ELIZABETH

OF

THE F A I T H,&(.

i O s t Rcnowncd(&

moll worthy to be mod reunowned ) foueraignc Ladie ; I prefumc to offer


! to your Highnes this firftTrute of the lidc garde
7of my flender skill. It hath bene the longer in
igrowing,and is the lefTc worthie thegathcring,
vbccaufc my ground is barren and to coldefor
^fuchdaintic Italian frutes, being alfo perhaps

oucrlhadowcd with trees of fbmc older growth : butthebeames of


your hcauenly countenance, vouchfafing to Ihinc on fo pore a fbile,
Hull foonc diipcrfc .ill hurtful! milksthatwouldobfcureit, andcafily diffoluc all (whether they be Mcl-dews,or Fcl-dcws)that would
flame this (hallow fet plant. I defirc to bebriefc , bccaufel loueto
Yourgracibo-plainc. VVhatfbcucrl amorcan,isyourMaicfties.
ousfauourshaue bene extended in my poorc familic cucn to the
third generation, your bountic to vs and our heires. V Vherfore this
( though vnperfed and vnworthie workc ) I humbly recommend to
that gracious protc&ion, vnder which I cnioy all in which I can take
bi

it,

will reade it,who dare rcic& it? ifallow it,who


Momvs barking, or o
i

If your Highncfle

what
can reproue it ? if protedi
can
anie
hurt
or
annoy
way
ting

v
s

ioy.

it

And thus molt humbly crauing


write
to
for
ccafe
this
boldncflc,
though will no ccafe to
pardon
ccafe.
ncuer
felicities
wi(h,dut your high
may
Your raoft humble feruant,

Iohn

Harington.

1*i

(1591)

fruit" on B. Also underlined are the remaining two cruxes identified in the
editorial notes of the Oxford edition. Please take three minutes right now to
look for yourself at all the textual evidence the editor had to scrutinoze before
making his decisions. Of course, I wouldn't be asking you to do this if McNulty
had done the job right, would I? So be on your toes.

LOOK NOW. THREE MINUTES. QUIZ TO FOLLOW.

TO THE MOST EXCELLENT,


VERTVOVS,

AND NOBLE

PRINCESSF,

ELIZABETH BY THE GRACE OF GOD QVEENE


ENG

LAND, FRANCE AND IRELAND,


of the faith, tu.

DEFENDER

OF

i O s t Renowned (& molt worthy to be mod re.


IprcfumetoofTer

pnowned)foueraigoeLadie;

this firft part of the fruit of the


; litle garden of my (lender skill. It hath bene the
A longer in growing, and is the leflc worthie the

ttoyourHighnes

^gathering, becaufe my ground is barren & too


rfccold for luchdaintic Italian fruites , being alfo
with trees of fome older growth:but the beams
ouerlhadcd
perhaps
of your blcffcd countenance, vouchsafing tofhine on To poorea
foil e,(bil fooue difperfe all hurtful mifts that wold obfeure ir,and eafily dilTolue all(whetherthey be Mel-dcws,or Fcl-dews) that would
ftaruethis (hallow fet plant. Idefiretobebriefe, becaufe lloue to
be plaine. VVhatfoeuerIamorcan,isyourMaieftics.
Yourgracious fauours haue bene extended in my poore familie euen to the
third gcnerarion,yourbountie to vs and our heirs. Wherefore this

it,

(though vnperfe A and vn wortiie worke ) I humbly recommend to


that gracious protection, vndcr which I enioy all in which lean take
ioy. I fy our H ighneffe wil rcade it,who dare reied it? if allow who

wilhjthatyourhighfcliciticsmayneuerceafe.
Yourmofthumblcferuanr,

HAIHMGrON*

>i

OHM

B(1607)

bi

lt

(e

it,

if

what Momts barking* or o


can repf oue it? protect
ting can any way hurt or annoy it? And thus mod humbly crauing
pardon for this boWneuc, ceafe to write, though will not cca td

Ready? Let me focus on just the first ten lines of the paragraph,
contain the editor's three cruxes.

I'll

reproduce

which

these blocks, and mark them

to show new variants.


k

O s t Renowned(& mod worthy to be moil re.

jfnowned ) foueraigne Ladie$ I prcfume to offer


i to your Highnes this firfffrute ofthe litlc
garde

skill. It hath bene the longer in


^growing,and isthelcffe worthic the gathering,
is barren and to coldefor
'^became my ground
_ >^fuchdaintic Italian frutes, being alfo peihaps
oucrlhadowcd with trees of fbmc older growth : butthebeames of
Tot my (lender

your heauenly countenance, vouchfafing to (hine on fo pore a (bile,


lhall foone difperfe .ill hurtfull miftcs that would obfeure it , andeaA

(1591)

O s t Renowned(&

mod worthy to be moft renowned)foueraigue Ladie j I prcfume to offer


to your Highnes this firft part of the fruit of the

litle garden|of my (lender skill. It hath bene the


longer inlgrowing, and is the leffe worthie the
gathering,|bccau(c my groundis barren & too
cold forjluch daintic Italian fruites , bei ng alfo
pcrhaps|oucr(haded with trees of fomc older growth:but the beams
of]your bleiled countenance, vouchfafing tofhine onfo poore a
foilejihal foone difperfe all hurtful mifts that wold obfeure ir,and caB (1607)

You will have noticed that many of the line endings vary,

a fact we cannot

appreciate from the editor's text (whether body or notes). I have added bars on
B to mark the locations of line breaks in A. I have also underlined words of
variant spellings in A and B, the existence of which is generally ignored in the
editor's notes. Finally

I have underlined

change in diction unreported by the

editor. (You likely missed it too, as I did for six years, until I was writing the
semi-final daft of this essay.) I am speaking of the third variant, "s/ender'V
"ssender." Check the enlarged photos of the settings of "lender" in A,
"ssender" in B (with its broken kern) and, for contrast (with kern unbroken)
"blessed" in B. The photographs of ligatures and damaged types warn that the
70

flehd er
crisp modern typefaith of the Ox ford text and collations is not subtle enough
to render thee quivocal Elizabethen evidence.
Now let us determine how my Oxford text is drawn from these two bodies of
evidence. Look at the editor's three cruxes (now boxed) in relation to their
typographic

environments.

Most Renowned

(and most worthy to be most re


nowned) soveraigne Ladie, I presume to offer
to your Highnes this first part of the fruit of the litle garden

of my

It hath bene the longer in


worthie the gathering
and
is
the
lesse
growing
because my ground is barren and to colde for
slender skill.

such daintie Italian frutes, being also perhaps


oyershadedjwith trees of some older growth, but the bcames of
your blessed countenance vouchsafing to shine on so pore a soile
shall soone disperse all hurtfull mistes that would obscure it and caIn these three cruxes, the editor favours the diction of B, but the lineation
of A. He thus blands the content of B with the form of A. (This is a fun
demental procedure known among editors as "th'irrationale of copytext.")
71

What about spelling?

Look now

at the

underlined words; they reveal

Oxford's preference for/trst-edition spellings.

Oxford

and

and

&

to

to

too

colde

colde

cold

frutes

frutes

fruites

beames

beames

beams

pore

pore

poore

10

shall

shall

shal

mistes

mistes

mists

would

would

wold

Yet, the first two underlined words in the Oxford text reflect second-edition
spellings.

Oxford
3

fruit

frute

fruit

garden

garde

garden

Why does the editor's "fruit" come from B rather than A? And why does his
textual note (the one with the assertive caret) give "fruit" as the A spelling,
when it isn't? Four lines later in the text the word recurs; A offers
"frute

. . .

frutes," and B offers "fruit

spellings of the vowels, "fruit

. . .

. . . fruites"; but Oxford tutti fruttis the


frutes," outElizabethaning the evidence.

From such points of editorial self-contradiction as these one can triangulate


back into the pre-history of the edition, or perhaps into the unconscious
aspects of the editor's ideology or of his psyche. In any event, textual gaps
open in the seemingly smooth texture of the Ox ford edition. (See opposite.)
We see that collational notes can take on the status of rumours. The text

projected from them is also

rumour. To understand "what they are getting

at" we have imaginatively not only to reconstruct the (invisible) original


evidence, but also to deconstruct the editor's ail-too- visible substitution for it.

Neither imaginative act can proceed very far, of course, unless we go back to
basics, the ABC of the photographic evidence. Once the images of the early
authorities are present, their literal truth shorts the complex circuitry of the
editorial Z. I'm not saying that photographs don't lie, that they don't have
their own bias. Do you think I'm that stupid? Merely that photography has
killed editing. Period. (Someone has to tell the editors.)
Editorial punctuation should be discussed along with spelling. In the
excerpt on p. 71, you may have noticed the commas dropped after "gathering"
72

10),

or the change from

(1.

"it"

concur on the removed or

and

general editorial note claimed

(Both
true that

8).

9), and

is

it

altered punctuation.) Now,

(1.

and "soile"

comma after "growth"

(1.

5), "countenance"

colon to

(1.

OX FORD
of the first edition" "a
light modern logical punctuation designed for rapid, easily comprehensible
there so much editorial care to
reading" (Iiii). But the question arises, why
to substitute

for the "confusing

punctuation
is

freedom

conserve

(even augment!)

the confusing

spelling,

but not the confusing

VERTVOVS, AND NOBLE PRINCESSE

but in McNulty's text the first comma

is

EXCELLENT,

is

it

is

punctuation? Whatever rationale Oxford might advance,


not likely to be
self-con sistent, as in the example of the last word of the first line of letterpress
on the page. In AB, "EXCELLENT'
the first adjective in series of three,

gone:

EXCELLENT/ VERTUOUS, AND NOBLE PRINCESS


73

against

rule, which

the modern

penultimate

says

that only the comma

after the

item of the series is optional. My sense of modern rules is not the

only one, of course. When the editor talks of "light modern logical punctua
tion," for example, I see he didn't use my rule. But neither did he use his own
rule whereby he punctuated the first line of letterpress on the page, where
only the penultimate adjective in the series rated a comma. Perhaps he used
no rule? Or different rules on different occasions?
You may have noticed too that "PRINCESS" in Oxford has no final "E"; this
form was not common in printed English books for decades after A and B; but
like Oxford's "fruit," it has been standard now for two centuries. Perhaps it is
not only punctuation that can be light modern, and logical.
More worthy of challenge than these items are the structures of editorial
misprision. Note that a few sentences back I labelled a location as "the first line
"
of letterpress on the page. Why not simply call it "line 1 "? The answer is that
the editor doesn't begin to enumerate until the sixth line of letterpress on the
page. As text, the Salutation simply doesn't count.
To put it another way, the edited text is not homogenous. In both the last
unnumbered and first numbered lines occurs an ampersand.
OF THE

FAlTH.&t.

O s t Renowncd(& moft worthy to be moftrc-

Oxford conserves the first of these, but spells out the second

as "and"

OF THE FAITH, &c


Most Renowned (and most worthy

Of

to be most re-

in doubt here. But that the


numbered and unnumbered
lines, or different languages (Latin and English), confirms the suspicion
already engendered by the numeration, that the edition takes shape compul
sively, and according to more complex (and contradictory) rules than are being
articulated in specific collations (there are none for these words) or in the
general editorial explanations of procedure. The more we know about the
course,

inconsistency

74

lexical

meanings

straddles

are scarcely

the divide between

original documents, the less we can find them reflected in the modern,
schoolarly edition. Harington's text keeps turning into McNutty's.
The Closing and Signature may also be subject to a different editorial
regard. In AB their positions seem to be functions of the centre and the right
margin the same right margin which determines where the lines above
break. But, whereas the Oxford edition respects As standard for line endings
in the Body of the text, it assigns its own right margin for the Closing and
Signature, which is a function of the right edge of the editor's collations. Many
parts of the Oxford text, therefore from its layout, to its spelling and
diction can be identified as artefacts of its editorial projection.
This Oxford Dedication is astoundingly ungainly, especially when we
contrast it to the ornamentation, the symmetry and balance, and the
gradations of fount size and letterspacing that typify the mise en page of the
first editions. Oxford simply can't tongue the original body language, as this
comparison of the Salutations bears out.

TO THE MOST EXCELLENT,


NOBLE PRINCESSE,

VERTVOVS, AND

ELIZABETH BY THE GRACE OF GOD QVEENE OF


ENGLAND, FRANCE

AND IRELAND,
FAITH, &c

OF THE

DEFENDER

TO THE MOST EXCELLENT


VERTUOUS, AND NOBLE PRINCESS,
ELIZABETH BY THE GRACE OF GOD QUEENE OF
ENGLAND, FRANCE AND IRELAND, DEFENDER
OF

THE FAITH,

&c.

A contrast with another modern edition is instructive here, as it will show an


direction. Graham Hough's Centaur Press edition
line-breaks,
uses
new
and modulates type size and fount and letterspac
(1962)
ing to reinforce the effect of the punctuation and to evoke a stress appropriate
for oral delivery.
excess in the opposite

TO THE MOST EXCELLENT,


VERTVOVS, AND NOBLE PRINCESSE,

ELIZABETH,

BY THE GRACE OF GOD, QUEENE OF


ENGLAND, FRANCE AND IRELAND,
DEFENDER

OF THE FAITH,

&c.
75

It has become a celebration of Elizabeth in its own right. Her name, given a
line of italic by itself, is now the focus of the composition whereas in the AB
settings her name is so lost in the Salutation, that the tribute to her does not
effectively begin until the body of the Dedication. Yes, the Centaur Press
setting appeals to the modern eye. I like it instinctively. The only problem is
that we are dealing with a Renaissance book, remember?and Renaissance
books use different visual codes than ours. And not just neutrally different
codes, but pointedly different, because we arrived at our codes by undoing
theirs! The simplest description of Harington's collaborations with his printer
is photographic. Someone has to tell the editors that critical editions suck.
Like the Oxford with its spare style, this florid edition has imposed its own
formal language on the contents. Neither edition exhibits much understand
ing, or takes care to see what the Renaissance was saying, and how it said it.
Contrast Hough's antique "VERTVOVS" with his "QUEENE" which
looks modern, until you come to the last letter. Notice the intelligent modem
comma after

"ELIZABETH",

but the dubious one after "GOD". Apart from their

literal inaccuracy, the Oxford and Centaur

settings are, in their respectively

spare and fleshy styles, just too self-absorbed to render the Renaissance text.
But the Oxford setting of the third line of the body takes the cake. As we
saw, the editor combines

the lineation

of A with extra diction and spelling

from B ("part of the fruit"). The end of the line now dangles into the void of the
right margin. More accurately, it dangles NTi into a bay recessed from the
margin, which is the gap in the text the editor introduced on the right-hand
side of the page by his disregard for what his left hand did to the large
ornamental letter and capitals on the other, where the early editions'

OstR
dwindles in the Ox ford to
Most R.
Some texture is just more equal than others.

But why this teapot-tempest about the right margin and the size of type? Is
not a word a word for a' that? Because, in Renaissance prose, type size and line
The spellings of Renaissance settings were
forms; rather, they were shape-shifters,
which responded to their typographic environments. Take away the right
margin, and the odds is gone. It is gone again when words or spellings are
inserted from some other text. What rationale can there be for jumbling
different features of text cheek by jowl, and pretending that we can control the
process and that the results will be anything more than connoisseurvative?
Indeed, what rationale can there be for editing? Indeed, what rationale can
there be for editing?
length are complexly interrelated.
not self-constituting,

76

stand-alone

Harington.

John

ftruant, humble moft Your

it,

li

bi

it

may
your wilh,tlut
ccafc. ncucr
felicities high
to ccafe not will though write to
ccafc boldnciTc, this for don pai
annoy or
way
crauing humbly moft thus And
anic can ting
hurt
o or barking, Momvs what
proteft if ? it reprouc can

it,who allow if it? darcrcicA ir,who rcadc will Highncfle your If ioy.
take lean which in all vndcrwhichlcnioy protection, thatgracious
to recommend humbly I ) worke vnworthie and vnperfect tliough (
Vhcrforcthis V ourheircs. and vs to bountic gcncration,your third
poorc my
the to cucn familic
in extended bene fauourshauc ous
graci Your Maicftics. your is can, or am I focucr Vhat V platnc.
be
,
loueto becaufel
bebricfe to defire I plant. fet (hallow ftaructhis
would Fcl-dcws)that Mcl-dews,or be they (whether diffolucall fily
(bdb^alk>6ilodiipcHbntHii]fiiiiIhutfeihauubli)bfecnc8rij,andcat>piirht^h>lY<aonnenane^iwl*^^
^dvkfcthaMiabnariwf

tforden^dw o ofcfas th ardddric pcrhiifwiiarcclti

bjiaimiuscbaa-cokrdFta y^'feadaai'mffljogcoulghiy

'jy

,,

y^btlaT^^rdofB^IIfldtdbilsiatiichiithbogcclkt
atfefie

^MBftUuJliitc firfl s thi Highnes your to y.

tooffcr prefume I Ladiej foucraignc )


K^nov/ned '
re- moft be to worthy
moft Rcnowned(& t s O ^(f^^pDjJ.^

OF QVEENE

FAIllUi.

THE OF

IRELAND, AND FRANCE ENGLAND.


GOD OF GRACE THE DY ELIZABETH

DEFENDER

PRINCESSE,

NOBLE AND VERTVOVS,

EXCELLENT, MOST THE TO

LL

"Edition"

is a collective

term. One cannot examine an edition directly, but

of it. That McNulty does not identify his


copies of A and B indicates a potentially dangerous abstraction from evidence.
Standard reference works allow one quickly to generate a list of fifty copies
of A and half as many of B. McNulty would not have been able to collate very
many A copies of the Dedication without having to scrap his approach, for half
of them exhibit a massive stop-press alteration. On the McLeod Portable
Collator, copies in the different states show a swath of chaos across a quarter of
the composite image. In the previous opening you can see a simulation of the
composite image, made by superimposing transparencies. (I do wish I had a
better copy than Toronto's to illustrate this, because some fruit (Mary, I bet.
Isn't that just like a) has stupidly and sloppily crossed out (of all things) the very
phrase "part of the
exemplars

"!)

rather only concrete

have to put up with Mary's randywork.) Again

Now let me separate the photographs, and show you (opposite) just the
variant area, beginning with the state you have already seen. (For this smaller
range just happen to have better photo than the Toronto one, so we don't
have underlined on the

attention to the thee cruxes identified in the editorial


The first two underlinings should remind you of the comparisons
and
but remember, we are still in A.
you have already seen between
Let us consider the first variant. Lexical or logical grounds can't decide
whether "part of the"
an addition or deletion. When McNulty first saw it, in
B, he could only have deemed
revision for that 1607 edition. In the next
few pages will sketch
rather complex argument for what
really the case:
that "part of the" occurs in
through the arbitrary (or negligent) choice of an
exemplar of Al, rather than A2, to serve as its printers-copy: McNulty's
Harington's revised text, and reports the unrevised.
There are no variants on the forme-mate (H7v) to help determine the
sequence of states, but aid does come from an unexpected quarter. Compari
was issued in at least three different paperson of few copies shows that
stocks, and that the (at least) two kinds of expensive-paper copies (together
comprising 25% of extant copies) were routinely altered by pen and ink in the
images to draw

B;

is

same ten dozen cruxes scattered throughout


very close relationship
78

the book! These cruxes bear

is

it

is

collations.

to the "Faults escaped" printed on the last verso in A.

O s t Renowncd(&

moft worthy to be mod re


nowned ) foucraigne Ladie j I prefumc to offer
to your Highnes thisfirfffrute ofthe litlc garde

'of my flender skill. It hath bene the longer in


<growing,and isthelefTc worthic the gathering
becaufe my ground is barren and to eoldefor
^fuchdaintie Italian frutcs, being alfo peihaps

ouerlhadowed with trees ofibme older growth

butthebeames

of

it,

your heauenly countenance, vouchfafing to fhine on fo pore a foile,


ihall foonc difper/e nil hurtfull miftcs that would obfeure
andeaA2

Renowned(& mofl: worthy to be mod re

(1591)

prefume to offer
foueraigne Ladie
to yourHighnes this firft part ofthe frute of the
litle garden of my flender skill.lt hath bene the
)

nowned

is

in

growing, andistheleffe wonhiethc


barren and to
gathering, becaufe my ground
cold for fuchdaintie Italian frutes, being alio
longer

perhaps ouerfhaded with trees

of fome older growth:but

the beams

ofyour heauenly countenance,

vouchfafing to fhine on fbpoorea


foile,(hal foone difperfe all hurtful mifrs that wold obfeure it,and ea-

Al (1591)

But the master list(s) for correction must have been subtly different from
this list of "Faults escaped," for (1) some of its instructions are never acted on,
is

is

and (2) particular reading in the body ofthe poem which


regularly altered
not referred to in the "Faults
by pen and ink in the expensive-paper copies
escaped."
a

Such extensive and systematic alterations must reflect concerted effort by


Harington, Field or their agents to adapt the letterpress text of these copies

before they were dispersed in the mar


a

was about to say "market," but that cannot be entirely the right word, for
smaller one of the
large proportion of the expensive-paper
copies (and
79

presented, not sold. (So Harington's or the


recipients' inscriptions on the titlepage, or, in one case, a special binding (with

cheaper-paper

copies)

were

the names of the recipients,

Harington's wife and his mother-in-law, stamped

into the covers) textify.) Oxford's bald abstraction "A" does not countenance
this diversity of formats of production and distribution; but these formats

different issues. Just as the text is embodied


(in the small scale) by the minutiae of its typefaces, so on the large scale it is
embodied by its paperstocks and bindings, and the auras of investment and
return they symbolize. At all levels, the text is mediated, and always the
mediation is inseparable from the text. Because it is the text. In the
scatterlogical abstractions of scholarly editing such concrete details are
countenanced only peripherally, if at all. As if periphery were not central?
I have found a dozen expensive-paper copies of A. For this crux, half of
them are in the earlier press-variant state Al, half in the other, A2. In the A2
copies "part of the" is never written in, but WAIT A MINUTE in two others,
besides the Toronto copy, "part of the" is struck out with three horizontal lines
of black ink!, as in this private copy.
embody the text as significantly

firft d.hi

ofilir frute

(Sorry, Mary. Real sorry.)

Arguably, this deletion in the exquisite Toronto copy was one of the prepublication pen-and-ink alterations. I can't explain why it was made in only
half of the six surviving Al copies. That it is not listed in the "Faults escaped,"
however, is not as odd as it may seem at first, for a preliminary gathering like H
was often the last to be printed too late to be referred to in a list of "Faults
escaped" in Oo gathering, at the end of the book.
The logic points in one direction: (a) The phrase "part of the" was printed in
Al (on sheets of both expensive and common papers, I should add), (b) Stoppress alteration removed this phrase, shortening the A2 text, and vastly
relineating and respelling in subsequent lines, (c) Printing continued on both
expensive and common papers, (d) Before publication, some of the expensivepaper Al sheets were altered by hand to delete the phrase "part of the", (e) A
decade and a half later, in 1607, an exemplar of A with the Al Dedication
served as printer's copy for B. Thus, the earlier and rejected reading found its
way into the revised edition, where McNulty must have deemed it the
author's latest thought. Strike one.
The following trees sum up my argument for this crux. McNulty understood
this as the derivation:
80

lost ms

"first fruit"

(revision)

B
"first part of the fruit"

But

I argue

the following:
lost ms

Al
"first part of the frute"

A2
(stop-press alteration of type)
"first frute"

A3
(pen-and-ink alteration
of typeface on printed sheets
of some expensive-paper copies)
"first <part of the > frute"

B
"first part of the fruit"

Now that we have a notion of the sequence of states of the Dedication in A, I


would like to suggest just how much work went into the stop-press alteration.
81

A Conjectured Reconstruction of "Driving Out'


in an Elizabethan Printing House
By

Richard Field

to your Highncs this firft part of die frutc

of the

litlc garden
to your Highncs this firft frutc

of the litlc garde

Delete "part of the", retaining some spacing from one side of it. Fill the gap
by sliding the right end of the line ("frute of the") snug left. Bring up "litle
garden" from line 4. Substitute "e" for its final "en". Slightly increase the space
between "frute" and "of, and so justify the line.
3.

of my (lender skill.lt hath bene the


longer in

of my (lender skill. It hath bene the longer in


Slide the remaining type snug left. Set a space after the last word, "the".
Bring up "longer in" from the start of line 5. Increase spacing after "of, "my",
"." and "hath", and so justify the line.
4.

growing, andisthelene worthiethe


gathering,
growing,and isthelefTc worthic the gathering,
5. Slide the remaining type snug left. Set a space after the last word, "the".
Bring up "gathering", from the start of line 6. Diminish spacing after
"growing", the comma which follows it, and "lesse", but slightly increase
spacing between "worthie" and "the", and so justify the line.

becaule my ground is barren and to

cold for
becaUfc my ground is barren and to

eoldefor

Slide the remaining type snug left. Set a space after the last word, "to".
Bring up "cold for" from the start of line 7. Set "e" at the end of "cold" (to make
6.

82

"colde"),

and increase the spacing after "because",

"ground", "and", and

so

justify the line.

luchdaintie Italian frutes, being alio


perhaps

fuchdaintie Italian frutes, being alfo peihaps


it,

7. Slide the remaining type snug left. Bring up "perhaps" from the start of
line 8 to the right end of the present line. Set a space before
and so justify
the line.

ouerlhadcd with trcesoffome older growthrburthe beams

oucrlhadowcd with trees

of Ibme older growth: butthebeames of


9.

8.

Slide the remaining type snug left. Set


space after the last word,
"beams". Bring up "of" from the start of line
Insert "ow" in "ouershaded" (to
make "ouershadowed").
Set "e" in "beams" (to make "beames"). Add spaces
before and after the colon, and so justify the line.

your hcaucnly countenance, vouchlafing to fhineon fo poorca

pore

foile,

your heauenly countenance, vouchfafing to fhinc on

fo

foile,

9.

Slide the remaining type snug left. Delete the first "o" in "poore" (to make
Diminish spacing before and after "to" and "on". Bring up "soile,"
from the start of line 10. Add space before it, and so justify the line.

hurtful milts that wold obicure it,and ca-

llull foonc difperfe nil hurtful! miftcs that would oblcure

it,

foone difperfe

a
11

al

ih

"pore").

and ea-

Slide the remaining type snug left. Set "1" before "1" in "shal" (to make
final "1" in "hurtful" (to make "hurtfull"), an "e" in "mists"
"shall"),
"u" in "wold" (to make "would"). Increase spacing
(to make "mistes"), and
around the comma to justify the line, and so complete, seven lines after the
initiating deletion of "part of the", the complex process of "driving out".
a

10.

83

That my tabulation became too boring to finish is partly by design your


ennui reflects that of my compositor. More to the point, it reflects the
complex and minute particularity of this dynamic texture. Once we know how
the text is struggling to be itself, who will remain enchanted with the singleminded fix of modern editions?
In general, driving out meant replacing shorter settings with longer ones;
little by little, line by line, they plugged the space vacated by "part of the".
Here is a summary of the expansive variants in question. The list will have a
familiar look.
7

cold

ouershaded

shal

10

mists

I)

. . .

. . .

wold

beams

became

)
v

colde
ouershadowed

. . .

beames

shall
mistes

. . .

would

But in some tight corners the direction was reversed.


4

garden

poore

I gathered

became

that Oxford read "overshaded"

garde

pore

because it deemed the difference

in A (really A2) and "ouershaded" in B resulted from


authorial revision. But the general tendency to longer settings in A2 implies
that this A variant has to do with the requirements of the spatial not of the
lexical. Instead of Harington making a subtle discrimination of his diction,
may we not have merely a compositor juggling "synonyms" according to the
exigencies of revising a text in standing type? With this practical question, the
abstract foundation of the second of the textual notes that props up the editor's
text melts. And with it evaporates the meaningfulness of the editor's antique
spellings once they are abstracted from the spaces they inhabited in the
original settings. Strike two.
The only one of the three editorial notes left standing is that concerning
"heauenly" and "blessed ". Barring another (unknown) state of the first edition,
"blessed" does seem to be a variant original to B. But unless I am missing some
subtle theological point, "heauenly" and "blessed" are scarcely less synonym
ous in this context than "ouershaded" and "ouershadowed". The one word is
easily substituted for the other by an inattentive compositor for a compositor
holds a fragment of the text in memory while the hand darts back and forth
between the cases and the composing stick; meanwhile the text is open to
unconscious alteration. To be sure, the texts of the two editions are different
in this crux, but without the corroboration of the other two of the editor's
alleged B variants nearby, it is difficult to ascribe this variant to Harington s
of "ouershadowed"

revision.
84

Indeed, why would he have made such a subtle adjustment to a text so


For Elizabeth was now four years dead? A Dedication to her
would not butter Sir John's bread on both sides in the court of James.
(Remember that Elizabeth had decapitated his mother's head\) Perhaps, as is
reasonable to assume, Harington left the Dedication unchanged as a memorial
to his late godmother and sovereign. If that conservatism was his local design,
it is at odds with his grand literary ambition, which thoroughly reworked the
verse of the Orlando. For there is minimal substantive change in prose, but in
verse changes occur every few lines. Or perhaps prose is simply not where it
was at in 1607. Either of these reasonable explanations throws unflattering
light on the apparatchik crypticus for this no-balls, three-strikes page.
There is one last turn of the screw. This recent list of press-variant spellings
within A looks like my list of spelling variants between A and B (on pg. 72). We
know now what McNulty did not: that B is a conservative report of Al. Thus
Oxford's conflation of substantive variants in the first two cruxes amounts to an
unwitting retracing (backwards) in 1972 of the steps of Field's compositor in
1591. These two essentially early-state yirsf-edition readings were grafted by
McNulty into a texture based on the later state of the same edition which,
ironically, had been reconfigured through "driving out," to accommodate the
removal of the very substantives now being reinserted. Thus the editor has
married the wrong substantives to the wrong accidentals, both being features
of text that arose in contradistinction. Other than that other than in its
accidentals and substantives other than that, it's a creditable job.
grossly wrong?

UA f jORu
no bull

85

PLAINEAND
perfect

Mcthcd,for

the eafie vnderftanding

of chq whole

Bible:

CONTAINING
Seauen Obferuations,

Dia-

ioguewife, betweenethe

Parish
the P

i oNER^and

T O R.

L 0 2^D 0 *:
Printed by T. S. for the Widow
Hdme, and arc to be fould at
herfliop in S.Dunftan. Church
yard in Flutjfreet. 1617.

Title page from Edward Vaughan's A Plaine and perfect Method, for the easie vnderstanding of
the whole Bible (London: T.S., 1617). HRHRC Collections.

Speech-Manuscript-Print

ByD.F. McKenzie
In

a recent

remarked

paper on literacy

that "Early modern

was it a fully literate one.

. . .

England, Sir Keith Thomas


England was not an oral society. But neither

in early modern

It is

the interaction between contrasting forms

of culture, literate and illiterate, oral and written, which gives this period its
particular fascination."1 Even the tide of Jack Goody's recent book, The
Interface between the Written and the Oral, makes the same point;2 and I was
pleased to see it restated in Ruth Finnegan's Literacy and Orality.3 Finnegan
writes that orality and literacy "take diverse forms in differing cultures and
periods, are used differently in different social contexts, and insofar as they
can be distinguished at all as separate modes rather than a continuum, they
mutually interact and affect each other, and the relations between them are
problematic rather than self-evident."4 That was certainly my own conclusion
in a study, some years back, of orality, literacy, and print in early New
Zealand.5

These reminders are timely, for a phrase like "the impact of print"
however carefully it is qualified cannot help but imply a major displacement
of writing as a form of record. In the same way, too great a preoccupation with
writing and printing (as the technologies of literacy) may lead us to forget the
superior virtues of speech. After all, we did not stop speaking when we
learned to write, nor writing when we learned to print, nor reading, writing,
or printing when we entered "the electronic age." For those who market texts
in those forms, some of them may seem mutually exclusive (do we read the
'Sir Keith Thomas, "The Meaning of Literacy in Early Modern England," in The Written Word:
Literacy in Transition, ed. Gerd Baumann (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1986), p. 98.
2Jaek Goody, The Interface between the Written and the Oral (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1988).
'Ruth Finnegan, Literacy and Orality (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988).
4Ibid.,p. 175.
5D.F. McKenzie, Oral Culture, Literacy and Print in Early New Zealand: the Treaty of
Waitangi (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1985). In that essay I was concerned to reveal
the serious political implications of certain Eurocentric assumptions
when introduced into an oral society.

about literacy and printing

87

book, hear it on tape, or see the film?), but for the speaker, auditor, reader or

viewer, the texts tend to work in complementary, not competitive,


None surrenders its place entirely; all undergo some adjustment as new
arrive and new complicities of interest and function emerge.
In taking speech, manuscript, and print as complementary modes, I
in mind to ask about the extent to which, in the seventeenth century,

ways.
forms
had it
they

were thought to relate to one another; what anxieties there were about these
different ways of communicating; what adjustments were made; whether or
not the physical

form of the texts might be read as in part effecting

meanings they convey; and how some consideration

the

of these questions might

bear on recent critical and historical work on printed texts.


Thomas Hobbes may have been right in saying that neither printing nor
letters but speech was "the most noble and profitable invention of all other,"

but it is also the one most difficult to call from the past and give in evidence."
What we can recall, however, are records of moments of anxiety and of
hesitant adjustment.

When the Sunne lightneth one Hemisphere, another Hemisphere is


full of darkenesse: so it seems you would conclude [said the troubled
parishioner to his preacher], that one congregation which heares
Preaching shall be saued; and another congregation which heares
Reading shall be damned. The light of the one belike, is the
darkenesse of the other; and the saluation of the one, is the
destruction of the other.
So, should we hear the word preached, or hear the word read?

The opposition of wicked men, and of the Diuell in all ages of the
world, against preaching, and his and their quiet allowance of
reading, argueth the extreame euill of ignorance, and the destruction
that comes without preaching.7
Behind all this, of course, lies an important theological debate but the
problem is also, I think, a psychological one. Even we feel some reverse
anxiety as we shift from pen and paper to our PC screens the fear that, by the
flick of a switch, or the touch of a key, our words in this new form may once
more prove as evanescent as . . . speech. But we do, in time, adjust.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan Or the Matter, Forme, and Power of A Commonwealth


EcclesiasticaU and Civile (1651), part I, chapter 4, Wing H2246.
7Edward Vaughan, A plaine and perfect Method, for the easie vnderstanding of the whole
Bible: CONTAINING Seauen Observations, Dialoguewise, betweene the PARISHIONER, and
the

PASTOR (1603), cited here from the reprint of


88

1617, STC 24600, pp. 32-3, 42.

The problem of knowing how people spoke or responded to speech is rather


like trying to find out how people read and what they made of their reading: it
is exceedingly difficult to recover, as a matter of history, the quality of such
ephemeral textual acts. But a good start in tackling both problems is to begin
with our own social experience of each. We know, for example, that an
important difference between talking and writing is what is now called
"presence." The spoken text can be more sharply defined, and its authority
enhanced, by the speaker's control of tone, nuance, gesture, and respon
siveness to an audience. Or we may as an audience resent these rhetorical
limits on the free play of meaning and reject the spurious authority of such
personal appeal. In communities where oral and literate traditions are still felt
to collide, as they do in some post-colonial countries, the mode of exchange
one adopts (speech or writing, personal or remote) is crucially important. For
those whose
experience

habitual

mode is oral,

the very effort

to receive

or record

in unfamiliar ways entails significant questions of self-definition

and social exchange.

We come close to that kind of experience, I think, in Shakespeare's Troilus


and Cressida. It is that painful moment when Troilus must, but cannot, tell
himself that Cressid is a whore. Resisting the experience of even his own eyes
and ears, he refuses to believe what they tell him. Were he to publish an
account of Cressids conduct, it must be received as a lie. He has seen her with
Diomed, and overheard her speak. Ulysses would draw him away, but Troilus
pauses; Ulysses asks, "Why stay we then?," and Troilus, half speaking to
himself, says:

To make

a recordation

Of euery syllable that


But if I tell how these
Shall

I not

to my soule
here was spoke:
two did coact;

lye, in publishing a truth?

Sith yet there is a credence in my heart:


An esperance so obstinately strong,
That doth inuert that test of eyes and eares;
As

if those

organs had deceptious functions,

Created onely to calumniate.


Was Cressed here?

[Fl.V.ii.

113-23]

At such a moment we catch the agony ofTroilus's resistance to Cressids recital


of her new love; and in this challenge to what he thought he knew by what he
now sees and hears, and in his effort to articulate and inscribe his new
knowledge to make that "recordation" to his soul, and even to publish its
truth we see too something of a condition others felt in coping with how
truths (initially seen and spoken) should be reported and received.
89

Shakespeare, of course, goes right to the heart of the matter. Yet even
among lesser writers we find, if poorly expressed, a similar concern with the
psychology of knowledge in relation to the forms in which it is communicated:

"What the Pulpit sent to some of your eares, the Presse now sends to some of
your eyes; the good God send it into every one of your hearts, info your hands,
and lives; the Argument is worthy of your eares, eyes, hearts, and
hands. . . ."" So wrote Edmund Staunton in 1644, self-conscious still about
turning speech into print and suspicious of its ability to enter the heart. Or
John Strickland, the same year: the words "have been already in your eares,
they are now before your eyes, the Lord write them into our hearts, that we
may be doers of the word, and not hearers onely. . . ."9
The problem is familiar to everyone who has pondered the relation between
dramatic performances and printed play texts: John Marston, for one. In his
address to the reader of The Malcontent in 1604, he says it is "my custome to
speake as I thinke, and to write as I speake." And so he complains that
"Scaenes invented, meerely to be spoken, should be inforcively published to be
read," and asks "that the vnhansome shape which this trifle in reading
presents may be pardoned, for the pleasure it once afforded you, when it was
"I0
So too Peter Smith, in 1644,
presented with the soule of lively action.
laments the loss, in print, of both his own and his congregation's "lively
action," for his printed sermon "will now want that little life it seem'd to have
when it was utter'd viva voce, and entertained with your chearfull and
religious attention.""
John Marston thinks of his text as one to be spoken and heard, not printed
and read; he laments the loss of "the soule of lively action"; and he thinks of the
book as fixing his play in an "vnhansome shape." But Marston had at least a
pre-written and memorized text whose translation to print was not impos
sible. We have only to think of other essentially theatrical places the
fairground and the market, for example to recall that some oral modes are
even less compatible with print. Fairground speech is a series of most
remarkable oral performances, and yet the delivery of the words themselves is
only one of a whole range of bodily skills, both audible and visible, we see
deployed

at fairs: gesture, movement,

costume, and, as any good barrowman

still shows, the skillful use of props. These are all including speech kinetic
arts, flexibly inter-active with their spectators, ephemeral as the fair itself.

And we can't write them down. There's no script. Their conversion to print is
impossible.

To cite Sir Keith Thomas again:

"Edmund Staunton, Rypes Israelis: the Rock of Israel, Wing S5342.


'John Strickland, A Discovery of Peace, Wing S5969.
'"John Marston, The Malcontent. STC 17481, sig. A2'.
"Peter Smith, A Sermon preach'd . . . May 29, 1644, WingS4142.

90

Oral communication
remained central, whether as speeches in
Parliament, pleadings in the lawcourts, teaching in the schools, or
preaching and catechizing in church. Despite their reliance on the
Bible and the Prayer Book, the clergy still expected their flock to
learn their articles of belief by heart and to listen to spoken sermons. 12
And yet that dual pressure to listen and to read created problems of choice and
adjustment. Almost every printed sermon in the first half of the century has
something to say by way of apology for the loss of the preacher's presence. "I
know well that the same Sermon, as to the life of it, is scarcely the same in the
" In 1617, in his new
hearing, and in the reading," wrote John Ward in 1645.
edition of A Plaine and perfect Method, for the easie vnderstanding of the
whole Bible, Edward Vaughan presented a pastor who urged his parishioners
to "sequester your selues from your publike affaires, and sometimes from your
most private occasions, for the orderly and thorow reading" of the Bible. The
whole point of his book was to encourage reading. Yet the pastor also needs to
exalt preaching:
Our eares were specially giuen vnto vs, to be as messengers and true
embassadours to the heart.
No man can haue Faith without the

hearing of Gods word [and] how can a man hear without a


Preacher? . . . Take away the preacher take away the word, take
away the word take away hearing, take away hearing take away Faith,
take away Faith take away calling vpon God, take away calling vpon
God take away salvation in Christ.

...

His parishioner sees

at once the contradiction:

comes by hearing the word preached,

"...

In prouing that faithe

you goe also about to proue, that the

word being read priuately at home, or publikely in Churches, availes


"" There is a compromise, of course, in the advice that home
nothing. . . .
if secondary role to play to the
reading of scripture has a complementary
preacher's one of direct address.
Concern and regret, if not quite anxiety, may also be found with the gradual
shift from oral to written pleading in the law courts. Under the system of oral
pleading, the forms were settled only after exhaustive debate in court, with all
the opportunities it provided for clarification and correction. Then, when the
pleadings were enrolled, they were accurate. By contrast, written pleadings,
whose terms were settled by the parties out of court, were open to error.
Matthew Hale, for example, in his History of the Common Law, thought the

"Thomas, "The Meaning of Literacy," p. 113.


"John Ward, Cod ivdging among the Gods, Wing W773.
"Edward Vaughan, A plaine and perfect Method, pp. 25-6, 29-30, 32.
91

oral evidence at common law far superior to the written evidence in courts of

equity, because it is delivered


and not in Writing; [in writing] oftentimes, yea too often,
Clerk, Commissioner or Examiner, will make a Witness
speak what he truly never meant, by dressing of it up in his own
Terms, Phrases, and Expressions; whereas on the other Hand, many
Times the very Manner of a Witness's delivering his Testimony will
give a probable indication whether he speaks truly or falsly; and by
this Means also he has Opportunity to correct, amend, or explain his
Testimony upon further questioning with him, which he can never
have after a Deposition is set down in Writing. '5
personally,
a crafty

That is a good description of the virtues of speech as presence. Another legal


neatly shows how oral evidence may unwittingly outwit written
proof. Francis North was trying an action brought by a cook for goods he had
sold to a man who still owed him payment. The defendant produced a written
receipt showing that the cook had been fully paid off to 1677.
example

The cook started forth . . .; and, 'My Lord,' said he, very quick and
earnest, 'I was paid but to 1676.' At that moment his lordship
concluded the cook said true; for liars do not use to burst out in that
unpremeditated manner. . . . Then his lordship . . . sitting under a
window, turned round, and looked through the paper against the
light; and so discovered plainly the last figure in the date of the year,
was 6, in rasure; but was wrote 7 with ink.16
The paradox of writing that what seems exact when first written can be
torn a thousand ways by critical reading led Francis Bacon to resist the
reduction of common law to statute form. As he said in 1616, "there are more
doubts that rise upon our statutes, which are a text law, than upon the
common law, which is no text law."17
When William Laud delivered his last "Speech or His Funerall Sermon,
10, of Ianuary, 1644[-5]," it was, we
Preacht by himself on the Scaffold
are assured by the title page of the printed text, "All faithfully Written by John
Hinde, whom the Arch-bishop beseeched that he would not let any wrong be

...

15Sir Matthew Hale, History of the Common Law (1713), 2nd ed. corrected, cited by W.S.
Holdsworth, A History of English Law, 16 vols. (London: J. Nutt, 1922-66): vi.592n.l.
"Holdsworth, English Law, vi. 389 n. 3. The story is told by Roger North: see The Lives
of. . . Francis North . . . Dudley North . . . and John North, 3 vols. (1826), i. 234.

"The Works of Francis Bacon, ed. J. Spedding, 14 vols. (1857-74): xiii (The Letters and Life, vi.
J. H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History, 2nd ed. (London:

67); cited by

Butterworths, 1979), p. 189.


92

done him by any phrase in false Copies."18 Laud had carefully written it out,
not to read it but to speak it from memory, and then to leave a true manuscript

record of his last words. But even these were edited, for his printed speech
does, and as he did in person, that
"as for this people They are this day miserably misled . . . , for at this day, The
blinde lead the blinde. . . ."1S Nor could he continue to say in print, as he did
in person, "I am not only the first Archbishop, but the first man that ever dyed
by an ordinance in Parliament in this way."20 But the printed text of Laud's
speech does catch a sentence in which we can see him more troubled by the
transmission of his words in their perilous passage from manuscript back to
memory, from memory to speech, and from speech to its printed memorial,
than by his then more imminent journey. "I cannot say I have spoken every
word as it is in my Paper, but I have gone very neere it, to help my memory as
well as I could; but I beseech you, let me have no wrong done me
a
""
phrase may doe me wrong.
does not allow him to say, as a manuscript

...

Laud's head was no sooner off than Henry Burton published an attack on
him, accusing him of merely repeating by heart a lesson he had "writ out"
and as to his so-called "Sermon, how it could be truely said to be preacht,
when he read it verbatim, as also how he could properly be said to pray, what
he read in his paper (for without his book he could neither preach nor pray) I
leave it thy right judgement. "a My own quotations from Laud's final speech
come from a Bodleian copy of one of the printed versions altered in a
contemporary hand after collation with what the annotator must have thought
to be an authentic manuscript.
But there must have been many other
versions, for manuscripts were ubiquitous.
Just as some social functions could still only be performed orally, so too
society could only be administered effectively at a distance by manuscript.
Acts and proclamations might be printed and widely dispersed (though many
orders and resolutions of Parliament were not some were merely pro
claimed), but most of the executive actions taken to implement them were
initiated in writing. All government agencies, the church, law, education, and
commerce were more dependent upon written records than printed ones.
Scriveners drove a thriving trade in both the formal and informal production
of texts; and for what we might think of as literary and political texts there was a
well-organized manuscript trade, functioning concurrendy with the one in
"For Laud's sermon,

see Wing L599; the Bodleian pressmark for the annotated

copy cited

above ("Corrected from the Original") is : G. Pamph. 369 (16).

"Ibid.
"Ibid.
"Ibid.
"There were several attacks on Laud's sermon. For Henry Burton, see his (anonymous) A Full
and Satisfactorie Answere, Wing B6162A, and The Grand Imposter vnmasked, WingB6163. See
also William Starbucke, A briefe Exposition . . . upon the Lord of Canterburies Sermon or
Speech, Wing S5266.
93

printed books. Indeed, Dr. Harold Love has recently gone so far as to claim
that "Scribal publication. . . [was] an accepted and important medium for the
transmission of texts during the seventeenth century, quite equal in terms of
status to transmission in printed form. . . ."a His findings chime perfectly
with those of W.J. Cameron some twenty-five years ago." When preparing his
volume in the series of poems on affairs of state, Cameron discovered how
many different manuscript collections seemed, from their materials, con
tents, and scribal features, to come from a single source. His conclusion was
that, far from disappearing with the advent of print, commercial scriptoria
played a continuously active role in the publication of texts in manuscript
copies right throughout the century. They were still highly productive even in
the 1690s. In a 1662 "Project for Preventing Libells," we find the comment:
"Of Libells some are only written, others printed; and those in Manuscript are
commonly ye more seditious & scandalous of ye two; Besides that they are
forty times as many, & by the help of Transcripts, well nigh as publick as the
other."25

The fact that some scribal products were libels should not be allowed to
distort the more important recognition of manuscript both as a normal form of
personal record, and as a normal form of publication. Ordinary booksellers
and stationers dealt in manuscripts, new and secondhand, as well as printed
books. L'Estrange in 1675, though still obsessed with manuscript libels, said
that "certain Stationers are supposed to bee the chiefe, and profest dealers in
them, as having some Affinity with their Trade. "x Law stationers, like Starkey
and Collins, provided what was almost an instant service for students at the
Inns of Court, supplying popular cribs quickly and (one supposes) cheaply.
The last point is important. Manuscripts were economically competitive
because printing requires high initial investment in typesetting and a low unit
cost which is achieved only by having a large number of copies. Anything
under a hundred is hardly economical. Manuscript production, however, like
binding, was in part a bespoke trade: one-off or several copies could be done
on demand; the market was almost self-defining; there was no problem of
keeping type standing; and no problem of unsold stocks.

Love, "Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-century England," Transactions of the


Society, ix (1987): 147. This valuable essay has provided me with
several examples pertinent to the argument of the present paper. His "Manuscript versus Print in
the Transmission of English Literature 1600-1700," BSANZ Bulletin 9 (1985): 95-107, should also
"Harold

Cambridge Bibliographical

be consulted.
MW. J. Cameron, "A Late Seventeenth-century Scriptorium," Renaissance
and Modern
Studies 7 (1963): 25-52.
"The report was probably drawn up by Roger L'Estrange. He repeats parts of it in "Mr.
L'Estraings Proposition concerning Libells, ore." of 11 November 1675: see H.M.C. 9th Report,
Appendix, p. 66b. PRO SP29/51/10.1.
""Mr. L'Estraings Proposition," p. 1, cited by Love, p. 142.

94

FULL VIEW
THE

OF

Canterburies fall
From POP deliver us all.
(/race, and no grace 7
Hatbifarougbt th}

difgrace.

From William Starbucke's A briefe Exposition, Paraphrase, or Interpretation, upon the Lord of
Canterburies Sermon or Speech (London, 1645), p. 14. HRHRC Collections.

Robert Cotton,

as

Harold Love records,

virtually confined

himself to

publication.27 John Donne's verse, writes Mr. Peter Beal, "be


to a manuscript culture."" The copy for Selden's Table
essentially
longed
manuscript

Talk, when printed in 1689, was simply one of several transcripts produced in
a scriptorium. Again, as Harold Love reminds us, not only Donne, but King,
Crashaw, Strode, Corbet, and Suckling all gained reputations as poets during
their lifetimes "without ever issuing a printed collection of their verse. "a One
immediate, surprising, and textually challenging fact revealed by the relevant
volume of The Index of English Literary Manuscripts is the existence of some
4,000 seventeenth-century
manuscript copies of individual poems by Donne.
Any single collection, of course, may contain up to a hundred; even so, to
quote Mr. Beal, these "must be only a fraction of the number once in
existence"; and only one English poetical autograph of Donne is known to
survive.30

Apart from the brief accounts by Cameron and Love, and the invaluable
Index volumes edited by Peter Beal, the extent, implications, efficiency, and
normalcy of scribal publication have remained unreported and unstudied.
Because of that gap in our knowledge, we have perhaps too readily assumed
the "non-publication" of texts (often also imputing irrelevant motives such as
fear of censorship) simply because there is no printed edition. I suspect,
however, that for all the normalcy of manuscript publication, the handwritten
text also helped to assuage some of the psychological anxieties associated with
print.
There were, of course, any number of reasons why authors might prefer to
be read in manuscript. In part, it has to do with that question of presence
(greatest in speech, still implied by script, least of all in print). Some writers
were troubled by their loss of control over their texts; for them and for many
others, printing was too impersonal, too public, too fixed, and often far too
expensive for the small number of copies required.
Sir Thomas Browne, referring to the first unauthorized edition of Religio
Medici, says any reader "will easily discerne the intention was not publik: and
being a private exercise directed to my selfe, what is delivered therein was
rather a memoriall unto me then an example or rule unto any other."31 But
private use often included a circle of friends. Browne lent it out and it was
copied. Subscription to a newsletter made one a member of such a circle. So
Ben Jonson's Staple of Nerves would report all the gossip in manuscript:

"Love, "Scribal Publication," p. 133.


"Index of English Literary Manuscripts,
(London: Mansel, 1980), p. 245.

Volume I, 1450-1625,

compiled by Peter Beal

"Love, "Scribal Publication," p. 131.


English Literary Manuscripts, p. 245.
3lSir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici and Other Works, ed. L.C. Martin (Oxford, 1964), p. 1.
MBeale,

96

Fit. O Sir! it is the printing we oppose.


Cym. We not forbid that any Netves, be made,
But that 't be printed; for when Newes is printed,
It leaues Sir to be Netves. While 'tis but written
Fit. Though it be ne're so false, it runnes Netves still.
P. Iv. See divers mens opinions! unto some,
The very printing of them, makes them Newes;
That ha' not the heart to beleeue any thing,
But what they see in print. Fit. I, that's an Error
Has abus'd many; but we shall reforme it. . . .*
Donne had no intention of publishing his Biothanatos, so that its posthumous
printing in 1646 is no evidence of some new liberal dispensation. As he wrote
to Robert Ker in 1619: "Reserve it for me, if I live, and if I die, I only forbid it
the Presse, and the fire. "33 In one of his Latin poems, cited by Mr. Beal in
Edmund Blunden's translation, Donne writes:
What Printing-presses yield we think good store
But what is writ by hand we reverence more:
A book that with this printing-blood is dyed
On shelves for dust and moths is set aside,
But if t be penned it wins a sacred grace
And with the ancient Fathers takes its place. M
For the reader of manuscripts, that association was less important perhaps
than a sense of privilege at being close to the writer, at being one of a more
select community than the amorphous readership of print. So Edward Coke of
his reports: "As

I never meant

...

to keep them so secret for my own private

use as to deny the request of any friend to have either view or copy of any of
them: so till of late I never could be persuaded
to commit them to

...

"This work I
view to my own private instruction only,
originally entered upon with
without the least thought or intention of letting it appear in print. . . ."*
Matthew Hale spent forty years collecting and ordering his manuscripts, but
even in his will prohibited publication of anything he had not expressly
approved as ready for press. He specifically enjoined Lincoln's Inn not to print
print."35 Edmund Plowden, writing of his law reports,

says:

*Ben Jonson, Staple of Newes, I.v.46-55, in Ben Jonson, ed. Herford and Simpson, 11 vols.
(Oxford, 1925-52), vi.295. Jonson had used almost identical words in his masque Netves from the
New World, first performed early in 1620: see Herford and Simpson, vii.515.
"John Donne, Letters to Severall Persons of Honour (1651), p. 22; cited by Love, p. 140.
"Beal, English Literary Manuscripts, p. 245.
"Holdsworth,

"Ibid.,

History of Law, v. 364 n.3.

v. 364 n. 2.

97

them but to keep them as a consumable resource for law students:


have nothing of these books printed, but intirely preserved

"I would

together for the

use of the industrious learned members of that Society." They were, he said,
"a treasure that are not fit for every man's view, nor is every man capable of
making use of them.

"37

Roger North's brother left him "all his draughts, such

as

he himself had corrected" and used as a working book of precedents.38 Orlando


Bridgman's reports were used in the same way by such authorities as Matthew

Hale and John Holt, but they remained unprinted until 1823. Whether
laziness or busyness was the reason, Egerton published nothing except his
judgment in Calvin's Case; and this he says was only done at the King's
command: "Thus I was put to an unexpected labour, to review my scribbled
and broken papers.

"39

But papers like these were not all safe from the energy of copyists.
According to the 1694 edition of Hale's Pleas of the Crown, he wrote it wholly
for his own use, but an edition had been printed in 1678 "from a surreptitious
and very faulty copy. "40 Plowden lent one "to a very few of my intimate friends"
but "their clerks and others knowing thereof got the book into their hands, and
made such expedition by writing day and night, that in a short time they had
transcribed a great number of the cases. . . ."41 Since they did it so badly,
Plowden felt obliged to prepare it himself for press. Such explanations, or
excuses, abound. In an oft-quoted passage, George Wither complained that if
a bookseller "gett any Coppy into his powre, likely to be vendible, whether
the Author be willing or no, he will publish it; And it shall be continued and
named alsoe, according to his owne pleasure: which is the reason, so many
good Bookes come forth imperfect, and with foolish titles."42 Of the hundreds
of seventeenth-century
editions of law books, many are wrongly atttributed
and only a few have reliable texts (Humphrey Winch even records his own
death). The main reason was the immense variety of manuscript sources, their
wide textual divergence, and the reluctance of the best legal minds to accept
that the law should be fixed in public print. On this last point, L.O. Pike says
"the continual use of [manuscript records] must have rendered many obvious
corrections in them a matter of comparative ease. "43 Manuscripts could be
shuffled, and re-ordered more easily than the folded and
supplemented,
bound sheets of a book. But printers in time rose to the challenge. A favorite
"Ibid.,

vi. 583, 584 n. 1.

'Ibid., vi. 604 n. 7.


MIbid.,v. 234 n. 5.
"Hale, Pleas of the Crown (1694), cited by Holdsworth, History of Law, v.366n. 1.
41Holdsworth,
History of Law, v. 366 n. 1.
"George Wither, The Schollers Purgatory, Discovered in the Stationers Commonwealth
(1617), p. 121; cited by Love, p. 141.

"Luke Owen Pike, Yearbooks of the Reign of King Edward the Third, vol. 12 (Condon: H.M.
Stationery Office, 1883), p. 535.
ys

of acquiring a practical knowledge of the law was to make up a


book under alphabetical heads, and so, in 1680-81, Samuel
Brewster produced an Alphabetical Disposition of all the Heads necessary for
a perfect Commonplace.
This was a printed book in which you could insert
manuscript entries under any of 1,622 heads and sub-heads.
The law is a rich source of evidence on seventeenth-century
textual
practices and mal-practices in oral, written, and printed forms. What the
variety of legal texts makes vividly clear is the complementary nature of all
three modes and yet the uneasiness many still felt about moving between
them. Even lawyers show the signs of anxiety we have seen in playwrights and
method

commonplace

preachers.

The same is true of many poets. Some of course did print their work, though
not without qualms. As Dr. John Pitcher has pointed out, citing the following
example, Samuel Daniel seems to be a clear case of a writer troubled by the
of print, its unrevisability, the unretractable
In 1607, in a collected edition which he modestly
called Certaine Small Workes, Daniel opens with a newly written poem
addressed to the Reader. Would to God, he writes towards the end, that
embarrassing

permanence

nature of its statements.44

...

[I] might revers


The errors of my judgment passed here
Or elswhere, in my bookes, and vnrehearce
What I haue vainely said . . .
I will aske nothing therein for my paine
But onely to haue in mine owne againe.45
The moments of self-definition offered by print and embraced so positively by
Jonson, become for Daniel a prison in which he feels himself trapped. Delia
may have been the perfect anagram of his ideal, but every attempt to capture
her (or himself) in print proves in time to be imperfect, and so he pines for the
less rigid modes of sight and sound, the tolerances of recall and revision. Yet,
being printed, the earlier forms live on to testify against him. Anagrammatically, his "ideal" is never quite "a lie," but nor can it ever truly spell "Daniel."
This obsession with the permanence of print is a powerful element in its
mythology as the art that preserves all arts. And yet it is only part of the story.
What it fails to provide for is the problem that troubled Daniel and, later,
Yeats and James: the impulse to qualify and revise. What needs, I think, to be
equally stressed is the ephemerality of print. On any larger view, the book
trade is economically dependent upon ideas wearing out on the dynamics of
change. Revised texts are a good excuse to go yet again to market; and, in the

"l am

most grateful to Dr. Pitcher for bringing this example to my attention.


"Samuel Daniel, Certaine Small Workes, STC 6240.

99

exchange of ideas, one book is never more than a thesis, or an antithesis, in an


endless dialectic which is both intellectual and commercial.

That interplay

is

invariably occluded in the collected editions of single

and yet we can recover it from the ephemeral world of


seventeenth-century sermons, topical pamphlets, and serials, and it is here
canonical authors,

we get our clearest

view of both the anxieties created by print and the


possibilities it opened up.
Peter Smith, in 1644, after quoting Romans to the effect that faith comes by
preaching, tentatively concedes that "memory is frail; and to reflect again, by
reading, upon that wch we have heard, may conduce much unto the
"**
Christopher Tesdale, the same year, says
improvement of your knowledge.
to his readers: "/ shall bee your remembrancer by restoring the losse of the
eare to the eye: Words, we say, are wind, and unless they be taken upon the
wing, even while they are flying, and brought to the Presse, they are gone and
lost."" John Brinsley modestly records that his sermon "not altogether
unsuccessefull in the hearing [may be] not wholly unusefull in the reading."*8
One can almost hear these writers sighing before conceding. Even Richard
Baxter seems to suggest only that print is at least one way of making the best of
a bad job: "When Vocal preaching faileth, and Preachers
are ignorant,
1673,
dull,"
he wrote in
ungodly or
printed sermons can help to supply those
deficiencies.49 And of course one can sometimes say more in print. Richard
Vines, 1644, knew the brevity of an audience's patience: his sermon The
impostures of seducing teachers discovered is presented "to your hands and
eyes, with some enlargements here and there, which the time denyed to your
eares."x John Strickland says he was compelled to shorten his text of
Immanuel when speaking it before the Lords in 1644, giving "the rest by
pieces, . . . [but] Now the Presse hath given me leave a little better to gather
the materialls, which then I scattered, and to couple all into some better

"Peter Smith, A Sermon preached . . . May 29. 1644, Wing S4142.

"Christopher Tesdale, Hiervsalem, WingT792.


"John Brinsley, The Saints soletnne Covenant, Wing B4728.

*For Richard Baxter, see A Christian Directory (1673), p. 60. The passage from Baxter is worth
quoting more extensively: "Vocal preaching hath the preheminence in moving the affections, and
being diversified according to the state of the Congregations which attend it: This way the Milk
cometh warmest from the breast. But books have the advantage in many other respects: you may
read an able Preacher when you have but a mean one to hear. Every Congregation cannot hear
the most judicious or powerful Preachers: but every single person may read the Books of the most
powerful and judicious; Preachers may be silenced or banished, when Books may be at hand:
Books may be kept at a smaller charge than Preachers: We may choose Books which treat of that
very subject which we desire to hear of; but we cannot choose what subject the Preacher shall
treat of. Books we may have at hand every day and hour: when we can have Sermons but seldom,
and at set times. If Sermons be forgotten, they are gone. But a Book we may read over and over til
"
we remember it: and if we forget it, may again peruse it at our pleasure, or at our leisure.
"'Richard Vines, Wing V557.

100

proportion by the sinews of coherence, that I may present you with the intire
(though yet unpolished) body of my Meditations. . . ."" What is revealing
about these unprofound comments is their frequency, their selfconsciousness, and their still tentative quality.
When we look at the books themselves, we can see writers and printers
seeking to limit the difference of print by devising ways to suggest its affinities
with speaking and writing. It is most notable of course in forms of address and of
dialogue; and it is there in the typography itself. So, as a rhetorical strategy,

Milton's Areopagitica, a Speech . . . To the Parliament of England, assumes an


oral condition: "They who, to States and Governors of the Commonwealth direct
their Speech, High Court of Parliament, or wanting such access in a private
condition, write that which they foresee may advance the public good.

. .

."K By

adopting such a form, Milton becomes present to the Commons, and yet his
pamphlet is clearly written to be read, not heard. The amphibolous state of that
"speech" or "pamphlet" is shared in part by the addresses to Parliament which
precede The Doctrine and Discipline

of Divorce

and Tetrachordon.

And when

we come to the letter (or should it be tract), Of Education, we see Milton


exploiting yet another interstitial space. Is this a private letter made public print
("Thus Master Hartlib, you have a generall view in writing of that which I had
severall times discourst with you . . .");s> or is it really conceived as a text to be
printed which merely exploits the fiction of being a private communication? It
seems to me that both texts (Of Education and Areopagitica) are genuinely
ambiguous about their status, that Milton moves easily and positively into their

double roles, and that his fluency in speech, manuscript, and print is not simply
a mark of his genius but one of the times. Writing of toleration in 1673, in his
little tract

Of True Religion, Milton

holds that Protestants should be able "on all

occasions to give account of their Faith,


several Assemblies,

...

by Arguing,

Preaching in their

Publick writing, and the freedom of Printing."54 In other

words, in each and every mode.

The development in print of different registers to signal such

a variety

of

forms is one of the fascinating features of the book trade at this time. Milton's
"Publick writing" is a phrase exactly right for his own sense of address. This
as if it were a public speaking and
efficient
in
the informal genres of ephemera, the
writing
small pamphlet, and the printed speech. There is a form of communicative
interchange here, the extent of which, as a proportion of the texts published,
might be hard to parallel in the years immediately before or after the

practice

of

using print more generally

is found at its most

seventeenth

century.

"John Strickland, Wing

S5969.

sJohn Milton, Areopagitica, a Speech . . . To the Parliament of England, Wing M2092.


"John Milton, Of Education, Wing M2132.
"John Milton, Of True Religion, Haeresie, Schism, Toleration, and what best means may be
us d against the growth of Popery (1673), p. 8, Wing M2135.
101

TO. THE^ONLIE. BEGETTER. OF.

THESE. IN SVING. SONNETS.


M'.W. H. ALL.HAPPINESSE.
AND.THAT.E^ERNITIE.

PROMISED.
BY.

OVR.EVER-LIVING.POET.

WISHETR
THE. WELL-WISHING.
ADVENTVRER.IN.

SETTING.
;sFORTl!t

T.T.

Dedication from Shakespeare's Poems. A Facsimile of the Earliest Editions, published for the
Elizabethan Club (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1964). General Libraries.

It is quite remarkable, for example, how many texts imply some kind of
direct address or dialogue. Milton's Colasterion is "A reply to a nameless
answer against ..." The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.55 His epi
graph "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own
conceit" is a common imperative in the period.56 Wing lists 424 titles which
begin in the form "An answer to." Another 562 begin as titles of address in the
form "To the. ..." "Humble" addresses, desires, hints, petitions, proposi
tions, remonstrances,
representations,
requests, supplications, and so on,
account for another 327. Petitions, Proposals, and Propositions (ones which,
not being "humble," are entered under "P") number 317. "His Majesty"
answers, declares, or sends messages to another 30. Titles beginning with the
words Animadversion, Answer, Antidote, Confutation, Dialogue (153 of this),
Reflection, Refutation, Remarks, Reply, Response, Voice, and Vox, together

number 604. "A Letter" or "Letters to" account for 802 items. The round total
they make is at least 3,066 a figure which excludes all separate-issues and re
issues and reprintings, and (with the sole exception of His Majesty) every item
(at least as many again) whose author is known to Wing and is therefore found
under the author's name. This rapid interchange of highly topical texts, of
short pamphlets with short lives, helped to break down the anxiety-provoking
distinctions among speech, manuscript, and print.
Those features of social exchange are expressed also in the very form of many
texts. We should not allow the almost uniformly poor execution of English
printing in the seventeenth century to blind us to the virtues of its typographic
display, or, in the phrase of the time, its "setting forth." The phrase is one we
recall from the dedication to Shake-speares Sonnets (see facing page). This
"setting forth" is both a financial venture and a careful display of the dedication
and the text.57 Marston in The Malcontent wrote: "I have my selfe . . . set forth
this Comedie."55 Heminge and Condell wished that "the Author himself had liu'd
to haue set forth, and ouerseen his owne writings."59 Harington's 1591 Orlando
Furioso has before it "AN ADVERTISEMENT TO THE READER BEFORE
HE READE THIS POEM, OF SOME THINGS TO BE OBSERVED, as well in
the substance of this worke, as in the setting foorth thereof. . . ."e0 That "setting
foorth" is a highly intelligent disposition of all the book's communicative modes,
not just to present a text for the reader, but to present a set of different texts for

"John Milton, Colasterion, Wing M2099.


"Ibid.
"Shake-speares Sonnets (1609), STC 22353, sig. A2r.
"Marston, The Malcontent, STC 17481, sig. A2'.
"Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, b Tragedies. Published according to the
True OriginaU Copies (1623), STC 22273, sig. A3'.
"Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, trans. Sir John Harington (London: Richard Field,
1591), STC 746.

