"No other but woman’s reason": Women on Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.006 Monday, 6 January 2014
From: Krystyna Kujawińska Courtney <
Date: January 6, 2014 at 7:00:43 AM EST
Subject: "No other but woman’s reason": Women on Shakespeare
[Editor’s Note: If anyone would like to review this book for SBReviews, please contact me with note on your qualifications. The review will need the peer approval of the SBReview Board as will the review itself prior to publication. –Hardy]
“No other but woman’s reason”: Women on Shakespeare. Towards Commemorating the 450th Anniverasry of Shakespeare’s Birth. Eds. Krystyna Kujawińska Courtney, Izabella Penier, Katarzyna Kwapisz Williams. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2013.
1. Kathryn Prince, “True Originall Copies”: Charlotte Lennox’s Shakespear Illustrated, Originality, Invention, and Eighteenth-Century Shakespeare Reception. pp.: 21-31.
2. Catherine M.S. Alexander, Shakespeare and the Unsexed Females. pp.:33-51
3. Anna Cetera, Woman, Thy Name is Embarrassment! The Princess and the Playwright. pp.: 53-64
4. Nita N. Kumar, Shakespeare is a Black Woman: African American Women Writers and Shakespeare. pp.: 65-74.
5. Giovanna Buonanno, Shakespeare and the Nineteenth-century Italian International Actress: Adelaide Ristori as Lady Macbeth. pp.: 77-86.
6. Krystyna Kujawinska Courtney, “Born Outside the Magic Pale of the Anglo-Saxon Race”: Political and Personal Dimension of Helena Modjeska’s Contribution to Shakespeare Studies. pp.:87-94.
7. Yoshiko Kawachi, Madam Sadayakko: The First Shakespeare Actress in Japan. pp.: 95-105.
8. Rose Gaby, Taking Shakespeare to the Edge of the World: Leading Ladies on Tour in Colonial Australia. pp.: 107-117.
9. Deb Narayan Bandyopadhyay, “Women of Ill-fame” and Shakespeare Performance in Colonial Bengal. pp.:119-130.
10. Lawrence Wright, “Most Fearful Hard Work”: Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Marda Vanne and the “Good Companions” in South Africa. pp.:131-149.
11. Donna Woodford-Gormley, The Woman behind The Mask: Cuban Women and Shakespeare. pp.:149-157.
12. Anna Kamaralli, Revisionism or Fresh Vision? Silence, Speech and the Female Director. pp.:159-171.
13. Xenia Georgopoulou, Shakespeare’s Magic Mirror: The Work of Raia Mouzenidou. pp.: 173-180.
14. Julie Sutherland, “Never Conquered nor Possessed”: Female Theatre Professionals Present Post-colonial/ Québécois Canadian Shakespeare. pp.: 181-192.
15. Margarida G. Rauen, On Shakespeare by Brazilian Women. pp.: 193-200
Index of Names
SHAKSPER Begins Its Twenty-Fifth Year
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.001 Wednesday, 1 January 2014
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Subject: SHAKSPER Begins Its Twenty-Fifth Year
Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers:
Happy New Year to all and welcome to Volume 25 of SHAKSPER.
Ken Steele, then a graduate student at the University of Toronto, founded SHAKSPER on July 26, 1990: http://shaksper.net/archive/1990/25-july/22-10001-shaksper-initial-message. Because volume numbers are associated with calendar years, SHAKSPER today enters its 25th year of serving the academic Shakespeare community. Many of you know the SHAKSPER story; a few have even been around from its inception. SHAKSPER began in a computing world far different from the one we know and use today. Being the 25th anniversary, I thought I would celebrate with a LONG posting—a really LONG posting—looking back at some key events of those years.
The Internet, without being too technical, can be said to have begun in 1961 when Leonard Kleinrock developed “the theory of packet switching, which was to form,” according to Walt Howe, “the basis of Internet connections.” In 1966, The Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) worked on Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) so researchers in the United States could share supercomputers. ARPANET was brought online in 1969, at first connecting four United States universities. In 1971, Ray Tomlinson invented an “email program to send messages across a distributed network”; this program became operable on ARPANET the following year. In 1973, ARPANET was connected to University College in London and the Royal Radar Establishment in Norway, creating an international network.
Throughout the 1970s, technical advances continued. In 1981, that “BITNET (Because It’s Time Network) connected IBM mainframes around the educational community (Howe),” which provided “electronic mail and listserv servers to distribute information, as well as file transfers” (Zakon). BITNET next became “gatewayed” (i.e., connected) to ARPANET, or the Internet as it was beginning to be called. What had been, according to Howe, long the domain of “computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians” was rapidly spreading across the rest of the academy. Pioneering academics started exchanging messages electronically, joining USENET newsgroups and electronic bulletin boards, and becoming members of e‐mail distribution lists as mini-computers and personal computers expanded in number and popularity. Non‐technical people progressively began using these and other developing tools: Archie, which made library catalogs accessible; WAIS (Wide Area Information Server), which indexed files into text searchable databases; gopher, which created easy to use menu systems to access files; spider, which indexed gopher menus; and a variety of others with colorful names like Veronica and Jughead.
In 1991, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) developed “a new protocol for information distribution . . . which became the World Wide Web in 1991. [ . . . It] was based on hypertext—a system of embedding links in text to link to other text” (Howe). Initially, hypertext text, as well as all Internet materials, was reachable from a prompt (C:\>_) after which commands were typed. The next most crucial step in the popularization of the Internet was the 1993 introduction of Mosaic, a graphical interface for the World Wide Web. The Mosaic-style interface changed computing completely; now anyone could “surf” the Internet with ease and without needing to know often-obscure commands or without necessarily having to type anything. The “point‐and‐click world” was born; and, as a result, the Internet and the world were changed forever.
Many early computer enthusiasts began with personal computers and connections to university servers from offices on-campus. I bought my first personal computer in 1983, frustrated with having Wite-Out all over my fingers and typewriter. I used my first computer principally for word processing. Initially being thrilled by the spellchecker, I soon began experimenting with and then adopting other applications as equipment in my ever‐expanding electronic toolbox: a thesaurus, an outlining program, proofreading and editing software, a bibliography generator, basic text scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) software, a laptop computer (Radio Shack’s Model 100), and later a notebook computer (NEC UltraLite), all of which, in retrospect, seem crude when compared to their sophisticated, contemporary iterations. During these early years for me, two items standout: getting access to the Internet (through a VAX terminal at my university office and through an Internet service provider, ISP, at my home) and using WordCruncher, a program I continue to use today that enables me to search the Riverside Shakespeare quickly and effortlessly. Getting access to the Internet and using WordCruncher afforded me a foretaste of some electronic resources that would follow—“O, brave new world” that has such wonderful technology in it.
