1990

New Renaissance List (104)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 69. Wednesday, 3 Oct 1990.
 
Date:         Mon, 01 Oct 90 18:01:42 EDT
From:         Willard McCarty <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      new electronic seminar
 
       Ficino: a new electronic seminar and bulletin-board
             for Renaissance and Reformation studies
 
   The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS), at
Victoria University in the University of Toronto, takes great
pleasure in announcing the creation of Ficino, an international
electronic seminar and bulletin-board devoted to all aspects of
the Renaissance and Reformation.  The aim of Ficino is to further
lively discussion and rapid exchange of information amongst
scholars with an interest in its subject areas.
 
   Although focussed on these areas, Ficino is meant to be
radically inclusive.  Students of both Northern and Southern
European cultures are equally welcome, as are those in distant or
adjacent periods who wish to contribute their knowledge and
skills to the subject matter of the seminar.  All approaches and
disciplines are equally relevant, but Ficino particularly
encourages the interdisciplinary breadth of learning appropriate
to Renaissance humanism.
 
   As with SHAKSPER, membership is open to anyone who submits a
biographical statement of background and interests.  A form for
this purpose is appended below.  My thanks to Steve DeRose for
the original from which it was taken.
 
   Ficino has been named after Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), a
Florentine Platonist, man of letters and prolific letter-writer,
in order to suggest not only the historical period on which it
focuses but also its intended manner. As you may know, Ficino
himself was preoccupied by intellectual communication, the ideal
form of which he found in the Platonic convivium.  Thus he wrote
to Bernardo Bembo that, `The convivium ... rebuilds limbs,
revives humours, restores spirit, delights senses, fosters and
awakens reason.  The convivium is rest from labours, release from
cares and nourishment of genius; it is the demonstration of love
and splendour, the food of good will, the seasoning of
friendship, the leavening of grace and the solace of life.' Our
seminar is designed to provide an electronic analogue of Ficino's
ideal institution; experience suggests that the new medium holds
great promise for our success.
 
   Like SHAKSPER as well, Ficino also uses ListServ to provide a
kind of `bulletin-board' or fileserver for various materials of a
less dynamic nature. Plans are in progress to make available on
the server the International Directory of Renaissance and
Reformation Associations and Institutes (Toronto: CRRS, 1990);
the Occasional Publications of the CRRS that deal with its
holdings; other bibliographies; calls for papers, announcements
for conferences and projects, and job postings; electronic texts;
information about relevant software; and so forth.  The CRRS also
warmly encourages contributions to the archive from its members.
 
   A biography recycled from Humanist is acceptable, although it
may have to be revised to place greater emphasis on interests in
the Renaissance or Reformation.  It should follow the format
below as closely as possible.
 
 
- - - - - -- - - - Please fill in and mail to the editor
- - - - - (Any long item can be continued on following lines)
 
*NAME:
 
*INSTITUTION:
*DEPARTMENT:
*TITLE:
 
*EMAIL:
*PHONE:
*ADDRESS:
*POSTAL CODE:
*COUNTRY:
 
*PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:
 
*BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH (ca. 100-500 words)
 
- - - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 
 
Thank you.
 
Willard McCarty, editor
Senior Fellow
Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies
Victoria University in the University of Toronto
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
William Bowen, associate editor
Chair, Publications Committee
Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies
Victoria University in the University of Toronto
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Collected Works of Shakespeare (184)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 68. Tuesday, 2 Oct 1990.
 