103

different readerships ("because all that may reade this booke are not of equall

capacities").

Printing is much inferior to speech when it comes to conveying the spatial


dynamics of speaker and audience. Even word spaces are not speech pauses.
Yet space is one of the strongest weapons in a printer's arsenal. The
multiplication of copies, portability, and permanence are all, in some way,
time-space functions. On the other hand, printing is far superior to speech in
the spaced presentation of forms that cannot be read aloud (lists, tables,
branching and other graphic configurations), and with those skills at thenfingertips, it is only to be expected that printers would try to "set forth" in their
own terms at least something of the social space of dialogue.
The catechism is the commonest form in which we find speakers situated
one to another in dialogue. Roger L'Estrange saw the appeal of the form as one
that shared the qualities of speech and print. In his The Observator. In
Dialogue, he writes of it "as a Method that is more Familiar, and Entertaining.
Where you find Any thing in it, that pretends to Salt, or Fooling, you must
Understand it as a kind of Composition betwixt Mee and the Multitude; For
that which is Serious, and Necessary will not go down without it."*1 The tide
page of Edward Vaughan's A plaine and perfect Method, for the easie
vnderstanding of the whole Bible (1617), continues: "CONTAINING Seauen
Observations, Dialoguewise, betweene the PARISHIONER, and the PAS
TOR." The Parishioner discourses throughout in the increasingly demotic
roman type and the Pastor in all the formal authority of black letter.
Where the extensions of dialogue are most notable is in the inter-textual
levels we find within so many pamphlets. One common way of presenting
them was for the writer to alternate his new counter-text with the excerpted,
adapted, and re-structured texts of other writers. So Francis Quarles, in his
defense of Cornelius Burges (1644), has the biblical David present the text of
Burges; Calumniator, son of Nimshi (a great worshipper of calves), speaks the
text of Burges's critics; and Quarles's own text is given to Jonathan as The
Replyer.0 Paragraph by paragraph throughout the book they take their turn in
the debate. In Francis Cheynell's attack on William Chillingworth, the
questions are set up in italic, Chillingworth's answers in black letter, and
Cheynell's comments in roman. M In A Vindication ofEpiscopacie or Animad
versions upon a late Pamphlet . . . (1644), the pamphlet under attack is
reprinted and then demolished a paragraph at a time for the entire book.05 We
find the same thing in The Cavaliers new Common-prayer Booke Vnclasp't,
first printed at York (1644). This too is entirely reprinted in London "with
'Ibid.
"L'Estrange, The Observator. InDiabgue, 9 January 1683{-84].
^Quarles, The Whipper Whipt, WingQ121.
"Francis Cheynell, Chillingworthi Novissima, WingC3810.
"A Vindication ofEpiscopacie, Wing V477.
104

CHILLINGWORTHI

NOVISSIMA.
THE

OR,

Sicknefle, Herefy^
Death, and Buriall
OF

WILLIAM. CHILLING WORTH.


Oxford, and in the
("In his own phrafe) Clerkjoj
the JgucenS
Souldiers,
c nccit of his fellow
Artb-EHgineer^vAGrMtUlHttBigtucer,

SET FORTH IN
A

Letter to his

Eminent and learned Friends,

of his Apprchcnfion ac Jrundell, a


DtfcoVcry of his Errours in a Briefe Catecbfm , and a fhorr Oration at the

a Relation

Buriall of his Hereticall Book.

By

Francis
of M

Ch

PMJbed
Printed for

l l,

e y n e
late Fellow
T o N Colledge.

by

Authority,

LONDON,
Samuel Cellibrand

, at the Brazen
I tf 44.

Serpent in Pauls Church-yard ,

Title page from Francis Cheynell's Chillingworthi Novissima. or, the Sicknesse, Heresy, Death,
and Buriall of William Chillingworth (London: Samuel Cellibrand, 1644). HRHRC Collections.

some brief and necessary Observations, to refute the Lyes and Scandalls that
are contained

in

it."66

These observations

are interposed

in smaller type

between the paragraphs. When that fails to serve, qualifications, assertions,


rebuttals, imputed meanings all set in italic and put in square brackets
text itself. One of the neatest pieces of inter-textual
in the period is A Solemn League and Covenant, both as it was
agreed at Westminster and then as modified in Edinburgh. It gives the
Westminster text, but notes: "the several additions to the Scottish forme are
here printed in a different letter" [namely italics within square brack
ets]. . . . The omissions and other alterations are noted in the margent."e!
Printed marginal notes, like a reader's manuscript marginalia, are one of the
best pointers to textual exchange. As in the last example, they have their intertextual point. In citing sources, they split the text into its origins and by
proliferating other authorities they enhance its own. Milton, of course, could
afford to be scathing about any marginal display of erudition. When he was
abroad, as he records in Church Government (1641-42), he had "to club
quotations with men whose learning and belief lies in marginal stuff
ings . . . and horse-loads of citations."68
Others, less confident than he, felt they had to make their excuses if their
margins were bare. "If it trouble thee (Good Reader) to see so bare a margin,
so few Authors cited, or this Sermon come abroad in so homely and plaine a
dresse . . .," wrote John Shaw in Brittains Remembrancer (1644), it was all
because his books and papers were plundered a year before; that copies of his
and that
had only
sermon were demanded within three days of preaching
time to write
once over, so as the Printer got
from me by pieces of sheets,
somewhat more confused
."* Thomas
as
was written (which makes
Blake, in The birth-privilege (1644), has different and rather lame excuse:
invade

the main

"/

it

).
.
.

naked Margin, to which much might be said.

The Author was with books when

it

Some will complain

of

it

it

it

it;

presentation

was compiled

for the Pulpit,

but

6-

of

it

them when

of of

was fitted for the Presse. So that use


from
Marginal References must have put upon him the borrowed copies
others, and
new paines for the quotation
Page.
Chapter
Besides the quotations desired must either have been friends, and so
taken

their Evidence would be challenged; or else Adversaries, which


perhaps might provoke some personall offences and distaste, which
the Authour studiously professeth to avoid.70

of

"John Shaw, Brittains Remembrancer (1644), Wing S3023A.


Thomas Blake, The birth-privilege (1644), Wing B3142.
106

of

KThe Cavaliers new Common-prayer Booke Vnclasp't, Wing C1578.


""For Solemn League and Covenant, see for example
the Covenant, Wing C6210.
copie
II, Wing M2175.
Milton,
The
Church
Reason
Government
Book
(1641-42),
"John

of marginal notes, but


they are effects the author ostensibly regrets and effectively forestalls. In this
way, of course, he preserves the relative simplicity of the single voice,
uncluttered and untrammelled by unspeakably radial marginalia.
The author of Knaves and Fools in Folio (1648), however, was quite
convinced of the necessity of marginal notes: "Good Reader, our earnest
desire to give full satisfaction, hath inlarged the Margine, which I pray thee
thine instruc
faile not to read, lest thou come short of our intention,
tion. . . .'*" And it is virtually impossible not to read them, since they run
into, and sprawl across, the text in didactic over-kill. William Lilly's first
almanac, Merlinus Anglicus Junior (1644), made a double entry into the
market. The first edition went to press at the end of 1643, before it was really
ready. Lilly continued working on it, finished his predictions on 6 January
1644, and then circulated several manuscript copies. Much later in the year,
"fearing some Copy might be surreptitiously printed," he published a new
edition.72 By then of course many of his predictions had been fulfilled, and so
(to prove his prescience) he pointed them all out in a series of marginal notes.
It makes for a splendid piece of self-congratulation in a conversation among his
past, present, and future selves. In the same year George Wharton reprinted,
not his own text, but the whole of a tract by John Booker, keying into it his own
vituperative marginal comments: "I send him his words againe. . . . Since
you took my Dose, you have vomited filthy humours. I hope ere long to cure
you."73 He then appends to his puerile but savage construction his own full
reply to Booker.
By contrast, Bunyan and Harington's use of the form seems highly
civilized.74 The first edition of Pilgrim's Progress (1678) is a beautifully
Challenge and provocation are here seen

as functions

designed pocket book, whose lines are set to a short measure for easy reading,

with shoulder notes keyed to the text to apply the lesson and give the biblical
reference. Harington's Orlando is more ambitiously and explicitly helpful.
It's plain from his advertisement about its "setting foorth" that he knows his
book will afford different meanings and different pleasures to its different
readers, and he sensibly provides for them. They may read it in any of at least
three ways for its narrative (straight through, selectively, pictorially), and in
any or all of four ways for its import ("the Morall, the Historie, the Allegorie,
7,S.H. , Knaves and Fools in Folio, Wing H 121.
72William Lilly, Merlinus Anglicus Junior (1644), Wing A1919 and A1919A.
"See George Wharton, Mercurius Coelico mastix. Or an anti-Caveat, Wing W1550, which he
appends to his reprint of Booker's Mercurius Coelicus. Falconer Madan, Oxford Books, 3 vols.
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895-1931): ii. 317, details the exchanges between Booker and
Wharton.
74See D. F. McKenzie, "Typography and Meaning: The Case of William Congreve," Buch und
Buchhandel in Europa im achtzehntenjahrhundert, Funftes Wolfenbutteler Symposium 1977,
ed. Giles Barber and Bernhard Fabian (Hamburg: Hauswedell, 1981), pp. 81-126, esp. pp. 103105.

107

and the Allusion"). Unlike the first edition of Paradise Lost, the Orlando puts
an argument before each book, so that readers may "remember the storie

It

is

is

is
a

[it

better" and "understand the picture the perfecter."75 And the use of the
pictures before each book, he says, is "evident; which is that (having read over
the booke) you may read it (as it were againe) in the very picture." Among the
many other reader-friendly devices are a list of "The principall tales . . . that
may be read by themselves"; and of course the marginal notes, which range in
function from signally "apt similitudes and pithie sentences or adages" to the
selective reading of the different stories "worthie the twise reading." As he
says, "(because all that may reade this booke are not of equall capacities) I will
endevor to explane
all] more plainely then for the learned sort had haply
bene requisite."
There
refreshing common sense about all this which blows through
whole hay-wain of theory. There
no great anxiety here about print as new
medium: what we have
an exhilarating acknowledgment
of its resources,
craftsmanly pleasure in the exploitation of their materiality, and the provision
of skilled service (in the words of more famous book) 'To the great Varietie
of Readers."
would be folly to write the mentality of century into marginal note, but
the use writers and printers made of it, together with whole range of other
devices printers used to give voice to
text in its dialogic and inter-textual
functions, was important and distinctive to the times. Dialogic and intertextual functions

seem to have been the dominant

ones in the commonest

forms of print; they are certainly the ones most evident in the pamphlets,
they are those that most approximate

and

the element of presence in speech and

"Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, trans. Sir John Harington, advertisement.


108

if
is

It

it

is

is

writing as the more traditional discourse.


challenge. Reporters and publishers, who have always
They also pose
known that there are lies, damned lies, and eye-witness accounts, share
natural impulse to report what people said as
means of enhancing their
the voice
claims to accuracy. But in the report, say, of an exorcism, whose
"Satan"
"present" in the possessed? In the literature of revelation, whose
the stenographer's voice? And in death-bed confessions, how far can we trust
the editor-confessor's published account of the words of the deceased?
texts, and of the
fuller knowledge of the range of seventeenth-century
ways in which their forms gave presence, can only help to refine our
interpretation of all such reports of "direct" speech. For the typographic
disposition of text reveals distinctive relation, in the seventeenth-century,
between orality and print. Together with authors' and others' prefatory
remarks,
reveals that some speakers and writers might happily use any or all
also shows that others were
of the modes of speech, manuscript, and print.
only made anxious by the problems posed by printing as the newest and least

familiar form of communicating their views. In such a context, the reluctance


of many to speak or write in type may well have been, not fear of the censor (as
is too readily claimed), but a psychological response to technological change.
If they printed at all, however, they have left some typographic marks,
genuine signs of the times. These are material to the text and indispensable
evidence, along with the texts themselves, of the ways in which an age
perceived and expressed its experience.

"Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, trans. Sir John Harington, advertisement.


"Christopher Hill, for example: "So long as the censorship existed, authors had to take evasive
action, and this has its bearing on literary forms and styles." See "Censorship and English
Literature," in The Collected Essays of Christopher Hill, 2 vols. (Brighton: Harvester Press,
1985), i.40.
109

THE

EDITORIAL PROBLEM
IN SHAKESPEARE
A SURVEY

OF

THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE TEXT


BY

W. W.

GREG

komoiait nLLam or tuhttt coixut, CAxaaisos

The Clark Lectures


Trinity College, Cambridge
Lent Term, 1939

THIRD EDITION

OXFORD

AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

Title page from WW. Greg's The Editorial Problem in Shakespeare,


Clarendon Press, 1962). HRHRC Collections.

Third Edition (Oxford:

Editorial Theory and Practice and the History

of the Book

By Ian

Willison

Inspired (or, if you prefer, provoked) by the histoire totale of our French
A History of the Book in Britain will have to include not only the
book trade from Roman Britain to the present day, but the history of reading
and of libraries as well as so far as the concept of "text" is concerned the
history of newspapers, maps, music and, for the period both before and after
the predominance of script and print, the various modes of orality: the whole
to be presented in the context of the cultural-political history of the Englishspeaking world.
However, A History of the Book in Britain must also include the history of
authorship and the problematic relations between authors and the book trade.
For unlike France, where a more or less effective complicity between author
and book trade seems to have existed since France became cultural top nation
in the thirteenth century, the history of the book in Britain has been
characterized, for considerable stretches of time, by what D.F. McKenzie
calls a "disjunction" between author and trade. '
Indeed the preoccupation of scholars and critics with the resulting "edito
rial problem" in Shakespeare and its analogues from (say) Langland to James
Joyce, and the resources of bibliography enumerative (for example, the
short-title catalogues), descriptive (for example, the formulary of collation),
and analytical (for example, the concepts of "issue," "variant," "ideal copy,"
and "authorial intention") developed from the time of Greg and Pollard
onward to deal with "the editorial problem," has given the study of the history
of the book in Britain a potential inwardness I find lacking in the histoire du
livre: there having been no comparable "editorial problem in Corneille" to
confront and to moderate the imperious historico-sociological
ilan of the
Annalistes, such as Lucien Febvre, who launched the enterprise. If one can
colleagues,

'See

D.F. McKenzie's

Sandars

Lectures, The London Book Trade in the Later Seventeenth

Century. Though still unpublished, copies of the Lectures have been deposited in the British
Library, Cambridge University Library, and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

Ill

say that the sensibility forming the French enterprise derives from Lavisse
and Durkheim, then ours derives from Matthew Arnold and T.S. Eliot. We
see the bibliographical skull beneath the cultural skin.

I propose

to use, as the basis for my remarks, the intensive debate which has

arisen from Sir Walter Greg's and Fredson Bowers's proposed solution to "the

editorial problem" starting with Greg's "Rationale of Copy-Text" published


in 1950 and its application, under Bowers's leadership, to texts other than
Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatic texts, most notably (so far) those of classic
American authors, but now entering the vast field of medieval texts: a debate
to a large extent rehearsed in previous conferences that in many ways
anticipate the present one, such as those held in Toronto starting in 1966, in
New York at the Society for Textual Scholarship from 1981, the Caltech/
Weingart Conference in Humanities in 1982, and the Conferences on
Fifteenth.-Century Manuscript Studies held at the University of York in
England. Then, I will conclude with some provisional remarks on "the
editorial problem" posed by the post-print media of film and television.

I.
From the point of view of the history of the book, I find the fundamental
issue of editorial theory has been stated nowhere better than by the main
explicator of Gregian orthodoxy, G. Thomas Tanselle, in his invaluable review
of the debate, Textual Criticism Since Greg: A Chronicle, 1950-1985:
The issue turns on whether one is willing to admit the legitimacy of
being interested in the artistic intentions of authors as private
individuals rather than as social beings accommodating their inten
tions to various pressures emerging from the publishing process.2

If

the former,

then as critical editor one attempts

to construct

a text

representing the author's final intentions, amongst other things by eliminat


ing corruption in previous, existing texts demonstrably due to "pressures
emerging from the publishing process." (Such is the by now classical line
taken by Greg and Bowers.) If the latter, one attempts to construct a text on
the assumption that passages demonstrably due to such pressures are
nevertheless an integral part of the author's intention, not only as a "social
being," but as an author (as opposed to off-duty, private citizen); and their
removal or, more likely, retention by the editor is decided on this basis. Such,
by and large, is the newer, non -traditional line promoted by, for example,
*G. Thomas Tanselle, Textual Criticism Since Greg:

University Press of Virginia, 1987), p. 123.


112

A Chronicle,

1950-1985

(Charlottesville:

Jerome J. McGann and D.F. McKenzie.3 As a historian of the book and of


authorship, it seems to me I am obliged to favor the second point of view. It is
not possible to produce an historical analysis, let alone a narrative, of the book
and authorship without proceeding as though their interaction or, to adapt
Tanselles phrase, the accommodating of their separate intentions to their
mutual pressures is omnipresent: the essential substance of the history, and
the sine qua non of its intelligibility.
Now, you could well say that this is essentially an operative fiction: a mere
tautological conclusion from one definition of the historiography of the book
and authorship, as distinct from their actual history or reality. I find support
for my historian's point of view, however, from accounts of their intentions by
major authors themselves. The highest-pitched but perhaps by now best
known statement is that of Jean-Paul Sartre: "The operation of writing implies
that of reading" (and by implication, therefore, publishing) "as its dialectical
correlative."4 I prefer the more matter-of-fact view, albeit somewhat lateVictorian and inspirational, of George Bernard Shaw: that the author, even in
his moments of leisure, is essentially "informed, trained and disciplined by a
share in the basic work of the world": his immediate collaborators in the basic
work of the world (one would add) being the publisher, the reader, and the
collector of books.5 Be all that as it may, I shall attempt to indicate how an
understanding of the phases in the history of the book might help at least to
typify the editorial problem characteristic of a particular phase, and thereby
might help to direct editorial practice.

II.
Prefaced by a brief view of the book in the Roman province necessarily

highly speculative and likely to remain so the first major phase covered by A
History of the Book in Britain deals with the medieval manuscript codex until
the arrival of print. From the point of view of editorial theory and practice this
medieval period is now particularly rewarding. The recent intensification of
concern to revise the traditional picture of the "Dark Ages," to establish
continuity with both Late, Christian Antiquity and Celtic tribal orality by
manipulating the relatively limited and easily manageable quantum of
surviving artifacts, including the codices, attracts an unusually powerful
convergence of interests from across the humanities from political historians
3See, for example, Jerome J. McGann, A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1983); and D.F. McKenzie, Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts
(London: The British Library, 1986).
4Jean-Paul Sartre, What is Literature? , trans. B. Frechtman (London: Methuen, 1950), p. 29.

tited

in Victor Bonham-Carter, Authors by Profession, vol. 2 (Los Altos, CA: W. Kaufmann,

1978), p. 40.

113

to literary theorists

and cultural anthropologists.

So far as the theory and

of authorship is concerned, the scholastic continuum, explicated


most recently by Alastair Minnis,6 between scribe-compiler-commentatorin the early monastic scrip
author develops from virtual homogeneity
torium where the functions, if not carried out by the same person, are,
typically, carried out on the same (or a similar) site to a critical point at the
turn of the fourteenth century when, following Petrarch, the author is about to
break loose. Likewise developing from the virtual homogeneity of the early
monastic scriptorium, the production and the reading of books differentiate to
virtually the same critical point, where a commercial book trade and a lay
active and produce the first great
reading public become conspicuously
disjunction with authorship in Britain. This disjunction is expressed, textually, not only in differing authorial, but in a multiplicity of scribal, versions:
Hengwrt, Ellesmere, and so on in the case of Chaucer, and in particular, fiftytwo surviving manuscripts in the case of Langland.7
Thus the first great disjunction between author and book trade also
produces, for us, the first great editorial problem, with, for example, the
current wide-ranging controversy over the status of the scribal variants in
Langland being cast in Cregian and anti-Cregian terms, and appeals being
made from both sides to the court of book-trade history. The Gregian line can
be said to be represented by Kane, Donaldson, and Russell, and their massive
Athlone Press critical edition, which aims to establish an "ideal text,"
dismissing most of the scribal variants on the grounds that an "axiomatically"
(to use a favorite word of Kane's) conservative book trade was in principle
neither technically nor intellectually competent to deal with Langland's finde-siecle, at times almost Joycean, surrealism. In the next phase of the history
of the book the Elizabethan and Jacobean book trade will also be judged
incompetent to deal with Shakespearean neologizing.8 The new-historicist
line of McGann and McKenzie is represented by Derek Pearsall, who insisted
at the Caltech/Weingart Conference9 that such assertion of the unequivocal
authority of the modern editor's critical text "obscurfes] and distort[s] the
realities of medieval texts and manuscript production"; that, given the still
"the
persisting continuum of scribe-compiler-commentator-author,
continuous nature of a medieval author's involvement with important works of
composition needs to be kept in mind"; that the "enterprising editorial activity
practice

'Alastair Minnis, The Medieval Theory of Authorship (London: Scolar Press, 1984).
'See Daniel W. Mosser, "The Cardigan Chaucer: A Witness to the Manuscript and Textual
History of the 'Canterbury Tales'," The Library Chronicle of The University of Texas n.s.41
of the importance of the HRHRC Chaucer manuscript.
'See George Kane, "The Text," A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1988).
"Derek Pearsall, "Editing Medieval Texts," Textual Criticism and Literary Interpretation, ed.

(1987): 83-111, for an examination

Jerome J. McGann (Chicago:


114

University of Chicago Press, 1988).

\
<?

The beginning of the "Miller's Tale" from the Cardigan Manuscript (circa 1450) of Geoffrey
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. HRC MS143. HRHRC Collections.

it)

[of the book trade] and the original activity of the author engaged in the
process of revision and recomposition is a legitimate matter for debate," not
only in the case of a major writer like Langland but also and even more so in
the case of "popular romances . . . like Bevis of Hamtoun and King
Horn . . . [where] the surviving manuscripts make it clear that each act of
copying was to a large extent an act of recomposition, not an episode in a
from an ideal form"; and that, rather than the
process of decomposition
modern, Gregian critical edition, "the argument would favor facsimiles, or at
least seriatim transcripts, of single manuscripts," on the one hand, and on the
other (we may add) not only variorum editions such as the University of
Oklahoma Chaucer, to which Pearsall himself is contributing, but also (dare
one say
the so-called "genetic" editions which the French are proposing for
all "ensembles ouverts," from Piers Plowman to Ulysses.'0
This still leaves the historian of the book in this period, the codicologist
to judge between Kane's fundamental belief that scribes were "essentially
.

above all, for whatever reasons, inaccurate transmitters,"


. . .

scribal editors have participated

the activity of the poem, often at

and

.
.

mediocre,

and Pearsall's that "often

most fully in

high level of intellectual and even creative

engagement." Given the vast tract of time and space occupied by the medieval
codex, and the high degree of dispersal of the extant copies themselves, an

infrastructure such

provided for the history of the printed book by the


short-title catalogues
an absolute sine
qua non
the historian of the book
to begin to contribute, to the
development of the theory and practice of editing medieval texts, this hitherto
missing link. Moreover, the contribution involves not only establishing
codicologically-based
probabilities and typicalities of scribal performance, but
as that

also precisely-focused

is

is

machine-readable

if

now increasingly

and detailed,

yet theoretically-sophisticated,

exem

of post-authorial, scribal editing. Thus


heartily support the
proposal of Professors Rita Copeland and Karen Gould at The University of
Texas at Austin to do just that with the annotated Dante held in the Harry
Ransom Humanities Research Center."
plifications

HI.
come now to the history of the relationship between
is

authorship and
and
the editorial problems arising from that relationship. My point of
printing
McKenzie's two axioms:
departure for this phase in the history of the book
first, that the whole synoptic potential of the codex was only fully realized as
le

'"See he Manuscrit Inachevi, ed. Louis Hay (Paris: Editions du Centre nationale de
Recherche Scientifique, 1986).
"Dante's complete La Divina Commedia with Italian text and Latin glosses, HRC 45, was part

of the Philipps Library and dates before 1363.


116

the technological

and entrepreneurial dynamism

characteristic

rather than script, enabled the codex to become progressively


tous," socially and geopolitically; second, this technological

of print,

more "ubiqui

and entrepre
neurial dynamic meant that print took off in terms not so much of the book, as
of what eventually expanded into newspaper publishing and reading, with
developing editorial problems to match.12
On this basis, the interaction of authorship and publishing can be said to
have moved through four major stages. The first was the period of effective
control of publishing by the state-sponsored Stationers' Company (15571695), when the continuing production and transmission of high-literary texts
in manuscript (principally court poetry, from Sidney and Donne to Rochester)
and in speech (principally drama, from Shakespeare to Congreve), were, until
well into the Restoration after 1660, only hesitantly and incohesively as
similated into a printing trade which was itself constrained by censorship,
under-capitalization, and internal division between a conservative oligarchy
and a radical rank-and-file looking to expand the readership for cultural and
political ephemera.
The second stage, opening with the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89, covers
the steady rise of the first British Empire to political, economic, and cultural
parity with, and then by 1815 to superiority over, the French. During this
stage, publishers and authors converge in their interest and ability to satisfy
the demands of the new "common reader," formed in his and her tastes by the
new, ubiquitous continuum of newspaper-magazine-novel,
not only in me
tropolis but also province and colony, and typified by the increasingly
collaborative author-publisher relationship: Congreve-Tonson/JohnsonLongman/Scott-Constable.
The third stage we might call the zenith of the ubiquity of print,
corresponding to the zenith of the British Empire. In this stage major authors
such as Dickens, Thackeray, and Mill perform the role of high journalists vis
a-vis the publishing profession (as it now has become) and the emergent mass
reading public of the English-speaking world. At the same time, the
dynamism of print in the colonies, and in particular following the United
States the former colonies, is replicating locally an increasingly, but never
completely, autonomous continuum of newspaper-periodical-novel: thereby
setting up the "complex fate" typical of the ex-colonial writer.
The fourth stage arises after the turn of the nineteenth century, with what
seems in retrospect the inevitable decline of the imperial ubiquity and
homogeneity of print, accompanied by the mutual alienation and turning
inward, on the one hand of the serious, modernist author Joyce, Eliot and
on the other the mass, in part Americanized, suburban newspaper pub
lisher Northcliffe and reading public. The latter, shortly, transfers its
"D.F. McKenzie, "Printing in England
volume

II of The

from Caxton to Milton," The Age of Shakespeare,


in
Pelican Guide to English Literature (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1982).

117

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ft

fc!lliu*"!|Iif <f'',"'m'"'Jr*

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- ,<.
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p^

The beginning of Canto VI of the Infemo section of Dante's La Divina Commedia (1363), with
Italian text and glosses in Latin. HRC MS 15. HRHRC Collections.

allegiance to the radio, film, and television


ical and entrepreneurial dynamism,

media emerging from technolog

and in due course exercises something of

pull on the second generation of authors in the Modern Age: for


example, W. H. Auden and Graham Greene (and even Eliot himself).
The typical editorial problems corresponding to these four stages of the
author-publisher relation are: first, given the inevitable disjunction between
the still virtually autonomous, but culturally mainstream, oral world of the
Elizabethan dramatist and a printing trade whose enterprise until well into
the Stuart Restoration was based on ephemera, there is need for the critical
editor "to experience plays in performance and to read them with an
awareness of the theatrical dimension, both imagined and actual."13 On the
other hand, as author and printer-publisher do converge and begin to
collaborate in the mainstream civility that emerged after the Restoration, the
critical editor has to be prepared to ascribe authority to the textual constraints
integral to that civility: for example, censorship, as D.I.B. Smith showed at
the Toronto Conference discussing Andrew Marvell's The Rehearsal Transpros d," or bowdlerization, as McKenzie has shown in the case of Tonson's
"
editions of Congreve. " The editorial decisions, as Smith says, are "nice ones.
Secondly, as the course of the Augustan Age authors and publishers moves
a gravitational

towards a recognizably modern professionalism and commercialism based on


the consummation,
so to speak, of printed textuality in the form of the
so the attention of the critical
editor has to widen to resolve the problem such proliferation raises for the
substantial amount of anonymous journalism which, as Donald Greene
pointed out at Toronto in connection with Samuel Johnson, is being seen more
and more as central to the oeuvre of major Augustan authors.16 Hence we
have, now, the increasing amount of time and effort being devoted to
identification of anonyma noted, for example, (and not
computer-based
entirely favorably) by Furbank and Owens in the case of Defoe. 17

constantly proliferating journal and newspaper,

Thirdly,

as authorship

eventually attains its classic role of high journalism in

the world of Victorian printed textuality Dickens, Thackeray, Mill, and


their like so the center of critical editorial attention moves from anonyma to
the compulsive

revising by the author of his nevertheless ab initio formally

"Stanley Wells, "The Once and Future King Lear," The Division of the Kingdoms: Shake
Ttvo Versions of King Lear, ed. Gary Taylor and Michael Warren (Oxford: Clarendon

speare's
Press,

1983), p. 1.

"D.I.B. Smith, "Editing Marvell's Prose," Editing

Seventeenth

Hakkert, 1972).
"D. F. McKenzie, London Book Trade in the Later Seventeenth

Century Prose (Toronto:

Century (Cambridge, [Eng. ]:

1977).

"Donald Greene, "No Dull Duty: The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson," Editing
Eighteenth-Century Texts, ed. D.I.B. Smith (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1968).
"P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens, The Canonization of Daniel Defoe (New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press, 1988).
119

text, in response to the volatilities of the vox populi as in part


by the book trade. At Toronto Peter Shillingsburg and Michael

acknowledged
mediated

Millgate presented differing views of the status of the first and later editions of

Thackeray and Dickens. Further, with the pluralization of the book trade
and the reading public in the nineteenth-century English-speaking world, the
critical editor concerned to establish his Gregian copy-text has to attend to the
revision proposed to ex-colonial authors such as Melville, Mark Twain, and
Marcus Clarke by their London publishers, and at the time accepted by the
authors as being required by their residually prestigious (though by no means
their largest) market. "
Fourthly, the eventual alienation of the late-Romantic/modernist author
from the mass, secular reading public, and the consequent internalizing of the
compulsion to revise what Husserl used to call meditation continue makes
such revision (for example, in the cases of Flaubert, Proust, James, Pound,
Joyce) more of an editorial problem than does brute, and therefore editoriallydismissable, censorship (for example, Hardy, Lawrence Lady Chatterley
was first de-censored by commercial publishers, Grove Press and Penguin)
and forms a point of departure for considering the diachronic rationale of
"genetic" editing."

IV.

come,

in conclusion,

to the editorial problems raised

television:

the latest and, seemingly,

textuality.

Not only can film production be conceived

final and permanent

by film and
embodiment of

as analogous to book

publishing,21 but film production systems specifically the Hollywood studio

system have been compared in all seriousness to the monastic scriptorium,

of the transcription and transmission of countless narratives" or, in


of romance, and not episodes in a
process of decomposition from an ideal form.25 In our end is our beginning?
as "site[s]

Pearsall's phrase, of acts of recomposition

"Peter Shillingsburg, Textual Problems in Editing Thackeray," and Michael Millgate, "The
Making and Unmaking of Hardy's Wessex Edition," in Editing Nineteenth-Century Fiction, ed.
Jane Millgate (New York: Garland Publishing, 1978).
"For Mark Twain, for example, see Dennis Welland, Mark Twain in England (London: Chatto
& Windus, 1978).
"See, for example, the contributions of Hans Walter Gabler and Louis Hay to the Transactions
of the Society for Textual Scholarship in Text, vols. 1 and 3 (New York: AMS Press, 1984 and
1987).

"Thomas Schatz, The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era (New
York: Pantheon Books, 1988), p. xii.
"David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p. 3.
120

Now if,

as

I have

said, a proper infrastructure

book an archive

for the study of the medieval

even if highly
decentralized is still lacking, this is even more the case with the post-print
media; and to help open up the field I would like to concentrate on one single
leading case. I choose Graham Greene's The Third Man, for the following
reasons. Greene has recently been canonized as one of the dozen or so major
British authors of the first half of the twentieth century (in the relevant volume
of the The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, if I, as the
editor of the volume, may say so); and this was done in part because of
Greene's conspicuous involvement in the post-print media, as adapter of his
own work for the screen as well as film-reviewer. Moreover, it has been
suggested that The Third Man marked a major turning point in Greene's sense
of direction as a fictionalist: his entry into the archetypal mode of "romance."23
Specifically, The Third Man has been, so far, the only one of his fictions
"that . . . was not written to be read but only to be seen," although "the
[initial] treatment [which I write . . . like a novel . . . and] which I did
before writing the script" has in fact been published by Greene as part of his
own canon." Further, as an event in the Anglo-American studio system, the
completed filmscript depended on Greene's collaboration with four major
film professionals: Alexander Korda, Carol Reed, Orson Welles, and last, but
as we are beginning to see not least, David O. Selznick. Indeed, the study of
The Third Man can be made particularly revealing, since here at the Harry
Ransom Humanities Research Center not only are the versions in the
development of the script preserved in the Greene collection, but also the
relevant Selznick production files survive in toto (this, incidentally, offsets the
failure in Britain to preserve any Korda archive). To use the terms of the
original Kane-Pearsall debate, this evidence should enable us to determine
whether or not the changes introduced into Greene's original treatment by his
collaborators, in particular (as has been often hinted) Selznick, were, in
Professor Kane's words, "predictable forms of reaction by inferior . . . intelli
gences to major literary experience."25 It is true that, despite his undoubted
mastery of film-potentialities such as montage, Reed cannot equal the
one might say in
complex images the Langland-Joycean epiphanies,
Greene's original print-text treatment: to take an example from Judith
Adamson s indispensable discussion,26 Holly Martins's disorientation when he
finally understands the implications of Harry Lime's crimes "every shared
experience [with Lime] was simultaneously tainted like the soil of an atomized
manuscript

that is, in principle, closed,

"See Brian Thomas, An Underground Fate: The Idiom of Romance in the Later Novels of
Graham Greene (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988).
"Graham Greene, The Third Man and the Fallen Idol (London: William Heinmann, 1950).
Kane, p. 194.

*Judith Adamson, Graham Greene and Cinema (Norman, OK: Pilgrim


remainder of this paragraph

Books,

1984). The

is based largely on Adamson.

121

town. One could not walk there with safety for a long while." On the other

on the basis of his perception of the limits of what a

film audience can take to have a soft ending Anna after Lime's funeral
capriciously slipping her hand through Rollins's arm was overridden by
hand, Greene's concern

Reed: thus Anna, in the famous extended long-shot,

walks past Rollins, still

bafflingly faithful to Lime. As Greene himself readily admitted, Reed was


vindicated, "triumphantly," by the eventual public reception. Indeed the
authority of the film version, as distinct from the print version, was in general
established by the public's reception of Anton Karas's music; of the key
performances not only of Welles as Lime but also of Trevor Howard as
Calloway ("Howard is Calloway," says Greene in retrospect); as well as by the
profound influence of Reed's direction on the development of what Thomas
Schatz calls the genre of the hard-boiled detective film.27
As evidence of the disjunction between author and film producer ["pub
lisher"], one might take Graham Greene's account of his and Reed's relations
with Selznick. Indeed, even though, as I have said, we are still in the early
stages of research, I would like to think this may become a locus classicus:
There was one conference which
was the last before
conference
a.m.

I remember in particular because

we were due to return to England.

. . .

it

The

began as usual about 10:30 p.m. and finished after 4

. . .

[Mr. Selznick said] "There's something I don't understand in this


script, Graham. Why the hell does Harry Lime . . . ?' He described
some extraordinary action on Lime's part.
'But he doesn't,' I said.
Mr. Selznick looked at me for a moment in silent amazement.
'
'Christ, boys,' he said, 'I'm thinking of a different script.
He lay down on his sofa and crunched a Benzedrine. In ten minutes
he was as fresh as ever, unlike ourselves. . . ."
Locus classicus or not, the dismissal of the role of Selznick as publisher/
producer needs to be seriously qualified because research such as that carried
out by Charles Ramirez Berg here in the Selznick archive29 demonstrates that
the producer is, in PearsaH's phrase, involved in an "act of recomposition, not
an episode in a process of decomposition from an ideal form."30
Then there is the inevitably problematic status of the "film script," if and
when published as part of the writer's canon: in the case of Greene, The Third
zThomas Schatz, Hollywood Genres (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981).
"Graham Greene, The Pleasure Dome (London: Seeker & Warburg, 1972), pp. 3-4.
^Charles

Ramirez Berg, "The Third Man's Third Man: David O. Selzniek's Contribution to

The Third Man," The Library Chronicle of The University of Texas


"Pearsall, p. 101.
122

n.s. 36 (1986): 93-113.

139,(ooutd)

kartlns;
2.30.

I'll

have to step
plane ,

Calloway:

it lr ;ou":e

on

going

Thej" drive out of the ociiietery.


iiart.lns who looks out at . jum.
MO.CHOaTt'g

STREET [LAY)

to oatoh thiit

mils time

it

la

LOCaTIONi

>juif. is on her way to the tmm


the long dreary road.

stop walking

down

141 .CAB I1U.Y) BACK PROJECTION !

Martins:

Put me down a moment, Calloway ,

There's not much tijae.

oan't

lust

Calloway

leave
slows

...

Calloway:
Martins :

the oar and brings

it

to a stop.

nt.vaan&B street Idayi location;


Be aenalble, Martins.

Calloway t

fcartins:
'

haven't

got a sensible

name

...

las he stands beside


the

Jeep )

cllaghan.

Callowuy turns
He begins to walk baol: Com the road.
Martins stops and
Anno Is approaching.
vi watches.
he
seeks in vnin
him
and
welts for her. She readies
una
for a word. He nokes a Restui-e with Ills hand,
h in and on
right
past
woliani;
she pays no attention,
his
ores.
wltn
her
follows
Martin*
Into the dlstanoe.
Mown
Iron outside our vision we oiut hear a our horn
again and again.

i
THE END
I

Final page of the 20 September 1948 draft of Graham Greene's film script for The Third Man
which is accompanied
by a 42-page memo from producer David O. Selznick noting his
suggestions for improvement of the script. Criticism of the film's ending, "Somehow not quite
right," believed to be in Selznick's hand, resulted in the addition of several lines in shot 141, and
the deletion of the repetitive "Callaghan/Calloway" joke, Martin's gesture to Anna, and
Calloway's horn-blowing, reducing the sentimentality of the scene. HRHRC Collections.

Film by Graham Greene and Carol Reed. For example, does the
"famous"31 "cuckoo clock" speech (by report ascribed to Welles) form part of
Greene's "literary rights in the property" and therefore, presumably, part of
the Greene canon?32 The Lorrimer film script does not specify Welles'
authorship, but simply states en passant, in Andrew Sinclair's Introduction,
Man:

that it "is very much his [Welles] own inspiration."33 Again, what about
preserving, as an integral part of the text, the contributions of the actors and
camera-man (let alone the composer of the music)? Even if one has to settle for
mere illustration, as a second-best aide-memoire for the ideal film-goer/
reader, enlargements

from the actual film-frame rather than post-production

"stills" are to be used, as Schatz points out, and this so far has been rarely the
Though the publishers of the film script "hope that [it] will serve as a
example of the change of a shooting script [sic = ?] into a film,"
writers' film scripts would seem to require far more editorial precision and
thought, presumably of a more genetic nature.34
case.

precise

V.

provisional note on our current, perhaps terminal, world of


and its effect on authorial intention. We seem to face an insuper
able initial problem in that, so far, no major author has completed, or even
nearly completed, an oeuvre exclusively or predominantly in the medium of
television. Television, as has been said ad nauseum, still awaits its Dickens.
However, in Britain I think we can point to Dennis Potter, perhaps best
known for his mini-series Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective, as
the nearest thing we have to a potential Dickens. Of particular interest to this
Conference, we have now a powerful discussion of the author-directoraudience relationship, as well as an example of canonical textuality within the
world of television, in Potter's recent collection of teleplays, Waiting for the
Boat, published by Faber in 1984.
To summarize: the emerging consensus amongst television critics and
theorists is that, even more than in the case of essentially collaborative studiofilmscripts, the unit of analytical understanding in television has to be not the
"individual show, the series, or the genre," but the whole "viewing strip," as
confected by the television programmer and as accepted by the viewer during
Finally,

television,

"Graham Greene, The Third Man: a Film by Graham Greene and Carol Reed (London:
Lorrimer, 1969), p. 114.
MIbid., p. 6.

"Ibid.
MIbid. , p. 12. See also McKenzie, Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts, p. 58.
124

his sessions before the screen.35 However, in his Introduction to Waiting

Potter insists that,

the Boat,

at least for what

for

he calls electronic drama,

"writers, and not directors, are the king, [though, he adds] only if they insist
upon occupying the throne."36 Authorial intention, therefore, can be fully
embodied in a suitably approved printed text, with the classical apparatus of
the author's own presentational, "stage" directions, as in the Faber Waiting

for

the Boat. Clearly, a complication here is the profoundly antagonistic


relation between author and media professionals which Potter sees as
endemic to television: the "Occupying Power" as he grimly calls it. The
outcome of this disjunction remains to be seen.

"Horace

Newcomb and Paul M. Hirsch, "Television as a Cultural Forum," Television: the


ed. Horace Newcomb, 4th edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), p.

Critical View,
463.

"Dennis Potter, Introduction, Waiting for the Boat (London: Faber, 1984).
125

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mark similar to the numeral

seven

appear

by

and 35 of the second column.

II

clearly in lines

III.

Kings

(B

1
:

42,
and the beginning of
The Cutenberg Bible
160v) opened to the end of Kings
This page provides examples of early manuscript corrections, insertions, and directions
for readers (the roman numerals and letters in the left margin, for example). Two of six occurrences of
the punctus circumflexus the manuscript alteration of colon made
adding to the top point

Figure

Editing Texts in the First Fifteen Years of Printing

By

Lotte Hellinga

The incunabulist who professes to be interested in texts and their transmission


is in a strange position: few texts as printed in the fifteenth century are of any
interest at all to textual or literary historians. The reasons for this are not
difficult to find; the later part of the fifteenth century was an inventive age, an
age of great technical and economic expansion and renewal, but it was not an
age of equal literary creativity, and most of the literary works it produced have
little appeal to us, or do not invite analysis of their textual minutise. Many
authors active at that time are now thoroughly forgotten teachers at
universities,
for example, who prepared texts for their courses and later
disappeared from view in the great educational reforms of the sixteenth
century, or authors whose work reflects the events of the day in formal
orations or in (to our ears) highly formal verse.
Contemporary authors whose work was disseminated by the early presses
are often remembered
not so much for their texts per se, as for the
circumstances of their involvement with the printers. Where such involve
ment has been studied, the printers tend to get the heroic parts. This surely is
no coincidence,
but illustrates how the incunabulist's interest lies with
and
printers,
printing-house procedures, rather than with the text. Guillaume
Fichet, for example, rector of the Sorbonne, has attracted attention as one of
the founders of the Sorbonne Press. In 1470, the year of its foundation, the
press printed his Rhetorica, which with its variant issues and states presents a
particular challenge to the modern bibliographer. Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer
concluded that Fichet must have been continually in and out of the printing
house, brimming with ideas, stopping the press to introduce textual varia
tions, adding various prelims addressed to heads of state and other important
persons, and generally interfering. However, it is not my intention to criticize
Veyrin-Forrer when I say that her work resulted in a pioneering account of
half-sheet printing in quarto editions, and not in an analysis of the textual
variants introduced by Fichet. This is simply because neither she nor anybody
else is interested in the text of Fichet's Rhetorica.1
Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer, "Aux origines de L'imprimerie frangaise: L'atelier de la Sorbonne et ses
mecenes (1470-1473)," La lettre et le texte: Trente annies de recherches sur I'histoire du livre

127

There is a similar attitude towards the text of one of the great historians of
the age, Werner Rolewinck, who worked together with several printers in
Cologne in order to publish in print his world chronicle, the Fasciculus
Temporum, in a very complex lay-out. The succession of editions has attracted
the interest of several bibliographers, notably Margaret Bingham Stillwell
who viewed

the editions

as the gradual

solution

to a complicated

lay-out

problem eventually achieved, it would appear, by Johan Veldener, who is


now seen as the most prolific and inventive typographer active in the Cologne
area at that time.2

Although it is generally thought that Rolewinck was dissatisfied with the


first results and that it is through his insistence that the work was improved,
his own text can hardly be considered as central to the issue. Thus it is possible
that a fascinating press variant in the second edition, printed in 1474 in
Cologne by Arnold ther Hoernen, has escaped attention. Whereas most
copies read under the year 1450 "Artifices mira celeritate subtiliores solito
fiunt. Et impressores librorum multiplicantur in terra," stating that printing
was invented in that year, and that printers multiplied over the earth (an
observation not found in the first edition of the text), there is a press variant
found in only a few copies with the addition: "Ortum sue artis habentes in
maguncia" "and their technique originated in Mainz." A press variant,
surely, but was this an addition or a deletion? And do we witness here, as it
were, the author in conversation with the experts on the topic of the invention
present in the printing house? Whatever answer one may prefer to this
unanswerable question, the variant is an integral part in the development of
the author's text. Yet, even as a witness in the dispute about the invention of
printing that has exercised many generations, the text in its two forms has
been treated with indifference (see figs. 2a and 2b).3
Many texts printed in the fifteenth century belong to the great heritage of
European literature: Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Cicero, and indeed all the
great classical authors were printed at that time in a profusion of editions, as
well as more recent authors in vernacular languages such as Boccaccio, Dante,
and Chaucer. It cannot be a coincidence that with scarcely any exception the
incunable editions of such famous texts are dismissed by textual historians as
as unreliable witnesses in the transmission process, as tam
uninteresting,
pered with too freely. Their bad reputation with modern textual historians is
due to a strange confusion. These editions appeared in print, in the medium
(Paris: Ecole normale superieure de jeunes lilies, 1987), pp. 161-187.
'Margaret B. Stillwell, "The Fasciculus Temporum: A Genealogical Survey of Editions before
1480," Bibliographical Essays: A Tribute to Wilberforce Eames (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1924), pp. 409-440.
'Werner Rolewinck, Fasciculus Temporum (Cologne: Arnold ther Hoernen, 1474). HainCopinger *6918, Goff R-254. One of the copies in The Hague, Royal Library (170. B. 12), has the

longer version of the statement about the invention of printing.


128

therefore that was familiar to all textual historians of the modem era, which we
may broadly assume to have begun early in the nineteenth

century. Precisely

because these texts of the fifteenth century were presented in that familiar
modern medium, their value as texts, as specimens of textual criticism and

editing, has been assessed according to modem standards, even in recent


days. Naturally these texts disappoint us when judged by such anachronistic
standards, but we ignore the fact that they were produced precisely at a time
which inaugurated the wider availability of texts, and which in its turn was to
lead to greater critical awareness. It is true that only rarely can a fifteenthcentury printed text serve as a reliable witness for early traditions, yet there is
value in trying to understand it on its own terms, and in doing so getting closer
to a particular cultural era.
This consistent undervaluation, and the consequent neglect of the text, has
led to sweeping statements to the effect that once a text appeared in print it
usually found a standard form in that first printed edition. A second or later
printed edition, so the theory runs, would normally follow its immediate
predecessor, and thus printing led to a unilinear form of transmission and to
stabilization and standardization of texts.4
Closer scrutiny of sequences of printed versions of texts in the fifteenth
century and attempts to understand the methods and sense of purpose of
fifteenth-century printers and editors reveal a more subtle and much more
complex procedure. Experience with a range of texts in various editions, both
in Latin and in vernacular, shows that the prime concern of printers was to
present their text in as complete a form as possible. Were there sources
extant, they asked, which offered the text in a more complete version? It is on
this purely mercantile count would the customer have cause to complain?
that we find the clearest expression of what sounds to modern ears as a concern
for authorial intention. We may well be mistaken in interpreting this concern
as respect for the author's integrity, since concern for the author's original
does not seem to dictate the second aim of the early printers: to present the
text "as new." Not new in the sense that it had to pretend to be written
yesterday, even if by Homer or Virgil, or to reflect as accurately as possible
the intentions of the author, but "new" meaning unflawed, without the tarnish
of the centuries-long process of being passed on from source to source, new
with a fresh shine of novelty which could make an immediate impact on the
reader.5

4E. J. Kenney, The Classical Text: Aspects of Editing in the Age of the Printed Book (Berkeley:
University of California, 1974), pp. 18-19. The concept was given greater popularity by Elizabeth
L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge

University Press, 1979).


5I have discussed this issue with some examples in my article, "Manuscripts in the Hands of
Printers," in Manuscripts in the Fifty Years after the Invention of Printing, ed. J.B. Trapp
(London: The Warburg Institute, 1983), pp. 3-11.

129

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12.

There is one important exception to this procedure. The sacred text of the
time, the Vulgate Bible, with its far-reaching influence on liturgical use, could
not be treated in this way.

In

this case, we see a process of stabilization

as soon

in print in 1455, although some attempts have been


noticed to introduce emendation in later editions in the fifteenth century.
These are the first, still very hesitant attempts, at what would lead to modern
textual scholarship. Paul Needham noticed corrections and emendations in
the copy of the 42-line Bible which was used as the basis for a later edition
printed in Strassburg.6 In comments on Needham's publication, I have
suggested that evaluation of such emendation should take account of monastic
reform movements and their concern with the Vulgate text.7 The best
documented model of procedures in textual editing in such circumstances is
the manuscript Bible of Thomas a Kempis, now in Darmstadt, which, having
sources,
been compiled after collation with a number of heterogeneous
reflects some of the aims of the Windesheim movement. The 42-line Bible in
the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center is rich in annotation with
corrections and insertions (see fig.
Manuscript notes state explicitly that
was prepared for daily readings in the refectory of
monastic house. The
major monastic reform movements were all particularly concerned with the
uniformity of the daily liturgy throughout the congregation, the "consonancie
was called by the Windesheimers, and hence with the
conformitas" as
uniformity of the Vulgate text which formed the basis for the liturgy. The
notes in the Austin copy appear to be witnesses for this procedure of
particular religious order,
preparation for readings within the use of
witnesses also for
direct interaction with oral culture right at the first
appearance of the new medium of print. The uniformity of the Vulgate text as
basis for
uniform liturgy had probably been an incentive to bring the
invention of printing to successful fruition. The first printed Bible apparently
did not satisfy the requirements of all religious orders, as can be deduced from
its absence from houses of particular orders. The Austin copy
rare
not
may be
unique example of direct evidence of emendation for another usage.
rewarding when studying its textual emendation to bear in mind the Thomas
Kempis Bible and related manuscripts which testify to Bible emendation
resulting from the use of Windesheim and their convictions. There are
features in the traces left by the earliest users of the Bible which appear to me
to point to the Cologne area (the earliest phase of illumination of the initials,
the script of the more casual notes), while the frequent use of the "flexa" as
punctuation mark may well indicate an association with the Windesheim

It

is

if

it

it

1).

as the text appeared

of

"Paul Needham, "A Gutenberg Bible Used as Printer's Copy by Heinrich Eggestein in
ca. 1469," Transactions
the Cambridge Bibliographical Society IX, Part
(1986):
36-75. See also my own comments, "Three Notes on Printer's Copy: Strassburg, Oxford,
Strassburg,

of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society IX, Part (1987): 194-204.


7Hellinga, "Three Notes on Printer's Copy," pp. 194-196 (see note
above).
6

Subiaco," Transactions

132

In order to comprehend fully the early history of the Austin


function,
there is undoubtedly a need for further examination by
copy and its
experts of these various aspects of fifteenth-century culture.
The first criterion for printers, the state of completeness of a text, led to a
relentless selection process shorter, incomplete versions were rejected in
favor of those which were regarded as complete. It also happened that
independent versions of a text were printed unknown to one another almost at
the same time. In such cases it is interesting to observe which text is best
placed in the contest for survival and multiplication, usually the text
emanating from the printing house with the greater authority, or with the
widest distribution. Comparison with the laws of survival in nature is always a
and the factors that determine textual survival are no less
temptation,
congregation."

complex.

It

is not my intention to go on with these sweeping

contrary,

I want

statements.

On the

to look more closely at a few instances where we can catch a

moment of the transition of the text into print, in the early years of printing, in

order to gain an understanding of methods and standards prevalent in an early


printing house. The point I want to make here is very much a question of
perception and how we direct our perception to the text, rather than the
technical procedure of the printing house, or specifically to that short moment
in time when the two interact.
My first example concerns one of the first books printed in Mainz, the
Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, by Cuillelmus Durandus, printed in 1459
by Fust and Schoeffer, after they had completed their first editions of the
Psalter. The Durandus is one of those books printed in Mainz which survive
only in copies printed on vellum. The one exception is the copy in the
Bavarian State Library in Munich which is mainly printed on paper. When a

"For a description of features of the copy in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center,
B. Todd, The Gutenberg Bible: New Evidence of the Original Printing, The Third
Hanes Lecture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1982). Todd saw the use of the flexa as

see William

an indication of use and ownership by a house

of the Cistercian order. By the middle of the


fifteenth century the flexa had been taken over by others. P.J. Gumbert briefly sketched the
history of the use of the flexa (or punctus circumflexus) in his dissertation, "Die Utrechter
Kartauser und ihre Biicher im fruhen funfzehnten Jahrhundert" (Leiden, 1974), p. 159ff. The
Cistercians had taken over use of the flexa from the Benedictines of Molesmes, as did the
Carthusians, and later their example was followed by the scribes of the Windesheim congregation
who used it for punctuation of texts that were to be read aloud. (I am grateful to Professor P.J.
Obbema for this reference.) Bonaventura Kruitwagen, o.f.m., who was particularly expert in the
script of the Brethren of the Common Life and Windesheim, discussed the function of the flexa in
his essay, "De drie soorten van fratersschrift: fractura, rotunda, bas tarda," Laat-Middeleeuwsche
Paleografica , Paleotypica, Liturgica, Kalendalia, Grammaticalia (The Hague: Martinus Nyhoff,
1942), pp. 64, 70, 72, illustrated in figures 2 and 5. A further discussion of its function as used by
Thomas a Kempis can be found in L. M.J. Delaisse , he manuscrit autographe de Thomas a Kempis
et "Limitation dejisus Christ" (Paris: Erasme, 1956): 2. 165. See also plates.

133

few years ago

had an opportunity to examine this copy,

that it was printed on paper was no coincidence:

I found

that the fact

it contained

notes and

which could be recognized as the marks made by proofreaders.


There were in all 16 pages which contained such marks. As there are users'
scribbles

notes all through the book, it is obvious that the proof-sheets

were used to

make up a copy.

I compared photographs of the Munich copy with two copies of the


Durandus in the British Library, in order to understand more of the nature of
the corrections and how they were executed. The corrections show what was
relevant to the producers of the book, and in this case they go into
extraordinary detail. In all, I found 150 marked corrections, and they can be
usefully divided into categories. In the first place, there are plain typograph
ical errors: upside-down types, which had to be corrected, or faulty alignment
of type. But there were also requirements to change sorts, to substitute tied
letters for single sorts, to change abbreviations and contractions. There are
requests to take out space, or to insert space. All these are purely technical,
but the same corrector had an equally careful eye for the minutiae of the text.
He required quite numerous alterations to the punctuation, either deletion or
insertion of full stops; he preferred certain spellings of words; he spotted
misreadings of copy which could result in the substitution of one word for
another, for example vinum becomes vnum, or changes in word-order,
of a correction in the exemplar. Occasionally
Some of these
corrections caused the resetting of lines. There was even more serious error:
the corrector found that one line had gone astray completely, and had it
moved 25 lines lower than the place where it had been placed originally. This
was indicated with a system of crosses and lines which today could be followed
quite easily by a compositor, as could most of the other signs.
The initial findings are mainly pertinent to printing-house practice: to the
modern observer it may be astonishing to find that the proof-sheets had
color printing in red and blue, and look altogether very
perfectly-executed
different from the results of rough printing that we associate with proofs.
There are indications in the sequence that proof-reading and printing took
place page for page, a sheet passing therefore through the press four times at
least, more often if there were color printing. One correction shows that a
page must have been typeset after the final correction of the previous page a
possibly caused by a mis-reading
words had apparently

fascinating

glimpse

been missed out and were inserted.

into a real time

sequence.

It

is, however,

not the

procedures of the printing house with which we are chiefly concerned here,
but the concern shown in the printing house to the correct presentation of the
text. In this respect we can only arrive at a general statement: that care for the
presentation of the text was detailed to the point of fussiness, and seemed to
be as much for the correctness of the text in relation to its exemplar as for
details of typography. To what extent this is reflected in the quality of the text
134

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Early proof corrections: Bonifacius VIII, Liber sextus Decretalium (Mainz: Johann Fust
Manchester, John Rylands University Library, 9001.

and Peter Schoeffer, 1465), leaf 11 verso.

in relation to its textual transmission I cannot tell. To my knowledge there is


no detailed study of the Durandus text.9
I arrive at a very similar conclusion for the proof-sheets of a slightly later
book produced by the same printing house in Mainz. This is the edition of the
Decretals of Boniface, printed by Fust and Schoeffer in 1465. In this case too
we have a book that survives mainly in copies printed on vellum, but two
copies are extant on paper, one in the city library in Trier, which I have not
seen, and one in the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.10 In this
latter copy I encountered four pages with proof corrections. It is difficult to say
whether we recognize here the hands of the correctors of the Durandus on
balance I would say not but the method seems very similar. There is less
correction in the Boniface, and less variety. The leaves are, as in the
Durandus, an example of very good printing, not rough at all but apparently in
finished state. It is as if the proof sheets represent a general rehearsal for the
definitive production of the book. The Boniface has a more complicated layout
than the Durandus, that of a text surrounded by a commentary. The most
interesting correction is textual, but since it affected space it had conse
quences for the layout. Two lines were missed out and inserted in the first
column of commentary on leaf 1 1 verso, meaning that two lines were moved to
the top of the second column, the short commentary lines parallel to the text
had to be re-arranged and broken up differently, and the two bottom lines of
the second column had to be moved to the next page, 12 recto. This was duly
done, as we can see in the completed edition, but also, more surprisingly, on
the proof of 12 recto. Here as in the Durandus, we can see that the printing of
proof sheets took place page for page, and that a following page waited until
the previous page was entirely finished. As with the Durandus, it is difficult
not to concentrate exclusively on the implications for the printing house, and
to see this primarily as an example of care in the production of the text.
An understanding of the concern for the production of a correct text may
help us when approaching a difficult and even controversial question, the
printing of the Mainz Catholicon. I do not wish to go into the controversy
here, and shall merely sum it up by reminding you that the Mainz Catholicon
exists in copies printed on three distinct supplies of paper, and on vellum, all
in what amounts to identical typesetting. In 1980-1982 the observation was

'For a more detailed discussion of the Durandus (or Duranti) proof, see my article, "Proof
reading in 1459: The Munich Copy of Guillelmus Duranti, Rationale," Ars Impressoria:
Entstehung und Entwicklung des Buchdrucks. Eine Internationale Festgabefur Sever in Corsten
zum65. Geburtstag, ed. Hans Limburg, Hartwig Lohse, Wolfgang Schmitz (1986): 183-202.

VIII, Liber sextus Decretalium, with gloss of Johannes Andreae (Mainz: Johann
'"Bonifacius
Fust and Peter Schoeffer, 17 December 1465). GW 4848. John Rylands University Library 9001.
One leaf was reproduced in Lotte Hellinga, "The Rylands Incunabula: An International
Perspective," Bulletin du bibliophile (1989): 34-52, Plate 3.
137

made that there was a considerable


hypothesis

gap in time between the manufacture

of

sought to explain this by the


that the book was printed with intervals of time in three lots, in

these paper supplies,

and in 1982 Needham

1460, 1469, and 1473, making use

of a precursor of "stereo-type," an invention

of fixing typographical

on two-line units which were twice reas

material

for the later issue. This process of printing would have been
Gutenberg's final invention. " Recently I have re-interpreted the evidence for
the existence of the book before the year 1470, and have suggested that an
alternative hypothesis could be that the Catholicon was all printed circa 14681469, in one typesetting of movable type, printing divided over three presses
or production units. For safe transfer between presses, the type would have
been secured (in line-pairs, columns, and pages) in a way that was unusual in
normal practice of printing in movable type. I have also suggested that the
book may have been produced by a partnership that came into being in the
aftermath of Gutenberg's death, early in 1468. I2 Controversy apart, we all
agree that the Catholicon is an exceptional book, and there is much to indicate
that we see here an attempt to produce a large number of copies from one
typesetting after it was corrected with unusual thoroughness, whichever way
the type was secured or whatever the timespan in which the book was
produced. Whichever hypothesis about its production and dating we prefer,
we can see here another departure in practice in, apparently, a deliberate
attempt to avoid resetting of text. The aim of the publishers must have been to
make the best possible use of one correct typesetting. It is a curious fact that in
the early years of printing, until the middle of the 1480s, we can cite a number
of instances of double typesetting of complete books or of substantial parts of
books. The labor of composition seems in these cases to play only a minor role
in the cost and effort of producing the book; with every resetting the labor of
proofreading, on the other hand, automatically doubled, as did the risk of
introducing new errors. By the late 1460s printers and editors had gained
ample experience of the multiplication of error as the evil force that will
forever accompany the mechanic multiplication of texts. The great care
lavished on securing the textual correctness of the Catholicon once it was
established in a typographical form may be an attempt to combat this evil,
when through an exceptional set of circumstances it became expedient to
introduce a new printing procedure.
sembled

"

"Paul Needham, "Johann Gutenberg and the Catholicon Press, Papers of the Bibliographical
Society of America 76 (1982): 395-456. See further discussions in Walter J. Partridge, "The Type
setting and Printing of the Mainz Catholicon," The Book Collector 35 (1986): 21-42, and P.
Needham, "The Type-Setting of the Mainz Catholicon: A Reply to W.J. Partridge," The Book
Collector 35 (1986): 293-304. More observations and discussions are available in: Wolfenbiitteler
Notizen zur Buchgeschichte 13 (1988), Proceedings of an Arbeitsgesprach held at the Herzog
August Bibliothek in Wolfenbiittel, 17-18 December 1985.
12Lotte Hellinga, "Analytical Bibliography and the Study of Early Printed Books: With a Casestudy of the Mainz Catholicon," Gutenberg-Jahrbuch (1989): 47-96.

138

One result of the publicity the book

has received in recent years is that it has

been studied much more closely than ever before. Martin Boghardt,
Herzog August Bibliothek
see most

of the

in Wolfenbuttel,

76 extant copies

of the book

has travelled around the world

to

(at the latest count) and has examined

especially the cancel leaves that occur in some 50 of these copies.


careful distinction

of the

13

He made

between cancellation caused by errors in presswork

and

cancellation with corrected text, which could be clearly established in some


where the cancellandum survives in part of the surviving copies, the
cancellans in others. It was pointed out that in at least one place the resetting of
cases

line-pairs for correction demonstrably took place at a point in time later than the
production

of the sheet in the ordinary

sequence

of production."

If

we

hypothesize printing divided over three units, we may assume that the error as
printed at the first unit was discovered while the page was prepared for printing
at the second unit, and sent back to the compositor (only present at the first unit)

for correction. This could be carried out at any convenient time, even after
printing of the main sequence was finished, for once page-length is established
the sequence of printing can essentially be arbitrary.

It

shows the overriding

concern for a correct text when the convenience of working stricdy in textual
sequence is sacrificed to a late correction phase, which is, one must assume,
merely a continuation of the correction procedures that must have been carried
out before printing. The half-sheet containing the error would be replaced in the
section already printed at the first unit (on Bull's Head paper), and could form
part of a full sheet when the corrected type-page was forwarded to the presses
printing on Calliziani and Tower & Crown paper. The alphabetical sequence of
most of the text must have helped to guide isolated cancellantia to the correct
place in the book. Usually this perambulation of formes was therefore carried out
correcdy,

but Boghardt

has

elsewhere

pointed

out an instance where

this

procedure led to the error of including a sheet twice in two parts of a single
copy.

15

Boghardt's survey of copies shows that cancellation with text correction is

confined to copies produced at what we all consider the first production unit (on

"Martin Boghardt, "Die bibliographische Erforschung der ersten 'Catholicon'-Ausgabe (n),"


Wolfenbiitteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte 13 (1988): 138-176.
"Folio 88 ([k]4), illustrated by M. Boghardt, "Bibliographische," p. 159. The question of the
order of printing was raised by P. Needham in "The Catholicon Press of Johann Gutenberg: A
Hidden Chapter in the Invention of Printing," his contribution to the Wolfenbuttel proceedings,
pp. 199-230, with the surprising comment (p. 225): "if we envision concurrent printing, whether

of movable

types or of paired-line slugs, I find the sequence of correction here very difficult to
comprehend. "The crux lies obviously in the value attached to the word "concurrent," rather than
in correction procedures.

"Martin Boghardt, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 67 (1985):
Boghardt discusses sheet 63.68 of volume 2 as having been wrongly inserted in the first
volume of the Spencer copy (on Bull's Head paper), but inserted in the correct place in the second
volume where it is printed on Calliziani paper. The error can well be understood if it took place in
561-566.

a correction procedure similar to the one I sketched.

139

Bull's Head paper and vellum). In the copies produced later in the production
sequence we see only one instance of cancellation of leaves (in the Tower &

Crown unit), and here I am inclined to conjecture that they correct an error of
imposition, of the kind that could easily occur in page-for-page printing.
Boghardt's investigations form an important contribution in showing the
considerable care and labor given to producing a corrected text. The cancels
that he has found are as clear evidence of the care and labor demanded for the
correction of the text as the proof-readers' marks in the Durandus and
Boniface. The text was a lexicon mainly of terms found in the Bible, and
therefore an important text in its time. It had been widely disseminated in
manuscript, and on the basis of the manuscript tradition it was possible to
arrive at an assessment of the value of the version of the text presented in the
Mainz Catholicon. G. Powitz (Frankfurt am Main) distinguished various
branches of the transmission of the Catholicon text and identified the place of
the Mainz Catholicon edition in that tradition.16 He also established that the
Mainz edition was the ancestor of the tradition of the text in print after 1470
22 editions of which are recorded in the fifteenth century. The only
independent edition is printed before that date: the Augsburg edition of 1469,
in which slight but significant textual variants show that it cannot have been
derived from the Mainz Catholicon.
Finally, I should like to take a longer look at yet another text printed in
Mainz, the letters of St. Jerome, completed by Peter Schoeffer in September
1470. This is work in progress, and I can give you only preliminary results, but
I think that it is material that serves well to contribute to the point I hope to
make.17 Peter Schoeffer's Jerome was the fifth edition of this text, which, after
the Vulgate Bible, was of the greatest importance to readers in the fifteenth
century. The Jerome was one of the first, if not the first, book printed in Rome,
produced by the German printer, Sixtus Riessinger, perhaps in collaboration
with Ulrich Han, in or about the year 1468. 18This version of the Letters was
prepared by Teodoro Lelli, Bishop of Treviso, after whose untimely death in
1466 the printed edition was commissioned by a kinsman to commemorate
him. The second edition sought to improve upon the first. Some friends of
Lelli approached Giovanni Andrea Bussi, Bishop of Aleria, who was to
establish a working relation with two printing houses active in Rome, the
leG. Powitz, "Das 'Catholicon' in Buch-und Textgeschichtlicher Sicht," Wolfenbutteler
Notizen zur Buchgeschichte 13 (1988): 125-137.
17H *8553 and H *8554, Goff H- 165. I am undertaking this research with Dr. Eberhard Konig,
complementary to his art-historical investigation into the illumination and distribution of the
copies.
18

Hieronymus, Epistolae, HC *8550, Goff H-163, is attributed to Sixtus Riessinger of Rome in


Catalogue of Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century Now in the British Museum Part IV. Italy:
Subiaco and Rome (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1916), p. 27. On J.L. Sharpe's view that this
edition should be dated about 1466-67, see D.E. Rhodes in The Library 6th Series 5 (1983): 6871, where a date of not after 1467 is suggested.

