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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: May ::
New on the SHAKSPER FileServer
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 281.  Friday, 7 May 1993.
 
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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 >
Date:           Friday, May 7, 1993
Subject:        New on the SHAKSPER FileServer
 
SHAKSPERans,
 
I am pleased to announce the availability of two essay that I have just added
to the SHAKSPER FileServer.
 
The first, "*Twelfth Night*: All or Nothing? What You Will, It's All One -- Or
Is It?" (12NIGHT ALLONOTH), is a contribution from a new member to the SHAKSPER
Conference, William Leigh Godshalk.  You can retrieve this essay by issuing the
interactive command, "TELL LISTSERV AT UTORONTO GET 12NIGHT ALLONOTH SHAKSPER."
If your network link does not support the interactive "TELL" command (i.e. if
you are not directly on Bitnet), or if LISTSERV rejects your request, then send
the following one-line mail message (without a subject line) to
LISTSERV@utoronto.bitnet, "GET 12NIGHT ALLONOTH SHAKSPER."
 
The second, "Shakespeare by Mail: An Experience in Distance Learning Using
Electronic Mail" (LEARNING BY_EMAIL) reports on an very interesting experiment
from last fall that involved members of the SHAKSPER Conference.  Tom Loughlin
got the idea to invite members of SHAKSPER to act as electronic advisors to his
students in the preparation of their research papers. This paper describes the
experience.  You can retrieve LEARNING BY_EMAIL by issuing the interactive TELL
command, as outlined above, or by sending the following one-line mail message
(without a subject line) to LISTSERV@utoronto.bitnet, "GET LEARNING BY_EMAIL
SHAKSPER."
 
Should you have difficulty receiving either of these files, please contact
the editor, <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > or <SHAKSPER@utoronto.bitnet>.
 
For an updated version of the file list, send the command "GET SHAKSPER FILES
SHAKSPER" in the same fashion.  For further information, consult the
appropriate section of your SHAKSPER GUIDE.
 
Excerpts from both papers appear below.
 
===============================================================================
                Twelfth Night: All or Nothing,
            What You Will, It's All One - Or Is It?
 
      " . . . styles, like persons, are interchangeable."
 
Declan Kiberd, "Bloom the Liberator," TLS 3 Jan. 1992: 5, writes: "Ulysses is
constructed on the understanding that styles, like persons, are
interchangeable."
 
                            Part I
 
Twelfth Night is full of substitutes, including the main title. As Donno (3-4)
points out, the references within the text suggest "not a mid-winter season
but either spring of summer," indicating "the metaphorical nature of the title
Twelfth Night." In this paper, I use both Donno and G. B. Evans as texts.
Neither is totally satisfactory.  Dramatic figures who stand in for, act in
behalf of, or take the place of other dramatic figures; dramatic figures who
pretend to be, impersonate, some other dramatic figure; dramatic figures who,
for various reasons, assume preconceived roles, roles that could be played by
anyone, roles in which they are, if you will allow, only substitutes, since
another dramatic figure might as easily stand in and assume these roles; the
main title itself has a substitute: What You Will which suggests that anything
goes.
 
The concept of substitution contains the concept of doubles or doubling, since
a substitute demands that an original exists - or existed at one time. To
assume a role, to act a part, to act in behalf of, is to acknowledge the
preexistence of that role, of that part, or of someone for whom one acts. A
substitute is a double for her original, a replacement, and, if the substitute
proves that he or she can play the part as well as the dramatic figure for whom
he or she is substituting, then what is to keep the substitute from displacing
the original? And so temporary replacement moves on to permanent displacement.
Dramatic figures, like the parts of a Ford or a Carthaginian ship, are
interchangeable. As Kurt Vonnegut has commented, "We are what we pretend to be,
so we must be careful about what we pretend to be" (v). Or as Feste has it,
"'That that is, is,' so I, being Master Parson, am Master Parson; for what is
'that' but 'that' and 'is' but 'is'?" (4.2.13-14). Berry calls Feste's words
"perhaps the clearest statement in the canon of the very Shakespearean idea of
being-as-role playing" (202).
 