What was to become the most radical change in my computing life happened as a result of my listening to Willard McCarty present a paper, “Humanist: Lessons from a Global Electronic Seminar,” at the 1989 MLA Convention in Washington, D.C. McCarty founded HUMANIST in 1987, the prototype of the academic “electronic seminar,” as he called it. He used Listserv©, e-mail distribution software, to deliver and archive messages so as to “foster discussion of basic problems and exchange of information among humanists world-wide, thus aiding research and strengthening the community.” I immediately joined, dutifully submitting the required biography. Soon afterwards, I participated in the seminar on using computers in Shakespeare studies at the 1990 Shakespeare Association of America Annual Conference in Philadelphia. Other seminar members as were Michael Best (founder and Coordinating Editor of Internet Shakespeare Editions), James L. Harner (World Shakespeare Bibliography Online), and Ken Steele. During the Conference, Ken shared with me his thoughts about starting an electronic conference dedicated to Shakespeare following the model of HUMANIST.
SHAKSPER began at the University of Toronto on an IBM mainframe connected to BITNET and using Listserv© software. About a dozen Shakespeareans including myself formed the core of founding members, with the membership quickly growing to twenty and continuing to rise. During the first year and a half, if my memory serves, all but one of SHAKSPER’s members, Vint Cerf (an Internet pioneer), were affiliated with colleges and universities. It would take another ten years before large numbers of non-academics joined SHAKSPER. Two years after its founding, almost all of SHAKSPER’s 293 members continued to be from academia. Commercial Internet Service Providers were just getting started in the early 1990s. The January 1, 1992, membership list of 223, for example, contains only eight addresses that ended in “.COM,” and none of these are from the Internet service providers with which we are now familiar. The remaining addresses, except for one with an “ORG” extension were Bitnet or Internet addresses from academic institutions. On February 21, 1992, I became SHAKSPER’s co-editor, at first being responsible for the fileserver. On March 25, I took over the editing of the daily submissions into the digests. On June 3, Ken decided to take a leave of absence from his graduate studies, and I became SHAKSPER’s owner, editor, and moderator.
Over the years, SHAKSPER’s membership continued to grow: 400 in October 1993, 500 in February 1994, 700 in September 1994, 1,000 in March 1995, about 1,250 in January 1997, peaking at around 1,500 after 2000, with over 1,100 members currently. The Internet had opened up rapidly and transparently with the introduction of graphical interfaces and the subsequent proliferation of commercial Internet Service Providers and free Internet e-mail services. This opening was reflected in the growth of SHAKPER’s membership.
Thousands of topics have been discussed throughout SHAKSPER’s first-quarter century. Members surely will differ about the ones they consider most memorable, but I will never forget Terence Hawkes’s response to the announcement of the As You Like It Hike performed by Equity actors at various locations throughout a forest: “We may have to abandon our annual ‘King Lear’ Cakewalk. Persuading the audience to jump off the cliff was always difficult. However, guests will continue to be welcome at the Titus Andronicus Lunch (no substitutions).” I will also not soon forget the disagreements about the appropriateness of postings about Shakespeare-related pornography, the extended discussion of A Funeral Elegy, the first mentions of “Presentism,” or the question of whether Hamlet and Ophelia had sexual relations and the responses: Louis Scheeder’s “Only in the Chicago company” and Terry Hawkes’s “The theory shared by a number of MY colleagues is that Hamlet and Ophelia had textual relations.”
In her “President’s Letter: 1993-94” in the Shakespeare Association of America Bulletin, Phyllis Rackin, mentioned a heated discussion on SHAKSPER that followed the announcement that Sam Wanamaker had been awarded a CBE for his work on the Bankside Globe: “Outraged responses from the UK provoked a series of exchanges that exposed profound differences between the political and cultural locations occupied by ‘Shakespeare’ on the two sides of the Atlantic.” This exchange was one of my most memorable threads on SHAKSPER, exploring the political dimensions of building of the “New” Globe theatre.
In the early years, another thread led me to ban discussion of the purported Authorship Question. The first authorship-related posting on SHAKSPER appeared on February 27, 1991: an announcement by Mike Ellwood of a BBC radio program that claimed that the scroll the Shakespeare figure on the statue in Westminster Abbey is holding contains a cipher that Francis Bacon was the playwright. September 20, 1991, witnessed an announcement of the competing articles in the Atlantic Monthly: one by Tom Bethell, advocating that the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays, and another by Irvin Matus, defending the traditional attribution to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon. More than a year later, Peter Scott announced the Frontline program that examined the possibility that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, composed the plays attributed to William Shakespeare. A year after this, Anthony Hatch asked whether anyone had attended that mock trial in Boston in which Shakespeare’s identity was debated. However, a sustained discussion of “Authorship” did not begin until after April 4, 1994, when John Cox posted an anti-Oxfordian limerick cycle that had been sent to him by David Bevington. Oxfordian Pat Buckridge charged that Bevington had “an interest in ridiculing the actually very powerful Oxford claim.” David Kathman and Steve Urkowitz rose to Bevington’s defense and the “Authorship” debate of 1994 was underway. The exchanges persisted unabated through October, November, and December. Dave Kathman and others continued with facts and grace to answer every assertion made by the avowed Oxfordians and those who simply identified themselves as anti-Stratfordians. I become fatigued by the demands that these posting were making on my time and patience. On December 27, 1994, I forbade further discussion of the topic on SHAKSPER.
In January 1996, SHAKSPER moved from the University of Toronto to my institution, Bowie State University, and in May I established the SHAKSPER Advisory Board. On March 15, 2001, the first SHAKSPER website, designed by long-time SHAKSPER technical advisor Eric Luhrs, became operational. In February of 2002, I moved the SHAKSPER from Bowie State University to my home and changed the domain name to shaksper.net.