140

German printers Sweynheym and Pannartz, and also with Johannes de


Lignamine, the first Italian printer to settle in Rome. Over a period of only a
few years Bussi was to prepare a succession of texts for printers in Rome, of
which the Jerome was the first. Lelli's friends had asked Bussi if he could make
Lelli's edition more readable and intelligible, for to their taste Lelli had not
been critical enough of the manuscript sources he had used. In December
1468 the edition prepared by Bussi was completed
by Sweynheym and
Pannartz, and in 1470 it was reprinted by the same printers with slight
revisions. " Bussi's procedure was to use the first edition, the Lelli text printed
by Riessinger, as the basis for his text, into which he introduced a number of
emendations. The three Rome editions form therefore a coherent tradition.
Almost simultaneously, probably in 1469, a textually quite independent
edition was printed by Johann Mentelin in Strassburg. "This edition presents
the text in a quite different order and selects different letters as authentically
written by St. Jerome. The Mainz edition, completed in 1470, is again
independent of its predecessors, containing more letters than any of those,
namely about 200 (of which 133 are now considered authentic) against some
180 items in the Rome editions and 130 in the Strassburg recension.
One feature that makes this sequence of editions exceptionally interesting
is that these books contain so many declarations

about the circumstances

of

their origin. The first edition contained a preface by Lelli's kinsman Gaspare
de Teramo in praise of the late bishop; Bussi's edition contains two lengthy
prefaces;21 the Strassburg edition is again an exception and has no preface. The
Mainz edition has not only a long and carefully considered preface (in two
versions), but there is also a printed advertisement, which points out that with
200 letters it contains many more than most collections of letters ascribed to
Jerome.22 This is due, the advertisement says, to a diligent investigation in
'"HCR 8551, Goff H-161 (the edition dated 13 December 1468), and HC *8552, Goff H-164
(the edition dated 1470).

"HC *8549, Goff H-162. A copy at the Bibliotheque Nationale is bound in a signed binding
(Johannes Richenbach at Geislingen) with the date 1469 (CIPBN H-96).
"Most recently edited by Massimo Miglio, Giovanni Andrea Bussi: Prefazioni alle edizioni di
Sweynheym e Pannartz prototipografl Romani (Milan: 1978), pp. 3-11.
The prefaces to the two issues of the Mainz edition have not been edited. For the
advertisement see: W. Velke, "Zu den Biicheranzeigen Peter Schoffers," Veroffentlichungen der
Gutenberg-Gesellschaft 5-7 (1908): 231-235, with facsimile. More extensive comment is pre
sented in: Hans Michael Winteroll, Surnmae innumerae: Die Buchanzeigen der Inkunabeheit
und der Wandel lateinischer Gebrauchstexte im Friihen Buchdruck (Stuttgart: Hans-Dieter
Heinz, 1987), pp. 121-167. Two versions of the advertisement are known, one with the
announced date "in proximo festo michaelis" in Einblattdrucke des fiinfzehnten Jahrhunderts
(GW [Einbl] 1297, copies in the British Library, London, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek,
Munchen, and in New York, the Pierpont Morgan Library), and an apparently earlier one with
the indication "anno vertente.

"

This version existed in a copy in the Liibeck Town Library, now


Vereinsfiir Lubeckische Geschichte und Altertums-

lost, described by I. Collijn, Zeitschrift des


kunde 9 (1907): 285-333.

141

libraries of cathedrals and monasteries. The advertisement further stresses


that the text was well-corrected; and that these are not idle words is borne out
by an examination of extant copies.
The Rome editions and the Mainz edition are with their prefaces quite
personal presentations. The Mainz edition concentrates on explaining its
methods, and its use of the earlier work of the twelfth-century Carthusian
Guigo and the fourteenth-century Bolognese scholar Johannes Andreae.
There is a long discussion about which texts are included in the collection,
their number and their authenticity. The question of which texts belonged to
the Jerome canon was of more concern to the editor than the accurate
representation of what were supposed to be Jerome's own words.
Although his name is not given in the book itself, we know, from other
sources, who the editor was; documentary evidence suggests he can be
identified as a certain Adrianus Brielis, a Benedictine monk in St. Jakob near
Mainz, whose abbey belonged to the Bursfeld congregation, the Benedictine
reform movement which we now associate with the initiatives which led to the
beginning of printing in Mainz. For a short time beginning in 1450, Adrianus
was abbot of the Benedictine house at Schonau, but in 1465, he resigned from
this function to devote himself entirely to his work on texts to see his Jerome
through the press, we should like to think. We owe this knowledge to the work
of a librarian of the St. Jakob monastery, who flourished early in the sixteenth
century, a Benedictine named Wolfgang Trefler, who added to sentences of
praise about Adrianus's diligence and great expertise in dealing with texts the
note: "edidit prologum in epistolare Hieronymi." Adrianus died at an
advanced age in 1472, two years after the completion of the printed book.
Direct information provides no more than the merest outline of a portrait of
Adrianus, who is certainly reticent about his identity and his life. The only way
to meet him is through the monumental book in which he speaks so vividly of
his working methods. But we may be able to come a littie closer to him and his
association with the text by examining the copies of the book and bringing
them into the context of the printing house and the production of the text.
The Mainz Jerome is a very large book containing 408 leaves and often, but
not invariably, bound in two volumes. Most of the extant copies are printed on
imperial paper (the largest size of paper available at the time), but out of the
total of 77 at present recorded copies 13 are printed on vellum. It presents a
bibliographer's puzzle, if not a nightmare, since it is one of those incunabula of
which substantial parts have been typeset twice, including the beginning and
end. Bibliographers have therefore found it difficult to decide whether it is
one book or two books, although all copies, of both issues (as I think they

*The editor of the Epistolae was first identified as Adrianus Brielis by F. Falk, "Der gelehrte
Adrian O.S.B. des Peter Schdfferschen Druckerei zu Mainz," Zentralblatt fur

Korrektor

Bibliothekswesen 19 (1899): 233-237.


142

fibivuftq6mgencfifenpmefl-omie
~>idd
oravtnram fcprrmvmdictasexfotuttf
oi'jrcrSrufvalCr
bona-qujremrregacon'ovtrmudiott hnmudiAaialibuanundatrumrmmundiimcbi(tom'icflVpjITirc mno
uorcO-jmcropjIrvifionemquepsrrofucrat
ofrenfjDiariabfitOiica mrqt?munrn rm
munduniinq-mrronntm00mcuwr tr crlo
ncpnernvnaf
rr(a>ntn't:q6lruBmudjuirni
mcrrrog-aco.
yurtrus(oqtur.id abraba-q*
quarragriatioc
fib]lfrfV rgipro cITcntreucT
fun:ft poltiMntOffcefcnpfir-quira aurj^gr
merarft fitifliraW tr rem egipfl 06 vfl
injiptpnJturviDidTe^rrarai.rnnrirogacoAr abobamfitrifucfifrmiinartuafione
lurcrpi1iwcrn><raa'o,
nri
^krpfjjcvirtumisittrocanjsnoniln
-ooW;fi cutnoJu*trccptu*crroicbnoipr
"V(J ftnfiuaadqoncs
a>
(exud
poftt4.<cp(j
nflrmo ajyoamalb
CTOmmufli OfVq
plain rueloranoarm
i:^reJtrm
acaronorato
ctapcrmipauL^uo
oftiotimfparatoq6
lerJtofy.pinptuniBjii
1.1
crego
rogirarocprrtgeba^nrcrnn
mileararulumourbjmufiai fubiro
ftmguam
>brbixtiemriicmr:MVmnonpjuci'VDlumTj
quett fm flogleiiruflacecpat
. irt ihno.
batre mquitqopjlrulaucrafimeqi
Oubtinet
q'iir"-icrrenelncrrmifafcl>mu^e>:rcrmit:ur
oimb>prcrmifTt
adrn-1bMur1afuot.1rr.Cti
quidufqjmpi'iBfanoT^eruqifcrnourono
ad mennlTourtupuraseplamureq-ofenno
t

tit

a
qfi

St. Jerome and the lion, Hieronymus, Epistolare (Mainz: Peter Schoeffer,
recto. British Library, C.ll.e.13.

September

September

1470.

Each issue has

should be called), bear the same date,

1470), leafa

Figure

5:

rt

in

(J.

ifi

imicnrctrtthn^o urnfpclcjjcrernpaut
qpfrnbrnrfqueftiuruliean reimfTifttatare
Oifpoiui:noquo a lege notrhus fcvccntm
idunronduno afaoalinrripmgiicfnf.ia>:
quoIn-rornerrufhiafirtire fmbas.^ra
qjqt'nabr/nraMI-ino .id merrrmflongll.if.
bij qs
urna-cpt'iftbaorrcbmfti cjreepne
txremoaltqnDidtaucne<qujfq}toraJuiulrrorollinnirs
trfmpfi:fl
birjrrtcfpjrq.1
tcfumuidnoottiioptb?aliq fivdlcpjfle oi;
are;iitvntcraenpioaboffnvntvq'rogarf
wlui*rarnjnncgjirdj?cqj.wr0ulla puro

\ :

<

'.

jjye

Avif.iuiriiibf.itinimfmiiir.iB*ftjltjn'oanti
j^ofifTimilciiffimi
^lid pcoci bcnonfircnod
fieoiehi*to
;"1nop
plas
u6"]erorrmnatiu
ad
a
DiufoA
Oiurribru
jpmlj
AxTlcTOfiiim
pi
jf
rtanfi
Wiff
u
miido
h>c
irnarla
3n
oufpafttnoitripuiomerm*DiumaVturcpa
ItrjM OOncJf.trpnuturpo epicoaroafianc.
nty

preface of its own, one addressing "Omnibus ecclesiastici ordinis devotis


zelatoribus veritatis," the other more simply: "Omnes christiane religionis
homines.

..."

Until now bibliographers had noted only vaguely that there was great deal
of resetting in the volumes without stating quantity or proportion. With the
help of microfilms of the two copies in the British Library, which each
was able to establish the full extent of the
represents one of the issues,
resetting: in volume
only 30 pages are found in double typesetting, out of
total of 198 leaves, with consecutive sections at beginning and end, whereas in
I

"Hain described the issues as two separate editions (H *8553 and


described
*8554). BMC
the two copies in the British Museum collection, which fortunately are representative of the two
under one heading, noting "substantial" resetting.
Goff distinguished two issues,
indicated as (a) and (b), suggesting
relative chronological order which my present research
suggests should be reversed: issue (a), preface beginning "Omnibus," corresponding with
*8553; issue (b), preface beginning "Omnes," with
*8554.
H

issues,

143

volume II 128 leaves (or 256 pages) out of 210 are found in double typesetting,
in one consecutive sequence from what appears an arbitrary spot in the eighth
quire on.85 One may speculate that if the prelims, including the Tabula (all in
double typesetting) were printed last, and if part of the second volume was
produced concurrently with the first, then the decision to set large sections of
the second volume twice must have been taken towards the completion of the
first volume, and must have had something to do with speeding up the
completion of the work. The date for completion announced in one version of
the advertisement is Michaelmas (29 September), and it is remarkable that
the colophon date of 7 September is three weeks earlier. There is detailed
work to be done on the analysis of the typecase in order to put the relative
chronology of the production of the book beyond speculation, but
nonetheless, other features of this book have already revealed themselves. Of
the 83 copies of the Mainz Jerome at present known to be extant, there is an
almost equal division over the two issues, 40 of the one, 43 of the other. Each
has a similar proportion of survivors printed on vellum, 8 of the one, 6 of the
other. All the paper copies of both issues, in so far as examined at this point,
are printed on a homogeneous supply of paper, so there is no scope for theory
based on distinct paper stocks, as in the Catholicon.
I have collated a number of copies against the microfilms made at the British
Library, notably the astonishing concentration in Paris, where the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal possess no fewer than eight
between them. What I wanted to know was whether the distribution of the
sheets with double typesetting was random, or whether it was consistent over
the copies. My finding over a total of 19 copies, a sample that I certainly
intend to extend was that the distribution was almost entirely consistent. In
other words, the segregation of the two issues was made in the printing house
from the very beginning of the double typesetting, and was rigorously
maintained.86 The textual relationship of the two issues is extremely close.
One must be a page-for-page reprint of the other, but of such close
"In volume I the resetting comprises the

prelims (7 pages), leaves [e] 7-9 (6 pages), [t]7-[v]7 (17

In one copy (Hessische Landesbibliothek, Wiesbaden) I found, in addition, resetting of 16


out of 20 pages of quire [fj, apparently reset at a very late stage of production, on a different stock
of paper. In volume II all pages following [ H ]5 verso were set twice (128 leaves, or 256 pages). The
distribution of the reset leaves of

[t]

pages).

and [v] appears to be arbitrary; all the other resetting appears

had examined copies at the British Library

copies),

and

"At the time of writing

(2

to be consistent between the two issues.

copy on

loan to the British Library (first Doheny sale, Christie's New York, 22 October 1987, lot 9); Trinity

(2

(4

(4

College, Cambridge; Saint-Omer, Bibliotheque Municipale; Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale


Mainz, Gutenberg Museum; Aschaffenburg,
Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal
copies),
copies);
Hofbibliothek
copies); Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek; Trier, Stadtbibliothek; and

am deeply grateful to my colleagues in these collections for


Antwerp, Museum Plantin-Moretus.
all the generous assistance they gave me when examining these copies and in providing

photographic materials.
144

approximation
differences

that one has often to look long and hard to find the small

that betray that the page really was set again. Usually, when

one constantly finds slight differences in contractions,


line-endings, spelling, use of variable types or ligatures, to establish differ
ences in typesetting. In the Jerome, however, it is as if someone was under the
strictest instructions to follow the originally-set page with absolute accuracy.
Even so it is interesting that certain features were irrelevant: variant forms of
capitals, the use of lower-case letters for which there was more than one sort in
the type-case, the occasional contraction. (See figs. 6 and 7.) However,
is the overriding impression.
Could we
accuracy, even a near-facsimile,
be
here
with
a
text
that
had
been
dealing
perhaps
carefully proofread, the
result of long, hard labors not to be spoiled by careless resetting?
It is therefore interesting to find that close comparisons of copies can reveal
some textual variants. In the sections with double typesetting we find in one
set of copies occasional manuscript corrections. When I compared the nine
copies I saw on my trip to Paris including the one I examined in Saint-Omer
on my way there against the British Library microfilm, I noticed that the
same manuscript notes are found in all copies of this issue. In the other issues
these corrections are incorporated into the printed text. This finding was
confirmed by the subsequent examination of eight more copies. As far as the
printing house is concerned, we can therefore establish with certainty the
order of the two issues, and we have the satisfaction of being able to associate
the first issue, the one with the manuscript corrections and with the preface
addressed to the religious orders, with Peter Schoeffer himself, for he
presented a copy of this issue to the abbey of St. Victoire in Paris in
commemoration
of his late partner Johann Fust, who had died in Paris in
studying incunabula,

1467.n

The late correction phase in the printing house that is witnessed by the
consistently present throughout parts of the edition,
gives an insight into procedures of unusual immediacy between the printing
house and the corrector. I must admit that I find it difficult to resist the idea of
Adrianus Brielis at work in the printing house, insisting on corrections that
were incorporated in the second setting of the text. We may even imagine an
almost fanatical determination on the part of the old man to have these
corrections inserted in manuscript in all copies of the first issue. (Of course, I
have seen so far only a quarter of the surviving copies, and a much smaller
portion than what was actually produced, but enough to establish a strong
suggestion.) His perfectionism went even beyond this, for we find that in the
sections with single typesetting there are identical manuscript corrections,
albeit in various hands, entered in copies ofboth issues. They tell a tale of care
manuscript annotations,

"A. Bemhard, De I'origine et des debuts de I'imprimerie en Europe (Paris: A l'imprimerie


Impenale, 1853), pp. 253-255, and facsimile PI. I. This is the copy now at the Bibliotheque de
I' Arsenal, Grand folio 13 (with magnificent French decoration).
145

cr rvtvMiup

lacmis tact* mi

quid vC teqwd

bu abi fcneff as no tetun


no atno fta media.'Jetuii

cet
Cibu nbi tcnegras no teuin
b?

flit. fl?ul!a aia.; recipiorq


co:pe. Cafes fhilta pbn\

ns:n6amoifra."Jerumabzc
f2uUa afa? renpto .que me
co:pe. Tales frulra pbilol
tires.bafcraf jenonem rbeo

IC. 150.

fp

improuida picuh
maioj^bijrrw
et petit: ncc mfi pfl factti er fcelcer
*vuiaquato aiuo? sHcenfusttai
.

^f rottc brrcefii

raru ext

From N3 recto

b
11.

38 and 42, copy C. 11. e. 14.

b
1.

IC. 150.

ft

II

recto

49, copy

IC. 150.

puida picuu Temp maio?ubgmta


net in pfr fern c% beferni

:jc pent:
^v

uia quaro Maw

afcenfuarraro

xnfiis. j&ed rbtaoefcenfu rani ex


firmiflime tchis crpicrnsetnop;
f\aro per gradus btfrmraoi afcenc

qui muito g-iawus no bcfcendet.Tt


From N3 recto

38 and 42, copy

IC. 150.

Figure
Manuscript corrections in the printing house: details of corrections incorporated in
resetting of text in the two copies of the Mainz Jerome at the British Library.
6:

g.

firmiflime &>chisexpictnsern6|
ftaro prrcrradusbicrmtatu afcei
qui tnul to crrauius no brfcend at .

From

I.

14.

C.l I.e.

44, copy

brlvtur .'Vobis erberedanoifta


htansmrddl-ib:> fecit au^mentiuYi
iiidiis ipe fubuiTit:mimovosnon
>$rnouiMmmobms buies ardonb

b
11.

49, copy

From N10 recto

f.

1.

ir:hnmooms bwes ardo2ib;> laia*

tefcenfus

iipniMH anbecc rtrciter\vrfiailo3

ws

recto

C.ll.e.14.

ft

fB

[trans m celeftilv fcdt aujpnentu:


.nidus ipe uixit
non fuos

II

18 and 24, copy

rhbru.et ur plus adi tumu j.eub? e


cii."|n apc.v't pfi quifpc or qua nunc

44, copy C. 11. e. 14.

ebctur.lDobis ejdxreditaco ifta

e. From

From L6 verso

d.

c. From N10 recto

b
1.

Uibruiet ut plus adiaamuf cube eii


>cu ,~|n apcafiph* qu^cp or qua nur
u~itp tulifH ante fcece arater\erficul

b.

18 and 24, copy

ozvidebariss Mens ifta

h.

a. From L6 verso

b
11.

j#

bumife iqwctua rretnenti


tmcbim oiiafterm<pnrif
narronis ceteris feoaiato.

b
11.

nu II w rcqtucfnr

nem:fnp nullii requiefat


bumilei qui etui tretnen
qb* micbi an monafrcriu^
marrams ceteis feparan

fpi

n cm: fup

tired babeac lenonem

tJ:

en hn

antrq? nupra .^giair ut&icci


virgo. vrrjro marta: vrnufqj

antrcp nupta . "Jgitur ut t>iecre ce

vmufqj fexu

os irdicauere. 3pti id virgin


as ottnctcfrepvpfbitrn.Dpaco

lis trduaue'rV. ttptiwl virgmefw


as ottncrtrf:cpipfbiwn.t)j?aconi>
guntur aurviduuaut ccrte pft Q
44, copy

C.ll.e.13.

b. From p2 verso b 1. 44, copy

:rcnonnosnc

mtclligcrc non nos ner


ut oimo cna {ivolinnuf
cogamur .;>! cmm nn

;nac foztaffe nofpffunt


:ca w:ct aUe iuuare ad fa^
c. From g8 verso I. 50, copy C. 11. e. 13.

ut otmo eria frnolumuf


cogatnur .^>1 cmm nri

no f poflunt
ccatti:et ah c iuuare ad fa;

juac fbztaftc

d. From g8 verso 1. 50, copy

expediflet fi m bacvita
g-occarluHentret quatt i

ill

lici a:ce loquaah? tuc en


pfti s- quad ruftid otatDu

et

C.l I.e.

13.

f.

pfti s- quatt rufria ozato:


28, copy

From h2 recto

facta. f?on cotcpno:$ fcoleo ink

nets argumcnsajparenontet.qu

vobis tvftmiomauon

jeptanao

1.

g.

mvicrtes nonvidcnsetaudictcf
From h2 recto

47, copy C.

lie. 13.

(ut.

expedjfler It m bae vitao


g-oc carutflentrct quatt

urines ioquaabo tuc ei


bl.

IC. 150.

ir pi cVa temoftiada

crpichitrmofrrada fill

e. From h2 recto

28, copy

IC.

150.

facia. f?on c6tcpno: &>lco


nets argumens a|parc no fitr
vobts trftrmoma non jcpiai
et

mvitrtrs nonvklens
From h2 recto

47, copy

Figure
Manuscript corrections in the printing house: corrections found in sections
identical typesetting in both copies of the Mainz/erome at the British Library.
7:

IC. 150.

bl.

h.

a. From p2 verso

guntur autvidui:autccrtep

1.

mai*ia:

b
I.

virgo. virgo

IC. 150.

with

et

audi

and discipline in the printing house, and above all they indicate that no effort
was spared to produce a text which satisfied the editor.

I have made an attempt to assess how these corrections relate to the textual
tradition, in the first place thinking of the four printed editions that preceded
the Mainz edition in such a short space of time. Is it possible that Adrianus,
seeing his life's work taking shape in print, was surprised by the appearance of
the other versions, and hastily cleared his text of glaring errors? Too vulgar a
view, this: my few probes into the textual relation of the five printed editions
show no indication at all that the corrections in the Mainz copies are derived
from its predecessors in print. I have made only a slight attempt so far to test
the extensive manuscript tradition of these texts. Nevertheless, I venture a
guess, based on the nature of the variants, that they are not the result of a
belated collation once the text was in print. I think it is more likely that we see
here the editor aiming, according to the ambitions of his time, to present his
text "as new." In his function of editor he assumed the place of his author, St.
Jerome, whose figure, which is to be seen so often in portrait in the
illuminated initials of contemporary Jerome texts, presides over the book. In
this solemn transition he has the freedom to change a word, to improve
fluency, to introduce some minor amendments. They are only minor changes,
and they must have caught his eye as the text, with which he had been familiar
for so many years, appeared in a fresh guise in its printed form. As a method of
textual emendation it is contrary to every modern principle of textual
criticism. Every modern author, however, is familiar with this phenomenon
of seeing the text through fresh eyes, proof after proof, and if he gets the
chance, through various editions; so is every editor who has to present the
work of authors with this type of temperament.
In none of the examples of texts in the hands of early printers, editors, and
correctors that I have given here the Durandus, the Boniface, the Catholicon and the Jerome are we particularly interested in the development of
the text itself as manifested in its production in print. I have not even
concealed entirely my own struggle in not getting side-tracked by the delights
of detecting evidence for printing house practice. But even if my first
approach to each of these books was strictly bibliographical, I think that the
real interest lies in the relation of the editor, and the printing house, to the
text that was produced, and in the exact moment of change and transition.
They are uniquely creative moments, even if expressed merely in the deletion
of a full stop or the insertion of one tiny word. Their attention to detail, even
fussiness, in particular as evidenced by the manuscript corrections in the
Jerome, is no less than can be associated with the production in print of such
tirelessly inventive authors as Byron and Pound. This leads to the reflection
at a safe distance from modern discussion that when the modern editor is
required to present a text in a singular form, the modern reader may lose a
great deal by being deprived of that moment of transition. The methods of
148

investigating such moments of transition are those of analytical bibliography,


but there is a slight change in focus, with textual studies leading from the text
itself to a more general understanding of particular forms of text in a specific
cultural environment. What may be more deserving of our attention is the
multiple form of text, the moments of creative selection presented by such
multiplicity, and how the process of transition from one medium to the other
influences the formation of the text rather than the identification of one
definitive result. What we see in these examples is not so much the author's
creativity in action, as creativity reacting to the new form of dissemination.
With the introduction of printing, the form is no longer an individual means of
expression; we observe immediately a tension between literary creativity
the author's, or rather the editor's assuming the role of author and its
presentation to society. The printing house provided the new medium (as well
as its constraints)

and the early examples

have discussed here demonstrate

of early printing houses, in conjunction with their editors and


texts adequate to the requirements of a new and
unknown readership. This should prove a corrective to the currently preva
lent view that early printing houses were generally indifferent to the quality of
the texts they printed.
The texts I have briefly discussed here are no exceptions to my opening
remark that few texts as printed in the fifteenth century attract the interest of
the literary or textual historian: even in the great modern edition of the works
of St. Jerome, an author whose spiritual impact survives into modern times,
the early printed editions received no more than a passing mention. The brief
investigations into the early printed editions of the texts I discussed will,
therefore, not contribute to the history of the textual transmission of their
authors; they may serve, however, to highlight a different and no less
important explanatory function of the textual editor: to clarify in a historical
context the status of the text, by investigating the circumstances of the
production of the artifact by which it is transmitted, the standards aimed at by
its editor(s) and by the printing house, and by inference, the expectations of its
readership. This function easily becomes obscured when attention is concen
trated on purely textual issues in which the document or artifact acts primarily
as a material witness, as understandably happens in texts which still appeal to
the present-day reader. There is, after all, an advantage for the incunabulist
interested in texts in the fact that nobody expects to put the Rationale of
Durandus on stage, nor is anyone proposing a Penguin edition of the works of
Boniface or even of the Catholicon.
the concern

correctors,

to produce

149

Prolusions ;
or,

feleil Piece] ef antient

Poetry

tomfitd with great Care front their fevrral Originals,


and ofter'd to the Puhlick
at Sfecimensof the Integrity that Jbould he found
in the Editions of worthy Authors,

in three Parts ;
containing,

I.
II.
III.

The notbrtnune
duBion ;

Edward

Mayde ;

Mafter

Sackvile'r

and, Ovcrbury'j
Wife :
the third, a Play, thought to he writ

Shakespeare

Those extellentdidaftic Poemt, intittd

Ncfcc

Inby

teiffum,

witt by Sir John Davis :


with a Pre/ace.

Impiui hare tarn mlti novalia miln hbMt ?


Vine. Ed. I.
Barbaras has fegetn .'

London:
Printed

far J.

and R.

Tonson

/'* the Strand.

1760.

Title page from Edward Capell's Prolusions; or, Select Pieces ofantient Poetry (London: J. and R.
Tonson, 1760). This copy was W. W. Greg's and is inscribed "Walter W. Greg/Trin: Coll. Camb./
1911". The signature on the title page may be Capell's. HRHRC Collections.

Textual Studies and Criticism

By Hans

Walter Gabler

In all fields of knowledge and scholarship, the twentieth century has been a
period of progressive specialization, yet as it draws to its close, there are signs
of a turning of the tides. As my title suggests, I discern a fresh desire for
contact between Textual Studies and Criticism distinct disciplines today,
though the joint foundation of literary studies and philology as they were
understood up until two or three generations ago. If we go back far enough it
doesn't have to be to Alexandria, eighteenth-century Shakespeare studies will
suffice literary study was textual study, and philology, in the vernacular, the
securing (or divination, before, say, Johnson's Dictionary) of readings in
Shakespeare's plays and those of his contemporaries. Towards the end of the
century, the beginnings of a specialized methodology in textual criticism
became evident yet even if the systematic application by Edward Capell of
what might be called proto-bibliography laid the first seeds of a disjunction,
these took over a century to germinate.1 Biblical, classical, and medieval
textual scholarship apart although we are aware of their influence textual
studies in the modern languages came into their own around the turn of the
present century. This was one of several moves in a sub-dividing of the field of
literary studies, parallel to the generating of historical, or biographical, or
formalist, or evaluative
generic literary scholarship, or history-of-ideas,
criticism. Hierarchies were implied or postulated in the demarcation of the
division. Textual studies, specifically, were relegated into subservience. The
disjunction from criticism came to be increasingly marked as a consequence.

His
'Among works edited by Edward Capell (1713-1781) are Mr. William Shakespeare.
Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, 10 vols. (London: Dryden Leach for J. and R. Tonson in the
Strand, 1768) and Prolusions; or, Select Pieces ofantient Poetry, compitd with great Care from
their Several Originals, and offer d to the Publick as Specimens of the Integrity that Should be
in three Parts (London: Printed for J. and R. Tonson,
found in the Editions of worthy Authors,
1760). See also Notes and Various Readings to Shakespeare; Part the first (London: Printed for
Edw. and Cha. Dilly, 1775), and the later three-volume subscription set of Capell's commentary
which superceded this edition.

(1779-1783)

151

The development was by no means unique to English Studies. It happened


in German literary scholarship; the emergence of "Textology" in the Soviet
Union presumably had something to do with it; and as for France, the curious
reluctance one senses that there was until recently to develop modern textual
studies much beyond a nineteenth-century state of the art may have been the
inhibitive result, in this instance, of the divisions in the realm of literary
studies. About Italy I know little; yet the sense I get is of a strong allegiance to
medieval textual scholarship extended into the areas of post-medieval and
modern literature, and with considerable emphasis on theory (e. g. , a theory of
the variant) which in fact would warrant closer acquaintance.2 Yet, if not
unique, the disjunction of textual studies from criticism was perhaps most
pronounced in English Studies, carried as it was by two strong impulses. One
was the blazoning of a dichotomy between criticism and scholarship (an
American division this, in the first place; responsible, I believe, for much in
the present modern topography of the academic landscape in English,
American, and modern languages and literatures; and never whole-heartedly
embraced as a mode of self-definition in literary studies in Europe). The other
impulse came from inside textual studies themselves as they adapted the tools
of antiquarians, book collectors, and librarians to new ends. Redefining the
very term "bibliography," they developed analytical and textual bibliography
into their dominant, indeed all but exclusive, methodology. When I first
encountered the discipline some twenty years ago, it so excited me that I
didn't stop to think how odd it was to find the terms "bibliography" and
"textual criticism" used as virtual synonyms.
The relegation of textual scholarship to the periphery of literary studies and
into subservience to criticism had the counter-effect of strengthening textual
studies themselves. If the mode of the division owed much to the claims of
criticism to be both "other" and hierarchically superior, these were claims
implicitly conceded by textual scholarship. Emphasizing, in its turn, its
"otherness" by demanding recognition of the scientific quality of bibliogra
phy, it raised a rival claim to superiority by shifting ground which meant
neutralizing, yet not rebutting, criticisms claims on its own terms. This
opened a path to autonomy an autonomy for a time imagined to lie ideally in
the exclusive observation and analysis of inked shapes on paper without
regard to their meaning.3 Not criticism but inexorable logic was to provide the
foundations and determine the results of editing. Not altogether unlike a car
assembled in the factory and then sold to an owner left to explore and utilize all
its built-in capacity, a text was constructed in the editor's workshop and

D'Arco S. Avalle, Principt di critica testuale (Padova: Antenore, 1978 [1972]); and C. Segri,
"L'analisi del testo letterario," Awiamento all'analisi del testo letterario (Torino: Einaudi, 1985).
3See several of Greg's position papers in W.W. Greg, Collected Papers, ed. J.C. Maxwell
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966).

152

handed to the critic who, expected

to accept it as definitive (and himself


expecting to take it as such), was left to perform on it his criticism.
There are reliable cars; and there are reliable texts. Far be it from me to cast

of modern editing, or to look askance at the


bibliographical way of textual scholarship. Nevertheless, from the dominance
of bibliography in textual criticism in particular, and from the highly
specialized skills it demanded, the situation developed which is our present
concern. The editing of literary texts ceased to be the common pursuit of
literary and textual critics. The logical, formal, even technological intricacies
of text-critical and editorial thinking and procedure on the one hand
developed their own self-sufficiency, and on the other hand, were no longer
understood by literary critics either in themselves, or as the conditioning
factors of edited texts. The not uncommon consequences of the estrangement
of critics from textual scholarship were: belief that all was well, or facile
dismissal; complacent acceptance, or misunderstanding;
and on the whole a
nagging irritation at the hermeticism of editing. The estrangement on the side
of the textual specialists was from meta-critical developments: advancing
conceptions of the literary work; philosophical perspectives on meaning and
significance in texts; theories of text; the phenomenology of writing processes;
structural or sociological concepts of text versions.
Consider that the entire tradition of Shakespearean textual scholarship
converges on the authentic Shakespeare text. Behind the printed texts there
may have been a theatrical manuscript, yes, or a scribal transcript; but in back
thereof were authorial papers, and their authenticity was to be editorially
recovered, if at all possible. Marvellously, and brilliantly, R.B. McKerrow, at
the height of the bibliographical era in England, was able to show that quite a
number of plays were in fact printed direcdy from foul papers, from the very
fountainhead, that is, of the transmission . * In other cases, stemmatic thinking,
derived from classical and medieval editing, helped to determine and recover
the putative authentic text. The two texts of King Lear, as we know, were
defined as collateral so as to fit the pattern for retrieval of an archetype from its
descendants. Whether foul-papers or archetype-derived,
the most authentic
aspersions on the methodologies

Shakespeare text was pre-theatrical,


a play text.

It

and therefore, as it were, a book text, not

was to the recovery of book texts, after all, that editing was

geared for other literary genres, no categorical

distinction being made for

plays.

Now, the book text goes very well with the poetic drama, the most
Shakespeare in this respect that of the dramatic poet. Textual
criticism indeed responded to New Criticism. In the reconsideration of the
Lear question that Michael Warren initiated in 1976, and which has been such
authentic

'R.B. McKerrow,
Studies

"A Suggestion

Regarding Shakespeare's

Manuscripts," Review of English

11 (1935): 459-465.

153

an exciting

new chapter

in Shakespearean

textual criticism, the textual

unawares by the shift in critical interest


in Shakespeare which had been felt for a
decade or more before it imploded into the textual domain.5 It was owing to
the force of their archetype- and book- text-oriented traditions that the textual
specialists had so doggedly rejected the critical minority view of distinct
versions for King Lear voiced intermittently since the eighteenth century
until the critics finally simply refused to follow their specialist dictate.6 When
the attitude changed, the event bore the signs of a minor Kuhnian scientific
revolution, leading to a change of paradigm. The impulse for the change came
from the outside, and that the "outside," namable as an area of Shakespearean
criticism, should really have been in such proximity, highlights precisely the
disjunction of literary and textual criticism I have been talking about.
The new paradigm, in text-critical and editorial terms, suggested by the
King Lear case for Shakespearean textual studies is "the version," to replace
(or, realistically, to stand beside) the model of the archetype, or of the foul"
papers "Urtext. To think of texts and textual transmission in terms of versions
requires drawing upon critical faculties and resources in ways that AngloAmerican mainstream textual criticism, developed out of classical medieval
textual criticism and reinforced by bibliography, has sought to eliminate. By
"Anglo-American mainstream textual criticism," I mean the type of retrogres
sive approach, ascending against the line of transmission, always trying to get
behind what has been preserved and attempting to recover and reconstruct
what has been lost a Platonic approach in its search for the pure ideal, and at
the same time a curiously Derridean one, before Derrida, in its awareness of
always being at a remove from the original. Reinforced by bibliography, as we
have seen, it relies heavily on theological concatenation of formal elements,
desemanticized where possible, of texts and their documents of transmission.
A critical reasoning about textual situations and editorial choices and decisions
tends to be held back and admitted only when the bibliographical evidence is
unavailable or exhausted.
To regard works of literature and their texts in terms of "versions" implies,
by contrast, not to proceed against, but to follow the advancing, or descend
ing, line of the writing, revision, and transmission. To define a version is
essentially a critical act. The well-known standby examples from English and
American literature are the two texts each of Wordsworth's Prelude and
Henry James's Roderick Hudson. They are critically determined first as
specialists were caught somewhat
towards the theatrical dimensions

'Michael J. Warren, "Quarto and Folio King Lear and the Interpretation of Albany and Edgar,"
Pattern of Excelling Nature, ed. David Bevington and Jay L. Halio (Newark, DE:
University of Delaware Press, 1978), pp. 95-107.

Shakespeare,

This is program matically the stance of Steven Urkowitz, Shakespeare's Revision of 'King Lear"
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980). The question is fully developed in The Division of
the Kingdoms, ed. Gary Taylor and Michael Warren (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).
154

THE

PRELUDE,

(iROWTH OF

MINI);

POETS

\V imOBKOUmCAt

POKM;

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

RODERICK

HUDSON.

HENRY JAMES,

Jb.

LONDON:
EDWARD

MOXON, DOVER

STREET.

BOSTON:

R OSGOOD AND COMPANY,


Ln TionoaA mui, m Pnu*.oww*.* Co

JAMES

1B76.

Title pages from William Wordsworth's The Prelude (London: Edward Moxon, 1850), and Henry
James's Roderick Hudson (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1876). HRHRC Collections.

distinct works, or versions, under the identical title before textual criticism
and editing are brought to operate upon them separately. The same is of
course true for the two texts of King Lear. In the new Oxford edition of
Shakespeare's Complete Works, as I need not remind you, they have been
separately edited.7 The two Lear plays in the Oxford Complete Works are the
clearest indication of the reorientation in Shakespearean editing that the
Oxford Shakespeare has attempted to put into practice. Not only is it the first
edition ever to offer Shakespeare's plays in chronological order, but it is the
first scholarly edition to review the canon thoroughly with regard to the minor
poetry. It is also the first edition that turns a consciousness of versions of the
dramatic texts into a program of editing the plays, where possible, not in the
most original "Urtext" approximation recoverable, but in the shape they
attained in the theatre.

This raises critical questions before and after the event. First, obviously, all
facts and opinions about the Shakespearean texts and their transmission

need

to be weighed for their critical impact. The editors of the Complete Oxford
Shakespeare could never have attempted what they have undertaken without
full reliance on the Shakespearean bibliographical textual criticism of the
twentieth century. What is remarkable is that they have put the results and
insights of critical bibliographical research to new uses. Helped by bibliogra
phy to distinguish traces of versions, they have not only proceeded editorially
to separate them, but also to accept for the constitution of their edition
elements of text that previous editors rather rejected. Conversely, they have
eliminated again and again, and printed as addenda, lines and passages which
were critically deemed never to have had a version co-existence with their
textual surroundings, but which, by virtue of being a Shakespearean text, had
been left in place by a book-text-oriented editorial approach. After the editing
of the Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare, questions must arise perhaps
about the authenticity, certainly about the degree of authority, of the theatrerelated versions of Shakespeare's plays editorially prepared, and no doubt also
about how to square edited texts derived from theatrical manuscripts, in
preference over authorial papers, with the postulate of fulfilling authorial
intention in scholarly editing. These implications of the Oxford Shakespeare
have hardly begun to be focused on or explored in their consequences for
Shakespearean textual studies or criticism or, since Shakespearean textual
scholarship has traditionally provided the paradigm for textual studies in the
entire range of the literature, explored in their potential for a shifting of
emphasis, a reorientation, a rethinking in Anglo-American textual scholarship
as a whole.

'Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, gen. eds. , William Shakespeare:


Clarendon Press, 1986).
156

The Complete Works (Oxford:

To me, the new venture of the Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare is of


particular interest since it chimes in with central tenets of editorial theory and
practice developed for German literature. The relationship is distant enough,
not only because there is really no equivalent to the Shakespearean textual
situation in all German literature, but also because there is no background of
bibliographical methodology in German textual scholarship, whereas of
course, as I have indicated, the Oxford Shakespeare upholds strong al
legiances to the bibliographical way. The versional editing is only one aspect
of the Oxford Shakespeare; and even if it is pivotal theoretically to the
enterprise, the transmissional situation for the majority of the plays prevents
it from becoming

the editions's

dominant

mode.

It

should be all the more

of textual criticism to
which versional editing is central and there to consider the contexts of theory,
criticism, and editorial practice to which it relates.
In contrasting archetype, or "Urtext'-oriented, and version-oriented tex
tual criticism, I have already pointed to the opposed directional perspective in
the two approaches to the textual materials. In the one mode, textual criticism
endeavors to ascend from the extant textual states to the recovery of a lost,
purer text behind them. In the other, it follows the compositional and
transmissional descent. This means also that the modes focus on different
orders of variance. To recover the purer text requires stripping the transmis
sion of its corruption. Yet where versions are concerned, transmissional
corruption is really only a side issue. The variance that matters here is not
transmissional but revisional (and, hence, generally authorial). Versions may
be distinguished by the revisions which transform them, one into another.
Or perhaps I had better say with a view, for example, to theatre versions
of Shakespeare's plays the variance that distinguishes versions is not
corruptive but text-constitutive. Corruptive variance is what textual criticism
has long traditions of handling. The underlying authentic text is thought of as
stable, merely impaired in isolated spots or areas of textual error, and
restorable to full integrity by spot correction and emendation. While corrup
tions impair an original context, and contextual considerations therefore may
help to define and isolate the textual error, their elimination does not alter but
precisely restores the original context. Revisions, by contrast, are always
alterations of text and modifications of context. Therefore, they can never be
conceived of as confined in isolation to the spots or areas of text they manifestly
interesting,

therefore,

to observe more closely a school

alter.

To consider context determination of variants means relating text-critical


and editorial concerns to theories of text. No theoretical concept of the text is

required to deal adequately with textual corruption, since the business here is
to identify and eliminate textual error. If we observe how this is done
excising and replacing the corrupt element in the edition base text we
cannot fail to notice that this is a pattern of procedure which, in editing as we
157

is equally employed to cope with revisional


The procedure is called copy text editing. In fulfillment of W.W.
Greg's suggestions for a pragmatic approach to editing in the face of typical
transmissional
situations for Renaissance texts his "Rationale of Copy
Text"8 variance recognized as revisional in derivative,
post-first-edition
witnesses is grafted onto the edition base text, or copy-text, to yield the
critically edited text.
may be noted in passing that this
significant
extension of the reward-directed text-critical and editorial approach.) Such an
edited text of additive elements
justified by invoking authorial intention.
The objection voiced by, for example, German version-oriented textual
criticism against copy-text editing that the copy-text editor proceeds like
are used to seeing it practiced,

medieval

scribe

contaminating

is

is

is
a

(It

variance.

sources.

In

so doing,

he obliterates

the

of the version. Pragmatically, the objection may be,


and has been, brushed aside. Yet theoretically,
deserves serious con
it

constitutive determinants
sideration."

currently defined by German editorial


view of the literary text. What
constitutes the literary text
not the additive accretion of its elements, but
their mutual relationship on multiple structural levels. Hence, change,
revision,
never simply an isolated replacement, addition or subtraction. As
may be induced by the context relationship of the word or passage touched
in the revision, so
in turn affects and modifies the context into which
the essentially critical relevance of revisional
enters. What this implies
The
variance.
versional approach, having taken as its point of departure from
text theory control and balance the pragmatism towards text inherent in
textual studies themselves, operates under
critical premise conceived in
advance of the formalisms which rule textual criticism and editing. 10
The critical premise of the versional approach has three main conse
quences. One concerns the pre-decisions on the text-to-be-edited,
or the
edition base text. What
to be regarded as
version of literary work
determined in literary-critical terms and under the auspices, further, of the
circumstances
of its composition and the history of its publication and
reception. Thus, an edition may opt for compositional state before publica
from

as

structuralist

is

is

is

it

it

it

is

is

derives

The concept of the "version"

scholarship

VV.W. Greg, "The Rationale of Copy-Text," Studies in Bibliography


(1950-51): 19-36; and
Collected Papers, pp. 374-391.
'See Hans Zeller, "A New Approach to the Critical Constitution of Literary Texts," Studies in
Bibliography 28 (1975): 231-264, and the response by C. Thomas Tanselle, The Editorial

Problem of Final Authorial Intention," Studies in Bibliography 29 (1976): 167-211.


'"Several collections of essays over the past two decades have served to define and discuss the
positions of German editorial scholarship: Texte und Varianten. Probleme ihrer Edition und
Interpretation, ed. Hans Zeller and Gunter Martens (Munchen: Beck, 1971); "Edition und
5

(1975), Heft 19/20; and


Wirkung," lALi. Zeitschrift fur Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik
Zeitschrift fur Deutsche Philologie 101 (1982), Sonderheft "Probleme neugermanistischer
Edition," and 105 (1986), Sonderheft "Editionsprobleme der Literaturwissenschaft."

158

tion, or for the first-edition version (as in the case of Goethe's Die Leiden des
jungen Werther, regardless of the fact that the author much revised it for
inclusion in his Collected Works; it was the first-edition version that all
Europe read and responded to with a wave of suicides), or for a postpublication authorial revision, or, if a play, a theatre version. Free in his
options, the editor is not constrained by an all-ruling respect for the author's
final intentions. He is not the author's executor, but the historian of the text.
This consideration leads to the second and third consequences, which concern
the treatment of the text and the design of the apparatus. With regard to the
text, the version edited must be left inviolate, emended only in instances of
indubitable textual error. The design of the apparatus must carry the weight of
the history of the text, which in editorial terms now means the body of the
revisional variance, and must be able to relate in a meaningful way (meaning
ful, that is, under the critical premise of the context relationship of variants)
those variances of the edited text.
In editing, the inherited apparatus forms were designed to deal with
corruptive variance. They record the isolable incidence of corruption in
itemized cumulative lists. A reference and a lemma identify the spot or area of
elimination of a textual error. The juxtaposition in the lemmatized entry of
established and rejected readings allows the editorial decisions to be judged
individually. Inherent in the body of the rejected readings is a history of the
text, which, however, under the auspices of the "pure-text" edition, is strictly
a history of its corruption in transmission. In variorum editions, interestingly,
this type of listing becomes a record of the editorial, or the variant printing
history. The emendatorial mode of treating revisional variance in copytext
editing, finally, has also led to adapting the lemmatized list as the apparatus
format for recording authorial text superseded in revision.
It goes without saying that the lemmatized list was inherited also by
German editors. Yet with the awareness of the fundamental difference in
nature between transmissional and revisional variance, and the growing
sensitivity to the contextual relationship of revisions, a record of variants in
by lemmata came to be recognized as unsuited to
rendering revisional variance readable in context. The demand arose instead
fragmentized

isolation

for integrative apparatus forms to fulfill this purpose. The most expansive form
would be the parallel presentation of complete, and individually integral
versions feasible perhaps (and occasionally practiced) for brief lyrics, but
unwieldy (and economically prohibitive) for texts of greater length. The task of
analysis was given over largely to the reader and user of such an edition of
parallel texts, and the synthesizing potential of editing was forgone entirely.
At this juncture, an all-important factor in the versional orientation of
textual studies comes into play which I have hitherto held back from
mentioning. To think in terms of revisional variance and the "version" means
to focus on the genetics of a text, as well as on the genetic relationship of the
159

Holderlin (circa 1792) from a pastel by F.C. Hiemer, reproduced in


Holderlin's Selected Poems (London: The Hogarth Press, 1944). HRHRC Collections.
Portrait of Friedrich

text, or textual states, of a literary work. Just as the Shakespearean textual


situation provided the strong incentive for developing bibliography as the

of methodology in Anglo-American textual criticism and editing,


so it was the ample preservation of texts in manuscripts and successive states
of revision for Goethe, and nineteenth-century literature in general, that
fostered an early awareness of the genetic dimension of textual materials in the
German approach.
Specific editorial responses, however, were slow to develop. The combined
legacy of "best-text" editing and the lemmatized apparatus remained strong.
The turning point to a new mode of editing came in the 1940s with Friedrich
Beissner's edition of Holderlin's poetry." Rooted in an aesthetics of organic
growth, he devised an apparatus model to display the stages of composition of
the poetic texts from first seeds to final fruition. It was an integrative apparatus
by which the text in successive accretion and revision was made readable as a
consecutive arrangement of contexts. The underlying aesthetic concept was
teleological, so there was no question but to privilege the end state of
composition as the reading-text version of the edition.
Beissner's new departure set in motion a whole new wave of text-critical
theory and editorial practice. The manuscript i.e., the many-layered work
ing draft became an editorial object in its own right. Though unachieved
texts text abandoned in composition, left as fragments, never published
led to the recognition of the fallacy in Beissner's organic growth aesthetics,
centerpiece

nevertheless

Beissner's approach proved compositional

processes amenable

to editorial treatment and presentation.

The compositional process, too, came


to be seen increasingly in its relevance to the published text, and if the
versional approach to editing had begun by considering revisional variance
between published versions, there was no great difficulty in recognizing
composition and revision as two sides of the same coin, flipped, as it were,
about the moment of first publication. Consequently, no ontological signifi
cance for the work tended to be invested in the act of publication.
Clearly, text-critical thinking in these dimensions arrived at its own
material-based insights into the simultaneous process and product character
of texts, which modern text theory has developed independently by analytical
abstraction. The awareness of text genetics in text-critical pragmatism has
developed an understanding of the dialectic coexistence, in the documents
preserving and transmitting a work and its texts, of textual stability (in the
version) and textual instability, or dynamics (in the documented composition
and revision). (In terms closer to structuralist thinking, I have elsewhere

"Friedrich

Holderlin, Samtliche Werke, ed. Friedrich Beissner (Stuttgart:

Grosse Stuttgarter

Ausgabe, 1943), ff
161

referred to this dialectic coexistence

as one

of the "synchrony and diachrony of

texts.")12

Some interest perhaps may attach to a few aspects of the debate by which
the new understanding was developed.

The notion of "the version" in fact

came under some pressure from the ubiquity, proliferation, and multi-level
occurrence of revisional variance, especially in compositional documents,

i.e., manuscript drafts. In the extreme, an attempt at formal definition of the


"version" in terms of the "variant" led to the proposition that even a single
revision constituted a new version of a text. " There are examples in lyrical
poetry which answer to the proposition in practice. " Yet applied to most texts
and documents that carry revisions, it is unwieldy, hair-splitting, fragmentiz
ing, disintegrative since what it does is break up a text by its revisions into an
all but endless series of sets of differently correlated textual elements. Or so it
seems to do as long as each set is regarded as a stable text, potentially, in its
own right.

From an opposite angle in the debate, textual stability was categorically


denied and the concept of "the version," if not rejected, at least evaded or
suspended. An entirely new textual body was proposed as the object of
editing, namely the dynamic text in the shape of an integral apparatus
incorporating every act and stage of composition and revision in one
continuous presentation. Both analytic and synthetic, the apparatus was the
text itself in its very dimension of chronology and verbal and structural
articulation.

reading

text, deemed

a concession

mainly

to the "general

reader," could be dispensed with so it was proclaimed in a scholarly


edition." I hasten to add that I have not yet seen an edition realizing the
relentless purity of this idea. In more sober practice, editions proceeded to
synthesize the theoretical opposition. With a chosen version as reading text,
the dynamic apparatus became the vehicle for putting the revisional variance,
readable as a text in genetic progress, at the critic's disposal.
The critical relevance of compositional and revisional variance is uppermost
in much discussion of the integral apparatus format and the idea of encoding in
it a text in progress. In emphasizing the opportunity for looking into the
author's workshop, early rationalizations of an interest in compositional and
revisional materials may seem to admit to not much more than a wish to satisfy
scholarly curiosity. Yet eventually questioning into the status of such mate
"Hans Walter Gabler, "The Synchrony and Diachrony of Texts: Practice and Theory of the
Critical Edition of James Joyce's Ulysses," TEXT 1 (1984 for 1981): 305-326.
13Zeller entertains this notion in "A New Approach."

"A stunning example is Paul Eluard's renaming of a love poem as "Liberte. "See Louis Hay,
"Le texte n'existe pas," Poitique 62 (1985): 157-58, and "Does Text Exist?," Studies in
Bibliography 41 (1988): 75-76.
This is the thesis of Gunter Martens, "Textdynamik und Edition," in Texte und Varianten, pp.
165-201.

162

reflecting as it did on the hermeneutical


relevance of text history, on instability as an ontological duality of texts, and on
the inherent poetics of a text as interpretable from the patterns of its variation.
(Gunter Martens has been perhaps the most articulate reasoner in the
German debate for the theoretical implications inherent in the variance
dimensions of texts.)16 On a more pragmatic level, it has been argued that the
variation patterns along the diachronic axis of a text provide the textual basis
for interpretations
distinctly less speculative than any critical discourse
responding to a one-level text alone. (This was one of my points, exemplified
by a passage from Ulysses, in a paper delivered at the first STS conference in
and revisional variance has of
1981. )" Early and late, too, compositional
course been related to the author. The look into the workshop means glancing
over the author's shoulder. Beissner, in his premise of the organic growth of
the text, assumed an authorial intention towards perfection. An exploration of
writing processes with an understanding of psychology will bring out an
author's failings as well as his successes in achieving a text. From his work of
composition and revision in manuscripts and successive published editions,
moreover, he will appear both as writer and as reader of his texts. With James
Joyce as with Henry James, I have found it an extraordinarily fruitful critical
path to fold back, as it were, the interests and perspective of a reader-response
approach onto the text production, the writing process itself.18 From all points
of view, then, there is an insistence on the critical potential of textual materials
over and above their assumed role as the raw materials of scholarly editing a
potential which, if realized, is capable of bridging the gap between textual
studies and literary criticism and of leading textual studies and literary
criticism out of the ghetto of their self-inflicted specialist hermeticism.
There are signs that new forms of critical discourse are growing out of textcritical and editorial activity. In two recent instances that I wish to mention
the attempt has been made to employ an edition's apparatus in new ways to
integrate critical discourse. One instance is the commentary on emendations
in the Oxford Shakespeare. The extent of discursive reasoning about readings
in the Textual Companion to the Oxford Complete Works is unparalleled, as
far as I can see, in twentieth-century editions. 19 It exceeds the conventional
"Textual Notes" sections and abandons the austere formalism of apparatus
entries (in regular "Lists of Emendations
on which modern editions have
more

searching,

"),

rials became

lsGunter Martens, "Texte ohne Varianten? Uberlegungen zur Bedeutung der Frankfurter
Holderlin-Ausgabe in der gegenwartigen Situation der Editionsphilologie," Zeitschriji fiir
Deutsche Philologie 101 (1982), Sonderheft "Probleme neugermanistischer Edition," pp. 43-64.
17Gabler, "Synchrony and Diachrony."

Shakespeare.

"For Joyce, see Hans Walter Cabler, "Joyce's Text in Progress," Texte. Revue de Critique et de
Theorie Litteraire
(1988): 227-247.
"Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, eds. with John Jowett and William Montgomery, William
Textual Companion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987).
163

in favor of an amply verbalized discourse achieving an


and literary critical argument.
Perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of a "New Commentary" (what with
"New Literary History," or "New Historicism," why not "New Commen
tary?"). While commentary (as one of the sectional categories of the editorial
apparatus) used to be a basic function of textual studies and editing, we need
little reminder that, with the specializations of text-analytical and text -critical
skills, editorial and critical commentary in editions has been drastically
reduced, and the critical commentary often abandoned altogether, or else
segregated and delegated by the textual editor to a collaborator.
Again, the development hasn't been so radical in German as in AngloAmerican editing, and Gerhard Seidel in the second of my instances of a
new deployment of the apparatus has been able to depend on a continual lipservice, at least, being paid to the commentary requirement for scholarly
editions.20 Against the background of tradition for the sectional categories of
the editorial apparatus, he has rethought their correlation. The text in his
proposal is a poem by Bertolt Brecht as it went through a series of drafts and
rewritings. On paper at the material surface, so to speak the process is
prided themselves,

easy transition between text-critical

textual, and amenable therefore,

and to that extent, to a genetic apparatus

However, the draft changes and rewritings spring from the nature
of the poem itself, its intellectual and emotional core. A poetic address to Karl
Kraus, satirist and cultural and social critic in post- World- War- 1 Vienna whom
Brecht admired and considered his literary and intellectual ally, it reflects in
its rewritings Brecht's inner turmoil at what he perceived, or thought to
perceive, as Kraus's compromises at the rise to power of German fascism. Yet
in the writing, and as it appears, through the writing, Brecht's attitude and
understanding altered and became transformed in textual processes posses
encoding.

sing qualities beyond those formalizable in apparatus notations.


Acts and impulses of writing constantly interpenetrate,
but it is to the
analysis and record of the "acts," more than the "impulses," that apparatus
formalizations lend themselves. Only critical interpretative discourse can
explore the "impulses" yet editors have commonly left the field of inter

pretative discourse entirely to the critics. This is true even where Hans Zeller

distinction between "Behind" and "Deutung," em


phasizing that, for the successful critical editing of draft manuscripts, it is
necessary both to ascertain with care and precision what is there on the
manuscript page ("Behind") and to interpret it ("Deutung").21 The kind of
makes the important

in der Entstehungsgeschichte. Ein Gedicht Bertolt


ediert," Zeitschrift fur Deutsche Philologie 101
(1982), Sonderheft "Probleme neugcrmanistischer Edition," pp. 163-188.
"Hans Zeller, "Befund und Deutung. Interpretation und Dokumentation als Ziel und
"Gerhard

Seidel, "Intentionswandel

Brechts uber Karl Kraus historisch-kritisch

Methode der Edition," Texte und Varianten, pp. 45-89.


164

interpretation he envisages, however, is of the marks on paper to correlate


them, and it certainly does not become discursive but enters wholly into the
system of the genetic apparatus symbols. On the commentary level, Zeller
remains one of the staunchest upholders of the division between editing and
interpretation. Yet his distinction between "Behind" and "Deutung" may be
found to hold greater potential than he intended for it. For this distinction
would seem to have added an incentive to Seidel's procedure in his
paradigmatic case where, as he persuasively argues, the acts of writing and
rewriting demand to be critically interpreted, even to be correlated, and so to
be interpreted not merely as marks on paper but for the writing impulses
behind them. But then it would make only partial sense to communicate the
interpretation of the material acts by apparatus formalizations and not also the
text-critical and editorial reading and exploration of the impulses. Thus,
Seidel proposes an integral (genetic) apparatus whose formalizations mod
ulate into discourse. Interrelating the acts and impulses of the writing, the
apparatus as extended into commentary responds to the writing process as
both a scribal and a mental activity.
With the discursive emendation notes for the Oxford Shakespeare and with
Seidel's model of a genetic apparatus extended into commentary the point
reached with the critically reinforced "new commentary" present-day
textual studies and editing are ready to encounter French "critique geneti
que."* Strictly speaking, "critique genetique" is not a branch of textual
studies, as textual studies have conventionally been understood to lead to
scholarly editing. "Critique genetique" is a critical discipline operating on the
material immediacy of authorial manuscripts.
Granting at the outset a
structuralist view of the text, the discipline has made the "avant-textes"
(notes, sketches, drafts, proofs) its field of study. "Critique genetique" is
concerned with the critical implications of the writing process, with the
psychology of writing and the image of the author as projected through his
creativity, with the Derridean "difference" of all writing as it materializes in
sequences of variants and in the advancing and receding of textual states. In
the words of Louis Hay, its main originator, "critique genetique" does not
claim for itself new theoretical foundations, it opens up, rather, the "third
dimension of literature" which, with a reassessment of the role of criticism in
textual studies, is precisely the way of the future for these disciplines.23

"Comprehensively surveyed in P.M. de Biasi, "Vers une science de la literature. L'analyse


des manuscrits et la genese de l'oeuvre," Encyclopedia universalis (Symposium, 1988): 466-476.
"Louis Hay, "Die dritte Dimension der Literatur. Notizen zu einer 'critique genetique,""
Poetica 16 (1984): 307-323.
165

Xtje*t)teton*an&*tl)e+cree&+of

SKers+^lougtmtan
netolp

imprintcD

jftwaBPSMkte

Title page from William Langland's The Vision and the Creed of Piers Ploughman (London:
William Pickering, 1842). HRHRC Collections.

Life in the Margins, or, What's an Annotator to Do?

By Anne

What should the annotation

of

Middleton

vernacular literary work do to


Annotation is ordinarily regarded
in medieval vernacular literary studies as a blameless, selfless work of
mediation between what is complacently called the "otherness" of medieval
literary texts and their world and those of modern readers, a labor that is
considered virtuous precisely because it does not lend itself to theoretical or
interpretive display. Its nominal goal is to render that work more legible than
it might otherwise be to that supreme fiction of this enterprise, the student
whether by that we mean those we actually teach, or colleagues or other
interested readers. I should like to call into question whether annotation can
be conceived in these terms as the "service profession" (as Ralph Hanna
that
ironically calls
currently imagined to be within medieval literary
a medieval

we take seriously what textual studies can demonstrate

texts we propose to represent.

about the

'

if

studies,

it
is

it)

represent that work to our contemporaries?

it

it
is

The following reflections on annotation come from the threshold of what


foolhardy enterprise, and looks increasingly like quixotic one. Five
of us John Alford, Stephen Barney, Ralph Hanna III, Traugott Lawler, and
have constituted ourselves
team to annotate the magisterial Athlone
Edition of Piers Plowman. We expect to gather at the University of California
at Irvine in the winter and spring of 1990 to contemplate just what
we
think we are doing, and to try to do some of it. In anticipation of some of the
kind of job description,
issues we will face, my effort here will be to propose
such
an
and set of possible objectives for
enterprise. Not merely this poem,
but the specific edited text of that we propose to annotate, and the difficulty
of identifying appropriate models for the task, seem to me to present
exemplary instances of some larger issues confronting textual study at the
moment or perhaps what might more accurately be called problems of
textual representation in medieval literary scholarship.
may be

'I

refer to Ralph Hanna's paper, "Annotation as Social Practice." presented at symposium on


"Annotation and Its Texts" at the Humanities Center of the University of California at Irvine, 8-10

April 1988.

am grateful to him for allowing me to see a typescript of this paper.

167

In both my practical and speculative interests in this task, I am especially


concerned with the ways in which the work that we propose to annotate, and
plural), exemplify, in their form
of their textual interpretation, some features of what
Jerome McGann calls "modem scripture," though very much avant la lettre.1
Piers Plowman is a work to which the "classicist model" of scholarly exposition
is in some respects appropriate, yet in some ways not wholly sufficient. To be
sure, like an ancient text it has long seemed to need considerable mediation to
be legible at all more, for instance, and usually of a different kind, than
Langlands contemporary Chaucer is usually thought to require. In this
scheme Chaucer is a solidly canonical "modern" author that is, one for whom
a literary reception history is a dense and continuous story that is itself of
cultural importance and representable as such within a regimen of annotation.
Despite continuous awareness of Piers Plowman by readers since the
fourteenth century, Langland is not, for historical reasons that offer funda
mental challenges and constraints to the annotator; until close to the twentieth
century his poem more often attracted the kind of interest usually accorded a
historical document rather than a literary work. Though it is axiomatic that
every text is in some sense legible as both, the mixed reception history and
classification of this work has affected the editors' decisions about their
presentation of the text, even if the presence of such considerations remains
largely implicit in the physical format of their volumes: their choice of textual
display would be virtually unthinkable for a twentieth-century edition of
Chaucer, for instance. An annotator cannot evade the difficult question of the
categories of writing to which the poem belongs, and yet he cannot easily
resolve that question in general, or at any particular place where it arises, as
it does in the poem with astonishing frequency. Indeed, one of the reasons
that Piers Plowman's challenge to the editor and the annotator is exemplary of
the Athlone texts of it (they are, significantly,

and in the problematics

more general questions that attend contemporary

textual studies is that it is a

'Jerome McGann, in A Critique of Textual Criticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,


uses the term to designate literary' works produced not only in the age of
print, but in eras when documentary evidence of several distinct states and kinds of authorial
intervention in the process of production and reproduction survives, hence greatly complicating
1983), pp. 10, 56-59,

the very meaning, not merely the practicality, of the editorial desideratum of recovering the
authorial "original," the nominal goal of "classical" textual criticism. While like classical or biblical
"scriptures," Langlands work asks of the textual critic the reconstitution of a lost "original" and
his Athlone editors therefore, and rightly, expressly situate their enterprise within the "classical"

traditions of textual criticism its forms of survival, in this respect like those of more recent works
of "modem scripture," also attest to distinct layers or iterations of authorial production and
intentionality, interlaced almost impenetrably with several kinds and states of scribal practice and
habit. The enterprise of disentangling these is not only practically but theoretically of the most

fundamental difficulty, and the kind of difficulty it involves allies the labors of textual criticism on
this poem with some aspects of those that must be applied to some notable instances of "modern
scriptures." I discuss below some of the ways in which the Athlone editors have conceived, and
represented in the format of their volumes, this interestingly mixed task.
168

work massively both of, and even about, this interesting and provisional
category of "modern scripture" made, I would argue, in the era when the
cultural formation of this category first presented itself to vernacular writers as
a theoretical

and practical possibility.3

Ralph Hanna has argued that annotation is "a socially sanctioned form of
aggression, directed at both the community which sanctions annotation and
the text which inspires it." While this sweeping proposition goes beyond my
own limited experience at the craft, I do find that many annotators' ministra
tions upon vernacular medieval texts resemble some of the more creative
forms of guerrilla warfare. Both activities are, in Michel de Certeau's phrase,
"arts of living in another's space," doing cultural work using somebody else's
materials and time, and constitute, in Certeau's terms, tactical rather than
strategic approaches to meaning.4 In each of its minute iterations, annotation
theorizes the entire text to which it is nominally in service, while in no single
place is it forced out from underground to acknowledge this dimension of its
enterprise, which it presents on each occasion as merely an ordinary practical
activity, a modest attestation that a working public utility is indeed working as
it should for the general benefit. Keyed to a specific word, phrase or line of the
text, the intellectual reach of the note is similarly confined: it can at best
adduce what it considers similar instances, but it cannot well develop the
notion of similarity or relevance that has guided its citation. In its usual form of
display, the systematic annotation of a text is ultimately still bound to the
framework of the discrete single note (as in Notes and Queries) as a scholarly
genre, a genre that has long been for Piers Plowman studies the site of what I
have called a kind of "guerrilla theorizing" of the text to which it is appended.
If an annotated version of Piers Plowman were to be no more than a collection
of such scattered raids upon local meaning, then its corrosive effects would
largely vitiate the nominal objectives of annotation. Such a project would also,
for reasons that will shortly become clearer, largely undo the work of the
Athlone editors. In systematically annotating the whole work (an entity not as
easy to identify as it sounds), we will have to consider whether the "guerrilla
theorizing" latent in the note as a scholarly genre can be deployed so as to
overcome the liabilities inherent in this form of dispersed elucidation. Can
annotation or commentary speak about and theorize its own systematic
objectives, or must these remain marginal considerations if the notes are to do
their work? And what is their work?
The very grammar of annotation is strangely evasive: it is phrasal, not
clausal, eschewing open predication, and largely confined to the appositive

3See Lee Patterson, "Historicism and Its Discontents," in Negotiating the Past: The Historical
Understanding of Medieval Literature (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), p. 74.
'Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven F. Rendall (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1984).

