1994

Re: Metre; Red Lion; Characters

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0603.  Monday, 11 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Don Weingust <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 12:45:53 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0602 Re: Metre and Readings
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 17:50:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0596  Q: The Red Lion
 
(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 18:23:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0600  Dramatic Figures or Characters?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Weingust <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 12:45:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0602 Re: Metre and Readings
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0602 Re: Metre and Readings
 
I once had the pleasure of spending a little time with the now late, veteran
actor Arnold Moss.  Mr. Moss was a wonderful player, unfortunately best known
for his guest appearance as the Shakespearean Actor on an episode of the
original Star Trek series, way back when.  Later in his career, he was touring
universities doing one-person readings from Shakespeare.  Over drinks after a
performance, I complimented him on his stunningly rhythmic and metrical
interpretations, and asked him about his approach to the texts.  His response
was simply, "I don't know about all that stuff.  I just read the words."
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 17:50:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0596  Q: The Red Lion
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0596  Q: The Red Lion
 
Rick Jones's question MAY be answered by Andrew Gurr, THE SHAKESPEAREAN STAGE
1574-1642, 3rd edition (Cambrige University Press), 117: "The first Middlesex
amphitheatre, the Red Lion, built before the players had any government
protection and probably as temporary in its playing life as in its design, was
set up to the east, in Stepney. The first durable building, the Theatre, was
built on land leased for twenty-one years in Shoreditch . . . ."
 
The words to emphasize here are "temporary" and "durable." Gurr seems to
indicate that the impact of the Red Lion was negligible -- and he does not list
it in his index! Is that worth noting in a review?
 
Yours,  Bill Godshalk
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 18:23:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0600  Dramatic Figures or Characters?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0600  Dramatic Figures or Characters?
 
I've just been reading John Drakakis's reply to Pat Buckridge, and I wonder if
part of the problem is the ambiguity of the category "character." I take
character simply as a literary category, i.e., a human construction. Daisy,
Gatsby, Nick, Jordan, and Tom are characters in a certain novel. I like Wallace
Martin's comments in RECENT THEORIES OF NARRATIVE (Cornell, 1986), esp. 122.
 
But would it be helpful to use Manfred Pfister's "fictional figure" (modified
to "dramatic figure") (THEORY AND ANALYSIS OF DRAMA, Cambridge, 1988)? Pfister
briefly discusses "the relationship between actor and figure" (23).
 
If those of us who are interested in contesting this ground could agree on a
fairly neutral word or term (cf. Fran Teague's "roles"), perhaps we may better
understand what we are fighting about.
 
I suggest it would be helpful to begin with a text, an early seventeenth
century text: John Manningham's description of part of TWELFTH NIGHT: "A GOOD
PRATICE IN IT TO MAKE THE STEWARD BELEEUE HIS LADY WIDDOWE WAS IN lOUE WTH HIM
BY COUNTERFAYTING A LETTR/AS FROM HIS LADY IN GENERALL TEARMES/ TELLING HIM
WHAT SHEE LIKED BEST IN HIM / AND PRESCRIBING HIS GESTURE IN SMILING HIS
APPARRAILE / &c/. AND THEN WHEN HE CAME TO PRACTISE MAKING HIM BELEEUE THEY
TOOKE HIM TO BE MAD/:/" (Arden Edition, xxvi). (I do not vouch for my
transcription.)
 
To my ear, Manningham seems to be describing the actions of real humans, not
emblematic figures, and yet he is describing the actions of dramatic figures. I
would argue from this text that some early modern auditors did NOT interpret
contemporary dramatic figures emblematically.
 
Can I ask John Drakakis for his response to Manningham's account?
 
Yours,
Bill Godshalk

Re: Metre and Readings

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0602.  Sunday, 10 July 1994.
 
From:           Paul Hawkins <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 09 Jul 1994 11:03:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Metre and Reading
 
Rick Jones is to be thanked for reminding us that iambic pentameter lines, as
any metrical verse lines, contain inverted feet and other variations on the
basic pattern.  But let's remember the line--and the reading of it--that began
this thread:
 
      I love thee not, therefore pursue me not
                      (MND, II, i, 188)
 
The delivery suggested by Douglas Lanier was "I love *thee* not." Presumably
the second part of the line would then be delivered, "therefore pursue *me*
not."  Rick Jones would seem to hold that this delivery is defensible, even
perhaps "bold" and "strong." The only problem is that it makes no sense at all.
 Usually the stressing of personal pronouns at the expense of a verb is
nonsensical, but especially when one is found in an unstressed position in
verse.  In this case, and as is often the case in Shakespeare, the metre guides
us to the antithesis in the line:
 
      I *love* thee *not*, therefore pur*sue* me *not*
 
"Thee" can only sensibly be stressed if "love" and "not" receive equal or
greater stress.  The line could then be delivered, "i LOVE THEE NOT, therefore
purSUE me NOT," though this strikes me as unnecessarily insistent, and in
performance would give the actor nowhere to go (the scene, for Demetrius,
should probably build towards his threat of violence some lines later, and not
begin too near that note).  One could also say "i LOVE THEE NOT, therefore
purSUE ME NOT", though again, I think it inappropriate.
 