 
(1)   Date:         Tue, 02 Oct 90 22:32:07 EDT             (150 lines)
      From:         [Tom Clayton <TSC@UMNACVX>]
      Subject:      [Single-Volume Shakespeares]
 
(2)   Date:   Tue, 2 Oct 90 16:07:44 EDT                     (16 lines)
      From:   Jonah Sinowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
      Subject: Re: SHK 1.0067 Expensive Collections
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:         Tue, 02 Oct 90 22:32:07 EDT
From:         [Tom Clayton <TSC@UMNACVX>]
Subject:      [Single-Volume Shakespeares]
 
    Hardy   Cook's   communication   (SHK   1.0066  Single-Volume
Shakespeares  (77))  prompts me to  wonder publically when  it is
appropriate to respond privately to an individual (as directly to
him), when to air  one's views over the  network (as here, for  a
third time but I hope not often or soon if ever again), and  when
to hold one's peace, an option  with the merits that it costs  no
effort, clutters no airwaves,  and ruffles no feathers  (of those
perched on the party line, especially).
 
                                1
 
    In  the  case  of  the  ideological implications of editions,
there are basically two  questions: (1) editions as  editions for
reading and  use, and  (2) editions  as the  embodiment of overt,
covert,  or  unconscious  ideological  projects--a  question that
interests me "academically";  that is, not  very often, not  very
much, and not theoretically, since it usually involves merely the
propagation of  foregone ideological  conclusions. And  the usual
answer to such a backward show of indifference as mine to Matters
of such Contemporary Magnitude and Moment--that "ALL is  ideology
and  those  who  deny  that  are  the  most  ideological(ly self-
deceived) of all"--seems  to me tantamount  to "there is  nothing
save opinion, and opinion be  damned." I leave such discourse  to
those who profess it and/or  enjoy it otherwise. I do  not neces-
sarily invite  others to  come and  do likewise,  but I certainly
welcome the company of those who do.
 
    The question which edition to  use can be sensibly and  prag-
matically entertained, and answered in various sensible and prag-
matic  ways,  favoring  now  individual  editions,  now collected
works, now both, none of these perfect, any more than the teacher
of  any  is  likely  to  be  perfect, except by relatively simple
criteria like political  (or editorial) "correctness."  Some edi-
tions,  teachers,  teachings,  and  miscellaneous projects may be
more politically  "correct" than  others, but  that, again,  is a
question for those for whom the question of political correctness
is prior to all others. In such cases, I am often reminded of Dr.
Johnson's observation about "the cant of those who judge by prin-
ciples rather than perceptions." A dangerous person, Dr. Johnson,
because he  is ever  thought-provoking and  readily understood by
any literate undergraduate.
 
    Editionswise (or  foolish), I  have sometimes  used collected
works, which CAN cost little if any more than a certain number of
individual-play  paperbacks,  depending  upon  the edition; but I
more  often  use  individual  editions,  mainly  because they are
likely to be carried about  more freely, read more regularly  and
readily, marked up more because the paper is thicker and there is
relatively more margin (and I think marking up a good thing,  not
a bad), and generally  used in a way  and to an extent  that col-
lected editions  very seldom  are, in  our mobile  culture. I use
different individual editions for  different kinds of course  (in
one  course,  this  term,  New  Arden, New Cambridge, and Oxford-
individual by turns, for purposes of--incidental--comparison). It
is good for most  students to have a  collected works, and I  can
sympathize  with  my  own  Alexandrian  teachers who thought that
every student should have a collected Shakespeare on the  shelf--
because it just might come down, now and again, and there are not
many books  better taken  down, even  if "Shakespeare"  (as he is
fashionably  depreciated  by  quotation  marks,  at present) were
merely the creature of imperialist cultural mythography that  any
literate reader can see he is not.
 
    One of the more sensible as well as short comparative evalua-
tions of Shakespeare texts  that still has value,  partly because
it extrapolates, is "the Shakespeare section" by Karl  Haffenref-
fer in F. W. Bateson and Harrison T. Meserole's *Guide to English
and American Literature,* 3rd ed. (London and New York:  Longman,
1976):  78-85.   These  few   pages  will   merely  exercise  boa
deconstructors and others for whom all assertion is grist for the
discourse mill, but for  the few otherwise-minded remaining  (and
fewer still forthcoming), they have their value.
 
