Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 281. Friday, 7 May 1993.
Date: Friday, May 7, 1993
Subject: New on the SHAKSPER FileServer
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
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
Should you have difficulty receiving either of these files, please contact
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
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
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
Shakespeare by Mail: An Experience in Distance Learning Using
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
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.
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 279. Thursday, 6 May 1993.
(1) From: Rick Abrams <RABRAMS@PORTLAND>
Date: Thursday, 06 May 93 09:07:22 EDT
Date: Thursday, 06 May 93 20:52
From: Rick Abrams <RABRAMS@PORTLAND>
Date: Thursday, 06 May 93 09:07:22 EDT
A fairly impressive reading of the Hal of 1H4 may be found in the song
"Prince Hal's Dirge" on Loudon Wainwright's 1976 pop album "T-Shirt."
Date: Thursday, 06 May 93 20:52
Our server's SPINOFF biblio was recently reminded to all, concern-
ing poems on Shakespeare.
I am currently listening to the French national musical programme
France Musique, which is broadcasting Felix Mendelssohn's 1846 stage-
music for *MND*, which includes his famous nutpial march, which some of
you may still have in their ears from their own weddings.
Last weekend, they also broadcasted two excerpts from Ambroise
Thomas's 1868 *Hamlet* opera (French lyrics), and as I looked him up
in an Encyclopaedia, I hit upon a *Songe d'une nuit d'ete* (Gallic form
of *MND*), dated 1850. Thomas was an anti-Berlioz academic philistine,
but he used (up?...) the works of ole Shakes, and this concerns our spin
off file, I thought. Why not encourage people to send info concerning
other arts as well (sculptures, paintings, etc.)
I remember Pre-raphaelite paintings of Ophelia floating on the
river but don't have time to look them up. I'm positive that there is
a poem by Brecht on the same topic, called "Das Ertrunkene Maedchen",
as I once had to speak on it for an oral exam! It must have been inspir-
ed by another poem in German, but this is remote from my memory, as rem-
ote as my German, actually (sorry for any German speakers on the line,
who are invited to help, anyway... hello Balz Engler in Basle!).
Cheers to all and everyone.