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The Orthography of Proper Names in Modern-spelling Editions of Shakespeare by Jürgen Schäfer
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The Orthography of Proper Names in Modern-spelling Editions of Shakespeare
Jürgen Schäfer

In recent years the question of editions has received increasing scholarly attention and there is still discussion as to which type — old-spelling, modern-spelling, photographic, facsimile or diplomatic reprint — is most appropriate for Elizabethan drama, in particular for Shakespeare.[1] In spite of the debate there is little doubt that modernized editions are still the most widely used, both by the general reader and the literary critic, and will probably continue to be so, perhaps even after the publication of the Oxford Old-Spelling Shakespeare. In these editions there is still a tendency, however, to allow editorial tradition from Rowe to Clark and Wright to outweigh the results of the new bibliography; in consequence, the principle of "full" or "complete" modernization[2] which should be their raison d'être is often affected. Even if one considers only those texts which avoid archaic forms not recognized by the OED, it is striking that there remains at least one group of words, the historical and significant names, which is never consistently subjected to the principle of modernization nor to any other editorial principle. A careful survey of these names reveals that the present textual situation can only be understood as the incomplete application of modern editorial principles in conflict with editorial tradition. Within this limited group of words it is of particular interest to examine the effects actually achieved as a result of this conflict.


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In addition to the task of differentiating characters or places, the assigning of proper names in literary works has to take into account at least two further potential functions: historical identification and association. The function of historical identification may be attributed to all those names which exist beyond the literary work as historical realities and attain their fullest significance only in this connection, primarily the character and place-names[3] of Shakespeare's histories; the function of association belongs mainly to those names based on common nouns, significant names in the broadest sense, which are used especially for the minor characters of the comedies. In some cases the two functions may be intertwined as, for example, in Shakespeare's use of the historical place-name Venice to evoke among his contemporaries the idea of stern justice. Whether they occur frequently or only once, whether they figure prominently or occur in a side remark, historical and significant names always play an integral role in Shakespearean drama and cannot be neglected without some detriment to the reader's understanding.[4] If these names are to retain the important functions of identification and association in their original clarity, they should be modernized along with the text.

The modernization of proper names constitutes a problem whose extent is amply demonstrated by the fact that no two of the scholarly editions which have been published since the Cambridge Edition agree which names should be modernized or what orthography they should have.[5] A century has passed since Clark and Wright finished their task, yet no subsequent editor has developed or consistently applied a comprehensive principle. It seems that the Cambridge editors themselves did not concentrate their attention on an area which perhaps appeared minor to them. But even if each of their decisions could be justified in the light of 19th-century scholarship, results obtained using the methods of the new — and the "newer" — bibliography make their policy in determining the spelling of proper names appear haphazard and arbitrary. Neither those few editors who have faithfully preserved the orthography of the Cambridge Edition nor the larger group who have tried to emancipate themselves from this towering influence present solutions which are convincing in all cases. Though the principle of complete modernization of historical place-names and significant


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names advocated in these pages may not find general approval, it seems necessary to examine a larger sample of the cases in detail so that the joint evidence may show the surprising degree of editorial diversity and the need to re-examine the problem on the basis of our present knowledge of the nature of the authoritative texts.


In the preface to the first edition of the Cambridge Shakespeare the editorial principles of William George Clark and William Aldis Wright in determining proper names are not mentioned but in the case of the group of historical place-names they can be established relatively easily. Over the centuries preceding editors had been following a general policy of gradually modernizing one historical name after another: as a rule each new edition retained those modernizations already documented and occasionally added a new form to the common stock. The Cambridge editors seem to have frozen the text at the stage they encountered; they neither returned to the old forms nor did they add any modernized ones. They retained, for example, the First Folio's Meisen, assumedly because nobody had modernized it, and also the uniform Poictiers introduced by Pope, which had not been revised by any subsequent editor, although the modern equivalents must have been familiar to the educated reader of their day. They accepted without comment the fact that the prosody is occasionally affected by modernization: following Rowe and Pope they changed the trisyllabic forms Marcellus and Marcellœ to the modern disyllabic Marseilles; following Reed's revision of 1803 they changed the monosyllabic Roan to the disyllabic Rouen. It is important to note this freezing of the modernization process in the Cambridge Edition because a few decades later the movement of the preceding centuries towards modernization is reversed. In this century there have been a few attempts at modernizing such forms as Poictiers and Meisen,[6] but they have been more than offset by the tendency to return to copy-text forms. Two stages in this process can be distinguished. At the beginning of the century only


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modernized forms affecting the metre were discarded: Craig's Roan and Brigstocke's Marsellis (Arden, 1904) are the earliest examples. A second stage begins with Kittredge's Frankford and Harflew where the Elizabethan pronunciation is restored although the prosody as such is not affected. Editorial tendencies of this century are very different from those of preceding centuries since the attempts to re-introduce copy-text forms have neither been generally accepted by subsequent editors, nor have they attained more than an experimental stage in any given edition. The cumulative evidence, however, points to a marked tendency to return to copy-text forms based on a reconsideration of the intricate problems of Elizabethan pronunciation.