From the beginning, SHAKSPER’s target audience was scholars, and Ken and I went out of our way to make the list “user-friendly” for those academics who, in those early days of computing, were not necessarily comfortable with technology. However, from its roots, we also encouraged diversity and inclusiveness: “No academic qualifications are required for membership in SHAKSPER, and anyone interested in English Literature, the Renaissance, or Drama is welcome to join us.” As SHAKSPER aged and grew, the number of daily submissions proliferated. There were an increasing number of chatty messages, messages responding to what one member had said about another member’s post that were of little, if any, interest to the list as a whole, “pet” theories about plays or poems, and flames, which for a long time did not seem to infect SHAKSPER as much as they had similar lists. It was starting to become clear that one consequence of the Internet Revolution was that a significant number of SHAKSPER’s members were not academics and many often had strikingly divergent concerns than those of the scholars. These conflicting concerns was the source of many difficulties that I, as the list’s moderator, encountered as I strove to maintain a scholarly focus in the discussions among what had become a highly diverse membership.
1995 was the year that SHAKSPER’s membership broke the 1,000 mark; it was also the year that the first of the many what-is-this-list-for questions appeared. These “purpose” questions were raised by academics who were interrogating the direction SHAKSPER had taken been taking. However, it would not be for another four years, on April 3, 2000, that in response to the increased traffic, the domination of the discussion by a handful of members, and the decline in the quality of the posts that I suggested for the first time that members “count to ten” before hitting the reply key. Two days later, I clarified this statement by writing “what I had in mind [when I made the request to count to ten] was that members would initiate a kind of self-regulation: self-moderation if you will.” After expressing my preference for maintaining an “elevated level of discourse” without ruling out “occasional humor or just plain silliness,” I continued, “My point is that I believe that the membership has as much responsibility as I do in moderating SHAKSPER.” I issued similar pleas for self-restraint over the next eight months. In the face of a small group of people dominating the discussions, as well as the increasing amount of mail and the number of hostile, acrimonious, and downright unkind exchanges, some long-time members began unsubscribing.
The problem, however, was much greater than just the level of discourse; the problem, as I began to see, was that interests of non-academics were driving list discussions. Discussions of characters as if they were “real” people flourished. Pet theories, often involving Shakespeare’s possession of esoteric knowledge or his communication through hidden codes, were advanced, refuted, and self-assuredly advanced again. Interpretations of the ultimate meaning of a particular play competed with one another ad infinitum, reappearing with regularity practically anytime that particular play was mentioned. I considered these and their ilk “essentialist” and “reductive” claptrap and would “kill” these threads when I could no longer stand them. On November 15, 2005, after I called for an end to five such threads under the SUBJECT line “Dead Horses and Closing Threads,” Holger Schott Syme responded with a thoughtful “purpose-of-the-listserv” message, which offered the following:
Hardy does a tremendous job organizing this list, investing an unfathomable amount of time and mental energy. And on occasion, his efforts pay off splendidly. But SHAKSPER is only as good as its contributors, and I can’t help feel that the way the list has been going it has moved further and further away from discussions in the field it is part of—that of the academic exploration of the works and culture of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
Unquestionably Hamlet is a play worthy of much critical attention, but its exegesis takes up an excessive amount of space on this listserv (and it is of course no coincidence that it’s usually the same 10-15 people driving those discussions). The list has many well-established figures as lurkers who only very occasionally participate in discussions, but that is not, I don’t think, a sign of academic snobbery or indifference; rather, the kinds of arguments that keep reappearing in slightly different guises on this list are simply irrelevant to the vast majority of scholars working in the field today. . . . Sadly, topics of great interest [to scholars] . . . don’t seem to have much traction around here anymore; typically, the more established “names” on the list make an appearance to answer bibliographical queries, but don’t stick around for extended discussions afterwards. . . .
I frankly don’t understand why some subjects which should be allowed to develop . . . are treated the same as issues that are clearly only of interest to an extremely self-selecting group (almost any thread on Hamlet, for instance). My main objection is that many of the latter threads incessantly go over ground covered in innumerable previous discussions, are more or less out of touch with the current state of the field, and often revolve around subjects well-treated in the existing (older) literature. On the other hand, threads such as the stage-railings one bring up issues that haven’t been discussed here before, are still considered important by at least a sub-field of early modern studies, and haven’t necessarily been treated in depth elsewhere. They may only be of limited interest to the SHAKSPER community at large, but at least they might potentially make a valuable contribution to the broader academic conversation about Shakespeare and Co. That seems to me the best we can strive for on this list, and a goal which would make Hardy’s efforts worthwhile.
On Tuesday, December 13, 2005, the SPARC 10 Unix server, SHAKSPER’s physical home for approaching ten years, died. During the eight-week hiatus between the crash of the UNIX SPARC 10 and the launch of the Linux PowerEdge 1800, I was preparing a paper for the SAA. For it, I analyzed the intellectual and social dynamics of the conference’s changing from a preponderance of academics to a nearly equal mix of scholars and non-academics. What I found was that the more diverse the membership became, the more naive, non-academic posts, often expressing “pet” theories that were preposterous to the scholars on the list, began to appear. When SHAKSPER came back online in February, I resolved, in an effort to regain the academic focus of the early days of the list, to become a more active moderator and only to post messages that I believe were of interest to the academic community of Shakespeare scholars. I also came up with the Roundtable Discussions and the SBReviews (SHAKSPER Book Reviews) projects to further the scholarly emphasis of the list.
In early 2011, I accepted the invitation of the multitalented Ron Severdia to design and host a new SHAKSPER website. Ron is an actor, the founder of PlayShakespeare.com, the creator of a wonderful Shakespeare iPhone, iPad app, the co-author of the O’Reilly publication Using Joomla: Building Powerful and Efficient Web Sites, the accomplished, award-winning web designer, and creative director of Kontent Design. In late April of 2011, SHAKSPER’s new website became operational and I undertook a different method for my composing and distributing SHAKSPER mailings. Ron Severdia designed the new site (SHAKSPER.net) in Joomla, an open-source content management system (CMS) and application framework.
