Enfolded Hamlet Text

Introduction to
The Enfolded Hamlet


The Enfolded Hamlet is a child born of struggle.1 When I approached colleagues about collaborating on the new variorum Hamlet project I have coordinated since 1987 (part of the series published by the Modern Language Association under the direction of general editors Richard Knowles and Robert Kean Turner), their first question was, "Which copy-text, Q2 (1604/5) or F1 (1623)?" To my response, "F1," they raised eyebrows: well, that would be daring. The main argument against the folio - that it is a text contaminated by theatrical experience - was for me the principal argument in its favor, for the contaminating actors were Shakespeare's colleagues.2 Another consideration is that new variorum texts use the Through Line Numbers (TLN) of Charlton Hinman's First Folio published by Norton Press, that is, numbers straight through the play including stage directions rather than line numbers starting afresh at the beginning of scenes. Using folio numbering makes it reasonable to use the folio text. Other arguments - among them that the folio represents a revision of the quarto text and therefore is Shakespeare's last word or, conversely, that its source manuscript antedates that for the quarto and thus represents Shakespeare's ideas before conditions forced him to revise;3 and that its capital letters and lineation furnish performance cues4 - can be used to validate or deprecate it as a copy-text. From mid-eighteenth century on, a majority of editors has preferred quartos printed in Shakespeare's lifetime, while freely appropriating corrections from the folio. Since the rise of modern bibliography in the early twentieth century, with its inferences about textual nearness to or distance from a holograph manuscript, the Hamlet second quarto has maintained its position, for its punctuation may be close to Shakespeare's own.5 Q2's punctuation is much lighter than F1's, allowing for greater flexibility in delivery. Still, putting aside the speeches found in one and not the other, the two texts are amazingly similar on the whole.

Out of the need to reach consensus, in 1989 the enfolded text was born, a compromise that has, after some years of collating, shown itself to be superior to either single text as a working document for the new variorum project. Q2 is the copy-text, but wherever a material variant occurs in the folio, it appears in the line. Curly brackets distinguish Q2-only elements and pointed brackets F1-only elements. Thus, in lines

586 . . . {from} <For> this time <Daughter,>
587 Be {something} <somewhat> scanter of your maiden presence
to unfold Q2, read all the words with no brackets and the words with curly brackets. The Q2 reading - "from this time Be something scanter of your maiden presence" - is preferred even by editors who use F1 as copy-text. To unfold F1, read all the words with no brackets and the words in pointed brackets. The F1 line - "For this time Daughter, Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence" - is milder because its command For this time is provisional and because Daughter has a softening effect. The original texts have several long s's, which the enfolded text shortens. The folio ends line 587 with a semi-colon and capitalizes "Maiden"; the enfolded text ignores these immaterial variants, while including the immaterial comma after Daughter simply because the bracket is already there.

The Enfolded Hamlet highlights material punctuation variants:

522 And you are stayed {for, there my} <for there: my> blessing with {thee,} <you;>
Theobald (Shakespeare Restored, 1726, p.25), commenting on the folio-based text edited by Pope (1723-5), endorsed the quarto punctuation, which makes "there" part of Polonius's gesture of blessing rather than an adverb describing where Laertes is awaited. Theobald emphasized the quarto punctuation by adding a dash before and after "There" and a stage direction: "Laying his Hand on Laertes's Head." The quarto, in accord with a paternal gesture, has Polonius thee Laertes. Punctuation in this line contributes to meaning.

In a larger sense, there are no immaterial variants: every spelling, turned letter, space, and punctuation mark is a material code for some purpose - providing, as Peter Blayney, Randall McLeod, and others have demonstrated, information about booksellers, print shops, and much more. Thus, by "immaterial," I mean those variants the new variorum project as a whole considers immaterial to the purpose of the edition. When other purposes dictate, readers will consult other texts. The enfolded text, I hope, will find its niche - perhaps as a reference alongside a modern edited text, perhaps in conjunction with facsimiles of the early editions or with The Three-Text Hamlet: Parallel Texts of the First and Second Quartos and First Folio, ed. Paul Bertram and Bernice W. Kliman (New York: AMS Press, 1990). Since the latter presents the whole text of the First Quarto (1603) in parallel with the other two, it provides variations in an important text altogether omitted from the enfolded text.