That this new editorial attitude entails considerable difficulties should not be overlooked. Some of these are of a more practical nature, and there are some basic objections. It certainly is no light matter that the uniformity of names occurring in variant forms is put in jeopardy. Nor does it seem irrelevant that many of the resulting forms are meaningless to the modern reader without an explanatory footnote. It should also be taken into consideration that modern equivalents can offer the necessary flexibility in those cases where metrical demands might speak in favor of retaining copy-text forms. When the modern disyllabic Marseilles is used to replace the trisyllabic Elizabethan form, the use of a diacritical mark, for example, can restore the trisyllable which the metre requires.[7] If the demands of prosody can be satisfied by such an adaptation of modern orthography, the re-introduction of other Elizabethan forms hardly seems justifiable.

Apart from these questions of detail it has to be emphasized that the practice of restoring the Elizabethan forms of place-names in an otherwise completely modernized text has not been carried out consistently by any editor, nor has each Elizabethan form found its champion. The basic problem is whether this practice of re-introducing archaic forms can be raised to a reasonable and working editorial principle. It is significant that editors have rather sporadically retained the one or other old form but seem to have avoided names which would put such a principle to the test, as, for example, those names with variant spellings. Contrary to modern usage Milan is usually stressed on the first syllable in Shakespeare, a pronunciation which might be indicated by retaining a form with double -ll-. Unfortunately, we find two Elizabethan variants in the authoritative texts: Millaine (TMP, TGV, ADO)[8] and Millane (JN). Omitting for a


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moment the possibility of modernization, four editorial choices present themselves: 1) exact reproduction of both forms, 2) retention of an "accepted" Elizabethan form, 3) retention of the form preferred by Shakespeare, 4) construction of a form that suggests the Elizabethan pronunciation to the modern reader, e.g. Millan. It is obvious that the second and third choices offer no real basis for solving the problem. There is no fixed Elizabethan orthography, a condition also obtaining for foreign toponyms,[9] and it is practically impossible to determine Shakespeare's spelling preference in this case, assuming that he had one. Millaine, the more frequent form, seems to be independent of compositor, a fact which might be interpreted as pointing to a Shakespearean preference; the same form, however, might simply reflect Ralph Crane's preference since he transcribed those plays in which Millaine occurs most often. The form Millane might have its origin in the foul papers of King John, but even this would provide an insufficient basis for determining a Shakespearean preference. The adoption of the first choice would be confusing and contrary to the general principle of making proper names uniform throughout the same modern-spelling edition. A synthetic form such as Millan might prove least exceptionable, but could create the erroneous impression of an authentic Elizabethan reading, quite apart from confusing the reader as to the identity of the place actually intended.

Barring modernization it seems at best an open question whether a consistent editorial principle that is also textually satisfactory can be developed to cover the many possibilities. But even if such a principle could be evolved, it is still questionable whether place-names in their Elizabethan form are compatible with a text that is in other regards fully modernized. The argument of preserving Elizabethan pronunciation does not really seem cogent since in all other cases the phonetic development of the English language is carefully reflected. Such an argument also fails to take into account place-names whose Elizabethan orthography coincides with the modern but whose Elizabethan pronunciation was considerably different. It may be interesting for the historian of the English language that the name of the French harbor Harfleur was probably pronounced Harflew; it should be no less interesting that the capital of the Imperium Romanum was apparently homophonous with room and that Shakespeare more than once bases a


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pun on this phonetic identity. For the modern reader the form Rome no longer reflects this identity, which, thus, goes unnoted in the modern edition.

The retention of a few Elizabethan forms is apt to mislead the reader; even more serious is the undue prominence given to random samples of historical changes in pronunciation which can be profitably studied only within the context of an old-spelling edition. With historical place-names, therefore, the only feasible determinant would be whether an unmistakable identification is possible. That this question is still far from being settled in all cases was shown some years ago with the form Champaigne (1H6 1.1.60 F1) which many editors had understood as the province of Champagne and accordingly altered until A. S. Cairncross (New Arden) identified it on the basis of Shakespeare's sources as the town of Compiègne. If the identity of the historical place is beyond doubt, however, it is difficult to understand why the original forms should not be modernized in a modern-spelling edition.


In contrast to the treatment of historical place-names the guidelines used by Clark and Wright in handling significant names are more difficult to discern. Their treatment of these names may be called somewhat arbitrary even if one takes into account their general editorial policy of making the First Folio the basis of their text while regarding quarto forms and the alterations of subsequent folios, especially those of the Second, as readings with some authority. Under this policy many of the modernizations introduced into the tradition by their predecessors, notably Pope and Capell, were discarded again and replaced by readings from the quartos and folios. This process was not carried out consistently since quite a number of later modernizations were permitted to stand. The results are rather colorful. In some cases the folios eventually provide a completely modernized form which is then retained, e.g. Keepe-downe (MM Ff1-2), Keep-downe (F3), Keep down (F4), Keepdown (Cambridge). Frequently minor alterations are made silently in order to attain the modern form, but these take on an accidental character since they, too, are not consistently effected. A mute -e is often admitted or omitted, e.g. Ouer-don (MM F1), Over-don (Ff2-4) is changed to Overdone, Halfe-Canne (Ff1-2), Half(-)Canne (Ff3-4) to Half-can; Dumbe (2H4 Q), however, is retained in its Elizabethan form. Consonants are sometimes doubled, e.g. Dogbery (ADO Q, Ff) is changed to Dogberry, but Belman (SHR


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Ff) is retained. A vowel may occasionally be altered without comment, as Sugersop (SHR Ff) is changed to Sugarsop, or the alteration may be justified in a textual note: Rebick (ROM Qq2-3, Ff3-4) or Rebicke (Ff1-2) is changed to Rebeck, following Rowe iii. Forms such as Ote(-) cake (ADO Q,Ff) and Sea(-)cole (ADO Q, Ff3-4), on the other hand, are retained. Since the New English Dictionary with its helpful listings of historic variants had not yet begun to appear, a certain inconsistency was perhaps inevitable at the time; in the light of modern textual advances it is certainly no longer defensible today.

