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F1 sig.T4v was set by compositor B. Knowledge of the First Folio's compositors and their characteristics has advanced considerably since Fredson Bowers, following Alice Walker's lead, wrote that "B was . . . slapdash, . . . prone to omit words, and also to alter his text both through memorial failure and his attempts to improve it."[21] Paul Werstine's two major studies[22] have shown that B's error- ridden work on 1 Henry 4 is untypical: in the six Folio plays which B set from largely uncorrected printed copy the errors are neither as many nor as serious as Walker's study, based only on B's performance in 1 Henry 4, supposed.[23] In the 2360 lines which he set in the six plays studied by Werstine (Ado, LLL, MND, MV, TA, R&J,) B made 169 errors (this figure, and the following, are Werstine's). Of the forty-seven literal changes, thirteen are probably "legitimate corrections of error," thus reducing the total of literal changes to thirty-four (literal errors are, as Werstine explains, the least serious, because they are often easily corrected: for example, "nine of those listed result in obvious nonsense in the context"[24] ). Of the fifty-nine substitutions, six have been generally accepted by editors and two are probably the result of censorship, thus reducing the total to fifty-one (of which eight are clearly nonsense). There are eleven omissions, ten interpolations, six transpositions, twenty semi-substantive changes, and twenty-three alterations in stage directions.


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No comparable study can be made of B's levels of accuracy in The Taming of the Shrew, since, unlike the six plays studied by Werstine, the Folio provides our only text of The Shrew. Thus, only manifestly obvious errors can be detected, as when the Folio stage direction at S3v (TLN 348) introduces "Hortensio sister to Bianca" for "Hortensio suitor to Bianca." The error is probably the result of graphic confusion in Elizabethan secretary hand (suter/sister); compositors, like typists, tend to take in the overall shape of a word rather than sound out a letter-by-letter correlation. Nonetheless one must conclude that compositor B was not paying much attention to the sense of the line he was setting.

Compositor B set thirteen pages of the Folio Shrew—sigs S2v-S6v, T3r-T4v, and sig. V1r—a total of 1723 lines of type. Of these 1723 lines editors have introduced over fifty substantive emendations.[25] Ten of B's perceived errors are the result of simple misreading:[26] F "Brach" for "Breathe" (Ind.1.15/TLN 20); F "sister" for "suitor" (1.1.123/TLN 348); F "Conlord" for "coloured" (1.1.207/TLN 513); F "Hath promist me to helpe one to another" for "Hath promised me to help me to another" (mee/one: 1.2.171/TLN 738); F "Butonios" for "Antonio's" (1.2.189/TLN 756); F "do this seeke" for "do this feat" (feete/seeke; 1.2.267/TLN 839); F "we may contriue" for "we may convive" (1.2.276/TLN 849; this suggestion by Theobald has not been adopted in any edition, even Theobald's: see Textual Companion 1.2.276/802/p. 171); F "flatter'd them" for "flattered her" (4.2.31/TLN 1879); F "Take me your loue" for "Take in your loue" (inne/mee; 4.2.72/TLN 1924). Theobald's emendation of F "goods" to "gauds" at 2.1.3/TLN 858, although attractive and often accepted by editors, is not necessary: it is rejected by the two recent Oxford editions with a convincing defence of F's reading by H. J. Oliver.[27] As mentioned above, all editors alter F "Censor" to "censer"(4.3.91/TLN 2076), with the exception of the Oxford Complete Works which emends to "scissor."

One apparent error is plausibly explained by eyeskip: F "Vincentio's come" for "Vincentio come" (1.1.13/TLN 312) is probably the result of the compositor seeing "Vincentio's sonne" at the beginning of the next line.

Five probable and three possible errors are the result of omission (I bracket the omitted word or phrase): "with-holds from me. [and] Other more" (1.2.119/TLN 686); "I charge [thee] tel" (2.1.8/TLN 863); "I . . . giue


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vnto [you] this yong Scholler" (2.1.76, 79/TLN 939, 942); "it is [a] paltrie cap" (4.3.81/TLN 2066);"'tis like [a] demi cannon" (4.3.88/TLN 2073). F2 regularised the metre at 1.2.251/TLN 823 by adding an auxiliary to the infinitive: "let me be so bold as [to] aske you," although this addition seems unnecessary (the short line is neither unusual nor ineffective). At 1.2.223/TLN 792 the Oxford Complete Works conjectures (but does not emend) "Even he Biancas father Biondello" for F "Euen he Biondello," arguing that "Mention of Bianca's name seems necessary to account for Gremio's 'her', and the compositor's eye could easily have skipped from Bianca to Biondello" (1.2.223/749/p. 171). At 1.1.209/TLN 517 the Oxford editors conjecture (but do not emend) that F "sith it" should be "sith yt it" (p.171); Malone had earlier emended this metrically short line by postulating an omitted adjective: "In breefe [good] Sir, sith it your pleasure is."

Compositor B seems to insert an otiose word on one occasion (I bracket the insertion): "Were she [is] as rough" (1.2.72/TLN 639). On one occasion he presents "mistris" for "master" (1.2.18/TLN 585), presumably an incorrect expansion of the manuscript's "M.." Incorrect expansion also explains F "Lord" at Ind.2.2/TLN 154 where the metre requires "Lordship." B makes five errors in speech prefixes, possibly the result of authorial error or unclear revision in the MS copy: see Gru.[mio] for Cur.[tis] at 4.1.23/TLN 1664, Gre.[mio] for Gru.[mio] at 4.1.104/TLN 1744, Luc. for Hor. at 4.2.4/TLN 1850, Hort. for Luc. at 4.2.6/TLN 1853 and 4.2.8/TLN 1855, and Par. (for ?) at 4.2.72/TLN 1924.