In addition to Through Line Numbers, the enfolded text prints signature numbers from quarto and folio on first lines for those pages, adding "+" numbering for Q2-only lines. Act, scene, line numbers from the Riverside Shakespeare appear at the tops of pages and at the beginning of scenes. The Enfolded Hamlet is a diplomatic text, with as little editorial intervention as possible. It substitutes a modern typeface, which approximates rather than duplicates quarto spacing. The double-column format used here forces some long lines to wrap and eliminates turn-unders. The numbers for every line of text, aside from their general utility, help readers see where a line wraps in the enfolded text (because its wraps are unnumbered).The text also presents obscure, misshapen, tilted and broken letters as if they were unproblematically legible. Punctuation marks do not always match italic-for-italic or roman-for-roman because a tilted roman character is sometimes difficult to distinguish from an italic character; the enfolded text straightens most tilted colons. Textual (round) parentheses are in bold to distinguish them from the smaller curly brackets. Variations in spellings of names appear, in general, once only. Sometimes a catch phrase in Q2 correctly has a speech prefix (for example before TLN 1907) that the text on the next page omits; the enfolded text, which does not include catch words, simply shows the omission. New variorum texts use corrected stop-press variants. Brackets show Folio hyphenization at the ends of lines. Some variants are more important than others, of course, which means that the enfolded text often highlights trivial differences (like hyphens) or obvious errors. If the OED has separate lemmas for variants, the enfolded text aims to include both, as in TLN 573: "Which are not {sterling,} <starling.>," with the folio's variant of the modern word sterling. Sometimes the textual history makes it useful to enfold variants that appear to be immaterial.

I have already given the text to several scholars; Ralph A. Cohen, for example, used the text for his 1995 Shenandoah Shakespeare Express production of Hamlet. By sharing the enfolded text with a wider academic community - thanks to The Shakespeare Newsletter - I hope to elicit corrections of errors and responses to the differences enfolded as material and those ignored as immaterial. For the text is still in process. It surely errs at times; perfection is an elusive goal, requiring the generous help of many.

It may be clarifying to compare the enfolded text to another conflated (composite) text based mainly on Q2, prepared for schools. The Folger edition (edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine [New York: Washington Square Press, 1992]) is especially pertinent because it includes brackets - square brackets to indicate lines (not words) found only in Q2, pointed brackets to indicate words and lines found only in F1, and half brackets to denote editorial changes or emendations (p. l). Everything about the Folger edition is meant to make it easy to read, with speech prefixes expanded and Latin stage directions translated. It demonstrates that a text with brackets is a readable text. Therefore, the use of brackets in the enfolded text should not hinder reading.

But the way the two texts use brackets is different. For example, the Folger line from Ophelia's second mad scene

Laertes Do you <see> this, O God?
contains Q2 and F1 elements (4.5.225). Turning to the textual notes one finds more of the story, for "see" is not, as the reader might expect, a substitution for a Q2 word but an insertion; "O God." is from Q2 while F1 has "you Gods?" The line in the Folger, then, mixes elements from both, the "see" and the question-mark from F1, the "O God" from Q2. Though, as here, it adopts some, arguably, material punctuation from F1 silently, the modernized text achieves without clutter its purpose of alerting readers to the fact of textual difference and editorial decision - with some choices exposed in the lines, some in the notes. On the other hand, the line in the enfolded text intends to provide all material variants within each line:
2951 Laer. Doe you <see> this {ô God.} <you Gods?>
Q2's Doe you this ô God. can be read as an accusation, Laertes's condemnation of a punishing God, while F1's Doe you see this you Gods? suggests his mournful cry to unfeeling Gods. F1 spells the first word "Do" and also has a comma before "you Gods?" - immaterial elements that the enfolded text ignores. However, the enfolded text does not blur a material distinction between Q2 and F1. The first bracketed word reveals the F1 insertion or correction; the second and third brackets the Q2/F1 difference in wording and material punctuation. While the distinction between Q2 and F1 might pass unnoticed in the rush of performance, the differences suggest shades of meaning. In making such distinctions more accessible than they are in separate texts (even parallel texts), the Enfolded Hamlet invites readers and performers to examine variants closely.