Editorial policy in subsequent editions has been marked by a general, though not unanimous, effort to modernize significant names. It seems that without a single exception modern editors have adopted all those forms modernized in the Cambridge edition; even those editors who continue to record faithfully the old forms retained in the Cambridge do not return to copy-text readings when Clark and Wright have happened to modernize them: the reader will look in vain for Rebick, Teare-sheet or Bul-calfe in modern-spelling editions of the 20th century. Here, however, the common policy ends. There is not only a distinction to be made between the conservatives and the far larger group of modernizers, it is also virtually impossible to find two editors who modernize the same names. Most remarkable is the fact that none of them has dared to carry out a consistent and complete modernization of significant names that were left in their Elizabethan or 18th-century dress a hundred years ago,[10] although in all cases substantial bibliographical evidence can be brought forward in favor of modernization, not to mention attempts prior to the Cambridge Edition which can be cited as precedents for most names.

In pleading for complete modernization it is perhaps to the point to ask whether a graphic differentiation between a significant name and its corresponding common noun or adjective was intended by Shakespeare at all. The stylistic device in which the graphic appearance of a significant name is altered slightly while its phonetic identity remains untouched is particularly appropriate for modern English, and an array of modern literary characters passes in this thin disguise before the reader; in Dickens, for example, a broad procession (Airey, Buzfuz, Claypole, Dedlock) marches through the alphabet. It seems a mistake, however, to assume such an intention for Shakespeare. In the first


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place the use of this device requires a fixed orthography which did not then exist; second, such a device can only be conceived with a reading public in mind since its intellectual charm depends upon the reader's ability to see through the phonetic spelling. Consequently, an anachronistic[11] and inaccurate impression is produced in the modern reader's mind when he is confronted with significant names in their accidental Elizabethan dress, and this impression can only be heightened when an editor retains the proper name in its Elizabethan form but modernizes the corresponding common noun or adjective. More critical are those cases in which a modern reader not conversant with Elizabethan spelling peculiarities is misled with regard to the significance of the name either because its significant character is no longer recognizable or, even more serious, because the allusion seems to be to a completely different word in modern English. It has to be emphasized that the modernization of these names has nothing to do with emendation; on the contrary, one might well ask if the occasional retention of Elizabethan forms in an otherwise completely modernized text does not assume the nature of "passive" or "contextual" emendation.

It may be asked further what authority the quarto and folio readings of significant names have and to what extent they can be expected to reflect authorial spelling. As far as "ordinary" words are concerned, we know that their spelling was largely a "compositorial prerogative"; a certain interference of the compositor's spelling preferences has to be assumed, no matter whether the printer's copy was a manuscript or a printed text.[12] Many other factors, such as the transcription by Ralph Crane, must be assumed to have already obscured the authorial spelling. There is some evidence that the forms of proper names were more carefully preserved on their way from the foul papers to the extant printed texts, but it is a question whether this also applies to significant names, which are, after all, capitalized common nouns or adjectives.[13]


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If there is no evidence to the contrary, it seems safe to assume that the significant names in Shakespeare owe their ultimate printed forms to many factors, not the least of which may be compositorial preference.

In determining the significance of a name the modern editor is no longer restricted to the tools of literary and non-bibliographical textual criticism. In some cases bibliographical methods can contribute valuable independent evidence. The following criteria are considered to be decisive in establishing the actual meaning of an apparently significant name. In addition to the internal evidence all forms of the name in the early editions (Qq, F1) must be listed by the OED as Elizabethan variants for the common noun or adjective. They have further to be shown to coincide with the orthography of the corresponding common nouns or adjectives in the early texts if they occur there. Finally, the possibility of compositorial preference has to be investigated.[14] The significant character of several proper names which may have been doubtful on the basis of internal evidence alone can be established beyond reasonable doubt by reference to bibliographical methods; the meaning of many other names can be corroborated in this way. By combining all the available evidence the last impediments to modernization, doubts concerning the significance of certain names, can be removed.

As has been mentioned, the need for modernization becomes especially critical when proper noun and common noun occur in the same Elizabethan spelling. Modernizing only the common noun produces a differentiation not intended by the author and may result in obscuring the significance of the name. In ADO, for example, the name Sea-cole occurs three times in the authoritative quarto as the name of the night watchman and the sexton (3.3.10, 12; 3.5.52); Dogberry's comment "God hath bless'd you with a good name" leaves no doubt as to the name's significance. The allusion is to coal imported by sea from Newcastle with its considerably higher heating value and price than the charcoal offered by colliers. The forms sea-cole and sea-coale seem


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to have been used interchangeably, and we find that in the Folio the name, which always occurs in long lines, has been changed to Sea-coale while the common noun continues to appear in the form sea-cole (WIV 1.4.8; 2H4 2.1.85<Q1 sea cole). Most editors have modernized the proper noun along with the common noun. The modernization of the parallel Ote-cake needs hardly to be discussed in detail since it also has been rather generally modernized. There are, however, at least two editions of this century which have modern Oatcake and Elizabethan Seacole side by side.

