1994

Re: Shylock and *MV*: *To Be . . ."; Nazis;

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0687.  Saturday, 20 August 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Cary Mazer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 19 Aug 1994 09:33:27 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
(2)     From:   Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 19 Aug 94 09:22:45 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
(3)     From:   Greg Grainger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 19 Aug 1994 07:31:00 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
(4)     From:   John Gardiner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 19 Aug 1994 08:35:21 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0685 Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary Mazer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 19 Aug 1994 09:33:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
Bravo to Hardy Cook for reminding us all of Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be, an
absolutely delightful movie (though surely the "To be or not to be" speech
would NOT be a good time for the actress playing Ophelia to have her admirer
come back stage without her husband/Hamlet noticing, since, as well all know,
Ophelia is on stage during that speech).  And Felix Bressart, playing a
bit-part Jewish actor, speaks the "Hath not a Jew" speech, the crux of an
elaborate escape plan, to great effect.  Two things to note about this, though:
Bressart's character has a Jewish name, and (about the actor playing Claudius)
says "What he is, I wouldn't eat"; but the word "Jew" is never mentioned in the
movie.  And when the actor, detained by a (fake) squadron of SS guards in the
theatre lobby, confronts (a fake) Hitler, he says "Have _we_ not eyes," etc.,
without mentioning the word Jew.  So, what was Hollywood's problem in 1942?
(The lead actor in the film was, as you all probably know, Benny Kobelsky ...
er, I mean Jack Benny).
 
Cary M. Mazer
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 19 Aug 94 09:22:45 EDT
Subject: 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
Regarding anti-Semitism in _The Merchant of Venice_:  the Georgia Shakespeare
Festival is producing the play this summer.  Portia and Nerissa are Nazis;
the Venetians are followers of Mussolini.  The word Christian is frequently
replaced by the word Fascist; thus Shylock says of Antonio, "I hate him for
he is a Fascist" early on.  It's been a most controversial production; the
festival hosted a lively and exciting symposium on the production and the
issues that it raised.  One of the speakers was Rabbi Sugarman from the Temple;
those of you who have seen _Driving Miss Daisy_ will recognize that the
topic of anti-Semitism in Atlanta has resonance.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Greg Grainger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 19 Aug 1994 07:31:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Shylock and *MV*
Comment:        SHK 5.0685  Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
On August 18, Al Cacicedo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:
 
[ . . . ]
 
>In any case, I think it not
>very useful to say that the racism or potential racism of a work of art makes
>it unususable.  If indeed there is racism in *Merchant* or in *Jew of Malta*,
>or if Eliot's Bleistein or Hemingway's Cohn indicate the racist assumptions o
>Euro-America just before WW II, then I think it incumbent on me to have my
>students read those works specifically to see the racism that Eliot and
>Hemingway, and perhaps Shakespeare and Marlowe, take so easily for granted.
>we excise those works from our collective syllabus, we are falsifying history
 
Very good point! As one who occasionally engages in debate with non- teachers
on this subject, I am grateful for such a cogent argument in favour of leaving
'controversial' works on the syllabus.
 
Greg, goes double for 'Huck Finn', too.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Gardiner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 19 Aug 1994 08:35:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0685 Re: Shylock and *MV*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0685 Re: Shylock and *MV*
 
It is my understanding that there is a film version of *MV* in which the
Nazis round up Jews and force them to stage a production of the play. I
do not know particulars about who directed the film or when it was
released. Can anyone else help me out here?

T.P.I. Announcement

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0686.  Saturday, 20 August 1994.
 
From:           David Reifsnyder <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Aug 1994 16:00:29 -0600 (MDT)
Subject:        TPI Announcement
 
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Re: Rule; *Shrew*; Wellies; Generic Expectations

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0684.  Thursday, 18 August 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Diana Akers Rhoads <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Aug 1994 22:40:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommr
 
(2)     From:   Catheri Fitzmaurice <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Aug 1994 19:29:07 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0680 Re: *Shr.* and Domestic Violence
 
(3)     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Aug 94 12:41 BST
        Subj:   [Wellies]
 
(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Aug 1994 17:33:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0681  Re: Generic Expectations
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Diana Akers Rhoads <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Aug 1994 22:40:16 -0400
Subject: 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommr
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommr
 
Thanks to Jean Peterson for her information on the "rule of thumb."  I'd be
grateful for any other early references to the rule.
 