Shakespeare does vary the regularity of the iambic pentameter line for
particular reasons, or better, to particular effect.  He also exploits its
regularity, as this example demonstrates.  The second point is probably the one
we're in danger of forgetting.  It is easy to be fond of placing stresses where
we wilfully want them (or rather, where WE wilfully want THEM); it is difficult
and demanding, and perhaps feels too reverential, to surrender to the complex
rhythms of verse.
 
What does the regularity achieve here, in this entrance line? A clean setting
of the scene, which reminds us who these characters are and what the terms of
their conflict.  Neatly done in 10 syllables.  Douglas Lanier urged the
delivery in question to remind us that Demetrius loves another.  Of course,
Demetrius himself reminds us in the next two lines.  Stressing "thee" in
isolation is plainly wrong, stressing it at all unnecessary.
 
Harry Hill reminded us that the metre "is of course in itself the best guide to
the clean interpretation of such moments."  Further, it is clearly inadvisable
to urge *any* reading without considering a line's metre.
 
Paul Hawkins

Re: Editions; Characters; R & G; Klingon Translations

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0600.  Friday, 8 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Tom Davey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 07 Jul 94 23:02 PDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0595 Conventional Edition Format
 
(2)     From:   John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 08 Jul 94 13:11:00 BST
        Subj:   SHK 5.0598 Re: Characters
 
(3)     From:   Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 08 Jul 94 10:02:21 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0599  Q: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
 
(4)     From:   Ellen Edgerton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 08 Jul 1994 10:35 ET
        Subj:   *The Tragedy of Iago*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Davey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 07 Jul 94 23:02 PDT
Subject: 5.0595 Conventional Edition Format
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0595 Conventional Edition Format
 
E.P. Werstine writes, regarding the necessity of consigning an unfavored quarto
or Folio reading "to the textual notes in the back," that this is
 
      a regrettable but unavoidable situation in anything
   resembling the conventional edition format that is marketable
   today.
 
What kind of page format might we prefer? Is this an argument for superior
typographic design, or for an electronic text where an abundant apparatus can
be invoked with a click?
 
   Tom Davey/UCLA
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 08 Jul 94 13:11:00 BST
Subject: Re: Characters
Comment:        SHK 5.0598 Re: Characters
 
Dear Pat Buckridge,
 
Now I am beginning to understand where you're coming from- the late 70s and
early 80s! I would never have thought of linking Belsey, MacCabe, and Heath
together in the way that you do, and MacCabe's occasional use of Brecht
notwithstanding, your description of a "neo-Brechtian orthodoxy" is hopelessly
inadequate.  Nor was it the "salient feature" of their intervention in the 70s.
In fact the Heath and Belsey to which you are referring owed more to Lacan, and
the Screen ethos was built around the explosion of French theory in the late
60s. You only have to contrast their work at this time with that of, say, the
late Margot Heinemann (who WAS more Brechtian (see her essay in Political
Shakespeare on "How Brecht Read Shakespeare") to see how wrong you've got it.
Also your ascription of "progressive" to Hawkes and myself is misleading; are
you concerned here to place us in a Hegelian context, and if so, on what
grounds?  Moreover, I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say that I
imply that "semiosis is curbed not politically but epistemologically, by the
superior truth of constructivist (e.g. emblematic) readings of character over
mimetic (or realist) ones. A cursory reading of Foucault will, I am sure,
reveal that politics and epistemology are necessarily intertwined, and that
knowledges are constrcuted within the parameters of the political.
 
What you seem to want to do is to lump together historical difference- which is
well documented- with some sort of transhistorical human nature, to the extent
that you can assert that there are "characters" in Renaissance plays because
that's the way we experience them.  The question is how to get out of this
piece of tail-chasing, and the answers are very complicated.  We can't make a
Shakespearean text mean anything we want it to mean.  I think it was Terry
Eagleton who said (in 1982 I think) that King Lear isn't about Manchester
United (I think he originally said Leeds United).  There is, of course, nothing
stopping us from reading these texts mimetically, except that when we do so we
need to be aware of what it is that we edit out in order to make such a reading
possible.
 
As an avid reader of Raymond Williams you should know that it is misleading to
separate texts from their histories- hence his attempt to prize Tragedy free
from the straitjacket that someone like George Steiner constructs for it in The
Death of Tragedy. You can't have it both ways: you can't on the one hand claim
a senstitivity to historical difference and then dismiss that as some sort of
"British neo-Brechtian orthodoxy" when you want to insist on the permanence of
"character".
 
On the subject of Problems in Materialism and Culture, try reading Williams's
critique of the Marxist base-superstructure model.  Then switch to the Politics
and Letters volume for a critique of Williams. (Well, you did ask!)
 
Finally, catharsis is a way of managing the emotions!  It's very political
indeed!!
 
