1994

Q: Columbia University Shakespeare Seminars

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0941.  Monday, 21 November 1994.
 
From:           Edna Boris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 94 20:16:18 EST
Subject:        Columbia University Shakespeare Seminar
 
Can anyone tell me anything about the Columbia University Shakespeare Seminar?
I see that the next meetings are scheduled for Dec. 9, Feb. 10, Mar. 10, Apr.
7, and May 12.  How are they organized?  How many people attend? Etc.

Authorship

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0940.  Monday, 21 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Bradley S. Berens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 19:12:55 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0937 Authorship
 
(2)     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 21 Nov 94 11:54:12 EST
        Subj:   [Authorship]
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bradley S. Berens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 19:12:55 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 5.0937 Authorship
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0937 Authorship
 
Greetings all,
 
I would like to issue a mild complaint regarding the continual existence of the
thread on authorship-- mild because I have taken to surfing past these postings
and this requires no especial effort on my part, but a complaint nonetheless
because at the moment both sides seem locked in an endless standoff from which
there is neither utility nor extrication.  I thus have two questions, or sets
of questions, that I posit in order to, perhaps, drag the discussion to a
different level.
 
Question #1.  Have either Dave Kathman or Pat Buckridge read the first chapter
of Leah S. Marcus's book PUZZLING SHAKESPEARE?  If I have missed references to
this book already posted, I apologize.  However, in Chapter One, Marcus has
some interesting things to say about a potential relationship between such
things as the introductory apparati of the First Folio, New Historicism and the
authorship controversy.  I am curious about both Kathman's and Buckridge's
respective responses to this chapter.  The full citation is
 
Marcus, Leah S.  PUZZLING SHAKESPEARE.  Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of
California Press, 1988.  Vol. 6 of the series THE NEW HISTORICISM: STUDIES IN
CULTURAL POETICS.
 
If neither of you has read the chapter, please do so and let us know.  I
realize that this may sound cavalier, and if it does I apologize.  I merely
think it is time to consider the controversy qua the controversy.
 
Question #2.  What is the utility of settling this question?  If Pat Buckridge
is correct, and that Oxford did write the plays, so what?  How will this new
fact be of any use to anyone interested in the plays? Will it make them better?
 Will it render them, somehow, magically, more determinate?  Is that a good
thing?  Similarly, Dave, how will settling the authorship question advance the
cause of mainstream Shakespearean scholarshiop?  Or, since you are a Linguist,
how will it advance the field of Linguistics?  Are we all just spinning our
wheels on this one, looking for something to write yet another article about in
the quest for a job/funding/tenure/a better job/more funding?  This debate has
now been going on for so long that I have lost my grip on both the point of
entry and the point in general.
 
Sincerely yours,
Bradley S. Berens
Dept. of English
UC Berkeley
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 21 Nov 94 11:54:12 EST
Subject:        [Authorship]
 
Dear Pat Buckridge, et al.,
 
I am bemused by the fact that first the Baconian and later the Oxfordian
movements have flourished so much more vigorously in officially egalitarian
places like Australia and the U.S. than in the class-bound U.K.: how odd that
descendents of criminals, remittance men, Irish or Polish peasants, who have
themselves succeeded in becoming lawyers or professors of English, should be so
ready to insist that aristocratic upbringing is a necessary preparation for
authorship of the Shakespearean canon.  Argument by analogy is always risky, to
be sure, but I have long been struck by similarities in the biographies of
William Shakespeare the theater man (of which more later) and John Keats.  "No
major poet [presumably including W.S., with or without hyphen] has had a less
propitious origin," begins the headnote to Keats in the Norton anthology.  His
father, you will recall, was a mere stableman, who got to head the business
when he married the boss's daughter; like Shakespeare, Keats was better
connected on his mother's side.  He went to a small private school, very like
the Stratford grammar school in both the social backgrounds of its teachers and
students and in its curriculum.  On leaving school he very conspicuously did
not go to Oxbridge, but stayed in London as an apprentice in an essentially
mechanical craft, that of apothecary-surgeon, which required educational
preparation and carried social status similar to those of actors.  In London he
began to associate with the popular rather than the elite group of London
literati--Kyd and Dekker and Chettle, if you will, rather than Greville or
DeVere; indeed the literary establishment initially rebuffed him, though there
were signs of more appreciation toward the end.  A passionate but unsystematic
reader of the acknowledged classics of his culture (books mostly borrowed from
friends), he demonstrated a remarkable ability to incorporate salient features
of Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden (read Ovid, Plutarch,
Chaucer, Montaigne) into his own writing without being overwhelmed by them, and
to refresh and refresh again all the forms in which he worked, from the sonnet
to the epic.  Only if we consider what he had already accomplished when he died
at 26 as his <Errors> and <Titus> and <2 Gents> can we appreciate what was
presumably still in store. If Keats could do this in the 18teens, why not
Shakespeare in the 1580s and 90s?
 
