|Unless you're Spenserian enough to go to Kalamazoo (which I'm not), the conference season has come and gone. Feels like it's time to come up with some new tricks to teach this old d/bl/og. We should definitely do another reading group (any suggestions? how about someone who's dead, and therefore can't ruin our tenure cases when we insult them?). And I'd love to see more plays in that Holzknecht supplement. But who wants to go down familiar paths when you could do something completely new? Like something that started in 1849?|
We all know the hoariest of the literary studies journals, Notes and Queries. Sample made up entry, c. 1912:
Owing to the overwhelming presence of isolating verbal markers such as 'em', 'hem' 'them' and 'anthem' in addition to four incidences of 'een' alongside 'er' and 'erm' in "The World Tost at Tennis," we must hesitate to accept Mr. Cope-Hervington II's conjecture that Thomas Middleton was eating almonds at the time of the play's composition. Like the revered Countess of Pembroke, however, Middleton was quite possibly a pecan-enthusiast, as evidenced by his collaboration with Thomas Heywood on the now-lost pageant "Pecania Triumphans," which was likely commissioned by the honorable company of Barbary Nut Merchants, of whom there remains no extant record beyond the lost pageant itself. In short, the Cope-Hervingtonian hypothesis cannot stand, and we are left, at best, with guidance merely from Malone, who on this question and all others, favored hazelnuts. Further inquiry is needed &c.
Now, if this isn't the stuff that blogs are made of, I don't know what is. In fact, Notes and Queries was basically the original Blogging the Renaissance, but with paper, and standards. So, with this in mind, I suggest that we begin to offer our own version of NQ. I happen to know for a fact that my fellow bloggers stumble across useless esoterica in their endless search for True Knowledge (I also happen to know for a fact that several people consider my entire first book project to be an exercise in framing useless esoterica as True Knowledge), and I'd like to ask them to begin to share it here.
How will this be different from the EEBOnics series? Good question. Whereas the EEBOnics posts tend to follow the "Hey, look at this strange text I've found" line of discussion, a line that perhaps encourages us (i.e., me) to offer general, informal observations about one thing or another that could be, and in fact have been, refuted by people who actually know something about the texts in question, N and Q posts will be brief paragraphs about small discoveries that are noteworthy, obscure, probably new to the internet's version of public knowledge, but that don't necessarily fit into any kind of over-arching argument about early modern culture. Here's one:
Three or four years ago, I came across the following exchange between characters named Moll and Eare-lacke at a scene-break in A Match at Midnight (p. 1633):
Doesn't this look like a friendly jab at Beaumont and Fletcher? William Rowley is a leading candidate for the play's authorship ("W. R." is on the 1633 title page), and he certainly was one of Fletcher's 10,000 collaborators. But whoever wrote it, this is seems to be a prime example of on-stage playwright nudging. Intriguing!
That's it. A Note. Further inquiry is necessary, &c. Or not. Just thought it was kind of cool, and I know there's no way I will ever be able to use that information for anything other than sharing it with like-minded people, people who have made the mistake of devoting their time and energy to a field of study that leads them to the point where they can read the above lines and think, "Hm. That is not the most boring thing I have ever seen." Of course, maybe you are writing a book on playwright nudging in early modern drama. In which case... you're welcome.
I wonder... will more Notes and Queries follow this post? Inkhorn? Simplicius? Hieronimo?