Scott Shepherd

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis argues that from 1980 to 2015 the First Quarto of Hamlet had an increasingly significant influence on the texts prepared for and associated with performance. Directors, I argue, approach Q1 the text in a variety of ways, from complete rejection, through the seemingly accidental inclusion of lines and words which echo Q1, all the way to the adoption of large sections of the text and performance of the text in its own right. As the period develops, there is a perceptible increase in the frequency and variety of the ways directors use the First Quarto in text for performance.
Since its rediscovery in 1823, scholars have debated the origins of the text, arguing variously that it is a first draft, a memorial reconstruction, a ‘noted’ text, a garbled version, and a pirated copy. Few academics have investigated how Q1 influences the texts prepared for and associated with performance, however; such texts as promptbooks, programmes and reviews. Using a body of primary evidence gathered from extensive archival investigation, as well as interviews and secondary research, this thesis explores in detail the ways Q1 influenced such texts in London and Stratford between 1980 and 2015. During the 1980s, Q1’s impact was limited mainly to a small selection of theatrical tropes, and the use of lines was almost non-existent. As the twentieth century drew to a close, numerous academics questioned the critical foundations on which Q1’s rejection was based. This academic revisionism led to an increased public profile for Q1, culminating in 2006 with the Arden3’s publication of the three-text Hamlet edition which put Q1 on a par – or nearly so – with the other two texts. In parallel with the text’s increased profile, texts for performance started taking on more and more aspects derived from Q1, so that by 2015, Q1 played a far more significant role than it had in 1980. The First Quarto was by no means ‘reformed’ by the end of the period, to use Kathleen Irace’s terminology, but it becomes clear that Q1 takes a more significant role informing and influencing the texts around performance of Hamlet.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Rankin, Deana, Supervisor
  • Carson, Christie, Advisor
Award date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018

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