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“Scarlet Experiment!”: The New Oxford Shakespeare and the importance of authorship

“Scarlet Experiment!”: The New Oxford Shakespeare and the importance of authorship
“Scarlet Experiment!”: The New Oxford Shakespeare and the importance of authorship
This contribution takes stock of recent editorial endeavours to expand the Shakespearean canon and discusses how admitting plays of collaborative and/or uncertain authorship slowly but steadily erodes the idea of “completeness”. The New Oxford Shakespeare serves as an important test case: instead of promoting a holistic approach to Shakespeare’s oeuvre (as championed by T.S. Eliot, among others), the editors of the new Complete Works encourage lateral reading and bolder speculation concerning various modes of collaborative and revisory authorship. As greater integration of texts once orbiting the Shakespearean canon at a “safe” distance is one of the more ambitious aims of this edition, it is perhaps unfortunate to find that some of these texts have not been included in their entirety – only the supposedly Shakespearean passages are to be found in Complete Works – and so cannot fully support the revisionist agenda. Instead, “the more Shakespeare, the better” seems to be a pertinent motto (apt also for the editorial policy universally preferring longer early texts over shorter ones). Searching for Shakespeare in the plays of his colleagues might, however, ultimately yield only limited rewards and an approach replacing a single author with a playing company as an organising principle of a Complete Works edition is proposed as a more promising way forward.
early modern drama, collaboration, revision, editing, canon, complete works
1745-0918
309-312
Boguszak, Jakub
e55ef27d-29ad-4390-889d-8e800db3a8af
Boguszak, Jakub
e55ef27d-29ad-4390-889d-8e800db3a8af

Boguszak, Jakub (2017) “Scarlet Experiment!”: The New Oxford Shakespeare and the importance of authorship. Shakespeare, 13 (4), 309-312. (doi:10.1080/17450918.2017.1406394).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This contribution takes stock of recent editorial endeavours to expand the Shakespearean canon and discusses how admitting plays of collaborative and/or uncertain authorship slowly but steadily erodes the idea of “completeness”. The New Oxford Shakespeare serves as an important test case: instead of promoting a holistic approach to Shakespeare’s oeuvre (as championed by T.S. Eliot, among others), the editors of the new Complete Works encourage lateral reading and bolder speculation concerning various modes of collaborative and revisory authorship. As greater integration of texts once orbiting the Shakespearean canon at a “safe” distance is one of the more ambitious aims of this edition, it is perhaps unfortunate to find that some of these texts have not been included in their entirety – only the supposedly Shakespearean passages are to be found in Complete Works – and so cannot fully support the revisionist agenda. Instead, “the more Shakespeare, the better” seems to be a pertinent motto (apt also for the editorial policy universally preferring longer early texts over shorter ones). Searching for Shakespeare in the plays of his colleagues might, however, ultimately yield only limited rewards and an approach replacing a single author with a playing company as an organising principle of a Complete Works edition is proposed as a more promising way forward.

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Accepted/In Press date: 23 November 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 December 2017
Published date: 2017
Keywords: early modern drama, collaboration, revision, editing, canon, complete works

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418066
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418066
ISSN: 1745-0918
PURE UUID: bf93df4c-75e3-4da2-8dac-1ba94c0c297c

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Date deposited: 21 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 21 Jul 2020 04:01

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