As with Seacoal and Oatcake there seems to be no reason why Elizabethan forms should be retained for Dumb (2H4 2.4.83) and Turf (SHR Ind.2.92). The phonetic similarity remains unaffected when the variants Dumbe and Turph are used, though the modern reader will undoubtedly see an attempt at disguise where none exists in fact. Such an impression must certainly be expected in the case of the incongruous juxtaposition of Mistress Quickly's "Master Dumb, our minister" if the Dumbe variant is retained. In the case of Peter Turf it is difficult to see why any special importance should be attached to the obvious coincidence of the copy-text form: turph (LLL 4.2.84: D<Q1 turph; AYL 3.4.44: C; CYM 5.3.14: B) and turfe (MND 2.2.41: C<Q2 turffe; H5 4.1.14: A; HAM 4.5.31: B) are used throughout the Folio without recognizable distinction and occur with equal frequency.

The graphic evidence should also be the determining factor in modernizing to Dizzy. The First Folio's Dizie (MM 4.3.11) is listed in the OED as an Elizabethan variant which is also used in the Folio for the adjective (LR 4.6.12). Both occurrences were set by Compositor B, who changed the Lear example from the Quarto's dizi. The other two instances of the adjective (1H6 4.7.11; TRO 5.2.172<Q1 dizzy) read dizzie and were set by Compositor A.[15] Though these four examples cannot be regarded as sufficient for determining compositorial preferences, there is at least the possibility that Dizie is Compositor B's preferred form and that the significance is indeed "dizzy". Semantically Dizzy may be understood either as "foolish, stupid" (OED a.1) or "mentally or morally unsteady, giddy" (OED a.4). There seems to be little support for the interpretation "gambler", a suggestion advanced in the New Arden, obviously in connection with Steevens' conjecture Dicey. The necessary prerequisite for this conclusion, i.e. that dize is an Elizabethan variant of dice, seems to be lacking: neither in the OED nor in the First Folio, where the form dice


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occurs eight times, dicers and dic'd each once, is a variant form with -z- to be found. In addition, the differentiation of the vowel sounds of dicey [ßi] and dizzy [i] at Shakespeare's time would preclude this double allusion. Such an interpretation is further weakened by the fact that Steevens' conjecture was apparently based on a misreading.[16]

The retention of Belman (SHR Ind. 1.20; F1 short line), the name of a hound, offers an example of a form which tends to lead the modern reader astray since if there is an association, it is most likely to be with the French bel. The name, however, does not refer to the beauty of the animal but rather to the bell-like quality of its voice. Similar dogs' names are not infrequent in the Elizabethan period; in Shakespeare, for example, we find Ringwood (WIV 2.1.106), whose barking causes the wood to resound. An unquestionable reference to this connotation, strange perhaps nowadays, may be found in Theseus' words when he proudly refers to the euphony of his pack, "match'd in mouth like bells" (MND 4.1.120). In addition, the F1 distribution of variant spellings for the word bell supports the interpretation "bell-man". As a common noun the word in question occurs once in the Folio (MAC 2.2.3) and is spelled Bell-man by Compositor A; the form Belman, however, was set by Compositor B. There is only one parallel compound in Shakespeare, bell-wether, which is spelled Bel-/weather by Compositor B (AYL 3.2.71), though another compositor, probably A, uses the form Bell-weather (WIV 3.5.98). The noun "bell" shows a similar distribution of forms with one -l and with double -ll. The uninflected form reads bell, irrespective of compositor, but the plural form shows an interesting variation: Compositor A always uses the form with double -ll (1H6 1.6.11; 2H6 3.1.366; 3H6 1.1.47), whereas Compositor B exhibits a noticeable preference for the form bels, which he uses four times (AYL 2.7.114; 3.3.70; JN 2.1.312; HAM 3.1.158) as opposed to his use of belles (TN 5.1.34; 2H6 5.1.3) or bells (OTH 2.1.110). Both the internal and the typographical evidence in this case give equal support to the significance "bell-man" and to the consequent modernization of the copy-text form.

Though the retention of old spellings in the above instances may produce an anachronistic impression of a conscious graphic distinction or may obscure the true significance of the name, the phonetic similarity remains unchanged. In contrast, the readings Shootie (F1) or Shooty (F2) will probably mislead the reader both graphically and


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phonetically. This significant name from Measure for Measure (4.3.15) presents one of the cases in which internal evidence alone (though this must have led Capell to suggest "Shoe-tie" originally) remains somewhat inconclusive, and additional criteria are necessary to establish the meaning beyond doubt. As Warburton's conjecture Shooter demonstrates, Pompey's reference to "braue Mr Shootie the great Traueller" gives rise to an association with bravado and shooting and may cause the reader to think of armed journeys. On the other hand, if braue is understood as "showy", Capell's suggestion Shoo-tye seems quite logical, particularly since there are many contemporary allusions to the extravagant foreign fashion of conspicuous shoe ornaments. It should also be noted that there is no parallel case in Shakespeare of a significant name derived from a verb in such a way.