Diana Akers Rhoads (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Catheri Fitzmaurice <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Aug 1994 19:29:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0680 Re: *Shr.* and Domestic Violence
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0680 Re: *Shr.* and Domestic Violence
 
Charles Marowitz wrote a version of Shrew which played in Los Angeles about
eight years ago, in which Petruchio's financial need for a rich wife was
stressed; he raped her on the table on which she ate her meagre meal; and
Baptista shoved his elbow into her bruised body, prompting her while she
desperately tried to remember a learned text at the end. It was counterpointed
with scenes from a modern abusive relationship.
 
Catherine Fitzmaurice Kozubei
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Aug 94 12:41 BST
Subject:        [Wellies]
 
Tom Dale Keever should have been in London last week, when an immense downpour
flooded several Tube stations, to great national relief and the baptism of many
a wellie. God is not mocked.
 
Terence Hawkes
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Aug 1994 17:33:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0681  Re: Generic Expectations
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0681  Re: Generic Expectations
 
The truth to tell, when I asked the question about titlepage indications of
genre, I was expecting a vigorous negative response, basically because I don't
find titlepages very helpful in determining genre. And I think this observation
suggests that literate Renaissance publishers, correctors of the press, and
readers did NOT pay much attention to generic distinctions. If they had been
super-sensitive to these distinctions, they would have been more careful in
distinguishing the genre of the plays they were printing, selling, and reading.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk

Re: Shylock and *MV*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0685.  Thursday, 18 August 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Al Cacicedo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Aug 1994 14:37:00 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.0683  Re: Shylock
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Aug 1994 17:46:54 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   MERCHANT and Rule of Thumb
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Cacicedo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Aug 1994 14:37:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0683  Re: Shylock
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.0683  Re: Shylock
 
The last production of *Merchant* that I saw was the RSC production with
Anthony Sher as Shylock.  In general, I think, the production was not well
received, but I found its treatment of the "racist" issue positively enlight-
ening.  In particular, the way that Portia (I forget who played the part)
treated Jessica when she first shows up at Belmont, and the way that Lorenzo
disses (a technical term, which many of you may know) his bride as soon as it
becomes clear to him that she's run out of money, made the Christians even more
unpalatable than I had ever suspected them to be. In any case, I think it not
very useful to say that the racism or potential racism of a work of art makes
it unususable.  If indeed there is racism in *Merchant* or in *Jew of Malta*,
or if Eliot's Bleistein or Hemingway's Cohn indicate the racist assumptions of
Euro-America just before WW II, then I think it incumbent on me to have my
students read those works specifically to see the racism that Eliot and
Hemingway, and perhaps Shakespeare and Marlowe, take so easily for granted.  If
we excise those works from our collective syllabus, we are falsifying history.
 
On a different note, someone who is near and dear to me assures me that when
her mother went to a priest (of the Catholic persuasion) to ask what she could
do about her physically abusive husband, the priest told her that she had no
recourse but to go back to him and endure, because God would not have given her
a burden too heavy for her to bear.  And she did in fact go back to the man and
continued to be abused until she died of cancer.  An anecdote, to be sure, but
certainly in keeping with comments made about *Shrew*.
 
Tropically depressed in Penna.,
Al Cacicedo (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Albright College
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Aug 1994 17:46:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        MERCHANT and Rule of Thumb
 
In response to Tom Dale Keever, I think that MERCHANT is anti-Christian rather
than anti-Semitic. Antonio drives Shylock to seek revenge by kicking him and
spitting on him, as well as trying to disrupt his business deals. If Shylock
doesn't act like a good Jew, Antonio hardly acts like a good Christian. Has
MERCHANT ever been stage with the Christians as Nazis? Harbage used to claim
that the "Hath not a Jew" speech was never spoken in Nazi Germany.
 
And in reponse to Tom Ellis's plea, let me say again that the rule of thumb has
been discussed at length on other networks (I think the History of Ideas group
was one), and most, if not all,  of the relevant material was made available
there. We really don't need to repeat it here -- or do we? The phrase can be
found in the OED.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
[Editor's Note:  Regarding Bill's Mention of Harbage's Claim: I cannot but
be reminded of Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 *To Be or Not to Be*, in which "Hath
not a Jew," while spoken in Hollywood occupied Poland, significantly has a
role in the unraveling of the plot and in the outwitting of the Nazis present.
--HMC]

Re: Shylock; Huff-Sommer; *Shrew*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0683.  Tuesday, 19 August 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Tom Dale Keever <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Aug 94 01:57:06 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommer
 
(2)     From:   Tom Ellis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Aug 1994 21:33:40 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommer
 
(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Aug 1994 17:26:40 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shrew
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Aug 94 01:57:06 EDT
Subject: 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommer
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommer
 
Subject:  Wesker's Shylock, and others
 
Wesker and his reply to Shakespeare came up last spring when the RSC's
production of MERCHANT was brought to the Barbican and the inevitable
controversy followed in its wake.  The Guardian published a debate between
Wesker and, I think, the production's director, David Thacker, about whether
the play was inherently anti-Semitic or could be staged in such a way that the
issue of its racism could be avoided. Wesker insisted that Shakespeare's play
was so marred by bigotry that it was better not to even try to stage it and
suggested that his course, to write a whole new play, was the proper one for
anybody who wanted to revive the story for a post-Holocaust audience.  Thacker
felt that he had succeeded in producing a staging in which the anti-Semitic
elements did not detract from the overall impact of the play.
 