Cheers,
John Drakakis
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 08 Jul 94 10:02:21 EDT
Subject: 5.0599  Q: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0599  Q: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
 
I can't help with Rosencrantz and Guldenstern as "characters."  Like a number
of other, more vocal participants, I don't care for that term in discussing
drama.  I can, however, comment on them as "roles."  They are among the roles
most frequently cut from _Hamlet_ and your friend might enjoy/profit from/find
material on the reasons that they appear in or disappear from various
productions.  There are interesting shifts of these roles in the Garrick,
Olivier, and Gielgud productions (Gielgud both as actor and director), and all
of these are well-documented.  Bernice Kliman's wonderful study of performances
on film, etc., has much to say about the way the roles are presented.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ellen Edgerton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 08 Jul 1994 10:35 ET
Subject:        *The Tragedy of Iago*
 
A few days ago I posted about the "Klingon Shakespeare Restoration Project" I
discovered on Gopher.  I've since been in contact with someone who is
interested in translating more of the plays from a Klingon POV.  It seems that
*Othello* in particular might have a rather skewed reading by the typical
Klingon critic or audience:  it would only make dramatic sense to Klingons if
it were called *The Tragedy of Iago*, about a noble warrior named Iago who must
struggle to kill his captain, Othello, who has clearly shown himself too
dishonorable for command.
 
Klingons (for those unfamiliar with Star Trek) are a warrior race who value
honor, duty, single-mindedness, battle prowess, ambition, boasting, and rather
disgusting food.  The best thing that can happen to a Klingon is to die in
battle against an enemy; the worst thing that can happen is to be taken alive
by the enemy and not executed.  In discussing the "Klingon Shakespeare
Restoration Project" we tried to fathom which of Shakespeare's plays would be
most popular or interesting to this fictional Klingon audience -- sort of a
hypothetical "Shakespeare in the Bush" exercise.  *Othello* struck me as the
one play which would mean something totally opposite to a Klingon audience than
to a human (Western, Eurocentric) audience.  Iago, to Klingon audiences and
critics, would even have a tragic flaw -- his willingness to destroy Othello
through clever schemes rather than outright force (Klingons value intelligence,
but not when force is a viable alternative).  He suffers what is to Klingons a
terrible end -- he is captured at the end by his enemies and presumably not
executed (at least not on stage).   To Klingons, Iago might be as compelling
and controversial a figure as Hamlet.
 
One could translate *Othello* (rather, *The Tragedy of Iago*) in a bowdlerized
Klingon version (a few scenes cut, others a bit transposed etc.) to "restore"
the play to a version that would be popular and interesting to a Klingon
audience.  Other possibilities include the uproarious comedy *King Lear*, the
stirring conquest story *Henry V* (not much bowdlerization in store for THAT
one), and the Henriad featuring that vilest of all Shakespearean villains, Jack
Falstaff...
 
Not sure how close this comes to Disney and Shakespeare,
 
Ellen Edgerton
Syracuse University

Poculi Ludique Societas Tour '94

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0601.  Sunday, 10 July 1994.
 
From:           Helen Ostovich <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 9 Jul 1994 10:31:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Poculi Ludique Societas Tour '94 (fwd)
 
[This announcement, forwarded by Helen Ostovich, originally appeared on
PERFORM.  --HMC]
 
From:           jon terry wade <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jul 1994 13:48:50 -0400
Subject:        Poculi Ludique Societas Tour '94
 
Dear Perform Friends,
 
Poculi Ludique Societas is touring again! In these times of economic restraint,
we have still found it possible to mount a touring production in the PLS
tradition of Robin Hood and the Friar, which toured Canada and the United
States--even Great Britain--to great acclaim in the 1970's and 80's. Now PLS is
pleased to present a touring production of John Heywood's comedy John John.
 
John John, blustering but henpecked, is tricked by his wife Tyb into inviting
her lover, the priest, to...supper. While Sir John and Tyb gorge themselves on
pie, the frustrated John John must sit by the fire, trying to mend a hole in
his wife's...pail.
 
Running time of the show is apporximately 30 minutes, and it can be performed
in almost any setting, indoors or out. The complete cost is only $250 plus
travel expenses from Toronto and meals and accomodation for a cast and crew of
four. (And these don't have to cost a lot.)
 
John John is available now and through Winter '94-'95. To arrange a
performance, contact PLS by mail, by phone, (416) 978-5096 or by sending an
e-mail message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We look forward to renewing old
friendships as we again take PLS on the road in the great tradition of the
travelling companies of Tudor England.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jon Terry Wade
Poculi Ludique Societas
39 Queen's Park Crescent East
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 2C3
 
(416) 978-5096

Q: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0599.  Thursday, 7 July 1994.
 
From:           Andreas Schlenger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 7 Jul 1994 12:35:41 +0200 (MESZ)
Subject:        [Q: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern]
 
Dear SHAKESPEARians:
 
I am writing on behalf of a friend of mine, who is going to become a
SHAKSPER-member soon, but who needs help even sooner. For a seminar on *Hamlet*
she is working on a paper dealing with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as
characters (*not* the Stoppardian "tramps"!). She has been desperately looking
for any material on the topic, but only found one or two books which might be
helpful, and a few articles. Could someone out there help her with some piece
of bibliographical advice? Any suggestion would be deeply appreciated.
 
 Yours thankfully,
 Andreas Schlenger.
 e-mail-address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.