In considering the bibliographical evidence it is not sufficient that both shoo and tie are listed in the OED as seventeenth-century forms; the evidence of the First Folio has to be examined in detail.[17] The common noun occurs only once (WT 4.4.591) and is spelled Shooe-tye on a page set by Compositor A; the proper noun, however, was set by Compositor B. The preferred spelling of both Compositors A and B for the uninflected form of "(un)tie" is (un)tye,[18] but Compositor B does use the form tie twice, one of these occurring on the same page as Shootie (G3a23). More important is the negative evidence that Compositor B "displays a consistently strong preference for the final -y form of all words [i.e. polysyllabic] which can vary between final -y and -ie."[19] This preference would lead one to expect the spelling Shooty in a disyllabic word derived from "to shoot", not however Shootie. The spelling of the first syllable of the name is also revealing. The plural of "shoe", except for the obsolete form shoon, appears as shooes or shoes; the uninflected form, noun and verb, always occurs in one of two variants: shooe, used eight times (TMP 3.2.22: B; TGV 2.3.13, 14, 14, 16, 22: C; LLL 1.2.159: C<Q1 shoo; H5 4.1.47: A), and shoo, used six times (ERR 3.2.101: B; MV 1.2.38: A or D<Q1 shoo; AYL 3.2.352: B; H5 4.7.137: B; HAM 2.2.229: C; LR 4.6.185: B<Q1 shoot). Of these last six examples four were set by Compositor B, who


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uses the form shooe only once in a justified line. B, thus, shows a preference for the form shoo which the other compositors do not seem to share. In the light of Elizabethan spelling habits it is, therefore, possible that Shootie means "shoe-tie"; the fact that the form was set by Compositor B makes this meaning plausible to the exclusion of the meaning "shooty". By combining the bibliographical with the internal evidence the meaning of the name can be reasonably well established, and there should be no hesitation about modernizing to Shoetie if the original sense is to be retained.[20]

Another example of those forms which give neither graphic nor phonetic clues to their original significance is the name of Don Armado's page in Love's Labour's Lost. This name occurs four times in the text and once in the stage directions in the form Moth. It was Richard Grant White who first applied orthographic criteria and established that the significance of the name is actually "mote" since the corresponding common noun, modernized to mote by all editors, is also spelled moth in the quartos and the First Folio with the exception of H5 Q3 where the form moath appears; only the plural, used once, reads moats (PER Q1 4.4.21). Further, the copious allusions to the small stature of the page unmistakably point to this meaning. R. G. White's argumentation has been generally accepted, as explanatory and glossarial notes in several editions suggest; yet the necessary consequence, that the name should be modernized along with the common noun, has not yet been effected by a single editor — despite the widespread conviction that the traditional form no longer conveys the original Elizabethan sense.

This curious phenomenon presents another aspect of 20th-century modernization policy. Of the significant names retained in their Elizabethan forms by Clark and Wright only unobtrusive ones have been modernized. All editors have avoided changes affecting a well-known character in a noticeable way, especially since this would also mean defying the tradition of the last two hundred and fifty years.[21] If a


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minor character is involved, there is not the same degree of hesitancy. An example is offered by the case of the elf in Midsummer Night's Dream with the same name as Armado's page: at least one editor has modernized to Mote though in an individual edition (Arden), thus sparing him from making the consequent change in Love's Labour's Lost. It is unfortunate that the impression of lightness, grace and minuteness which the significant name should convey in both of these instances is suggested to the modern reader by Moth rather than Mote and that the latter now seems to be inextricably connected with the biblical admonition. This change in connotative value may further explain the reluctance of editors to modernize this name though it is no secret that similar changes in connotation have affected many other words since Shakespeare's time. The fact that there is general scholarly agreement that Shakespeare intended Mote in both these plays should make modernization indispensable. The inconsistency of the prevalent policy becomes all too obvious when one considers that some editors would probably not hesitate to change both names to Mote if the Elizabethan form for both the insect and the particle did not happen to be identical with the modern form for the insect.

Unlike those names already treated in which an initial ambiguity can be removed by applying external and internal evidence, there are some names whose significant character cannot be established beyond doubt, but even in the face of a certain ambivalence the traditional forms no longer seem justified in a modern edition. Proteus' servant in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Bassanio's servant in The Merchant of Venice are good examples; their names are usually given as Launce and Launcelot. The former may be the Christian name "Lance", a short form for Lancelot,[22] or may signify "lance", the weapon or the surgical instrument (cf. OED sb.1. & 3). In order to retain this ambiguous nature the form should be modernized to Lance, which leaves the modern reader with the same choice as the original.

The name of the servant in The Merchant of Venice presents a more difficult problem. The form Launcelot is Rowe's emendation; the authoritative text (Q1) has Launcelet throughout.[23] In Pavier's


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reprint of 1619 and in the First Folio, both of which were set from Q1, the name is spelled Launcelet and Lancelet. The form Lancelot does occur once (Q2 2.2.77), but it is more than overbalanced by the approximately ninety occurrences in Q1, Q2 and F1, all ending in -et; it is, therefore, difficult not to regard this isolated instance in a derived text as a misprint. Not unlike Launce, the name may be significant and refer to the clownish witticisms of the character or it may be a contemporary variant of the Christian name Lancelot,[24] especially since it precedes the family name Iobbe. The exigencies of modern orthography, however, do not so happily coincide here as in the case of Launce/Lance, and a choice between Lancelet and Lancelot is necessary. The form Lancelot, which has been used in two modern editions,[25] precludes any allusion to "lancelet", whereas Lancelet is both closer to the copy-text form and will, in connection with the family name, undoubtedly also suggest "Lancelot". Either of these two modernized forms seems preferable to Rowe's Launcelot, which in modern usage refers exclusively to the hero of Arthurian legend, a questionable allusion in this case.


