Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1992 :: December ::
More on Shakespeare as Himself
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 380. Monday, 14 December 1992.
 
(1)     From:   Lars Engle <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 14 Dec 92 10:10:50 CST
        Subj:   RE:SHK 3.0273  Shakespeare as Himself (Con't)
 
(2)     From:   Tom Loughlin <LOUGHLIN@FREDONIA.BITNET>
        Date:   Sunday, 13 Dec 1992 9:18 pm EST (Mon, 14 Dec 92 02:18:23 UT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare As Himself?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lars Engle <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 14 Dec 92 10:10:50 CST
Subject: Shakespeare as Himself (Con't)
Comment:        RE:SHK 3.0273  Shakespeare as Himself (Con't)
 
     Ed Pechter's *reductio* of Don Foster's argument about unusual words in
Shakespeare would work if what Foster were arguing about in this instance
were authorship.  In fact what Foster is doing is trying to find a way to
figure out what roles Shakespeare himself acted from what we know about
which plays the King's Men revived, using the plausible supposition that
there might be a correlation between rare words in a part WS was acting
and the recurrence of those words in a play he was writing at the time.  The
only way to get such an algorithm started is to first have some hints about
both when particular plays were composed and which roles Shakespeare acted
(the second on shakier evidence than the first), and then to run it and see
if interesting correlations start to appear.  According to Foster they are
appearing.  But what is at stake here is not finding Shakespeare speaking
"as himself" but rather to find which parts he played -- since there is no
direct evidence that he stopped acting before his retirement to Stratford.
    In fact, Foster's argument is a fine instance of the kind of relative,
vaguely circular but nonetheless progressive, thinking that Pechter (I
think) endorses at the end of his message, before leaving to walk his dog.
------------------------------------------------------------
| Lars Engle                     |                         |
| Department of English, ZH-319  | 1112 E. 17th St.        |
| University of Tulsa            | Tulsa, OK 74120-6881    |
| Tulsa, OK 74104-3189           |                         |
| 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
         |                         |
| (918) 631-2853                 | (918) 585-8089          |
------------------------------------------------------------
 
(2)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Loughlin <LOUGHLIN@FREDONIA.BITNET>
Date:           Sunday, 13 Dec 1992 9:18 pm EST (Mon, 14 Dec 92 02:18:23 UT)
Subject:        Shakespeare As Himself?
 
   I am entering the debate a little late here, I understand, but in winding
my way through the thread of this topic I was struck with the notion that
no one seemed to grasp the nature of playwriting as an art form.  I think it's
fair to say that the entire work, taken as a whole, is always the voice of the
playwright.
   I gathered from reading the postings on the topic that there exists some
idea that a few speeches are the "voice of Shakespeare" himself stripped of the
idea of a character as medium.  From a purely theatrical viewpoint, this is a
rather futile search and a somewhat silly notion (which is not to suggest that
people who spend their time engaging in such searches are silly people :-).
The voice of Hamlet speaking "To be or not to be" is just as much the voice
of Shakespeare ruminating about life and death as is any of the Chorus speeches
or the Prospero speeches.  I fail to see why, just because Hamlet, who is a
figment of the author's imagination in precisely the same way that Prospero
is, wasn't played by the author or doesn't directly confront the audience
with dialogue should be any less the author's voice in every one of his
speeches.
   It is an interesting paradox in the theatre when you consider the question
of who is speaking.  To draw the question out to the actor - who is speaking
when I recite "O what a rogue and peasant slave am I."  Is it Shakespeare?
Is it the character?  Is it Tom Loughlin?  How do you know?  And lastly, what
does it matter?
   Having written (also bad) plays, and having worked closely with playwrights
from the ground up,  I have gained an awareness that the playwright's voice
is always to be found in the work as a whole, not simply and solely in one or
another of the speeches or sections.  Shakespeare apparently had a lot to say,
and he wrote a whole collection of characters which he used as mediums to say
what he wanted to say through them.  I believe it's simply a fallacy to suggest
that any one single speech is somehow purely "Shakespeare's voice."  We must
keep in mind the medium in which he chose to do the bulk of his work, and when
we look for his voice, it must be in the context of what that medium is and
how it works.  He speaks through all his characters, and the wide variety
and depth of those characters, along with their fluency of expression, it
what makes him the incredible genius he is.
 
      ---------------------------------------------------------------
      Tom Loughlin                *   BITNET
      Dept. of Theatre Arts       *    loughlin@fredonia
      SUNY College at Fredonia    *   INTERNET
      Fredonia NY 14063           *    
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
      Voice: 716.673.3597         *
      Fax:   716.673.3397         *   "Hail, hail Freedonia, land of
                                  *    the brave and free."  G. Marx
      ---------------------------------------------------------------
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.