    Whatever the edition, where it is wrong, and one knows it is,
one corrects. (To  the gratification of  every ego, this  happens
all the time: we all know SOMETHING that genuinely matters  which
no one else knows, one of the proper satisfactions of responsible
teaching, modestly deployed.) Where one disagrees with one aspect
or another of any part of an edition that is not a case of  right
or  wrong  in  matters  of  fact  or  historical probability, one
explains  the   grounds  of   disagreement--not  necessarily   at
excruciating length. Disagreement is part of scholarship and part
of life (but  of course not  of ideology, where  happily there is
only  one  correct  answer,  even  if  it  varies from quarter to
quarter, and year  to year). To  my way of  thinking, it is  more
interesting in relation to particular cases than to the theoreti-
cal or ideological  sub- or superstructures  that interpretations
proceed  from  or   imply  as  operational   whether  consciously
entertained or not.  In other words,  an interest in  literary or
dramatic works qua works,  writings, scripts tends to  entail the
practice of literary and  dramatic criticism. The entailments  of
ideology  and  theory  come  from  elsewhere  and  have their own
destinations.
 
                                2
 
    A  few  quotations  from  Mr.  Cook's e-letter will show some
assured "sites of contestation," if  he and I, or others  so dif-
ferently minded, were to enter the same field.
 
    1. "I  would .  . .  prefer that  my students  *want* to have
copies of all  the plays for  themselves RATHER THAN  owning them
because I  compelled them  to purchase  a one-volume collection."
Where is  it that  one can  one COMPEL  students to purchase ANY-
THING? Not anywhere I have taught or studied. More to the  point,
by what logic is a text  that is REQUIRED, by the same  token NOT
WANTED? In my experience, students are often very pleased to  own
books they would never have thought of acquiring had those  books
not been "required." (They can be read on Reserve in the library,
after all.)
 
    2. "If I now want  to approach the plays as  dynamic scripts,
does not requiring a one-volume edition tend to enshrine them  as
something else?" ANSWER: NO. In  any case, the "tendency" of  any
edition can be "exposed"--or noted--by the teacher.
 
    3. "I am very conscious of the politics of bardolatry"--which
I would take to  mean: "I have been  told and come to  agree that
there is such a thing as 'the politics of bardolatry,' and there-
fore 'I am very conscious of  'it.'" This is the position of  the
true (dis)believer;  skeptics and  empirics tend  to think other-
wise, and that probably includes the majority of dramatists.
 
    4.  The  Globe  "edition  was  meant  to  be taken to the far
reaches of the empire." This is a sweeping interpretative  asser-
tion, not a statement of "fact" by any stretch of the  reasonable
imagination,  and  not  a  fact  even  with  the  reading  of the
iconography of the  title page. "The  Globe of the  title was not
that 'wooden O' in which the plays were performed -- it was 'this
solid globe' itself [as 'great' in *the Tempest*?] . On the title
page, one finds a globe surrounded by hands clasping, upon  whose
arms is written 'One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.'"
This is an emblem of  international affinity before it is  one of
conquest, surely, or  must the "real"  meaning be covert  because
the one desired is not overt? The one-world ideal has been  vari-
ously desiderated and expressed over the centuries, and is  still
sought by  the best  as well  as the  worst, and  not every  such
"design" is a case of "Heute England, morgen die Welt."
 
    I would even venture to suggest that Shakespeare's works have
brought more  together by  shared enthusiasm  (leading to  mutual
understanding) than by imperialism and colonization. In my  EXPE-
RIENCE, that is a fact.
 
                                        Best wishes, Tom
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------25----
Date:   Tue, 2 Oct 90 16:07:44 EDT
From:   Jonah Sinowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: 1.0067 Expensive Collections
Comment: Re: SHK 1.0067 Expensive Collections
 
Question:
 
        I am a student at Rutgers University. I have been using the
Riverside for quite a while and the binding is starting to break. I
have decided that I must take it to a book binder or... buy a new book.
Will getting the book bound solve my problems ??? I am attached to it -
but I know another one ($45 at Rutgers) is well worth the investment.
 