Editorial policy regarding historical place-names and significant names may go unnoticed when reading an individual play in a particular edition; on the basis of the cumulative evidence of a larger sample of names and editions, however, the surprising diversity and the changes in editorial attitudes become recognizable. From the authoritative texts to the editions of the last century an uninterrupted tradition of gradual modernization can be observed which comprises historical and significant names. The Cambridge Edition represents a turning point in this process. With historical names Clark and Wright preserved the stage of modernization which had already been attained; the twentieth century introduced the new tendency of returning to Elizabethan forms. With significant names the Cambridge editors restored a number of Elizabethan forms, both in cases where the meaning


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was obvious and in cases where the internal evidence was perhaps considered insufficient for a particular significance; twentieth-century editors have resumed the modernization process, taking the Cambridge readings as their starting point.

In regard to both modernization and restoration, the practices of modern editors can be called at best experimental, at worst inconsistent. Each edition offers a different example of a compromise between editorial tradition and a partial reconsideration of the problem. No editor has consistently applied a recognizable principle; this is also true of those who simply preserve the Cambridge readings for they are on no safer ground. The inconsistency is the same whether a single editor or many (Arden, Yale) have prepared the texts. No two editions modernize or restore the same names. Three different editors may retain — in addition to the special cases of well-known characters — only three old forms, but the three names are never identical: W. J. Craig, for example, preserves Bede, Dizie, Dumbe; Wilson has Belman, Dizie, Turph; Sisson retains Belman, Dumbe, Turph. A similar phenomenon can be observed with place-names: Kittredge has Calais, Frankford, Harflew; the New Arden reads Callice (only R2), Frankfort, Harfleur; the Revised Yale offers Callice, Frankfort, Harflew.

Modern-spelling editions have been termed "semi-popular" and it is obvious that they cannot provide the best text for the Shakespeare scholar. But they will always present the main access to the plays, both for the general reader and for many a serious student of literature. Those readers who prefer a modern-spelling edition deserve to be offered a scholarly text prepared in a way which enables them to grasp the Shakespearean meaning as fully and as directly as present-day orthography permits. In such a case the need for an editor to be faithful to his original cannot be understood as an exact replication of selected copy-text forms. Quite apart from the possibility that these may be accidental and not authorial, it must be taken into account that they change their nature in a modernized context and begin to convey impressions which no longer reflect the author's intentions. It may be tempting to preserve some Elizabethan flavor with at least the proper names, but this can only be done at the expense of clarity. The principle of full modernization, once embraced, has to be applied without exception since it is only this method, paradoxically enough, that is able to reflect the Shakespearean meaning within the new context.


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In this survey the modern editions consulted are listed in the order of their dates of publication in order to indicate possible dependencies. The following abbreviations have been used: G = Cambridge and Globe Editions; C = W. J. Craig (1892, Oxford Standard Authors 1905); A = Arden Shakespeare (1899-1924); N = W. A. Neilson (Riverside Edition, 1906; C. J. Hill's revised edition of 1942 makes no changes in proper names); Y = Yale Shakespeare (1917-1927); NC = New Cambridge Shakespeare (1921-1966); R = M. R. Ridley (New Temple Shakespeare, 1934-1936); K = G. L. Kittredge (1936); P = T. M. Parrott (1938; selection); Al = P. Alexander (1951); NA = New Arden Edition (1951-); S = C. J. Sisson (1954); RY = Revised Yale Edition (1954-); M = J. Munro (London Shakespeare, 1957). In addition, the forms preferred by H. Kökeritz, Shakespeare's Names: A Pronouncing Dictionary (1959), are included under the abbreviation "Kö". Some editions adopt the Cambridge readings in all cases and have, therefore, not been listed independently: C. H. Herford (Eversley Edition, 1899-1900); G. B. Harrison (1948); H. Craig (1951). The numbers preceding the OED variants refer to the centuries in which these forms were used (e.g. 6 = 16th century).

Name in Modernized Form  Qq, Ff Emendations Modernizations  Modern Editions 
BEAD (PEAD)  Q1: Pead  ___ 
WIV 5.5.47  F1: Bede  G, C, Y, R, M 
Theobald i: Pede  Al 
Collier i: Bead  A, N, NC, K, S, Kö 
OED: 3-7 bede 
BELLMAN  F1: Belman  G, A, N, Y, NC, R, K, Al, S, M, Kö 
SHR Ind.1.20  Bellman  C, RY 
OED: 4-7 bel 
CALAIS  Q1 (R2), F1: Callice  RY (R2, H5), NA (R2) 
JN, R2, H5, 1H6, 3H6  Rowe i:  G, C, A, N, Y, R, K, NC, P, Al, S, NA (JN, H5, 1H6, 3H6), M, Kö 
Pope i: 
DIZZY  F1: Dizie  K, P, M, Kö, NA 
MM 4.3.11  F2: Dizy  G, C, A, NC, Al 
Pope i: Dizzy  N, Y, R, RY, S 
Steevens: Dicey  ___ 
OED: 6-7 dizie 
DUMB  Q: Dumbe  G, C, N, Y, A, R, K, P, Al, S, M 
2H4 2.4.83  F1: Dombe  ___ 
F3: Domb  ___ 
Capell: Dumb  NC, Kö, NA 
OED: 4-7 dumbe 
4-7 dombe 


