1. GENERAL HEADING: Exploring the Text
2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Using the Quarto Texts for Discussion/Written Assignments"
3. GOALS: To destabilize notions of "the" playtext; to heighten awareness of early modern composition and publishing practices.
4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: N.A.
5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Photocopies of relevant passages from variant texts or appropriate editions placed on reserve in the university library.
6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: N.A.
7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Ask students to discuss in small groups or in their own writing such questions as the following: Should Hamlet be given his final soliloquy? Does Edgar or Albany have the last speech in King Lear, and what difference does it make? Discuss the benefits and challenges of performing the different playtexts of Hamlet. Make a case for the performance of the Q1-only elements such as the Gertrude/Horatio scene in Act 4; the inclusion of Ophelia's lute; the Ghost's nightgown in the closet scene; both Laertes and Hamlet leaping into Ophelia's grave. Should Gertrude or Horatio be given the line "Let her come in"?
8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Editorial choices; relation of page to stage; textual scholarship and performance practice.
9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Alan Dessen
10. ADDITIONAL READING: Paul Bertram and Bernice W. Kliman, eds. The Three-Text Hamlet: Parallel Texts of the First and Second Quartos and First Folio (NY: AMS Press, 1991); Rene Weis, ed. King Lear: A Parallel Text Edition (London: Longman, 1993).
11. VARIATIONS: Create your own.