???,
Jonah
 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Single-Volume Shakespeares (77)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 66. Tuesday, 2 Oct 1990.
 
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 90 19:57 EDT
From: "Hardy M. Cook" <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Thoughts About One-Volume Editions of the Plays
 
I would like to thank John Dorenkamp for responding to my inquiry
about the merits of individual paperback copies of Shakespeare's plays
versus a one-volume collected edition.  I too believe English majors
ought to own all the plays of Shakespeare; I myself own at least a
dozen *complete* works, including the Riverside (one-volume and
electronic editions), the Oxford, the BBC TV Shakespeare, the
Alexander, the Bevington (Scott Foresman and Bantam editions), and
several from the 19th century.  I would, however, prefer that my
students *want* to have copies of all the plays for themselves rather
than owning them because I compelled them to purchase a one-volume
collection.
 
Steve Wright asks what I meant by "the theoretical and political
implications" of using a one-volume edition.  Ken Steele wonders if I
meant "expense," "the monumentality of a collected volume in terms of
the reformulation of the canon," and the "editorial implications of
one approach or the other."  My answer to Ken is "yes, these and
more."
 
In part, I was fishing to see what others thought.  I begin a project
this summer on the reception of Shakespeare's sonnets.  I first turned
to their transmission, finding that for the 17th century the site of
contestation was the text itself.  As I moved to the 19th century, I
became more and more interested in not simply the reception of the
sonnets but in their appropriation -- the focus I am now
investigating.  This work on appropriation (and my reading of current
theory and criticism) has led me to question many of my earlier
positions.
 
For example, if I now want to approach the plays as dynamic scripts,
does not requiring a one-volume edition tend to enshrine them as
something else.  I am very conscious of the politics of bardolatry --
how the deification of Shakespeare has so often been for motives other
than the appreciation of the plays.
 
In 1864, Clark and Wright published *The Globe Edition: The Works of
William Shakespeare.*  This one-volume, 5" x 7" edition was meant to
be taken to the far reaches of the empire.  It contained no footnotes
but was the first edition to number "the lines of each scene for
convenience of reference."  The Globe of the title was not that
"wooden O" in which the plays were performed -- it was "this solid
globe" itself.  On the titlepage, one finds a globe surrounded by
hands clasping, upon whose arms is written "One touch of nature makes
the whole world kin."  If this were not enough, note the concluding
paragraph of Clark and Wright's Preface:
 
                We trust that the title which has been chosen for
          the present edition will neither be thought presumptuous
          nor be found inappropriate.  It seems indeed safe to
          predict that any volume which presents in a convenient
          form, with clear type and at a moderate cost, the
          complete works of the foremost man in all literature,
          the greatest master of the language most widely spoken
          among men, will make its way to the remotest corners of
          the habitable globe.
 
My concern then involves what are we saying by word and deed to
our students when we require them to purchase one of the (if not
*the*) most expensive textbook/s in the bookstore to study ten to
twelve plays in a semester when all our students want is a book
that is easy to bring to class and that they can read in bed.
 
          Hardy M. Cook
          Bowie State University

Expensive Collections

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 67. Tuesday, 2 Oct 1990.
 
 
(1)   Date:   Tue, 2 Oct 90 14:21:00 EDT                     (18 lines)
      From:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
      Subject: Re:  SHK 1.0066  Single-Volume Shakespeares
 
(2)   Date:         Tue, 02 Oct 90 15:36:18 EDT              (72 lines)
      From:         Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
      Subject:      "Th'expense and waste of his revenues..." (KL 2.1.100)
                     or, "O reason not the need!" (KL 2.4.264)
 
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Tue, 2 Oct 90 14:21:00 EDT
From:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: 1.0066  Single-Volume Shakespeares
Comment: Re:  SHK 1.0066  Single-Volume Shakespeares
 
I am teaching a tutorial section of the third year Shakespeare as my
teaching assistantship in the Ph.D programme, and the required text is
the Riverside Shakespeare.  Its main advantage is that we can cross-reference
material, referring back to plays we have already done in class, and glancing
at material we will be looking at or perhaps are skipping over.
 
