1992

ASTR-L

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 288.  Saturday, 31 October 1992.
 
From: 		Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, Oct. 30, 1992, 11:58:00 CST
Subject: 	ASTR-L list
 
As it seems to be the season to introduce colleagues to other e-mail
lists, let me mention one more: ASTR-L.  This list, founded with the
support of the American Society for Theatre Research (hence ASTR),
concentrates on theatre history.  I confess it's pretty quiet at the
moment, but the way to change that is to get more people involved.
 
To subscribe, send this message [leave the subject line blank]:
 
	SUB ASTR-L <your name>
 
to:
	LISTSERV@UIUCVMB   (Bitnet)
 
Cheers,
Rick

Re: Hero's MotherCURRENT

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 287.  Saturday, 31 October 1992.
 
(1)	From: 	Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Friday, Oct. 30 1992, 16:46:00 CST
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
 
(2)	From: 	John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Saturday, Oct. 31, 1992, 10:48:57 GMT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 3.0285 Re: Hero's Mother
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, Oct. 30 1992, 16:46:00 CST
Subject: 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
Comment: 	RE: SHK 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
 
Many thanks to John Drakakis for reminding me, at least, that silence
is a profound form of communication.  I think that it was Jean-Louis
Barrault (but it may have been Nicholas Battaille) who suggested that
our conception of theatre is fundamentally flawed if we regard silence
as the interruption of text rather than the other way 'round.
Certainly the whole idea of silence as a motif is not
unknown in the drama of c. 1600, and it's only a decade or so from
_Much Ado_ to Jonson's _Epicoene_, when the theme is absolutely
central.
 
I've currently in the midst of teaching the three "Electra" plays,
making a big deal of the fact that Pylades says little in Aeschylus
but *nothing* in Euripides.  One would think I could draw appropriate
analogies, but sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.
 
Thanks, John!
 
--Rick Jones
Cornell College
 
(2)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Saturday, Oct. 31, 1992, 10:48:57 GMT
Subject: 3.0285 Re: Hero's Mother
Comment: 	Re: SHK 3.0285 Re: Hero's Mother
 
Tom Bishop seems to think that my objection to the argument he has
advanced was on the grounds of its "familiarity".  The position he
takes is a familiar one, but it presupposes a particular theory of
composition: that Shakespeare had in his head a female character called
Innogen that he somehow either forgot about from the start, or that he
couldn't "realize" by giving her something to say.
 
Bishop then thinks that if Innogen is a real presence, then her absence
from the final scene of the play becomes problematical.  I'm afraid that
the reading I am suggesting would require him to dispense altogether with
the tenets of his own argument.  Let me put it this way: if Innogen's
stage presence can be made to signify in 1.i. and 2.i. then surely her
ABSENCE signifies.  She is already married and has no say whatsoever in
the proceedings; her condition of ABSENCE and NON-VISIBILITY is the
condition to which Hero and Beatrice now aspire, and in the patriarchal
world of this play they will become "nothing".  The important silent
presence ontstage in this scene is that of Margaret who (a) had impersonated
Hero earlier and unwittingly "caused" her "death" and (b) who has already
impersonated Beatrice -- at III.iv.62-4 where Beatrice asks her, "God help me,
God help me, how long have you professed apprehension?" and Margaret replies:
"Ever since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely."  Thus there
are three kinds of "silence" here: (i) the silence of ABSENCE (which links
Innogen with the equally absent Don John), (ii) the imposed silence of the
woman in marriage -- what happens to Hero and Beatrice before our eyes, and
(iii) the silence of ironic contempt which is the position which Margaret
occupies.
 
Now whether any of this was Shakespeare's "intention" is neither here
nor there.  The assumption that Bishop wants to hold on to is one
which always privileges "words" in the sense that anything that cannot
be reduced to a particular kind of "text" i.e. literary language, is
to be explained away as error or oversight. From the very beginning of this
play language and gesture are at odds with each other thus resulting in
a dismantling of that familiar literary hierarchy whereby a text is reduced
to a collection of "words", so that a character who says nothing onstage
is either some kind of Pirandellian "unrealized intention", or the product
of sloppy authorial editing.

Re: Hero's Mother

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 285.  Friday, 30 October 1992.
 
(1)	From: 	Stephen Orgel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Friday, Oct. 30, 1992, 9:18:21 PST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
 
(2)	From: 	Thomas G. Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Friday, Oct. 30, 1992, 15:09:38 -500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
 
(1)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Stephen Orgel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, Oct. 30, 1992, 9:18:21 PST
Subject: 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
Comment: 	Re: SHK 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
 
THANK YOU, JOHN DRAKAKIS!
 