Apparent errors in pronouns, verb mood and number, and adverb appear on ten occasions: F "could" for "would" (1.1.237/TLN 547); F "you" for "your" (1.1.242/TLN 552); F "at least" for "at last" (1.2.133/TLN 700; this emendation appears only in Hosley's edition[28] ); F "my" for "his" (1.2.190/TLN 757; this emendation appears only in the Oxford Complete Works); F "yours" for "ours" (1.2.213/TLN 781); F "wooing neighbors" for "wooing. Neighbour" (2.1.75-76/TLN 938); F "me" for "none" (4.2.13/TLN 1861); F "brough" for "brought" (1.1.14/TLN 313); and F "them" for "her" (4.2.31/TLN 1879). F2 changed F1 "shakes" (2.1.141/TLN 1006) to "shake" to avoid false concord, although plural subjects with singular verbs are not uncommon in the Elizabethan period.

Several miscellaneous emendations are not strictly necessary. F2 "corrected" F1's "Christopher" to "Christophero" (Ind.2.72/TLN 225)—a metrical improvement if one elides "tinker" in the same line to "tink'r," but not essential. Editors sometimes expand F "Alce" to "Alice" (Ind.2.107/TLN 264), again an unnecessary expansion. Pope's "thirdborough" for F "Headborough" (Ind.1.10/TLN 13-14) seems unhappily literal; his "it is" for F's perceived transposition "is it" (Ind.2.26/TLN 179) is likewise unnecessary, as is F2's alteration of F1's perceived transposition "wilt thou" to "thou wilt" (4.1.37/TLN 1678). The Arden edition's "you mean not her too" for F "you meane not her to—" (1.2.224/TLN 793) is not a significant improvement: F's strained sense reads logically if one accepts the problem as being in the previous


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line, where Gary Taylor's suggested expansion ("Even he, Bianca's father, Biondello"; see above: 1.2.223) smoothes any apparent difficulty. More difficult to explain is F "Soud, soud, soud, soud" at 4.1.128/TLN 1769. Oliver conjectures that this sequence of nonce words is an indication of Petruccio's humming or singing.[29] Some editors (Dover Wilson,[30] Brian Morris) emend to "food" but acknowledge that a problem remains "as to what the compositor who misread 'food' in his copy thought he was setting up";[31] however, the compositor seems untroubled by the problem of "Censor" or of "sister" for "suitor." F "heere's none will holde you: Their loue is not so great" (1.1.106/TLN 411-412) has occasioned a variety of emendations from the Q of 1631 ("there loue") and F3 ("Our loue") to Malone ("Your love")[32] and Sisson ("you there. Love"),[33] but the reading is satisfactory as it stands. Sisson emended F1 "rope trickes" to "rhetricks" (1.2.111/TLN 677-678), making Grumio's corruption of "rhetoric" more obvious, although F's malapropism seems clear as it is.

It is evident that there may be many more possible or actual errors in F The Shrew not detectable to us; and it is equally clear that several of the above "errors" are indicative more of editors' need for logic and metrical smoothness than of B's carelessness. What is of particular relevance to us is the sequence of error and difficulty on sig. T4v. Compositorial errors "tend to come in batches," notes Gary Taylor, citing the four errors in three lines of compositor A in F Macbeth, and the three errors in eight lines of compositor C in F Love's Labour's Lost.[34] The problematic reading "Censor" occurs in a passage where B's accuracy levels had dropped noticeably: he omitted indefinite articles before "demi cannon" 3 lines above (TLN 2073) and before "paltrie" 10 lines above (TLN 2066). Editors have good reason to suspect that "Censor," which has at best only strained relevance, is a mistake.

Censor is a plausible graphical confusion of Cittern, particularly if the latter were spelled Cither.[35] In LLL, the only other play in which the word appears in Shakespeare, the compositor of Q1 set "Cytterne" (sig. I2r), which may indicate the spelling he found in his manuscript copy. Like all Renaissance words, the spelling of Cittern was fluid; furthermore, almost any word ending in -er/ern was likely to be abbreviated (Cith/Cytt) with a superior anticlockwise loop for -er/ern. In setting F The Shrew, compositor B's hasty, tired, or careless eye would see a four-letter word commencing with C. He


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may have taken the concluding abbreviation loop to be a tilde indicating omission of a medial n, with the descender of secretary u or y (or possibly a hastily executed t) being mistaken for a medial long s. Even without a letter-by-letter correlation it is clear that the overall shape of the word, which is what compositors take in, could result graphically in the misreading Censor. Whether B made sense of what he saw and subsequently set, or whether he paid no attention to sense whatsoever, as in the sister/suitor error, cannot be known. Censor is the reading enshrined in F, a word which, as editors have been at pains to point out, yields no graspable meaning at all.


W. W. Greg wrote that "To be critically acceptable an emendation must satisfy two criteria: it must afford an absolutely satisfactory text, and it must explain the corruption."[36] Misreading explains the corruption in The Shrew: Cittern/Censor is a likely graphic confusion; and, as we have seen from the many references linking citterns with barbers' shops, "Cittern" provides "an absolutely satisfactory text."[37]