By the way, Pat Buckridge, why can you concede that Ben Jonson was an
auto-didact and not extend the same concession to his colleague, albeit with a
different set of tastes and a markedly smaller need to blow his own horn?  All
education is finally self-education; people mostly manage to get as much of it
as they insist on having, and most of us have known some remarkably
well-informed and literate assembly-line workers, night watchmen, plumbers,
even actors.
 
With regard to the matter of theatrical training, the argument is not so much
that working in the theater is any more necessary to success as a dramatic
writer than university education, as that intensive exposure to theatrical
experience in some form is: in general, in order to write for the commercial
theater you must submit yourself to the commercial theater, as the unsuccessful
efforts of those notable non-professional dramatic writers-- Greville, Daniel,
Addison, Samuel Johnson, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson--suggest.  Life
as a man of the theater is a good way to account for mastery of the crafts
aspects of the work, even though other explanations must be sought for mastery
over language, psychology, and so on.
 
 
Autodidactically,
Dave Evett

Re: Studies of Renaissance Drama

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0938.  Monday, 21 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Skip Shand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 11:44:07 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
(2)     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 94 15:05 CST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
(3)     From:   Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 16:18:19 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
(4)     From:   David Levine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 18:29:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0935 Q: Studies of ...
 
(5)     From:   Melissa Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 19:33:34 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0935 Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Shand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 11:44:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
Bill:
 
My students (and I) find Kastan/Stallybrass, *Staging the Renaissance*, very
useful, both in itself and as an introductory smorgasbord giving a taste of all
manner of current works which may later be consumed in their entirety. We also
like Dollimore's *Radical Tragedy*, and are much taken with Belsey's *Subject
of Tragedy*.
 
Cheers,
Skip
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 94 15:05 CST
Subject: 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
Good point!.  I also have that problem/feeling when talking to grad. students.
However, what the old heads said does, I think, remain very true.  I can,
however, recommend Dennis Kay's biography of Shakespeare (recently published in
paperback in the US), Peter Erickson's +Rewriting Shakespeare, Rewriting
Ourselves+, and almost anything by Messrs. Hawkes, Dollimore, Sinfield, and
Holderness.  Just have your student do a search for these on the MLA Bib. on CD
ROM.
 
I do not agree with much of what they say, but they are very diverting.  I
found Hawkes's +That Shakespearian Rag+ and +Meaning by Shakespeare+, along
with Brian Vickers's +Appropriating Shakespeare+ to be the most mirth-making
set of books I have ever read.
 
William Proctor Williams
Northern Illinois University
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 16:18:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0935  Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
In response to Bill Godshalk's request for valuable books on Renaissance Drama,
I have found very helpful *The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance
Drama* edited by A.R. Braunmuller and Michael Hattaway (1990).  It offers
several overview essays that give a very good introduction to the plays of the
period.
 
                                                        Michael Friedman
                                                        University of Scranton
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Levine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 18:29:03 -0500
Subject: 5.0935 Q: Studies of ...
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0935 Q: Studies of ...
 
Hard to say, and I've been out of the field for a long time, but I'd say that
your sense that nothing as distinguished as the books you've mentioned has been
published recently is pretty sound.  I'd always recommend that students read
Richard Levin's New Readings vs. Old Plays as a prophylactic (as it were)
against falling into grotesque trendiness. Ditto Brian Vickers's recent and
wonderfully angry Appropriating Shakespeare.  It's a book that could save a lot
of wasted time.  Gurr's Playgoing in Shakespeare's London.  Emrys Jones's two
books (Scenic Form in Shakespeare and The Origins of Shakespeare--the latter
more about the drama of the age) are incredibly distinguished.  I haven't
actually read through C.L. Barber's Creating Elizabethan Tragedy, but a friend
of mine likes it very much.  I personally love most of what Anne Barton writes,
and there are some really fine essays in her new book, but it is, after all,  a
colection of essays; her books on Shakespeare and Jonson are superb.
Arelatively obscure book, which I love is Albert Cook's Shakespearean
Enactment, which is really a more general study of Renaissance theater.  I've
tried to stick with the stuff that's NOT particularly about Shakespeare.  When
you get into Shakespeare, it becomes more complicated.  My own opinion is that
it still doesn't get much better than Goddard and Granville-Barker et al. It
will, as you said, be interesting to see what other people say.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 19:33:34 +0200
Subject: 5.0935 Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0935 Q: Studies of Renaissance Drama?
 
