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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: December ::
Re: Pronoun Use; Paraphrase; and CD-ROM Discs
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 952.  Friday, 17 December 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB.bitnet>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 December 93, 13:14:20 EST
        Subj:   [Elizabethan Verbal Habits and CD-ROM]
 
(2)     From:   Beverly Jacobson <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Dec 93 23:49:19 EST
        Subj:   Pronouns and Shakespeare
 
(3)     From:   Nate Johnson <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Dec 93 01:16:43 EDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 4.0945  Re: You/Thou and I/We in Shakespeare's Work
 
(4)     From:   Joan Hartwig <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Dec 93 10:24:27 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0936  You/Thou in Shakespeare's Work
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <FLANNAGA@OUACCVMB.bitnet>
Date:           Thursday, 16 December 93, 13:14:20 EST
Subject:        [Elizabethan Verbal Habits and CD-ROM]
 
On you/thou and many other Elizabethan verbal habits with social
meanings, see Gert Ronberg, {The World of Words}.  I used it in a
Shakespeare comedies class and got complaints at first (it is dense and
packed with information), appreciations when it led to good paper topics
(you/thou distinctions in {Much Ado}), and kudos on the course
evaluations for my helping them to understand the difference between
modern English and Elizabethan English.
 
And on Shakespeare on CD-ROM (this has come up before): probably the
most accessible version is the WordCruncher Riverside Shakespeare,
though Electronic Text Corporation, which markets WordCruncher, has been
laying low lately.  Incidentally, Shakespeare on Disk, because the texts
are in ASCII, is very easy to search using a word-processor.  The Oxford
English Reference Library on CD is supposed to have the complete
Shakespeare, but the software to access the various parts of the CD is
so arcane, and the program installs so haphazardly, that I haven't been
able to find the Shakespeare yet!
 
Roy Flannagan
Ohio University
 
[I would like to second Roy Flannagan's endorsement of the ETC (now
Johnson and Company) WordCruncher CD-ROM.  In the first place, it includes
the WordCruncher program for searching the work, but that is not all --
the CD-ROM contains the Riverside Shakespeare texts in a variety of
configurations (by individual text, by genre, by corpus) as well as
ETC's Library of America texts and religious and historical documents.
 
Another CD-ROM not mentioned yet that contains the Shakespeare plays is the
Library of the Future with its own interface for searching.    --HMC]
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Beverly Jacobson <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Dec 93 23:49:19 EST
Subject:        Pronouns and Shakespeare
 
>Even to a modern and native speaker of English, the shift in usage rings
a loud bell.  It makes Claudius seem a bit of a social klutz.<
 
I don't think Claudius' switch from the first person singular to the royal
"our" in I.ii shows him to be a social klutz.  Instead, it defines the
relationship he will have with Hamlet.  His initial attempt at a friendly,
familial relationship is rebuffed by Hamlet with word play on "kin"/"kind"
and "son"/"sun" and his use of "my lord" in "Not so, my lord, I am too
much in the sun."  The "not so" line is the only one Hamlet speaks
directly to Claudius in this encounter, and it elicits no verbal response.
 
While Hamlet uses language to distance himself from and to needle
Claudius, Claudius distances Hamlet to a king/subject relationship by
using the royal "our" and putting "chiefest courtier" before the familial
"cousin" and "son."  I don't think Shakespeare gave these words to
Claudius to commit a social gaffe, but rather to control his relationship
with Hamlet.
 
In the first part of the closet scene (III.iv), pronouns also have
significance.  This part may be seen as a verbal power struggle between
Hamlet and Gertrude, fought with familiar and formal pronouns.  With a
little imagination, it's possible to map out this confrontation as a
military battle.  One might also use the fight for pronoun superiority to
block this part of the scene for a production.
 
Different topic:  I would strongly recommend Randal Robinson's *Unlocking
Shakespeare's Language* to those seeking a way to help students understand
Shakespeare.  As I recall, he uses this booklet for undergraduate classes
and makes it an optional buy for master's and doctoral level seminars.
He used a course packet with similar and addtional material for the
doctoral seminar I was in.  Both the booklet and course packet have the
added benefit of showing grad students the kinds of problems to expect
when teaching Shakespeare.
 
Beverly Jacobson
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nate Johnson <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Dec 93 01:16:43 EDT
Subject: 4.0945  Re: You/Thou and I/We in Shakespeare's Work
Comment:        RE: SHK 4.0945  Re: You/Thou and I/We in Shakespeare's Work
 
David Bank argues, and Jim Schaefer seconds him, that the I/Thou distinction
is an argument against paraphrasing passages from Shakespeare.
 
I assumed that part of the argument *for* asking students to paraphrase
was to show that often it's difficult or impossible, to get them to
understand what can be "translated" (much of the denotative meaning) and
what can't (sound, rhythm, affect, connotations, puns...)
 
Or is the argument simply against "modernized" editions which present an
already paraphrased text which appears authoritative (or against teachers
who do so in the classroom without commenting on limitations)?
 
--Nate Johnson
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joan Hartwig <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 17 Dec 93 10:24:27 EST
Subject: 4.0936  You/Thou in Shakespeare's Work
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0936  You/Thou in Shakespeare's Work
 
Another reference that may prove helpful is by G. P. Jones, "You, Thou, He
or She? The Master-Mistress in Shakespearian and Elizabethan Sonnet
Sequences," *Cahiers Elisabethains* 19 (1981): 73-84,
 

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