169

mode. In other words, it is insistently anti-narrative

(or counter-narrative) in
discursive form, tending to occlude the horizontal coherence of the text for the
vertical plenitude of superimposed
endlessly,

or parallel forms of information: it adduces

but it does not explain itself or, finally, its text. In this way,

annotation tends by its very nature to allegorize that to which it is appended,

while,

at least in its form as the "ordinary science" of the makers of editions, it


everywhere manages to obscure the points at which allegory as a narrative
practice arises into life in the act of authorial production. That is, it lends to the
text it elucidates a rich vertical density, a thickness of possible referentiality to
the "life-world," to other texts, to other discrete points in the text itself, at the
cost of repeatedly cutting across the horizontal strands of development along
which poetic invention and rhetorical development proceed. Annotation as
normally practiced has special difficulty, in other words, representing the
temporal dimension of the author's production, either across what might be
called Active time, the unfolding of a narrative sequence, or within the actual
time over which the work was made. Thus by its very mode of proceeding it
tends to obliterate rather than support broader understanding of the work as
production rather than as static product: as a cumulatively iterated process it
has a powerful built-in tendency to reify the text to which it is appended.
Annotation thus serves with each new application to a canonical text to
reinscribe still further its "canonicity" if by canonization we mean, among
other things, the imputation to the text of the capacity to represent, to "stand
for," forms of order far more culturally encompassing than those of the text
itself, such as those of its "era" or "world," or of its genre or style. All of these
effects of annotation are largely accidental: they are byproducts of the kind of
textual display that annotation is, and of the historical customs of annotation,
rather than of the individual annotator's intentions or her conscious theories
about this text. But they are pervasive, and unwittingly lend credence to a
now-largely-discredited view of the literary work.
Paradoxically it is precisely by their interpretive reticence, their professed
aim only to display to view "what went without saying" in the author's
production of the work, that explanatory notes to medieval vernacular texts
generally tend to suppress or even misrepresent larger consideration of the
relations they both assume and mean to disclose relations of the "life world"
of the author to his production, or of antecedent texts to either of these, and
also relations between the various forms of adducing the known: of the
citational to the allusive to the fortuitously included cultural and textual

'It thereby enacts the essential form of philological production, according to Philip August
Boeckh's famous definition of philology as "the knowledge of the known." Cited in Stephen C.
Nichols, "Introduction: Philology in a Manuscript Culture," in Speculum 65 (1990): 2; the essay

introduces a special issue of this journal, devoted to 'The New Philology."


170

knowledge we happen no longer to possess, but it also presupposes that within


the time and place of its production, for its author and perhaps for its primary
contemporary readers, the work came into the world as an achieved unity. To

it had no gaps or lacunae: it was, in other words, deeply


and totally legible in its own time; it must be rendered legible, by a series of
its contemporaries,
replacements

and mediating

representations,

to ours.

Annotating it, like

editing it, is in this view an act of painstaking restoration and thus a


complement to, and logical extension of, the goals of classical textual
scholarship. The restorer may declare his hypotheses about the work upon
which he operates as by and large the Athlone editors have done or, as is
more frequent, remain silent about them. But whether stated or unstated,
these hypotheses about the relations between text and world, and hence
about the status and origin of its form, govern the ordinary annotating
regimen, and disclose their practical consequences in the content and implicit
argument of any particular note.
Without having explicitly set out to do so, much annotation thus implicitly
proceeds with medieval vernacular literary texts as if they qualified as
historical narratives in Hegel's sense: not merely narrative in form, but
monolithically reflecting and rationalizing an implicit centrality, the
sociopolitical order of the state. The "unity" that was the chief value and
expository objective of much literary study conducted under new-critical
dicta of the intrinsic and totalizing meaning of the text has as its historiographical counterpart the totalizing master-narrative of natural and cultural devel
opment that leaves no gaps or lacunae, and presents the prevailing sociopolit
ical order as the only imaginable order of things, the answer to all questions
that can be asked, and the condition under which only answerable questions
can arise.

Here Hayden White's fascinating contrast between the notion of fullness or


implicit in the writing of medieval annals and that which later
governs the writing of histories is instructive:
completeness

It

is the absence of any consciousness of a social center that prohibits

he treats as elements of a
And it is the absence of such a center
that precludes or undercuts any impulse he might have had to work
up his discourse in the form of a narrative. . . . The presence of those
blank years in the annalist's account permits us to perceive . . . the
extent to which narrative strains for the effect of having filled in all the
gaps, of having put an image of continuity, coherency, and meaning
in place of the fantasies of emptiness, need, and frustrated desire that
inhabit our nightmares about the destructive power of time.6
the annalist

from

ranking

the events

historical field of occurrence.

'Hayden White, "The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality," in The Content of

the Form (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), p. 11.

171

At least

as an "ordinary science," the author's work


of the state's historiography,
and the annotator's task under this dispensation is keeping its apparatus in good working
as served by annotation

is imagined

order.

as the counterpart

Suppose,

however,

that both the text and its explanatory

notes are

imagined, and embodied in textual display, in some other way. The medieval
annalist's principle of fullness, White notes, is real, but decentered from the
the principle of possible gratification that the annalist counter
poises to the gaps in his record of worldly events is "the fullness of time itself,
saeculum:

the list [of anni Domini, 'years of the Lord']: There is no scarcity of the years:
they descend regularly from their origin, the year of the Incarnation, and roll

relentlessly on to their potential end, the Last Judgment." But the annalist's
account, which appears in a textual form much like that of early estate
accounts, is merely a list; it "calls up a world in which need is everywhere
present, in which scarcity is the rule of existence, and in which all of the
possible agencies of satisfaction are lacking or absent or exist under imminent
threat of death."
This description of the life-world of the medieval writer of monastic annals,
as realized in the very disposition of his textual space, is also one of the most
accurate descriptions I have ever found of the premises that seem to me to
underwrite the making of Piers Plowman, and it suggests that a means of
rendering that space visible and legible might be considered one reasonable
task for an annotator. That is, if we suppose that Piers Plowman is not, and
never was, conceived, by its maker or its primary users, as itself that ideally
complete artifact that defines the literary text as conceived by new criticism,
or a state narrative of the formation of nature or culture, but rather as a text
that evokes the possibility of these as lying outside itself, then to annotate it as
if that were the condition to which it aspired would be, in a quite strict sense,
to misrepresent it. If the work is, rather, constituted as "modern scripture" by
its second thoughts, gaps, and in a word that has considerable precision and
richness as applied to this poem re-visions, and if its wit and depth, and the
narrative allegory that generates it and sustains its horizontal momentum,
arise in the effort to fill with meaning the gaps in that which the author did not
make, "the fullness of time," then the work of the annotator takes on a
different relation to the work of the author than that imagined by classical
scholarship. In putting a set of notes to a work that the late Morton Bloomfield
described as reading like "a commentary
upon an unknown text," the
annotator might well have second thoughts, not merely about the "classiciz
ing" model of textual presentation, but about the "restoration" model for the
annotator 's as well as the editor's enterprise.
In Piers Plowman scholarship the free-standing note as miniature article has
been in recent decades one of two favored modes of scholarly publication, the
other being the long interpretive essay; yet scarcely ever does the land of
illumination offered in the one scholarly form penetrate the other. In
172

considering how the former activity playfully dubbed "crux-busting" by


admirers of some of its virtuoso practitioners might realize its full potential
through the systematic application of work too often occasional and scattered,
one is virtually forced to seek models that differ from those that prevail in
either the "student edition" or the "variorum" text. The evidence of the
Athlone edition its chosen format, and its austerity of presentation argues
implicitly that the editors recognized a need for different models of annotation
than those that normally attend Middle English texts, even though they
nowhere state explicitly what these models might be. They have, however, by
the way they represent their texts, foreclosed some avenues and rendered
others, largely unexplored, particularly inviting to their successors. In order
to reach this inference, and to discern the paths suggested by their choices,
one must consider both the state of survival of the poem in three versions and
the making of the Athlone edition. In particular, we must strive to understand
in other than purely pragmatic and operational terms how we came to be in
the peculiar position of having a formidably authoritative edition that did not
in the course of its production generate such notes. Since Piers Plowman is not
a work that, in Macaulay's phrase, "every schoolboy knows," it will be
necessary to review these matters briefly.
The poem survives in three distinct versions, called the A, B, and C texts
since the Rev. W.W. Skeat identified them as such in the mid-nineteenth
century, attested by over fifty manuscripts in all, none of them clearly a copy
of any other, and all of them at least several removes from an authorial
holograph.7 There is no evidence to suggest that any of these versions was, in
any sense that we would normally understand the term, "published" that is,
released by the author for copying with an eye to some sort of circulation or
presentation. Indeed, there is substantial evidence to the contrary: that the
three states of the work are those that happened, under exigencies we cannot
pretend to know, to escape the authors control at some point. The editor of
the C, or last, version, George Russell, argues that this text may have been put
into circulation by a literary executor of some kind.
The A text, probably produced in the latter part of the 1360s, contains about
2400 lines. The B version, which probably attained this form in the latter years
of the 1370s, is about three times this length, with new material inserted at
various points into the earlier form of the poem, revision and cancellation in
places, and more incident and conceptual development extending the poem
The following account is necessarily brief and imprecise; for a bibliography and critical
introduction to the textual problems associated with the poem, and a full listing of editions, see
my chapter on Piers Plowman (Chapter XVIII), A Manual of Writings in Middle English 1050ed. Albert E. Hartung (New Haven: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences,
vol. 7, pp. 2211-34 (critical introduction) and 2419-48 (bibliography). A convenient
summary of the state of scholarship on several aspects of the poem, including the text, is A
Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).
1500, gen.
1986),

173

well past the stopping point of the earlier version: A's three dream-visions
become eight in B, for example. It is not clear when the C text took its
surviving form, but it is a revision of B, sometimes massive, sometimes
minute, leaving the final two cantos or passus, as they are called, unchanged
from the B state, though throughout the rest of the poem these passus are
redivided, and large passages are transplanted to other parts of the work. A
loose and largely unexamined consensus assigns the C version a date of about
1387, and claims that Langland did not live to see its release in this form.
There can be no question, then, of an edition of "the" poem. Although by all
the evidence it is in intentio a poem, its production apparently co-extensive
with its author's writing life, it survives as three blurry snapshots of something
that was in some sort of motion over about twenty years. The best that can be
done, it seems, is to restore the three snapshots to the best condition that the
material and evidence allow, if we are to have any idea of what that work in
motion was, let alone the "intente" that sustained this motion, and the
circumstances in which these snapshots came to be made. Yet implicit in this
act of restoration is the premise that it is not these snapshots, but what they
record, that "is" the work of art, and one object or level of our interest. It is at
once "a work," and irresolvable into "a text," much like Wordsworth's Prelude.
This distinction between text and work, invoked by Michel Foucault as a
useful one for literary history, is also a necessary and problematic one for the
annotator of this poem.8 It renders doubtful, both practically and theoreti
cally, the possibility of sustaining a distinction, familiar in student editions,
between "textual" and "explanatory" notes. But it also suggests a desideratum,
however elusive, for our enterprise: can this work (or any medieval literary
work, though for several reasons I shall consider, Piers is an exemplary

instance) be represented by its annotators for "consumption" or use offered

to and as an act of reception


so as to disclose anything of interest and
importance about the means and motives of its production? Can we say
anything about the text that will conduce to understanding of the work? Is it
useful, or fatal, to this or any effort at annotation to admit such a distinction
into our project?
The editors of the Athlone edition considered it self-evident why they
themselves did not and would not produce notes. Even if we set aside its
complex prehistory in a series of unpublished British dissertations and
preliminary work by a variety of hands including R.W. Chambers, J.H.G.
Grattan, and A.G. Mitchell the Athlone edition has consumed now more
years in the making than the poem did in all its forms. The A Version, edited
by George Kane, was published in I960; the B Version, by Kane and E. Talbot
Donaldson, in 1975; the C Version, by George Russell, is finished but not yet
The problematic
discussed

nature

of the "work" as an ideational entity distinct from text or writing is

by Michel Foucault, "What is an Author?," in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow

(New York: Pantheon, 1984), pp. 103-4.


174

published; and a fourth volume, to contain a glossary to all versions, will


probably appear simultaneously with C. The Notes we propose would
constitute volume 5. Each of the editors has given forty and more years of his
life, off and on, to the editing task; in the end they simply did not have time,
Donaldson once said when asked, to include notes as well. This is not
disingenuous, but neither is it the whole truth, and it is what remains unsaid
about this road not taken that tells us something

quite profound about the

nature of their edition, and the possibility of our "tagging their verses."

Lee Patterson describes the monumentally


Athlone text:
The result is

a visual text that is

full yet elusive effect of the

curiously

at odds

with itself. On the

one hand the plethora of brackets and the thick band of variants at the
foot of the page continually remind the reader that he is dealing with
an edited text: the false security of unmarred print, such as we find in
any edition of Chaucer, for instance, is here denied us. On the other
hand, the data on which the text is based is resolutely hidden away in
an introduction that is arranged not as a scientific exposition but as an
elegantly written narrative [emphasis mine]. The editors' purpose, I
think, is not to protect themselves from scrutiny but to accommodate
two finally irreconcilable imperatives: to offer, on the one hand, a text
that is marked as a reconstruction

and that therefore requires of the

reader not merely an awareness of but an assent to the fact of editorial

intervention; and on the other hand, to offer a text that is fully


available to current critical interests and to the institutions of literary
consumption.9

Yet this is strange: among such "institutions of literary consumption" for


medieval literary texts, explanatory notes are perhaps the most common form.
One might have thought that episodes or fits of "crux-busting" might have
been a normal byproduct of the making of an edition, generated in the course
of deciding upon readings, and anticipate that the Athlone editors might have
filled the usual scholarly journals over those forty-odd years with a regular
procession of such notes, even if these small perceptions did not find their way
at least into the back pages, if not the text-pages, of the edition, as systematic
annotation. But this is far from the case: during the years in which the edition
was being made, the "crux-busters" of this poem have been for the most part
other scholars altogether chiefly those masters of this genre, the Cornell

"Lee Patterson, "The Logic of Textual Criticism and the Way of Genius: The Kane- Donaldson
Piers Plowman in Historical Perspective," in his Negotiating the Past: The Historical Understand
ing of Medieval Literature (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), p. 108. This essay
appeared earlier in a slightly different form in Textual Criticism and Literary Interpretation, ed.
Jerome McCann (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985).
175

&itut laiotematMotoe

tljefecon&etvmf tatpjfmeb

eipe rentes tn k olbutne


Wbcceunto ate aoocb ccrtapne tiotcs ano eolations tn toe
mccflvne, acupng itgbt to tfee ttcabct.atib in tbc btgpnning
iacet abufe rummeofaUtbepmncipalmamtofpehen of in
t&ebofce.and aatoebofcetoaeuide&uitottociitppattts tab
left iea(Tua:rot8tbc dummarrbmibeb.fojcuup parte Dpi
fummatie, tebearfpuge r^c mattetsfpouen of in cue*
tpparte.cuciunfnrbeojberaatbep
bp wobette Ctotolpc btocilpngc m

aaiibctbece.

(*;

33mpifatet>at ton&on bpUobfttc


rotolep,otDe!lpng in clpe rentes
in oibume , $qc pete of
ourJLo;b,fl5.l>.iL,

CCumpjuUtefitoab tmpifmenbum
foium.

Title page from William Langland's The Vision of Pierce Plowman (London: Robert Crowley,
1550). HRHRC Pforzheimer Collection.

scholiasts Robert Kaske and Thomas

Hill and

these have a rather substantial

argument to make about the ground and background of Langland's work and
methods, and those of medieval writers generally, that in fact corresponds

loosely to the view of the poem that I earlier suggested is virtually produced
"
by, rather than simply registered in, annotation as "ordinary science. That is,

their "crux-busting" forays are predicated upon a poem that means as a


monolithic and unproblematic summa of its life-world, iconically full,
seamless and complete the kind of work posited by both old-historical and
new-critical literary history. The poem was, in these scholiasts' view, in turn,
made as a sustained act of citation, with a harmonizing and unifying purpose:
to bind up the scattered leaves of the phenomenal world, to compose the book
of creation that is their common referent, and read that book for its
transcendent spiritual meaning. It is this ultimate referent that in turn the
annotator, like the Augustinian memory or Dantean vision, must render
whole and complete for the modem reader.
This is a serious and plausible hypothesis, and the obvious macaronic
character of the discourse immediately visible on any page of Langland's text
gives it considerable aid and comfort: the poem does indeed imbed citation,
chiefly Latin, and mostly scriptural, in its vernacular texture. From Morton
Bloomfield's perceptive remark to the more recent discussions of the poets
compositional method by Judson Allen and John Alford, evidence has been
growing that what we are seeing is not simply "sources'' or "allusions" but
nodes of invention in these incorporated Latin lines. But it is not yet widely
agreed what status these passages have in Langland's discourse, or whether
we can get at how they work by adducing their discoverable pre-texts or
"sources" still less that the form in which we have access to these sources was
the same as that in which the poet encountered them.
The Athlone editors, by contrast, have quite a different theory of this work,
the intensely local process rather than the general
of meaning. It is this conception of the poem that explains,
better than the limits of their mortal years, why the Athlone editors did not
become annotators by the way. Over the years all of them have become
formidable repositories of the kind of knowledge that belongs in the explana
tory notes, and they have been generous with it when asked but the fact
remains that they did not publish it either with the edition or piecemeal as
"crux-busting." It is plain that the annotator's task was conceived from the
start as fully extraneous to the editor's, since these small explanatory and
contextualizing forays had in fact very little to do with the determination of any
particular reading, according to their editorial principles. We do not find in
their editorial narrative any counterpoint to Skeat's puzzling over a reading by
trying out the sense of the offered scribal alternatives. Hence such annotative
ventures could remain for the time being scattered and unconcerted, and
largely made by different hands than those that brought us a magisterially
one that emphasizes
achievement

177

edited text. While

I do

not attribute godlike prescience to the Athlone editors'

I venture

decision about annotation,

to suggest that they could at least see that

textual evidence theorized as this has been simply did not lend itself to any of
the models of annotation

available for the presentation

of medieval literary

texts and they left it to others to propose new ones. I have reluctantly come
to the conclusion that they may have been right to decline to represent that
theory disjunctively in the form of discrete rationales for specific readings

and to present it instead, and only, in that "elegantly written narrative" that is
nowhere cross-referenced at the point of occurrence of any emendation.

is

it

is

is

is

it

If,

Astonishingly, every user of this text must do that by hand, for herself, if she
expects to use this edition. As annotators, would we give page-numbers to the
is discussed in the 220-page
place where each reading or emendation
narrative?
We
would
save
those
in pursuit of "current critical
introductory
interests" a lot of work. Should we? Or should we endorse the Athlone editors'
apparent view that only that reader who is forced to come to terms with their
entire theory of the production of the work in its succession of surviving forms
would be qualified to judge their emendations in any particular instance?
as Patterson argues,
may be not merely the form of presentation of
selftheir knowledge, but the Athlone editors' theory of this text that
divided, that its singular strength rather than weakness. 10In their editorial
narrative, as well as by their choice of mode of textual presentation, the
Athlone editors manage to keep in mind two distinct and equally necessary
foci of scholarly and critical inquiry: the three states of the text, and also that
elusive thing, the work, to which each state somewhat arbitrarily witnesses.
While the latter
never an object of their direct and synoptic attention,
nevertheless always visible, not as an ideal or immanent form, but as specific
and minutely-realized practical process. These two conceptual levels, the text
and the work, exist in
kind of dialogic contraposition,
the one entity
stabilizing and giving specificity to the other. The versions are not sealed off
from each other ontologically in their treatment. For example, Kane and
version, the reviser was using
Donaldson argue that in making the
scribal
that was better than any surviving
readings
copy of
manuscript; hence
text. On the other hand, they do
occasionally figure in the establishing of the

is

'"Patterson, Negotiating the Past, pp. 93-99, offers


somewhat different description of the selfdivided literary conception of the poem implicit in the editors' treatment of lectional evidence in
individual instances, and their cumulative sense of the author's usus scribendi that
both

produced by and guides these judgments. find less conflict in practice in the editors' operations
than Patterson seems to here, and certainly do not find, as Charlotte Brewer has recently

that these vitiate the integrity of the editorial project throughout its course though
her account of differences between the edition of and that of
in the treatment of the three

suggested,

coincident entities in view in their treatment of these matters.


178

is

versions in the method of arriving at readings


worrying, and must be taken into account by users
Text," Yearbook ofLangland Studies
of the editions; see "The Textual Principles of Kane's
suggest below, the editors have two conceptually distinct though materially
(1989): 67-90. As

not mystify or essentialize, as a kind of Platonic idea, the work captured in


these three "takes," or purport to read "intente" or telos behind or beyond the
textual evidence. "

Their theoretical framework thus manages, in my view, to allow conceptu


ally for the continued mobile and even opportunistic development of
Langlands project, while also granting the intense imaginative craftsmanship
in the making at every point. Another way of putting it is that they have in
principle admitted both a temporal and a textual-spatial dimension into
Langland's work as a writer and hence introduced the notion that the work
as well as the text is as at least potentially legible. The problem is how to
represent between covers of books the scope and implications of this
knowledge. If as annotators we grant this as part of the achievement of the
Athlone edition, our problem is how to sustain in our efforts the full scope of
that vision of what is knowable, legible, and representable in it.
One of the available protocols would certainly have been that of the
variorum edition. Yet the foregoing considerations should already have
suggested why this cannot be a model for the annotation of the Athlone Piers
Plowman. Donald Baker, the general editor of the Variorum Chaucer, makes
the point:

A variorum text, as the term is generally understood, is primarily a


text which will bear the weight of the notes variorum. It should, of
course, be as good and useful a text as it is possible to achieve, but it
must always be borne in mind that its purpose is not chiefly to be a
text but to serve as a means of sorting and organizing the mass of
commentary.12

Baker notes that many variorum editions do not find it necessary to produce
their own text to hang the notes on, but key them to an edition already
considered standard and authoritative (he cites the Milton Variorum). But
"Many critics of the B Version have accused

the editors of vatic ambitions. Ralph Hanna


provocatively in a recent paper presented at the Medieval Academy (1989) the "coming
to consciousness
of editorial process" that has been the delayed effect of the Athlone edition in
Middle English studies ("The Mark of Kane[-Donaldson]: Textual Criticism in Disarray"); I am
discusses

grateful to him for allowing me to see a typescript of this paper. A recent critique of some Athlone
readings

that is more systematic

than those of early reviews is, significantly, itself underwritten by

English alliterative versification. I


mention it not to take sides, but merely to underscore what the editors themselves saw with
admirable clarity: that to engage this edition and indeed this work at all requires a massive
confrontation with issues inescapably theoretical and with matters that must be subject to
a coherent theory: Hoyt Duggan's theory of late Middle

demonstration.
aA Facsimile and Transcription of the Hengwrt Manuscript with Variants from Ellesmere, ed.
Paul G. Ruggiers, intro. Donald Baker, in Variorum Edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer,
vol. 1 (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979), p. xvii. See also Ralph I lamia's review
"
essay, "The Chaucer Variorum, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 8 (1984): 184-97.
systematic

179

variorum commentary,
in turn, is not attentive primarily to authorial
production but to reception history; here I cite Baker again on the common
aim of the several Variorum editors: "In short, we hope to provide both what
Chaucer wrote and what, for centuries, it was assumed that he wrote" (xviii).
At this, one can almost hear the Athlone editors muttering darkly in concert: a
man cannot serve two masters. The primal act that renders the Athlone
edition possible is the premise that scribal and authorial usus are distinguish
able. In practice, it is the record of reception rather than production that has a
firm upper hand in the Variorum Chaucer; this primacy of a record of
reception over one of production is probably inevitable in the variorum model
of commentary,
perhaps especially of a vernacular author. A corollary
assumption of any variorum project is that its subject is an already canonical
author, one continuously read, and "part of the language" of literary cultiva
tion. Yet in the case of Langland it is the authorial reception and transforma
tion of the language, and not primarily the disrupted and uneven after-life of
the work its effects upon the language and thought of his successors that it
is the goal of the Athlone edition to render visible, as its central premise is that
the difference between the two is determinable, and qualitatively absolute.
At this point one begins to see the full dimensions of what the Athlone
editors have wrought. The format of their edition has presented Langland's
work, not primarily as a canonical text, requiring an annotation regimen
emphasizing reception-history, but as a classical text, a text of antiquity that
is to say a text in a (socially) dead language which demands of the annotator a
focus on authorial production and on reconstructing those circumstances that
impinged upon the realization of an authorial project. To this mode of textual
presentation, the evidence of reception is by definition contamination. Yet
while the logic of the editorial project has been monumentally rationalized, its
sociologic remains unfinished business. Those aspects of the work that, as I
have suggested, make it at least proleptic of the vernacular "modem
scriptures" in the form of its realization and survival have not as yet found their
full rationale. The problematic middle ground almost necessarily constituted
by any work surviving in multiple versions, in which the authors labors as
maker also situate the author himself within its reception history as reviser,
may be the most promising territory for the annotator 's mediations.
The Athlone editors have made some projects possible, but they have also
in effect foreclosed others: they have, I think, made it not merely awkward but
quite impossible either to append variorum annotation or to build a student
edition onto the Athlone texts. For most of the projects that might assimilate
this work to "the institutions of literary consumption" as they are now
constituted, they have not cleared the ground; they have sown it with salt. But
because this monumental experiment in textual study seems so immediately
unpromising to developers, who in literary studies as in real life like to see
immediate returns on their investments, the editors have also paradoxically
180

THE VISION OF WILLIAM

PIERS THE PLOWMAN


WILLIAM
(or

LA

N G

LAND

LANGLEY)

According to the Wrsion Revised and Enlarged

by the Aithor

about a. d. 1377

EDITED

BY THE

REV. WALTER W. SKEAT


! IIT.H.,

D.C.L.,

I.I..H.,

I'H.D.

ElrimgicM *n*t Ba-.vprtk F refiner 0/ Anglo-Smcon in the


L'nivtriity 0/ Cambridge

Tenth Edition. Revised

OXFORD
AT THE CLARENDON

PRESS

Title page from William Langland's The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, ed.
Rev. Walter W. Skeat (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1928). This copy is from the library of Harry
Huntt Ransom. HRHRC Collections.

assured that those who do return to the site with the right resolve and right
tools and a willingness to bring to it the most fundamental

literary or textual studies can afford will find it in

thinking that
which

a state from

u
something important can be learned.

Seen from this perspective,

the long austere prefatory

narratives

that in

effect theorize the production of the work may be the single most userfriendly feature of the Athlone Piers Plowman. They explain the fertility of the
premises they have marked out as the ground of the most interesting
questions we might ask of these texts about the nature and process of
Langland's work. And yet again paradoxically, they do this by making visible
and imaginable the ways in which Langland's work resembled in its material
and intellectual exigencies that of other producers of texts a perspective
quite other than the one of which their detractors accuse them. To move,
then, from the immediately serviceable and mediatory to the more visionary
possibilities of our quixotic enterprise to ask what annotation might do to
make deeply legible what the Athlone editors have made knowable and
imaginable we need to return in conclusion to some models of modern
textual representation.
Strangely, the first is the indefatigable W.W. Skeat, who identified and
edited all three texts, publishing his editions of each almost exacdy five
hundred years after each of Langland's attained its transmitted state. Until
Athlone, his has been the citation text of this poem in all its versions. What
makes it a model in this connection is not only its admirably practical notes
manifestly generated in the course of arriving at readings, though his textual
inquiry was not by any means as deep as that of the Athlone editors but the
second form of the issue of his editions of the three texts, namely in one
volume in parallel texts (with his apparatus, notes, and glossary in the second
volume). This is a very serviceable and long-standard way to represent a work

surviving in more than one version, and one can still hardly get on without it.
Were the Athlone edition to be reissued in this fashion, with the full panoply
of lections similarly displayed in forms that made possible visual access to
comparison across versions, it could only further enable what the editors have
severally made possible.
On a far grander and more fully reasoned scale, this is the kind of access to

dimension of production in all its woven complexity that has


been offered for Ulysses by Professor Gabler's "critical and synoptic" edition. I
the temporal

should think that this representation


of the unfolding of the work is in
principle possible, though quite likely on a far coarser grid, for Piers. Yet as
Professor McKenzie has observed, what is rendered less visible by such

"Jerome McGann, in "The Monks and the Giants: Textual and Bibliographical Studies and the
"
Interpretation of Literary Works, Textual Criticism and Literary Interpretation, p. 194, calls the
Athlone edition "a model of an experimental critical edition."
182

is the textual-spatial dimension of invention and conception


of
the aspect
Joyce's working-out of the text as such through its material
realization in print, in part through response to the accidents of how it was
disposed on the page, that John Kidd wishes to foreground in his representa
tion of Ulysses." It should also be possible by cross-text comparison not
merely to identify scribal contamination, but to offer examples of Langland's
working in revision in such a way as to make something fortuitous or
miscopied in one version the basis for invention in the next. Kane and
representation

Donaldson's rationales for emendation, especially as they move between


versions, already accept in principle this well-attested fact of authorial life, as
well as scribal misdeed, as part of the genesis of the revisions." My point is

certainly not to prefer one or the other form of display


underscore

as model,

but to

the obvious: that both are deep and complex forms of representa

tion of authorial process in the product.


Because of the Athlone edition, Langland's

work lends itself to deeper


some of the
understanding
disciplines that now comprise textual studies, and the making of this
monumental edition is not the end of that enterprise, but the condition of its
possibility. John Burrow has recently noted that the really major new
in Middle English studies are taking place around Piers
developments
Plowman, not Chaucer. 181 think that this is because of the final paradox of the
Athlone edition: an artifact "restored" by austerely "classical" principles now
lends itself only to fairly revisionary "institutions of literary consumption."
The edition we five propose to annotate not only allows us, but virtually
commands us, to render visible its character as "modern vernacular scrip
ture," a character legible not only in its formal and final causes its achieved
"thought," the usual focus of annotators' attention but more minutely in its
material and efficient causes: we can understand its coming to being as a work
not through its immanent ideas, but also through its specific fortunes as a text.
This should be an exemplary project for what is of late coming to be called the
"new philology" in medieval literary studies. But while I relish the prospect of
the rethinking and revisionary work this annotation project will entail, I would
consider my investment quite safe if I were to wager that before we finish the
notes we shall be as far advanced in age as well as wisdom as the Athlone
editors were when they sent their work to press.
and legibility than it has ever attained through

"D.F. McKenzie,

Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts (London: The British Library,

1986), pp. 47-50.

"To the extent that Charlotte Brewer has successfully demonstrated that such cross-version
comparison was not consistently part of Kane's method in establishing the Athlone A-Text, while
they are part of the editors' method in B, her findings suggest that such retroactive comparison
should be included in users' assessment of A readings in future.
"Times Literary Supplement 16-22 (December 1988): 1401-02.
183

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

Larry Carver,

an Associate Professor of English at The University of Texas at


Austin, directs the Humanities Program and serves as an Associate Dean in
the College of Liberal Arts. He writes on Restoration and eighteenth-century
drama and poetry and is working on a critical study of John Wilmot, Second
Earl of Rochester.

Hans Walter Gabler, Professor of English at the University of Munich, has


written extensively on the theory of textual criticism. An associate editor of
the massive James Joyce Archive, he also has published Ulysses: A Critical and
Synoptic Edition (1984) and Ulysses: The Corrected Text (1986).

Lotte Hellinga is a leading

international

in the fifteenth

sixteenth

authority on the history of the book


Head of the Incunabula
Collection of the British Library and founder and current Director of the
international Incunabula Short-Title Catalogue, Hellinga is coediting the
second volume of the collaborative History of the Book in Britain, and has
written and edited a number of works dealing with aspects of the transition
and early

centuries.

from manuscript to book.

Jerome McGann is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of


Virginia. Poet as well as critic, editor, and literary theorist, he has been
awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships, a National Endowment for the
Humanities Fellowship, and the Melville Cane Award from the American
Poetry Society. Editor of Byron's Complete Poetical Works for the Clarendon
Press, his most recent book is Social Values and Poetic Acts: a Historical
Judgment of Literary Work (1988).

Donald F. McKenzie

is a Fellow of Pembroke College and Reader in Textual


Oxford University. An editor of the History of the Book in Britain,
he has recently published Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts (1986) and
is currently working on an edition of the complete works of William Congreve,
as well as on a chronology and calendar of documents relating to the London

Criticism

at

book trade, 1641-1714.

Randall McLeod,
184

Associate

Professor

of English

at

the University of

Toronto, has published numerous articles on Shakespeare, textual criticism,


and unediting. A recent Guggenheim fellow, he is now at work on the
transformission of Harington's texts. The "authors" gratefully acknowledge
the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of
Canada and the Guggenheim Foundation; and also the assistance of Brandon
Besharah, illustrator, and Alison Dias, Jim Ingram, Steve Jaunzems and
Philip Ower, photographers, University of Toronto. Unidentified Orlando
reproductions are from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of
Toronto, except those on pg. 64, respectively from the Rare Book and Special
Collections Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, and
from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, The New York Public
Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
Anne Middleton is currently Chair of the English Department at the
University of California, Berkeley. She contributed an introductory chapter
to the recent A Companion to "Piers Plowman" and her article on William
Langland's poetry is included in Literary Practice and Social Change in
Britain 1380-1530 (1989). She is presently working on a book entitled Life
Work, which concerns the production of (and production in) Langland's Piers
Plowman.

Michael Warren, Professor of English at the University of California, Santa


Cruz, has written numerous articles on textual problems in Shakespeare and
Jonson, and coedited with Gary Taylor the landmark collection of essays, The
Division of the Kingdoms: Shakespeare's Two Versions of "King Lear" (1983).
Among his awards are Danforth and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his most
recent publication is The Parallel King Lear, 1608-1623 (1989).
Ian Willison began his distinguished career in the British Museum, now the
British Library, in 1953, first serving as Curator in the Department of Printed
Books and specializing in British, American, and Commonwealth historical
bibliography. In 1974 he became Head of the Library's Rare Books Branch,
and from 1981 to 1987 served as the first Head of its English Language Branch.
Editor of the fourth volume of the New Cambridge Bibliography of English
Literature (1972), which covers the first half of the twentieth century, he is
currently an editor of the forthcoming multi-volume History of the Book in
Britain.

185

HARRY RANSOM HUMANITIES RESEARCH CENTER

Thomas F. Staley, Director


Michael W. Whalon, Associate Director
Sally Leach, Assistant Director

John P. Chalmers, Librarian


Curator, Hoblitzelle Theatre Arts Collection
Crain,
William
Roy Flukinger, Curator, Photography Collection
Kathleen Gee, Curator, Art Collection
Cathy Henderson, Research Librarian
John Kirkpatrick, Manuscript Cataloguing
Carlton Lake, Senior Curator
James Stroud, Chief Conservator
William B. Todd, Consultant
Maria X. Wells, Curator, Italian Collection

THE GENERAL LIBRARIES


Administration
Harold Billings, Director of General Libraries
Carolyn Bucknall, Assistant Director for Collection Development
Jean Hamrick, Assistant Director for Information Systems Planning
Jo Anne Hawkins, Assistant Director for Public Services
Sue Phillips, Assistant Director for Technical Services
Virginia Phillips, Assistant Director for Branch Services
Drew Racine, Deputy Assistant Director
Mary Seng, Assistant Director for Facilities and Support Services

Department and

Acquisitions & Serials Deft.


Wayne Perryman
Automated Cataloging
Services Deft.
Robin Fradenburgh

Cataloging Dept.
Ernestine Potter

Circulation Services Dept.


Suzanne Marshall

Collection Development &


Management Services
Mary Brennan

HRHRC Cataloging Dept.


Mary Beth Bigger

Reference Services Dept.


John Tongate

Architecture & Planning


Library
Eloise McDonald
Asian Collection
Kevin Lin

Balcones Library Service


Center
Cynthia Kehoe

Barker Texas History Center


Don Carleton
Benson Latin American

Collection
Laura Gutierrez- Witt
Chemistry

(Mallet) Library

Christine Johnston

Collection Heads
Classics Library
Bonny Keyes

Collections Deposit Library


John Ramage

Engineering (McKinney)
Library
Susan Ardis

Fine Arts Library


Marcia Parsons

Fleming Collection
Don Carleton

Geology (Walter) Library


Dennis Trombatore

Library & Information


Science Librarian
Mary Lynn Rice-Lively

Life Science Library


Nancy Elder

Middle East Collection


Abazar Sepehri

Music Librarian
David Hunter
Physics, Mathematics &
Astronomy (Kuehne) Library
Karen Croneis

Public Affairs (Wasserm


Library

an)

Olive Forbes

Undergraduate Library
Suzanne Chaney (Acting)

Recent Publications

of

THE HARRY RANSOM HUMANITIES RESEARCH CENTER


Exhibition Catalogues
Eric Gill Collection by Robert N. Taylor, with the assistance of Helen
Parr Young. $20.00.

The

Hopkins Lives: An Exhibition and Catalogue, compiled and introduced by


Carl Sutton, edited by Dave Oliphant. $17.95.

Authors' Libraries
James Joyce's Trieste Library, a catalogue of materials at the HRHRC by
Michael Patrick Gillespie, with the assistance of Erik Bradford Stocker.
$30.00 in cloth.

Chronicle Special Issue Books


Conservation and Preservation of Humanities Research Collections, edited
by Dave Oliphant, with an introduction by James Stroud. Essays on
Treatment and Care of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Photographs, and Art on
Paper and Canvas. $17.95.
Lawrence, Jarry, Zukofsky: A Triptych, edited by Dave Oliphant and Cena
Dagel. Critical essays on three representative HRHRC collections. $20.00.
Lewis Carroll at Texas, the Warren Weaver Collection and related Dodgson
materials at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, compiled by
Robert N. Taylor, with the assistance of Roy Flukinger, John O. Kirkpatrick, andCindaAnn May. $25.00.
No Symbols Where None Intended, a Catalogue of Books, Manuscripts, and
Other Materials Relating to Samuel Beckett, selected and described by
Carlton Lake, with the assistance of Linda Eichhorn and Sally Leach.
$20.00.
Perspectives on Australia, edited by Dave Oliphant. Critical essays on the C.

Hartley Crattan and other Australian collections


Perspectives

at the

HRHRC.

$18.95.

on Music, edited by Dave Oliphant and Thomas Zigal. Critical

essays on music materials at the

HRHRC.

$16.95.

on Photography, edited by Dave Oliphant and Thomas Zigal.


Critical essays on photography at the HRHRC. $14.95.

Perspectives

WCW

if Others,

edited by Dave Oliphant and Thomas Zigal. Critical essays


on William Carlos Williams. $13.95.

JOYCE STUDIES ANNUAL


Editor: Thomas P. Staley
Joyce Studies Annual,

published in cooperation with the Harry


Ransom Humanities Research Center, begins a new tradition of Joyce
scholarship with its first volume published in the spring of 1990.
textual, and
The journal will emphasize the areas of historical,
comparative criticism and will feature previously unpublished material
from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center's extensive
Joyce collection.

The contents of the first issue,

Joyce Studies Annual

1990:

Thomas F. Staley and Randolph Lewis, eds., Selections from the


Paris Diary of Stuart Gilbert, 1929-1934.
Fritz Senn, In Quest of a nisua formativus Joyceanus.
David Hayman, I Think Her Pretty: Reflections of the Familiar in
Joyce's Notebook V1.B.5.

Margot Norris, The Politics of Childhood in "The Mime of Mick,


Nick, and the Maggies."
Bernard Benstock, The Anti-Schematics of Finnegans Wake.
Robert Janusko, Yet Another Anthology for the "Oxen": Murison's
Selections.

Richard Brown, Eros


Rosa Maria Bosinelli,

and Apposition: Giacomo Joyce.


Beyond Translation: Italian Rewriting of

Finnegans Wake.
Narrative Gifts: "Cyclops" and the Economy of
Excess.
Goodwin, Annual James Joyce Checklist: 1989.

Mark Osteon,
Will

Joyce Studies Annual is published

annually in June.

Subscriptions:

* Individuals

$35/year
$35/year
* $25 special price for JSA 1990 to individuals who subscribe before
October 30, 1990.
Institutions

University of Texas Press, Journals, Box

7819, Austin, Texas 78713

tfThe

Library

CMJROWICLE
OF THE UNIVERSITY

OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

inaiana university
NOV

The

Library

.***#**

********************

ROWIC1LE

Library

OF THE UNIVERSITY

Volume 20, Number

0 9 1990

OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Copyright0 1990 by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center,


The University of Texas at Austin

ISSN

0024-2241

Cover illustration: Bird of paradise, sketched by special effects cinematographer Norman O.


Dawn, while shooting of his scenic film The Great Barrier Reef was delayed by rain in June 1908
(card 8). HRHRC Film Collection.

The

Library Chronicle

is published by

the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center


and the General Libraries
The University of Texas at Austin

Dave Oliphant, Editor


Robin Bradford, Assistant Editor

The

Printed and bound by


The University of Texas Printing Division

Library Chronicle

Editorial Board
Thomas F. Staley

Carlton Lake
Sally Leach

Cathy Henderson
Harold Billings
William B. Todd

The Library Chronicle is issued quarterly at a subscription rate of $30.00 for four issues. The
purpose of the Chronicle is to present information on available materials in the special collections
at The University of Texas at Austin, to publish scholarly articles based on these materials, and to
record matters of interest concerning new acquisitions, exhibitions, and other events related to
the University's special collections. Writers should query first before submitting articles for
publication. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editors, P.O. Box 7219, Austin,
Texas 78713.

Contents

Collections

at Texas

David H. Patrick The T.E. Lawrence Collection: Its Historical


Uses for the Biographer

17

Robert D. King

49

West From India: The Odyssey

of Sir William Jones

William J. Scheick Benjamin Franklin and Lord

Bute:

Legendary Eighteenth-Century Representations

65

Philip C. Kolin

The London Premiere of "The Zoo Story":


Edward Albee and the British Press

75

Edward Albee Manuscript Materials in the HRHRC Collections

94

Judi Hoffman

The Norman O. Dawn Collection

Special Effects

Norman O. Dawn Filmography


Notes on Contributors

of Cinematic
97
119
122

Stuart

Gilbert, James Joyce, and Nora Joyce, in Torquay during the summer of 1929. HRHRC

Collections.

COLLECTIONS

AT TEXAS

Recent Acquisitions Add to the HRHRC's James Joyce

Collection

The personal library and literary archive of Stuart Gilbert (1883-1969), a


close friend and collaborator with James Joyce, has strengthened further the
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center's Joyce and Joyce-related hold
ings. In addition to Gilbert's own unpublished diary of 1929-1934, which
presents an intimate picture of Joyce, his family, and his literary circle during
the crucial period following the publication of Ulysses, this new acquisition
contains a 20-page typescript (with the first page missing) of the opening
chapter of Joyce's Finnegans Wake. The Wake typescript, which is a later
version than a similar typescript in the British Library, bears Joyce's final
corrections and alterations in his own writing before the chapter was sent
to the printer. Also included in the archive are notes, journals, and drafts of
critical works and translations, which document Gilbert's assistance with the
1929 French translation of Joyce's Ulysses, his involvement with the publica
tion of Joyce's Finnegans Wake, and his editorship of the first volume of
Letters of James Joyce (1957). Letters to Gilbert from Joyce and other literary
figures abound, as do word lists, annotations, workbooks, and notes taken at
meetings with Joyce. Also in the collection are manuscripts by Joyce including
fragments of poems in the author's hand and typescripts of other poems.
Before the acquisition of the Gilbert library and archive, the HRHRC

Among the more notable are the last


of
and
more
than 560 volumes that make up
page proofs
Ulysses
what is known as Joyce's Trieste library, a collection of works of literature,
history, and philosophy gathered by Joyce between 1904 and 1920, when he
lived in Switzerland, and used in the writing of his masterpiece. Gilbert's
library of 1,000 volumes includes books presented to him by Joyce as well as
by Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Andr6 Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre, T.S.
Eliot, and other distinguished writers whom Gilbert knew or translated.
Excerpts from the Stuart Gilbert diary, selected and introduced by HRHRC
director Thomas F. Staley, with the assistance of doctoral candidate Randolph
Lewis, were published on 16 June 1990 (Bloomsday) in the first volume of
Joyce Studies Annual, a new journal edited by Dr. Staley and issued by the
Center in cooperation with The University of Texas Press. This latest
publication devoted to the Irish novelist contains essays by a number of the
already was strong in Joyce holdings.
corrected

foremost Joyce scholars from America and Europe, as well as a bibliography of


1989 books, articles, and conference papers relating to Joyce prepared by
HRHRC bibliographer Will Goodwin. A complete and fully annotated edition

of Stuart Gilbert's Paris diary will appear in the HRHRC's Imprint Series, also
to be issued in conjunction with UT Press.
Other recent HRHRC acquisitions include an unpublished manuscript
fragment by Djuna Barnes describing James Joyce and the world of Parisian
expatriates during the early 1920s; a Joyce letter in Italian dated 5.24.39; 38
autograph letters (1934-1938) by the French novelist Louis-Ferdinand
Celine; 36 pieces of correspondence dated between 1932 and 1981 from the
Australian-born novelist Christina Stead; 37 letters from Lillian Hellman to
John Melby written between 1953 and 1978; 185 pieces of correspondence
from the French novelist Rachilde (1860-1953), host to a celebrated literary
salon, wife of Alfred Vallette (founder of the Paris literary review, Mercure de
France), and author of a book on Alfred Jarry, one of the more prominent
members of Rachilde's salon; and 35 letters and cables from American novelist
Nathanael West written in early 1930 at the time of the publication of what is
The HRHRC is also the
considered his finest work, Miss Lonelyhearts.
Martin, including the
Steve
of
the
of
actor-writer-producer
papers
recipient
treatments, original first drafts, and final drafts of Martin films, among them
his highly acclaimed Roxanne, produced in 1987, for which he won the Best
Actor Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Best
Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium Award from the Writers
Guild of America.
Another addition to the Center's manuscript holdings is a corrected
typescript version of Amos Tutuola's Pauper, Brawler and Slanderer (1987),
as well as materials relating to publication of this Nigerian novelist's early
work from 1948, The Wild Hunter in the Bush of the Ghosts. These
acquisitions join a holograph leaf already at the HRHRC from Tutuola's bestknown work, The Palm-Wine Drinkard (1952). Bernth Lindfors of the
University's Department of English, who has edited many of Tutuola's later
works, has also given to the HRHRC materials related to the publication of his
Critical Perspectives on Amos Tutuola, along with his interviews of other
contemporary African writers.

Barker Texas History Center Acquisition and Exhibition


A collection of more than one hundred Conte crayon and pencil drawings by
Edgar Dorsey Taylor (1904-1978) has been donated to the University's Barker
Texas History Center by Mrs. Edith Liu of Los Angeles, a longtime friend of
the artist who was a faculty member in the University's Art Department from
1940 to 1945. "Afternoons in East Austin: Drawings by Edgar Dorsey Taylor,"

"Bearer of Burdens," a Conte crayola drawing by Edgar Dorsey Taylor, dated 11-44. Barker Texas
History Center.

Above: "The Barber Shop," dated 3-23-44; below: "Family Group," dated 1-1-45. Cont6 crayola
drawings by Edgar Dorsey Taylor. Barker Texas History Center.

jHWJts

Above: "Old Snowball Man #3," dated 8-20-44; below: "Grain Warehouse," dated 2-8-44. Conte
crayola drawings by Edgar Dorsey Taylor. Barker Texas History Center.

an exhibit of some 50 sketches from the mid-1940s,

went on display in the

Lomax Room and the gallery of the Barker Center beginning June 8 and was
scheduled to remain on view through September 8. Although best known for
his woodcuts and paintings, Taylor was a versatile artist who also designed
jewelry, ceramic ware, tapestries, mosaics, and stained glass. For the Pacific
House at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, Taylor created an
illuminated map in 6,740 pieces of colored glass showing
electronically
modern trade routes of the Pacific area. The Barker Center exhibit, prepared
by Lynn Bell, John Slate, John Wheat, and Lotte Stavenhagen, includes
examples of the various media in which Taylor worked, as well as some of the
crayons and pastels he used and some of his wood-carving tools. Taylor's art is
present in more than 100 private and public collections in the United States,
including the Library of Congress and the National Collection of Fine Arts in
Washington, D.C.

"Blighted Area,' a Cont crayola drawing by Edgar Dorsey Taylor, dated 2-29-44. Barker Texas
History Center.
12

Educated at the Hoffman School of Art in Munich, Taylor was a University


of California traveling fellow in Greece, Crete, Turkey, and Germany. The
works on exhibit at the Barker Center were sketched by the artist as he
explored the Austin community, in particular the east side of the city, and
were initially shown in 1968 at the Smithsonian Institution, with their display
at the University marking their first showing in Austin. The drawings include
such subjects as families on porches, a taxi stand, a country store, cows
grazing, an evangelist, a shoe shiner, an ice cream vendor, a barber shop, a
grain warehouse, children on scooters and playing marbles, and prairie
and sunflowers. As John Slate reported in The Austin Chronicle,
"Just as the Texan artists of the 1930s depicted gritty visions of poverty
underscored with a sense of activity and endurance, much of Taylor's East
blackbirds

Austin is melancholy, but animated. His streets are filled with motion and the
people in them are working, resting, playing, carrying on with the business of
life." This collection of drawings provides not only an historical record from
the mid- 1940s but offers the moving images of a former University professor
who registered them firsthand on his afternoon sketching trips to the eastern
section of the state's capital city.

Recent Acquisitions of the Nettie Lee Benson


Latin American Collection
Collection's major literary
Julio Cortazar,
described in The Library Chronicle new series number 27, the University's
Latin American Collection has gained depth with the addition of literary
materials rich in research potential. According to Dr. Donald Gibbs, Latin
American Studies Bibliographer, this growth has intentionally focused on
twentieth-century writers because of the immediate but probably short-term
availability of their papers and because of the international influence and
significance of their work. However, with the recent acquisition of an original
manuscript for a nineteenth-century novel by Mexican Ignacio Manuel
Altamirano and four scrapbooks for nineteenth-century novels by Argentine
Jose Sixto Alvarez (Fray Mocho), earlier materials have not been ignored
entirely. Altamirano's El Tarco is a markedly different novel in its character
development and ironic realism from the author's earlier romantic works, and
the Alvarez manuscripts consist of four scrapbooks containing first editions of
his novels with correspondence and clippings of reviews about these works.
Twentieth-century materials added to the Benson Collection include the
papers of another Argentine, Noe Jitrik, who donated drafts of his prose,
poetry, and literary criticism, as well as correspondence and clippings from
his 1974-1984 exile in Mexico. The most famous name among the twentiethcentury figures whose works have been added to the Benson Collection is that
Since the acquisition

archive

of manuscripts

in 1984 of the Benson

by the famed Argentine novelist

13

of Chilean Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), winner of the Nobel Prize in 1945. In


three slim volumes of letters written between 1935 and 1949, Mistral tells her
Argentine friends, Guillermo de Torre and Norah Borges, of her life and work
in Spain and Brazil, her plans for publishing a new volume of poetry, and of
her efforts to help children orphaned in the Spanish Civil War. Also writing in
the 1930s and active up to the time of her death in 1989, the Peruvian Magda
Portal gained less fame from her poetry than from her politics. As a key figure
in the development of the APRA party, a close associate of its founder, Haya
de la Torre, and friend of later Venezuelan president Romulo Betancourt,
Portal provides through her correspondence,
essays, clippings, and draft
memoirs an important historical resource. Portal's literary and cultural
writings, creative works, and materials reflecting her role as leader for many
years of the Peruvian National Association of Writers and Artists likewise
provide insights into the cultural climate of her country.
The Benson Collection's most recent acquisitions are the combined papers
of the Costa Rican poet, scholar, and editor, Victoria Urbano, and those of the
Asociacidn de Literatura Feminina Hispanica (Hispanic Women's Literary
Association) which, with its journal Letras Femeninas, Urbano founded and
directed from 1974 until her death in 1984. Along with Urbano's professional
correspondence,

papers,

publications,

recordings,

and manuscripts,

extensive archive brings together records and correspondence

this

from associa

In combination they provide an


excellent source for the study and appreciation of recent Hispanic women's
writing both in Latin America and in the United States.
As might be supposed, these six collections will serve well for literary
analysis, for furnishing biographical and bibliographical data, and for research
'
in cultural history. Women's cultural contributions, exile life and literature,
and writers' political interests are among the many additional areas which
should attract researchers to explore these papers in the Benson Latin
American Collection.
tion members

throughout

the hemisphere.

HRHRC Middle Eastern Materials on Exhibit


Documents from among the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center's
Middle Eastern holdings will be exhibited on the occasion of the Middle
Eastern Studies Association's annual meeting, to be held on 11-13 November
1990 at the University's Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio. This
display of HRHRC materials illustrating the role of religion, literature, and
law in the development of diverse and unique cultures in the Middle East will
go on exhibit October 9th and continue through November 25th. Original
manuscripts and rare books also will demonstrate the long relationship
between East and West.

Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam relies on written, revealed scripture,


and many of the philosophies and literary styles in the Middle East today can
be traced to the Koran, the Hadith (the written-down sayings of Muhammad),
and the Shari'a (the written and interpreted laws of Islam). Classical Middle
Eastern poetry shows the twin strains of religious mysticism and love imagery,
if the poet is addressing his beloved or God.

and frequently it is difficult to tell

Over time, the law, which derived in large part from Islam, also became an
intrinsic part of the various literatures of the Middle East. Religious, legal,
and literary texts from the HRHRC's collections will provide examples of the
ways in which these three areas of thought and expression have entertwined in
the history of the Middle East.
Items from five different periods will trace the basic forces at work in this
interrelationship of religion, law, and literature. Included will be manuscripts
of Middle Eastern origins as well as writings by Western travelers. Examples
of the Koran, featuring manuscript copies done in different styles of callig
raphy and illumination, will be displayed along with commentaries on this
holy book. Original Persian texts of twelfth-century poet Omar Khayyam's
Rubaiyat will be exhibited beside nineteenth-century printed editions of
Edward Fitzgerald's English translation of the poem. Texts from seventeenth-,
eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century Morocco will focus on Islamic jurispru
dence. Rare volumes of and by the eighteenth-century
English linguist Sir
William Jones will provide examples of the work of this early translator of
Arabic and Persian materials. (For more on the career of this fascinating
figure, see the article in this issue of The Library Chronicle, entitled "West
From India: The Odyssey of Sir William Jones," by Robert D. King.) Finally,
from the twentieth century, a subscriber's edition of T.E. Lawrence's The
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, published privately by Lawrence in 1926, will be
accompanied by Eric Kennington's illustrations and William Roberts's photo
graphs. (For more on "Lawrence of Arabia," see the first article in this issue of
the Chronicle, by David H. Patrick, which is devoted to the HRHRC's T.E.
Lawrence Collection. In addition, an earlier issue of the Chronicle, number
38/39 from 1987, contains an article on Lawrence's

"Arabian Sketches. ")

15

T. E. Lawrence, in full Arab regalia, poses amid the ruins of Akaba. This picture was taken in 1921
when Lawrence was serving in the Colonial office and coincides with his trip to the Middle East in
conjunction with the Cairo Conference. HRHRC Photography Collection.

The T.E. Lawrence Collection:

Its Historical Uses for the Biographer

By David H.

Patrick

Introduction
One of this century's more fascinating figures is T. E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of
"
Arabia. Although the events that first won him renown are now seventy years
in the past, and his death more than fifty, interest in Lawrence has not
diminished with time. On the contrary, the past decade has witnessed the
appearance of a dozen scholarly books as well as scores of articles and
essays on aspects of his life and personality. In addition the recent re-release
of the 1962 epic film Lawrence of Arabia has revived popular interest in his
exploits in the Arab Revolt.
Lawrence's multifaceted life is one factor in his continuing appeal. At
various times he pursued careers as an archeologist, intelligence agent,
guerrilla leader, military strategist, diplomat, writer, and common airman.
But an even greater attraction focuses on his enigmatic personality.
Lawrence's many biographers differ greatly in their assessment of the man;
the reader finds portraits that vary from self-effacing Great Captain and
literary genius to self-promoting charlatan, from an "enabler" who evoked the
best from those around him to troubled misogynist who was a homosexual,
sadist, and/or "guilt-scarred flagellant,"1 as well as a stalwart promoter of Arab
nationalism, or British imperialism, or Zionism. In truth, at one time or
another, Lawrence was most of these things. Furthermore, scholars agree
that,

despite

manifold

attempts,

biographers

have never

his

untangled

complex life and motivations.

Jeremy Wilson, a current biographer whose "authorized" study of


Lawrence is the latest to be published,2 explains why this is the case: 1)
'Stephen Tabachnik, "A Fragmentation Artist," in Stephen Tabachnik, ed. , The T.E. Lawrence
Puzzle (Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 1984), p. 1.
'Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia: An Authorized Biography (London: Heinemann, 1990);
Wilson's work, although massive in size (948 pages of text) and exhaustively researched, does not
pretend to be the "definitive" study on Lawrence. Wilson admits his work is purely narrative (p.
17

virtually all previous biographers began with a preconceived bias which


hindered their efforts to produce a truly factual interpretation; 2) Lawrence's
writings memoirs and letters alike are essential sources for the biog
rapher, yet they reflect the same caprices and paradoxes found in his
personality; and 3) the immense quantity of materials available, and their
diverse locations, make exhaustive research unusually costly and timeconsuming.3 The present article seeks to contribute to that research and to
shed some new light on the issue of Lawrence's persona by highlighting
what the author believes are previously overlooked materials in the T.E.
Lawrence Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
(HRHRC).4 It is hoped that, as future researchers become more aware of the
Center's holdings, not only will researchers' time and expense be lessened,
but a more definitive portrait of Lawrence will emerge.

The Lawrence Legend


Fascination with Lawrence began in August 1919 when an American
publicist, Lowell Thomas, presented a series of slide show/lectures portraying
him as a mythic figure: animator of the Arab Revolt, champion of Arab
nationalism, and 'The Uncrowned King of Arabia." Thomas' romantic version
of the Revolt became immensely popular, created an exaggerated Lawrence
Legend, and propelled its subject into the limelight as a most singular British
war hero. Three eulogistic biographers Thomas, Robert Graves, and Basil
Liddell Hart enhanced the Legend.5 A similar effect resulted from the
13) and sets down what is undoubtedly true without debating the numerous points concerning
Lawrence's life and personality that remain ambiguous and controversial. It must also be noted
that Wilson refers only rarely to the materials

at the Harry Ransom

Humanities Research Center,

some of which would shed light on items he chooses not to debate.

'Jeremy Wilson, "Sense and Nonsense in the Biography of T. E. Lawrence," in T.E. Lawrence
Studies 1, no. 1 (1976): 2-10.

The author

is grateful

to Dr. Hafez Farmayan, Professor of History at The University of Texas

at Austin, for his guidance and encouragement in the preparation of this article. Appreciation
must

also be expressed

to the

T.E. Lawrence Trust

and

Lady Kathleen Liddell

Hart for

permission to use previously unpublished materials. References to these materials as "unpub


lished," however, must be qualified: while strenuous efforts were made to ensure the accuracy of
this claim, the sheer volume of Lawrence materials renders certainty impossible. Finally, a note
on the transcription of Lawrence's letters: he was as casual in applying the formal rules of grammar

of warfare, particularly punctuation marks. Thus his letters, when quoted


verbatim, exhibit such quirks as alternating use of "and" and ampersands; and successions of

as he was those

periods that violate the normal use of such signs in quotations. It was felt an accurate reproduction
was more appropriate than editing his style.
5Lowell Thomas, With Lawrence in Arabia (London: Hutchinson, 1924); Robert Graves,
Lawrence and the Arabs (London: Cape, 1927); and Basil Liddell Hart, "T.E. Lawrence": In
Arabia and After (London: Cape, 1934).
18

publication of Lawrence's memoirs of the Arabian campaign: a privately


published edition, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom; and a popular abridgement,
Revolt in the Desert.6
Lawrence's immediate postwar activities added to his fame. Regarded as an
expert on Arab affairs, he often donned Arab dress, advised high Government
officials,

attended

the Paris Peace Conference as Prince Feisal's

advisor,

wrote articles championing the Arab cause, and received a fellowship from All
Souls College, Oxford,
Colonial Office, where

fund his memoirs. In 1921 he left Oxford for the


Winston Churchill in arranging the
postwar settlements for the Middle East. He was received into the highest
circles of British political and literary life, and became friends with many of
the leading figures of the day. His life became what today would be termed a
"media event."
Adulation, however, triggered ambivalent feelings in Lawrence. In time he
detested that part of himself which enjoyed and even sought notoriety. The
inner tensions thus aroused inflamed earlier emotional conflicts brought on
by his experiences in the Revolt, precipitating a severe depression that
recurred periodically, clouding the rest of his life. The immediate result was
typically dramatic: in the summer of 1922 he resigned from his Colonial Office
position to enter the ranks of the RAF, a decision which has since bemused his
biographers. The press, which invariably sensationalized his every action,
interpreted the enlistment as a protest against the Government's "betrayal" of
Britain's wartime Arab allies, an impression Lawrence encouraged. This
explanation of his "sacrifice" further enhanced his public acclaim.
Publicity surrounding his presence in the ranks of the RAF caused his
discharge in January, 1923; he subsequently enlisted in the Tank Corps, only
to return to the Air Force in 1925. Despite his lowly rank, Lawrence made
noteworthy contributions during his service career, which was a period of
significant achievement in his RAF and literary lives alike: he helped develop
rescue boats for the RAF; completed his Revolt memoirs as well as The Mint,1
an account of his early service experiences; produced several translations,
introductions, and other smaller literary works; and engaged with his myriad
friends and associates in a prolific correspondence that added to his literary
reputation. One reason Lawrence enlisted was to escape the glare of
publicity. This proved difficult, however, in part because of a certain
reluctance to surrender fame. In addition, the press indulged in sensational
speculations

to

he assisted

as to his activities,

a practice

that added to the mystery and

notoriety that continued to surround him. Even his premature death in

1935,

T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (privately printed, 1926; public edition,
New York: Doubleday, 1935); Revolt in the Desert (New York: Doran, 1927).
T.E. Lawrence, The Mint (expurgated edition, London: Cape, 1955; full edition, London:
Cape, 1973).
19

after lingering in a coma for days following a motorcycle

accident,

was

converted into a legendary event.

Searching

for the "Real" Lawrence

contemporaries
questioned the verity of the Legend, but the
of
Lawrence's
friends
and biographers, and his immense popular
prestige
acclaim, postponed serious scrutiny for decades. Not until 1955, when
Richard Aldington's acerbic work challenged the Legend, were its premises
subjected to scholarly debate." Aldington asserted that, since Lawrence was
the principal source for previous biographers, the Legend depended unduly
on his own narrative accounts of his life and exploits, many of which were
conflicting, even contradictory. The author concluded that Lawrence was a
liar and the Legend a total fraud, perpetrated and perpetuated by a circle of
influential British imperialists who used his fame to further their own political
Several

agenda.

Aldington's charges generated a heated debate as Lawrence's admirers,


with Liddell Hart serving as spokesman, rallied to their hero's defense."
Although the pro- Lawrence camp convincingly rebutted many of Aldington's
charges, and demonstrated the undue rancor his book evinced, the Legend
was irrevocably tarnished.
The Aldington-Liddell Hart dispute triggered a proliferation of works
seeking to unveil the "real" Lawrence, a search that continues today. Initial
responses tended to follow Aldington's lead in denigrating Lawrence, as seen
in the works of Suleiman Mousa, Anthony Nutting, Jean Beraud-Villars, and
Elie Kedourie;10 all of these accented Lawrence's inconsistencies and troubled
psyche in order to question his achievements.
In 1968 British archives concerning World War I were opened for
researchers, initiating yet another era in Lawrence studies. Phillip Knightley
and Colin Simpson were the first to utilize the new materials in their The
Secret Lives of Lawrence of Arabia," which demonstrated that the archives
support many although by no means all of Lawrence's claims, particularly
his exploits in the Arab Revolt. Yet the book also publicized allegations by
"Richard Aldington, Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Enquiry (London: Collins, 1955).
"See the section below entitled "The Miscellaneous File" for a more thorough discussion of this
controversy.
'"Suleiman Mousa, T.E. Lawrence: An Arab View (London: Oxford University Press, 1962);
Anthony Nutting, Lawrence of Arabia: The Man and the Motive (London: Mollis and Carter,
1961); Jean Beraud-Villars, T.E. Lawrence, or The Search for the Absolute (London: Sidgwick
and Jackson, 1958); and Elie Kedourie, The Chatham House Version and Other Middle Eastern
Studies (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981).

"Phillip Knightley and Colin Simpson, The Secret Lives of Lawrence of Arabia (London:
Nelson, 1969).
20

Richard Aldington, Lawrence's most critical biographer, is pictured here in a snapshot taken by
Montague Cooper. HRHRC Photography Collection.

John Bruce, a Scottish engineer, that Lawrence had constructed an elaborate


scheme, periodically implemented between 1923-34, which induced him
Bruce to administer periodic beatings to Lawrence. They further charged
that Lawrence falsified his various (and conflicting) accounts of his capture and
mistreatment by the Turks at Deraa; and completely discounted the espio
nage mission he alleged to have undertaken during the Aqaba campaign.
Although scholars rebut many of Knightley and Simpson's interpretations,
their book is an important part of Lawrence historiography; not only did it
lend credence to Bruce's story, which even Lawrence's most ardent admirers
now accept, but subsequent

biographers

were forced to examine the docu

mentary evidence more closely than had previously been the case.

of Lawrence's masochism intensified interest in the


problems, provoking new research into that aspect of his
life. John Mack's A Prince of Our Disorder, written by the Dean of Harvard's
School of Psychiatry, explains Lawrence's actions and motivations from a
'2
Although Mack's book remains the most respected
professional perspective.
Lawrence biography, it too has been the subject of scholarly criticism.
Adverse comment is directed at Mack's preoccupation with the events of the
Arab Bevolt at the expense of such issues as Lawrence's diplomatic and
literary achievements. Further, the author oversimplifies the complexities of
modern psychiatry in order to make his points comprehensible to the lay
reader, and too readily rationalizes Lawrence's propensity for lying.13 The
current generation of Lawrence biographers have generally chosen not to
Bruce's

revelation

latter's emotional

challenge

Mack's professional

expertise in assessing Lawrence's

personality,

producing yet another shift in Lawrence biography: a tendency to focus on one


aspect of Lawrence's life, curbing the impulse to indulge in retrospective
psychoanalysis. Many of these specialized studies have focused on Lawrence's
literary accomplishments,14 but others have examined his RAF career,15 his
penchant for publicity,16 and his contributions to military science." In
addition, a recent publication has made available a fourth collection of

l2John E. Mack, A Prince


and Nicolson, 1976).
l3Wilson,

of Our Disorder: The Life ofT.E. Lawrence (London: Weidenfeld

"Sense and Nonsense," pp. 5-6.

"Stanley Weintraub, Private Shaw and Public Shaw (New York: Braziller, 1963); Stanley and
Rodelle Weintraub, Lawrence of Arabia: The Literary Impulse (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
University Press, 1975): Jeffrey Meyers, The Wounded Spirit: A Study of "Seven Pillars of
Wisdom" (London: Martin Brian and O'Keefe, 1973); and Stephen Tabachnik, T.E. Lawrence
Twayne, 1978).
H. Montgomery Hyde, Solitary in the Ranks: Lawrence of Arabia as Airman and Private
Soldier (London: Constable. 1977).

