1994

Re: Character: Milk and Titles

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0643.  Friday, 29 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jul 1994 14:18:29 -0500
        Subj:   Milk
 
(2)     From:   Thomas Ellis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 28 Jul 1994 23:09:43 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0639  Re: Character: Dirt, Titles, Conduct Books
 
(3)     From:   John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 29 Jul 94 11:30:00 BST
        Subj:   SHK 5.0639 Re: Character: Dirt, Titles,
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Jul 1994 14:18:29 -0500
Subject:        Milk
 
EL Epstein writes that the Hottentots of south eastern Africa equated milk with
feces and urine and would not drink it.  I would want to know a lot more about
this culture to move from the fact that they didn't drink milk to the
conclusion that they "equated" it with feces and urine.   All milk? The milk of
cattle? Do infants in that culture drink the equivalent of urine from their
mothers' breasts? Source?
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Ellis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Jul 1994 23:09:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0639  Re: Character: Dirt, Titles, Conduct Books
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0639  Re: Character: Dirt, Titles, Conduct Books
 
Response to David Schalkwyk:
 
The observation you make about the titling of the comedies and tragedies is
indeed germane to the ongoing discussion of the construction of "Character" in
Shakespeare's time. I would begin by observing how many of the comedies' titles
are genre-markers, intended to specify what the audience's generic expectations
should be as they approach the play: "Comedy of Errors;" "Midsummer Night's
Dream;" "As You Like It"; "Much Ado About Nothing"; "All's Well That Ends
Well."  All of these titles convey variations of the same message: NOT TO BE
TAKEN SERIOUSLY (although, in the latter two instances, this genre-directive
may well have an ironic twist).
 
Conversely, as you note, the major tragedies all focus on one (or two) dominant
characters in their titles; this practice seems to have been conventional at
the time (consider Jonson's "Sejanus" as opposed to "Every Man In His Humour",
for example).
 
From this practice we can reasonably hypothesize that, on the characterological
continuum from mimetic (or life-like) to emblematic (or typological),
Shakespeare and his contemporaries intended the tragedies to be approached more
mimetically and his comedies to be approached more emblematically. Putting it
probably too simply, we are intended to identify and empathize with Hamlet,
Lear, and Othello, and to laugh with and at the antics of Puck, Beatrice and
Benedick, Rosalind and Orlando, and Parolles.
 
At the same time, as many of the contributors here have observed, the mimetic
and the emblematic can never be separated, for theatre, like all art, embodies
the paradox that, according to Gregory Bateson, defines "play" as a mammalian
behavior: "This is not what it is." When a dog, in play, nips your ankle, for
example, it is sending the message, "This is, and isn't, a bite." At an
infinitely higher level of complexity, all dramatic artists are doing the same
thing: This (i.e. Hamlet, Lear, Cordelia, etc. etc.) is, and is not, a person.
The paradox is beautifully embodied in Shakespeare's most playfully recursive
and self-referential play, The Winter's Tale, when Hermione's statue comes to
life: "That she is living, were it but told you, would be hooted at like an old
tale, yet it appears she lives." Yet the play IS an "old tale" and it only
"appears" she lives, because, after all, this is only a play.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 29 Jul 94 11:30:00 BST
Subject: Re: Character: Dirt, Titles,
Comment:        SHK 5.0639 Re: Character: Dirt, Titles,
 
For David Schalkwyk,
 
It was Charles I who identified Much Ado as the comedy of Benedick and
Betteris, so there isn't very much authority for textual revision there. The
general question you raise is an interesting one though insofar as tragedy is
concerned with establishing individual identity (though there may be
exceptions to this rather crass generalization), and comedy is concerned, at
least at the level of manifest content, with a more inclusive social harmony.
That's true of Much Ado too.  What the Restoration does with these examples
is another matter altogether- see Mirabell and Millamant in Congreve's The
Way of The World for a version of the Benedick-Beatrice conflict.  Those
tragedies which share titles e.g. Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra
raise very large questions about the relationship between tragedy and gender.
On the questioon of comedies though, what about The Merchant of Venice?
Granted that there appear to be two of them, Antonio and Shylock; or what
about The Merry Wives of Windsor?  If you think of the way titles are used in
the History Plays, then this raises an even more complicated set of
questions: is I Henry IV a comedy? for example?
 
One of the issues which your query raises is the extent to which the
tragedies- and I'm thinking of Othello in relation to Much Ado here, or Romeo
and Juliet in relation to MND- rework in another mood the material of the
comedies.  It seems to me that this might be a good place to start.
 
