Printer’s Copy

There is evidence to suggest that the copy for Q was an authorial, pre-theatrical manuscript, so the textual witness may not representatively record the successful script of the Rose’s popular play. The evidence for this includes Greg’s reference to the ‘careless abbreviation’ of speech prefixes;[156] Yamada adds the ‘inconsistent nomination of characters in the stage direction.’[157] The abbreviation of speech prefixes is complicated by the use of one or two letters which might signify more than one character: for example, Catalian, Colinet, and Countess may be signified by ‘C.’, while ‘La.’ causes confusion for Labervele, Labesha, and Lavel. Yamada lists examples of speech confusions, and inconsistent entrances and exits, which further suggest that the copy used by the compositor was unlikely to have been a pre-theatrical manuscript. Allan Holaday remarks that the stage directions are inexplicit and, on occasion, do not mark the entrance of a principal character.[158] The lack of sound effects supports the theory that the copy is of non-theatrical origin.

Seven stage directions have been printed in the margins of Q. Holaday asserts that these stage directions are not Chapman’s additions, but that they must have been inserted to reduce staging errors. They may have been written in the margins of the manuscript and faithfully reproduced by the compositor. Alternatively, Chapman might have been aware of how dramatic insertions were made and copied this marginal format. He may also have been revising the ‘fair copy’ of the manuscript before delivery to the theatre, from which the prompt copy was usually made.