(Boston:
15

'"Michael Yardley, Backing into the Limelight (London: Harrap, 1985).


"Konrad Morsey, T.E. Lawrence und der arabische Aufstand, 1916/18 (Osnabruck: Biblio,
1976).
22

Lawrences letters, still principal sources for his biographers.18 Despite these
efforts, as previously noted, no definitive interpretive biography of Lawrence
has yet emerged.

The HRHRC

Collection: A Quantitative Description

The reader is directed to two preliminary guides to the T.E. Lawrence


Collection which proved invaluable in the preparation of this article: Ann
Bowden's earlier essay on the Collection19 and the HRHRC's three-page
handout which describes its contents.20 Both provide information helpful to
the researcher approaching the Collection for the first time, although the
latter is but a checklist

and Bowden's

purchases and altered perceptions

article has been superseded

by later

of Lawrence.

The HRHRC is one of five major depositories of Lawrence's works and


letters. The others are the Houghton Library, Harvard; the British Library
and the British Museum, London; and the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Smaller

holdings exist in numerous other libraries and private collections.


H.
Montgomery Hyde notes that "the largest collection of Lawrence's letters,
over five hundred, is probably in Texas University";21 many of these, however,
were already published before the HRHRC acquired them. Malcolm Brown's
recent edition of collected letters includes an even dozen previously unpub
lished examples from the HRHRC Collection, but he relies far more heavily
on items from the Bodleian and British Libraries. This article contends that,
despite the apparent exhaustion of Lawrence's letters as sources for new
insight into the life and personality of their author, the HRHRC contains
unpublished letters and other materials which have been scantily utilized by
previous biographers.

The HRHRC Collection consists of eight distinct types of materials, five of


which are of limited interest to the historian-biographer and will be described
but briefly: 1) Lawrence's formal writings, in both manuscript and published
form, including a 35,000 word holograph abridgement that is the earliest
surviving manuscript of Seven Pillars, and first editions of all his works save
the Oxford edition of Seven Pillars; 2) more than a score of books from
'"Malcolm Brown, ed., T.E. Lawrence: The Selected Letters (New York: W.W. Norton and
Company, 1989).
"Ann Bowden, "The T. E. Lawrence Collection at the University of Texas," Texas Quarterly 5,
no. 3 (Fall, 1962): 54-63.

"For recent Lawrence works utilizing the HRHRC Lawrence Collection, see Ellen S. Dunlap,
Cathy Henderson, and Sally Leach, The Finest Adventure: Scholars at Work (Austin: The
Humanities Research Center, 1983).
2IH. Montgomery Hyde, p. 274. Notice that the author's figure is lower than the actual number
of items (856) contained in the Collection as noted immediately below.
23

Above: T. E. Lawrence (extreme right) and Prince Feisal (third from right) pose outside of Feisal's
house in Aqaba with members of Feisal's cabinet. Below: T. E. Lawrence took this photograph of a
group of Arab troops on the outskirts of Aqaba as the city fell in July 1917. HRHRC Photography
Collection.

Lawrence's

private library, often first editions written by his literary acquain

tances; 3) an art collection containing eleven paintings and drawings by Eric


Kennington, William Roberts, and Gilbert Spencer used in the subscription

edition of Seven Pillars, Eric Kennington s gilt brass bust of Lawrence,


Lawrence's sketchbook drawn while on assignment in Arabia in 1921-22, a and
521 photographs highlighted by the more than 200 pictures Lawrence took
during his youthful trips in France and Syria, the Revolt, and his later
diplomatic missions to the Middle East;23 4) secondary works on Lawrence
including most of the biographies and all the letter collections, literary
criticisms, and bibliographies published before 1980;24 and 5) less than three
dozen letters from various correspondents to Lawrence which hold little of
interest save a partial publishing history of Seven Pillars.
This leaves three types of materials which form the backbone of the
Collection's potential contribution to the Lawrence biographer: 1) its 856
letters Lawrence authored between 1920 and 1935, although there are a few
examples of earlier letters; 2) a vertical file, neither catalogued nor indexed,
with an avalanche of newspaper clippings ranging from 1919 to 1968,
including original copies of Lawrence's Times articles of 1919-1922; and 3) a
miscellaneous file highlighted by the Liddell Hart Papers consisting of several
important manuscripts along with some 1,050 letters, approximately half from
Liddell Hart and the rest exchanged between third parties. Although a large
number of the letters in the miscellaneous file are copies rather than originals,
they reflect important views of Lawrence which are presently unpublished.

Letters
Lawrence was
around

prolific correspondent

10,000 letters.

who is estimated to have written

As noted above, the

HRHRC

possesses over eight

portion of which were written to his best-known or


most significant correspondents: his publishers, Jonathan Cape and H. Glen
Howard, 108 items; Eric Kennington, 86; Edward Garnett, 70; S.F. Newcombe, a childhood friend and a colleague in the Revolt, 37, including some
hundred of these,

a large

aSee Sarah Maline, "The Arabian Sketches of T. E. Lawrence," The Library Chronicle of The
University of Texas at Austin, n. s. 38/39(1987): 17-39.
"It is interesting to note that Christopher Matheson and Stephen Tabachnik's Images of
Lawrence (London: Cape, 1988) suggests that the Collection's photographs of the Hejaz Railway
were related to Lawrence's prewar intelligence activities. Yet both the Collection's purchasing
file and the checklist previously mentioned specifically state that these pictures were given to
Lawrence after the war by "Meissner Pasha,'' the German engineer and general officer who
supervised the railroad's construction.
"See this article's "Conclusions" for the author's comments on secondary

source acquisitions.

25

pre-1920 items; Raymond


another prewar companion,

Savage, his literary agent, 33; Vyvyan Richards,


11, several of which predate 1920; and 1 letter

and 8 typed pages of excerpts from other letters to Charlotte Francis (Mrs.
Bernard) Shaw, whom biographers regard as his most confidential and
important correspondent.

A significant number of Lawrence's letters have already been published in


one or more of the several collected editions of such letters, or the numerous
secondary works on Lawrence.25 Yet many unpublished letters remain, some
of which contain revealing observations. An example is the following excerpt
from a letter to Kennington dated 15 September 1927, which reflects
Lawrence's anguish over his own sexuality, a recurring problem for his
biographers:
As for the second part of your letter: well, I'm helpless to say
anything, having put myself out of court by being really celibate.
in the real sense, & it overturns a man's
balance: for it throws him upon himself (which is unwholesome, like
sucking your own tail, in snakes) or on friendship to satisfy the urge of

Celibacy is un-natural,

. . . and such friendship may easily turn into sexperversion. If I have missed all these things, as I hope and you seem
to suggest well then, I'm barrenly lucky. It has not been easy: and it

affection within

leads, in old age, to misery.

Many of the published letters appear with little or no explanation and/or


crucial portions excised; as a result, there is still a need for more systematic
analysis of Lawrence's

correspondence.

Lawrence himself suggests one step toward such analysis in


Kennington dated 6 August 1934:

letter

to

[My

makes contact

why

then

that

it

seem to me (as I write


more that night.

it)

letters] don't pretend to be good . . . but they do actually try


very hard to be good. . . . Each tries to direct itself as directly as it
can towards my picture of the person I am writing to: and if it does not

write no

of

of

J5There are four large collected editions of Lawrence letters: David Garnett, ed. The Letters
T.E. Lawrence (London: Cape, 1938); M.R. Lawrence, ed.. The Home Letters
T.E. Lawrence
(Oxford: Blackwell, 1954); Robert Graves and Basil Liddell Hart, eds., T.E. Lawrence to His
Biographers (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963); and Malcolm Brown, ed., T.E. Lawrence:

The Selected Letters (New York: WW. Norton, 1989). In addition there are also several smaller
editions of letters to specific recipients: Letters from T.E. Shaw to Bruce Rogers (New Fairfield,
CT: Press of William Edwin Rudge, 1933); More Letters from T.E. Shaw to Bruce Rogers (New
Fairfield, CT. 1936); Letters from T.E. Shaw to Viscount Carlow (London: Corvinus Press,
1936); and Shaw-Ede. T.E.
Press,

26

1942).

Lawrence Letters to H.S. Ede 1927-35 (London: Golden Cockerel

As Lawrence implies, his letters possess a variety of tones. Those to the


to the point of self-

English literary and political elite are introspective

and are carefully crafted to contain elements of "contestability"

absorption,

i.e., requiring interpretation by the reader.26 It can be argued that these


letters were written as much for posterity as to the recipient, for, by the mid19205, Lawrence was aware that posthumous publication was probable.27 His
letter to Mrs. Shaw, written from Karachi on 16 April 1928, is an unpublished
example of his "literary" style.

....

A house in which servants live

is not a home.

used to bathe in

if it

were a bath, when the last clerk had banged


offices and drawing-rooms and bedroom,
the door and the whole of
was mine. Per contra, now, for nearly seventeen months,

it,

14 Barton Street, as

have not

if

door shut behind me to be securely alone. Other people are


very disturbing,
they are awake and active, in one's own
wholesome discipline in contact with
air.
All the same there
others.
makes
fellow feel his own ordinariness and inferiority to
had

It

is

...

his dreams.

Lawrence's "literary" letters share similarities beyond their self-absorption


denigrated his own published
works, asserting that he lacked the artistic talent to write well. Another
unpublished letter, written to John Brophy on 19 November 1929, displays
this characteristic while, more compellingly than most of Lawrence's reflec
tions on his writing,
explains why he believed this to be so:
think did write better than the average retired military man:
gulf.

but between that and "writing" there

is

....

it

and interpretive style. Lawrence constantly

have talked to many

think great writers. All of them have likeness, in that they


get some pleasure out of the phrases as they are born. Not the
finished work, perhaps. Few look back with pleasure: but there
joy
creation,
in the
and
had never anything but weariness and

is

whom

dissatisfaction.

Current works on Lawrence stress the importance of these "literary"


yet other types exist which illuminate different facets of this most
complex man. On occasions, although generally averse to do so, he discusses
letters,

of

^Keith N. Hull, "Seven Pillars


Wisdom: the Secret, Contestable Documentary," in Stephen
Tabachnik, ed. The T. E. Lawrence Puzzle (Athens, GA: The University of Ceorgia Press, 1984),
p. 99.

rMalcolm Brown, pp. vii and xx. Brown notes three letters that support the argument that
Lawrence was well aware his letters were historically and monetarily valuable and that many were
being held for publication: Lawrence to Flight Sergeant H.A. Ford, 18 April 1929; to K.W.
Marshall,
September 1932; and to Charlotte Shaw, 19 January 1930.
27

his views on Middle Eastern politics. Two unpublished notes to Captain


Armstrong, written 10 June 1924 and 25 October 1932 respectively,

H.C.
are

examples:

....

King Hussein was

a bad old

knave,

who had been much

overpaid by us for our brief use of his name in 1916. Since that year
his activities had been against our interests,

& we had made many

efforts to counteract him. The state he had set up in Mecca

. . .

was

retrograde, tyrannical, inefficient & dangerous. Its existence


threatened the truly national life of such places as Damascus &
Baghdad: and its disappearance will be hailed by those who care for
the improvement of the political middle-east. So more power to Ibn
Saud!
if I could save Mecca & King Hussein by crossing the
road, I wouldn't bother to do so. Nor would I have tried to save him,
had I remained in Eastern Politics.

...

And
M.[ustafa] K.femal] is one of our great-missed opportunities.
Feisal had been in touch with him, secretly, in the last stages of the
. . .

it)

war. His nationalist programme


meant a new and self-centred
Turkey, which was wholly to our interest. We had meant to let him
work from Aleppo (when we got
into Asia Minor. Instead there
.
came the collapse.
[Lloyd George] could have helped him with
friendliness and M.K. would have been glad of our help. Instead he
treated with the fatuous and inept Sultan and the Constantinople
gang. Had he worked with M.K. instead he would have freed the
Straits.

These two letters point out one of the difficulties Lawrence's writings present
to his biographer:
proclivity for exaggeration or distortion, seen in his letters
and books alike, which undermines their reliability as historical sources. There
are few reasons to believe Lawrence was as content with Ibn Saud's success in
the Hejaz in 1924-25 as he claims here, nor as prophetic concerning

Mustafa

it

is

Kemal (Ataturk). The problem of Lawrence's candor


discussed in detail later,
as
forms the central theme of the Liddell Hart/ Aldington debate featured in
the Miscellaneous File of the

HRHRC

Collection.

Writers often mention Lawrence's "impish humor," yet seldom note


examples. The HRHRC contains six letters to the young son of Stewart F.
Newcombe, longtime friend and fellow hero of the Revolt, that are replete
with examples. Two of these, written October 1926 and 27 April 1927, are
excerpted here:

....

it

is

28

Hurry up and learn to read. have written book: long book.


to go to your father, since
One copy
says rude things about his

Lawrence was not the only British officer in the Arab Revolt to don Arab regalia. This photograph,
taken by Lawrence in February 1917, shows Captain Stewart F. Newcombe, a longtime friend
the recipient of more than thirty letters held by the HRHRC, in conversation with
Mohammed ibn Shafia, an Arab chieftain. HRHRC Photography Collection.

and

face and character.

One copy

is to go to you: so that you shall know

what your father is like. Your Mother is not to have a copy. She knows
more than that already.

And
Life,

as

top gear.

said before, rolls on.

...

wish the blessed thing had a decent

enclose some grains of the Sind desert. We eat them

here nearly every day.28

Elsewhere Lawrence's humor is more ironic than impish, as seen in an


unpublished, undated letter to G. Wren Howard concerning the title for
Liddell Hart's forthcoming book:
Your title (Lawrence of Arabia: In Arabia and After) is rotten. Why
not get away from L. and his Arabia? Lowell Thomas and Robert
Graves both had a skim of that; only thin milk is left. Call it "The Third
Vomit." Call it "Third time lucky." Call it "Colonel Lawrence and
After." Call it "Long after Colonel L." Call it "Too long after"
call it Oh, call it anything you don't like; being careful to keep
my "L" name in inverted commas. Call it "Cape's Good Hope."
Forget it.

....

And to Raymond Savage, 28 August


book on

RAF

1928,

concerning rumors of his writing

life:

. . . If it comes out in some literary gossip column, not in the Little


Bingley Recorder, but in some reputable or circulated paper, that
I've written and intend to (publish, not publish) a book about the
R. A. F. or the Army or the Navy, or the Royal Family, or the Pope, or
Parsnips, or Square Roots or prehistoric man or Chinese pottery:
then please for heaven's sake slap a letter in the next issue, saying that

you as my agent are authorized

...

to deny categorically

that

I have

written, am writing, or have any intention of writing, anything more


than my already published volumes. . . .
This passage suggests yet another trait manifested in Lawrence's letters: his
manipulation of others. At the time of this letter Lawrence had
notes on his early RAF experiences and was contemplating writing what
became The Mint; but Trenchard had warned him not to use his RAF career as
a basis for further writing, as Lawrence tells Savage in a letter dated 10
October 1928. Hence he was asking Savage to lie unknowingly on his behalf.
calculating

2The first of these letters to Stewart L. Newcombe is previously published in Garnett, p. 494;
the second is found in Brown, pp. 326-27.

30

Nor was this an exceptional act; Lawrence's manipulation of his early


biographers is thoroughly documented elsewhere, as are his machinations to
regain admittance to the RAF in 1924-1925. What is less generally known is
that he repeated these tactics in 1933, at a time when his
displeased him. A hint of this unhappiness

Newcombe written on 28 February

RAF

assignment

is first seen in a letter to the elder

1933:

This place (Plymouth) is changing, not for the better, under a


procession of temporary Commanding Officers, and I'm fully out of
sorts with it. Unless things improve, I may hop it, and settle
prematurely in my cottage.
Apparently this was not the only or even the primary reason. Garnett includes
a record of Lawrence's application for a discharge dated 6 March 1933, which
ends with a postscript noting "A/C Shaw desires his discharge if there is no
"
Two ensuing
prospect of his being used on other than routine station duties.
letters, dated 21 and 30 March 1933, sought to persuade Sir Philip Sassoon,
Undersecretary of State for Air, to intervene with Geoffrey Salmond, the
incoming Chief of the Air Service, concerning Lawrence's assignment. In the
second of these Lawrence writes:

saw Geoffrey Salmond lately, and told him almost what

have said

above. "I will not go on at Batten, doing routine work. I would like to
do more boats," or, best of all, to do a long flying-boat voyage and

write

a log

of it.30

The letters also disclose


open, conversational

a more human side of Lawrence: a capacity for


exchanges that evinced a deep interest in others' affairs,

evident in his
"literary" correspondence. A large number of these letters were written to
fellow rankers or their families; for examples see his letters to Private H.G.
Hayter (9 items), W.E. Jeffrey (7), Arthur Russell (10), and Russell's mother
they not only show
representative;
(2). Those to Jeffrey are especially
Lawrence in this often neglected light, but also demonstrate that he kept up
with many former Tank Corps and RAF comrades. The final letter to Jeffrey,
an unpublished item dated 20 July 1934, possesses not only the chatty style
Lawrence employed in such letters, but serves to introduce yet another of
Lawrence's many facets: a willingness to aid, within his limited means, many
who asked for his assistance. Although he answers Jeffrey's plea for help in
finding a job outside the service, he admits he has little influence in that
in contrast

to the

self-absorbed,

contestable

elements

so

regard:
Harnett,

p. 421.

"The last paragraph refers to Sassoon 's flying-boat trip to Asia which inspired The Third Route,
a journal of that adventure which was published in 1929 by W. Heinemann.
31

In all these ways I am at a disadvantage, because I do not know the


right people. My friends are writers and artists, semi-Bohemian
people of wandering habit and little money. They do not employ
anybody. The few business men I used to know have gradually fallen
out of my life.
Replies to similar requests, often with happier results, can be found in letters
to Manning Pike (Seven Pillars printer), 30 March 1932; Mrs. Hutchinson, an
RAF widow, undated; A.H.G. Kerry, also undated; and T.B. Marson, Air

Marshall Hugh Trenchard's private secretary, dated 29 July 1927 and 27 June
1929. The second,
unpublished Marson letter combines this aspect of
Lawrence with his "literary" style and tone:

It

it,

I'm sorry your life has not of late flowed as a navigable river should.
Tiresome things circumstances: and money the worst of them. Not
and desire something
having it is the devil; and when you have
particular, then you find that the beastly stuff lets you down.
suddenly becomes perfectly useless.
is

his mastery of the mechanical side of


Still another aspect of these letters
Hyde's Solitary in the Ranks focuses on Lawrence's
correspondence with Hugh Trenchard, Air Force Chief from 1921 to 1929.
These letters recount Lawrence's relations with his superior officers as well as
his ideas concerning the RAF's mission and possible reforms in its policies.
They do not, however, provide much insight into Lawrence's work, on air-sea
rescue boats and airfoils during the years 1931-34, generally regarded as his
most important service contributions. On the other hand, the Collection does
contain thirty-six letters to Flight Lieutenant W.E.G. Beauforte-Greenwood
and five more to Flight Lieutenant H. Norrington, two of Lawrence's
immediate superiors in this work, that testify to his technical mastery of and
the following
apparent enjoyment of rescue boats. An unpublished example
letter to Beauforte-Greenwood dated 18 June 1931:
is

his job as airman.

it

.
.
.

is

It

is

Here an advance copy of the last notes upon RAF 200 [designation
of the new boat type Lawrence helped create]. see that in all have
written almost
book upon the boat and her engines.
has been
interesting and difficult, and therefore
am very grateful to you for
giving me the chance of doing it. This the third good job have had
in the R. A. F.
feel particularly pleased about the whole affair,
because
has meant our getting so good
boat so quickly.
Another unpublished letter, dated 20 January 1932, further supports
Lawrence's mechanical competence as well as the influence he had on the
boat program:
32

...

we
[Boat] 202 has now done 15 hours with the Hyland gears.
have passed the day trying to invent some means of protecting the
from too sudden engagement
Wing Commander
Watkins "bumped" the reverse eight times, stalling the engine one
time in two . . . [although he] admitted outright that he had not
mastered their operation perfectly.
It is clear to me that the
instructional boat, at least, must have some spring preventors to save
the reverses from becoming scrap iron in a month. After training
there will be no need for it. His First Sergeant bumped once, his first
try, and after that did 68 changes, beautifully, and said that there was
no difficulty whatever in it.
reverse

...

Yet another example of this theme Lawrence's influence on the RAF boat
program despite his lack of rank is seen in a letter to Norrington dated 29
May 1931:
I have made up

a note on the first three weeks

of the Power engines in

the cruiser. It makes rather dismal reading. That bit of wadding in the
pipes has cost Mr. Scott-Paine (contractor) about 150, I think. The
engines are now running very well, but fail to reach their 3000 rev.
peak by at least 250 revs. Two sets of smaller propellers are being got
ready against Sunday, when 200 (series) take the water again in full
service trim. There should be at least a day's full trial of her with these
new props. Then she should be ready for taking away.
Regardless of their views on his achievements, current biographers agree
that Lawrence often misled or baldly lied to others, although they differ as to
his motives for doing so. This aspect of Lawrence will be amplified later in the
discussion

of the Miscellaneous File, but the biographer must bear this in


Lawrence's letters at face value. Yet, if used with

mind before accepting

proper caution in conjunction with corroborative sources, the letters remain


important resources in the search for a clearer picture of the man and his
accomplishments.

The

Vertical File

The Collection's vertical file, although not listed in the Center's main
catalogue, contains a potpourri of articles from a diverse group of periodicals
published between 1919 and 1968.31 Previous researchers have generally
"Articles in the file come from such periodicals as The Times (London), The Sunday Express
(London), The New York Times Magazine, The New York Herald Tribune, Time, Newsweek, The
Star (London), The Evening Standard (London), John O'London's Weekly, The Outline, T.E.

Lawrence Studies.

The Austin American-Statesman, and The T.E. Lawrence Studies Newsletter.


33

their contents; little or nothing from the file has made its way into

overlooked

the major works on Lawrence, despite a variety of materials that are often
significant. Further, many of these publications have been discontinued, and
access to them in such concentrated

form is rare. Unfortunately, little effort

has been made to catalog or index these materials, most of which were
acquired as adjuncts to manuscript collections. Instead they are stored in clasp
envelopes

to date of acquisition

according

without regard for subject or

publication date, making their perusal a tedious task.


The researcher who perseveres despite these obstacles will discover
numerous

topics, often related,

that are discussed

in the various materials

Five of these are especially Laurentian: Lawrence's


immediate postwar views on British policy toward the Arab Middle East as
expressed in a series of Times letters and articles; his explanations for
enlisting; Sherif Hussein's response to Revolt in the Desert; Lawrence's
appraisal of his own writing talents; and a broad range of appreciations of his
found

in this file.

enigmatic personality.
Lawrence's

Times articles, while available in microform at most university

libraries, have more impact in their original setting. Of more significance to


the historian-biographer, these articles contain insights not readily found
elsewhere. The articles and letters written prior to the Paris Conference are
frequently cited by his biographers; less interest, however, has been accorded
those submitted later, just prior to his assumption of a post in the Colonial
Office that made him a principal in the eventual settlements. Excerpts from
the 23 July 1920 issue illustrate his perceptions of Arab goals, past British
policy, and the means by which British and Arab interests might be
amalgamated. In the first instance Lawrence asserted that
The Arabs rebelled against the Turks during the war not because the
Turk Government was notably bad, but because they wanted
They did not risk their lives in battle to change
independence.
masters, to become British subjects or French citizens, but to win a
show of their own.
On British policy in Mesopotamia:

It is not astonishing that [Arab] patience has broken down after two
years. The Government we have set up is English in fashion, and is

...

in the English language.


it has 450 British executive
In
officers running it, and not a single responsible Mesopotamian.
conducted

Turkish days 70 per cent of the executive


cal.

...

It

is true we have increased

civil service was lo


[their] prosperity but who

cares for that when liberty is in the other scale?

And, lastly, his ideological


34

as

well

as practical bases for a settlement:

Why should Englishmen (or Indians) be killed to make the Arab


government in Mesopotamia?.
I would make the Arabs do the
work. They can. My little experience in helping to set up Feisal
showed that the art of government wants more character than
brains.
I shall be told that the idea of Brown dominions in the
British Empire is grotesque. . . . the only alternative seems to be
conquest, which the ordinary Englishman does not want, and cannot
afford.
Of course, there is oil in Mesopotamia, but we are no
nearer that while the Middle East remains at war . . . I think if it is so
necessary for us, it could be made the subject of a bargain. The Arabs
seem willing to shed their blood for freedom; how much more their

...

...

...

oil!

Lawrence often spoke of the settlements of 1921-22, in which he played a


role, as his most important achievements. Although many histo
rians have challenged their efficacy, his assessment and a hint of his own
contribution to them appears in an interview with United Press correspon
dent Henry Tosti Russell, subsequently printed in syndication on 20 April
significant

1931:

That is one reason why I refused decorations and other honors offered
me.
By refusing them I was able to speak my mind. After a long
struggle with Cabinet Ministers and others, I got the government,
thanks to Winston Churchill, to fulfill as many promises made to the
Arabs during the war as it was humanly possible and practicable to
fulfill.

...

This same article, meanwhile, offers one insight into another of the
Lawrence controversies: why did he surrender his post as an important
diplomatic officer to enter the RAF as an enlisted man? Lawrence provided
numerous, often conflicting explanations; one of these is recorded in the
Russell interview:
They say I entered the RAF because of bad health! Some say I was
"riddled with bullets"; others say I was verging on a nervous
breakdown following my experiences in the desert. You can't become
a member of the RAF if you are physically or mentally unfit. I joined
the RAF simply because I was sick and tired of politics and I wanted a
job at which I could work with my hands, as I used to when I
conducted excavations.
Lawrence's

death precipitated an article in the 20 May 1935 issue of the

Euentng Standard which added a commentary

written to Graves on

February

1935.

to a previous Lawrence letter

In contrast

to

other letters in which he


35

preference to be remembered for his literary achievements,32


Lawrence emphasizes his diplomatic legacy:

stated

If you
I did

do supply the obituary, don't give too much importance to what

in Arabia during the war.

settlement

feel that the Middle-Eastern

put through by Winston Churchill and Young and me in

1921 . . . should weigh more than fighting.

Another section of the article quotes Lawrence's assertion that he was


incapable of artistic writing, and links that flaw to his decision to join the RAF:
Artists

. . .

seduce me from what

am. Almost

I could

be an artist,

but there is some sort of core in me that puts on the brake. If I knew
what it was I would tell you or become one of the real ones. Only I
can't.

When I made this discovery I changed direction, right, and went into
the RAF after straightening out that Eastern tangle with Winston, a
duty that fell to me, I having been partly the cause of the tangle.
These examples are typical of the accounts or quotes which permeate the file's
articles and reviews until the 1950s. Three exceptions are noted below,
beginning with an unattributed article from The Star, 11 May 1934, which
notes a darker side of Lawrence, whose name was legally changed to Shaw in
1923:

Aircraftsman

Shaw is the most bitter man

great unfathomable

have ever met. He is the

anomaly. His eyes have

a strange sadness that

lingers behind the cynical smile that is so often on his lips. Yet he
denies that he is unhappy: "there is no mystery about me. I am just an
ordinary man trying to earn his living in the way that he likes. The
mystery is fictitious."

John O'London's Weekly printed an article on 15 August 1936, written by F.


Yeats Brown, another Lawrence literary friend, which argues that Lawrence's
true assessment of his own writings differed from his usual self-derision, and
speculates as to why Lawrence so frequently lamented his failure as a writer.33
Brown claims Lawrence "knew quite well that he could write, and that he had
KSee Bowden, p. 53.

"Among the Center's collection of manuscripts and correspondence of Francis Yeats-Brown


(1886-1944), a British soldier, journalist, and writer stationed in India, are the typescript for
Yeats-Brown's 11 October 1932 radio broadcast on T. E. Lawrence and the annotated galley proofs
for a newspaper article, 'Tea with 'Lawrence'," as well as two letters to T. E. Shaw" (1927), and
seven letters from Shaw (1929-30; 1 n.d.).
36

a character

but nothing short of world fame would assuage his inferiority

complex."

Another perspective is from Samuel C. Chew's review of Garnett's Letters


in the 26 March 1939 issue of the New York Herald Tribune, which begins
with a quote from Gamett: "The frontier between what was satisfying to
Lawrence's vanity and what increased his persecution mania fluctuated
"M
This passage introduces the review's theme: Lawrence's emo
extremely.
tional state in the postwar years. The article quotes Lawrence's letter to
Lionel Curtis written 14 May 1923:
"Sometimes

I wonder how far

mad

I am,

and

if a madhouse would

not

be my next (and most merciful) stage. Merciful compared with this


place (Tank Corps) which hurts my body and soul. . . . Yet I want to
stay here till it no longer hurts me: till the burnt child no longer feels
the fire."

Chew concludes that the extreme contrast between the youthful exuberance
evident in Lawrence's prewar letters and the glaring egoism of his later
correspondence indicates a chronic emotional disturbance, creating such a
focus on self that
we are not surprised to find that the tremendous events of these years
passed by him without evoking comment; the letters contain no
allusions to the growth of the totalitarian states.

What is surprising is the complete disappearance of all interest in


and archeology, the subjects of his early and ardent
studies. There is not a single allusion to the great discoveries in
Egypt, Palestine, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia which were achieved
in the 1920s. Even Carnovan and Carter are not mentioned. From
the colleague of Petrie, Hogarth and Woolley one would not have
architecture

expected this silence.

Another item in this file is a booklet by Ronald Storrs derived from a revised
chapter of his memoirs.35 Storrs, an old if somewhat equivocal friend, relates
one example of Lawrence's reasons for becoming and remaining an enlis
tee:

asked him point blank why he was doing what he was doing and

not more. He answered that there was only one thing in the world
"Carnett, p. 352.
"Ronald Storrs, Lawrence of Arabia, Zionism, and Palestine (New York: Penguin Books, 1943).
The original book from which this work was taken and revised is Storrs, Orientations (London:
Nicolson and Watson, 1937).
37

Sherif Hussein, the leader of the Arab Revolt and future King of the Hejaz, posed for this
photographic portrait by Surgion Cock in 1916. HRHRC Photography Collection.

worth being, and that was a creative artist. . . . He said: "I know I
can write a good sentence, a good paragraph, even a good chapter,
but I have proved I cannot write a good book." I suggested that there
were many high offices which rendered service preferable to this
utter renunciation of any meaningful post. He responded that, since
he could not be what he would, he would be nothing: the minimum
existence, work without thought.36
Storrs concludes,

For all his puckiness, his love of disconcerting paradox, I believed


then and am certain now that Lawrence meant what he said: though I
thought

there was always the element

expected of him by the public.

. .

of dismay

at the standard

."

Hussein, formerly King of the Hejaz, Sherif of Mecca, and leader of The
Arab Revolt, wrote an official reply to Lawrence's memoirs that appeared in
both

the Daily

statement,

Telegraph and The Times in the summer


quite verbose, is designed to counter Lawrence's

of

1927.

The

version of the

Revolt in several respects: Hussein's motives for the Arab Revolt; a rebuttal of
Lawrence's assessment of his own role in the Revolt in comparison to the
contributions of Hussein's sons Ali, Feisal, Abdullah, and Zeid, all of whom
were criticized in varying degrees by Lawrence's account; the Sherif s
perspective

on the postwar agreements; and his own postwar administration,

which Lawrence's book describes as medieval in form and substance. Three


segments are reproduced here as typical of Hussein's response:
Having read in The Daily Telegraph the reproduction of a book by
Col. T.E. Lawrence entitled The Revolt in the Desert, in connection
with the Hejaz movement, we beg to dwell for the sake of abbrevia
tion only on those points which refer with unfairness to us and to our
people, though, to throw full light into this historic topic, a general
review would have been essential. The participation of Arabia [in] the
Great War by the side of the Allies has not been the outcome of the
offer of any government's envoy. [Hussein then lists three reasons for
his revolt: the Turks were adulterating the principles of Islam, were
systematically

persecuting

the Arabs, and the Arabs merited

inde

pendence.]
We do not deny that Great Britain came to our rescue by way of war
material, money, provisions, arms etc. supplied to Arabia from the
beginning to the end of the War. We are grateful for such assistance.
"Storrs, Lawrence, p. 18.

rIbid.,

p. 19.

39

But to be accurate, did such help amount to much more than say one
cost for each of the armies sent along the coasts of the
Dardanelles and the Baltic Sea? Yet from the very British standpoint,

week's

is there any comparison

between the actual results achieved by those

Armies and the Arabs?


Possibly Lawrence's frame of mind might justify him in holding
different views upon such matters, but . . . the reiterated official
assurances of our Great Allies that they were fighting, in the name of
humanity, for the liberation of Nations which were being exter
minated under captivity, oppression and extortion, should have
directed his criticism with equity to other quarters than ours if
general expectations have ultimately fallen short of alluring warpromises.

Although Aldington's book (see above) first transformed the Legend,


nothing so indelibly stamped Lawrence's inner turmoil on the public mind as
the feature film Lawrence of Arabia, first circulated in 1962. Two important
comments on that cinematic interpretation reflect the more negative views of
Lawrence instigated by Aldington: Thomas Wiseman's review in The Sunday
Express (London) of 26 December 1962; and "Clues to the Legend of
Lawrence," a New York Times Magazine article of 25 February 1962, written
by Robert Bolt, the film's chief writer.
Wiseman attributes motives to Lawrence with which many, though not all,
modern biographers

agree:

He is the tragedy of a human enamoured of immortality; he had to do


more than ordinary man, and he does. He organized the warring
Arab tribes into a united force to fight the Turks. But he does not do it
for Britain or for Arabia; he does it for himself.
portrays Lawrence in an even harsher light. Many critics
the film as sensational and inaccurate, particularly its depiction of

Bolt's screenplay
describe

Lawrence as a sadist; Bolt, however, characterizes other aspects


Lawrence's personality with cogency:

of

Take a man born a bastard, and unable to speak of it. Let him be
clever, imaginative and vain, loving to play harsh jokes on others but

chillingly resentful of
courage,

physical

joke against himself.

toughness

and above

. . .

endow him with

all a capacity

for stoic

suffering taken to extremes and exercised compulsively. Place him in


the landscape and among the people where this minor virtue is so

highly regarded that nothing else much matters. . . . Not by slow


degrees but almost instantly he is accepted. This is something he has
never been before, never permitted before, but can now permit
40

because he is accepted as a hero and a leader.


weening,

five-foot illegitimate

and history

....

. . .

only the life of a

and the British generals disastrously

For this over


sage would do:

arranged

a saga

around him.

Current biographers seek a synthesis between the early, uncritical views of


Lawrence and the harsh assessments of the 1950s and 1960s. Although the
vertical file ends in 1968, the Collection possesses a separate serials catalog
which lists more recent periodical resources. Only two of these are directly
related to Lawrence: T.E. Lawrence Studies and its successor, The T.E.
Lawrence Studies Newsletter. But from these the researcher can follow the
evolution of this synthesis. Of particular note are a pair of articles from the
former: Jeremy Wilson's editorial previously noted in this article; and Dennis
"
Boak's "Malraux and T. E. Lawrence. The most poignant of Boak's interpreta
tions points out Lawrence's problems with human relationships:

....

Admiration

...

Lawrence's

reasons for enlisting was to end the isolation brought on

is no substitute

for warm friendship;

one of

by his own egotism. Due to army life which he used as an excuse to


avoid extended human contact with his "admirers" he had the

intimate contact with fellows (inferiors who could not challenge his
claim to being a superior being) along with the advantages of being

admired from

a distance.38

Despite its paucity of current materials, the vertical file offers assistance to
the biographer seeking a more thorough explanation of the Lawrence enigma.
Its contents include contemporary perceptions of him as well as valuable
secondary resources which reflect later, more considered appraisals.

Miscellaneous File
In 1962 the Center purchased the Liddell Hart Papers, which include
manuscripts from two of the renowned military historian's works: his
Lawrence biography, noted above, and a later study of guerrilla warfare, The
Strategy of the Indirect Approach as well as many pages of notes for both
books, including numerous interviews with Lawrence. The Liddell Hart
Papers also contain over 1,100 letters, either Hart's own or copies of those of
his associates, written during the Aldington controversy. These documents
comprise the bulk of the seven boxes of materials in the Miscellaneous File of
the T. E. Lawrence Collection.
'"Dennis Boak, "Malraux and T.E. Lawrence," in T.E. Lawrence Studies 1, no. 1 (1976): 15-16.
Basil Liddell Hart, The Strategy of the Indirect Approach (London: Constable, 1941).
41

Liddell Hart took the lead in countering Aldington's aspersions, compiling


as Churchill,
Trenchard, Kennington, and Newcombe in efforts to defend Lawrence's
reputation. The result was an article in the London Magazine which sought to
refute, in detail, the more inflammatory charges Aldington's work had
levelled." Although most of these retrospective views of Lawrence share
Liddell Hart's opinions, the Collection contains several examples of opposing
views which enhance its value to the biographer.
Of special interest is
Aldington's response to Liddell Hart, a subsequent article in the same
publication.41 These two articles debate many of the same issues Lawrence's
biography still raises, and their respective sources provide evidence regard
ing Lawrence and his achievements seldom seen in primary form elsewhere.
Coincidentally, the HRHRC also possesses an Aldington file with numerous
letters related to the Aldington/Liddell Hart debate which shed additional
light on the Lawrence controversy. Thus the Center offers the unique
opportunity of seeing the evolution of this debate from both sides.
Liddell Hart's uncritical biography and impassioned defense of Lawrence
imply that he was unaware of the erstwhile hero's numerous flaws, yet this
was far from the case. In notes jotted down shortly after Lawrence's death,
entitled "Final Queries about T.E.," he admits he suspected Lawrence's
candor even during their interviews:
an array of letters and papers from such Lawrence supporters

I not infrequently

doubted whether he knew so much of the secrets of


Government, etc. as he conveyed.
he was apt to say different
.
.
.
was
to
different
things
slightly fond of letting you
people.
[and]
know the big people he had recently seen.

...

Liddell Hart argues, however, that Lawrence's faults were trivial compared to
his achievements, and thus were omitted from the book. He concludes that
[Lawrence] had a public attention beyond his deserts, especially
when [compared to] that accorded others who fell not far short of him
in stature, were perhaps better proportioned, and . . . exceeded
him in influence on the course of history. . . . Yet if the [publicity]
was out of all proportion, it is yet true that in combination
of
intellect,
and
reflection,
of action and
he was bigger than
personality
any man

I have

met.

A month after these notes were written Liddell Hart had occasion to discuss
Lawrence with (Lord) Hugh Trenchard, a friend and admirer of Lawrence
"Basil Liddell Hart,

T. E.

Lawrence, Aldington, and the Truth," in London Magazine (April,


a pamphlet reproducing the article.
"Richard Aldington, T. E. Lawrence, Aldington and the Truth," in London Magazine (August,
1955); this article is also found in pamphlet form in the Collection.
1955); the Collection contains

42

T. E. Lawrence (left) and B. H . Liddell Hart at the British Power Boat Co. yard in Hythe on 2 June
1934. The original photograph is in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King's
College London and is reproduced here by permission.

who

as

Air Marshall

had been instrumental

in his enlistment

in the

RAF. The

conversation appears in Liddell Hart's unpublished notes dated 27 June 1935.


Lawrence's death posed problems regarding The Mint, which he had

promised not to publish during his or Trenchard's lifetime; nevertheless,


excerpts of the book had been published, it had been privately circulated in its
entirety, and rumors were rife that its full publication was imminent.42 The
notes make it apparent that Trenchard was skeptical of Lawrence's pledges;
the former Air Marshall describes the deceased hero as "a 'chameleon' [who]
took on quite honestly the colour of his surroundings." Trenchard relates that
Montagu Norman (Governor of the Bank of England) had shown him a "pitiful
letter" from Lawrence complaining of his life in the RAF; yet Trenchard had a
concurrent letter stating how much Lawrence enjoyed the Air Force and
expressing a desire to stay in for life. Liddell Hart submitted that Lawrence
had been "unbalanced"
at the time," and Trenchard agreed. Both also
concurred that Lawrence grew more stable in his later years, but Trenchard
opined that greater sanity had resulted in heightened conceit: Lawrence once
told Trenchard that the RAF owed him much, for "I made the Air Force."
Trenchard comments that Lawrence had proven a disappointing advertise
ment for recruits, and was not always a good influence on his fellow airmen.
Criticism of Lawrence in the Liddell Hart correspondence, however, is the
exception. More often the documents express admiration for Lawrence and
offer assurances that the historian had destroyed Aldington's arguments. One
such letter is from Margaret Goodyear, wife of a diplomat stationed in Saudi
Arabia; dated 17 May 1956, it applauds Liddell Hart's efforts and then proffers
an explanation for Lawrence's frequent self-denigrations in the context of a
critique of Flora Armitage's favorable but less enduring contemporary
Lawrence biography:44

...

I am

sure Lawrence was very often wrong about himself, but he

was so articulate

and self-analytical

that every

mood

has been

in some letter or other albeit a transient


.
.
.
mood.
Armitage doesn't make enough of the unique grandeur
and magic of his personality, and that extraordinary ability to sway
people to his will in fact his genius. . . . She has not realised that
even when dimmed, some radiance from him illuminated all others
in close contact with him in a unique way.

interpreted

"Wilson, "Sense and Nonsense," p. 6.


"Basil Liddell Hart did not specify the period under discussion, but Lawrence's letters to
Trenchard suggest it was the spring of 1928 while Lawrence was stationed at Miranshah.
"Flora Armitage, The Desert and the Stars (London: Faber and Faber, 1956).

44

Although few of Liddell Hart's correspondents expressed support for


Aldington, or disagreed with the historian's rebuttal, an unpublished letter
from Michael Howard, dated 22 February 1955, comments:
While feeling that you make all your points, there are many points
which Mr. Aldington makes with which you do not deal. Obviously,
and as you so quite rightly say, "it would require a book of double or
treble the length to straighten them out." It seems to me that, deep as
the well of truth may be, it can't be all that deep. I would hesitate to
say that "there is no smoke without a fire," but I am tempted to
suggest that, if Lawrence had been a straightforward character in the
first place, these conflicting stories would never have arisen. I cannot
believe and I don't think you do either that Mr. Aldington has
devoted so much work for the dubious satisfaction of gaining fame he
already possessed. I found his book sincere, forthright, and disturb
ing.

. . .

the most balanced appraisal of the Liddell Hart/ Aldington con


comes
from T. S. Denham, editor of Provincial Newspapers Limited,
troversy
Perhaps

who wrote Liddell Hart in response to the latter's


unpublished letter of 21 February 1955 states:

article.

Denham's

[Your comments] have left me with the feeling that nothing less than
a Royal Commission could give us the "truth" about Lawrence and
that even then the minority report would occupy more space than the
I found Aldington's book apt to be tedious and repeti
majority.
tive, and had the impression that he had killed what might have been
a case by the virulence of its presentation. But at least it has had the
effect of producing a great deal more extremely interesting first-hand
information about Lawrence in letters to the newspapers.

...

The Liddell Hart/ Aldington controversy,


best-documented,

while the most interesting and

is not the only valuable aspect of the Miscellaneous File.

The Liddell Hart Papers also provide

of examining the opinions of


Lawrence's friends and admirers twenty years and more after his death. These
were evoked not only by Aldington's book but also by Robert Bolt's filmscript,
The Mint's publication in 1955, and the appearance of other works concerning
Lawrence. Much of this correspondence is in the form of letters exchanged
between third parties, and the candor these exhibit concerning some of the
more enigmatic aspects of Lawrence's personality make them especially
a means

valuable to the biographer.


45

Conclusion
This essay does not pretend to exhaust the potential of the HRHRC's T.E.
Lawrence Collection, rather it suggests some possibilities for further re
search. Considering that the Centers primary focus is on literary research,
the Collection contains a surprising quantity of biographical material. This
writer, however, has some suggestions which would assist the Lawrence
scholar:
1.

Speculation

exists that the Lawrence Legend was a willful effort by

in the foreign policy Establishment to popularize its


"enlightened" imperial policy. Evidence for or against this theory
may exist in the popular British press of 1919-20. Considering the
importance of such primary resources to other questions surrounding
Lawrence, the HRHRC might add some of these publications to its
one element

serials holdings.
2.

The vertical file

is in

dire need of an index and

system of storage. In addition,

a more organized

the more fragile materials in this file

require protective individual folders. Their lack is in sharp contrast to


the high standards exhibited elsewhere in the HRHRC.
The HRHRC needs to adopt a more aggressive attitude concerning
of current secondary works on Lawrence, whether of
literary or historical interest. Otherwise the researcher spends
valuable time scurrying back and forth to the University's General
Libraries for these materials, which are often checked out. At this
writing such a practice is under consideration, but it should become a
3.

the acquisition

permanent policy.
"

A popular television series suggests that space is man's "final frontier. This
is a debatable assertion, for at least one other unconquered sphere remains:
the human psyche. Lawrence's story epitomizes the limits of modern
psychology; his capacity for achievement in the face of serious emotional
disorders remains a puzzle to his biographers. Efforts to understand how he
did so continue to fascinate scholarly and general audiences alike.
Lawrence's psyche is not the lone source of interest, of course. The most
romantic episode of his life, the Desert Revolt, still presents historical
problems, even though the HRHRC Collection contains little from that
period of his life other than Lawrence's own accounts, which have proven
unreliable in many ways. But analysis of his literary achievements and
questions concerning his impact on Middle Eastern politics and his service life
remain topics of interest from precisely the span of time the Collection covers.
46

A few of the questions Lawrence biographers still debate include the motives
that inspired the various versions of Seven Pillars; an objective reappraisal of
his role in the formulation and implementation of British policy in the Middle
East; the extent to which he was responsible for the development of new types
of air-sea rescue boats; his reasons for enlisting and, as noted above, his true
feelings toward the RAF: was he happy as he wrote many of his friends,
including Trenchard or was his letter to Montagu Norman more revealing of
his true feelings? These are but a few of the issues research in the HRHRC
might help clarify.
It is safe to predict that fascination with the Lawrence phenomenon will not
end for the foreseeable future. Nor will research into Lawrence's life, his
works, and his personality.
In the quest for a definitive explanation of
T.E.Lawrence, the HRHRC is an indispensable resource, one whose full
potential

has yet to be realized.

47

Silt H'/IIIAM JO.YES.


c

.,".,//,//:>/,<'/,/,,

/,:.,

/y.'/,\ j,/

-/;,

,/,./,/

I r/MM*w./iMvm*vA<

Engraved portrait of Sir William Jones from a drawing by Sir Joshua Reynolds, published on 20
April 1799 as the frontispiece to Volume 1 of The Works of Sir William Jones, in six volumes.

HRHRC Collections.

West From India: The Odyssey of Sir William Jones

By

Robert D. King

We take for granted today the influence of India on the West. Martin Luther
King, Jr. drew on Gandhi for the moral underpinning of passive resistance,
absorbing concepts such as ahimsa "non-violence" and satyagraha
"campaign for truth." Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar composed and
played music together, and the Beatles took on a distinctly Indian sound in
their later songs. The "bliss" that Joseph Campbell would have us follow is the
Vedantic dnanda, or all desires fulfilled. Indian philosophy influenced Ralph
Waldo Emerson, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, and the most famous poem of
the twentieth century closes on a Sanskrit benediction:
Datta. Dayadhvam.
Shantih

shantih

Damyata.
shantih

Prior to the nineteenth century, however, there was little knowledge of India
in Europe. The traffic of ideas from East to West owes more to the efforts of
one man than any other, Sir William Jones (1746-1794), whose collected works
were acquired in 1989 by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

The Sir William Jones Collection includes books written or translated by


Jones as well as books from his personal library, many of which are first
editions and some of which contain Jones's handwritten annotations. These
materials provide fascinating insights into the complexity of the earliest
intellectual contacts between India and Persia and the West.
Who was this remarkable man with so unremarkable a name, this man
whose influence on linguistics has been compared to that of Darwin's on
natural history? Samuel Johnson, as shrewd a judge of human beings as he was
miser in bestowing on them his compliments, referred to Jones as "the most
enlightened of the sons of men. "' He was praised by Joshua Reynolds (who
painted his portrait in 1769), by Edmund Burke, Horace Walpole, Garrick,
a

'A.J. Arberry, Asiatic Janet (London: Longmans. Green

6c Co.. Ltd., 1946). p. 31.

49

Louis XVI declared of his French: "He is a most


the language of my people better than I
do myself!"2 Hindu pundits and Muslim scholars "burst out into unrestrained
tears" when they heard of his death.3 Although in Jones's own century "his
reputation as a lawyer [was] almost forgotten in his skill as a linguist, and in his
extensive and elegant acquirements as a scholar,"4 legal histories of the
nineteenth century placed him in the ranks of Coke, Blackstone, and
Mansfield. Edward Gibbon, that prodigy of erudition, confessed himself in
awe of Jones's classical legal scholarship: "He is perhaps the only lawyer
equally conversant with the year-books of Westminster, the commentaries of
Ulpian, the Attic pleadings of Isaeus, and the sentences of Arabian and
Persian cadhis."5 The admiration heaped on Sir William Jones by his
contemporaries impresses us now as swollen, excessive. Perhaps it is by our
standards, but even so almost every man of English letters during the last half
of the eighteenth century had something to say about William Jones, and it
Sheridan,

and by Goethe.

extraordinary

man! He understands

was almost always something good.

Times change and reputations

scholarly

and literary reputa


of them all and so Sir
William Jones is now largely forgotten, the volumes of his astonishingly varied
scholarship and poetry consigned to the library shelf where they rest
undisturbed apart from the infrequent visit of the linguistic historian, the odd
disciple of late eighteenth-century English poetry, or the occasional historian
of the early British raj. It is an undeserved fate for a man of extraordinary
accomplishment in intellectual and practical affairs. Few men have done as
much to acquaint the West with the wisdom and beauty of the East; few
Westerners were as disposed or as advantageously placed to do lasting good in
India. This accounts for the facts that William Jones is one of the few
Englishmen who draws nothing but praise from the former subjects of the
British raj, and that at least on the subcontinent Jones scholarship has
increased since Independence in 1947. 6 The Sir William Jones Collection in
the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, containing as it does not
disappear

tions being among the most fragile and ephemeral

only his major works but his usually inaccessible essays in Asiatick Re
searches, allows us to deepen our understanding of the works of the man who
played the pivotal role in bringing the language and literature of India and
2Ibid..p. 9.
'S.N. Mukherjee, Sir William Jones, 2nd edition (Bombay: Orient Longman, 1987), p. 129.
'Henry Roscoe, Lives of Eminent British Lawyers (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown,
and Creen, 1830), p. 306.
'Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J. B. Bury, 4th edition (London:

Methuen&Co., Ltd.,

1911), 4:496n. 173.

Sir William Jones, Janardan Prasad Singh, Sir William Jones: His Mind and
Art (New Delhi: S. Chand, 1982); Md. A.T. Mojumder, SirWilliamJones: The Romantics and the
Victorians (Dacca: University Press, 1976).
Cf. Mukherjee,

50

Persia

to the West and in understanding

Jones better we comprehend

better the early course of Indian-Western intellectual contacts.7

William Jones was born in 1746, the son of William Jones, F.R.S., a
of some distinction whose scientific talent carried him from a
in
Wales
to the friendship of Sir Isaac Newton and the vice-presidency
village
of the Royal Society. It was evident early that the younger William Jones had a
mathematician

genius for language: he memorized

The Tempest as a schoolboy,

and by the

time he left Harrow he knew Latin and Greek well and had taught himself

French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, and the rudiments of the Arabic writing
system. His teacher of Greek cheerfully admitted that his pupil knew more
Greek than he did." The headmaster said of him: "So active was the mind of
Jones, that if he were left, naked and friendless, on Salisbury Plain, he would,
nevertheless, find the road to fame and riches."'' It was also clear early on that
the boy was gifted with a literary sensibility well beyond the common
endowment. His ode, "Saul and David," composed when he was fourteen,
was thought so remarkable by Samuel Johnson's friend Mrs. Thrale that she
transcribed it in her diary. Bookish as Jones was, he was nevertheless popular
among his Harrovian classmates, his popularity owing in part no doubt to the
fact that the school announced a holiday each time Jones brought off a
particularly brilliant literary composition.
In 1764 Jones was admitted to University College, Oxford, where in
addition to the usual studies he deepened his knowledge of Arabic and applied
himself intensively to learning Persian and later Turkish. His reputation as an
Oriental scholar continued to grow, and he became a celebrity in Oxford and
even in London. Money, however, was a problem. His father had died when
Jones was three, and the cost of a university education was a burden for his
mother (though a burden she was more than content to bear: mother and son
were very close). In 1766 Jones took a position as tutor to Lord Althorp, the
son and heir of Earl Spencer, the Spencers being among the most distin
guished families of England. The first Earl Spencer was both very wealthy and
cultured, possessing one of the finest libraries in Europe at the time. 10His son,
George John, Viscount Althorp Jones's pupil later became First Lord of

For many years Jones scholarship was impeded by the unavailability of most of his
correspondence, the originals of which are widely dispersed in British and American holdings.
The letters were published in 1970 in two invaluable and carefully edited volumes. The Letters of
Sir William Jones, ed. Garland Cannon (London: Oxford University Press, 1970), hereafter
Letters.
"For the details of Jones's life I rely on Arberry, Asiatic Jones, and Garland Cannon, Oriental
Junes (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1964). Cannon's is the standard biographical work; its
comprehensive bibliography is complete through 1962.
"Roscoe, Lives, p. 308.
'"Many of the items in the Sir William Jones Collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities
Center are marked as having originally belonged to the Spencer/Althorp Library.

Research

51

the Admiralty; he was the man who placed Nelson at the head of the forces that
in the Battle of the Nile. At the present time the most
prominent member of the family is Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. In those
days diligence and constant application were not thought essential to a
defeated Napoleon

university education, and Jones was able to combine his general scholarship

and maturing passion for language study with the agreeable social life of the
British leisure class. That life proceeded according to season as if it were a slow

beginning at the family estates, gliding around the continent, and


then returning to England to make the rounds of the English social scene.
Jones was treated with affection by the Spencers, almost as a member of the
minuet,

family, and the advantages he gained through


good stead throughout

this connection

stood him in

his life.

Jones's facility in Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish brought him to the
attention of the government, and in 1766, when he was only twenty, he was
offered an official position as interpreter of Eastern languages. Though he

declined the offer, it established his name in government circles and


accelerated the spread of his reputation as a language genius. In 1768 King
Christian VII of Denmark turned to the British government for assistance in
locating someone to translate the Persian manuscript Ta'rikh-i-Nadiri, a
history of the energetic Persian buccaneer and later ruler, Nadir Shah, whose
armies in 1739 had sacked Delhi and left it in ruins." The government
recommended
William Jones, who at first declined, citing insufficient
knowledge of the language; but when King Christian peevishly hinted that he
might have to find a Frenchman to do the job, dodging the royal request
threatened to become a diplomatic embarrassment, and Jones reluctantly
agreed to undertake the translation. In 1770 his L'Histoire de Nader Chah
appeared to an admiring European public and the gratitude of his royal
patron. (The translation was in French, of course, French still being the lingua
franca of educated Europe.) The work established Jones as an Orientalist and
can fairly be said to have put him on the road to linguistic fame and glory in
both England and Europe.
In 1771 he published his Grammar of the Persian Language, which was
subsequently reprinted many times and remained the standard work for
years. We must bear in mind what a remarkable, not to say revolutionary,
accomplishment the publication of this grammar was. It almost goes without
saying that every educated man of the time knew Latin, Greek, and French.
But there was no tradition of acquiring the "Oriental" languages; why, after
all, should anyone bother since they were not thought to have literatures
worthy of the name? The adjectives "rude" and "barbaric" were frequently
found in conjunction with languages such as Arabic and Persian, not to
"Stanley Wolpert, A New History of India, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1982), pp. 172-173.

52

kjUo^Jj'

If

Hufhjti Oi*.

Heu me ut tuaj Icvis inn disjecit comn


Nox efl oborti oculis meis;
bn intin
Solum hoc furoris quo feror
Sum confequutus premium.
in

14

Ly*iy Cfi'' u^*f i;**'j j_j1jj-jI-^ *

Lrti quietos duximus nupcr dies,


Vitamque cutis liberam,

& omnls lUtim


Wapla eft noftro inimo quics,

Attu explicafti cifariem,

&

fi

in

tu comst
Srntire mens poflet
Ouz lit voluptns vinculis,
tun
Vinciri lYeret quisque lapientum
rurens catenas fumeret.

tx quo ore pulchro lemma mihi de gritii


&

Uniim explicafti difterens,


Mez TicilT.m indclinenter piginz
graiias.
Spirant amorem

oTj*

face

- j.v^-*

ultra polo'

ODE
'

^jfj

&

Inftar Ogittarum tua o Htphjn


Cmlum petunt ful'pirii,
Plica exaccrtntum iim animum,
Telii lac*flere al'ftint.
,

JjiJi

It

yij^ kila.

Jj

^f-

Nunquamnefier, prob nefat! ut cor tuum


Mollefcat igne Jaxeuin,
Quern fulcitanv gemitus, meique peOoris
Noduroa conriigritio.

46

HRHRC Collections.

is

Sir William Jones"s handwritten annotations appear in this first edition of Divan (1771), the
on the left-hand page with Latin version on the right.
poetical works ofHafiz. The Persian text

which almost no Westerner at the time knew. It was


Grammar,
which was one of the earliest vehicles for the
through Jones's
absorption of Eastern culture by the West, that Edward FitzGerald was led to
the Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam.12
This period, 1771-1774, was an intensely "Oriental" period in Jones's
career. His Grammar of the Persian Language was followed by Lettre a
Monsieur A*** du P*** (1771), l3 Dissertation sur la Litterature Orientale
(1771), Poeseos Asiaticae Commentariorum (1774), and Poems, Consisting
Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages (1777). Throughout
these works, all of which are included in the HRHRC's Sir William Jones
Collection, the author asserts that there is value and worth in the cultures of
the East, that beauty and great literature neither began in the West nor would
end there, that Western poets could learn from the beauty and originality of
Sanskrit,

mention

poetry in such languages as Persian and Arabic:


Some men never heard of the Asiatick writers, and others will not be
convinced

that there is anything valuable in them

. . . ;

some detest

the Persians, because they believe in Mahomed, and others despise

their language, because they do not understand it: we . . . are


seldom willing to allow any excellence beyond the limits of our own
attainments: like the savages, who thought that the sun rose and set
for them alone, and could not imagine that the waves, which
surrounded their island, left coral and pearls upon any other Shore. M
sounds to twentieth-century ears like that of his
Christopher Smart and Thomas Gray, but with the essential
difference that his is suffused with Oriental imagery and made exotic by its
Jones's own
contemporaries

poetry

alien references:
Boy! let yon liquid ruby flow,

And bid thy pensive heart be glad,


Whateer the frowning zealots say:
Tell them their Eden cannot show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad
A bower so sweet as Mosellay.15
Oriental Jones, p. 25.
"This was a disputatious attack on the quality of the translation by the Frenchman Anquetil
Duperron of the sacred writings of Zoroaster. A rare edition of Duperron's work, Zend-Avesta,
Oucrage de Zoroastre (Paris: N.M. Tilliard, 1771), is contained in the HRHRC's Sir William
l2Cannon,

Jones Collection.
"Preface to A Grammar of the Persian Language, in Lord Teignmouth (John Shore), The
Works of Sir William Jones (London. John Stockdale, 1807), 5:165.
"William Jones, Poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations From the Asiatick Languages. To
Which Are Added Two Essays (London: W. Bowyerand J. Nichols, 1777), p. 60.
54

Or:

if thou wouldst charm my sight,


And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocaras vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand. 16
Sweet maid,

The "wordiness" is conventional of the period, but the language and the
delicious and slightly erotic Eastern world it conjures up were new. The
unfamiliar syllables ("Rocnabad," "Samarcand") fell on Western ears like the
beats of a new kind of music. These poetic landscapes were unknown in the
West before Jones undertook his virgin labors. His translations and original
creations conveyed mysteries and misty visions of heights not reached in
Western poetry, and the European public loved it. His "A Persian Song of
Hafiz" (1771), from which these stanzas are taken, became a classic before
Jones was thirty.
In "A Hymn to Surya" (1786) Surya is the sun god Jones writes of himself
and his journey to the East:
He came; and, lisping, our celestial tongue,
Though not from Brahma sprung,
Draws orient knowledge from its fountains pure,
Through caves obstructed long, and paths too long obscure.'7
Now established as the leading "Orientalist" a scholar of the Eastern
languages in England, and as a man of rare literary sensibility, Jones was
elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1772 (when he was twenty-six), and in
1773 he became a member of Samuel Johnson's Club "four weeks before
Boswell was accorded that honor."18 No additional credentials would hence
forth be required to certify his wit and talent.
Jones had left the Spencer household amicably when his charge, Lord
Althorp, entered Harrow in 1769. He returned to Oxford uncertain what he
wanted to do. Languages were his love, poetry his passion, the East his source
of inspiration, but there was not much advancement in any of these, still less
money, and so he turned to the law. With his absorbent mind and his severely
disciplined study habits, reading for the Bar was no great chore, and he was
called in January 1774 (worried the while that his fortunes as a lawyer would
be adversely affected by his reputation as a poet19).
"Ibid.,

p. 59.

"The Works of Sir William Jones, Vol. VI (London, 1799). p. 353.


'"Arberry, Asiatic Jones, p. 10.
'"Roscoe, Lives, p. 312.
55

This figure of the seated Brahma is an illustration printed in Volume 1 of Asiatick Researches: Or.
Transactions of the Society, Instituted in Bengal, For Inquiring into the History and Antiquities,
the Arts, Sciences, and Literature, of Asia (Calcutta, 1788). HRHRC Collections.

himself in the law an easy task


him wherever he was
received. His practice grew, he enhanced his reputation by a translation of the
speeches on property of the great Greek legal orator, Isaeus, he dabbled
(unsuccessfully and somewhat haplessly) in politics, and in 1781 he published
his Essay on the Law of Bailments, which immediately became a legal classic
and remained one for many years on both sides of the Atlantic. (It was his
works on Isaeus and bailments, and his Inquiry into the Legal Mode of
Suppressing Riots in 1780, that gained him a place in Henry Roscoe's Lives of
Eminent British Lawyers.)
However, the law was always subordinated to Jones's love of the East, and
he set about to combine the two by obtaining an appointment to the recently
established Supreme Court of Judicature, Calcutta, the hub of rule of the East
India Company. In 1783 Jones's appointment came through, and he immedi
ately set sail for India with his new bride, Anna Maria Shipley, daughter of the
bishop of St. Asaph.
The instrument of English involvement in India since 1600, the Honour
able East India Company was a private trading concern which through
mismanagement and bad luck had become virtually an arm of the Crown by
1757, when Clive defeated the forces of the Nawab of Bengal at the battle of
Plassey. With Clive s victory England became willy-nilly responsible for
almost every aspect of Indian life (except in the states still ruled by native
princes, and eventually there as well). This was not exactly what the officers of
the Honourable Company had had in mind when their first ships landed at
Surat at India in 1608. Unlike the Portuguese, who had come to India seeking
"Christians and spices,"2" the English were there for "spices," that is to say for
making money. Converting "heathens," indeed any sort of tampering with
native customs, inevitably led to social unrest and a surly, unproductive
peasantry, and that would be bad for business. At this period of the British raj
at least, the last thing the English wanted was to impose their Western ways
The next years were spent establishing

given the praise and respect that now accompanied

on the Indians.

But the English could not always remain aloof. Who would adjudicate
disputes between Indian parties in the areas under English rule if not the
Company? If Anand's cattle trampled Bakha's mustard crop, Indian tradition
would have the two peasants take the dispute to the local representative of the
government, whatever that government might be Mughal, Hindu, English.
In British India it was the Company man who had to determine guilt and
assess damages. It takes but little imagination to see what a mare's nest that
would have been. There were, to begin with, two kinds of law in the country:
Hindu law and Muslim law. Knowing one was not an advantage in under
standing the other. The codes of Hindu law were in Sanskrit, the codes of
"Percival Spear, India (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1961), p. 162.
57

Muslim law in Persian and Arabic. The pleadings themselves would be in the
vernaculars such as Bengali, Tamil, and other languages of this many-tongued
country,

meaning that the English adjudicator in practice would usually have

to rely on native interpreters, who were not always impartial in the dispute.
As

if this

were not enough, subornation

of witnesses and judicial bribery were

widespread.

The best of the Company officers

such as Governor-General

Warren

Hastings knew that they were in deep waters and must move very carefully:

"Himself

of Persian, he
labored constantly to convince the Directors [of the East India Company] that
the people of India were not savages, that they had laws of their own, that their
customs should be respected."21 Men of the disposition of William Jones were
drawn to Hastings' India as guardians, in Plato's sense of a class of men called
to principled and responsible stewardship over the many: "[A] corps of men
specially selected . . . , trained by cold baths, cricket, and the history of
Greece and Rome . . . , aloof, superior to bribery."22 Britain was fortunate.
No Englishman was ever better prepared by his education, his proclivities,
his qualities of personality, and his experience to become a "guardian" than
William Jones. He had a strong sense of responsibility to the subject races that
had come under England's dominion. Later, more cynical generations would
sneer at this as the "White Man's Burden" or "Orientalism as imperialism,"
but cynicism cannot void Jones's humanitarian motives in wanting to improve
a good

Orientalist with

a considerable

knowledge

life for the Indians.

Once arrived in Calcutta, Jones was

a dynamo

of activity. He proposed the

creation of a society, rather along the lines of the Royal Society, "for Inquiring
into the History, Civil and Natural, the Antiquities, Arts, Sciences, and
Literature, of Asia. "a Governor-General Hastings was enthusiastic, and so the
Asiatick Society came into existence, with Jones unanimously elected its first
president. The publication of the Society, Asiatick Researches, soon over

flowed with the most diverse offerings. Nothing about India was too esoteric
to be of interest: "On the Astronomical Computations of the Hindus";
"Observations on the Seeks [Sikhs] and their College"; "An Account of the
Sculptures and Ruins at Mavalipuram"; "Of the Method of Distilling as
Practised by the Natives at Chatra in Ramgur"; "A Proof that the Hindoos had
the Binomial Theorem." Governor-General Hastings himself volunteered a
translation from the Persian of a treatise "On the Trial by Ordeal, among the
"Philip Woodruff, The Men Who Ruled India: The Founders (New York:

St. Martin's Press,

1954), p. 124.

"Ibid., p. 15.
"He made his

proposal in a speech in Calcutta delivered on 15 January 1784, printed as a


pamphlet, A Discourse on the Institution of a Society for Inquiring into the History, Civil and
Natural, the Antiquities, Arts, and Sciences, and Literature of Asia (London: T.Payne and Son.
1784), a copy of which forms part of the HRHRC's Sir William Jones Collection.
.58

Hindus." Jones's own contributions ranged over language, comparative


mythology," chess, the zodiac, diseases (elephantiasis), music, and biology
and botany especially the latter. None of these lesser works by Jones has
been adequately integrated into the whole of his life's scholarship, or into the
intellectual history of the raj.
The Sir William Jones Collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities
Research Center contains these rare early volumes of Asiatich Researches,
which furnish the best (and largely neglected) evidence we have of the texture
of the earliest intellectual interactions between Englishmen and Indians
during the infancy of Indology when understanding was unchanneled by
tradition. But, precisely for this reason because there was no tradition of
scholarly orthodoxy we often have a clearer picture of India and Indian
learning as seen by Westerners than was true later, when scholarly viewpoints
had hardened.