Cheers,
John Drakakis

Q: Renaissance Studies Web

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0642.  Friday, 29 July 1994.
 
From:           Zachary Lesser <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 28 Jul 94 14:23:56 EDT
Subject:        Renaissance Studies Web
 
Does anyone out there know of a good web for Renaissance Studies, something
akin to the (wonderful) Labyrinth for Medieval Studies at Georgetown? I've
looked around the web for a while, but all I've found are some on-line
Shakespeare sites. I wonder if there's anywhere out there which puts early
modern documents (historical and literary) into a web.
 
Zachary Lesser
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Groupings; Greening; E-Journal

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0640.  Thursday, 28 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Martin Zack <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Jul 1994 09:14:45 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Groupings
 
(2)     From:   Terence Martin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Jul 94 11:43:24 CDT
        Subj:   Greening
 
(3)     From:   Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Jul 94 13:44:05 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0637  Re: E-Journal
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Zack <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 26 Jul 1994 09:14:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Groupings
 
Grouping the plays in various categories is a handy way to keep track of them.
And I am always fascinated in how others group plays that I never think share
many of the same characteristics. Most difficult, for me at least, is fitting
Measure for Measure in with the other "comedies."
 
I believe that there is merit in the idea that Shakespeare had essentially
exhausted the structure of the comedy, whose final marriage scene neatly
wrapped up the action. Certainly Isabella's triumph at the end of the play is a
personal one, and the marriage proposal of the Duke seems such an inadequate
response or reward.
 
So I would be curious where John Perry would slip in M4M in his groupings. I
would group Merchant with M4M simple because they share a sense at the end of
the play that things are not neatly resolved, but remain troubled.
 
Martin Zacks
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Martin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 26 Jul 94 11:43:24 CDT
Subject:        Greening
 
Thanks to Bill Godshalk and Piers Lewis for their comments on s. 112.  The
divergent tracks of their thoughts clearly illustrate the sonnet's difficulty
though I too prefer the simpler interpretation of "ore-greene."  I also wonder
if in line 8 that "or changes right or wrong" could be "o'er changes right or
wrong"; thus keeping them as nouns rather than verbs.
 
Terence Martin
UM - St. Louis
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 26 Jul 94 13:44:05 EDT
Subject: 5.0637  Re: E-Journal
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0637  Re: E-Journal
 
The slightest of all corrections.  While Theatre Perspectives International is
indeed an excellent on-line publication, I don't think it was in fact, as James
Zeiger suggests, the first on-line theatre journal.  The first that purports to
cover ALL of theatre, yes.  But I believe the first issue of *Didaskalia:
Ancient Theatre Today* preceded TPI by a week or two.  And there may be
others...
 
A good idea, though!
 
Rick Jones
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Folger Editions; Qs: Washington, DC, and WT & Oth.

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0641.  Thursday, 28 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Jul 1994 21:31:55 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   New Folger Shakespeare
 
(2)     From:   Jung Jimmy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Jul 94 09:13:00 edt
        Subj:   Washington/Winter Tale, Othello
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 26 Jul 1994 21:31:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        New Folger Shakespeare
 
I know I've done this before, but I feel the need to do it again. Those who are
embarrassed by cheerleading should read no further.
 
Speaking strictly as an amateur -- I'm a programmer at Penn, with no connection
to either the English department or the Furness collection (much to my
chagrin)... anyway, as an amateur, I want to express my appreciation to Barbara
Mowat and Paul Werstine for the work they've done on the New Folger
Shakespeare. The text is interesting, with a clear rationale and not too
radical a departure, and with a creative solution to the Folio/Quarto problem
for several of the plays; the notes are informative and accessible; the
illustrations are great; and the annotated bibliographies are a treat.
 
I now have all the available volumes to date except "The Tempest." I'll pick
that one up this week or next. I'm also collecting the new Oxford editions, and
take great pleasure wallowing in the notes there; but when I want to read the
plays for enjoyment, the Folger is the one I find myself turning to again and
again.
 
     Tad Davis
     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jung Jimmy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Jul 94 09:13:00 edt
Subject:        Washington/Winter Tale, Othello
 
Two questions about Shakespeare resources in the Washington, DC, area and one
thought about Winter's Tale and Othello.
 