Stephen Orgel
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Thomas G. Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Friday, Oct. 30, 1992, 15:09:38 -500
Subject: 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
Comment: 	Re: SHK 3.0280  Rs: Hero's Mother
 
John Drakakis writes:
>
>Tom Bishop's familiar suggestion that the figure of Leonato's wife
>"Innogen" was excluded from performance because Shakespeare lacked "a
>place for her in the developing plot" and that he needed to "exclude
>senior female authorities (sic) from laughing or cursing at Leonato et al
>as they so richly deserve", and that it was this "that kept Innogen on
>the shelf, is of a piece with the Arden editor A. R. Humphreys's assertion
>that Shakespeare regarded her as an "unrealized intention" (Arden ed.,
>p.77).
>
>The point is, surely, that a silent female character in this play --
>and especially a silent WOMAN -- speaks volumes.  "Innogen appears in
>two scenes where Hero (the female character who desires marriage) and
>Beatrice (the female character who refuses marriage) both appear.
>In II.i. Beatrice is described by Benedick as "My Lady Tongue", and
>Claudio, when he realizes that Hero has not been unfaithful to him
>says that "Silence is the perfectest herald of joy" (II.i.288).  One
>of the issues which emerges both in these scenes and in the play as a
>whole has to do with speaking and remaining silent.  Beatrice instructs
>Hero to "Speak cousin, or if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss and let
>him not speak neither" (II.i.292-3), almost the very words that Benedick
>uses to SILENCE Beatrice at the end of the play (V.iv.97).  Marriage in
>this play is (I think ironically) offered as a form of SILENCING females,
>and what better way to show this on the stage than to have a silent
>woman -- Leonato's wife.
>
>We should, perhaps, concentrate a little less on irresolvable questions
>of Shakespeare's intentions, whether realized or not, and ask ourselves
>the question: what would Innogen's presence on stage (and in both Q and F)
>signify?  I suggest that the meanings that her stage presence produce
>do much to demystify the institution of marriage especially in those
>areas where the question of who is entitled to speak for whom becomes
>a very real issue, and where the answer to that question is gender inflected.
 
While not disputing any of John Drakakis' claims for what Innogen's presence
on stage would signify, I am not convinced that an argument merely because it
is familiar must necessarily be wrong-headed. The issue of silent women is
indeed a prominent one in the play, though it is Leonato and _not_ Benedick
who offers to silence Beatrice in both Q and F. And perhaps the latter is
the point: that readers have a tendency to wish the texts we have into the
form that they want. I am less interested in Shakespeare's intentions than in
what we can reasonably assume about his theater from the records of it that we
have (which are, among other things, records in shaping which his intentions
played some part).  It is entirely possible that a silent figure DID appear
on the stage - though why she does not appear at her daughter's wedding is
then something of a mystery. But it is also possible that we have here a record
of the generic and ideological constraints on Shakespeare in shaping one
of his plays: that he could make no place for a senior woman. This displaces the
locus of "silencing" from stage to study. What one makes of that displacement
is another question.
 
--
Tom Bishop                   "Poor Tom has been scared out of his good wits"
Dept of English
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH 44106.  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Symposium on *The Merchant of Venice*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 286.  Friday, 30 October 1992.
 
From: 		Jay L Halio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, Oct. 30, 1992, 15:03:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 	[Symposium on *The Merchant of Venice*]
 
On Friday, December 11, at 3:00 p.m., a symposium on *The Merchant of
Venice* will be held at the City Bar Association, 42 West 44nd
Street, New York City. It is sponsored by the Law and Humanities
Institute and the City Bar Association.
 
The symposium will be in two parts. It begins at 3:00 and goes till 5:30,
when there is an hour and a half dinner break. Papers by Shakespeareans
Lawrence Danson, Jay Halio, Clayton Kalb, Susan Oldrieve, and Charles
Spinosa will be followed by presentations by theater experts Peter Alscher
and Charles Siegel, and then lawyers Paul Gewirtz, Carrie Menkel-Meadow,
David Saxe, and Richard Weisberg. Dan Kornstein will moderate.
 
The second part of the symposium will begin a 7 p.m. and will feature a
dramatic reading of acts 4-5 by a professional acting troup, the Peter Royston
Players. The assembled speakers wuill then comment on their performance
and the approach they have taken to the play.
 
The symposium is open and free to the public, and all interested
SHAKSPERians are invited to attend. For further information, please call
Dan Kornstein at 212-418-8610.

Re: Shakespeare and Music

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 284.  Friday, 30 October 1992.
 
From: 		David Greer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, Oct. 30, 1992, 15:02:35 GMT
Subject: 3.0279 Shakespeare and Music
Comment: 	Re: SHK 3.0279 Shakespeare and Music
 
In his use of music, as in so much else, Shakespeare was an innovator.
Probably the best introduction to this subject is Frederick W. Sternfeld,
*Music in Shakespearean Tragedy* (1964, 2nd edn., 1967), which is more
comprehensive than its title suggests.  There is also a useful chapter entitled
"Shakespeare and the Music of the Elizabethan Stage" in Phyllis Hartnoll (ed.)
*Shakespeare and Music* (1964).
 
The argument that authentic music may sound merely archaic and twee can be
applied to other aspects of production, not least to Shakespeare's own
language.  There is certainly a lot to be said for trying to reproduce the
sound-world that the author had in mind, but this cannot be separated from a
host of other decisions that have to be made concerning the approach to a
production.
 
------------------------------------------------------------------
David Greer          Office:   091 374 3220 (int: +44 91 374 3220)
Department of Music  Home:     091 281 6766 (int: +44 91 281 6766)
University of Durham Fax:      091 374 3740 (int: +44 91 374 3740)
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Durham DH1 3RL, UK   Telex:    53654
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