The success of the Asiatick Society of Bengal spawned similar societies


wherever the British found themselves placed in Asia and the Middle East.
These societies had something to do with the development of that strange
fascination the East has always exerted on the English; it is the export variant
of traditional English eccentricity. In some not insignificant way the Asiatick
Society and its progeny prepared the way for "that small perennial group of
English men and women who are born with something lacking in their lives: a
hunger, a nostalgia, that can be set at rest only in the deserts of the East."25
Richard Burton and T. E. Lawrence cannot easily be imagined had William
Jones never lived.
Jones was as successful as a judge as he was in awakening scholarly interest
in India. His position was that "the natives of these important provinces be
indulged in their own prejudices, civil and religious, and suffered to enjoy
their own customs unmolested. "* This attitude endeared him to the natives
and did not harm his popularity among the English at this period of the raj
(though it would have later).27 In this regard Jones soon realized that he must
learn Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, if he were to make sense of
Hindu law. This was not easy, for the sacred texts were under the protection of
the priests, Brahmans, who did not care to share their knowledge with a
"This

is a field that some consider Jones to have founded (of. Cannon, Oriental Jones, p. 157),
of his lengthy treatise "On the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India," Asiatick

on the strength

Researches: or. Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal, for Inquiry into the History and
Antiquities, the Arts, Sciences, and Literatures of Asia (Calcutta: Manuel Cantopher, 1788),
1:221-275. A copy of this pioneering effort is included in the HRHRC's Sir William Jones
Collection and contains, among much else of interest, the first representations of Hindu gods seen
in the West. This work deserves

more attention

than it has received to date.

aAlan Moorehead, The White Nile (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 28.
*Cannon, Oriental Jones, p. 117.
^Jones's major works on Indian law were unfinished when he died. They are not a part of the Sir
William Jones Collection.
59

foreigner. Jones persevered, finally locating a non-Brahman vaidya, a medical


practitioner, who was willing to instruct him in the language. His progress was

initially slow because all the teaching materials were themselves in Sanskrit.*
But facility came quickly to someone as versed in languages as Jones.
It was because of Sanskrit that Sir William Jones became one of the most
famous figures in the history of linguistics, for the language notions of the
eighteenth century were primitive by our standards. Modern languages such
as German, English, French, and Italian were commonly
regarded as
"corrupt," flawed, base; they were thought of as a falling away from the
perfection of Greek and Latin (though for some sublime purists even Latin
was nothing more than a kind of depraved Greek). It was altogether foreign to
the Zeitgeist to consider the possibility that Greek might be related to Latin or
Old English, not as "good" is to "bad" but as sister is to brother or cousin is to
niece; in other words,
descended from

that these languages might be genetically

related

common source language.

That this is in fact the true situation had begun to dawn gradually on the
linguistically percipient, among them William Jones. In 1779 he had written
the Polish diplomat Prince Adam Czartoryski:
Many learned investigators of antiquity are fully persuaded,
very old and almost primaeval

that a

language was in use among these

northern nations [by which he means the nations in the north of


Europe and Asia whose peoples were known in ancient times as
Scythians], from which not only the Celtic dialects, but even the
Greek and Latin, are derived.29
That Sanskrit might belong to the same linguistic family as Latin and Greek
was a thought well out of season: this curious

country

so far from the hallowed

seats

language of India, a bizarre

of Western civilization,

so far from

holiness, this language a member of the same family tree as the sainted Greek
or Latin? Rubbish.

It

was not until Jones had acquired Sanskrit that his dazzling insight
matured. He announced in his "Third Anniversary Discourse" before the
Asiatick Society on 2 February 1786:

...

The Sanscrit language


is of a wonderful structure; more perfect
than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely
refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger af
finity . . . than could possibly have been produced by accident; so
"Ibid.,

pp. 131-132. The Sir William Jones Collection contains one of Jones's notebooks
Eastern
Manuscript 48), with Sanskrit words spelled out in labored Devanagari script,
(HRHRC
suggesting how tedious the early going was. Unfortunately, the relatively small number of entries
in this notebook reduces

its usefulness

"Letters, vol. 1, p. 285.


60

for linguistic scholars.

*****

~l

^^r*

CO

.a

11

. *

ft

-+

as

fl fttff*

*"/>.;*

<i,

o23#Ma

$^

*HF-^

'

H"*I*V*

it

r*oa * -'^-*

7 tuMrti>*A a_^_
q*4t

*=

fa-ntt?

m,

tsrtvl.A-

/}*,****.

v.

JroA-

ft
l-

o
!

C
I

1 1.

..

n
,

This grammatical table is one of a series contained in Sir William


Jones's manuscript copy of an
Indian eighteenth-century Sanskrit grammar, which also bears nine pages of
transliterations in
Jones's hand. Eastern MS 48. HRHRC Collections.

strong indeed,

that no philologer could examine

them all three,

without believing them to have sprung from some common source,


which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason
for
supposing that both the Gothick and the Celtick . . . had the same
origin with the Sanscrit; and the old Persian might be added to the

...

same family.30

This is the most famous statement in all the history of linguistics.31 The
"common source" Jones referred to is now known as the Indo-European
language. Jones's audacious observation opened the way for one of the glories
of nineteenth-century intellectual history: Indo-European historical and
comparative linguistics, the envy of historians for its precision and exactness.
It is this statement the fundamental postulate of Indo-European grammar
for which Sir William Jones is honored today as the founding father of modern
linguistics.

His work in India was not done. He continued to translate from the Oriental
languages he loved so well, Sanskrit now first among them. His discovery and
translation of the Sanskrit drama Sakuntald by the fifth-century court poetplaywright Kalidasa, the "Shakespeare of India," arrived sensationally in
Europe, where it influenced the literary romantics.32 In Germany Goethe was
so taken with Sakuntald and India that he modeled the Vorspiel to Faust on
the prologue to the translation and was stimulated to write his Westostlicher
Diwan.
Jones loved all these things passionately: words, poetry, India, and Indian
minutiae. But the "guardian" in him never allowed him to so lose himself in his
passions as to forget his mission: the perfection of the administration ofjustice
in India. His next project was a translation of the major codification of Hindu
law regarding caste, the Manava-Dharma-Sdstra, the "Laws of Manu," to be
followed by the creation of a digest of all native law for the use of British
magistrates. This was a massive undertaking, costly and requiring thousands
of hours of man-labor under Jones's supervision, and it was only partially
completed, for Jones died unexpectedly in 1794 when deteriorating health
had forced him to close his affairs in India. He was forty-seven years old,
driven to an early death by overwork and a hostile climate.
What is left today of the legacy of Sir William Jones? Not as much as one
might expect, given the encomiums that accompanied him during his lifetime
"Asiatick Researches

1 (1788): 422-423.

"Jones was the first to make it in print, though the odd scholar here and there Fillippo
Sassetti (1585), Benjamin Schultze (1725), and Father Coeurdoux (1767) had intuited that
something of the sort might be true. Their conjectures did not attract wide attention, cf. Cannon,
Oriental Jones, p. 139.
"Of. Janardan Prasad Singh, Sir William Jones, ch. 4. A first edition of Sakuntala is in the Sir
William Jones Collection.
62

and followed him after death. His poetry was a large part of his being, and it

would sadden this modest man that he is remembered today for accomplish
ments other than his verse. On the other hand, it would no doubt appeal to his
sense of irony and confirm his positive view of Indian capabilities that his
poetry is studied today not in his home country but primarily in India,
Pakistan, and Bangladesh. His translations of poetry are interesting today
chiefly for their influence on later English poetic traditions. But they reflect
English sensibility in its first confrontation with Indian civilization and
culture, and scholars of the intellectual history of the British raj have
neglected the evidence of this aspect of Jones's work.
His last years were devoted to the improvement of justice in India and for
Indians the "guardian" streak went very deep in William Jones and I
rather imagine that he himself would like best to be remembered above all for
the groundwork he laid for jurisprudence in India. His judicial legacy was
decency, honesty, fair play, and fairness for the ruled no less than the rulers. It
is no mean legacy, even if there had been nothing else. But there was much
else, of course, and his contribution to the history of linguistics anchors his
reputation. Sir William Jones's place in the pantheon of linguistic heroes is
secure. Scholarly interest in Jones has attached itself primarily, understand
His translations and his poetry have
ably, to his linguistic accomplishments.
attention,
come a close second in scholarly
and his work on comparative
mythology has been largely overlooked.

The Sir William Jones Collection makes it possible to study the entirety of

the Jones oeuvre not just Jones in the big things like linguistics and
literature but Jones in the little things: Jones on chess, Jones on the zodiac,
Jones on the flora and fauna of India. And not just Jones, but the other

Englishmen he recruited to the Asiatick Society, whose pieces on Indian


the "Seeks," astronomy, distilling filled the pages of Asiatick
Researches. These charming essays are not easily available, and they provide
invaluable evidence for the historian whose interest is in the shaping of
Western sensibility about the East. This part of the Jones legacy has not been
appreciated as it should be, and this, I venture to predict, is the next direction
that scholarly research on Sir William Jones will take.
minutiae

03

liKNJAM IN FRANKLIN
o

'Lim.>inr

ft/.tufotifi/imrt >a /a

iwi

limn* ih- /n /i/irri.

This 1780 French engraving emblematically depicts Franklin as the honest man sought by
Diogenes with his lantern. The cap (top) symbolizes liberty, the vegetables (foreground left)
represent frugality, and the broken yoke (foreground right) allegorizes the emancipation of
America (the eagle). From Bernard Fay's Franklin, The Apostle of Modern Times (Boston: Little,
Brown, and Company, 1929). HRHRC Collections.

Benjamin Franklin and Lord Bute:


Legendary Eighteenth-Century Representations

By

William J. Scheick

In the American colonies, 1764 to 1765 were bad years politically. In April
1764, the British Parliament passed the American Revenue Act (also known as
the Sugar Act), which in part imposed new or higher duties on imports. In the
same month Parliament passed the Currency Act, which prohibited the
colonies from printing legal tender paper money and which, as a result,
destabilized the colonial economy. These and other related laws irritated
Americans, but the Stamp Act in March 1765 became a rallying point. This tax
on all printed material was so odious to the agitated colonists that Parliament
reconsidered

its position.

In February

1766, Parliament summoned colonial agents to present their


views on the Stamp Act, and on 13 February, as the official agent in England

representing Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin made an appearance. Frank


lin remarked the expenses sustained by the colonies in combating Native
Americans, the lack of specie in colonial governmental assemblies to pay for
the stamps now imperially required for official paperwork, and the difference
between internal and external taxation apropos the issue of representation.
After Franklin and the other agents had made their presentations, Parliament
debated, and on 18 March 1766 King George III signed a bill fully repealing
the Stamp Act. This victory might have been sweet had not Parliament on the
same day passed the Declaratory Act, which claimed for the British govern
ment total power in the legislation of all laws governing the American
colonists. And soon thereafter the colonists found themselves at the receiving
end of still more taxation without representation.
At least three times, as reported in The Examination of Doctor Benjamin
Franklin, Before an August Assembly, Relating to the Repeal of the Stamp
Act, Franklin warned that the force of arms would be required to make
Americans submit to the Stamp Act, even in modified form. ' In his answers to
Parliament, Franklin suggested that any attempt by the British to use such
'The Examination of Doctor Benjamin Franklin, Before an August Assembly, Relating to the
Repeal of the Stamp Act (Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers. 1766).
65

military coercion to enforce the Stamp Act might lead to open revolution. The
Stamp Act would be repealed, but ten years later a war would eventuate
anyway. And within a mere ten years after this war, legends would readily
mushroom on the facts now lying in the dust of time and in the mist of human
memory.
Legends are representations.

If they

do not represent literal facts, they do

reveal some large truths about the people who revere them. The American
citizens of the New Republic needed legends for a number of reasons,

including the desire for simple images whereby the inchoate condition of the
new nation might be psychologically mediated. Some of the myths contempo
rary Americans would inherit from this formative time present an image of the
founders and the citizenry of the New Republic as completely resolute in their
thinking and actions. The historical facts, of course, suggest otherwise. Late
eighteenth-century Americans, even egalitarian Thomas Jefferson, worried
over whether the new country would succeed in constructing political order
out of its seemingly dangerous flirtation with mobocracy. The post- War years
were, in short, a time of anxiety about the political, economic, and cultural
stability of the new nation.2
So the early national Americans craved legends, mythic patterns which
would translate the turmoil of their present condition into a prophecy of a
perfected future, a prophecy based on images (representations) of the past.
This process was no doubt facilitated by the nature of elite eighteenth-century
English society, with its emphasis on external display. Also, this process was
no doubt facilitated by the willingness of some of the leaders of the
Revolutionary period to inscribe themselves as representational icons. Benja
min Franklin, for example, self-consciously fashioned his own image in his
autobiography (1790), which is not only highly selective in what it omits and
what it admits, but also well-managed in its presentation of voice.3 Franklin
would become a legend, a representational role he at once earned and self
consciously contrived. As he subtly tells the readers of his autobiography, "I
took care not only to be in Reality Industrious & frugal, but to avoid all
Appearances of the Contrary. "4 Franklin's autobiography ends with a discus
sion of taxation on the eve of the Stamp Act. His role in the repeal of this act,
dramatized in the popular The Examination of Doctor Benjamin Franklin,
had apparently

become a legend by the year 1790, when the autobiography

first appeared.
2See, for example, Emory Elliott, Revolutionary Writers: Literature and Authority in the New
Republic, 1725-1810 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982).
'See, most recently, Mark R. Patterson, Authority, Autonomy, and Representation in

American Literature,

1776-1865 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), pp. 3-33; and


Ormond Seavey's Becoming Benjamin Franklin: The "Autobiography" and the Life (University
Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988).
'The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, ed. J. A. Leo Lemay and P.M. Zall (Knoxville:

University of Tennessee Press, 1981), p. 68.


66

Evidence of Franklin's image

at this time surfaces in a document

included

in a letter addressed to Thomas Paine and written on 18 December 1790 by


Thomas Walker on behalf of his ironworks. These two documents, along with
letters from Paine to Walker, are part of a small number of scattered, albeit
valuable, items in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center that
pertain to the American early national period. Besides two brief autograph
signed documents (both dated 1779) by Franklin, this collection also includes
several letters written by Thomas Jefferson from the 1770s through the 1790s
addressed to William Easton (U.S. army
correspondence
officer and consul at Tunis) during the 1790s. Among the most impressive
and numerous

holdings from this period are items by Charles Brockden Brown and
Washington Irving. The Brown collection, much of it composed in the 1790s,
includes an untitled poem, a thirty-two page fragment from Don Manuel, a
twenty-two page journal, several letters, and architectural drawings. The
Irving collection features a manuscript copy of the Life of George Washington,
notes on a tour of Europe, a short work entitled "The Seven Sons of Lara," a
manuscript copy of A Tour of the Prairies, and various correspondence.5
Walker's letter to Thomas Paine concerns a plan to construct a single-arch,
segmented bridge designed by Paine, who to his subsequent financial loss
entered into a contract with the Walker brothers' ironworks near Sheffield."
Folded inside this letter is an undated manuscript in a careful hand different
from Thomas Walker's. Measuring 22.5 mm by 17.5 mm, this enclosure fits
neatly within the folds of the letter by Walker and gives every appearance of
having been originally included with it.
This sheet contains a dialogue, an exchange similar to a brief scene in a play.
Its two speakers are designated as Lord Bute (1713-1792) and cabinet, and Dr.
Franklin (1706-1790) and company. But in effect, as the subsequent abbrevia
tions for the speakers suggest, the encounter is between Franklin and Bute.
That the dialogue between them in this manuscript is not based on fact is
revealed by a comparison of it with the record presented (with some
representational
management, no doubt) in The Examination of Doctor
Benjamin Franklin, a work which circulated in England as well as in America.
In this imagined dialogue Bute and Franklin serve as legendary representa
tives offerees which post- War sympathizers with the colonial rebellion readily
in Manichean
terms. This manuscript dialogue, which is
mythologized
printed here in its entirety, is valuable as one more piece of evidence of this
post- War mentality.
The dialogue stresses the issue of taxation. Although its setting recalls
Franklin's appearance before Parliament on the subject of the Stamp Act, in
J. Seheick, "The Seven Sons of Lara: A Washington Irving Manuscript,"
for American Literary Study 2 (Autumn 1972): 208-17.
'Alfred O. Aldridge, in his Man of Reason: The Life of Thomas Paine (Philadelphia: Lippincott,
'See William

Resources

1959), pp. 108-116, provides the details of this undertaking.

67

fact the dialogue

lacks this specificity

and expresses a rather more generic

of the colonists' grievances against the authority of the British


government in all of its legislation of colonial taxation. By summarizing the
overall aggrieved sensibility of the colonists, this document evidences the
translation of literal specifics into a nationalistic mythic generality.
This transmutation includes the received impression of Franklin, whose
famous wit is suggested in a turn of phrase: to the remark, "If you give us no
more than you like, that will probably be very little," he retorts, "If you take
from us what you please, that will probably be very much." Franklin's
decorum is suggested in his use of such expressions as "the people of your good
Country," and his elocutionary skills are suggested in his rhetorical identifica
tion with the mother country when he says that the colonists "are fond of
imitating and of calling" the British "our Friends and Brothers on all
occasions."7 His patriotism is evident in his short reply to Bute's insistence
that the colonists give "Implicit Compliance, unconditional Submission
and . . . Money"; Franklin responds, "Win them and wear them. "Moreover,
Franklin appears as a defender of communal reason when he speaks of "the
best manner possible for the good of the whole" and as applying peaceful
persuasion when he requests, "Pray, Gentlemen, consider. Let us beg you to
hear what we have to say." When reason and passivity fail, Franklin in the
dialogue is resolute in his resistance, thereby representing the American
colonists' post- War ideal image of themselves as unwilling participants in a
civil war they are nonetheless firmly and heroically resolved to win.
If Franklin is presented as the paragon of good, John Stuart, the 3rd Earl of
Bute, is dramatized as the paragon of militaristic, irrational evil. His threat,
"Then by G-d we will dragoon you, till you" submit, types him as a villain, as
presentation

does his last comment

about compliance,

submission,

and money as "the

Things we want & will have." In fact, however, Lord Bute had resigned from
the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1763 and was not present during
Franklin's presentation to Parliament in 1766. The role of Lord Bute in this
dialogue is a refinement of a somewhat older legend. During his brief term of
office (1762-1763) Lord Bute had the misfortune of irritating many around
him. Contemporary assessments of his personality and character observe his
limitations, and particularly note his thin-skinned sensitivity." As a Scot, he
was heartily slandered by his British peers, and he resigned in anguish over
his poor public image. He had always been a close confidant of King George
III, however, and the King consulted with him, even in retirement, on

This expression, friends and brothers, is not characteristic of American political, propagandistic, and satiric writings during the Revolutionary period, when the metaphor of the parent and
the child was favored in describing the relationship between England and America.
"Lewis Namier, England in the Age of the American Revolution (London: Macmillan. 1962),
pp. 131-33.

68

MA GNA

r 4fcfo

/,

^w* RK DU i

^^r,^taS^
Franklin's Stamp Act cartoon represents Britain as dismembered by her foes, wounded by herself
and deserted by her friends. The commerce ships in the background are for sale.
From The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 13 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969).

(the spear),

General Libraries.

important

matters.

Nor did his retirement eradicate his influence among

certain members of Parliament.


As the widely distributed symbolic
cartoons

from the 1760s

to the 1780s

caricatures
indicate,

of Lord Bute in political


he was despised

by both

English citizens and American colonists.9 This low estimation of Lord Bute,
which was doubtlessly not only reflected in but rigidified by these cartoon
representations, is evident in the manuscript dialogue, which is written from a
point of view sympathetic with the American cause. But this dialogue
completely distorts Franklin's personal admiration of Lord Bute.
Franklin ordered in 1763 and again in 1764 two prints of a portrait of Lord
Bute painted by William Wynne Byland, one of which hung in his home by 25
October 1765.' Furthermore, he specifically told his correspondents that
Lord Bute had nothing to do with the Stamp Act. On 6 April 1766, months
after his appearance before Parliament

on the need to repeal the Stamp Act,

Franklin told his wife: "Lord Bute . . . had nothing to do with the Stamp Act.
But it is the Fashion here to abuse that Nobleman as the Author of all
'See, for example, Mary Dorothy George, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires, Vol. 5
(London: British Museum, 1935).
'The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree (New Haven: Yale University
Press,

1959-87), 10:395; 11:334; 12:296.

69

This etching from the Oxford Magazine ( 1 October 177 1) shows King George wearing clothing of
Scottish influence and using a telescope invertedly, as if he were a monkey (like the one in the
chair). Lord Bute (in the portrait on the wall) rests his right hand on a table with a crown, which
implies that he is the actual ruler of the country. From M, Dorothy George's England in
Transition (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1931). General Libraries.

Mischief."" That casting aspersions on Lord Bute was even more the custom
in America is evident in a letter Franklin had received a year earlier (18 July
1765) from Joseph Galloway, who notes that the "worthy Nobleman Lord Bute
I2
is openly cursed whenever his Name is mentioned" in the colonies.
Franklin knew that Lord Bute had resigned from his office in 1763, and he
had urged the publication of a report about this resignation, with a vindication
of the man, that eventually appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette (30 June
13
Three years later he was still defending Lord Bute. While Franklin
1763).
may have liked some of the better personal qualities of this well-educated,
widely-read man, loyalty may well have been equally a factor in his attitude
toward the Earl. Lord Bute had been instrumental in having Franklin's friend
John Bartram, the Pennsylvania naturalist and fellow American Philosophical
Society member, appointed as the King's botanist in 1765, and he had been
instrumental in securing an appointment for Franklin's son as governor of
New Jersey in 1763. Whatever the reason for Franklin's vindication of Lord
Bute, even to the point of hanging a portrait of the Earl in his home at the very
time that the inflamed colonists were blaming him for the Stamp Act,
Franklin did not see Bute as his antagonist and he did not debate him before
Parliament in 1766. Beflecting the legend-making
capacity of the early
national Americans and their sympathizers, the scene in the manuscript
dialogue elaborates upon a pre-War image of Lord Bute which, in Franklin's
opinion at least, had no basis in reality.
That reality eludes us today. Lord Bute had indeed resigned his public
office, but he had not relinquished a role for himself behind the scenes.
Evidence suggests that King George III consulted him on major matters
throughout 1765 and 1766, the key years of the implementation and the repeal
of the Stamp Act. And this evidence indicates that his political faction was a
considerable one14 and that from behind the scenes he prompted Parliament
to take a more imperious tone with the colonies. 15Was Lord Bute an unfairly
maligned victim, as Franklin saw him, or was he a prince of mischief, as the
colonists and their English sympathizers saw him, especially in the matter of
the Stamp Act?
Whatever the answer, in some factual sense, and despite Franklin's
personal attitude toward the Earl, the mythic configuration evident in the
manuscript dialogue indicates that in 1790 Lord Bute continued to represent
the villainous forces of evil opposed by the heroic forces of good (represented
"Papers, 13:234.
"Papers, 12:218.
"Papers, 10:293.
"James Lee McKelvey, George 111 and Lord Bute: The Leicester House Years (Durham, NC:
Duke University Press, 1973). p. 127.
"J. Steven Watson, The Reign of George 111. 1760-1815 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), pp.
116, 120.

71

by Franklin). Such a symbolic typing in "A Dialogue" reveals the prevalent


desire for a stabilizing mythology by the New Republic in quest of a national
identity, something apparently reflected as well in the minds of its English
and this symbolic typing also intimates the price (in human and
terms) prominent persons were made to pay in the Eighteenth

sympathizers;
historical

Century, the Age of Representation.

16

A Dialogue
Lord Bute and cabinet. We are to desire you, Gentlemen of America, to
submit patiently and lovingly to a few Taxes, which our Country will do itself
the Honor to lay upon yours, as times and occasions will offer.
Dr. Franklin & cfompany]. We must beg the favor of you to permit us to tax
ourselves, as the people of your good Country are accustomed to do , whom we
are fond of imitating and of calling our Friends and Brothers on all occasions.
B. To tax yourselves will not answer our purpose; for how can You be Judges
of what we want.
F. At least as well as you can be of what we are able to pay.
B. If you give us no more than you like, that will probably be very little.
F. If you take from us what you please, that will probably be very much.
B. We have laid a heavy Load on ourselves for your Emolument: Gratitude
ought to induce you to submit to our Demands.
F. Honestly now, did you do this for our sakes, or your own? But be it for
ours: We are making your people a Large Return by working for them with all
our Might. The greatest part of the whole Profit of our Industry has been
always yours. Permit it to continue so. Turn all our Trade into your
Harbours, as you are wont. Tax in your own Country the Commodities you
make us buy. But let us be favored with the privilege your people so justly
boast as their greatest Safeguard. Let us give and grant our own Money.
B. As to the Benefit of your Trade, it may be something to our people in
general: but what is it to the Necessities of Government? We want a Benefit
flowing full and fast into the Exchequer. We don't understand your round
about way of sending it through the body of the People.
F. We believe it: otherwise you would certainly be content with receiving it, as
you do now, in the best manner possible for the good of the whole.
B. What we have already, we have no occasion to demand. More, Gentleman,
more: and by a strait forward Road.
F. We cannot consent to it.
B. Then by G-d we will dragoon you, till you do.

'I gratefully acknowledge the generous


cartoon

72

caricatures

of Lord Bute.

advice

of J. A. Leo Lemay, who directed me to the

This engraving from the Westminster Magazine (February 1773) features Lord Bute as a Scot
playing a bagpipe while King Ceorge listens with amusement behind a door and the King's men
dance upon state papers. From Ellen Chase's The Beginnings of the American Revolution, Vol. 1
(New York: The Baker and Taylor Company, 1910). General Libraries.

F. Pray, Gentlemen, consider. Let us beg you to hear what we have to say, for
Both oursakes, Gentlemen.
B. Implicit Compliance, unconditional Submission and your Money are the
Things we want i? will have.
F. Win them and wear them.
N.B. So this wise, this righteous set of Ministers sent out Fleets and Armies
and spent 100 millions of money and destroyed the Lives of 100,000 men and
at the end of five years were no nearer gaining that unconditional Submission,
they had insolently demanded, than when they commenced this wicked,
unnatural, civil War! The Estimate of Lives lost is not too high, as all who
perished on the side of the Americans as well as on that of the English must be
charged to the Account of the English Cabinet. O Cives, Cives, qua vos
Dementia cepit!'"
"This altered quotation is drawn from

Virgil's Eclogues:

"Ah, Corydon,

Corydon,

what

madness has caught you" (2:69). As cited in the manuscript, the proper name in the quotation
been replaced with "subjects" (cives). The lament,
subjects

had been caught up in royal madness,

has

that during the Revolutionary War the King's

no doubt reflects the fact that Ceorge

HI suffered a

breakdown in 1765 (the year of the Stamp Act) and also in 1788-89 (the years preceding
the inclusion of "A Dialogue" in Walker s letter). Probably a victim of the hereditary disease
known as porphyria, Ceorge III was suspected of being insane during his reign and in fact became
nervous

permanently insane in 1810.


73

John Steinbeck (left) and Edward Albee at Adolf Hoffmeister's in Prague,


Photography Collection.

1963.

HRHRC

The London Premiere of "The Zoo Story'


Edward Albee and the British Press

By

It

is an irony in the history

playwrights

Philip C. Kolin

of American theatre that one of its leading

had the world premiere of his first play in Europe. Edward

The Zoo Story was first performed on 28 September 1959 at the


Schiller Theater in Werkstatt where the young playwright was greeted with
thunderous applause from the German audience and began a warm friendship
with Boleslaw Barlog, one of Germany's prominent producers. ' Ten years
after the German premiere, C. W.E. Bigsby commented on this performance
as well as on the subsequent response the play was to receive in Albee's own
Albee's

country:

In a way it is fitting that a play which attacks so directly the


indifference and sterility of contemporary American life should have
received its first performance in Europe. It is as though Albee's
subversive

nature had been instantly recognized

by a theatre and a

public which [have] become increasingly scornful.2


Over the years the critics have been both scornful and laudatory; they have
villified and deified Albee, whose entire canon, it seems, has been sur
rounded by sharply divergent critical opinions.
Four months after its world premiere, The Zoo Story came to America on 14
January 1960, beginning an Off-Broadway run of 582 performances at the
Provincetown Playhouse. While the German critics had given Albee their
unanimous appproval ofThe Zoo Story, the American reviewers were divided
on the significance of the play. Donald Malcolm asserted that "the merit of the
piece lies in its acute observation of two authentic and interesting types, and
'For a discussion of the world premiere of The Zoo Story, see C.W.E. Bigsby, Albee
(Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1969), pp. 8-9; and Richard Amacher, Edward Albee, rev. ed.
(Boston: Twayne, 1982), p. 5. Two of the German reviews, translated into English for the first
time, appear in Philip C. Kolin and J. Madison Davis, Critical Essays on Edward Albee (Boston:

G.K. Hall,

1986), pp. 41-42.

'Bigsby, p. 9.
75

Mr. Albee."'
Comparing Albee's play with Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape with which
it shared the bill, Henry Hewes found that The Zoo Story was "equally
exciting, not only because it is compelling theatre, but also because it
introduces Edward Albee, a young (circa thirty) playwright of considerable
potentiality."4 On the negative side, Tom F. Driver remarked that "the only
sense I could draw from it is the conviction that one shouldn't talk to strangers
in Central Park."5 A more serious assault on Albee came from Brooks Atkinson
who dismissed the play as "conventional melodrama. "h In a fine overview of
the critical response up to 1969, William Force characterized "the diversity of
judgment and analysis elicited" by The Zoo Story in this way: "The question
that inevitably arises, of course, is whether the play is so enriched by multiple
metaphor that it possesses several levels of meaning, or whether such an
enrichment is more apparent than real, resulting in a play that is less clear
""
than confusing, and inclined to be pretentious where it seeks to be profound.
Force concluded that "the diversity of response to The Zoo Story does suggest
that interpretation of the play, like the presence of beauty, may reside in the
""
The early differing critical reactions to and interpreta
eye of the beholder.
tions of The Zoo Story, following its production in America, foreshadow both
the favorable and negative press Albee would receive elsewhere, and indeed
one is encouraged

to expect

has received throughout

many more good things from

his controversial

career.

Two Edward Albee typescript letters in the Harry Ransom Humanities


Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin provide valuable
background information about the premiere of Albee's first play in England,
offering a "before" and "after" commentary from the perspective of the
promising playwright. Part of the Center's extensive holdings in American
drama, the Albee Collection contains, in addition to these two previously
unpublished letters, the mimeo scripts for his plays Box and Quotations from
Chairman Mao Tse-tung, and the filmscript of Albee's Who's Afraid of
'Donald Malcolm, Review of The Zoo Story, The New Yorker, 23 January 1960, 76.
'Henry Hewes, "Benchmanship," Saturday Review, 6 February 1960, 32.
Tom F. Driver, Review of The Zoo Story, Christian Century, 17 February 1960, 194.
"Brooks Atkinson, "Village Vagrants," New York Times, 31 January 1960, set. 2:1.
'William M. Force, "The "What' Story or Who's Who at the Zoo?," Studies in the Humanities 1
(Winter 1969): 47.
"Ibid. , p. 53. Force arrives at this conclusion after posing a series of questions suggested by the
various interpretations he has surveyed: "The what story? Homosexual encounter? Morality play?
A realistic drama of isolation, aloneness and despair? A symbolic treatment of expiation,
redemption and atonement? Or a searing examination of mutilation, emasculation and lust?
Perhaps a probing of the essence of human relationships, a study of the psychotic, or an
of the consequences of parental neglect. Are there undertones of the existentialistic,
the nihilistic, or the Beat? Does the play dramatize the rejection of complacency, the presence of

examination

violence, or the despair of the outcast? Is it, in fact, both a realistic and a symbolic account of
everyman's need for love, or perhaps on an even more ambitious level, is it an expanded allusion
to the person and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?"
76

Virginia Woolf?" Other HRHRC collections contain Albee correspondence


with John Gassner, James Purdy, Carson McCullers, and Gerard Malanga. A
checklist of manuscripts in the Center's collections by and relating to Edward
Albee appears at the end of this article.
Written about a month before The Zoo Story opened in London at the end
of August 1960, the first of the two letters in the Albee Collection is
incompletely dated "July 20" but is clearly from the year 1960.

July 20.
Dear Harry Joe:
Thank you for your letter, and for all the checks you and your people
have been sending across the ocean.

hope, as well as do you, that you and

before rehearsals

start on

I will

have a chance to talk

THE ZOO STORY. We

can, perhaps,

combine notes; on the one hand, your theories on the play how it
should be done, what has been wrong with the way it has been done
in New York, etc. and, on the other hand, my practical experience
having actually directed the play for the Catskill tour. I have one or
two "musts" to give you.

. . .

things that

I have

discovered as a result

of working on the piece. We will talk.


Now, while I know that there is now

a show in the Arts

Theatre, and

you plan to open sometime between August 21 and September 6, I


should dearly love to know exactly when! For this reason, I want to

know when to come to Europe, and know, as well, where in Europe I


can plan to go, fitting around Zoo rehearsals. I am expected in Berlin,
either before or after the opening; Vienna wants me (I'm John
Wayne, in case you didn't know), I would sort of like to drop in on
Paris again, and, back here, Dick Barr is organizing plans for my new
play, THE AMERICAN DREAM, for sometime early in the fall. So,
if you would be so good as to wire the agency immediately you have
definite dates, I would be greatly relieved.
At any rate, I am looking forward to London, the play, and you, with
great enthusiasm.

All

my best.

'Among the HRHRC's large collections of papers by a number of American playwrights are
those of Maxwell Anderson, Elmer Rice, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, and, most significant of

77

The recipient of this Albee letter was Harry Joe Brown, the son of the
famous film producer and actor Joe E. Brown (who starred for so long and so
successfully in Harvey) and of Mollie Parnis, who designed clothes for Mamie

Eisenhower. 10Twenty-six at the time, and six years Albee s junior, Harry Joe
Brown, one of the co-producers of the London Zoo Story, had been
associated, if indirectly, with Albee 's play before it came to London. In 1959
Brown had acquired the American rights to Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last
Tape, the play whose American theatre history was inextricably bound with
The Zoo Story as the other half of the double bill at the Provincetown
Playhouse in New York. Harry Joe was deeply involved in negotiations with
Richard Barr, who held the rights to Albee's play for its American production.
Alan Schneider, who directed Krapp's Last Tape but not to his consterna
tion The Zoo Story, recalled in his autobiography the emerging producer
Harry Joe: he was "a seductively attractive post-adolescent with curly hair, a
disarming smile, and presumably money. He knew very little about the
theatre but was anxious to learn. '"

Albee could not have wished for a more propitious place to have his Zoo
Story open in England than the Arts Theatre Club, a highly influential and
successful theatre founded in 1927 and located at 6-7 Great Newport in
London's West End. During the 1950s the Royal Shakespeare Company
staged its productions at the Arts, and in August 1955 one of the most
important theatrical events of the decade was held there when Peter Hall
directed the English premiere of Wait ingfor Godot. During the mid to late
1950s, the Arts Theatre Club premiered some of Britain's most important new
plays, including works by Harold Pinter and John Osborne.12 Under Hall's
guidance, the Arts achieved a well-deserved reputation for doing "contempo
rary plays . . . often noted for their 'good' [verbal] writing, their literary
"I3
A rather severe J. W. Lambert noted in a 1960 review that the Arts
qualities.
Theatre also "performed a small public service
by letting us see two
Ionesco plays.

"u

...

The advance information that Harry Joe sent to Albee about the London
opening of The Zoo Story was fairly accurate "between August 21 and
September 6." The play opened at the Arts on Thursday, August 25, and ran
of the H RHBC's Williams Collection, see
Deborah Burks, "Treatment Is Everything': The Creation and Casting of Blanche and Stanley in
Tennessee Williams' 'Streetcar'," The Library Chronicle n.s. 41 (1987): 17-39.
all, Tennessee Williams. For information on one aspect

'"John Moynihan, "It's That Man Tennessee . . . Luring the Blue Bloods" and "London and
Edinburgh Last Night," Evening Standard [London], 25 August 1969. 4.
"Alan Schneider, Entrances: An American Director's Journey (New York: Viking-Penguin,
1986), p. 270.

From Irving to Olivier: Social History of the Acting Profession in


''Michael Sanderson,
England, 1890- 1980 (London: Athelone Press, 1984), p. 288.
"John Elsom, Post-War British Theatre (London: Routledge, 1976), p. 173.
"J. W. Lambert, "Plays in Performance." Drama 28 (Autumn 1969): 22.
78

THE ARTS
THEATRE CLUB

*:

Campbell

Directors

Williams,

G. E. A.

Williams,

Toby

Rowland

6 and 7 GREAT NEWPORT STREET, W.C2


(near Leicester Square Tube Station)

5K
3K

8
5K

in association with

J*

Harry Joe Brown and Robert L. Livingston

8 THIS PROPERTY IS
by

TENNESSEE

CONDEMNED

WILLIAMS

and

THE ZOO STORY


by

First Performance
PROGRAMME

EDWARD ALBEE

Thursday, 25th August I960.


PRICE SIXPENCE

Cover of program for The Arts Theatre Club's 1960 production of Tennessee Williams's This
Property Is Condemned and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. HRHRC Theatre Arts Collection.

for 40 performances before closing on September 6. (Another Albee play, the


witty Fam and Yam, premiered on August 27 at the White Barn Theatre in
Westport, Connecticut.) The Arts had a seating capacity of 346 and attracted
some of London's most distinguished theatre patrons. An article in the
Evening Standard boasted that "this was London's most glossy first night in
weeks" and further observed that "out came our high-powered names to
dictate [sic] the evening. "" In attendance were Lord Tavistock, who was the
Duke of Bedford's son, and his companion Henrietta Tiarks, along with the
Countess Bunny Esterhazy and Adelle Lady Beatty. The American actress
Sally Eilers was there, as well as Mrs. Parnis, Harry Joes mother, who made a
surprise appearance from America. From England's theatrical community
came actor Alfred Lynch and Constance Cummings, the wife of the play
wright Ben Levy. All in all, a star-studded evening. Apparently, this
distinguished audience enjoyed what it saw. With wry British understate
ment Robert Muller informed his Daily Mail readers that "a first night
audience quite unaccountably found [the Arts' fare] amusing. "" Even Bernard
Levin of London's Daily Express, who was no friend to the avant-garde
Edward Albee, conceded that "the Arts has done worse lately. ""
The second paragraph of Albee's letter to Harry Joe reveals the playwright's
early, keen interest in how his work was to be directed, an interest that has
intensified over the years. " Almost from the start of his career Albee directed
his own work; note that his July 20th letter to Harry Joe mentions his "practical
experience having actually directed the play [Zoo Story] for the Catskill
tour."19 Albee continued to direct his one-acters as well as his longer plays,
receiving high marks for his directorial achievements. He once announced
that "clearly the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? that I directed in
"*
When Albee
'76 was every bit as good as the original production in '62.
directed his Counting the Ways for the Hartford Stage Company, Clive
Barnes proclaimed that the play "was meticulously directed by the author
himself."21
And Mark Boyer seconded this view, noting that "Albee di
rects . . . with a marked restraint. . . . [C]larity and simplicity honor the
integrity of the text."28 Albee has directed his own work at home and abroad,
15Moynihan,

p. 4.

Muller, "That's What I Don't Like About the South," Daily Mail, 26 August 1960, 3.
"Bernard Levin, "A Talk at the Zoo . . . Too Late," Daily Express, 26 August 1960, 7.

l6Robert

18See Albee's comments on directors and directing in Conversations with Edward Albee, ed.
Philip C. Kolin (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1988), pp. 32, 48, 64, 86, 88, 95, 115,
124, 125, 132, 137, 147, 166-167,

"I

199, 206-207,

212.

have been unable to track down the exact dates and places for this tour.

"Quoted in Mark Anderson and Earl Ingersoll. "Living on the Precipice: A Conversation with
Edward Albee," in Kolin, Conversations, p. 166.
2,Clive Barnes, "Stage: Double Bill by Albee," New York Times, 4 February 1977, C:4.

"Mark Boyer, "Premiere Albee: Irresistible Rhythms, Unnatural Acts," Hartford Advocate , 9
February 1977, 26.
SO

and he also has enjoyed directing the work of others: in a 1986 interview with

Joe Pollack,

we learn that Albee directed "the works of Lanford Wilson,

Shepard and David Mamet in the English-language theatre in Vienna" in the


fall of 1985. a Finally, Albee is a well-known and an often-sought-after

directing teacher, having offered classes in the art at such institutions as Johns
Hopkins, University of Houston, and the University of Washington.
Over the years Albee has jealously guarded his privilege of selecting actors
and his right in having a definite, final say in how his work is to be staged." The
to Harry Joe clearly documents this early concern and prefigures
Albee's later involvement in the production process. Unfortunately, the
letter

"musts" that Albee wanted to impart to the Arts co-producer are not spelled
out.

It is likely,

however,

that he would discuss such crucial matters as Jerry's

long speech and how it was to be delivered, the pacing of the play, and the
exact responses the actors needed to evoke from the audience without risking
laughter. Harry Joe had seen The Zoo Story in New York and,
recognizing that fact, Albee may have wanted him to revise and correct certain
features of the New York production. It is curious that Albee did not mention
the director of the Arts Zoo Story Henry Kaplan by name; perhaps when
Albee wrote on July 20 he was under the impression that Harry Joe would
both co-produce and direct. Or perhaps a director had not yet been named,
and Albee was sharing his concern with the one individual he knew would be
actively involved in the selection of a director.
In the third paragraph we hear an anxious young author eager to know when
he should arrive in London. With characteristic wit and confidence, Albee
stresses his popularity in Europe. The reference to Berlin may point to
revisiting his old friend Boleslaw Barlog at the Schiller Theater; as Albee
explains, he was very popular in Vienna, too. His comparison with John
Wayne is a typical Albee joke, filled with puckish irony as well as a touch of
prophecy. It is highly ironic that the shy and slender Edward Albee could ever
resemble the rugged, blunt, and outspoken John Wayne. The comparison
would have surely amused someone like Harry Joe who knew the young Albee
well. Yet Albee's growing popularity in Europe as one of America's most
promising playwrights might have encouraged him to compare himself with
one of the exemplars of American film culture. Perhaps in his wildest dreams,
Albee coveted the same recognition for himself through his plays that John
Wayne had earned through his films.
unwanted

Quoted in Joe Pollack, "Outrageous Edward Albee," St. Louis Post Dispatch, 2 May 1986,
G:l.
"In a 1980 interview with Patricia De La Fuente, Albee commented on his "say-so" in
productions of his work: "It's in the playwright's contract. Now you can't exert much authority
over a production you are not going to be at. Though I do try to control all productions of my plays,
and any productions within seventy-five miles of a whole list of about twenty cities in this country
I get approval of cast." Edward Albee: Planned Wilderness, Living Authors Series, No. 3, ed.
Patricia De La Fuente (Edinburgh, TX: Pan American University, 1980), pp. 10-11.
81

Not one to limit his fame to his first produced play, Albee reveals plans for
what would prove his second success, The American Dream, to be produced
by Richard (Dick) Barr, with whom Harry Joe, as we saw, had financial
dealings concerning the American production of Krapp's Last Tape. How
ever, it would be more than a year and three months before this second Albee
play would come to London. Above all else, Albee 's letter of

Harry Joe Brown paints

July

20th to

picture of the young, ambitious playwright as a


practical, business-conscious individual concerned about money, dates, and
directorial commitments. Such interests augured well for Albee's success over
a

the years.

Albee's second letter about the London premiere of The Zoo Story was
written almost two weeks after the play closed.

Edward Albee
345 West 12th St.

New York

September

N.Y.
U.S.A.

14,

19, 1960

Dear Bob Livingston:


Seventeen days have passed since my return to New York, seventeen

I have had no word from you. . . . neither the


of the PROPERTY, ZOO deal, nor information
regarding the probable fate of that unfortunate combo. I must assume
either that you are so shattered by the dream shattered that you are
rendered noteless, or you have turned your attentions to other
ventures, prefer[r]ing to leave the crushed, the defeated to their
days during which
collected

reviews

imaginings.

No matter. Do send the collected reviews, however; they will look


properly in place in my otherwise dream girl scrapbook; and bring
yourself to fill me in on other foggy happenings which you think I
either should or should not know.

I am contentedly back to work, well on my way to the Pulitzer Prize


and, since producers here are asking about English rights to both
BESSIE and THE AMERICAN DREAM, I must know your interest
temperature
82

on these two props, now.

My regards to Kenneth and Peter, my condolences to Harry Joe, and


my warm best wishes to Toby.
Best,

Edward

Albee25

Bob Livingston, the co-producer of The Zoo Story with Harry Joe Brown,
was also Harry Joe's half-brother, and at 28 the elder of the two.* Kenneth and
Peter, to whom Albee sends his "regards" in the last paragraph, were the
British actors Kenneth Haigh and Peter Sallis, who performed the two-man
play in its Arts production, Haigh taking the part of Jerry and Sallis that of
Peter. Toby Rowland, along with Campbell Williams and G.E.A. Williams,
was the director of the Arts Theatre Club; these three men were theatre
executives affiliated with the Hugh "Binkie" Beaumont producing group. The

PROPERTY/ZOO

deal refers to the short one-act play by Tennessee

Wil

which preceded Albee's play on the Arts


Theatre's double bill." Like The Zoo Story, This Property Is Condemned had
been produced earlier in New York, as well as for American television.28 In
Berlin and Paris, before it accompanied Albee's play in London, This Property
replaced Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. Harry Joe and Bob Livingston, with
their British counterparts, no doubt hoped that the drawing power and luster
of Williams's play might rub off on the work of this new American writer,
Edward Albee. Williams was immensely popular in England, and as one critic
put it, "Make no mistake about it, the high-powered men and women of
English society are a pushover for Mr. Williams. They go stomping to his
liams, This Property Is Condemned,

BI am grateful to Edward Albee for kindly granting permission to print this letter and the one to
Harry Joe Brown housed in the HRHRC.
"See Moynihan, p. 4.
"The HRHRC has several items related to This Property Is Condemned: three mimeo versions
of a TV script for the play, a one-page undated version of the play bearing another title, and a 14page manuscript of the play bearing still another title. The three mimeo copies, all from 1958, pre
date the London production.

The first

performance of This Property Is Condemned was given at the New School for Social
in May 1942. It was next staged in Dallas in 1948 by Margo Jones, who also gave the
world premiere of Williams's Summer and Smoke. On 28 October 1957 This Property was
Research

included in three premieres at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York. Of Williams's play, Lewis
Funke (New York Times, 29 October 1956) wrote that it "is little more than a monologue a
haunted monologue in the Williams tradition." Like Albee's The Zoo Story, Williams's This
Property also enjoyed a German run at Congress Hall in Berlin before going to London. Prior
to the August 1960 Arts Theatre Club performance, This Property appeared on the Kraft
Television Theatre and at the Theatre Champs Elysees in Paris.
83

A scene from the 1966 Warner Brothers film version of Edward Albee's Who s Afraid of Virginia
Woolf, starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis. HRHRC
Photography Collection.

London first nights. They storm the premieres of his films."29 As we shall see,
Albee's fears about the "probable fate of that unfortunate combo" should have
more properly redounded to Williams.
Albee wittily chides Livingston for not sending reviews and again demon
strates his satiric touch, an Albee hallmark that is clearly imbedded even in his
correspondence. Albee's references to his being "the crushed, the defeated,"
to his "dream girl scrapbook," and to his desire to know about "foggy
happenings" obviously date from the playwright's early period that produced
The American Dream, a work saturated with such outlandish, cliched phrases.
Apparently, Albee had not seen the reviews at this point and, since he had not
heard from his producer, may have felt abandoned. Perhaps for the young
playwright no news was bad news and so he was making a strong (rhetorically

inflated) plea for some communication from Livingston. The phrases "ren
dered noteless" and "other ventures" seem to be tossed out in this spirit. The
fact that Albee had heard nothing from his producer doubtless gave rise to the
worst premonitions ("imaginings") on his part. The inclusion of "otherwise"
before "dream girl scrapbook" is another example of Albee's fearing the worst
from this London production. Albee was obviously disturbed by the "probable
fate of that unfortunate combo"; probability might easily bring bad reviews.
How seriously Livingston was to take Albee's assertion that he was "well on
my way to the Pulitzer Prize" we may never know.

suspect that, having

tasted success and fame from his first play, Albee seriously harbored thoughts

of one day walking away with such a trophy. The idea for his masterpiece
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? may have already taken root in Albee's fertile
subconscious, but undoubtedly in 1960 he never could have predicted the
cruel fate that would await him over the Pulitzer prize.30 Two years later, in
1962, Albee was sabotaged by the prejudice of the Pulitzer committee that
rejected the recommendation of their own jury, which wanted desperately to
give the prize to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The playwright had to wait
until 1966 when A Delicate Balance did win for him the Pulitzer prize.
Even so, Albee's correspondence
both to Harry Joe Brown and Bob
on
his
to
rising
international
Livingston points early
reputation. As he notes in
paragraph three of the September 19th letter, the two plays that would be his
next big hits The Death of Bessie Smith and The American Dream were
already being sought for production overseas, doubtless the result of the
^Moynihan, p. 4.
"Albee discusses the importance of the subconscious in his creative work in Kolin, Conversa
tions, especially pp. 63-64,

107, 137, 143. 149.

''The story of refusing Albee the Pulitzer is widely known, but the following articles offer
crucial facts: Claudia Cassidy, "On the Aisle: Afraid of Virginia Woolf Pulitzer Snubs the Stage
Despite Equity's Golden Jubilee," Chicago Tribune, 7 May 1963, 2.1; John Chapman, "Show
Business:
News,

Virginia Woolf DOESN'T Win a Pulitzer Prize; No Drama Cited," New York Daily

7 May 1963, 53; Fern Marja Eckman, "A Split Vote Cost Albee That Pulitzer," New York

Post, 7 May 1963, 3.23. See also Amacher, p. 5.

85

success of The Zoo Story in Berlin and New York. The Death

of Bessie

Smith

and The American Dream were being readied for their American debut when

Albee wrote to Livingston; recall, too, that Albee had referred to the
forthcoming production of The American Dream in his letter to Harry Joe. The
American Dream opened at the York Playhouse on 24 January 1961 in New
York and was performed 360 times; The Death of Bessie Smith joined The
American Dream in New York in April 1961. Albee presented these plays with
the help of his two faithful producers, Barr and Clinton Wilder. As Richard
Amacher rightly points out, "Albee's good fortune in early associating
himself" with these two young men who were "willing to gamble on a change
in the climate of the American theater, cannot be too much stressed. "* The
American debut of these two plays is fairly well known, though their
European premieres are less so.
The American Dream and The Death of Bessie Smith did not go directly to
London from New York. In early October of 1961 , Boleslaw Barlog directed "a
translation of Edward Albee's The American Dream ('Der Amerikanische
Traum), a European premiere several weeks before the original version was
shown at London's Royal Court Theatre."33 Once again the Schiller Theatre
Werkstatt had the honor of eclipsing any other European theatre in premiering Albee's work. The two Albee plays subsequently opened in London on 24
October 1961 with fanfare. Roger Gellert in the New Statesman announced:
"Last week's most eagerly awaited event was the Royal Court double bill of
plays by Edward Albee, author of The Zoo Story, that compelling eruption of
violence on a quiet park bench. The success of the double bill (The Death of
Bessie Smith and The American Dream) in New York can be attributed to the
traditional American love of self chastisement. . . ."M An article in the London
Times noted that Albee was "almost as inventive of absurd ideas as M. Ionesco,
but they all dipped into his own tub which seems to well with bitter
"* Less sanguine, however, was the review of the British premiere of
laughter.
The American Dream and Bessie Smith by Alfred Unger for Theatre World.
For Unger, Barlog's "skillful casting and extremely pointed direction made
the play appear more hilarious and better acccentuated satire than the later
London production it was a real success." Unger ominously added: "Still,
the majority of critics and audiences would have wished Barlog a worthier
subject for his talent than this overrated tame joke on American domes
ticity."*

MAmacher,

p. 5.

"Alfred H. Unger, "Berliner Fesrwocher, 1961, Part

II," Theatre WoddSl

40.

"Roger Gellert, "Albee et al.," New Statesman,

""Well of Bitter Laughter," London


"Unger, p. 40.
86

Times,

3 November 1961, 667.

25 October 1961, 130.

(December 1961):

Realizing that productions of these plays were still somewhat far off, Albee
with how the London critics received his first play.
The fact that Albee asked Livingston to send him The Zoo Story "collected
reviews" suggests that the playwright was not in London much after opening
night. Most of the "collected reviews" of the Arts Zoo Story appeared in the
August 26th editions of the British newspapers, the day after opening night, or
in the late August or fall issues of British periodicals. As Albee told Harry Joe,
he had hoped to visit Berlin, Vienna, and possibly Paris, "fitting" his time
"around ZOO rehearsals." Albee must have been in these and other European
cities from the 26th or 27th of August until he returned to America on
September 2, which was 17 days before he wrote the letter to Livingston.37
Albee s curiosity about the reviews must have been piqued not only by what
they said but by the potential number his first play could have received.38
As with the American reviews, the British were mixed and, as would
invariably happen with later Albee plays, the critics' opinions were sharply
divided about the same points, and even the same reviewer could hold
contradictory positions. While J.W. Lambert reported in his Times review
that The Zoo Story was "an agreeably if not excitingly" played part of an "off
beat double bill,"39 he later noted in his review for Drama that The Zoo Story
was a "macabre one-act exercise that held me riveted."40 John Rosselli of The
Guardian admitted that "As a piece of theatre the play works: it is often funny,
though to my mind seldom moving."41 Elizabeth Frank exalted in the News
Chronicle that The Zoo Story "moves relentlessly to a horrific conclusion an
extraordinary tour de force in the creation of atmosphere."42 On the other
hand, Bernard Levin of the Daily Express protested that "the trouble is that
there is nothing but atmosphere" and added that The Zoo Story "is not
basically interesting. There is nothing beneath the play but more surface and
that is not enough."43 While Irving Wardle, in the London Observer, praised
Albee for his "uncommon ability to make drama of directly explicit material,"44
Robert Muller in the Daily Mail branded Albee's work for following the "Skidrow school of dramatic art."4* In his review in the Financial Times, Richard
was naturally concerned

"Albee cannot recall the exact dates of his late August-early September 1969 European
sojourn. Personal letter, 10 December 1988.
"Richard Tyce's Edward Albee: A Bibliography (Metuchen, NT: Scarecrow, 1986) lists 14
reviews for the British premiere (pp. 186-94). Many of these reviews are not available at libraries
in the United States and Canada. The only library I know that has microfilms of London dailies
from the early 1960s is the British Library Newspaper Library on Colindale Avenue in London.
MJ. W. Lambert, "Theatre: A Man Apart," London Times, 28 August 1960, 33.

"J.W. Lambert, Drama (Winter, 1961): 20.


"John Rosselli, "At the Theatre," The Guardian,
"Elizabeth

27 August 1960, 3.
Frank, "The Critics: Touching, Terrifying and Brilliant," News Chronicle,

August 1960, 3.

"Levin, "A Talk at the Zoo . . . Too Late."


"Irving Wardle, "New Plays in London," London Observer,
"Muller, That's What I Don't Like About the South."

26 August 1960, 24.

87

26

Findlater was equally glib; Albee's play was like "a marathon session on an
American psychoanalyst's couch
an unmistakable New Yorker mixture of
sour cynicism and solemn uplift. . . ."* Though Bill Lester's Plays and
Players review decried the "play's length" (especially Jerry's 17-minute
speech), a problem which "inevitably" led to "boredom," he nonetheless
conceded that it was a pity, because the play has much that is witty and wise
about the problems of the lonely and the dispossessed.47 B. A. Young of Punch
offered no such concession, complaining that "I couldn't, I confess, grasp the
basic theme of the piece, which seemd to be now one thing, now
another. . . ."*
Albee's language, always his forte, was noticed early by the British critics;
but again opinion was markedly diverse. Flatteringly, Irving Wardle stated
that The Zoo Story "has intense linear continuity and its language is exactly
responsive to the weight of feeling behind it. Under great emotional stress it
breaks the prose barrier and soars into full-throated arias." John Rosselli

...

invoked a more pedestrian

analogue for Albee's style, observing that at first


cross-talk we are now used to in this

the characters "exchange the music-hall

kind of play." Ronald Hastings, in his review for the Daily Telegraph and
Morning Post, believed that Albee's dialogue was "often very funny" but was
disappointed because "no real relationship between the characters is at
tempted and we were left with a rather literary monologue of the type in
vogue with several American short-story writers."48 Damning Albee with
minimal praise, Robert Muller concluded that "the play is fluently written,

..."

Milton Shulman simply


lamented "the poverty" of Albee's writing.50 Richard Findlater moaned that
"
The Zoo Story "suffers from wind. Stretches of it are pretentious and boring.
The British critics frequently seized the opportunity to discuss the differ
ences and the similarities between Albee's play and those of the British avantgarde dramatists. Shulman quickly announced that "inevitably Mr. Albee will
be compared to Mr. Harold Pinter. And in their ability to write aimless
dialogue giving the illusion of significance, they indeed have something in
common." Shulman added that, like Pinter, "Mr. Albee will have his frenetic
disciples." J.W. Lambert derogatorily commented in the Times that "it is
impossible not to compare [Zoo Story] unfavorably with early Pinter."
always one sentence

away from

slickness.

"Richard Findlater, "This Property Is Condemned; The Zoo Story," Financial Times, 26
August 1960, 9.
"Bill Lester, "This Property Is Condemned and The Zoo Story," Plays and Players, 7 October
1960, 13.

"B.A. Young, "At the Play: This Property Is Condemned

and The Zoo Story," Punch, 31 August

1960, 318.

"Ronald Hastings, "Ophelia-Type Strangers; a Brief Sketch of Adolescence," Daily Telegraph


and Morning Post, 26 August 1960, 14.
"Milton Shulman, "At the Theatre: Exercises for Two Vacuum Pumps," Evening Standard, 26
August 1960, 4.
88

"

Findlater argued that the play should be "described as Pinter gone wrong.
Seeing similarities between Albee and Pinter without recording exact indebt
edness to the British playwright by the American one, Muller wittily
observed, "We are clearly in Pinter-land (American branch), though it is only
fair to add that Mr. Albee had probably not ever heard of Mr. Pinter when he
wrote his play." John Rosselli boldly argued that The Zoo Story, like Pinter's
Caretaker, is "about an acute failure to communicate," but concluded that
because Albee's characters speak with the "fluency of whole men" he "raises
more doubts than Mr. Pinter's rigorous method of making the language wear
characters' mental crutches throughout." Bernard Levin remarked that Albee
came to Britain "too late," for while his work was developing in the United
States, "we have seen Mr. Pinter established, M. Ionesco carrying all before
him, and Mr. N.F. Simpson rolling em in the aisles." Levin did admit that
Albee's "talent is not exactly the same as theirs, though if it comes to that they
are not exactly the same as one another." Perhaps the most insightful
observation about Albee and avant-gardism came from Wardle who asserted
that "Mr. Albee is not really competing" with British playwrights.
Only a few of the British reviewers attempted to make critical connections
between The Zoo Story and the Williams play with which it shared the bill at
the Arts. Approving of the evening immensely, Elizabeth Frank linked The
Zoo Story and This Property as "two disquieting and complementary move
ments in a symphony on the theme of loneliness." For Richard Findlater the
two short plays revealed "a special kind of American attitude towards
innocence and experience." Robert Muller labeled these one-acters as "two
tragic plays" which offered "two unlovely brief encounters." While a fair
number of the reviewers found problems with both The Zoo Story and This
Property, Albee definitely came off the winner of the evening. Irving Wardle,
for example, much preferred The Zoo Story which was "coupled with an over
ripe fragment of Tennessee Williams's This Property Is Condemned." Simi
larly, Bill Lester found The Zoo Story "a much more satisfying work," and the
unnamed reviewer for the Times revealed that the audience at the Arts was
"positively grateful for the opportunity at the end of the second play, Mr.
Albee's The Zoo Story, which had by contrast gone very well." Jeremy Brooks
brutally dismissed Williams's play as "no more than a curtain raiser, an
oppressive and largely meaningless exercise in the manner, but without the
matter, of Streetcar."*' While Albee took his lumps, too, from the London
reviewers, what they said of This Property was even more cruel. B.A. Young
attacked This Property in the Financial Times as a "twenty minute scrap from
Tennessee Williams' ragbag," and Levin proclaimed that Williams, the great
playwright-hero of British theatregoers, gave them only an "early slight and
faded sketch." Whenever Bob Livingston sent the young playwright the
"Jeremy Brooks, "Flowering Bolt," New Statesman 60 (3 September 1960): 304-305.

London reviews, Albee must have been elated that his first work was received
than Williams's and perhaps relieved too

more positively and enthusiastically

that it suffered less at the critics' hands.

For most British reviewers the actors playing Peter and Jerry carried the
show. Kenneth Haigh, perhaps the better known of the pair, brought to the
role of Jerry a background ideally suited to Albee's beatnik character. As
Michael Sanderson points out: "It is no coincidence that . . . Kenneth Haigh
was a former builder's laborer. It is a piquant paradox that Mr. Haigh is also a
"a
Haigh's Jerry and Sallis's Peter elicited rave reviews from
professor at Yale.
Elizabeth Frank, who described their acting as "brilliant," and from Jeremy
Brooks, who declared that "Edward Albee's Zoo Story is worth seeing, if for no
other reason, for the truly remarkable performances by Kenneth Haigh and
"
"
Peter Sallis. Seeing The Zoo Story as a "wonderful gymnasium for the actors,
Richard Findlater showered praise on Haigh and Sallis. While Irving Wardle
thought that the roles of Jerry and Peter were "daemonically played" by Haigh
and Sallis, J. W. Lambert in the Times lauded the two for turning the play into
"
"a hypnotic little sonata. For B. A. Young the actors "kept my interest in these
two characters going long after lesser actors would have let it dwindle to a
pinpoint." Part of the actors' success may be that they looked right for the
parts. As Robert Muller observed, Peter wore "a lounge suite and smoke[d] a
pipe" while Jerry was "dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans." Allusively, Young
"
referred to Haigh's Jerry as a "Juvenile Mariner in a white sloppy joe.
The fact that these British actors delivered their lines with an American
accent did not disturb most of the London critics. Bill Lester believed that
Haigh and Sallis performed Albee's play "extremely competently in American
accents." Contrasting the speech of American actress Marcia Stillman, which
was "very difficult for us to follow" in Williams's Property, the critic for the
Times patriotically declared that in The Zoo Story "we had the advantage of
knowing already both the actors we were now listening to. Mr. Kenneth
Haigh played the very long principal part in it with an American accent, but
we were tuned in to his wavelength; we could interpret each word that he or
Mr. Sallis uttered." No doubt Mr. Haigh did not acquire any bad speaking
habits at Yale. In contrast to the Times reviewer's acceptance of Haigh's and
Sallis's American accents, Bernard Levin exclaimed: "how I wish English
actors would not attempt American accents."
A few critics did use Haigh's and Sallis's acting talents to lambast Albee's
play. John Rosselli announced that "the climax is startling but, on reflection,
inappropriate. Kenneth Haigh, an actor of uncommon strength and grace, is
perhaps too strong and graceful for his part; but then so is the dialogue he must
speak. Peter Sallis makes an excellent foil." More ascerbic,
concluded

Milton Shulman
with this assessment: "Kenneth Haigh and Peter Sallis are the

"Sanderson, p. 288.
90

lucky actors with all those monologues.

It

is

Mr. Haigh's function to bore Mr.

Sallis for the major portion of the evening and no mean feature of Mr. Sallis's

ability to stay awake during it all. When he is finally given a few


lines, he handles them splendidly."
Edward Albee's arrival on the British theatre scene in the late summer of
1960 certainly did not create the cause cilebre that Williams's Streetcar did
when it pulled into London at the Aldwych Theatre in 1949 or that Albee's

skill

is his

over-heated

Robert Redford and Natalie Wood in the 1966 Paramount Pictures film version of Tennessee
Williams's This Property Is Condemned. HRHRC Photography Collection.

91

William Daniels (left) as Peter and Mark Richman as Jerry in Edward Albee's The Zoo Story
premiere performance of 14 January 1960 at the Provincetown Playhouse, Massachusetts.
Photograph by Eberstadt. HRHRC Theatre Arts Collection.
92

own Virginia Woolf would in 1964." According to Elizabeth Frank's News


Chronicle review, the "young American unknown in this country" received a
marginally polite reception. Shulman at the Evening Standard even accused
Albee of being too tame: "Albee's dilemma is that in a conformist society like

America non-communication

is almost heresy.

He never really lets himself go

and occasionally we understand him. That's his trouble."


As his letters to Harry Joe Brown and Bob Livingston show, Albee may well
have been a conformist in matters of business, for he comes across as a
practical, understandably ambitious new playwright eager to know about the
staging of his first play in England. The letters also document Albee's growing
international reputation, and his friendship with the two fledgling producers
who doubtless saw great promise in and likely profit from Albee's talent. But
perhaps of even greater importance, Albee's letter to Bob Livingston reveals a
young playwright's concern over the critical reception of his first play to be
performed in England. Like the subsequent critical reaction to Albee's work,
the London critics

offered

widely varying assessments of the American's

talent. To be sure, some of the London critics supplied penetrating

insights

into Albee's early effort while others engaged in off-the-mark wrangling, the
type of wrangling that has embroiled Albee in all sorts of battles and
controversies.

Having seen these London reviews, the playwright must have

been both encouraged and dejected; he may have, we can only surmise, felt
the need to be less disdainful of society or to be even more daringly avantgarde. As the contours of Albee's career show, it was the latter course that
would result in worldwide fame for his achievements in contemporary
theatre.
"The British premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire took place on 27 September 1949 in
Manchester before going to the Aldwych Theatre in London on 12 October 1949. Sir Laurence
Olivier directed the play, making a number of changes (cuts) in the text; the incomparable Vivien
Leigh, Mrs. Olivier, played Blanche. The British loved the play, which caused no small amount of
furor in the British press, with the Censor, and in the House of Commons which objected to tax
money being used to finance the production. For a brief discussion of Vivien Leigh as the London
Blanche, see Milly S. Barranger's "Three Women Called Blanche," Tennessee Williams Literary

Journall,

no. 1(1989): 15-30. Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Wooip premiered in Britain at the
Piccadilly Theatre, London, on 7 February 1964. The play "opened in triumph" and the "67 cuts
demanded by the Censor were restored after consideration." Further, "Not a dissenting voice
marred the praise from the London critics, both for the play and the performances" (New York
8 February 1976, 15). The reviewer for the London Times (7 February 1964, 15b) offered
these comments which show how, in the few short years since Zoo Story, the admiration by
Times,

British critics for Albee's talent would swell: "The play consists of a prolonged drinking session
from 2 a.m. until dawn, during which a pair of married couples tear each other apart, beginning

with flesh wounds and proceeding through the vital organs until they get down to the bone and
finally to the marrow. (These images are the author's. ) It is hard to imagine an English play being
written to this formula without falling into sickening monotony. But it works brilliantly for Mr.
Albee, as the American language comes to his aid a flexible and sophisticated instrument which
serves both as a source of athletic dialogue and as a basis of the play's construction."
93

Edward Albee Manuscript Materials


in the HRHRC Collections

Edward Albee/Theatre Arts Collection:


TLS from Albee to Harry Joe. 20 July [n.y.].
TLS from Albee to Bob Livingston. 19 September

1960.