Over the years, SHAKSPER members have joined from about seventy countries. These members include prominent Shakespearean academics and theater practitioners, and students and teachers from across the educational spectrum, as well as other interested participants. The SHAKSPER homepage concisely describes the conference:
SHAKSPER, now in its twenty-fifth year of serving the academic community, is an edited and moderated, international, e-mail distribution list for discussion among Shakespearean scholars, researchers, instructors, students, and anyone sharing their academic interests and concerns. In addition to regular mailings to members, anyone can use the Internet to access the archives and other SHAKSPER materials from the SHAKSPER website shaksper.net. SHAKSPER strives to emphasize the scholarly by providing the opportunity for the formal exchange of ideas through queries and responses regarding literary, critical, textual, theoretical, and performative topics and issues. For readers’ convenience, these messages are edited and grouped in separate digests according to topic, and then e-mailed to subscribers in a daily compilation digest with a table of contents for ease of reading. Announcements of conferences, of calls for papers, of seminars, of lectures, of symposiums, of job openings, of the publication of books, of the availability of online and print articles, of Internet databases and resources, of journal contents, of festivals, and of academic programs of study are a regular features as are reviews of scholarly books, of past and present theatrical productions, and of Shakespeare and Shakespeare-inspired films—in addition to “popular” culture references to Shakespeare or his works. SHAKSPER also provides occasion for spontaneous informal discussion, eavesdropping, peer review, and a sense of belonging to a worldwide scholarly community. The SHAKSPER web site has a number of special features, including periodic Roundtable discussions, concentrating on significant topics derived from issues of current interest in the discipline. SBReviews, highlights book reviews of books vetted by the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel and reviewed by peers selected by the Panel. These reviews first are distributed as regular digests and then are mounted in the Scholarly Resources section of the SHAKSPER website.
I encourage SHAKSPER subscribers to share their highlights of SHAKSPER’s first 25 years, and I also welcome any ideas the subscribers might have for improving or changing SHAKSPER.
Organizations periodically require new members to re-energize themselves. If you find SHAKSPER useful, please recommend it to your colleagues, students, and friends. Information about subscribing can be found here: http://shaksper.net/contact. Further information about the list itself is here: http://shaksper.net/about/general-information.
For this reflection, I have borrowed extensively from three of my papers:
Cook, Hardy M. “Behind the Scenes with SHAKSPER: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference.” College Literature 36, no. 1 (2009): 105-20. Available at Behind the Scenes with SHAKSPER.
---. “Shakespeare on the Internet.” Shakespeare in the Media: From the Globe Theatre to the World Wide Web. Second Edition. Eds. Stefani Brusberg-Kiermeier and Jörg Helbig. Berlin; Bern; Bruxelles; New York; Oxford; Wien: Peter Lang, 2009. (Second Edition online at SHAKSPER.net).
---. “SHAKSPER: An Academic Discussion List.” Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. 2.2. Winter/Fall 2006. <http://lachesis.english.uga.edu/cocoon/borrowers/>
I look forward with confidence to a healthy future for SHAKSPER.
Best wishes for the New Year,
PS: Donations to support SHAKSPER can be made through the link on every page of the SHAKSPER website: http://shaksper.net.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0575 Monday, 30 December 2013
From: John Cox <
Date: December 29, 2013 at 4:39:49 PM EST
Subject: Reg Foakes
I’m sorry to report the news I’ve just received that Reg Foakes died the day before Christmas. He was ninety years old. He died peacefully at his home in Stratford.
He has been a first-rate teacher, critic, and editor of Shakespeare for many decades.
Early Theatre 16.2 (2013)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0572 Thursday, 26 December 2013
From: Helen Ostovich <
Date: December 23, 2013 at 6:27:38 PM EST
Subject: Early Theatre 16.2 (2013)
The latest issue of Early Theatre was mailed out at the beginning of December. The online copy for subscribers will be available shortly. Subscriptions can be ordered online at
For any problems receiving hard copy or accessing internet copy, contact the editor in January,
Announcement of Essay Prize Winners for volumes 14 and 15
Procula’s Civic Body and Pilate’s Masculinity Crisis in the York Cycle’s ‘Christ Before Pilate 1: The Dream of Pilate’s Wife'
Aural Space, Sonorous Presence, and the Performance of Christian Community in the Chester Shepherds’ Play
Andrew J. Albin
Advertising Status and Legitimacy: or, Why Did Henry VIII’s Queens and Children Patronize Travelling Performers?
James H. Forse
Theatre and/as Witchcraft: A Reading of The Late Lancashire Witches (1634)
‘Wanton Females of All Sorts’: Spectatorship in The Antipodes
‘For now hath time made me his numbering clock’: Shakespeare’s Jacquemarts
Wendy Beth Hyman
Cupid’s Grand Polititian (1657)
Issues in Review
New Approaches to Earlier Tudor Drama
Contributing Editor: Erin E. Kelly
Introduction: Why Attend to Earlier Tudor Drama
Erin E. Kelly
John Rastell’s London Stage: Reconstructing Repertory and Collaborative Practice
Ecocritical Heywood and The Play of the Weather
New Contexts for Early Tudor Plays: William Briton, an Early Reader of Gorboduc
‘To see the Playes of Theatre newe wrought’: Electronic Editions and Early Tudor Drama
Brett D. Hirsch
Dr H M Ostovich <
Editor, Early Theatre <http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/earlytheatre/>
Professor Emeritus, English and Cultural Studies
Hamilton ON L8S 4L9
Book Announcement: Women Making Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0564 Thursday, 19 December 2013
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Subject: Book Announcement: Women Making Shakespeare
Women Making Shakespeare: Text, Reception and Performance (Arden Shakespeare) – a volume edited by Gordon McMullan, Virginia Mason Vaughan and Lena Cowen Orlin to celebrate Ann Thompson’s scholarship and mark her retirement – has just published.
Women Making Shakespeare presents a series of 20-25 short essays that draw on a variety of resources, including interviews with directors, actors, and other performance practitioners, to explore the place (or constitutive absence) of women in the Shakespearean text and in the history of Shakespearean reception – the many ways women, working individually or in communities, have shaped and transformed the reception, performance, and teaching of Shakespeare from the 17th century to the present.
The book highlights the essential role Shakespeare’s texts have played in the historical development of feminism. Rather than a traditional collection of essays, Women Making Shakespeare brings together materials from diverse resources and uses diverse research methods to create something new and transformative. Among the many women’s interactions with Shakespeare to be considered are acting (whether on the professional stage, in film, on lecture tours, or in staged readings), editing, teaching, academic writing, and recycling through adaptations and appropriations (film, novels, poems, plays, visual arts).