Washington:
1.  Do any of the local libraries have any of the Multimedia /Hypermedia
    Shakespeare applications that they will let folks use?  (e.g., Best's
    Shakespeare's Life and Times, Mullin's Our Shakespeare, Schafer's Macbeth)
 
2.  Do any of the local bookstores stock the Oxford or Cambridge editions?
 
Othello/Winter's Tale:
 
While I'm sure comparisons between the two plays abound, yesterday it occurred
to me that, if we move from Othello to The Winter's Tale, we could consider the
male characters as merging, while the female characters come apart.  Leontes
could be considered a combination of Othello's tragic concern for his honor and
Iago's irrational malice, while Desdemona is the angelic Hermione, but also the
pushy Paulina (especially with regard to her lobbying on Cassio's behalf).
[This actually started when I was trying to decide if Desdemona could share any
of the blame for the tragic conclusion. The only fault I could find was her
suit for Cassio, and that's hardly enough to implicate her.]  I'm not sure any
of this holds up if you look at it too long, but I thought I'd let the list
chew on it.
 
thanks      jimmy

Re: Character: Dirt, Titles, Conduct Books

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0639.  Thursday, 28 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   E. L. Epstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Jul 1994 11:23:57 EDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.0627  Re: Character
 
(2)     From:   Naomi Conn Liebler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Jul 94 12:59:51 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 5.0637 Re: Dirt
 
(3)     From:   David Schalkwyk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Jul 94 11:43:51 SAST-2
        Subj:   character
 
(4)     From:   Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Jul 1994 20:50:54 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   character
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. L. Epstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 26 Jul 1994 11:23:57 EDT
Subject: 5.0627  Re: Character
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.0627  Re: Character
 
In re Mueller: the Hottentots of south eastern Africa equated milk with feces
and urine and would not drink it. ELEpstein
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Naomi Conn Liebler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Jul 94 12:59:51 +0100
Subject: Re: Dirt
Comment:        SHK 5.0637 Re: Dirt
 
Nina Walker rightly refers to Mary Douglas's specific language in citing dirt
as "matter out of place," but then muddies up the intended distinction by
saying "Culture be damned." Citing menstrual blood as what she thinks is a safe
example of a substance "universally" eschewed, Ms. Walker says "Tell me of one
[culture] that has thought differently." Douglas herself cites the Walbiri of
Central Australia: "Even menstrual blood is not avoided, and there are no
beliefs that contact with it brings danger" (*Purity and Danger* Pelican
edition, p. 168). Elsewhere in the same book Douglas reminds us that "Blood
[not menstrual, in this instance], in Hebrew religion, was regarded as the
source of life, and not to be touched except in the sacred conditions of
sacrifice" (p.144 . Douglas goes on to cite a large number of very specific
examples of various body substances that are, in various cultures, variously
valued as instruments of dirt OR purification. Other anthropologists make
observations about other populations (sorry, I'm away from home and haven't got
the citations handy). The point is that culture cannot be damned in these
discussions: specific cultural distinctions define what constitutes "in place"
or "out of place," and thus what constitutes purity or pollution. The idea that
what is so in YOUR place or MINE must be so everywhere on the planet and at all
times is a regrettable form of ethnocentrism.
 
One more quotation from Mary Douglas seems apposite here: "Each culture has its
own special risks and problems. To which particular bodily margins its belief
attribute power depends on what situation the body is mirroring. It seems that
our deepest fears and desires take expression with a kind of witty aptness. To
understand body pollution we should try to argue back from the unknown dangers
of society to the known selection of bodily themes and try to recognize what
appositeness is there" (p. 145).
 
Her cautionary advice serves us well. In discussions of culture, whether early
modern or any other, we need to look more closely at what is being signalled by
this or that allusion, citation, aversion, occlusion, or attention. "Yuck" is
not a useful critical distinction.
 
Cheerio.
Naomi C. Liebler
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Schalkwyk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Jul 94 11:43:51 SAST-2
Subject:        character
 
The discussion of the status of names and titles in _King Lear_ set me thinking
about the titles of the plays in general.  Is there any significance in the
fact that while none of the comedies has the names of protagonists as a title,
all of the tragedies do?  And is there any significance in revisions which
change _Much Ado About Nothing_ to _Beatrice and Benedick_, but _Antony and
Cleopatra_ to _All For Love_?  A shot in the dark.
 
David Schalkwyk
University of Cape Town
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Schneider <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Jul 1994 20:50:54 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        character
 
To those who questioned my appeal to conduct books.  Many thanks for your good
thoughts.  Cannot respond in detail now because using borrowed hookup.  Will
continue my argument about August 1.
 
Yours ever,
BEN SCHNEIDER

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.