Mimeo scripts by Albee for Box and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetung; filmscript of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Julian Beck Collection:


3 TccL from Beck to Albee.

25 November 1962, 14 May 1963, and 4 August

1963.

TDS [lp],

12

May

1964.

Affidavit re Julian and Judith Malina Beck.

John Gassner/Theatre Arts Collection:


1 ALS, 3 TLS from Albee to Gassner. 8 December

1962,

30 June 1963,

13

August 1964, 19 January 1965. Included with these: TLS/xerox Albee


to George Freedley; TccL Freedley to Albee; A note by Gassner.
from Albee to Mollie Gassner. 3 April 1967. Included with this: TccL/

ALS

reply by Gassner.

Willard Maas Collection:


TLS

from Albee to Maas. 24

Carson

July

1962.

McCullers Collection:

1 TL, 1 TccL from McCullers to Albee. 5 August 1960, 28 May 1963.


2 TLS from Albee to McCullers. 24 July 1960, 11 May 1963.
Albee stage adaptation of McCullers novel The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.

T/mimeo [188 pp] n.d.


Teems [212pp] 14 October
Act I Teems [41 pp] n.d.

1963

[ActI]Tms[58pp]n.d.
Act I [narration] Tms [10 pp] n.d.
[lyrics] T and Teems with A emendations

[4 pp] n.d.

[narration] Tms with A revisions [40 pp] n.d.


[opening and closing scenes] Tms with A corrections
[12 pp] T and Teems [9 pp] 2 n.d.
Prospectus - Tms [9 pp] n.d.
Scenes I-HI Tms with A corrections [20 pp] Tccms/inc
[15 pp] 2 n.d.
94

Gerard Malanca Collection:


ANS from Albee to Kay Boyle. July 1962. Written on this: ANS Boyle to
Albee; ANS Kenneth Koch to Albee.

Purdy Collection:
TLS, 1 TccLS, 1 AN/draft,

James
1

December
ANS, A invitation

S from

7 telegrams/A

October
Albee to Purdy.

1965, 22

1967, 8

and/or

n.d.
December

12

drafts to Albee. 31
1967,

19

December

1967.

Malcolm, adapted by Albee from the novel by Purdy. Mimeo playscript with
extensive A marginal notes and comments by Purdy (189pp). 18
August 1965 (Montauk, L.J.). Bound.

95

Norman O. Dawn in 1920 (card 90). HRHRC Film Collection.

The Norman O. Dawn Collection


of Cinematic Special Effects

By

Judi Hoffman

Although historians of motion picture technology attest to the importance of


the pioneering work of Norman O. Dawn (1886-1975), the career of this early
special effects cinematographer, inventor, artist, and motion picture director,
writer, and producer has remained in relative obscurity.' The Norman O.
Dawn Collection in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center's
Department of Photography, Theatre, and Film offers new possibilities for
historical research into Dawn's personal records, which document the
development of special effects cinematography and early film production. The
Dawn Collection consists of 164 16x20-inch cards which display over 230 of
the 861 special effects Dawn created during his years with the film industry,
beginning in 1907. Constructed personally from his own notebooks and
methodical records, the cards contain original oil, watercolor, pencil, and ink
sketches; production and personal photographs; detailed camera records; film
clips and frame enlargements;
trade press clippings;

movie reviews,

explanatory

advertisements,

and other

texts; and pages from an unpublished

autobiography.

Although Norman Dawn never claimed to have been "first" in the use of
certain processes, and dates of technical invention have proven difficult to
determine because of widespread and largely undocumented experimenta
'
Raymond Fielding's "Norman O. Dawn: Pioneer Worker in Special-Effects Cinematog
raphy," Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers 72, no. 1 (January
1963): 15-23, remains the definitive work on Dawn's contributions to the field. Dawn is also
credited as a special effects trailblazer in such histories as George E. Turner's "The Evolution of
Special Visual Effects," The ASC Treasury of Visual Effects (Hollywood: ASC Holding Co.,
1983); John Brosnan's Movie Magic: The Story of Special Effects in the Cinema (New York: St.
Martin's Press, 1976); Jeff Rovin's Movie Special Effects (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc.,
1977); Christopher Finch's Special Effects: Creating Movie Magic (New York: Abbeville Press,

1984); David Hutchison's Film Magic: The Art and Science of Special Effects (New York: Prentice
Hall Press, 1987); Kenneth Macgowan's Behind the Screen: The History and Technique of the
Motion Picture (New York: Delacorte Press, 1965); Barry Salt's Film Style and Technology:
History and Analysis (London: Starword, 1983); and sections of Raymond Fielding's The

Technique of Special Effects Cinematography (New York: Hastings House, 1972).


97

tion, technological

historians generally cite Dawn as the first to employ the

"glass shot" in motion pictures and as one of the earliest filmmakers,

if not

the

earliest, to attempt rear-screen projection.2 The Dawn Collection reflects the


own early uncertainty over whether to pursue an art or
cinematographer's
motion picture career, and his subsequent need to "sell" his cinematic visions
to skeptical film executives. Dawn's use of oil sketches to visualize his novel,
and often seemingly

impossible,

special effects appears to be unique,

and

even he suggested that "from my nearly 70 years of association with this kind of
thing, I do not know of any [other] combination ARTIST-CAMERAMAN who
did anything like this" (card 12).
Dawn's career also illuminates differing modes of production. While most
film pioneers represented in archival collections were specialists of one sort or
another producer, director, writer, cinematographer,
or special effects
cinematographer Dawn served the motion picture field in all these posi
tions.

Starting

as a cameraman

for scenic and travel shorts, he became a

director and writer both for his own independent films and for "R" films made
at studios like Universal and Keystone, where he also created special effects
for motion pictures by such legendary figures as Erich von Stroheim and Mack
Sennett. In addition, Dawn played an important role in the fledgling
Australian film market when in 1926 he was brought in to infuse that industry
with the Hollywood style as producer, writer, director, and special effects
cinematographer of For the Term of His Natural Life. Thus, while any one of
these aspects of Dawn's career is fascinating by itself, the mixture of early film
history, innovation, and experience documented in the Norman O. Dawn
Collection is unique and offers to the film scholar a multiple perspective on
early American film history which is typically unavailable in other archival
collections.

Norman O. Dawn was bom 25 May 1886 in Humahuaca Canyon, Rolivia,


where his father was helping to design that country's railway system. After
having his birth and American citizenship recorded in Salta, Argentina, the
infant was taken to Monterey, California. When Norman was ten years old, his
father was killed in South America, after which the son was sent to live with his
Aunt Laura in Pasadena and, later, Alhambra. Norman's interest in photogra
phy had been sparked by his father's hobby as a "wet-plate" photographer and
2Dawn is credited with creating the first known "glass shot" in motion pictures by John Brosnan
Jeff Rovin (p. 21). Christopher Finch (p. 30), and Barry Salt (p.

(p. 21), George E. Turner (p. 26),

159), while Raymond Fielding ("Norman O. Dawn," pp. 15 and 19. and The Technique of Special
Effects Cinematography, p. 48), David Hutchison (p. 54), and Kenneth Maegowan (p. 428) are
more cautious in stating that Dawn was one of the first to employ the glass shot in moving pictures.
Dawn's rear-screen projection in the 1913 The Drifter is considered a pioneering experiment by
Jack Imes, Jr., Special Visual Effects: A Guide to Special Effects Cinematography (New York:
Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. Inc., 1984), p. 121, as well as by Brosnan (p. 23), Fielding ("Norman
O. Dawn," p. 22, and Technique, p. 277), Finch (p. 32). Hutchison (p. 62), Maegowan (p. 426),

Rovin (p. 21), and Turner (p. 46).


98

Norman O. Dawn's card 75 illustrating a matte shot for Universalis The Girl in the Dark (1918).
While shooting this scene in a Los Angeles park, Dawn matted out the upper half of the frame.
During a second exposure, the matte was reversed and a pastel drawing of background buildings
by Dawn was photographed in the upper frame. Included on the card are Dawn's original oil
sketch, the cardboard matte placed inside the camera during the second exposure, a test frame
enlargement, simple sketches of the matte method, Dawn's sketch of his Universal workshop, a
camera record of the effect, and film clips. HRHRC Film Collection.

was encouraged

other interest,
discovered

by Aunt Laura's gift of a "camera obscura" to aid the boy's


obscura," Dawn

sketching.1 Through use of the "camera

that he could combine

scenic elements from different areas into

one sketch a discovery that would prove central to his future development
a cinematographic

of

matte process:

[The camera obscura] was a small tent of black canvas with a small
sketching table and a camp chair inside. At the top of this tent was a
lens that could be rotated around and it reflected an image of the
scenery down on the sketching tablet. The student could sketch what
he liked, or move the tent some other place and add on some other
scene. To me it was really the beginning of what I did in cinematog
raphy, that is, combining two or more real scenes into a composite to
enhance the original scene. As time went on, for some reason they
became matte shots, (card K)

In-the-camera matte shots applied the principles of the camera obscura to the
medium. Part of a scene being recorded by the camera
would be obscured or "blacked out" by a matte, which was conventionally a
card or plate placed either in an external matte box or in front of the lens of the
camera. A counter-matte was then created to protect the already-recorded
portions of the frame, the film was rewound, and the previously matted-out
sections of the scene were added during a second (and sometimes third)
had to be careful to match the
exposure.4 Although the cinematographer
matte lines and exposures exactly, the matte shot thus allowed filmmakers like
Dawn to combine two or more different locations or actors (even the same
actor in dual roles), in order to enhance a scene or create on film an otherwise
cinematographic

impossible situation. Dawn also used matte shots to place actors in painted
sets or backgrounds which, in reality, existed only as drawings.

Aunt Laura also took Norman to Europe in May of

1899, where in Paris he

saw his first show of "illusions," the Cabaret de la Morte (Death). He later met
a Lumiere cinematographer
by the name of Saudleigh in San Francisco and

was allowed to sketch his camera setup for a mermaid illusion using mirrors
over twenty years before the similar Schufftan process would be patented. * Of
this experience, Dawn said it was, "I believe, one of the things that turned my
life away from Art and into the Cinema" (card 2A).
This recounting of Dawn's formative years is indebted to Raymond Fielding's "Norman O.
"
Dawn: Pioneer Worker in Special- Effects Cinematography. Biographical information which was
not present in the Dawn Collection comes from Dr. Fielding's article and his interview with
Dawn.
'Fielding, p. 20, and Brosnan, pp. 24 and 25.
'Dawn discusses the experiences which influenced his turn towards image manipulation in a
narrative, entitled "The Seeds of Manipulation," on the back of card K. Mr. Saudleigh 's
illusion utilized a large piece of reflective plate glass set in front of and at a 45 degree angle to live

typed

100

In California Dawn joined a local "pinhole" camera club and produced


with the simple box and plate arrangement." Avidly
pursuing photography, he soon purchased an Eastman Kodak camera and a
small developing kit. Beginning in 1905 at age 19, Dawn worked for a short
time as a still photographer and commercial artist at the Thorpe Engraving
Company in Los Angeles with Max Handschiegl, a later innovator in motion
picture color processes. It was at Thorpe that Dawn first used the glass shot to
replace or cover unattractive objects in architectural or commercial photo
graphs. Between the subject and his still camera, Dawn would place a sheet of
glass, upon which he painted, for example, sky or portions of a building which
could cover up unsightly wires.
In 1906, Dawn traveled again to Paris, this time for formal art training, and
acquired a "vest-pocket" watercolor box and sketch pad with which he quickly
and conveniently produced thumbnail artwork, a predecessor to his oil
sketches. It was also during this trip that he met Georges Melies, the French
filmmaker whose trick films introduced many cinematic special effects
principles. The "trick film" was an early 1900s alternative to what we now
consider the fictional narrative film and the documentary, in which cinematic
tricks such as decapitations, magical appearances or disappearances, and the
movement of normally inanimate objects constituted the content of the film.
Georges Melies is generally considered the father of the trick film and is
credited with mastering, if not inventing, stop-motion manipulation, double
exposure, double printing, reverse action, animation, and fast or slow motion
(although all of these "tricks" had been used before in magic or still
photography, if not in moving pictures themselves).7 In Paris, Dawn also met
sharp, scenic pictures

action of a "mermaid" (an actress in costume)

against a painted deep-sea backdrop. The mirror


reflected a tank offish, set off to the side, so that the mermaid, when recorded by the film camera,

to be swimming among the fish undersea.


The Schiifftan process, named after its
German inventor Eugen Schiifftan, worked on the same principle to combine miniature sets or
artwork with live action. A mirrored ("silvered") piece of glass was set at a 45 degree angle
appeared

between the camera and the desired set, then an area of the silvering was removed. The miniature
set or artwork was shot through that clear portion of the mirror, while live action set at a 90 degree
angle to the camera was reflected in the still-silvered area, creating a composite of the two images
(the setup
tures

could be reversed as well live action combined with reflected artwork or minia

depending

use in

on the desired outcome).

Fritz Lang's futuristic Metropolis

The Schiifftan process was perhaps best known for its

(1927).

6Dawn also describes the pinhole camera in 'The Seeds of Manipulation" on the back of card K:
"The pinhole camera was a box with a plate holder at one end and a piece of brass with a pin hole in
the other end. There were no lens [or] no focus arrangement.
It did not need such things. Just set
up your box on the tripod, put in a plateholder with a plate in it and go away and leave it. In an
"
hour come close the plate holder and later develop the picture [sic].
TFor further reading on Melies, see Paul Hammond's Marvellous MMies (New York: St.

Martin's Press, 1975), Erik Barnouw's The Magician and the Cinema (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1981), and the chapter "George M61ies: Artificially Arranged Scenes'" in Lewis
Jacobs' The Rise of the American Film: A Critical History (New York: Harcourt, Brace or Co.,
1939), pp. 22-32.

101

in a two reel
ter of the

if

?red
I was
Ld Topanga
3 I Bade idea
ahead
nen all stick
NE FILM CLIP

EXPOSURE
erse matte
sed -- and a
drawing of
talian type
nqs were put
the

hill

p piece of
and I do not
n, Sid Smith

THE READER
must be
an illusion
They were
compromise

It

WILL NOTE THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE ANY ARTISTS


remembered that these ideas were made to try TECHNIQUE
to create
of reality in some motion picture.
made for hard-headed business men who were
and would not
with anything except to produce realitT. K.nt
THHtJFI*

"Vest-pocket" watercolor box and sketch pad which Norman O. Dawn acquired in 1906 while
studying art in Paris. Also present are representative thumbnail sketches. The photograph visible
on the left side is Dawn at age 16 (card 12). HRHRC Film Collection.

Lumiere, the French "fathers" of the cinema whose


the fantastical ones of Melies; Arthur Lee, the New
York office manager of the Gaumont film company; and camera inventor and
manufacturer Andre Debrie. From the latter, Dawn purchased early in 1907
his first motion picture camera for approximately $500. Later that year he
smuggled the Debrie camera, along with French film stock, into the U.S. to
avoid patents difficulties once he was back in this country.
Dawn's first film, Missions of California (1907), was a one-reel scenic made
for Arthur Lee of Gaumont. With his Debrie camera in a newly-purchased,
one-cylinder Reo automobile, Dawn traveled for footage to the missions of
Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Luis Rey, San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel,
San Fernando, and Ventura. During production in April 1907, Dawn made
what is generally considered the first use of the "glass shot" in motion pictures.
In order to reconstruct crumbling portions of the historical missions, Dawn
painted the missing elements on a large sheet of glass positioned between the
camera and the object (mission). The painting had to match the tones,
contrasts, and perspectives of the live scene, which was then photographed
through the sheet of glass. The result was a seemingly complete and
reconstructed mission on film. In later use, the glass shot made possible exotic
settings and locales which would have been cost-prohibitive if construction of
the sets had actually been required.
After selling Missions to Gaumont for approximately $150, Dawn spent
some time at the Edison studio in New York, hoping to learn more of the
filmmaking craft. He made a short experimental film for Edwin S. Porter,
entitled "Poem in Pictures," which was based on "The Crowning Hour" by
Edwin Markham, a favorite poem of Mrs. Edison's.8 Although it was
considered too unusual and never released, the film included what was
Louis and Auguste

realistic films countered

'Dawn does not identify the poem by name, but gives one verse in a typed portion entitled "The
Heart" on the back of card 86A which appears to be part of an unpublished

Homing

autobiography:
'Twill all come back - the wasted splendor the heart's lost youth - like a budding flower the dauntless

dare - and the wistful tender -

touch of an April Hour.

This closely matches the 22nd verse of Markham s "The Crowning Hour," originally titled "The
Homing Heart ":
It will all come back - the wasted splendor.
The heart's lost youth like a breaking flower.
The dauntless dare, and the wistful, tender.
Touch of the April hour.
See Edwin Markham, The Shoes

of Happiness and Other

Poems (New York: Doubleday, Page

and Company, 1916), pp. 74-81.

103

apparently

Dawn's first use of an in-the-camera

matte process, by which he

placed a small cardboard matte in front of the camera lens while shooting a
miniature hourglass set against a painted planetary background. On a second
exposure, the matte was reversed and an actress was matted into the shot near
the now-towering hourglass.
During Dawn's return trip to California late in 1907, Arthur Lee requested
that he stop in Kansas City, Missouri, to meet George C. Hale of the new
amusement park attraction, "Hale's Tours of the World." "Hale's Tours"
simulated a train ride through foreign and famous locales by showing motion
pictures, which had been shot from a moving train, in a theatre constructed as
a railway car interior, complete with swaying seats and other effects. Dawn
was quickly hired by Hale and, after a short stop in California, was sent to
Mexico to shoot Hale's features, where Dawn utilized glass shots to add scenic

touches such as Mayan ruins.

From

1907 to 1910,

Dawn traveled the world

as a director/cameraman

unit

for travel and scenic shorts. On one such trip to Australia in 1908, which

Barrier Reef and fifteen other one-reel


Gaumont,
shorts for
Dawn took the earliest-known still photograph of a glass
shot setup.9 Dawn's photograph of his glass shot method thus serves as
evidence of the first documented use of the effect in motion pictures. The
actual filmed glass shot was just an experiment while rain delayed the shooting
of the scenics: Dawn used the glass to reconstruct the crumbling Port Arthur
prison in Tasmania. In The Great Barrier Reef, Dawn magically increased
four Queen pigeons into a small flock by painting additional birds on glass. He
also created imaginative underwater scenes from a watertight box resting in
shallow water. The upper portion of the frame was matted out to simulate the
water line, then surface shots of coral reefs were matted in on a second
exposure. Dawn developed his own negative, with field tanks and the help of
local photographers, then sent the film to Lee for editing. Also during this
time, Dawn produced effects for other directors, including "one of my first
and very successful efforts" at a double exposure matte composite of two
natural, or "real," scenes (rather than a natural scene and a painted set) for the
Horsely brothers' 1910 Illustrated Songs (card 15B).
In January and February of 1911, Dawn produced, directed, and photo
graphed his first "dramatic" film, the two-reel Story of the Andes, in La Paz,
Bolivia. Using an Indian and Spanish cast, Dawn developed the movie and
Arthur Lee then edited, titled, and released it for Gaumont, at a cost of about
$2100. Story of the Andes introduced Dawn's new matte process, which
utilized glass shots or hand-cut cardboard as mattes and added with the second
exposure a painted set (from a drawing completed in the studio) to the
background of live action. Painting the matte and counter-matte on glass
made possible a much more precise matching of the two exposures. It was this
resulted in the travelogue The Great

"Fielding, "Norman O. Dawn," p. 16, and Turner, p. 26.


104

v*^

Triple exposure matte shot for Norman O. Dawn's film. The Adorable Savage (1920). Note how
closely his original oil sketch (top) matches the final effect (bottom). A painted background of palm
trees and the location foreground of water and canoe were added to the hut and natives, shot on a
Universal studio set (card 136). HRHRC Film Collection.

/
-fc~

Vlt

'

'

"*
<^V

Above: Pencil sketch from Norman O. Dawns notebook,

-^J^P'

drawn in Bolivia while shooting his first


film. Story of the Andes (1911) (card 20A). Below: Dawn created this glass shot in
October 1911 for Selig studio's Black Pirate. The entire palace was drawn on glass by Dawn: only
the actors in the window are "live" (card 20B). HRHRC Film Collection.
narrative

which historian Raymond Fielding


considered "[f]ar and away the most important contribution which Dawn
made to the technique of effects cinematography."10 Dawn was apparently
quite pleased with the resulting film, which he documented on five cards (1620A) through camera records, sketches of the special effects, and still
photographs of the cast. However, likening his "natural" film style to what
would later be termed documentary, Dawn found that his enthusiasm over
Story of the Andes was not shared by others:
improvement in the matte process, in

must

say

fact,

with some disappointment

months

later,

that no

particular significance was observed by those people who saw or at all


commented
time.

...

I still think it was way ahead of its


of publicity to build up a favorable
and acceptance for a picture that was different from

on the picture.

It took the later

understanding

age

the rutted [sic] material, (card 16)


Dawn's fascination with the Bolivian countryside

is reflected in his beautiful


which are featured in his collection but
apparently have little to do with the film itself.
Upon returning to California in October 1911, Dawn and his effects had
attracted enough attention for him to be offered a job as special effects
for Selig." There he produced "perhaps my earliest and
cinematographer
most successful example of the art," an elaborate glass shot for Black Pirate in
which an actor and actress seemingly appear in the window of a completely
painted set. Dawn carefully drew a palace on a sheet of glass, leaving a clear
square where a window would appear, and then placed the actors behind the
glass at the correct distance to create the illusion, when they were filmed
through the glass, of a couple standing in the palace window .
While producing a glass shot in 191 1 for the one-reel O Sonoma, released by
Lubin, Dawn met a young actress from the film, Katherine (Katie) Madden,
who later would become Mrs. Norman Dawn. The following year, Katie
starred in Calamity Sue, which was the first of a series of Westerns directed by
Dawn. In the same year as Sue (1912), Dawn created special effects for the
Independent Moving Picture Company's Man of the West, which marked the
beginning of his more than ten-year association with IMP and later Univer
sal president Carl Laemmle. Man of the West was also notable for Dawn's
experimentation with a stop-action title sequence of flowers opening and one
of the first uses of a matte shot creating the effect of a person leaping over a
bottomless gorge, which Dawn would be asked to produce repeatedly (card

sketches of a flamingo rookery,

32).

'"Fielding, p. 20.
"Fielding, p. 17.

KIT

In

1913

Dawn directed the Gaumont Western The Drifter, which featured

with rear-screen or background pro


the earliest experimentation
jection. An actor, illuminated by limelight, was placed in front of a groundperhaps

glass screen, onto which a still transparency was projected from the rear by a
stereoptican. The results were so poor, however, that Dawn abandoned the
process after this film. The

which combined

Drifter also

a background

shot, and a foreground

boasted a triple exposure matte shot,

of cliff-dwellings, some added through

a glass

lake with a center ranch house set.

From July to September 1913, during production of Western Skies, a film


which Dawn had taken over after the original director fled with most of the
budget, Dawn acquired one of the first Bell & Howell cameras, which "gave
me a boost technically, for the rest of my life." The camera was, for Dawn's
work, far superior to the wooden Pathe cameras in common use at the time,
but he said he was apparently one of the few cameramen ready for the change
because of the widespread belief that metal cameras produced static.
According to Dawn, however, the Bell & Howell's increased accuracy of
registration made it "the ultimate machine to make much of my effect work a
matter of perfection" (card A).
In 1914, Dawn returned to work for Carl Laemmle, now head of Universal,
as writer and director of the two-reel Western Two Men of Tinted Butte.
Described by Dawn as "loaded with effects," the film quickly ran over its
$10,000 budget to the tune of around $25,000. That, combined with
management changes which included Irving Thalberg's arrival at Universal,
resulted in the release of the picture being delayed until 1919. For the first
time, Dawn combined live action with a miniature set recorded at high speed
in a traveling matte shot. A desert canyon miniature set, flooded with water,
was shot simultaneously by two cameras, one at high speed (64-90 frames per
second) and a second at normal speed as a cue track for the actors, who were
matted into the first shot during a second exposure of the film and appeared to
narrowly miss being overcome by the flood.
During 1914-15, Dawn worked on various films for Thomas Ince and the
Kessel-Bauman studios at Inceville, California, including Ince's Civilization
and William S. Hart's The Devil's Double. '2 This association with the Triangle
Film Corporation resulted in what historian Raymond Fielding has called
"Dawn's earliest demonstration of the wholesale use of cinematic effects": the
1917 Keystone film, Oriental Love, directed by Walter Wright from a scenario
"
by Hampton Del Ruth. This two-reel comedy featured at least ten of Dawn's
12Ince and the Kay-Bee studios formed one production unit of the Triangle Film Corporation,
which was founded in 1915 by Mack Sennett, Adam Kessel-Charles O. Bauman. and Harry

Aitken. The other two production units were headed by Sennett (Keystone) and D.W. Griffith
(Fine Arts). Triangle began to dissolve in 1917 with the departure of first Sennett and then Ince
and Griffith, and stopped production in 1918.
"Fielding, p. 17.
108

Above: Test shot of a matte for Western Skies (1913). The horse and
trench, but when Dawn matted in his drawing of a deep gorge, the
pictured above a bottomless canyon. The matte line is just below the
Below: Katie Madden, the future Mrs. Norman O. Dawn, clowning
Calamity Sue in April 1912 (card 24). HRHRC Film Collection.

rider stood near a shallow


horse and rider were then

ground's surface (card 37).


during shooting of Dawn's

L/srr
WFXIMIKARTCIUSKETCH
ABOVEWASF*OREFFECT102
Both of theae fwb shots
xfTf real foregrounds with
drawings for backgrounds.
I do not have place of
file, of this shot as It
has faded away.
THE LEAP FROMA PATENT i
13 SHQWJLTPLEFT;
__~
After good"aany years
of doing thia kind of
work-- and while I vai at
Cyatone--soaeof the peo
ple advised > that I sh
ould patent the effect*.
I had never believed In
that, so I never did
and ao I applied and got
patent.
Aa tlse went on, aoaeone
aaongthe producers saw
In this patent a threat-thouoh I had never at any
t lee ever thouoht of us
ing such an idea.
After a numberof years
whenMr. Thalbera becasie
president of the Producera Assn., and while I was
working for Mat end Mr.
Kayert--a friendly settle
mentwas aade and the
whole thing forgotten.

1,269,061.

rff/f

iv

JU

Alxjve: Patent for Dawn's matte process grantee! 11 June 1918, illustrating a matte shot from
Keystone's 1917 Oriental Love (card 65A). Below: Some of Norman (). Dawn's Universal studio
coworkers and bosses, at a January 1920 birthday party for Universal founder and president Carl
Laemmle. From left to right: (front) studio head Isadora Bernstein, actress Edith Roberts,
Laemmle, actress Priscilla Dean, actor Eddie Polo; (back) auditor Lee Rohhn.tr. actor Hoot
Gibson, Dawn, actor Frank Mayo, director John Ford, and actor Lee Moran (card 146). HRHRC
Film Collection.

special effects, most notably matte shots which added elaborate and exotic
temples, via pastel drawings by Dawn, to the background of live action scenes
shot in a California park or studio lot. The 2 June 1917 issue of Triangle
Magazine reported that the film bestowed upon Dawn the title of "cinalumin-

...

ist," reflecting "an entirely new art.


By some marvellous Aladdin
trick the fantastic characters of Oriental Love' seem to be
moving through the most magnificent structures that could be conceived by
man" (card 64). " Persuaded to apply for a patent on his matte process, which
was filed 8 June 1917 and granted 11 June 1918 (Patent 1,269,061 for
Cinematographic Picture Composition), Dawn used a matte shot from
Oriental Love and years later this film would be presented as evidence of the
early use of special effects in the patents dispute Owens v Paramount, et al
photographic

(1942).

In

15

1917

with the beginning of the dissolution of Triangle, Dawn moved back

to Universal, working there until 1921. He created special effects for other

Girl in the Dark (1918), Rupert


and Erich von Stroheim's
(1918),
Berlin
Julian's
of
16
directorial debut Blind Husbands (1919).
Dawn also directed his own
features, including Sinbad, the Sailor (1919) with an all-child cast, The
Eternal Triangle (1919) with an all-canine cast, and others set in exotic locales,
such as A Tokio Siren (1920) and The Adorable Savage (1920). The Dawn
Collection contains anecdotes on the Universal personnel he worked with
during this period, most notably actors Rudolph Valentino, Eddie Polo, and
Edith Roberts; executives Carl Laemmle and Irving Thalberg; and directors
Stuart Paton, John Ford, and the temperamental and often disliked von
Stroheim who, according to Dawn, "cut quite a swath among all the jackasses
that run the picture business" (card 114).
directors'

films, such as Stuart Paton's The

The Kaiser,

Beast

"Triangle Magazine is not readily available to scholars; the Museum of Modern Art in New
York is, so far as I know, the only film archive or library which holds copies of this company
publication. The article included in the Dawn Collection has no further identification, such as
page numbers.
I5I have been unable so far to find secondary

documentation of this case, outside of the Dawn

Collection and a somewhat oblique reference by Raymond Fielding: "Many years later, [Oriental
Love] was used by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association in court suits
brought against it and its members. The film provided evidence of prior use of effects techniques
claimed by various inventors" (p. 17). According to Fielding, Dawn had been asked to sell his
patent to the MPPDA by Irving Thalberg, his employer at Universal and, later, what would
become

MGM

(p. 22).

it,

KBlind Husbands was the film that, as The Motion Picture Guide phrases
"not only marked
the beginning of brilliant and controversial directorial career, but also the birth of The Man You
a

Love to Hate!'" (See Volume 10, p. 32.) Actually, Erich von Stroheim had already earned that
characterization by being typecast as
vicious Prussian officer in several films. For Blind
Husbands, von Stroheim not only directed but also wrote the screenplay, based on his own story

much money that around the studio [Universal] we called

it

"The Pinnacle," served as art director, and played the lead role. Dawn discusses at length on card
114 his association with this disputed genius and the film that "took so long to make and cost so

'BLIND LAEMMLE."

Ill

When his contract with Universal ran out and was not renewed, Dawn
moved to Robertson-Cole, where he directed the popular Japanese actor
Sessue Hayakawa in Five Days to Live and The Vermilion Pencil (1922). In the
latter, Dawn used a hanging miniature ceiling, placed between the camera
and the live set in the proper perspective much like a glass shot, to create the
effect of a closed room (a trick he said he learned from Georges Melies in
Paris). Then in 1923 Dawn rejoined his old Universal boss, Irving Thalberg,
who was now head of production with Louis B. Mayer in what would the
following year become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Dawn was promptly dis
patched to Edmonton and the Great Slave Lake area of Canada to conduct
photographic research on the native customs and lifestyle for an upcoming
feature, Master of Women. The special effects he produced were never used,
and the importance of his trip seemed to him limited to a check of "the
interiors, some dog team shots, a native dance or two. However, it settled the
minds of the producers, that they were making an authentic bit of atmos
phere" (card 167). The fate of the film is unclear, because there is no record of
such a title produced by MGM and directed by Reginald Barker, as is stated in
the Dawn Collection.17
In October 1923, Dawn returned to the filmic setting of frozen tundra, this
time in Alaska, for a series of arctic adventures and travel features, beginning
with The Lure of the Yukon (1924). Acting as producer, writer, director, and
Dawn spent approximately $52,000 on the
special effects cinematographer,
film. Katie, who by then had become Mrs. Norman Dawn, starred in the
series of pictures, and their newborn son Forest made a cameo appearance in
the 1925 Justice of the Far North. 1S
In 1926, after a trip to the south seas for Typhoon Love, the Dawn family
was brought to Australia by Australasian Films Ltd. and Union Theatres.
Wishing to produce a lavish epic that would boost the fledgling Australian film
industry and make it competitive with Hollywood in both markets, the
companies chose to import an American director to replace local director
Raymond Longford on production of For the Term of His Natural Life. Based
on the novel by Marcus Clarke, For the Term was envisioned as a spectacular
and dramatic look at early convict life in Tasmania, and Dawn's background
special effects and large-scale adventure

in

films was valued in the attempt at

Hollywood-style filmmaking.19 Hollywood "stars" George

Fisher and Eva

17Reginald Barker did direct a movie entitled The Eternal Struggle, which was released in
October 1923 and set, as was Master of Women, in Canada, so the name of the film may have been
changed.

"The series apparently consisted of The Lure of the Yukon (1924-cards 182, 183A and B, and
D), The Eskimo (1924-cards 184 and 193), The Valley of 10,000 Smokes (1924-cards 188 and E),

and/iASiice of the Far North (1925-card 189). The titles and years of Eskimo and Valley are only
given according to Dawn, for no other reference to the films could be found.
''Graham Shirley and Brian Adams, Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years (New York: St.
Martin's Press, 1985), pp. 90-94.
112

'FOR E 1IRM
<J\

JiLms Ltd,

His

Australasian

of

NATURE LlFf

Mormon Daiuri

stf

"Production

r*>^

of

His Natural
Publicity still from Norman O. Dawn's 1927 Australian blockbuster, For the Term
Vickers,
Frere,
Eva
Novak
as
Sylvia
From
left
to
Dunstan
Webb
as
Lieutenant
right:
Life.
Catherine Dawn as Mrs. Vickers, and George Fisher as Rufus Dawes (card 209). HRHRC Film
Collection.

Novak (in reality lesser-known talent) were brought in to head an ensemble


which included Australian theatre actors as well as Katherine Dawn,

cast

it

is

is

of

billed under the pseudonym "Susan Denis." For the Term had perhaps the
highest budget of any Australian film up to that time, was more successful than
any Australian film before it, and featured numerous by-now-common Dawn
"
effects such as the glass shot and hanging miniature ceiling.
For the Term His Natural Life (1927)
represented more completely in
total of ten
the Norman O. Dawn Collection than any other film, with
Besides
the
to
this
silent
writing
screenplay,
cards
devoted
epic.21
existing
also
created
effects
for the
twenty special
producing, and directing, Dawn
film, including an ambitious combination dolly shot (where the camera
to be physically moved
wheeled truck or dolly, allowing
mounted on
towards or away from the subject or to either side), glass shot, and double
sawmill. (See page 114.) "Dolly shots of course were
exposure matte through

B
is

"Shirley and Adams, pp. 91-94; Fielding, p. 18; and Turner, p. 39.
designated
21Cards lOAand 11A are entitled "For the Term of His Natural Life," and card
"Start of the Term," but these cards are somewhat confused collections of various materials, not all
of which deal directly with the film. Cards 206, 208, 209, 211, 212B, 214A, and 214B are more
coherently devoted to For the Term.
113

jj^U

or h/s nhtvgal. life:.

g^k^flE^
Hr 4JM rk ^bv

jft

the tebm

>'

ts9 _Vcb

'*

err.

-:TH

^Sygt^R"
Above: Norman O. Dawn's illustration of an elaborate,

combination effects shot in For t/ie Term


a

of

His Natural Life. The camera dollied (tracked) across large mill set, following the action and
Dawn matted in location shot of logs floating on
pausing as needed. At the end of the movement.
River so that the river appeared to be just outside the mill (card 211). Below:
Doom, taking
Norman O. Dawn and his company from flanges
break from shooting in
February 1927. From left to right: rodeo champion Russ Madison, actor George Fisher, Forest
Dawn (Norman and Katherine's son), lead actress Katherine Dawn, rodeo champion and lead

actor Roy Dow, actor Bob Webster (by horse), and Dawn (card G).

of

the Parramatta

HRHRC Film Collection.

nothing new," said Dawn, "and some very fine ones appeared in the films. But
none with effects as I used them" (card 211). Dawn made approximately 22
trucking or dolly shots of one kind or another, several in combination with
special effects as in the above example (dolly shots in themselves not being
"effects") and others which simply followed characters as they
moved, even from room to room in the set of a house cut in half (like a

considered

with no front). One combination shot utilized outside camera


mattes, an elevated camera, and double printing to create the effect of

dollhouse
panning

from the luxurious

Captain's Mess on a boat to the convict-filled


Dawn also produced his favorite effect in For the Term: the
double exposure matte combining two natural scenes, which his records
galley below.

repeatedly stress
was the type of effect that

I liked

to use the most and did on every


possible condition that time and circumstance allowed. . . . In actual
results to me, nothing could quite equal the effectiveness of this type
of shot, (card 208)

Through such mattes, Dawn placed studio sets and actors in striking
Australian locations efficiently and economically, giving Australasian Films
the greatest possible visual impact for their money.
The following year Dawn produced and directed another movie "Down
Under," TheAdorable Outcast (1928), then returned to the U.S. foraseriesof
inexpensive silent Westerns made for small theaters which had not yet
converted to sound.22 It was back in Australia, however, that Dawn directed
his first sound film, which was also the first Australian talkie, Show Girl's Luck
(1931). Dawn had purchased sound-on-disk equipment which he brought
with him to Australia in 1929, forming Australian Talkies Ltd. with local
investors and building a small sound studio in the Blue Mountains. Although
the film was generally considered a success, the sound-on-disk system (in
which sound recorded on a separate phonographic record had to be syn
chronized with the movie action) proved less advantageous than a local soundon-film process (where sound was optically recorded directly on the film
itself) with which he finished Show Girfs Luck. Unable to raise funds for
other features, Dawn once more returned to Hollywood."
After producing effects for several films and serials, including Douglas
Fairbanks's last American movie, Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932), and a science
fiction serial, The Lost City (1933), Dawn undertook his first U.S. sound film,
Tundra, in 1935. Originally planned for release through Universal, Tundra
was sold to Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame who started the short-lived
"The series apparently consisted of Ranges of Doom (1927), Black Hills (1928), and Girl of the

GoldenNorth

(1928).

"Shirley and Adams, pp. 110-11, and Fielding, p. 18.


115

Burroughs-Tarzan film company with this feature. This movie marked Dawn's
return to the desolate, arctic North, where he served not only as director but
with the script
also co-photographer
and special effects cinematographer,
based on his own story. "Tundra was (in my own opinion) the best motion
picture that I made," said Dawn, "in that I thought it was closest to what a
picture was a mirror of life" (card 274). However, most of Dawn's effects for
this film, as represented in the HRHRC Collection, create rather unnatural
situations rather than reflecting "reality.

"

Several double exposures place lead


actor Del Cambre in the same scene with wild animals, or place in the same
frame animals which were shot separately because of possible antagonism
(such as a male bear and cubs). Also, a combination matte and glass shot
created the privileged cutaway view of Cambre falling into a cave-like tunnel.
Included on the Tundra cards is a letter apparently sent to Dawn from 20th

Century-Fox production chief Darryl Zanuck. "I enjoyed Tundra im


mensely," the letter reads. "It is by far the most interesting and exciting
outdoor animal picture that I have ever seen" (card 265).
With the U.S. entry into World War II, Dawn put his special effects
techniques and artistic abilities at the service of the U.S. Army and Boeing
Aircraft. During 1943 and 1944, he made large color cutaway sketches of
Boeing aircraft, such as the B-17 and B-29, helped in the placement and
arrangement of cameras installed in the B-29, participated in trial camera
flights, helped train young artists and Army filmmakers, and created glass
shots to shield top-secret elements in training films.
After the war, Dawn took a position as a special effects cinematographer
under Cedric Gibbons in the MGM Art Department, producing singular
effects, or "drudgery jobs" as he once referred to them, for MGM features
from 1945 to 1947, including the special-effects-laden
Green Dolphin Street
(1947). These effects were most often double exposure matte combinations of
a studio set with a pastel drawing by Dawn to add details or even entire
buildings. Dawn directed one last feature film in 1950, the pre-historic
adventure Two Lost Worlds, which utilized stock footage from Hal Roach
movies like One Million B.C. and starred Jim Arness of later Gunsmoke fame.
Even after leaving the motion picture industry, Dawn remained active in
photography and graphic arts, including the illustration of children's books.24
His death on 1 February 1975 came, unfortunately, before he could see his
beloved collection acquired by The University of Texas at Austin and made
available to interested film scholars.
Dawn's documentation of his multi-faceted career as special effects
and artist, and motion picture director, writer, and pro
cinematographer
ducer, has resulted in a unique contribution to the already-rich Ransom

"Fielding,
116

p. 23.

Center film collections.


reflects
archival

Dawn's

experience

in the American silent cinema

an alternate reality one which has only rarely and recently survived
selection decisions to that of the famous director or movie star,

represented in the HRHRC by the Gloria Swanson Collection. Dawn's career


also stands in marked contrast to that of another meticulous record-keeper
whose collection

has found a home at the Center: producer/executive

David

With his financial resources and access to Hollywood's finest


Selznick produced lavish, prestige
pictures such as Gone With The Wind, while Dawn worked as a contract
O. Selznick.

directors,

stars, and creative personnel,

Norman O. Dawn working on his color drawing of a Boeing bomber in 1943 (card 31 1). HRHRC
Film Collection.
117

director and special effects cinematographer primarily on "B" or


second-feature films. At several points in his career, Dawn did form his own
production company, but with limited resources and a reputation for lowor Western fare, his films were worlds apart in
budget, action/adventure
terms of budget, scope, talent, production values, and distribution practices
from those of Selznick International Pictures. On the other hand, the Selznick
archive and other Ransom Center film collections also contain examples of
visual effects from Hollywood's "Golden Years," including some illustrative
materials from Cedric Gibbons' MGM art department where Dawn worked in
the mid-1940s,
which evidence the same principles of special effects
that
Dawn had helped to establish years before. Although his
cinematography
career may have fallen into obscurity, Dawn's influence on special effects
methods such as matte and glass shots continued through years of technolog
studio

ical change.

On a broader level, the Norman O. Dawn Collection is, to the extent of this
writer's knowledge, the only discrete collection of materials on a special
effects pioneer in any U.S. film archive. It appears that Norman Dawn was a
special effects specialist before such a career was recognized as historically
valuable, and through his foresight and desire to leave behind a record of his
innovations

in special effects cinematography,

he has added a valuable and

previously silent voice to the history of American cinema.

118

Norman O. Dawn Filmography

Dates given are for the year of release: for those marked with an asterisk (*),
the release date was not available, so the year of Dawn's participation is listed
instead. Dawn created special effects for all the titles listed, as well as

directing and producing those films noted. Features planned but never
produced or released are listed in parentheses. Those films in which Dawn's
work is not represented or referenced in his Collection are preceded by a
bullet ().

Missions of California (scenic short, 1907*) director/cameraman


("Poem in Pictures," experimental 1907) director/cameraman
Scenics for "Hale's Tours" (1907) director/cameraman
Stage Coach to Taxco (travel short, 1907-10*) director/cameraman
Digging the Big Ditch (travel short, 1907-10*) director/cameraman
Land of Padre Escalante (travel short, 1907-10*) director/cameraman
Gorges of the Yangtze (travel short, 1908*) director/cameraman
The Great Barrier Reef (travel short, 1908*) director/cameraman
Gypsy Love (1909*)
Little Old New York (1909*)
The Batak (travel short, 1909*) director/cameraman
Women ofToba (travel short, 1910*) director/cameraman
Illustrated Songs (1910*)

Story of the Andes (1911*) director/cameraman


Black Pirate (1911*)
O Sonoma (1911*)
The Last Warning (1911*)
The Call of the Song (1911)
The Haunted House (1912*)
Bottom

of the Sea (1912*)


The Rustlers (1912*)
Calamity Sue (1912*) producer, director, cameraman
Ghost of Thunder Mountain (1912*)
Red River Valley (title uncertain, 1912*)
The Dream (1912*) cameraman
Man of the West (1912*)

co-editor
The Drifter (1913*) director/cameraman,
Western Skies (1913*) director/cameraman
The Spoilers (1914)
Two Men of Tinted Butte (1914*, released

1919)

director, writer
119

The Broken Coin (serial, 1915)

Civilization (1916)
The Eye of the Night (1916)
The Devil's Double (1916)
The Sin Ye Do (1916)
Oriental Love (1917)
Sinbad, the Sailor (1917*, released 1919) director, co-writer
The Girl in the Dark (1918)
The Kaiser, Beast of Berlin (1918)
The Lion's Claw (serial, 1918)
The Lure of the Circus (serial, 1918)
Danger, Go Slow (1918)
Blind Husbands (1919)
The Right to Happiness (1919)
The Eternal Triangle (1919) director
Lasca (1919) director
The Line Runners (1920) director
A Tokio Siren (1920) director
The Adorable Savage (1920) director
White Youth (1920) director
Under Crimson Skies (1920)
The Fire Cat (1921) producer, director, story
Wolves of the North (1921) producer, director, story
Thunder Island (1921) producer, director, story
Five Days to Live (1922) director
The Vermilion Pencil (1922) director
The Son of the Wo//(1922) director
Master of Women (released as The Eternal Struggle, 1923)
("Liamo," 1923*)
After Marriage (1923*, released 1925) director, writer
The Lure of the Yukon (1924) director, writer
The Eskimo (1924*, overseas release by Wardour) director
The Valley of 10,000 Smokes (travel documentary, 1924*) director
Justice of the Far North (1925) director, writer
Typhoon Love (1926) director
For the Term of His Natural Life (Australia 1927) producer, director,
writer
The Adorable Outcast (Australia 1928) producer, director
Ranges of Doom (1927*) producer, director
Black Hills (1928*) producer, director
Girl of the Golden North (1928*) director
Show Girl's Luck (Australia 1931) producer, director
Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)
120

The Lost City (serial, 1933*)


(Pilot for unproduced "The Swiss Family Robinson" serial, 1934*)
Tundra (1936) director, co-cinematographer, story
Call of the Yukon (1938)
Orphans of the North (1938*, released 1940) producer, director, writer,
cinematographer

Taku (1939) director


See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)
Adventure (1945)

The Romance
The Harvey

'

of Rosy Ridge
Girls (1946)

(1945*, released 1947)

Green Dolphin Street (1947)


(The Daring Miss Jones, 1947*) director
Arctic Fury (1949) director, writer, cinematographer
Malaya (1950)
Two Lost Worlds

(1950)

director

WATCH

FOR THESE

And Hundreds

THRILLS.

of Others!

-.

Advertisement for Norman O. Dawn's 1940 action/adventure film, Orphans of the North (card
292). HRHRC Film Collection.
121

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

Judi Hoffman,

in the HRHRC's Film Collection, took


her B. A. at the University of Northern Colorado and is presently writing her
M.A. thesis on Norman O. Dawn for the Radio-Television-Film Department
at The University of Texas at Austin. She is an associate editor of the film
journal The Velvet Light Trap and her article on the discourse of early
cinematic special effects is forthcoming in Post Script.
a research assistant

Robert D. King was for

ten years Liberal Arts dean at The University of Texas


Austin. A professor of linguistics, he published in 1969 a landmark text,
Historical Linguistics and Generative Grammar. His article entitled "Nehru
and Language" is forthcoming in India: The First Ten Years of Independence.
at

Philip C. Kolin

is a professor of English at the University of Southern


Mississippi where he is the founding coeditor of Studies in American Drama,
1945-Present. He is the editor of Conversations with Edward Alhee and
coauthor with J. Madison Davis of Critical Essays on Edward Albee. His most
recent book is David Rabe: A Stage History and a Primary and Secondary
Bibliography.

David H. Patrick received his M.A. in History from The University of Texas
at Austin and is presently pursuing a doctorate in Middle Eastern and United
States diplomatic histories, with research interests in modern Iran, IranoAmerican relations, and historical biography.

William J. Scheick

is a professor of English at The University of Texas at


Austin and a coeditor of the journal Texas Studies in Literature and Language.
He has recently coedited Contemporary American Women Writers: Narra
tive Strategies for the University of Kentucky Press and is the author of
numerous books, among them The Half-Blood: A Cultural Symbol in
Nineteenth-Century American Fiction and Fictional Structure and Ethics:
The Tum-of-the-Century English Novel.

HARRY RANSOM HUMANITIES RESEARCH CENTER

Thomas F. Staley, Director


Sally Leach, Assistant Director

John P. Chalmers, Librarian


William Crain, Curator, Hoblitzelle Theatre Arts Collection
Roy Flukinger, Curator, Photography Collection
Kathleen Gee, Curator, Art Collection
Cathy Henderson, Research Librarian
John Kirkpatrick, Manuscript Cataloguing
Carlton Lake, Senior Curator
James Stroud, Chief Conservator
William B. Todd, Consultant
Maria X. Wells, Curator, Italian Collection

THE GENERAL LIBRARIES


Administration
Harold Billings, Director of General Libraries
Carolyn Bucknall, Assistant Director for Collection Development
Jean Hamrick, Assistant Director for Information Systems Planning
Jo Anne Hawkins, Assistant Director for Public Services
Sue Phillips, Assistant Director for Technical Services
Virginia Phillips, Assistant Director for Branch Services
Drew Racine, Deputy Assistant Director
Mary Seng, Assistant Director for Facilities and Support Services

Department and

Acquisitions & Serials Dept.


Wayne Perryman
Automated Cataloging Dept.
Robin Fradenburgh

Cataloging Dept.
Ernestine Potter

Circulation Services Dept.


Suzanne McAnna

Collection Development &


Management Services
Mary Brennan

HRHRC Cataloging Dept.


Mary Beth Bigger

Reference Services Dept.


John Tongate

Architecture & Planning


Library
Eloise McDonald

Balcones Library Service


Center
Cynthia Kehoe

Barker Texas History Center


Don Carleton
Benson Latin American

Collection
Laura Gutierrez- Witt
Chemistry

(Mallet) Library

Christine Johnston

Classics Library
Bonny Keyes

Collections Deposit Library


John Ramage

Collection Heads
East Asian Studies Librarian
Kevin Lin
Engineering (McKinney)
Library
Susan Ardis

Fine Arts Library


Marcia Parsons

Geology (Walter) Library


Dennis Trombatore

Library & Information


Science Librarian
Mary Lynn Rice-Lively

Life Science Library


Nancy Elder

Mexican-American

Studies

Librarian
Margo Gutierrez

Middle Eastern Studies


Librarian
Abazar Sepehri

Music Librarian
David Hunter
Physics, Mathematics &
Astronomy (Kuehne) Library
Karen Croneis

Public Affairs (Wasserman)


Library
Olive Forbes
South Asia Librarian
Merry Burlingham

Undergraduate Library
Suzanne Chaney (Acting)

Recent Publications

of

THE HARRY RANSOM HUMANITIES RESEARCH CENTER


Exhibition Catalogues
Eric Gill Collection by Robert N. Taylor, with the assistance of Helen
Parr Young. $20.00.

The

Hopkins Lives: An Exhibition and Catalogue, compiled and introduced by


Carl Sutton, edited by Dave Oliphant. $17.95.

Authors' Libraries
James Joyce's Trieste Library, a catalogue of materials at the HRHRC by
Michael Patrick Gillespie, with the assistance of Erik Bradford Stocker.
$30.00 in cloth.

Chronicle Special Issue Books


Conservation and Preservation of Humanities Research Collections, edited
by Dave Oliphant, with an introduction by James Stroud. Essays on
Treatment and Care of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Photographs, and Art on
Paper and Canvas. $17.95.
Lawrence, Jarry, Zukofsky: A Triptych, edited by Dave Oliphant and Gena
Dagel. Critical essays on three representative HRHRC collections. $20.00.
New Directions in Textual Studies, edited by Dave Oliphant and Robin
Bradford, with an introduction by Larry Carver. Essays on texts by writers
from William Langland to Ezra Pound, with contributors including Jerome
McGann, Michael Warren, D. F. McKenzie, and Lotte Hellinga. $20.00.
No Symbols Where None Intended, a Catalogue of Books, Manuscripts, and
Other Materials Relating to Samuel Beckett, selected and described by
Carlton Lake, with the assistance of Linda Eichhora and Sally Leach.
$20.00.
Perspectives on Australia, edited by Dave Oliphant. Critical essays on the C.

Hartley Grattan and other Australian collections

at the

HRHRC.

$18.95.

Perspectives on Music, edited by Dave Oliphant and Thomas Zigal. Critical


essays on music materials at the

HRHRC.

$16.95.

on Photography, edited by Dave Oliphant and Thomas Zigal.


Critical essays on photography at the HRHRC. $14.95.

Perspectives

WCW ir Others,

edited by Dave Oliphant and Thomas Zigal. Critical essays

on William Carlos Williams. $13.95.

JOYCE STUDIES ANNUAL


Editor: Thomas F. Staley
Joyce Studies Annual,

published in cooperation with the Harry


Ransom Humanities Research Center, begins a new tradition of Joyce
scholarship with its first volume published in the spring of 1990.
textual, and
The journal will emphasize the areas of historical,
comparative criticism and will feature previously unpublished material
from the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center's extensive
Joyce collection.

The contents of the first issue,

Joyce Studies Annual

1990:

Thomas F. Staley and Randolph Lewis, eds., Selections from the


Paris Diary of Stuart Gilbert, 1929-1934.
Fritz Senn, In Quest of a nisus fbrmativus Joyceanus.
David Hayman, I Think Her Pretty: Reflections of the Familiar in
Joyce's Notebook Vl.B.5.
Margot Norris, The Politics of Childhood in The Mime of Mick,
Nick, and the Maggies."

Bernard Benstock, The Anti-Schematics of Finnegans Wake.


Robert Janusko, Yet Another Anthology for the "Oxen": Murison's
Selections.

Richard Brown, Eros


Rosa Maria Bosinelli,

and Apposition: Giacomo Joyce.


Beyond Translation: Italian Rewriting of

Finnegans Wake.
Narrative Gifts: "Cyclops" and the Economy of
Excess.
Goodwin, Annual James Joyce Checklist: 1989.

Mark Osteen,
Will

Joyce Studies Annual is

published annually in June.

Subscriptions:

$25 special price for

* Individuals

$35/year

Institutions

$35/year

JSA

1990 to individuals who subscribe before


October 30, 1990.

University of Texas Press, Journals, Box

7819, Austin, Texas 78713

The

Library

CHRONICLE
OF THE UNIVERSITY

OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

APR*

1991

Liorary

The

Library

CHJROOTCILE
OF THE UNIVERSITY

Volume 20, Number

OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

Copyright0 1991 by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center,


The University of Texas at Austin

ISSN

0024-2241

Cover illustration: Ink wash storyboard for the 1933 film The Story of Temple Drake, adapted
Faulkner's 1931 novel Sanctuary by screenwriters Maurine Watkins and Oliver
H . P. Garrett. A 1961 film version of the novel, entitled Sanctuary, starred Lee Remick as Temple

from William

and Yves Montand as "Candy" (Popeye).

HRHRC Collections.

The Library Chronicle is published by


the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
and the General Libraries
The University of Texas at Austin

Dave Oliphant, Editor


Robin Bradford, Assistant Editor

The

Printed and bound by


The University of Texas Printing Division

Library Chronicle

Editorial Board
Thomas F. Staley

Carlton Lake
Sally Leach
Cathy Henderson
Harold Billings
William B. Todd

The Library Chronicle is issued quarterly at a subscription rate of $30.00 for four issues. The
purpose of the Chronicle is to present information on available materials in the special collections
at The University of Texas at Austin, to publish scholarly articles based on these materials, and to
record matters of interest concerning new acquisitions, exhibitions, and other events related to
the University's special collections. Writers should query first before submitting articles for
publication. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editors, P.O. Box 7219, Austin,
Texas 78713.

Contents

Collections

at Texas

James G. Watson Carvel Collins's Faulkner:

Alan Warren Friedman

The Status

A Newly Opened Archive

of Graham

Greene Studies

17

37

Shari Benstock and Bernard Benstock The Role of Little Magazines


in the Emergence of Modernism

69

Bichard Watson Modernist Little Magazines: A List of Selected


Holdings at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

89

Robert Greenfield "Significant

Ugliness": "The Case

of Mr. Crump"

in Perspective

99

Notes on Contributors

Index to The Library Chronicle, New Series Numbers 46-48,


Volume 20, Numbers 1-4, 1990

136
1989
137

Paul Bowles's novel The Sheltering Sky (London: John Lehmann, 1949). HRHRC Collections.

COLLECTIONS

AT TEXAS

A Birthday Exhibition

for Paul Bowles

In celebration of the eightieth year of writer-composer Paul Bowles born


in Jamaica, New York, on 3 December 1910 the Harry Ransom Humanities
Research Center mounted a showing of materials from its Bowles Collection.
Entitled "Paul Bowles A Birthday Celebration: An Exhibition of Books and
Manuscripts of the American Expatriate Writer and Composer," the exhibit
opened in the Leeds Gallery on the fourth floor of the Flawn Academic
Center on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin on 10 September
and ran through 31 December 1990. In the words of HRHRC research
librarian Cathy Henderson, the exhibition was mounted "to celebrate the
event and to highlight the importance of Paul Bowles's contribution to the
American musical canon, to American literature, and to a clearer understand
ing of Moroccan culture, especially its oral, literary, and musical traditions,"
with the exhibit cases "designed to reflect Bowles's parallel careers as writer
and musician.

"

Paul Bowles's career

included study at the University of Virginia in


1928-29 at age seventeen; time spent in France in 1929-30; return to the
University of Virginia; a crucial meeting with composer Aaron Copland with
whom he first traveled to Morocco in 1931; in 1935 his first publication on
music in Henry Cowell's New Music; and the subsequent publication of 28
articles on music in Modern Music from 1938 to 1946. In 1947 Bowles settled
in Tangier, where he began writing his most highly acclaimed work of fiction,
The Sheltering Sky (1949), which has recently been made into a motion
picture starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich. In 1948 Bowles wrote
incidental music for Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke, one of many
works by the playwright for which Bowles created musical scores.
On display were items from all periods of Bowles's career, including the
composer's setting of words by Gertrude Stein entitled Letter to Freddy
(1946); postcards sent to his wife, the writer Jane Bowles, while Paul was doing
sound recordings in Morocco; an undated Carl Van Vechten portrait of
Bowles; his published translations from the Moghrebi language of works by
Moroccan writers Ahmed Yacoubi and Mohammed Mrabet; a copy of his
has

travel book, Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue: Scenes From
the Non-Christian

World

of his autobiography,
Without
Stopping (1972); and publicity shots of Bernardo Bertolucci's film version of
The Sheltering Sky from Happy Valley Films. A dust jacket blurb from the
travel book, which takes its title from a poem by Edward Lear, likens Bowles
to the nineteenth-century Englishman who "thrives when the traveling is
hardest, the food ghastly or infrequent, water scarce, heat intolerable, or
'
mosquitoes abundant." In defining the nature of the "kif story as found in
Bowles's A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard (1962), translations by him of
stories by his two Moroccan writer-friends, the following passage serves to
indicate something about Bowles's own fiction: "an endless, proliferated tale
of intrigue and fantasy in which the unexpected turns of the narrative play a
much more important part than the development of the character and plot."
The contents of the Bowles Collection at the HRHRC comprise materials
from all aspects of the writer-composer's career: his music manuscripts, which
are often consulted for performances of his compositions; his literary manu
scripts, which include published and unpublished writings; his correspond
ence with writers and composers; juvenilia; and photographs and sound
recordings. Articles based on the Bowles's Collection have appeared in a
previous issue of The Library Chronicle, new series number 30 for 1985, and
in Perspectives on Music: Essays on Collections at the Humanities Research
Center, also from 1985. Along with Richard F. Patteson's "Paul Bowles: Two
Unfinished Projects," the Chronicle issue printed for the first time the
fragment of a Bowles novel. Bennett Lerner's article in Perspectives on Music
is entitled "Paul Bowles: Lost and Found" and traces the provenance of the
composer's music manuscripts now preserved at the HRHRC.
(1963); copies

Graham Greene Poster Exhibition


Another birthday celebration was marked by the mounting of sixteen
posters created by the British Council in 1989 to commemorate the eightyfifth year of author Graham Greene. Two of the posters both shown in this
issue of the Chronicle include images of holograph manuscripts by Greene
that form part of the Center's extensive Graham Greene Collection: the first
page of his novel, The Power and the Glory, and a page from his Congo diary
dated February 1959. The posters survey chronologically the writer's life and
works, with special emphasis on some of his best-known books: The End of the
Affair, The Quiet American, Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory,
Travels with My Aunt, and Getting to Know the General, as well as the movie
script for which Greene is most famous: The Third Man. For more information
on the Center's Graham Greene holdings, see the article in this issue of the
Chronicle by Alan Warren Friedman entitled "The Status of Graham Greene
Studies."

BRIGHTON ROCK
THE POWER AND THE GLORY
Thepublir.itn.ilofBrightonHockin 193*broughtGreeneerfileal
acclaim.Thebookwassetfniheviolentunderworldofa seaside
townandcontained
a strongCatholicelement.
Throughtheevil
characterof Pinkie,bornaCatholicandgloryingInhisown
damnation,
Greenebroughta dimension
uf m>thtoihr romemporaryEnglishnovel.Theftitrrr andtheGloryemerged
fromhis
travelsInMexicoandis thoughtbymanytobeGreene's
finest
work Bothworks,althoughsoverydifferentInsetting,question
Ihenatureofman'ssalvation

Brighton Hock 1938


The Confidential Agent 1939
The Power and the Glory 1940
Hot*PartIrhapu-f
I
7tofr
kmr*thrummnt
tomurdrr
arfprr
hum
hrhad
brrnInBrighton
thrrrtn<nr%.
With
hitInku
finmm
nrrrnam,
andhitbtttrn
nail:Anmnnnrr
iiinuiilund
imifNirfjK
nMMl hedtdnt
brloug
hrt-inu
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thr
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Miftxjthr
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Thru
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Vlrftxia
ink*train
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Huad
errrwfler
stand
Qhmw
ing<>n
in.-tnpm
Urpptd
tittlr tmmu.
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offIn
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thrpirn ihrrma
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h-mirt

#o

From a Graham Greene poster series chronicling Greene's life and career, organized by the
British Council. This poster features a page from an early manuscript draft of Greene's novel The
Power and the Glory, which forms part of the Graham Greene Collection at the HRHRC.

An Exhibition on the History

of Ballet

From Court to Theatre," an exhibition prepared by Dr. W.H.


Crain, curator of the Center's Theatre Arts Collection, traced the develop
ment of ballet from court banquets and balls in Italy and France, through the
English masque, the professional companies founded by Louis XIV, and the
imperial patronage in Russia, to the modern ballet begun in Paris by Serge
Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Mounted on the seventh floor of the Harry
Ransom Center and displayed from 1 October 1990 through 6 February 1991,
this showing of ballet-related
materials included costumes, set designs,
depictions of early ballerinas, and photographs of modern dancers in produc
tions of such classic ballets as Swan Lake and Les Sylphides.
"Ballet:

Alicia Markova, Erik Bruhn, and Lupe Serrano in the American Ballet Theatre production of Les
Sylphides (ca. 1963). Photograph by Fred Fehl. HRHRC Theatre Arts Collection.
10

Visitors to the HRHRC: Michael Yeats and Carlo Coccioli


Michael Yeats the only son of poet William Butler Yeats, a distinguished
lawyer and economist, a former Chairman of the Irish Senate, and a VicePresident of the European (Common Market) Parliamentvisited the cam
pus of The University of Texas at Austin on 8 November 1990 and presented a
talk at the Harry Ransom Center entitled "William Butler Yeats and His
Family." Introduced by Professor Elizabeth Cullingford of the University's
Department of English, Mr. Yeats began by making it clear that he could
claim no special understanding of his father's poetry, saying that he left its
interpretation to scholars like Dr. Cullingford. The speaker delighted his
audience with his sense of humor about his famous poet-father, revealing, for
instance, that he "loathed" the poem Yeats had written for him, "A Prayer For
My Son," because his schoolmates ridiculed him as a result. Rather than
discussing his father's poems, Mr. Yeats sought to provide a personal account
of the two sides of the poet's family: the Yeats and the Pollexfens.
By way of offering an explanation of his father's personality, Mr. Yeats
recounted what the poet's own father, the portrait painter John Butler Yeats
(some of whose pencil drawings are housed in the HRHRC collections), had
once said about his son's combining the hereditary traits of his two parents'
families: From the Yeats side, the poet had received his lyric gift, and from the
Pollexfens on his mother Susan's side he had inherited poetic aridity, which,
according to the father, accounted for the poet's paradoxical nature. The elder
Yeats characterized his son's combination of poetic expression with practi
cality as deriving from the artistic Yeatses and the Scandinavian Pollexfens
who despised idleness, poetry, and art. The father ascribed his son's success,
despite his failings and those of his forebears, to an "unrelenting sense of
purpose." As an example of the poet's shortcomings, Michael Yeats cited his
father's educational record: He had done well in chemistry and French but
had performed miserably in English literature and was generally considered
the "biggest dunce in school." Later, during his highly efficient service in
public life as a member of the Irish Senate, the poet had concerned himself
with the state of his country's system of education, convinced that his own
experience had taught him that the system needed changing.

Among the family members recalled by Michael Yeats were the poet's
younger brother, Jack Butler Yeats, the finest painter Ireland has produced,
and the poet's two sisters: Lily, the family archivist whose memoirs and letters
are in a clear and elegant style and whose embroidery is highly prized by the
family; and Lolly, who is known for her hand-colored prints and hand-printed
books. Of his own relationship with his father, Michael Yeats recalled that the
poet was rarely involved by his wife, Georgie, in helping to enforce the
mother's wishes, but that when he was, his father made a strong impression on
him and his sister Anne. Michael Yeats was seventeen when the poet died in
11

difference naturally hampered


Michael Yeats revealed his fond
remembrances of a father who was one of the modern world's greatest poets
and a man who served his country both in public life as a senator and in the
field of literature as the creator of the Abbey Theatre, which encouraged the
Irish literary revival. This memorable talk by the poet's son has been
preserved on tape for the Center's audio collection.
1939 at the age

of seventy-four,

any kind of close relationship.

so that the age

Nonetheless,

Carlo Coccioli, a novelist born in 1920 in Livorno, Italy, and since about
1975 a resident of Mexico City, visited the HRHRC on 24 October 1990 and
presented a talk under the general title "Experiences of a Trilingual Writer
About Literary Vocation, Books, Love, Animals, and God," which was later
printed in his regular column in the Mexico City newspaper Excelsior. The
author of some thirty books written in Italian, French, or Spanish and
translated into many languages, Coccioli characterized himself as "a prophet
with no message." Dr. Thomas F. Staley, director of the HRHRC, has written
one of the few critical studies in English of Coccioli's work, an article collected
in The Shapeless God (1968) and entitled "Faith and the Absurd: The PostExistential Vision of Carlo Coccioli," his discussion of an early novel, The
White Stone (1960), which Dr. Staley places in the existentialist tradition. On
the occasion of his visit to the HRHRC, the novelist donated to the Center the
original typescript of one of his novels in Spanish, Pequeno Karma. More
recently, Mr. Coccioli has generously added to his earlier gift by donating the
heavily revised typescripts and proofs of the following books: La Ville et le
Sang, Fabrizio Lupo, Le Tourment de Dieu, II Cielo e la Terra, Hommes en
Fuite, and Uomini in Fuga. Also included in the recent donation are fourteen
of the novelist's printed books in Italian, French, Portuguese, and Mexican
editions.