Thomas of Woodstock [1 Richard II] Performance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0563 Wednesday, 18 December 2013
From: Michael Egan <
Date: December 16, 2013 at 7:55:54 PM EST
Subject: Thomas of Woodstock [1 Richard II] Performance
1 Richard II is being given a public reading by the RSC in London12/20. The announcement reads as follows:
Thomas of Woodstock is sometimes referred to as Richard II: Part One. It is an anonymous Elizabethan drama, which tells the backstory to Shakespeare’s play, staging the events leading up to the murder of Richard’s Uncle the Duke of Gloucester. The King is deeply implicated in his death – and this is the unspoken crisis with which Shakespeare opens Richard II.
During rehearsals, the RSC company read Thomas of Woodstock to help contextualise the opening scene of Richard II and in doing so, they discovered a truly intriguing play.
Please note the final acknowledgment of the work’s true title, the case for which I have uniquely made in the past few years, and the RSC’s “discovery of a truly intriguing play,” which of course it is. On the other hand, the RSC never contacted me, and I have no idea whether they intend to use the Shakespearean ending I wrote, or whether they are responding to my 2006 book, The Tragedy of Richard II Part One. But we are making progress.
Online Shakespeare Course in January
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0562 Friday, 13 December 2013
From: Allston James <
Date: December 12, 2013 at 10:39:42 AM EST
Subject: Online Shakespeare Course in January, 100% Online
Allston James is offering an online course through Monterey Peninsula College (Calif.) called SHAKESPEARE VISIONS: Film & Text, a 3-unit, 4-week online class that will examine three PBS Great Performance productions: Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth, Ian McKellen’s King Lear, and David Tennant’s Hamlet. Students will view the productions via free streaming video and discuss them in an online forum.
Register now for ENGL 16, January 2-28, at www.mpc.edu. Non-resident tuition applies. Contact Allston if you have questions:
Monterey Peninsula College
Conference Announcement: “Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography”
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0561 Wednesday, 12 December 2013
From: Elyse Martin <
Date: December 11, 2013 at 4:29:13 PM EST
Subject: Conference Announcement: “Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography”
The Folger Institute is pleased to announce that applications are now open for its spring conference, “Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography.”
Funding is available to qualified graduate students and faculty from U. S. institutions for travel and lodging through the Folger Institute consortium, and an NEH Collaborative Research grant. For those who do not wish to apply for funding, or for those who are interested in the topic, but not part of an academic institution, a registration form is available here.
I would be happy to answer any questions you or your colleagues may have.
Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography
An NEH Collaborative Research Conference
There is no more iconic figure with whom to push forward a fresh critical evaluation of the aims and methods of literary biography than Shakespeare. Within the academy, textual analysis often denies biography any explanatory force, while popular conceptions of Shakespeare look to biography precisely for insight into the works. In the standoff, the genre of literary biography is lost as a subject of serious inquiry. On the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, the Folger Institute Center for Shakespeare Studies will undertake a rigorous investigation of the multiple—and conflicted—roles biography plays in the reception of Shakespeare today. A cadre of influential scholars, many of whom have written biographies of Shakespeare, will focus discussion on such topics as the distinctions between authorship and agency, the interpretations of documentary evidence, the impact of methods of dating texts on an understanding of Shakespeare’s life, the broadened context for that life of a more robust understanding of theatrical activity, and the possibility that biography is itself a form of historical fiction. The conference opens Thursday evening with a session that doubles as Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture. In his presentation on “Shakespeare, Biography & Anti-Biography,” Brian Cummings will discuss the problem of writing the life of Shakespeare in terms of the documentary history and its haunting sense of missing links.
Organizers: Brian Cummings (Anniversary Professor of English, University of York), Kathleen Lynch (Executive Director, Folger Institute), and David Schalkwyk (Academic Director of the Global Shakespeare Project, Queen Mary University of London/Warwick University).
Speakers: Tarnya Cooper (National Portrait Gallery), Ian Donaldson (University of Melbourne), John Drakakis (University of Stirling), Katherine Duncan-Jones (Somerville College, Oxford), Lawrence Goldman (St. Peter’s College, Oxford), Stephen Greenblatt (Harvard University), Margreta de Grazia (University of Pennsylvania), Graham Holderness (University of Hertfordshire), Julia Reinhard Lupton (University of California, Irvine), Jack Lynch (Rutgers University), Lena Cowen Orlin (Georgetown University), Lois Potter (University of Delaware), Joseph Roach (Yale University), and William H. Sherman (Victoria and Albert Museum, University of York)
Schedule: Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon, 3 – 5 April 2014.
Apply: 13 January 2014 for grants-in-aid to support travel and lodging. A generous NEH Collaborative Research grant extends funding eligibility to qualified graduate students and faculty from U.S. institutions. Application form is available here.
Registration: For those not planning to request travel and lodging funding, a registration form is available here.
Please direct any further questions to
Newly Designed Map of Early Modern London (MoEML)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0554 Tuesday, 10 December 2013
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Subject: Newly Designed Map of Early Modern London (MoEML)
As I mentioned in the last digest, in addition to the rollout of the newly designed Internet Shakespeare Editions, the latest iteration of the Map of Early Modern London is also now available at http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca .
Janelle Jenstad wrote today about MoEML:
“We didn’t plan to launch the new designs for MoEML and the ISE on the very same day ... but what a triumph! The ISE’s gorgeous new design was entirely the work of Michael Best and his team. Kudos to Michael, Telka Duxbury, Maxwell Terpstra, and Sarah Milligan.”
If you are not familiar with MoEML, let me quote from the web site.
The Map of Early Modern London is comprised of four distinct, interoperable projects: a digital Map and gazetteer based on the 1560s Agas woodcut map of London; an Encyclopedia of London people, places, topics, and terms; a Library of marked-up texts rich in London toponyms; and a versioned edition of John Stow’s Survey of London.
These four projects draw data from MoEML’s five databases: a Placeography of locations (e.g., streets, sites, playhouses, taverns, churches, wards, and topographical features); a Personography of early modern Londoners, both historical and literary; an Orgography of organizations (e.g., livery companies and other corporations); a Bibliography of primary and secondary sources; and a Glossary of terms relevant to early modern London. All of the files in our databases use a common TEI tagset that enables us to work with primary and secondary texts simultaneously.
The Map will allow users to visualize, overlay, combine, and query the information in the MoEML databases that populate the Encyclopedia, Library, and Stow editions.
What is the Agas map?
