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Monday, 27 April 2009


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Cutting out the "comic" bits would improve much of Shakespeare. But do you dare do little bits of detailed editing to make the meaning clearer - perhaps replace an obsolete usage by a modern one? Or would that always go "clunk"?

Aha, that is my little secret, 'DM', but you won't tell anyone, will you? I often use a modern word to replace an archaic one, or one in which the meaning has changed over the years, eg:

Gon: This admiration, Sir, is much of the savour / Of other your new pranks.

I have replaced "admiration" with 'affectation' (with a little help from the editor of the Arden!) Now I look at it in detail I might consider replacing "savour" with 'flavour' - what do you think? It's not always easy because the change must not disturb the pentameter.

On that subject I do think it is time Arden, or someone reputable, produced a text with such individual word changes. It is going to happen at some time as the change in language and meaning accelerates, otherwise Shakespeare will become even more obscure than he already is to many people.

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