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Title: Q1 and Q2 Hamlet Evidence old and new : a case for a revised Q2
Author: Jolly, Emma Margrethe
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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The most widely disseminated narrative about the origins of Shakespeare’s Hamlet describes the playwright completing the second quarto (Q2) c. 1600; that play was passed to his company, divided into parts, performed, and memorially reconstructed by an actor or actors-cum-reporter(s), for playing in the provinces. This text was then printed as the first quarto (Q1) in 1603. The thesis begins by questioning how secure the evidence is firstly for the date of c. 1600, and secondly for memorial reconstruction as the explanation for the relationship of the quartos. The review of contemporary documents regarding the date shows that neither Thomas Nashe’s Preface (1589), nor Philip Henslowe’s Diary entry (1594) nor Thomas Lodge’s Wits Miserie (1596) indicate the author of the Hamlet they mention, and that Francis Meres’ oppositive style in his Palladis Tamia (1598) precludes the inference that Hamlet was omitted because it was not yet written. Together these texts leave open the possibility that the early Hamlet was by Shakespeare. The examination of the primary, underlying source of the play is more conclusive. This shows through the first three way comparison between the quartos and Les Histoires Tragiques that Q1 is closer to the French source than Q2 and that the density of echoes from the source in Q1 is approximately double that of the echoes in Q2. The comparison also offers an innovative, text-based reason for the very different scene 14 of Q1 and act IV scene vi of Q2. Further investigation shows that there is no evidence that Q1 was illegally printed, and new quantitative analysis demonstrates that the analogy of The School for Scandal’s memorial reconstruction (1779) undermines rather than supports the hypothesis of memorial reconstruction. Instead the analyses point to the priority of Q1, and offer fresh evidence for a case that Q1 represents a first draft and Q2 a revised version, which probably was indeed dated c. 1600.
Supervisor: Leahy, W. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Memorial reconstruction ; Belleforest's Histoires tragiqnes ; Thomas Nashe's preface ; Meres' Palladis Tamia ; Henslowe and Hamlet