Civitas Londinum is a bird’s-eye view of London first printed from woodblocks in about 1561. Widely known as the “Agas map,” from a spurious attribution to surveyor Ralph Agas (c.1540-1621), the map offers a richly detailed view both of the buildings and streets of the city and of its environment. No copies survive from 1561, but a modified version was printed in 1633. In the later version of the map, the Stuart coat of arms replaces the Elizabethan one, and the Royal Exchange, which opened in 1571, occupies the triangle created by the convergence of Threadneedle and Cornhill Streets.
MoEML and the Map
MoEML v. 5, launched on 9 December 2013, retains the map tiles from our 2006 site while we work on rebuilding the map interface. For MoEML, the map is a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that allows us to visualize literary and historical data, a material object with its own historical and aesthetic interest, and a text in its own right.
Future Plans for the Map
We are currently working on a new edition of the Agas map, freshly scanned by the London Metropolitan Archives and then stitched together and edited by the MoEML team to create an ideal text. We are redrawing all the streets, sites, and boundaries in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and will be launching it in an OpenLayers platform to provide maximum interactivity and drawing capabilities to our users. Our edition of the map will include critical materials about the genre, accuracy, provenance, preservation, and subsequent adaptations of the map.
In mid-November on the MoEML blog, Janelle wrote the following:
Welcome to MoEML v.5!
18 November 2013 Janelle Jenstad
Welcome to the new and improved version of The Map of Early Modern London! What you see is the result of over a year of dreaming, thinking, debating, planning, implementing, testing, and tweaking. Even though we’re still working out some glitches, it’s time to point our URL at the new site and share it with the world.
Our new design, MoEML v.5, highlights the four distinct but wholly interoperable projects that make up MoEML: the Map, the Encyclopedia, the Library, and our forthcoming edition of John Stow’s Survey of London. The four tiles on the home page are repeated in the top navigation bar to make it easy to go from one project to another.
Each project now has its own drop-down menu and its own landing page, both of which will help our users (you!) see at a glance what resources are available. For example, the Encyclopedia landing page directs you to Topics, a Glossary, and our four “-ographies”: a Placeography of London locations, a Personography of historical and literary figures, an Orgography of organizations, and a Bibliography of primary and secondary resources.
We’ve freshened up the look of the site with new fonts, new colours, and a new banner, all built with accessibility issues in mind. The colours are chosen from an early modern jewel palette; the red daisy “fav” icon is inspired by the enamel flowers in the Cheapside Hoard. I hope you agree that we’ve come a long way since MoEML v.2, the HTML site that lived on the University of Windsor intranet from 2000 to 2003.
But this redesign is more than just a new look. We’ve rethought our metadata. We’re giving credit for all the activities associated with building this project, in keeping with our commitment to the Collaborators’ Bill of Rights. We have added new material to the Library. We have big plans for the Agas map and for John Stow’s Survey, the two anchors of our project. I’ll have more to say in the days ahead about MoEML v.5’s new features, one of which is this blog.
For now, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the amazing MoEML team, particularly the three people who have led the charge in the redesign. Martin Holmes, our programmer since 2011 and my co-applicant on MoEML’s current SSHRC grant, has rebuilt the site infrastructure to support this new design, somehow managing to maintain both the old site and the new for over a year. When Assistant Project Director Kim McLean-Fiander joined us in February, I discovered (with considerable relief) that she is a gifted designer in her own right. She took responsibility for the look of the site, drawing mock-ups, finding cognate projects, and reminding us to think about usability at every turn. Designer Pat Szpak gave us three great concepts at the outset of this process and has graciously responded to and realized all our suggestions since.
During the process, we’ve had two research teams come and go. Cameron Butt tackled the huge job of mocking up our menus on long sheets of brown paper on the HCMC wall back in Summer 2012. He, Michael Stevens, Nathan Phillips, Sarah Milligan and Noam Kaufman weighed in on early design choices over the 2012-2013 year. Our Summer 2013 team, Zaqir Virani in particular, was deeply involved in testing. Tye Landels, our encoder, has worked shoulder to shoulder with Martin Holmes and Kim McLean-Fiander in developing the document type taxonomy and the new menu system. I’m grateful every day to work with these astonishingly talented and committed people.
We’d be glad to have your feedback as we move forward. Let us know if you see errors or if a page feature doesn’t seem to work on your device or browser. [Note: We are aware that the site does not render well on all hand-held devices. We’re working a mobile style sheet as I write!] Tell us what you like about the site, how you use it in your research or teaching, or what you’d like to see in future versions. Just click on the “Send feedback” link on the left side of any page to send an email directly to us.
Rollout of Newly Designed Internet Shakespeare Editions Site
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0553 Tuesday, 10 December 2013
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Subject: Rollout of Newly Designed Internet Shakespeare Editions Site
Today in Facebook I saw two announcements of interest to all Shakespeareans. I will discuss the ISE here and MoEML in the next digest. But let me begin with my sincerest congratulations to Michael Best and Janelle Jenstad.
Michael Best, Coordinating Editor of ISE, wrote on The ISE Facebook page:
“Gasp. Whew. The new ISE site is up and running as of today. Months of work, but worth it. Check it out at http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/.”
Janelle Jenstad, Assistant Coordinating Editor of ISE, also wrote about the newly designed ISE site launch:
“Launched like a rocket! The new-look ISE site is up and running. Check it out. New look, smarter navigation, easier access to resources—and more content. Check out the left column of each page for features that allow you to search and view the site in different ways. We welcome your feedback. A big thanks to the many who contributed. Our editors, our Editorial Board, and the great team here at the University of Victoria that guided us to this point. Max Terpstra and Telka Duxbury led a great team of programmers and research assistant.”
I have had look at the site and it is truly impressive. Kudos to all.
To celebrate the launch, I am reproducing the December 2013 edition of The Shakespeare Herald, the ISE newsletter.
The Herald: December 2013
Welcome to the second issue of The Shakespeare Herald, the newsletter of the Internet Shakespeare Editions (ISE). In this issue, we trumpet our plans for redesign and the new texts we’re working on, as well as updates on the Chronicle, our mobile site, and our Making Waves campaign. And we wish all our readers the very best for the holiday season.
The ISE continues its tradition of introducing Shakespeare on stage and (digital) page in new and intuitive formats. We bring fully-edited, peer-reviewed works to a computer—or mobile device—near you.