I wouldn't be without several books by Andrew Gurr and John Orrell.  *The
Shakespearean Stage*  *Playgoing in Shakespeare's London* * The quest for the
Globe*--ahh.  How about some books by David Bevington--*Action is Eloquence*
leaps to mind.  All this depends, of course, on how serious the student is.
Tell them to read Chamber, Bentley, et.al.  as well--good for the soul.
Shakespeare, of course, was also written before said student was born.
 
M. Aaron (circa. 1964).
Melissa Aaron
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Re: Productions of *Shrew*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0939.  Monday, 21 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Skip Shand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 11:53:51 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0936  Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
(2)     From:   Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 04:06:24 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0936 Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
(3)     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <ANNAL@TEMPLEVM>
        Date:   Monday, 21 Nov 94 08:31:03 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0933  Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
(4)     From:   Juliet A. Youngren <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 21 Nov 1994 09:13:31 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Taming of the Shrew
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Shand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 11:53:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0936  Re: *Shrew* Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0936  Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
This is an extreme instance of a performable feminist critique of *Shrew*, and
of deeply resistant reading:
 
"Yucel Erten, one of Turkey's most talented young directors, turned the play
into a tragedy. . . . Kate arrives at that banquet with a huge shawl around her
hands and arms. She speakes that final diatribe of submission, and puts her
hands on the floor, and offers herself to her husband. But she has cut her
veins, and dies."
        (Zeynep Oral, reported in John Elsom, *Is Shakespeare Still Our
        Contemporary*?--1989)
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Nov 1994 04:06:24 -1000
Subject: 5.0936 Re: *Shrew* Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0936 Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
In response to David Maier's posting on all-female Tyger's Heart "Shrew":
although it sounds like a wonderful production that handled the final speech in
a creative way, I am left wondering why it is that we still NEED same-sex
casting in order to turn Kate's submission into sexy foreplay.  The obvious
answer is that four hundred years after this play was written we still live in
a society where women are far from being regarded as equal to men.  The reason
that Kate's final speech sticks like a bone in our collective throats is
because the problem is still very much with us.  We recognize it and it upsets
us.  Because of this, "Shrew" is still a highly relevant play.  Why do we need
a sugar coating or a happy, creative ending?  Lets see a "Shrew" that
upsettingly but realistically tells it like it still is for many women in the
world.
 
Shirley Kagan
University of Hawaii
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <ANNAL@TEMPLEVM>
Date:           Monday, 21 Nov 94 08:31:03 EST
Subject: 5.0933  Re: *Shrew* Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0933  Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
In reference to Jim's question about the last speech of *TS*, I wonder if
anyone else has read the Charles Marowtiz version. I stumbled across it while
doing a study of Shakespearean adaptations. Among other things, he cuts and
rearranges the text so it is clear that Petruchio is deliberately trying to
break Kate. Moreover, the rest of the men in the play are in on his plans. At
one point, late in the play, Kate faints and when she wakes up, Marowitz gives
the lines from the frame section to Petruchio and his helpers. This makes the
brainwashing aspect horribly clear. The final speech is delivered as before a
tribunal and Kate is obviously speaking by rote. In fact, she needs to be
prompted several times before she can finish it. I have never seen this version
played, and it reads as very heavy handed. Still, it was interesting to see
someone admit that this is NOT a feminist play, rather than spend alot of time
and energy playing against the text.
                                    Annalisa Castaldo
                                    Temple University
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Juliet A. Youngren <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 21 Nov 1994 09:13:31 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Taming of the Shrew
 
I've been lurking, but will venture out of my comfortable burrow to offer a
timid opinion ...
 
I personally find that if Kate is played as a horrible HUMAN BEING who badly
needs a lesson, then I can root for Petruchio even though I'm a woman.  It puts
the argument into a HUMAN realm rather than a gender realm.  If she is played
as a spirited woman ahead of her time, then yes, I do "hate the speech, hate
Kate, hate the play."
 
J.A.Y.

