Moving Parts: Digital Modeling and the Infrastructures of Shakespeare Editing

Abstract

This essay asks what bibliographical and book-history perspectives can reveal when applied to digital editions themselves as artifacts in the long continuum of Shakespeare editing. What is the history of Shakespearean information architecture, digital and otherwise, and how does it take material form in the working practices of editors? To what extent does available infrastructure determine editorial theory, or vice versa? What does a basic editorial concept like precision mean in the context of technologies like XML that allow us, paradoxically, to make rigorously formal models of textual ambiguity? We approach these questions via the concept of modeling as it has developed in the digital humanities. A digital model is not merely a static representation of something but rather, in the words of computing historian Michael Mahoney, an “operative representation” with moving parts—literal and figurative—that calls for manipulation, conjecture, and play. The essay begins by considering data modeling in relation to the dramaturgical modeling practices of scenic designer Edward Gordon Craig, and then turns to the data-modeling practices evident in the working papers of three predigital Shakespeare editors (Howard Staunton, Horace Howard Furness, and Edward Capell). Like digital editors today, these precursors were forced to confront an existing model of the text; through their struggles with paper-based information architectures, they illuminate the sometimes invisible infrastructures in which editorial work takes place. The essay concludes with an examination of textual scaffolding in digital editions and considers how the information architecture of the text, while invisible to the reader, impacts how the texts can be read, analyzed, and modeled.

Moving Parts
Figure 1. Photograph of Edward Gordon Craig’s model for the final act of Hamlet, as shown in Towards a New Theatre: Forty Designs for Stage Screens with Critical Notes by the Inventor (London: J. M. Dent, 1913), plate facing p. 85. Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 1. Photograph of Edward Gordon Craig’s model for the final act of Hamlet, as shown in Towards a New Theatre: Forty Designs for Stage Screens with Critical Notes by the Inventor (London: J. M. Dent, 1913), plate facing p. 85. Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 2. Romeo and Juliet’s Act 4, scene 4, blocked using Lego Batman characters to determine how to encode entrances and exits. Image courtesy of Michael Poston. Figure 2. Romeo and Juliet’s Act 4, scene 4, blocked using Lego Batman characters to determine how to encode entrances and exits. Image courtesy of Michael Poston. Figure 3. Staunton’s corrections in his proof-copy of his photolithographic First Folio facsimile, sig. oo1v in Hamlet (see n. 36). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Figure 3. Staunton’s corrections in his proof-copy of his photolithographic First Folio facsimile, sig. oo1v in Hamlet (see n. 36). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Figure 4. Staunton’s corrections in his proof-copy of his photolithographic First Folio facsimile, sig. P1v in The Merchant of Venice (see. n. 36). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Figure 4. Staunton’s corrections in his proof-copy of his photolithographic First Folio facsimile, sig. P1v in The Merchant of Venice (see. n. 36). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Figure 5. Horace Howard Furness’s heavily annotated working copy of the Cambridge Romeo and Juliet (see n. 37). Reproduced by permission of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania. Figure 5. Horace Howard Furness’s heavily annotated working copy of the Cambridge Romeo and Juliet (see n. 37). Reproduced by permission of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania. Figure 6. Horace Howard Furness’s workbook for commentary for his New Variorum edition of Hamlet (see n. 39). Reproduced by permission of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania. Figure 6. Horace Howard Furness’s workbook for commentary for his New Variorum edition of Hamlet (see n. 39). Reproduced by permission of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania. Figure 7. Edward Gordon Craig’s illustration of Hamlet’s Act 1, scene 2 for the 1911 Moscow Hamlet, reproduced in Towards a New Theatre: Forty Designs for Stage Screens with Critical Notes by the Inventor (London: J. M. Dent, 1913), plate facing p. 81. Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 7. Edward Gordon Craig’s illustration of Hamlet’s Act 1, scene 2 for the 1911 Moscow Hamlet, reproduced in Towards a New Theatre: Forty Designs for Stage Screens with Critical Notes by the Inventor (London: J. M. Dent, 1913), plate facing p. 81. Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 8. The same scene as a wood engraving for the Cranach Press Hamlet, p. 12 of the 1930 edition (see n. 42). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 8. The same scene as a wood engraving for the Cranach Press Hamlet, p. 12 of the 1930 edition (see n. 42). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 9. Edward Gordon Craig’s Black Figures printed in the Cranach Press Hamlet, pp. 62–63 of the 1930 edition (see n. 42). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 9. Edward Gordon Craig’s Black Figures printed in the Cranach Press Hamlet, pp. 62–63 of the 1930 edition (see n. 42). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 10. A table of the plays of the First Folio, along with indications of where act and scene divisions are to be found, from pp. 7–8 of Capell’s introduction to his 1768 edition (see n. 54). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 10. A table of the plays of the First Folio, along with indications of where act and scene divisions are to be found, from pp. 7–8 of Capell’s introduction to his 1768 edition (see n. 54). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 10. A table of the plays of the First Folio, along with indications of where act and scene divisions are to be found, from pp. 7–8 of Capell’s introduction to his 1768 edition (see n. 54). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 10. A table of the plays of the First Folio, along with indications of where act and scene divisions are to be found, from pp. 7–8 of Capell’s introduction to his 1768 edition (see n. 54). Image reproduced by permission of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 11. Capell’s variant notes for Hamlet on p. 4 in his manuscript draft for Various readings [to Shakespeare](see n. 56). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Figure 11. Capell’s variant notes for Hamlet on p. 4 in his manuscript draft for Various readings [to Shakespeare](see n. 56). Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.