I saw the Barbican staging and felt it handled the play's antiSemitic content
as well as can be expected.  The issue was partially defused not by minimizing
Shylock's negative qualities, but by portraying them as endemic in *The City,*
the modern financial center in which the action took place.  The *Christian*
characters, from the Duke on down, behaved with such meanspirited cruelty their
pious condemnations of Shylock seemed so much sanctimonious hypocrisy.  David
Calder's Shylock carried himself with pride and straight-forward determination
and the the scheming of his antagonists put them on no higher moral plane than
his.
 
The last MERCHANT I had seen, also modern dress,  had placed the action in the
world of modern commerce, too, but this production had been performed by the
Netherlands National Theater Company in Amsterdam.   I wondered how the play's
most controversial issue would be handled in a theater in the Stadsplein, just
down the Prinsengracht from the Anne Frankhuis.  I was surprised to find
Shylock's Jewishness and the play's inherent attitude to it presented with few
punches pulled, indeed with less side stepping than was later apparent at The
Barbican.
 
I regret that my performance schedule in Germany last February made it
impossible for me to see Peter Zadek's new KAUFMAN VON VENEDIG produced under
Heiner Muller's management at the The Berliner Ensemble.  Did anyone out there
get to it?  If so, how did the Germans handle the issue?
 
Who took over from Mostel in the New York production of Wesker's play, Anthony?
 
Tom Dale Keever
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Ellis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Aug 1994 21:33:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommer
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0679  Re: Character and Huff-Sommer
 
With all due respect, I fail to see what this quarrel between feminists,
neo-feminists, and quasi-feminists has to do with the presumed topic of this
list--Shakespeare. I haven't read Hoff-Sommers nor her detractors, and until
someone comes up with some reliable historical data, speculation on the
provenance of the "rule of thumb" must remain merely idle speculation. So
please: if you wish to carry on this particular discussion, try another list. I
trust I speak for most other SHAKSPERians in preferring that the topic focus
remain at least indirectly related to Shakespeare.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Aug 1994 17:26:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shrew
 
Actually, I agree almost entirely with Stephanie DuBois's analysis of
Petruchio's abusive treatment of Katherine. Where we begin to disagree is in
Act IV, scene v. I tend to emphasize Katherine's strength and endurance.
Although she has been deprived on food and sleep, and although she has had to
put up with Petruchio's erratic, violence behavior swings, she is not about to
submit to his nonsense until Hortensio requests her to do so (IV.v.11). I think
her "submission" -- peppered with insults (e.g., 20) -- is actually a courtesy
to Hortensio.
 
Earlier in the scene, she had asserted: "I know it is the sun that shines so
bright" (5 in the Riverside edition), and after the submission, when she is
kidding Vincentio, she asks pardon for her "mistaking eyes,/That have been so
bedazzled with the sun" and, she continues, "every thing I look on seemeth
green" (45-47). Obviously she reasserts her former position, and, if she stares
at Petruchio, when she declares that everything seems "green," then we may feel
that Katherine is hardly submissive.
 
And, of course, I would like to deconstruct her long speech in V.ii., or, at
least, read it as ironic. For example, she makes it clear that she expects
"painful labor" and lack of sleep from the husbands (V.ii.149-50). And, as one
actress told me, she wouldn't make this speech unless she could force Petruchio
to pick up her cap at the end of the scene.
 
Of course, Katherine is being perfectly "sisterly" in this scene. This is the
scene in which Katherine gets her own. So in the sibling rivalry between
Katherine and Bianca, Bianca is the clear winner. She gets to "swinge" her
sister in the room, and then give her a lecture on obedience. And, further,
Katherine finally gets her father's approval.
 
Now I realize there's a downside to this reading. Katherine may have strength
and endurance, but it can certainly be argued that she has joined the males --
or, at least, her abuser, Petruchio -- against her sister and "Hortensio's
widow." And we might be happier with the lines from A SHREW. When Polidor tells
his wife Emilia that she's a "shrew," she replies: "Thats better then a sheepe"
(scene 18, 60).
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk

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