Authorship

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0937.  Sunday, 20 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Anna Joell Goodman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 17 Nov 1994 21:06:03 -400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0926  Authorship
 
(2)     From:   David Joseph Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Nov 94 18:16:23 CST
        Subj:   Authorship
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Joell Goodman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 17 Nov 1994 21:06:03 -400
Subject: 5.0926  Authorship
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0926  Authorship
 
In addition to Forse's list of actor/playwrights, we could add Kenneth Branagh,
whose Public Enemy is currently enjoying a New York run Off-Broadway.  What
about Harvey Fierstein's work?  And there are a variety of actors who write,
co-write, or adapt their one-person shows (Stephen Berkoff and Lynn Redgrave
come immediately to mind.)  True?
 
Yours,
Anna Goodman
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Joseph Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Nov 94 18:16:23 CST
Subject:        Authorship
 
I appreciate the support from James Forse and Robert Teeter.  Thanks, guys. I
might also add that Ben Jonson was also an actor early in his career.
 
A couple of things on Pat Buckridge's last posting that I didn't get to in my
last reply, but which I thought needed saying.  Pat's reference to my "impulse
to get the whole thing sewn up and finished, even if it involves riding
roughshod over logical and methodological difficulties", bears little
resemblance to what I have said on this list, and even less to what I actually
think.  If I have occasionally been subject to rhetorical flourishes in the
course of this thread (and face it, Pat, you have too), I have always tried to
be moderate in the conclusions I draw.  I have consistently said things like,
"X is not conclusive, but it's pretty good evidence that William Shakespeare of
Stratford wrote the plays," or, "X is consistent in every way with Shakespeare
being the author, but if you have an alternate explanation I'd be glad to see
it."  As for riding roughshod over difficulties, as I see it Oxfordians have
been much more guilty of this than orthodox Stratfordians, with any
difficulties for their theory being dismissed as a result of the Plot to
discredit Oxford's name and hide his authorship of the plays.  One example:
many letters by Oxford survive from the years when the Shakespearean plays were
being written and produced, but in these Oxford makes no reference to
playwriting or theater or anything, and in fact makes himself sound like a
whining fop, complaining about being out of the Queen's favor and obsessively
trying, during most of the 1590s, to get himself put in charge of farming Her
Majesty's tin. (The word "tin", as Irvin Matus points out, appears nowhere in
the plays.) The reason for this, we are told, is that all the letters favorable
to Oxford, or in which he mentioned his playwriting activities, were destroyed
by Lord Burghley and his associates in "Operation Clean Sweep", and they
allowed to survive only those letters which would make Oxford look bad to
posterity.  I will not pass judgement on this scenario, but will note that it,
or something similar, is necessary for the Oxfordian theory.
 
The other thing I wanted to respond to is Pat Buckridge's statement that
Marlowe, "unlike Shakspere [sic], had the higher education usually deemed
requisite for writing highly educated dramas (autodidacts like Jonson always
excepted)."  My reaction to this, after I picked my jaw up off the floor, was,
"WHAT ABOUT AUTODIDACTS LIKE SHAKESPEARE???????????"  I am honestly at a
complete loss to see how Jonson is any different from Shakespeare in this
regard.  If Jonson could teach himself enough to be regarded as the best
classical scholar in England while working as a bricklayer and a soldier in the
Low Countries during the years he would have been in college, why couldn't
Shakespeare teach himself enough to write his plays while working in the
theater during those years?  What on earth is the difference, unless you assume
a priori that Shakespeare must have been an uneducated bumpkin who couldn't
have written the plays?  Where did he get the books, you ask?  Well, he was
certainly friends with Richard Field, the printer; Field was two and a half
years older, their families were neighbors in Stratford, and Shakespeare's
father was executor of Fields' father's will when the latter died in 1592,
indicating that the two families were close.  Field published *Venus and
Adonis* and *The Rape of Lucrece*, generally seen as the only Shakespearean
publications directly supervised by the author during printing, since they are
so free of errors.  He also published a bunch of books which are possible or
probable sources for Shakespeare's plays, including Ovid's *Metamorphoses* and
a series of pamphlets on the French court of Navarre which could have served as
a source for *Loves Labours Lost*.  Couldn't Shakespeare have borrowed these
books from his Stratford friend Field?  I'm not playing games here; I really
don't understand what the difference is between Shakespeare and Jonson.
 
This has turned out to be much longer than I expected, so I'd better sign off.
 
Dave Kathman
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