Its BIG disadvantage is its size.  There are days when carting what seems like
a couple of tons of book from one building to another is annoying.  I have on
occasion cheated and brought my Arden instead.  But I must admit that my
students are, on the whole, quite stoic about it.  And having all the plays
at hand outweighs (bad pun) any other problem.
 
Stephen Matsuba
York University
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------71----
Date:         Tue, 02 Oct 90 15:36:18 EDT
From:         Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      "Th'expense and waste of his revenues..." (KL 2.1.100)
                or, "O reason not the need!" (KL 2.4.264)
 
     The current selling price of the *Riverside Shakespeare* at
the University of Toronto Bookshop is $59.95 Can. (probably
something less than $45 in the United States).  Such a price does
indeed put a burden on an undergraduate's budget, but the reading
lists for some other English literature courses are much more
expensive!  In particular, I remember buying two hardcover
anthologies for an undergraduate course in 17th Century English:
the Hughes Milton ($32.95) and the Witherspoon & Warnke
anthology ($37.75) brought the total to over $70, and this was about
eight or nine years ago when a Shakespeare collected works would
have been far less.  The most expensive English courses I can
recall have been novel courses, in which paperbacks for well over
$10 each added up to hundreds of dollars per course (not to
mention hours spent searching for the texts!).  Obviously electronic
texts and portable computers may provide an eventual escape from
this expense -- but not yet.  Shakespeare is certainly not the most
expensive text in the store -- computer science courses, for example,
require the purchase of software and manuals well over $100.  And some
students, I would wager, spend more on alcohol in a month than on
textbooks.
 
     By the end of their degree, English majors will have
purchased the collected works of Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare
at least -- and one could easily argue that any liberally-educated
person should have bought and/or read them.  Putting all three on
a first-year introductory course booklist is obviously excessive, but
each is perfectly reasonable for dedicated second-year courses.
To make the required texts for a Shakespeare course a series of
seven or eight paperbacks, soon to be discarded or destroyed (and
whose prices might well ultimately add up to $50 or $70 anyway),
would do students a great disservice -- exercising neither the
muscles in their arms or in their heads.
 
     Accessibility to higher education is an important issue, but
the cost of books and even tuition is a *minor* factor -- here in
Toronto, monthly rents exceed annual tuition fees for most
students.  (Average rent is in the neighbourhood of $800, while
tuition can be as low as $700 per annum.)  The real cost of an
education, the reason which discourages so many potential students,
is not the cost of tuition and books, but the postponement
of four years' income.  In comparison, a $50 book is negligible.
 
     The real value of a collected works is that it gives the
student access to general introductory material, background, and
most importantly, the complete corpus of Shakespeare's work.  One
cannot truly understand *A Midsummer Night's Dream* without
reading *Romeo and Juliet* first; *1 Henry IV* has meaning
primarily in the context of the entire Henriad; the Sonnets and
poetry shed important light on every word Shakespeare wrote.
Naturally, the less ambitious and less motivated students won't
read more than they are forced to -- in fact, most students will
come to class without having read so much!  But the better
students, the curious students, will have the works of Shakespeare
placed within their grasp, and may well make use of the entire
volume, either during the course or later.  (Exceptional students
would probably seek out the other works regardless of the required
texts.)  And for students suffering real financial restraints, used
bookstores and libraries can often lessen the hardship.
 
     Obviously no-one would put the Oxford English Dictionary, the
Norton Facsimile of the First Folio, or the Oxford Textual
Companion on undergraduate text lists -- each is well over $100 in
its cheapest form.  But *Shakespeare* they really should have in
convenient form, at home, as a lifelong alternative to television.
Whether they major in English or Engineering.
 
                                          Ken Steele
                                          University of Toronto

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.