Committing Shakespeare to Print
by David Scott Kastan is probably one of the best papers I’ve ever read on Shakespeare and his attitude to print and being an author.
And it’s FREE FOR ALL at the end of this link.
AVAILABLE are Five sessions,
READABLE in 5 min chunks,
dealing with such topics as:
Shakespeare in Print
Playwrights’ Attitudes to Print
Conditions of Publishing in Elizabethan England
Publishers and Authenticity
Authority of Historical Text
It is ironic that, although he is probably the best known author in the world today, Shakespeare himself had little or no interest in publishing his works. Less than half of the plays attributed to him appeared in print before his death, and he seems to have had no particular interest in ensuring that those which were printed accurately reflected what he had written. Consequently it is difficult to gauge the authorial accuracy of the plays which have been handed down to us.
In this seminar, based on an extract from his work Shakespeare and the Book, David Scott Kastan looks at the era in which Shakespeare’s plays were first performed and printed for public consumption. He describes a world before copyright laws, where plays were published not so much for profit but simply “because they could be”. In the process, he raises many issues surrounding the questions of authorship, authenticity and, ultimately, the accuracy of historical interpretation.
Students will benefit most from this seminar by reading it in the context of other chapters from Shakespeare and the Book, which is available through Fathom.
* Describe the publishing world of seventeenth-century London.
* Identify the factors which have impinged on interpretation of the plays’ texts.
* Compare alternative possibilities for quotations from Shakespeare.
* Assess the concept of authorship, especially in its historical context.