Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 157. Wednesday, 10 March 1993.
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Wednesday, 10 March 1993
Subject: New on the SHAKSPER FileServer: GRANVILL JEW_OF_V
As of today, SHAKSPEReans may retrieve GRANVILL JEW_OF_V from the SHAKSPER
FileServer. The file GRANVILL JEW_OF_V contains Ben Ross Schneider's essay,
"Granville's Jew of Venice (1701): A Close Reading of Shakespeare's
Merchant," mentioned in his recent SHAKSPER posting and excerpted below.
SHAKSPEReans can retrieve GRANVILL JEW_OF_V by issuing the interactive command,
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GRANVILL JEW_OF_V SHAKSPER."
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Granville's Jew of Venice (1701):
A Close Reading of Shakespeare's Merchant
Ben Ross Schneider, Jr.
In a recent essay in which Catherine Craft examines George Granville's
adaptation of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, called The Jew of Venice, she
decides that Granville's goal was to produce a more purely comic play than
the original, one more suited to his own age.
[Long quotation omitted]
Ms. Craft assumes that the "dark colorings" removed by Granville are a
feature of the original. But they were not observed in it until the latter
end of the last century, when major actors began to play Shylock, and critics
did not reach a consensus on their presence until the last decade.(1)
Still, it does not occur to Ms. Craft that modern readers might be the
revisionists, not Granville, and that The Jew of Venice might be closer to
Shakespeare's Merchant than the play we reconstruct on the stage and in our
minds today. What if we reverse Ms. Craft's thesis and investigate the
proposition that Granville's plot (perhaps better described as "moral and
uplifting" than "light and happy") is an accurate reading of the original's
ideological substance, after all?
[six paragaphs omitted]
In the process, working from the other side of the ethical divide that
separates us from Shakespeare, Granville gives us no less than a virtual
point by point refutation of the standard modern/postmodern interpretation of