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ELBE  Qq1-3: Elme  ___ 
H5 1.2.45,52  F1: Elue  ___ 
F2: Elve 
Capell: Elbe  G, C, A, N, Y, K, P, NC, Al, NA, S, RY, M, Kö 
FRANKFORT  Q1, F1: Franckford  ___ 
MV 3.1.73  F4: Frankford 
Rowe iii: Frankfort  G, C, A, N, Y, NC, R, P, Al, S, NA, M, Kö, RY 
GISORS  F1: Guysors  G, C, A, N, R, K, Al, NC, S, M, Kö, NA 
1H6 1.1.61 
HARFLEUR  Qq, F1: Harflew  K, RY 
H5  Rowe i: Harfleur  G, C, A, N, Y, P, NC, Al, NA, S, M, Kö 
KIMBOLTON  F1: Kymmalton  ___ 
H8 4.1.34  F3: Kimbolton  G, C, N, A, Y, R, K, Al, S, M, Kö, NC 
Kimmalton  NA 
LANCE TGV  F1: Launce  G, C, A, N, NC, Y, R, K, Al, S, M, Kö 
Lance  ___ 
OED: 3-8 launce 
LANCELET/LANCELOT MV  Q1: Launcelet  ___ 
Q2, F1: Launcelet  ___ 
Lancelet  ___ 
Rowe i: Launcelot  G, C, A, N, Y, R, K, P, Al, NA, M, Kö, RY 
Lancelot  NC, S 
OED: 6 launcelet 
AWW 4.4.9  F1: Marcellæ  ___ 
F2: Marsellis 
Rowe i: Marsellies  ___ 
Rowe iii: Marseilles  G, C, N, Y, R, K, Al, S, M, Kö 
Marseillës  NC 
Marcellus  NA 
AWW 4.5.72  F1: Marcellus  NA 
F2: Marsellis 
Rowe i: Marsellies  ___ 
Pope i: Marseilles  G, C, N, Y, NC, R, K, Al, S, M, Kö 
SHR 2.1.367  F1: Marcellus  ___ 
F2: Marsellis  ___ 
Rowe i: Marsellies  ___ 
Pope i: Marseilles'  G, C, A, N, Y, NC, R, K, Al, S, M, Kö 
Marcellus'  RY 


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MEISSEN  Qq1-3: Mesene  ___ 
H5 1.2.53  F1: Meisen  G, C, A, N, Y, R, K, P, NC, Al, S, M, Kö [Meis(s)en] 
Meissen  NA, RY 
MOTE LLL  Qq, F1: Moth  G, C, N, A (LLL), NC, Y, R, K, P, NA (LLL), Al, S, M, Kö 
MND 3.1.148  White: Mote  A (MND) 
OED: 6-7 (?moth) 
OATCAKE  Q, F1: Ote-cake  ___ 
ADO 3.3.10  F4: Otecake  G, A, M 
Rowe iii: Oatecake  ___ 
Johnson i: Oatcake  C, N, Y, NC, R, K, P, Al, S, Kö 
OED: 4-7 ote 
PIMPERNEL  F1: Pimpernell  G, C, A, N, Y, NC, R, K, Al, RY, S, M, Kö 
SHR Ind. 2.92 
Capell: Pimpernel  ___ 
OED: 6-7 pimpernell 
JN 1.1.11  F1: Poyctiers  ___ 
1H6 1.1.61  F1: Poictiers 
1H6 4.3.45  F1: Poytiers  ___ 
Pope i: Poictiers  G, C, A, N, R, K, Al, NC, NA, S, M 
Poitiers  Y, Kö [Poi(c)tiers] 
ROUEN  F1: Roan  C, A, Y, K, RY (H5) 
H5, 1H6  Var '03: Rouen  G, N, R, P, Al, NC, S, NA, M, Kö 
SEACOAL  Q: Sea-cole  ___ 
ADO 3.3.10,12  F1: Sea-coale  ___ 
3.5.52  F4: Seacole  G, N, A, P, M 
Rowe ii: Seacoale  ___ 
Capell: Seacoal  C, Y, NC, R, K, Al, S, Kö 
OED: 2-8 cole 
SHOETIE  F1: Shootie  A, P, Al, M 
MM 4.3.15  F2: Shooty  G, N, R 
Warburton: Shooter  ___ 
Capell: Shoo-tye  ___ 
Var '73: Shoe-tye  ___ 
Var '03: Shoe-tie  C, NC (1922), Y, RY, NA 
Shoetie  K, NC (1950), S, Kö 
OED: 4-7 shoo 
OED: 7 ty 
TURF  F1: Turph  G, A, N, NC, R, K, Al, S, M, Kö 
SHR Ind.2.92  Pope i: Turf  C, Y, RY 
OED: 6-7 turph 



See the article by John Russell Brown, "The Rationale of Old-Spelling Editions of the Plays of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries," Studies in Bibliography, XIII (1960), 49-67, and the rejoinder by Arthur Brown, ibid., pp. 69-76; see also Fredson Bowers, "Today's Shakespeare Texts and Tomorrow's," On Editing Shakespeare (1966), pp. 137-179.


Cf. Alice Walker, "Compositor Determination and Other Problems in Shakespearean Texts," Studies in Bibliography, VII (1955), 9, and Arthur Brown, "Editorial Problems in Shakespeare: Semi-Popular Editions," Studies in Bibliography, VIII (1956), 19.


Only place-names will be treated in the following as representative examples of this group.


See, for example, the interesting essay "What's in a Name?" in G. Wilson Knight's The Sovereign Flower (1958), pp. 161-201.


See the survey of editions at the end of this article. Line references are to the Third Cambridge Edition, 1891-1893.