Another difference between a modern text and the Enfolded Hamlet is in lineation. Modern texts usually stagger lines to clarify verse, indenting the second half of a verse line, for example - a feature begun in the 1793 variorum. The Enfolded Hamlet maintains the quarto line and shows a vertical bar ( | ) where the shorter folio line breaks.

Some variants are difficult to enfold gracefully, but the gains seem worth the price of an occasional awkwardness. For example, the stage directions for the first court scene:

176 {Florish.} Enter Claudius, King of Denmarke, {Gertradt he} <Gertrude the> Queene,
177 <Hamlet> {Counsaile: as} Polonius, {and his Sonne} Laertes, <and his Sister O->
178 <phelia, Lords Attendant> {Hamlet, Cum Alijs}.
Unfolding these variants shows that the folio places Hamlet third in order as might be expected by his rank in this court, while the quarto places him after all the named characters with the amorphous "Cum Alijs"; the folio includes Ophelia and defines her familial position, while the quarto omits her; the quarto specifies the role of Polonius and perhaps Laertes as "Counsaile." Though it yields its information only after some effort, the enfolding shows intriguing differences between the two texts, each of which supports legitimate entrance, blocking, and playing choices.

Most differences are easier to read, encouraging interpretations that can give actors and other readers clues to an entire character: "Sharkt vp a list of {lawelesse} <Landlesse> resolutes" (115) poses a choice that reflects Fortinbras's nature: he is more commendable if he gathers about him men who are landless (and thus eager for opportunities to mend their fortunes) rather than lawless. Similarly, Hamlet's character is different if he says your rather than our:

863 There are more things in heauen and earth Horatio
864 Then are dream't of in {your} <our> philosophie, . . . .
The quarto variant is ambiguous: Hamlet may be differentiating, rather snidely, between his and Horatio's philosophy (then the stress is on your). Alternatively - as in your spirits (135), your worme (2286), your water (3360) - Hamlet disarmingly uses a colloquial your (placing the accent on philosophy) without implying a difference between himself and Horatio. The folio text has the straightforward our, which less problematically joins Hamlet and Horatio in a brotherly way.

In offering an accessible view of material differences between Q2 and F1, The Enfolded Hamlet provides a convenient backdrop for the textual history in process for the new variorum edition. And, as a text on its own, I hope it will serve a useful purpose for anyone interested in comparing texts.

Bernice W. Kliman

1 © Bernice W. Kliman. Thanks for their superb help in folding and unfolding to my colleagues on the new variorum Hamlet project: Hardin Aasand, Frank N. Clary, Jr., and Eric Rasmussen. I dedicate this text to them with affection and esteem. Remaining errors and inconsistencies are my own. Thanks also to Barry Kraft, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Amy Kraus; and Rasmussen's graduate students for help with collating; to Jeffery Triggs for the creation of the html text; and to the many scholars who have written about Q2 and F1 whom I cannot name individually. The new variorum Hamlet project is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency.

2 For a similar reason, the one-volume Oxford Edition also chooses the Folio Hamlet, and while it does not conflate it systematically with the quarto text, whose additional speeches it places in an appendix, it draws upon Q2 to modify the F1 text. See Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, William Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). See also G. R. Hibbard (The Oxford Shakespeare: Hamlet [Oxford UP, 1987]).

3 David Ward, "The King [James I] and Hamlet," Shakespeare Quarterly 43.3 (Fall 1992): 280-302, argues that Q2 represents a version later than F1.

4 Capital letters may, however, be in part an artifact of the age, which became ever more eager to capitalize nouns. And the lineation may be due more to the compositor than to the manuscript. However these features occurred, they enable modern actors to look at the text with a fresh eye, the boon of difference; for example, I might print a key word in each line all in upper case to represent an acting opportunity. While I could make no textual claims for my choice, it could nevertheless be a focus for interpretation of the line, whether to agree or disagree.

5 For clear expositions of the argument, see, for the quarto, Harold Jenkins (the Arden Hamlet, Methuen, 1981, 18-81) and, for the folio, G. R. Hibbard, 67-130.