As we are currently in the midst of a redesign, we want to know what you would like to see on the site. What kind of features would enhance your digital Shakespeare experience? Let us know on our Facebook page or send us feedback.
A Notable Word from the Coordinating Editor
Claudio. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?
Benedick. I noted her not, but I looked on her.
(Much Ado About Nothing TLN 159-160 )
Typically, Benedick is teasing. His young friend Claudio wants to know whether Benedick was impressed by the attractive young Hero, daughter of their host. Benedick pours cold water on his enthusiasm by punning on “note”—he saw her (noticed her), but did not pay attention to her (note her).
We do this all the time. We notice things, we note things, and we take notes on the things that strike our notice. Until recently, one of the features of reading online was that there were no margins to scribble in, no way of adding our own thoughts to those we were reading on the screen in front of us. One of our copies of the first quarto of King Lear, from the British Library, has manuscript notes in it of this kind.
Now this is changing. One of the new tools we can offer those who become Friends of the ISE is the capacity to take (and save) notes as they work on our site. Friends (or clients of libraries that have become Friends) can log in, and can then access a link in our newly-designed Toolbox to permit them to highlight text, then enter their notes in a text box.
Because our works are produced by scholars, and peer-reviewed, the underlying text on the page will be unchanged—but visitors to the site can work online, creating their own web of comment for later reference, much as many of us do with a physical book we are studying.
If you have become a Friend of the ISE, please try out this notable feature.
New Texts Published
If you are in the mood for a shout of English patriotism, or need a good fiery comment to fire at a teenager who is being unusually challenging, the ISE now has modern-spelling texts ready for you to quote.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
(Henry V, (Modern, Folio), TLN 1084 )
I would there were no age between ten and three and twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest, for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting. . .
(The Winter's Tale (Modern), TLN 1504 )
James Mardock’s Henry V and Hardin Aasand’s Winter’s Tale are now fully published online. For each play you will find extensive introductory essays, explanatory notes on the language of the play, meticulous recording of textual variants, and a full complement of supplementary works from the period that provide a context for the study of Shakespeare’s plays.
One of the most powerful features of a digitally published work is that it can be improved over time. In the next months we will be adding multimedia, both in the provision of extensive graphics and some video clips of performance.
More on the way
We have recently published modern-spelling texts of Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II and Henry IV, Part Two.
Our New Look and Additional Features
“Fresh array and entertainment” (As You Like It, TLN 2207)
We are pleased to announce the launch of an enhanced and updated version of the site. We have taken advantage of advances in browser technology and interface design by offering a cleaner look and more detailed menus to guide our users through our extensive Shakespeare resources. We have also taken this opportunity to upgrade a number of features of the site, and to add some more tools for research.
Over the years we have made many changes and improvements to the site, at one stage experimenting with adding advertisements (we ended that experiment when they brought in very little to support the site). But in the rapidly-evolving world of the Internet we need to keep up with changing technologies and user expectations. The background graphic design and navigation of the site has been unchanged for several years, and it’s a tribute to the fine work done by our designers, Roberta Livingstone and Chris Chong that it lasted so well. When we first created our splash page, we were rather worried that it would ask too much of the then-narrow bandwith of most users on the Web. But times have changed, and it’s now possible to update the fonts, the general appearance of the site, and the means of navigating through it.
Enhanced menus at the top of the screen take you directly to the area of the site that has the information you seek.
We have moved our Toolbox and Page Contents from the right of the screen to the left. We found that some visitors were missing these features because they had become so used to ignoring advertisements in this space.
For Friends of the ISE we have added some new research tools:
The capacity to take and save notes on any page of the site.
A printable view of all annotations in any scene of the play (when fully edited).
Our thanks again to Roberta Livingstone, who worked with Jon Valade from IdeaZone in producing the graphics and the improved navigation. Our team of programmers and research assistants, under the leadership of Max Terpstra and Telka Duxbury, have worked hard to bring the new version to our global audience.
An Update on the Chronicle
At the end of August, some ISE team members ventured out to see a special production of Twelfth Night at the annual Victoria Fringe Festival. The Japanese Ryuzanji Company put on a Rakujuku Kabuki style adaptation of the play, set in imperial Japan. “Rakujuku” loosely translates as “having fun troupe,” and the actors’ energetic performance never betrayed their average age of 61. The ISE crew enjoyed the performance so much that Janelle ended up going back for another showing with her children. You can find our collaborative review of the innovative and entertaining production on the ISE Performance Chronicle
Have you seen a Shakespeare production that you wish you could review? Are you a scholar, actor, student, or passionate theatergoer who loves to write? We’re always looking for more reviewers.
As an online journal devoted to contemporary Shakespeare theater reviews, the Chronicle provides a unique platform for theater practitioners, scholars, critics, and the general audience to analyze and discuss contemporary Shakespeare productions. The Chronicle calls attention to the different ways Shakespeare is performed around the world, and, through your contributions, will create a substantial and permanent database of informed criticism for future Shakespeare lovers and scholars. Photographs and other artifacts are heartily welcomed, and will be added to ISE’s Shakespeare in Performance database.
The Chronicle allows you to browse or search the reviews, post a review, comment on and rate others’ reviews, subscribe to receive email notification for a new review of a particular play, and search reviews for specific information.
If you are interested in contributing a review, please go to the site and create a logon id for yourself. You can enter details of a production, then review it. Or, if you prefer, you can email sipadmin[at]uvic.ca for more information.
After the Launch: Our Mobile Site
As we promised in our first issue of The Shakespeare Herald, we have launched the first version of our mobile site so that you can carry the ISE (and Shakespeare, by association) in your pocket wherever your journeys may take you. Developed for Android and Apple iOS, our mobile site has garnered interest by users both on tablets and phones. Not surprisingly, our most visitors are coming to us via iPad and iPhone, though some are using Android-powered devices. As intended, those of you visiting us via mobile device are viewing only the specific pages you need and staying just long enough to find the information required, presumably to use us to win an argument, and move along with your intense scholarly debate. We’re happy to help!
Still, less than 10% of our site traffic is coming from our mobile site. Remember that we are here to help you prove yourself right or your friends wrong in all aspects of Shakespearean debate. Need to determine which version of a line is the most authentic? Planning a Shakespearean night out and want to know when and where the next show of Measure for Measure is? Check us out on your phone or tablet and we’ll hook you up.