BarkerTexas History Center Exhibition and Acquisition


On exhibit through January 1991 at The University's BarkerTexas History
Center, "Mosaic: Women's History Resources at the Barker" depicted various
facets of the lives and experiences of women in the South and Southwest.
Organized to complement the "Women and Texas History" conference held 46 October 1990 at The University of Texas at Austin, the exhibit was
comprised of letters, diaries, minute books, sheet music, photographs,
postcards, oral history transcripts, broadsides and posters, books, catalogs,
pamphlets, and advertisements found in the Barker collections.
Cowgirls and ranchers, mothers, teachers, pioneers, nurses, activists,
seamstresses and weavers, dancers, factory workers,

suffragettes, historians,
musicians, politicians, athletes, scholars, community workers, and governors,
12

"Carrie Nation and Students at U.T." (ca. 1904), gelatin silver print. Fisher Papers, Barker Texas
History Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

all have found a place in the "mosaic" of Texas women's history. Some items on
display rang with familiarity, such as the 1853 diary of Lizzie Scott Neblett
opened to an entry made five days before the delivery of her first child: "I
I do
have
so many, many fears, that my poor little Babe, will die

...

love it so much, it feels so near to me it don't seem to me


another as

I love it But I must think

I could

'all things are for the best'

...

ever, love

. . .

."Other

materials revealed how greatly women's lives have changed, such as Julien S.
Devereux's record book containing a list of female slaves in his ownership in
1853 (listed by Christian name and numbering 35), and the stained and manytimes folded free papers of Sylvia Green, "Colored Woman," from the

Barker's Natchez Trace Collection.

A pervading theme of the exhibition was the success with which women
have applied skills honed in traditional "women's work" to bring about social
and political change be it joining national sweater-knitting campaigns for

World War II soldiers or the petitioning of women's church and social clubs
for prison reform, educational improvements, and the preservation of Texas
heritage. The 1917 yearly report of the Houston chapter of the Texas Woman's
Christian Temperance Union noted under the insuppressibly enthusiastic
category "Do everything": "Mrs. Soule found that stores in Houston were
selling spiked ice cream, that is ice cream with wine or liquor as its flavoring,
she reported it to the district attorney and the stores were forced to give up at
least temporarily the use of alcohol flavoring" (from the James Rockwell
Papers). The 27-28 June 1919 diary entries of Austin suffrage worker Jane Y.
McCallum, written upon the Texas legislature's approval of the federal
suffrage amendment, memorialize her personal and public success: "'Oh joy,
oh boy' . . . It's all over I cannot realize that this thing we've been waging
such a terrific fight for is now actually a matter of history."
In addition to visual and written documents, oral histories also formed part
of the exhibit, such as that of sixties pop musician Janis Joplin, born and raised
in Port Arthur. "I was singing in this hillbilly group called the Waller Creek
"
Boys," Joplin recalls of her early days on the Austin music scene, Waller
Creek runs right through Austin . . . singing at this bar called Threadgill's," a
local restaurant/bar still known for its home-cooking and home-grown music.
She remembers Mr. Threadgill himself as "old, a great big man with a big
belly and white hair combed back on the top of his head. And he was back
there dishing out Polish sausage and hard-boiled eggs and Grand Prizes and
Lone Star" (transcript of recorded interview, ca. 1969, from the Claude
Matthews Collection). The exhibition, with its wide range of historical mate
rials relating to women's lives and activities, revealed the wealth of resources
available at the Barker, especially for scholars working in non-traditional
fields.

A recent addition to the Barker Texas History Center is the library of Sam
Rayburn, long-time speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The
14

library, which houses books, papers, and mementos from Rayburn's 48 years
in the House, will remain in Bonham, Rayburn's hometown about 80 miles
northeast of Dallas, but will be administered by the University's Barker Texas
History Center in Austin. The Sam Rayburn Library Foundation, which has
operated the library since it opened in 1957, will transfer to the University an
endowment valued at approximately $2.5 million for operation of the library
under an agreement with the University's Board of Regents. Some materials
from the library will be brought to the Barker Center for use by scholars, but
copies of the papers will always be kept in Bonham. The library's importance
lies in its value as a resource for the study of the history of the House of
with original documentation of legislation passed during
Representatives,
Rayburn's speakership, correspondence from several Presidents, including
many papers relating to Lyndon B. Johnson, who was Rayburn's protege, and
a rich collection of artifacts associated with Rayburn's life and career. The
Rayburn Library will complement the Barker's other extensive collections of
congressional and political papers relating to Texas.

New Acquisition Adds

to the HRHRC's Robert Lowell Archive

The New Year began with

addition to the Center's holdings of


manuscript material by the American poet Robert Lowell. (For further
information on the HRHRC's Lowell archive, see "Collections at Texas" in
Chronicle issue new series number 22.) This new acquisition includes 168
letters from Lowell to his wife Elizabeth Hardwick and 48 letters from Lowell
to their daughter Harriet. One of the earliest items in the new addition is a
school notebook with Lowell's manuscript drafts of original poems and
transcriptions of classical Greek and Latin poetry. A 1935 magazine from St.
Mark's School, which lists Lowell as an assistant editor, contains an article by
Lowell on Homer's The Iliad. Included as well are important files of Dr.
Merrill Moore, a poet and psychiatrist practicing in Boston, who recom
mended that young Lowell go to Tennessee to study with John Crowe
Ransom. These Moore files contain letters from members of Lowell's family,
early poems by Lowell (dating from 1938), and letters from Ransom, Allen
Tate, Richard Eberhart, Peter Taylor, and Frank Parker. Also present in the
new acquisition are letters to Lowell from such writers as Elizabeth Bishop,
Alfred Kazin, Mary McCarthy, I. A. Richards, Andrei Voznesensky, and
W. D. Snodgrass, along with Lowell family photographs and printed articles
and books by and about Robert Lowell.
a significant

15

Carvel Collins transcribing notes on Faulkner, 10 July 1986. Photo by Don Bartletti, Los Angeles
Times, provided by Mrs. Ann Collins.

Carvel Collins

Faulkner: A Newly Opened Archive

By James G.

Watson

The Carvel Collins Faulkner Collection came to the Harry Ransom Humani
ties Research Center in late 1964 in two parts, both locked in sealed metal
military boxes and encumbered with a variety of restrictions that could have
guaranteed their remaining sealed well into the twenty-first century. Eleven
boxes came to the Center by sale, restricted for twenty-five years; seven were
stored there in 1964 and given as gifts over the succeeding five years. These
came to be known to the HRHRC staff by their color codings as the grey boxes
and the red boxes respectively, the latter consisting of "sensitive materials"
Collins stripped from the whole collection prior to its sale. A third group of
locked green boxes was stored for Collins in 1969. At the time of the original
acquisition, it was agreed that all Faulkner materials Collins might subse
quently collect would come to the HRHRC at his death, and the terms of his
will indicate that this will be the case. The twenty-five year restriction having
been met in 1989, the grey boxes were opened and part of the treasure longrumored in Faulkner studies was brought to light. In the months before he
died, in March 1989, Collins came twice to Austin to consult about lifting
certain of the remaining restrictions on the red boxes and keeping in place
others central to his work. With his death all of the restrictions on materials
bought by the HRHRC or received as gifts have been removed and these can
now be catalogued. The remainder of the collection willed to the Center is
scheduled to be delivered in 1991.
For years, the name Carvel Collins has had legendary connotations for
Faulkner scholars. Collins taught the first Faulkner seminar in the United
States, at Harvard in the 1940s. He was among the first to treat Faulkner as a
modernist writer in the tradition of Joyce and Eliot, bringing myth and
psychology to bear in seminal essays like the 1952 English Institute paper on
"The Interior Monologues of The Sound and the Fury."1 At the same time, his
essays and his critical introductions to editions and collections announced the
biographical interest that marked his work early and late. In this, his first
'See Carvel Collins, "The Interior Monologues of The Sound and the Fury," in Publications in
the Humanities 6 (Boston:

Department of Humanities, M.I.T., 1954).


17

concern always was with facts; his obsession was factual accuracy.

It

must be

said, too, that he sometimes was obsessed with keeping the facts he uncovered

which was especially true of his editions of Faulkner's early


writing. Characteristically, in his published work, which was in fact relatively
little, as well as in several of his MLA addresses, Collins described people in
Faulkner's life whom he refused to name and substantiated biographical
claims by citing unnamed sources. Studying Faulkner's life simultaneously
with his art, Collins was amassing information about the complexities of both,
to himself,

trying to understand them in terms of each other and of the contemporary


South. In that endeavor, his starting place was with Faulkner's earliest
published work, and that is the strength of the HRHRC's Collins Collection.
In 1957 Collins assembled and edited William Faulkner: New Orleans
Sketches, a collection of prose pieces Faulkner wrote in New Orleans in 1925. 2
Amending and correcting a 1953 edition by other hands, Collins brought
together the eleven vignettes of "New Orleans," from which Faulkner made
the 1926 gift book Royal Street: New Orleans, now at the HRHRC,3 and all
sixteen of the sketches he published in the Times-Picayune from February
through September. New Orleans Sketches was itself revised and amended in
1967 to include Faulkner's early corrections to "New Orleans," his 1925 essay
"Sherwood Anderson," and an expanded biographical introduction by Collins.
In 1962 Collins's William Faulkner: Early Prose and Poetry brought together
illustrations, poems, and reviews done for University of Mississippi publica
tions from 1916 to 1922, with two essays and two poems from the 1925 Double
Dealer.4 Collins's introductory essay on "Faulkner at the University of
Mississippi" included photographs of Faulkner as an R.A.F. cadet in Canada
in 1918 and wearing the uniform of a British flying officer. In recent years
Collins edited and wrote introductions for the gift books Faulkner made
Helen Baird in 1926, Mayday (1976) and Helen: A Courtship (1981).5
To the mid-1960s, when Faulkner family memoirs began to appear, it is fair
to say that what Carvel Collins knew about Faulkner's life, and was willing to
share, pretty much defined the limits of all that was known. His "Faulknerizing" as he now called it had taken him from Harvard to M.I.T., where a halfand transcribed his voluminous
time secretary typed his correspondence
notes, and it would take him on from there to Notre Dame, then into a
California retirement of active collecting. The scope of his work is suggested
sCarvel Collins, ed., William Faulkner: New Orleans Sketches (New York: Random House,
1*58).
3For a detailed description of the Ransom

Center's copy of Faulkner's 1926 gift book Royal


Li' on Royal Street," The Library

Street: New Orleans, see Noel Polk, "William Faulkner's 'Hong

Chronicle of The University of Texas at Austin n.s. 13 (1980): 27-30.


4Carvel Collins, ed. , William Faulkner: Early Prose and Poetry (Boston: Little Brown, 1962).
5Carvel Collins, Mayday (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1976); William
Faulkner, Helen: A Courtship; and Mississippi Poems, intro. by Carvel Collins and Joseph
Blotner (New Orleans: Tulane University; Oxford, MS: Yoknapatawpha Press, 1981).

IS

which alone is eight inches


was immense and his travel wide-ranging. Strang
ers wrote him with offers of information. New acquaintances volunteered
by the acknowledgments

file in the collection,

thick. His correspondence

their time for research in newspaper

morgues and university libraries.

In

gratitude he gave literally hundreds of copies of the books he edited to people


in Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, California, Oregon, Mexico, Europe,
and Japan. To special sources he sent New Hampshire maple syrup with his
Christmas cards. He was known to travel the country with his trove of

Faulkneriana in

a van.

Once, spying an antique reader's chair in the HRHRC

Reading Room, he told me of a similar chair he had designed to carry with him
that unfolded into a bed at night. He carried camera equipment, too,

photographing documents

he uncovered

room wash basins, and a tape recorder,


subsequently

and developing the film in hotel


into which he narrated

typed onto fat spools of dictaphone

paper.

findings

Ry 1963 he could

write HRHRC Director Warren Roberts that his collection filled "fourteen
large fire-proof file drawers, and I am considering buying another extra-large
two-drawer fire-proof banking-house file because the stuff is piling up as a
result of all this wild and far-flung interviewing along with several phenome
nally lucky breaks beginning last winter."6
His problem was not with collecting information but with writing what he
knew. As early as 1952 Faulkner's friend and sometime agent Ben Wasson was
urging, "I look forward to the Collins opus. Yep, go ahead and write it. You're
going to get constipated with material if you don't get at it soon. So,
"7
Collins could not; at least he could not
scatalogically speaking, eliminate!
until he knew everything to be known. Initially, he had conceived writing a
small critical book. It never appeared. By stages, plans for the critical book
expanded to two volumes, then to a biography. In 1962, he told a number of
correspondents that he had promised Faulkner "no full-scale biography in his
lifetime" and spoke of a biographical-critical study "which his death now leads
"*
In 1964, negotiating
me to bring to publication by Atlantic, Little Brown.
with HRHRC the restrictions to be placed on his collection, Collins described
to Warren Roberts a two-volume biography, the second volume of which,
sensitive materials, might not be publishable in his own lifetime.9
Following the sale of the collection, he moved the project to Farrar, Straus

containing

and Giroux, where its imminent publication was announced in 1974, a month
authorized biography was published by Random
House. The book still was unpublished at Collins's death when, by his own

after Joseph Blotner's

estimate, the collection in California had grown to three times the size of grey
Marvel Collins to Warren Roberts, 9-11-63 (HRHRC Director's Correspondence).
'Ben Wasson to Carvel Collins, 6-18-52 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Wasson, Ben").
"It was Collins's practice to announce his intentions to a number of correspondents in what was
essentially the same letter. Examples exist throughout the Collins Collection.
Carvel Collins to Warren Roberts, 9-11-63 (HRHRC Director's Correspondence).
19

and red boxes deposited

at the

HRHRC

quarter of

century earlier. No

manuscript of Collins's book has turned up in the materials so far deposited at


Texas.

What exactly the University of Texas bought in 1964, and stored as later
gifts, was measured until recently by Collins's own account. He already had
made several "phenomenal" finds for the University by the time he intro
duced the possibility of selling his own collection among them one copy of
the illustrated verse play The Marionettes (1920) and a group of 287 fragments
of poems damaged when Phil Stone's house burned.10 His reputation as a
prominent Faulkner scholar was at its height, and his collection storied. He
wrote to Warren Roberts late in 1963:
The materials include: Typed transcriptions of tape recordings of
information from interviews with scores of Faulkner's relatives,
friends, and associates, some of the most significant of whom have
died (several of them without having talked to any other Faulknerizer). Their accounts as well as those by people who still live (also
often without having talked to anyone else interested in Faulkner) are
indispensible to any real study of the man's life; for he left neither
diaries nor journals, and his letters are scarcer than those of any
famous writer I ever heard of. In addition to these records of lengthy
and often sequential interviews, the materials include a large number
of photographs, many of them at present entirely unknown to others;
voluminous clippings from out-of-the-way sources as well as from the
more conventional;
documents linking his fiction with his life
characters, events, geography; prolonged correspondence with in
numerable people who knew him; photostats or copies of many
letters by Faulkner and some others, including a batch of letters by
his mother which concern him; a page or two of manuscript by him;
photostats of some destroyed or permanently unavailable sheets of
drafts of novels, including the only preliminary work-sheet I've ever
heard of it is about The Sound and the Fury; and notes of my own
in short, all the sorts of things, and in quantity, which would have
been gathered by one who for fifteen years has been trying to get
together facts to write a biography of a modern author, about whom
there is afloat more false information

than about anyone

have heard

of since British Intelligence invented that non-existent officer to fool


the Germans about D-Day's timing.
I should say that about thirty percent or so of what I have in these
materials cannot go into a published book for several years, probably
'"For more information on the bumed fragments of Faulkner's poetry housed at the Ransom
Center, see Ellen Weir, "Conservation of the Burned Fragments in the William Faulkner
Collection," The Library Chronicle of The University of Texas at Austin n.s. 44/45 (1989): 57-77.
20

not in my own lifetime.


collector,

So

if I

sell this collection to a library or a

part of it would have to be sealed up until some agreed-

upon date."

turned more upon such restric


tions than on the final price. Director Warren Roberts satisfied himself of the
value of the collection, which arguably then was the single largest and most
complete collection of Faulkner materials yet amassed. Roberts was troubled,
however, by the length of the restrictions Collins required and by the lack of a
more specific catalogue. These problems were resolved in part by the director
examining the collection in person prior to the purchase and by the
understanding and expectation that the restrictions would be lifted in five or
six years when Collins's book appeared. Once the gift portion was appraised
by Brick Row Book Shop, the eighteen grey and red boxes arrived in
December 1964.
Negotiations

for purchase of the collection

Long before the Collins Collection was opened by the HRHRC, a


including especially Faulkner,
already was catalogued and in use at the Center. Among a host of Faulkner
items available and in use by scholars, the Center owns two of the four extant
copies of The Marionettes (1920); the handmade gift book Royal Street: New
Orleans (1926); the typescript of Faulkner's first published book, The Marble
Faun (1924); setting copy and proofs of his second collection of poems, A
Green Bough (1933); and the corrected typescripts of Intruder in the Dust
(1948). The burned poem fragments, as Judith Sensibar's recent census of
Faulkner's poetry has shown, include early drafts for the cycle Vision in
Spring (1920). 12 To this catalogued material the Carvel Collins Faulkner
Collection can now be added, together with the corrected galleys of Absalom,
substantial inventory of modernist collections,

formerly restricted to his use.


The grey boxes were opened in the spring and summer of

Absalom!,

proved to contain 616 file folders, alphabetically

1989.

They

arranged, each labeled with

the name of a person ("Howarth, Lucy Sommerville"),

place ("Hollywood"),

subject ("Integration," "Movies"), or book title (Pylon) relating to the life and

work of William Faulkner. The red boxes of "sensitive" materials were opened
according to Collins's instructions on 11 November 1989. They contained
another 196 sealed envelopes, similarly labeled and some with new titles
("Attorneys," "Elmer"); gradually over a period of years all but 30 of these had
been given as gifts. More than half carried statements that they were to
remain sealed until the deaths of Faulkner's wife, daughter, and grandchil
dren. Their "sensitivity" turned out to consist primarily of Faulknerian

"Carvel Collins to Warren Roberts, 9-11-63 (HRHRC Director's Correspondence).


"Judith L. Sensibar, Faulkner's Poetry: A Bibliographical Guide to Texts and Criticism (Ann
Arbor: UMI Research, 1988).
21

improprieties with alcohol and women, and in one case with Estelle Faulk
I3
These
ner's wearing Asian silks on the beach at Pascagoula in 1928.
restrictions, imposed in the immediate aftermath of Faulkner's death and
based for the most part on outdated standards, were renegotiated with
Collins, and the grey and red files have now been collated and combined into a
single archive.
The sheer mass of this material is impressive,

and as much as twice the

amount of material already at Texas is yet to come from the Collins estate. In
the materials now available, there are records of all sorts from virtually every
period of Faulkner's life. Many of the names and places are familiar from
Blotner's Biography and other sources, some of the facts are partially or
imperfectly recorded, and some of the speculations are in error. But a
significant portion of the Collins Collection is new to Faulkner studies (the file
materials on Dorothy Ware are an example) or sets previous facts in a new
light (the materials on Sanctuary), and virtually all of the Collins files will have
to be scanned with care. In scope, too, the collection ranges from the
mundane to the rare and unusual. The files for Faulkner's family are typical of
the biographical records, which contain an early, and imperfect, genealogical
chart; newspaper accounts of Faulkner's immediate ancestors; photographs of
Falkner/Faulkner people and places; letters to the Oxford Eagle written by
William's brother Jack from the Front in France in 1918; Collins's transcribed
notes on interviews with Faulkner and with most of his then living relatives;
his correspondence with Faulkner's stepson, stepdaughter, and his daughter
Jill; his interview notes and correspondence with Faulkner's Aunt Alabama;
and some thirty letters written after the Nobel Prize by Maud Falkner to Sallie
Falkner Burns in which Faulkner is mentioned. Together, these files
constitute the kind of foundational information essential to any biography. In
the Jill Faulkner Summers file is a xerox copy of a letter from Phil Stone
written six days after Faulkner's death offering legal assistance with such a
project and urging Jill and Paul "to let me hire the young man who would
actually do it."" Ostensibly he had in mind the Faulkner scholar and collector
whose work he personally had been assisting: Carvel Collins himself.
Fascinating though they often are, documents such as these are not without
their ambiguities for contemporary scholars, and many of the problems they
present turn on the length of time the collection has been sealed. The
complexities are historical as well as literary. For example, despite his close
contacts with involved Southern liberals such as James Silver, Collins's
sincere attempts in the 1950s to understand Faulkner in the context of racial
tensions then erupting in the South seem disarmingly innocent in 1991. More
"Notes on an interview with Rosebud Leatherby, September 1962 (Carvel Collins Collection,
file "Leatherby, Rosebud").
MPhil Stone to Paul Summers, 7-12-62
[William Faulkner's daughter]").
22

(Carvel Collins Collection,

file "Summers,

Jill

F.

Carvel Collins with some results of his "Faulknerizing,


Angeles Times, provided by Mrs. Ann Collins.

"

10 July 1986. Photo by Don Bartletti, Los

23

to the point, Faulkner scholarship

itself has erupted in the last quartercentury in a number of directions and ways. Much of the careful biographical
and interpretive work Collins set aside to do was accomplished by other
hands. Theory has redefined approaches to literature and literary lives. So
irregularly did Collins enter his findings into the expanding dialogue among
scholars that his version of Faulkner's life and work loses some of the force of
argument

that his facts might have supplied.

Unused,

and for twenty-five

years unavailable to others, the collection was essentially bypassed by scholars

who would not wait for it to be opened. For such reasons, Maud Falkner's
1950 report of the factual basis of some Faulkner characters and fictional
situations sheds no new light on the writer's methods of creation and
composition; similarly, Collins's speculation, in notes, that Faulkner reused
envelopes because "he had such a dislike of writing letters or anything to do
with letters . . . that he somehow wanted to show his contempt for that whole
form of communication" predates the scores of subsequently published letters
that bejie Collins's notion. " Again, there are times when the bare facts that
Collins documented make little or no sense without him to explain their
meaning. Leafing through the collection last spring, he could summon a story
about virtually every piece of paper that came to his hand. Yet his notes on
three interviews with Faulkner seem to lead nowhere: first, like the hundreds
of other transcriptions in the collection, they are notes not quotations; second,
they are about disappointingly ordinary subjects Faulkner's house, fishing,
and Eastern girls' schools. Where such apparent minutiae might have fit in the
Collins scheme of things, his collection does not tell us and he did not say. If
his unwillingness to publish his findings troubles this material, so does his
indirection, which prompted the collector William B. Wisdom to write him
once, "Have you ever mentioned to Faulkner the fact that you know he
writes?""
Wisdom and other collectors, notably Carl Petersen, were close and
important contacts for Collins as he pursued his researches. As an old New
Orleanian, Wisdom knew that city well and he had special interest in
manuscripts

he knew the Baird

family, for example, and he uncovered

and

Mayday that Faulkner made for Helen Baird.


Petersen, with his own special regard for facts, was a storehouse of information
on all phases of Faulkner's life and career. Collins's most important source,
however, was undoubtedly the self-promoting old Faulkner-maker, Phil
Stone. Stone had been in on Faulkner's literary career as friend and advisor
from the beginning, and when Collins met him in the 1940s Stone gave him
access to manuscripts in his keeping, recounted the history of local people,
purchased

the gift book

"Notes on an interview with Dorothy Commins, 1-12-63 (Carvel Collins Collection, file
"Commins, Saxe and Dorothy").
"William Wisdom to Carvel Collins, 2-26-53 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Wisdom, William
B").

24

places, and events, and in all offered Collins his version of the Compleat
William Faulkner. From Stone, Collins recovered the fragments of burned
poems now at
important

HRHRC,

and Stone gave him leads to people

and places

to Faulkner all over the South. Their ample correspondence

supplemented

by long transcriptions

is

of interview notes on many topics over

nearly twenty years, and concludes with Stone's sad last letters in 1963 from

White Male Cottage 5, Mississippi State Hospital. Bits and pieces of these
materials are scattered throughout the Collins Collection, cross-referenced
according to specific subjects. Some of this, as it pertains to Stone himself, is
by now familiar; some of the letters, including, in fact, some of Collins's own
letters to Stone, have been published by Louis Daniel Brodsky, who obtained
"
copies for his collection from Stone's wife Emily. The Stone letters in the
Collins Collection show that Stone made it his business to check Collins's
biographical materials for factual errors as he also did for Robert Coughlan's
Life magazine series, and that he offered his views on current critical work.18
In 1954 Stone approved Collins's treatment of the crucifixion plot of The
Sound and the Fury and, typically, claimed for himself significant contribu
tions to Faulkner's first masterwork. Letters from Stone assert that Faulkner
read the novel aloud to him in 1928, and that it was he who supplied the title
from Shakespeare. His letters also reference factual material, including
Dilsey's one-handed clock (Faulkner's Mammy Callie had one such) and the
models for Benjy (the Chandler idiot) and for Jason (Stone's brother, James
Stone, Jr.).19 By the 1950s Faulkner and Stone were estranged, but as other
local voices spoke up about Faulkner, Stone several times wrote Collins
asking to be consulted further. He still was the resident expert "nobody
knows Bill as I do," he said20 but increasingly now he was disparaging. It was
he who had translated Greek for Faulkner, he told Collins, and he said that
Faulkner's public stand on integration indicated his need for publicity in the
aftermath of the Nobel prize acclaim.21 To O.B. Emerson, he proclaimed that
except for a few early masterpieces, Faulkner's work was "very much over
rated. "a In a few cases, like this one, the collection documents the subsidiary
stories of people around Faulkner.
For the most part, Collins's sources of information are secondary to the
writer, and it is clear that Collins usually was canny enough to know their
value and to follow their promising leads. From New Orleans, in addition to
"A Comprehensive Guide to the Brodsky Collection, Vol. II: The Letters, eds. Louis Daniel
Brodsky and Robert W. Hamblin (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1984).
"Robert Coughlan, "The Private World of William Faulkner," Life pt. 1 (28 Sept. 1953). 118136; pt. 2(5 Oct. 1953): 55-68.
"Phil Stone to Carvel Collins, 8-16-54 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Stone, Phil").
"Phil Stone to Carvel Collins, 9-16-57 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Stone, Phil").

"Phil Stone
"Phil Stone

to Collins, 3-7-57 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Stone, Phil").


to O. B. Emerson, 2-26-58 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Stone, Phil").
25

Photograph taken at the 1955 movie premier in Memphis, Tennessee, of William Faulkner's
Land of the Pharaohs. From left to right: Malcolm Franklin, Mrs. Malcolm Franklin, Mrs. Jack
Faulkner, Paul Summers, Mrs. Paul Summers, William Faulkner, Mrs. William Faulkner, Jack
Faulkner, Mrs. Walter McLean. HRHRC Collections.

Wisdom, the Collins Collection includes significant files on Marc and Lucille
Antony; John McClure from the Times-Picayune, and Mary Rose Bradford,
the wife of his colleague Roark Bradford; George Healy, who succeeded them
at the newspaper; Julius Friend and Lillian Friend Marcus from the Double
Dealer; Harold Levy, the "H.L." of Faulkner's sonnet "The Faun/To H.L. ";
and Helen Baird Lyman, for whom Faulkner made the gift books Collins
edited and to whom he dedicated his New Orleans novel Mosquitoes. A copy
of a letter to Helen, possibly from the 1940s, consists of a doggerel verse
entitled "Hank and His Dulcimer" and the note, "How are you? Bill. " Among
lesser New Orleans lights, these are complemented
by files on William
who
confirmed
to
Collins
that
Faulkner
threw
Spratling,
manuscripts into the
sea on their voyage to Europe together in 1925; Margery Gumbel, who
thought Faulkner was in love with her and remembered ribald epigraphs to
the chapters in the manuscript of Soldier's Pay; and the Scottish ex-soldier
Colonel Charles Glenn Collins, model for Colonel Ayers in Mosquitoes.
One of the surprises of the collection from Faulkner's New Orleans period is
a photocopy of an undated, typed letter thanking Sherwood Anderson for the
gift of a regimental striped tie. (The original letter is at the Newberry Library
in Chicago, and so far as I know it has not been published. ) Faulkner describes
the unseasonably warm weather, mentions several New Orleanians repre
sented in the collection, envies Anderson his "dramatized story" in which
actors take the place of cold print, and recounts a confrontation at the British
Service Club involving the new tie. The letter is signed "Bill Faulkner." A
postscript asks Anderson to "give my love to Mr Stark" and says that he and
"Miss Elizabeth" have been reading The Spanish Farm." Internal evidence
shows that the letter must have been written from New Orleans early in 1925
when Faulkner lived briefly with Anderson's wife Elizabeth and his eldest
son, Bob, who is mentioned. Faulkner had met Anderson in 1924. In January
1925, when Faulkner arrived in New Orleans, Anderson was away on a
speaking tour, and early in February he was in New York for the stage
adaptation of The Triumph of the Egg. There he would have visited Faulkner's
sometime benefactor, the Mississippi poet and novelist Stark Young, who had
rented rooms from Elizabeth Anderson before her marriage. The letter dates
from before Faulkner knew Anderson well enough to address him as
Sherwood but after he had spun him the story of his career in the Royal Flying
Corps/Royal Air Force. The tone of self-conscious artistry suggests that he
also, and justifiably at that time, had presented himself as a poet.
A selection of other such materials appears to resolve other mysteries, some
of them made so by Collins himself. Collins's notes on his interviews with
Faulkner to Mrs. Guy Lyman, n.d. (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Letters,
inscriptions by Faulkner").
"William Faulkner to Sherwood Anderson, n.d. (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Letters,
telegrams, inscriptions by Faulkner").
"William

telegrams,

27

William C. Odiorne, for example, almost certainly are the source of his
published claim that in Paris in 1925 Faulkner already was at work on The
Sound and the Fury.2* Faulkner's own claim, in a letter published by Joseph
Blotner, that in Montreux in 1925 he and Spratling called on a Russian
princess, "daughter-in-law to a member of the Czar's family, and herself a
daughter of the last Doge of Venice," is supported in the event by Odiorne's
information that the meeting was arranged by her nephew, a New Orleans
banker named Witte, whose grandfather was a Russian count.* Odiorne
remembered her as the Princess Dolgorouki;27 another former New Orleanian, Catherine Durieux, identified the "princess" to Collins as the Countess
Felippo Caracciolo, nee Margaret Clark of New Orleans.28 Mrs. Will Parks
and Ben Wasson, on the other hand, are responsible for new questions. Mrs.
Parks, nee Carolyn Smythe, described for Collins an illustrated book of poems
that Faulkner made for her, since burned.29 Poems by William Faulkner for
Carolyn Smythe adds another lost gift book to a growing list of such work.
Wasson possibly adds a previously unknown play. In his Introduction to
Wasson's Count No Count, Collins mentions and briefly describes a play
Wasson ascribed to Faulkner.30 A photocopy of such a play, a light romantic
comedy, is in the Carvel Collins Faulkner Collection marked in Collins's
hand, "Ben Wasson told me this play was written by Faulkner in college."31
Whether or not it was remains an open question.
Often as intriguing are Collins's investigations and discoveries, in class
rooms and libraries and on his travels, relating to Faulkner's published books.
Collins's attempts to understand them, and the processes by which they were
created, are documented in the collection by a range of materials that includes
Harvard seminar papers on Faulkner; offprints of critical essays, and in
several cases whole copies of books, in galleys or on microfilm; photostats of
Faulkner source materials that Collins worked with, including, for As I Lay
Dying, whole chapters from The Cults of Greek States; and Collins's copious
notes on the poems, stories, and novels, and on publicly and privately held

"Notes on an interview with William C. Odiorne, 7-2-63 (Carvel Collins Collection, file
"Odiorne, W.C."). Collins makes the claim in his introduction to Faulkner's Mayday (Notre
Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1978), pp. 23-25.
"Joseph L. Blotner, ed.. Selected Letters of William Faulkner (New York: Random House,
1977), pp. 10-11.

"Notes on an interview with William Odiorne, n.d. (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Odiorne,

w.c.7

"Catherine Durieux to Collins, 4-18-63 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Europe, trip by
Faulkner 1925 [France]").
"Notes on an interview with Mrs. Will Parks, 11-23-63 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Parks,

Will, Mrs").

"Carvel Collins, "Ben Wasson:

A Personal Reminiscence," in Ben Wasson, Count No 'Count:

Flashback to Faulkner (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1983), p. 18.


"Carvel Collins Collection, file "Play by F: College."
28

Correspondence and interviews repeatedly turned up unex


pected bits of information, often about the factual basis of the fiction, that
Collins ran down with tenacity and enthusiasm. The most dramatic story of
this sort of material involves Sanctuary.
Collins is the originator, in a 1951 note in the Harvard Advocate, of the
story that Faulkner based Temple Drakes story on that of a Memphis woman
who was raped in the way Temple is in the novel.32 The record of his
investigations as it is contained in the collection bears that out. At the same
time, the facts Collins collected help us to understand, by comparison with
manuscripts.

fictional facts, the complex and various relationships

between the real and the

Faulkner understood them. As Collins's records show, the


imaginary
woman he calls Ruby N . was one of several people on whom Faulkner drew for
the brutalities of Sanctuary, and several characters in the novel share aspects
of her own and others' experiences across the span of the 1920s.
The basic story involves Ruby N. and her relationship with the Memphis
gangster Popeye Pumphrey. In response to a Collins inquiry, Phil Stone
wrote him in October 1951 about "the lady in Memphis," saying "I do not
think that Bill intended to put part of her story in Sanctuary."33 The woman
was probably Dorothy Ware, who knew Faulkner and Stone as "platonic
friends" at Reno Devaux's gambling clubs in the Memphis Tenderloin around
1925-1927. In fact, Dorothy Ware may well have contributed part of her own
story to the novel: she told Collins that unlike Temple but like Faulkner's
fictional Ruby Lamar she had been in love with a man shot by her father and
brothers. In an interview in August 1951, Ware said that Ruby N. once told
Faulkner a part of her life story, including an incident at a "still house" outside
Memphis where Popeye and three other men raped four women. Ware
confirmed to Collins that Popeye did not drink, was impotent, and was
"
peculiar about sex, and that the rapists had gone "to fantastic extremes. Ware
further told Collins that Ruby had experienced a religious conversion and
moved to Georgia.34 In 1953 Collins found and interviewed John "Nubby"
Foley, who had known Ruby N. and substantiated Dorothy Ware's account of
Ruby's having lived with Popeye.35 In January 1963 Collins again interviewed
Dorothy Ware, then traced Ruby N. to Florida, where he interviewed her in
person nearly forty years after she spoke with William Faulkner in a Memphis
nightclub and more than thirty after publication of the novel that conversation
as

inspired.36
3*Carvel Collins, "A Note on Sanctuary ," Harvard Advocate (November 1951): 16.

"Phil Stone to Carvel Collins,

10-28-51 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Stone, Phil").


"Notes on an interview with Dorothy Ware, 8-24-51 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Ware,

Dorothy").
"Notes on an interview with John Foley, 7-10-53 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Foley, John
["NubbyT)"Notes on an interview with Ruby N. , n.d. (Carvel Collins Collection, file "N. , Ruby").
29

The story of Ruby N. is complemented by other Collins discoveries about


the relation of fact to fiction in Sanctuary, most notably another rape. Collins's
notes on stories from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal show that in October
1919 Allen McNamara was tried in Memphis for a crime similar to Popeye
Pumphrey's and to the fictional Popeyes, and that he was convicted and
sentenced to death. McNamara was a small-time Memphis gangster, his
victim, Mary Thompson, a seventeen-year-old
orphan. The CommercialAppeal referred to the crime as "the assault revel in Wolf River Bottoms," and
called it "one of the most sensational ever committed in Shelby County."
According to the summation by his lawyer, McNamara attempted to force
Mary Thompson to perform "an unnatural act," she refused, and "this was the
cause of the trouble." Details were "unprintable," but descriptions of the trial
proceedings in the Commercial-Appeal suggest their close similarity to the
Lee Goodwin trial in Faulkner's novel. Asked by the prosecution, "What did
he do," Mary Thompson "hung her head. When finally she answered, men,
too, hung their heads. It is doubtful whether such an answer has ever gone
into a criminal court record even in Shelby County." Unlike the fictional
Goodwin trial, where Horace Benbow virtually abandons his innocent client
in the face of Temple's testimony, McNamara's lawyer was fierce with
McNamara's victim. On the second day, the Commercial-Appeal reported,
"The crowd had gathered early expecting in its morbid way to breathe again
the disgusting air of the courtroom, made more disgusting by the terrific
cross-examination of Miss Thompson the day before by Ralph Davis,
McNamara's attorney."37 Collins was certain that Faulkner could not have
been unaware of the McNamara trial in 1919 and that when he heard the story

of Popeye from his other sources this story must have come to his mind as a
He notes, too,
episode with integral fictional possibilities.
that the fictional reality in this case in fact is a paler image of evil than the real.
From fictional women and their models to actual women important to
Faulkner, the collection is equally but likewise unevenly intriguing. Collins
met Meta Carpenter Wilde Rebner in Hollywood in 1963, well before she
published her own book, A Loving Gentleman: The Love Story of William
Faulkner and Meta Carpenter.3" Even though Mrs. Rebner's book inevitably
covers much of what she told Collins, her information to him was an important
source about Faulkner's several stays in Hollywood and is made available in
the collection from Collins's unique point of view as a Faulkner expert and
intended biographer. Like Phil Stone in some ways, Mrs. Rebner introduced
Collins to Hollywood people she and Faulkner had known, and shared with
him stories and artifacts. Collins's transcribed accounts of eight long inter
complementary

37Notes and transcriptions from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, October 1919, August 1920
(Carvel Collins Collection, file "Sanctuary novel").
^Meta Carpenter Wilde, A Loving Gentleman: The Love Story of William Faulkner and Meta
Carpenter (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976).

30

ijjc reacts
to tho shoot
ing of
Over hsr carry
the ahadow of
he sha
dow turns and
advances as the
The shadow
stops.

'

Just

y in

Tn the backonly
the lets of
:>x to about
midway up the

thighs.
Tex's
at

shadow

covers
ill 'j*l.

Storyboard for the 1933 film The Story of Temple Drake, an adaptation of William Faulkner's
novel Sanctuary. The name of the character Popeye was changed in this screen version to Mex.
HRHRC Collections.

Meta Carpenter in William Faulkner's room at the Knickerbocker Hotel, Hollywood. Faulkner is
HRHRC Collections.

taking the photograph and appears in the mirror.

views with her in 1963 cover the stages of her relationship with Faulkner in
the late 1930s and 1940s, supplemented by her information about his friends
in Hollywood,

his favorite

places and pastimes,

his reading,

his serious

writing, his movie assignments, and her sense of his relationship with Estelle.
Mrs. Rebner shared with Collins inscribed gifts Faulkner gave her: Joyce's
Pomes Penyeach; copies of Swinburne and Housman; Notes on a Horsethief;
and the corrected galleys of Absalom, Absalom!, the last of which with a still
sealed collection of Faulkner's letters to her subsequently
became the
property of the HRHRC.39 Mrs. Rebner also gave Collins a large collection of
photographs taken of her and Faulkner separately, together, and in groups,
several of which have not yet been published. Through Mrs. Rebner, Collins
met such Faulkner acquaintances as John Crown, Professor of Music at USC,
and Yetiva Moss. To Crown, Faulkner claimed not to have read Thomas
Wolfe, praised Thomas Mann, and declared that as an artist all he could ask for
"Notes on an interview with Meta Rebner, autumn 1963 (Carvel Collins Collection,
"Rebner, Meta, Mrs.").
32

file

William Faulkner's "Popeye Portrait," Oxford, Mississippi, n.d. HRHRC Collections.

"would be to put something in the world which had not been there before. "*
Yetiva Moss worked at the Stanley Rose bookstore in Los Angeles where
Faulkner spent time with what Jo Pagano, another California friend from the
1930s, characterized to Collins as a California writers colony. Whether from
Mrs. Rebner's information or by other means, Collins also turned up a
previously unknown document of considerable biographical importance. It is
a complaint for divorce on grounds of desertion,
filed by Estelle in Los
"
Angeles on 22 October 1935, and withdrawn by her on 3 December 1935.
Even in its present, temporarily incomplete state, the availability of the
Carvel Collins Faulkner Collection inevitably raises the question of whether a
"
"new, perhaps revisionist biography of William Faulkner can now be written.
The dismal examples of the recent Oates and Karl biographies, neither of
which does much more than mine Blotner's work for facts, suggest that the
next biographer will need Blotner plus something more.42 The Collins
Collection may be that something, or a part of it.
Judging from the material so far deposited at Texas, it seems certain that
adjustments will be made in some facts of Faukner's life, and in the
chronologic sequence of his work, that will tie the two more closely together
and provide a better understanding of his means and materials of composition .
It is worth remembering, however, that Collins's own correctives to Blotner
since 1974 in his introduction to Helen: A Courtship, for example have
been relatively minor adjustments, characterized by his tenacious grip on the
telling fact more than by a broad reach of understanding of a life. Without a
Collins manuscript, that might be expected to give direction to the life and
work he examined for fifty years, the collection as he left it understandably
seems to consist in large part of his putting out feelers to Louis Cochran who
published Faulkner's poems and drawings in the University of Mississippi
newspaper and yearbook in 1919-1920, to Joe and Johnny Campassi who knew
Reno Devaux in Memphis, to Phoebe Omlie whose husband taught Faulkner
to fly in the 1930s, and to scores of other people who might, just might have
known the secret something that would pull it all together. In process, it must
be said, Collins met a good many dead ends and collected a fair midden heap
of dross. It will be the task of another biographer to discover, determine, and
synthesize a collection that occasionally is dated, eccentric, even mundane,
yet richly informs some aspects of Faulkner's life and work; a collection that is

perilously thin in manuscript holdings yet impressively broad and deep in its
facts about the books and the man who made them. Moreover, the collection
"Notes on an interview with John Crown, 12-23-63 (Carvel Collins Collection, file "Crown,
Prof. John").
''Carvel Collins Collection, files "Attorneys" and "Faulkner, Estelle."
"Stephen B. Oates, William Faulkner, the Man and the Artist: A Biography (New York:
Harper & Row, 1987); Frederick R. Karl, William Faulkner, American Writer: A Biography (New
York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989).
34

is not now as might have been claimed when it was sold in 1964 the only
one of its kind.

will work extensively but not


First,
of course, Blotner must be taken
exclusively in the Collins Collection.
fully into account, both the 1974 two-volume Biography and the updated 1984
edition revised in one volume. In terms of information alone, other private
collections that have been coming into the public domain also will have to be
weighed, notably the Wisdom Collection at Tulane, the Brodsky Collection
now housed at Southeast Missouri and for some years in process of publica
tion, the Holzman Collection recently acquired by Michigan, and the
Petersen Collection announced for sale last year. The information now at
Texas that Carvel Collins so tirelessly sought and so jealously guarded is a
major addition to this list, and much more material of the sort is promised
when his estate is settled. With the others, the availability of the Collins
Collection marks an occasion for reappraisal; together they well may consti
tute the basis of significant new work on Faulkner's life and his art. What that
will require is a biographer-critic who can both reconceptualize Faulkner in
light of new and existing materials and do the work of writing left undone by
Carvel Collins.
Prospective

biographers

35

Graham Greene, from the book jacket for A Sort of Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971).
Photograph by Ottawa Karsh. HRHRC Collections.

The Status of Graham Greene Studies

By

Graham
periods,

Alan Warren Friedman

Greene's career spans both the modernist and post-modernist


though this fact is evinced in neither his writings nor the criticism it

Like his contemporaries, he depicts unheroic heroes, but his


obsessions have been with religion and politics for Greene, twin manifesta
has attracted.

tions of man's fallen state in this world rather than with language, aesthetics,

literary structures, narrative unreliability, or self-reflexivity. As a conse


the critical response to his work has been primarily thematic and
biographical; and, as Jeffrey Meyers puts it, it "has not been particularly
perceptive."1 Unlike the slightly younger Samuel Beckett, for example,
Greene has inspired few major critical thinkers or significant theoretical
speculation. One looks in vain among Greene critics for Freudians, decontheorists, or feminists; and
structionists, new historicists, reader-response
one finds only the beginnings of Marxist, post-colonial, and cultural critiques.
Graham Greene is an extremely prolific, and hence uneven, writer who is
still going strong at 85. His corpus includes some 25 published novels, a dozen
film scripts, a half dozen plays, perhaps a hundred short stories, two books of
poems, four children's books, vast quantities of literary criticism, a biography
of Lord Rochester, several books of autobiography, three books of travel
writing, numerous edited works, forewords and prefaces to others' books,
pamphlets, and interviews. Unpublished are five or six novels (some long
abandoned), extensive diaries and journals, and an estimated 50,000 letters.
The vast and growing body of writings by and about Greene resists
summary in a single essay or even book. Hence, with only occasional
exceptions, writings not in English, dissertations, and analyses of individual
quence,

'Jeffrey Meyers, ed., Graham Greene: A Revaluation (London: Macmillan, 1990), p. 1. All
subsequent references to published writings on or by Graham Greene will be supplied in the text
and abbreviated to the names of authors, the date of publication where there is more than one
work by the same author, and page numbers where the publication is longer than one page.
Complete bibliographical information is supplied at the end of the article in the section headed
"Works Cited."
37

here. This essay will survey the following: library


bibliographical and textual studies; biography and autobiography

works will be excluded


holdings;

the shape of Greene's career; central concerns such as theology and politics
the notion of the "double" or "other"; film and other aspects of popular culture
the most recent publications by and about
Greene; work in progress and work to come; achievement and stature.
The difficulty of comprehending the intricacies and overall shape of
Greene's career is compounded by the fact that his papers and related
documents are scattered among various locations and that little has been
done with them to date. The largest and most important private collections are
undoubtedly those of Norman Sherry, Greene's authorized biographer, and
of Greene himself. Sherry possesses not only all of Greene's books, but also a
vast correspondence, unpublished interviews with both Greene and numer
aesthetics and style; intertextuality;

ous others he has met during the nearly fifteen years he has spent on the
biography,

and xeroxes of all the relevant

materials he has researched.

In

addition to manuscripts, the highlights of Greene's own collection are


probably correspondence (especially with his mother) and dream diaries he
has kept since about 1967.
The major public collections

are those of Georgetown University in


Washington, D.C. and of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at
The University of Texas at Austin. The former possesses the manuscripts and
typescripts of several major works (for example, The Tenth Man, Monsignor
Quixote, and Getting to Know the General); unpublished works (for example,
"Waiting for a War" [ca. 1936]); travel diaries of Greene's visits to Viet Nam,
Kenya, Haiti, Poland, Panama, among others, but not to Mexico, which have
disappeared; a large set of letters (including correspondence with his brother,
Hugh Greene, with Edith Sitwell, and with Evelyn Waugh);2 annotated
volumes from Greene's own library; and numerous rare editions, many of
them inscribed by Greene.

The HRHRC collection contains some fifty boxes of little-analyzed manu


scripts and typescripts, including those of such major works as Brighton Rock
(novel and screenplay), A Burnt-Out Case, Collected Essays, Collected

Stories, The Comedians (novel and film), The Confidential Agent, The End of
Affair, The Heart of the Matter (corrected page proofs), The Honorary

the

Consul, The Human Factor, In Search of a Character, It's a Battlefield,


Journey without Maps, Lord Rochester's Monkey, The Man Within, The
Ministry of Fear, Our Man in Havana (novel and screenplay), The Power and
the Glory, The Quiet American, A Sort of Life, Stamboul Train, and Travels
with My Aunt. Also in the manuscript collection are numerous plays, stories,
unfinished novels, letters (including four boxes of letters Greene wrote to
Vivien Dayrell-Browning, his future wife, between 1925 and 1927), diaries,

The letters from Greene's wife


38

to him were destroyed by her after their separation.

and three boxes of appointment

books, 1957-1977. (See Wobbe, 293-317, for a


bibliographical description of the collection.) Also included are the entire run
of Greene's books, mostly first editions (in translations as well as English), and
many books about him. A checklist of work derived from the HRHRC's
collection lists only two items Judith Adamson's Graham Greene and
Cinema (1984; revised from a 1977 dissertation) and Greene's Lord Roches
ter's Monkey (1974; written ca. 1931) though Norman Sherry has culled the
collection for The Life of Graham Greene. Volume I: 1904-1939, Christopher
Hawtree for Yours Etc. Letters to the Press, 1945-89, and Charles Ramirez
Berg for an article on the filmscript of The Third Man.
Additional Greene materials are also present in several other public
libraries in the United States. The Library of Congress holdings are mainly
manuscripts relating to Greene's career in the theater, along with a full range
of secondary materials. The University of Louisville's collection consists
almost exclusively of first editions (see Robert Miller 1979); Boston College
possesses several manuscripts, the most important of which is A Sort of Life,
which was changed significantly for publication; and the McFarlin Library at
the University of Tulsa contains "a motley array [of ] 183 items . . . from
Graham Greene's personal library" (David Higdon 334 [1983]). R.A. Wobbe
(317-18) also cites miscellaneous holdings at the University of Illinois, Indiana
University, the New York Public Library, and the Library of the British Film
Institute.
Greene holdings in England are less substantial than those in the United
States. Perhaps the most important is at the Written Archives Centre of the
British Broadcasting Corporation, which contains numerous scripts of
Greene's radio broadcasts and files of correspondence relating to his talks and
interviews, script-writing, and the use of his works in BBC programs. (See
Wobbe 319.) The University of Reading possesses Greene's letters to and
from publishers, the BBC, and a few others; the University of Bristol has
editorial correspondence relating to the publication of four of Greene's books;
Oxford (Balliol College, the Bodleian Library, and Oxford University Press)
possesses a few letters and manuscripts; Cambridge holds about a dozen
letters; the University of London has miscellaneous correspondence (includ
ing two letters to George Orwell at University College); the Eton School
Library contains half a dozen letters (including two from Aldous Huxley and
one from Orwell). There are, in addition, scattered holdings at the University
of Durham, the University of Warwick, the London Times, the University of
Manchester, and the British Library.
Bibliographies of Greene have appeared early and late. William Birming
ham's "Graham Greene's Criticism: A Bibliographical Study" (1952) is an
excellent first discussion of critical approaches to Greene that contains
suggestions for future exploration. Both Maurice Beebe's Checklist "Criticism
of Graham Greene" (1957) and Jerry Vann's Checklist of Criticism (1970) are
39

compilations of secondary materials. Neil


in
Robert
Evans's Graham Greene: Some Critical
Brennan's "Bibliography"
Considerations (1963) offered the most complete primary bibliography of
Greene's writings to that date; it also includes books, articles, and reviews
about Greene. N.K. Furstenwerth's "A Check-list of Graham Greene's
Contributions to Periodicals" ends with 1970. Harry J. Cargas's "Graham
Greene: 100 Articles Through 1965: An Annotated Checklist" (1969) includes
articles selected on the basis of the "maturity of the critic's view in assessing
extensive,

though unannotated,

Greene's writings."

Gene Phillips's "Select Bibliography" in his Graham Greene: The Films of


His Fiction (1974) lists books and shorter works by Greene; more importantly,
it briefly describes film scripts by Greene and "Adaptations of Greene's
Fiction by Other Screenwriters." Quentin Falk's Travels in Greeneland: The
Cinema of Graham Greene (1984) provides fuller detail, but his chronological
appendix called "Filmography" does not separate adaptations by Greene from
those by others. Robert Miller's Graham Greene: A Descriptive Catalog
(1979) bibliographical ly describes the large collection of first editions of
Greene's works at the University of Louisville (as well as "subsequent editions
of importance and scarcity") and the collection's few letters, radio scripts, and
pamphlets. R.A. Wobbe's Graham Greene: A Bibliography and Guide to
Research (1979) is, through 1978, an excellent guide to first editions of
Greene's books, pamphlets,
and edited works; books to which he has
contributed; his contributions to newspapers and periodicals; his filmscripts;
his radio and television broadcasts; his film appearances; and his published or
broadcast interviews. Wobbe also describes several library collections (most
fully that at the University of Texas) and includes an extensive list of works
about Greene. Werner L. Rosin provides a "Summary Evaluation" of the
HRHRC collection through 1967. A.F. Cassis's Graham Greene: An An
notated Bibliography of Criticism (1981) is the most impressive and valuable
annotated guide to Greene criticism through early 1979. Richard Hauer
Costa's Checklist (1985) includes Greene's book publications and major
critical studies of his writings. A. A. DeVitis includes in Graham Greene (1986)
an extensive list of "Primary Sources" and partially updates Cassis with a
briefly annotated 92-item listing of "those books and articles about Greene
that I feel the interested reader would find most useful." Robert Davis in
Peter Wolfe's Essays in Graham Greene (1987) reviews Greene criticism of
the 1970s. Most important of all, the long-awaited comprehensive bibliogra
phy of Greene's writings, the Brennan/Redway A Bibliography of Graham
Greene, finally appeared in 1990.
The most important textual and bibliographical work on Greene's novels
has been done by David Leon Higdon, who analyzes in scrupulous detail the
variant texts of The Heart of the Matter, A Burnt-Out Case, The End of the
Affair, The Power and the Glory, and Brighton Rock. In his "Second
40

Thoughts on 'Graham Greene's Second Thoughts': The Five Texts of The


Heart of the Matter," Philip Stratford, as Higdon graciously acknowledges,
"corrects faulty assumptions in my first essay." In his "Textual Alterations in
Graham Greene's Stamboul Train," Robert Miller does similar textual work.
All future studies of Greene will begin with or at least take into account
Norman Sherry's massive and meticulous biography, a book Greene both
authorized

and feared, admires and loathes (Sherry

interview).

Seeking to

preempt biographies over which he could exercise no control, especially those


likely to be written by people he knew (since he detested Christopher Sykes's
life of Evelyn Waugh), Greene chose Sherry, whom he did not know, because
he admired the latter's pioneering studies of Conrad's Eastern and Western

Skter

feftf
,1
I

!,. k.i

*
-'-y*^
.* *
*-%V-

r"-3**M- *'

f. I

"*"

^2*fe=7ESa-'

* ** Jar ' '

I.-_. *

-f....-i

"* pi -

,'

(fr.

r^

/r,T.r*-V-

,"-'o-^-T^-

Title page and other pages from Graham Greene's 1940 draft otThe Power and the Glory: A New
Novel. HRHRC Collections.

41

worlds.3 Through tracking

Greene's

footsteps,

as he had Conrad's,

Sherry

much that Greene had long kept secret or had recast and the
biographer has exposed it with a judicious balance of candor and discretion. If
there is significant difference in what Sherry has done in the cases of Conrad
learned

and Greene, that difference lies not in him but in his subjects: he has written
exactly the sort of book that Greene should have expected from Sherry's work
On Conrad. One suspects, in fact, that Greene's reaction results less from what
has so far been published (Volume I: to 1939) than from what promises to
follow in Volume II.4 Reviewing the first volume, R.Z. Sheppard summarizes
what remains to be done: Sherry, he writes,

Greene's Africa service with British intelligence, his


with the movie business,
anti-Americanism and friendships with left-wing Latin American
leaders Fidel Castro and Omar Torrijos of Panama. One should also
expect deep penetration of the privacy that surrounds Greene's life in
the south of France, where he has lived since the '60s. A genuine
coup would be the identity of the Swedish Academy member who, as
rumor has it, blocks Greene's path to a Nobel Prize.
has yet to tackle

marital breakup, love affairs, involvements

So the best is yet to come.


Greene's ambivalence

. . .

toward Sherry's book is undoubtedly compounded by

the fact that what he had sought to head off is coming to pass: an unauthorized
biography, Drawn Swords: A Biography of Graham Greene, by Anthony

Mockler,

a nonacademic

English writer. Both Greene and Sherry have made

preemptive strikes against the book denouncing it as sloppy, badly written,


meretricious, and often in error (Graham Lord 1989) though, should it
actually appear, it will stand or fall on its own merits and on its answer to the

of whether or not the greater freedom of the unauthorized biog


rapher works at all to his advantage.5
Among the most interesting reviews of Sherry are those that juxtapose his
Greene with Greene's. Peter Hawkins writes that "Sherry's competition in his
chosen field is, alas for the biographer, the subject himself" (934). Another
reviewer in The Economist comments that Sherry
question

'According to Norman Sherry, Greene thought that Sykes had taken advantage of his friendship
with Waugh to disparage him posthumously (Sherry interview). Greene also believed that an
academic, unlike a journalist, would at least get the facts right, would be what Sherry calls "a
writer on oath" perhaps because Greene had been a journalist and not an academic.
'Its projected date of completion is 1992.
Three excerpts from this work appeared in The Sunday Telegraph of March 1989. At that time
it was scheduled to be published by William Collins in November 1989, though a threatened
lawsuit over its unauthorized use of copyrighted material has delayed and may well prevent
publication. To judge from the excerpts, Mockler's text is far less detailed than Sherry's, highly
based on little or misused evidence, and often superficial; it is not, however,
speculative,
particularly badly written.
42

Mr Greene like an old hen, worried for his health and his
In Mr Greene's own account of himself. . . the writer deals
robustly with the darker parts of his history. Mr Sherry, convinced he
is being over-brave, presents Mr Greene with tender sentimentality.
("The Man Within" 97)
fusses round

future.

Greene's

autobiographical

statements

notably Why Do I Write?

(1948),

The Revenge (1963), A Sort

of Life (1971), Ways of Escape (1980), and

have
to be recognized both as creative acts in
begun
Reflections (1990)
themselves and also as the bases for his more overtly fictive representations.
Criticism has also increasingly acknowledged that the fiction is highly
Richard Hoggart boldly asserts that "in Greene's novels we
we meet Graham Greene" (in Hynes 91-92). As
Greene maintains in numerous interviews (for example, Shuttleworth and
Raven [1953], Phillips [1969], Mewshaw [1977], Joannon [1981], Kyncl
[1984], Couto [1988], and especially Allain [1983]), the themes are identical in
both fiction and autobiography: "lost childhood," a sense of victimization,
autobiographical.

do not 'explore experience';

secrecy, depression,
"absurd

and reckless

rootlessness (Allain 20), boredom leading to numerous


trek[s]" (Sort 133), desperation ("perhaps it is only

which keeps me writing, like someone who clings to an unhappy


marriage for fear of solitude" [Sort 65]), suicide, death, sin and his conversion
to Catholicism, sex, and, increasingly, politics. Greene says: "If there are
recurrent themes in my novels it is perhaps only because there have been
recurrent themes in my life. Failure seemed then to be one of them" (Sort
desperation

217).

Numerous commentators take their cue from Greene's remark that


the creative writer perceives his world once and for all in childhood
and adolescence,

and his whole career is an effort to illustrate

private world in terms of the great public world we all share.

his
. . .

("The Young Dickens," Lost Childhood 54)

He

of his early years that "everything one was to become must have been
(Sort 15). Those early years were, as Greene
depicts them, a time of agony, of humiliation and victimization, of growing
morbidity and despondency culminating in his realizing that he is a manicto fear and distrust
depressive (Sort 128). Greene came, consequently,
innocence, and he developed, or discovered, what he called "a splinter of ice
in the heart of the writer" (Sort 188). As he says of his character Pinkie in
Brighton Rock, "hell lay about him in his infancy" (69). Greene found
consolation of a kind, when trying to win Vivien Dayrell-Browning as his wife,
in converting to Catholicism, though he maintains that "I had not been
converted to a religious faith. I had been convinced by specific arguments in
the probability of its creed" (Ways 56). The emotional groundwork, however,
says

there, for better or worse"

43

THE 'CATHOLIC WRITER'

The End

of the Affair 1951

A Burnt-Out Case
IC17UI
1961

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whhthe Catholic'label,(irecnecontinued
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anaffairbetween
a marriedwoman.Sarah,andherloverBendrix
WhenBendrixisapparently
killedinthehliu, SarahcallsonGodlo
restorehimInreturnforwhichsin-willendtheaffair
survives;
Bendrix
Sarah'slovetransforms
im Martowtyioonitir
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's uncomprehending
passionturnstohaired.

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'

From a Graham Greene poster series chronicling Greene's life and career, organized by the
British Council. Highlighted is a page of notes from Greene's Congo Journal concerning a 1959
visit to a leper colony, a research trip for his 1961 novel A Burnt-Out Case. The journal forms part
of the Graham Greene Collection at the HRHRC.

had been laid by schoolboy misery, a sense of being betrayed by a boy he had
trusted: "One began to believe in heaven because one believed in hell, but for

while it was only hell one could picture with a certain intimacy" (Roads
4). Greene quotes from "Germinal," a poem by AE, to the effect that "In the
lost boyhood of Judas / Christ was betrayed." The motif, as Sherry notes, is
central: "The Judas figure [is] a powerful character in some of Greene's finest
novels" (83), and the Manichean vision hunter and hunted, victimizer and
victim, saved and damned, good and evil is at the heart of the fiction at least
a long

through the mid-1960s.


Against critics who suggest otherwise,

Greene

has long maintained

that he

is "not a Catholic writer ['detestable term!'], but a writer who happens to be


Catholic" (Ways 77) as if he were born to the faith rather than a convert. He
adds, "I'm not a religious man, though it interests me. Religion is important,
as atomic science is.

Theology is the only interesting branch of philosophy"

("Places "4 [1964]). "It is," he insists, "the 'human factor' that interests me, not
apologetics" (Marie-Francoise Allain 150). Yet in 1945 Greene had written:

After the death of Henry James a disaster overtook the English


novel. . . . For with the death of James the religious sense was lost to
the English novel, and with the religious sense went the sense of the
importance of the human act. It was as if the world of fiction had lost a
dimension. . . . ("Francois Mauriac," in Lost Childhood 69)
Certainly the fictive obsessions in the major novels from Brighton Rock (1938)
to A Burnt-Out Case (1961) are not only religious but explicitly Catholic, and
Greene's characters are to be judged by Catholic dogma (however inter
preted): are they or are they not damned?
Unsurprisingly, then, the commonest subject of Greene criticism, whether
positive or negative, is the Catholicism of these novels and Greene's
theological beliefs. Few critics, whether well- or ill-disposed toward Greene,
have treated this subject as a piece of the puzzle, as part of a larger whole. The
reductive tendency of such critics has been to read the fiction as dogma. Only
a few of the many who applaud Greene's depiction of Catholicism can be cited
here. Harold Gardiner (1949) commends Greene's eschatological and "ideal
istic realism" and honesty. Kenneth Allott and Miriam Farris (1951) discuss
Greene's obsession with the fallen world. Marie- Beatrice Mesnet (1954) treats
Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, and The Heart of the Matter as
Catholic novels: the focus is on salvation and damnation, determinism vs. free
will, and God as an active presence in the novels. Conor Cruise O'Brien (1952)
considers Greene's treatment of grace. Bates Hoffer, Courtney Westerman,
and Matthew Welch (1979) offer a complacent and unilluminating survey of
Greene as a Catholic writer.
David Hesla (1963) argues interestingly that Greene's theological ambi
guity results from his juxtaposing Gnostic doctrines and Catholic dogma,
45

which allows him to justify suicides, among whom he numbers The Power and
the Glory's whiskey priest and Sarah in The End of the Affair. Much has been
written about Greene's playing Russian roulette, attempting suicide, and
courting danger through his journeys, but suicide and the contemplation of it
are more central in the fiction than the criticism to date indicates. There are,
for example, suicides in The Man Within, The Heart of the Matter, and The
Living Room; a pseudo-suicide pact in Brighton Rock; suicidal actions by the
priest in The Power and the Glory and Sarah in The End of the Affair; and the
contemplation of suicide by the narrator of Dr. Fischer of Geneva. Greene's
views remain unorthodox: in interviews he maintains that neither Bobby
Sands nor Jan Palach were suicides because they were politically motivated
(Joannon 164 [1981], Kyncl 3 [1984]).
George Orwell's much reprinted review of The Heart of the Matter (1948)
remains one of the most hostile and irrefutable treatments of Greene's use of
religion. "This cult of the sanctified sinner seems to me to be frivolous, and
underneath it there probably lies a weakening of belief, for when people really
believed in Hell, they were not so fond of striking graceful attitudes on its
brink" (in Hynes 107). In Brighton Rock, Greene had written a novel that
depends on its readers' believing (and caring) that salvation is possible for the
"
evil Pinkie between "the stirrup and the ground. Orwell's attack on a novel in
which a good man commits suicide for noble reasons suggests how far Greene
had come in seeming to subvert orthodoxy while continuing to share its
obsession with individual salvation.6 Echoing Orwell, John Atkins (1957)
similarly attacks Greene's moral and religious beliefs as expressed in the
fiction. Even the Pope entered the fray: "You see the Pope has condemned
you almost by name? 'Violent & immoral books cloaked in the glitter of
aesthetics.' Hard words" (Evelyn Waugh letter to Greene: March 1950, 322).
Such disparagement may have not only moved Greene away from faith, but
also prompted his increasing tendency to deny that he had ever really
possessed it.
Less partisan and more balanced treatments of the topic include Walter

Allen's examination

of Greene's

beliefs

in terms

of Augustinianism and

Pelagianism (1943) and Frank Kermode's consideration of The End of the


Affair as Greene's only "great book" because it manages "to objectify the
obsession, to embody the God-hatred in the fiction" (1962; in Hynes 133-34).
Harry Cargas (1969a), who asserts that Greene is "a Christian author who has

by . . . many Christian critics," says that his


collection attempts "to gather certain articles which treated Greene's fiction as
been maligned and misunderstood

'Evelyn Waugh, agreeing that The Heart of the Matter "poses a vastly more subtle problem"
than Brighton Rock, says that the former "is a book which only a Catholic could write and only a

Catholic can understand. I mean that only a Catholic can understand the nature of the problem"
(in Hynes 96).

46

fiction" (vii). A.F. Cassis (1973) and George Gaston (1984) offer useful
discussions of Greene's varying treatment of religion in his fiction. Bernard
Bergonzi (1979) and Roger Sharrock (1984) see Greene as having moved
beyond the "Catholic novelist" category as does Greene: "With the ap
proach of death, I care less and less about religious truth. One hasn't long to
wait for revelation or darkness" (Sort 168). Donald Costello (1959) and Joseph
Geist (1972) usefully survey the Catholic response to Greene's writings.
critics are focusing on Greene's

Increasingly,

and on broad

heterodoxy

philosophical issues. Henry Grubbs (1949) and Robert Evans (1957) were
among the first to discuss Greene's relationship to Existentialism; Gangeshwar Rai (1983) and Anne Salvatore (1988) pursue the topic at far greater length
and depth. Julian Symons (1983) and Henry Donaghy (1983b) view "uncer

tainty" or "disloyalty" two forms of radical skepticism as central to


Greene's self-representation.
It is, in fact, an attitude that pervades not only
his religious faith but also his political and social beliefs. The common thread is
scorn of systems and em