For the purposes of this essay, I would like to place this continuum that moves
from representation to impersonation, from mimicry to transformation, from
replacement to displacement, or, to pun along with Geoffrey Hartman (47), from
clowning to cloning, under the rubic of surrogation, a word which Shakespeare,
perversely, never uses. I would like to talk about the ways in which surrogates
function in this play and then to speculate about some possible meanings and
significances. I realize that surrogation is a metaphor, a rather inclusive
metaphor, and that other critics have used other metaphors, such as masquerade
(e.g., B. Evans 120) or disguise, to talk about some elements that I have
included under surrogation. In my thinking about metaphor, I'm influenced by
Holland 112-34.
 
===============================================================================
 Shakespeare  by  Mail: An Experience in Distance  Learning  Using
                          Electronic Mail
 
      For  the  past  five years I have taught  a  class  entitled
 "Acting  in  Shakespeare" for my undergraduate  students  at  the
 senior level in our Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting program.  I have
 never  taught  the  class the same way twice,  always  trying  to
 tailor  the  class  to the amount and  ability  of  the  incoming
 students.  This past fall's class was particularly large and  had
 a  good  amount  of  men, so I decided  to  focus  the  class  on
 preparing  to  perform a workshop production of *King  Lear.*   I
 planned for the students to approach the play through performance
 and  analysis, hoping that the skills learned in approaching  one
 of  Shakespeare's  plays would be applicable at  the  most  basic
 level to other works in the canon.
 
      My  greatest concern was the research component.  I  believe
 actors who perform Shakespeare should have strong research skills
 so  as to understand the context and the time in which  the  play
 was  written, both in terms of Shakespeare's time and place,  and
 in  context  of  the text itself (e.g.  knowing  something  about
 England  around 500-600 AD for *King Lear*).  I also  believe  in
 the "writing across the curriculum" concept, and try not only  to
 get students to write whenever possible, but to rewrite as  well.
 I'm  a  firm  believer that research is  not  actable,  but  that
 research  can lead us to clues for character traits which  relate
 to  the  context of the play and which would not  be  immediately
 apparent  to the modern acting student in a modern  context.   An
 example  might be understanding the meaning  behind  Gloucester's
 blinding, a punishment common for crimes of lust and lechery.  An
 actor   might   extrapolate   from  that  fact   and   create   a
 characterization  of Gloucester which would show him to be a  man
 used to easy living, somewhat loose in his morals and  lifestyle,
 and so very easy to beguile.
 
      My problem was the amount of papers I was looking forward to
 reading.   The class had 17 students, and I planned to  have  two
 rewrites before accepting the final paper.  The question was  how
 to  find  the time and the resources, given  other  teaching  and
 departmental production responsibilities, to do the job well.   I
 hit upon the power of electronic communication, or e-mail, as the
 solution.
 
      I had discovered e-mail about two years ago, and one of  the
 discussion  lists  I  joined was the  SHAKSPER  discussion  list,
 edited  by Hardy M. Cook and originating from the  University  of
 Toronto  (the  founder of the list was  Ken  Steele  of  the
 UofT).   It  occurred to me that many of these  people  are  very
 interested  and very competent on the subject of Shakespeare.   I
 decided to try to set up an "electronic advising system," whereby
 each  of  my  students would be matched up  with  an  "electronic
 advisor."  The student would then communicate via e-mail with his
 or her advisor, and all matters pertaining to the paper would  be
 handled  between  the advisor and the student.  I  would  receive
 only the final copy.
 
      The  experience ran from September to December of  1992.   I
 call  the  process an "experience" rather  than  an  "experiment"
 because  the way in which the project was carried out had no  set
 research  methodology  attached  to it.  The  remainder  of  this
 article deals with how the experience was set up, how it ran, and
 what the results were.
 

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