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Preliminary Summary

The collation of all the above data needs some care. Table 1 is itself by no means definitive, for several reasons. It gives no indication of the spatial distribution of variants, which are sometimes tightly clustered and elsewhere completely absent. It has wide indeterminate areas between some of the areas of relative correction and uncorrection. And it contains several random elements: fortuitous unauthoritative correction, isolated correction, light annotation, and oversight. A mechanism needs to be introduced to handle the elements of randomness. To achieve this, quite simply, a run of two or more indications of correction may be regarded as an area of correction. Such an area may be allowed to extend over single indications of non-annotation, but ends when two such opposing items occur consecutively. The same rules therefore apply for the uncorrected areas. (The terms 'corrected' and 'uncorrected' remain relative, for there may actually be any number of interim degrees.) This procedure may sound, if anything, conducive to chaos, for the number that defines a group could literally not be smaller. In fact, the exercise confirms and only minimally redefines the situation in Table 1. When the new data is included, only 17 areas of correction are established. These are as follows:

  • 29-65
  • 144-260
  • 320-398
  • 414-557
  • 585-730
  • 747-836
  • 858-942
  • 968-1004
  • 1053-1055
  • 1210-1229
  • 1388-1415
  • 1470-1615
  • 1734-1798
  • 1974-2017
  • 2307-2368
  • 2446-2517
  • 2574-2716

The areas so defined give a working basis for describing the fluctuation within the process of annotation. But the approach remains explorative, and its limitations should be obvious enough. Most crucially, the guideline areas of correction fail to distinguish between the various degrees of consistency of annotation. Table 2, which gives the aggregated data, also gives a ready indication of the variation and of those areas of the text which remain indeterminate. For example, the passage from 1800 to 2100 might best be described as lightly annotated rather than corrected or uncorrected; this area alone accounts for over half the Q1-F agreements against Q3 that occur in passages defined as relatively uncorrected. The corollary is that elsewhere the distinction is sharper than the averaged-out statistics will suggest.

Corrected areas account for 51% of the available text.[27] This nicely medial figure may be compared with the proportions of the various categories of data to fall within these corrected areas.


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{Major cuts  5/5  100% 
{A, P and R readings from F  18/20  90% 
{Manuscript misreadings  6/7  86% 
Evidence of consultation  {F restorations of Q1  64/76  84% 
{Significant relineation (positive)  5/6  83% 
{Emended profanity  22/27  81% 
{Compounded error  2/9  22% 
{Shared error  2/10  20% 
Evidence of failure to consult  {Q1 God(s) retained in F  6/32  19% 
{Uncorrected Q3 error  11/75  14% 
{Significant relineation (negative)  0/3  0% 
Individually the above figures demonstrate little. The bridging mechanism designed to compensate for randomness can enhance small groups whilst detracting from large groups where the individual items involved are of less statistical significance. But this criticism cannot apply to the comparison of corrected and uncorrected areas for the accumulated evidence for and against annotation, whereby each item is of equal value:    
Positive data in corrected areas  120/141  85% 
Negative data in corrected areas  21/129  16% 
Nor is the initial information from Table 1 unduly distorting the picture. Without it, the results are:    
Positive data in corrected areas  55/65  85% 
Negative data in corrected areas  10/54  19% 
Nevertheless Table 1 provided a remarkably useful starting point. The rest of the evidence confirms and refines what it suggested. The only way the demonstrated correlations make any sense is to suppose that the vast majority of the listed changes in F were made during a single process of annotation carried out with reference to the promptbook. Most important of all for the editor of Richard II is the irresistible association between (a) the most plausible emendations of Q1 in F and (b) other indications of annotation.