Nobody has yet modernized the form Sala which occurs in the same context (H5 1.2.44, 51) to Saale, the affluent of the Elbe, though it is unmistakably identified as such by the reference to the March of Meissen, the territory between the Saale and the Elbe in medieval times. The basis for the original Holinshed passage linking the river Saale with the area subject to Salic Law is a popular etymology deriving the adjective "Salic" from this river. However obscure the origin of "Salic" has remained to the present day, there is no question that it was first used with reference to the area of the lower Rhine and has nothing to do with the Elbe affluent. It is perhaps best to leave the name in its First Folio form since this is not an Elizabethan variant but the medieval Latin name of the river Saale.


Cf. Dover Wilson's solution, AWW 4.4.9.


The form Millain documented once seems to be due to line justification (TGV 1.1.71).


In Thomas Kyd's The Housholders Philosophie (1588), for example, the additional forms Myllain and Mylain occur. In this connection one might also question the tendency of some editors to take into account the orthography of toponyms in Shakespeare's sources such as North and Holinshed since these forms are no less accidental than those of other Elizabethan texts.


This does not hold true for the hyphenation of significant names which has to be counted among the accidentals; see the Folio readings of the names in MM 4.3.1-19. George Lyman Kittredge seems to have been the first to discard hyphenation of these names altogether except for those cases which aim at a special effect, for example, Mock-water in WIV 2.3.51. Some editors have followed his example.


One of the earliest examples of this device is perhaps to be found in the anglicized version of Every Man in His Humour. The hyphenated names Downeright, Well-bred and Brayne-worme are not differentiated from their common adjectives or noun; Kno'well, however, is already slightly disguised, and the form looks surprisingly similar to the surname Knowell listed by C. W. Beardsley, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (1901), with a seventeenth-century occurrence. The important difference, of course, is that Jonson prepared this play very carefully for his folio edition of 1616 and, unlike Shakespeare, had a reading public in mind.


See Charlton Hinman, The Printing and Proof-Reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare (1963), I, 180f., and T. H. Hill, "Spelling and the Bibliographer," The Library, 5th Series, XVIII (1963), 1-28.


If Hand D of Sir Thomas More is identified with Shakespeare, the case of Scilens in 2H4 furnishes a good example how an authorial spelling of a significant name disappears in the transmission of the text. Even in Qa the name does not always appear as Scilens; several times it has been changed by the compositor, assuming homogenous authorial spelling, to Silens and Silence. On the pages of Qb all traces of the Sc- spelling have been removed, and F1, whatever the nature of Jaggard's copy, reads Silence throughout. The assumption that the spelling of significant names occurring only once or twice was even more subject to compositorial interference is strongly supported by the evidence of the later folios.


In the following Prof. Hinman's compositorial assignments are used.


The F2 reading Dizy has to be attributed to the general change in word endings on this page (Sig. G3); see below, footnote 20.


Steevens' note in the Variorum Edition of 1803 reads "The old copy has Dizey." As mentioned above, F1 reads Dizie, Ff2-4 Dizy. Which "old copy" may have been intended does not become clear.


The New Arden editor considers part of the typographical evidence but makes no use of compositor analysis.


Compositor A: tye (TMP 5.1.253; AWW 1.3.171; R2 4.1.77; TRO 5.8.21<Q1 tie; COR 2.2.63); tie (TRO 2.3.98). Compositor B: tye (COR 3.1.314; MAC 3.1.17; 4.1.52; LR 4.2.14 <Q1 tie; ANT 2.1.23; 2.6.6, 117; CYM 3.7.15; 5.4.147; 1H4 1.2.171: B?); tie (MM 4.2.167; SHR 2.1.21).


William S. Kable, "The Influence of Justification on Spelling in Jaggard's Compositor B," Studies in Bibliography, XX (1967), 236.


Since many editors have retained F2 Shooty, it may be of interest to examine this text. The F2 compositor has rather consistently changed the -ie endings of Sig. G3 to -y, except for monosyllabic words (tie>tye a23, die>dye b56, 59, 66.) We do not know why Shootie was not altered to Shootye, analogous to tye and dye. Perhaps the F2 compositor simply followed a mechanical analogy to other polysyllables in -ie or, less likely, may have made the change consciously since ty is a seventeenth-century variant of tie. Whatever his understanding of his predecessor's form may have been, Shooty is a derived reading without authority.


The same reluctance can be observed with the name of Falstaff's filching retainer in WIV and H5; since the eighteenth century the form Nym has been used. The corresponding verb in its original meaning "take" was already archaic in Elizabethan times and had deteriorated to "steal, pilfer." The modern spelling of this word is nim, and a strong defense of the form Nym cannot be based on the copy-text since both forms occur, Nim being more frequent.


The Christian name is etymologically connected with "land" and not "lance."


The -au- spelling of Launce is also invariable in the authoritative text closest to Shakespeare's foul papers (F1). An explanation for these consistent spellings might perhaps be found in Shakespeare's autograph: Hand D in Sir Thomas More writes all phonetically similar words with the exception of flanders in the same way (graunt, comaund, ffraunc, advauntage); the single form comand (170), Dyce's reading, is no longer legible in the manuscript.


E. G. Withycombe, The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names (2nd ed., 1950), s.v. Lancelot, does not list either Launcelet or Lancelet as early spellings though he documents two very similar forms, Launceletus and Lanslet.


The parallel form Launce remains unchanged in these editions.


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