Haven’t tested the mobile site yet? Explore Shakespeare’s life and times, read the plays and poems, browse the performance database for adaptations of your favorite play.
We’d love to hear your feedback! Submit your comments, questions, and ideas to help us optimize the mobile site.
“Making Waves” with Friends of the ISE
Friends of the ISE are helping to create a legacy, allowing students around the globe (pun intended) to discover Shakespeare and learn why his works still inspire a passion in readers and performers four hundred years after his death. As innovators in the emerging field of open-access and digital scholarship, we are thrilled to invite you to join our thriving network of libraries who are building a sustainable future for the ISE so that we can continue providing your students and faculty with the best, most accessible Shakespeare resources.
Over the past year and half, over a dozen libraries across Canada, America, and Europe have partnered with the ISE to raise funds to ensure the that we continue to provide open access to peer-reviewed Shakespeare resources. As a result of these partnerships, we’ve passed our first milestone: we’ve raised $50 000 towards our $1.5 million goal, enough for us to create an endowment fund from which the revenue will eventually provide sufficient funds for the maintenance of the site, independent of granting agencies. This year we aim to double that.
For well over a decade the Internet Shakespeare Editions has been making the best literature freely available to those who thirst for knowledge. Now we are inviting you to become our partner as a Friend of the ISE.
Friends of the ISE receive additional benefits for their students and faculty. Our tool-box, designed especially for and accessible only to Friends of the ISE, includes a print-ready view of each page and a pop-up window with a formatted citation of each page. We have also recently added a print-ready view of all explanatory notes in the edited texts – a valuable tool for those who wish to work in detail on one of the fully edited and peer-reviewed plays. In addition, your institution will be acknowledged on our site.
Join our growing list of Friends
Not affiliated with an institution? Individual memberships for independent scholars and researchers will be available soon!
For more information about the Making Waves campaign and becoming a Friend of the ISE, explore the library and individual membership pages or contact us directly by email at
or by phone (250) 472-5152.
Shakespeare in the News
Year round here at the ISE we are constantly on alert for new Shakespeare facts or features in the news. Almost four hundred years after his death, Shakespeare is still showing up and proving his relevance around the world. Ever the master of the popular media in his time, Shakespeare permeates todays social media (as shown on our Facebook and Twitter pages).
Shakespeare and Robben Island
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
(Julius Caesar, TLN 1020-25 )
Nelson Mandela, imprisoned on Robben Island, highlighted these words in the much-thumbed copy of Shakespeare's works sneaked into the prison. Check out this moving video from VOA News where the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library talks about the copy of the Complete Works they have in their collection that shows the influence of Shakespeare' on prisoners on Robben Island. They read, learned from, and were entertained by Shakespeare during their sentences.
Mandela would also have read these words, deeply appropriate as a tribute to the remarkable man who read them:
The last of all the Romans, fare thee well!
It is impossible that ever Rome
Should breed thy fellow.
(Julius Caesar, TLN 2589-91 )
We are privileged to have shared this world with Nelson Mandela, a man who combined so fully the virtues of integrity and humility with strength and remarkable political acumen.
Shakespeare as collaborator
Finding a lost Shakespeare work would be an extraordinary coup for any scholar. And there have been many candidates over the years, from the attribution of "A Funeral Elegy" to the recent claim that Theobald's play Double Falsehood was a version of the lost original, Cardenio, known to have been written by Shakespeare and his collaborator in two other late plays, John Fletcher.
The latest candidate is not a play, but some additions to an earlier work, Thomas Kyd's hugely popular revenge play The Spanish Tragedy. In August, the New York Times published an article reporting on the attribution of the additions to Shakespeare. The play was first published in 1592, then later, with the additions, in 1602. It was not uncommon for theater companies to update popular plays with topical passages, or speeches that picked up on changing tastes.
The passages were recently subjected to computer-aided stylistic analysis by Brian Vickers, who published an article in which he claimed a “definite attribution” to Shakespeare (Shakespeare 8:1 2012). The New York Times piece quotes Shakespeare Scholar Douglas Bruster, who has followed up with arguments based on what we know of Shakespeare’s handwriting and its effect on the published work. The ISE’s General Textual Editor, Eric Rasmussen, comments “We don’t have any absolute proof, but this is as close as you can get.”
The passages focus on the protagonist of the tragedy, Hieronymo, who has been driven mad by the murder of his son. One is an added monologue where he muses on the nature of the bond between father and son, wondering why a child should have a stronger hold on the parent than any other young animal:
What is there yet in a son
To make a father dote, rave, or run mad?
Being born, it pouts, cries, and breeds teeth,
What is there yet in a son? He must be fed,
Be taught to go [walk], and speak. Ay, or yet?
Why might not a man love a calf as well?
Or melt in passion o'er a frisking kid [young goat]?
As for a son? (3.9)
This may or may not be Shakespeare, but it is strong blank verse, and communicates an anger, if not madness, that is convincing. In due course The Spanish Tragedy will no doubt appear on our sibling site, Digital Renaissance Editions. When it does so, perhaps the additional passages will magically appear on the Internet Shakespeare Editions as well. In the digital world such magic is not difficult to program.
BBC Shakespeare to be released
The BBC is planning to release over 1,000 hours of Shakespeare materials—in audio and video—in time for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 1616. An article in The Sunday Times (6 October) described the plans set out by the Director General of the BBC, Lord Hall, Baron of Birkenhead (aka Tony Hall). Lord Hall plans to return to something closer to the original aims of the BBC from its early years, when its mission was “educate, inform, entertain.”
[An aside: in an age when arguably almost all television is focused purely on the third aim in this list, some attempt to return to the importance of education would be hugely welcome.]
The Times remarked that the release of the materials will mean that “Viewers will be able to compare Sir John Gielgud’s 1948 Hamlet with the 1972 version by Sir Ian McKellen and the 2009 production by David Tennant. This wonderfully stimulating (educational, informative, entertaining) approach is exactly the aim of our own database of Shakespeare in performance. We will do our utmost to acquire as many of these materials as they become available for open access use.
[Another aside: playing Hamlet for the BBC seems to lead to an inevitable knighthood—so there is every likelihood that David Tennant will become the first Dr. Who to become Sir Doctor Who.]
The ISE is made possible by generous support from the University of Victoria, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and by libraries that have become Friends of the ISE.