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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: Music; Richard; Chronology
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0171.  Monday, 6 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Dan T. M. How <
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        Date:   Sunday, 5 Mar 1995 14:45:30 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0166  Re: Music
 
(2)     From:   William Russell Mayes <
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        Date:   Sunday, 5 Mar 1995 12:53:47 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0160  Re: Richard
 
(3)     From:   Pat Buckridge <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Mar 1995 14:24:22 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0161  Re: Chronology
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dan T. M. How <
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Date:           Sunday, 5 Mar 1995 14:45:30 -0800
Subject: 6.0166  Re: Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0166  Re: Music
 
In response to Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer...
 
Thanks for the tip!  I'm scoring a production of As You Like It, and am
debating whether or not to use the assumed original music (the production is in
a romanticized modern setting).  It looks like I'll probably end up doing the
music myself, but I wanted to listen or look at the "original" because I wanted
an idea of what the music actually sounded like.
 
-dan
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Russell Mayes <
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Date:           Sunday, 5 Mar 1995 12:53:47 -0500
Subject: 6.0160  Re: Richard
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0160  Re: Richard
 
David Middleton asks a question about R3 that I struggle with all the time:
"why does Richard 3 ultimately fail?"  I think partially that we can explain it
not through Richard's flexibility, but the limits of that flesibility.  Richard
does not take the women in this play seriously, and at the end he simply can't
imagine that E's mother would lie to him in such a blatant manner--after all,
that's his terrain.  Is he burnt out? I think so.  Is it character development?
 I don't think so, but that is not a can of worms I wish to re-open.
 
W. Russell Mayes, Jr.
Department of English
University of Virginia
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Buckridge <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Mar 1995 14:24:22 +1000
Subject: 6.0161  Re: Chronology
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0161  Re: Chronology
 
To Chris Bergstresser, who writes:
>
>-}2.There is no necessary correlation anyway between dates of publication and
>-}dates of composition for any of the plays.
>
>        I can think of one: the composition surely must predate the
>publication.
 
Granted.  I suppose this is worth saying.
>
>-}3.Dramatic settings do not reflect theatrical environments.
>
>        Dramatic settings do not *necessarily* reflect theatrical enviroments.
>        There are clear instances, however, where the dramatic setting does
>        reflect the enviroment: the "discovery space" occasionally alluded to
>        is evidence of some scenic convention, even if we today cannot agree on
>        what that would be.
>
>        I would scoff at any chronology based exclusively on the settings for
>        the plays and the places one assumes they would be acted; using them to
>        bolster a fairly strong argument is perfectly reasonable.
 
Yes, you're quite right.  I regretted my omission of that word ('necessary') as
soon as I'd sent off my posting. I have already replied to a private inquirer
on this as follows:
 
It's fine to speculate, on the basis of a known set of facts about where a play
was first performed, that the fictional settings may have been influenced, in
part, by the physical environment of the theatre. It would only ever be one of
several factors anyway, and surely not one of the most important.  It's quite
another thing to turn it around and say: because this play has (for example)
lots of indoor scenes it was probably written for performance in the private
theatre.  There are just too many examples in the canon (even as arranged by
the most orthodox assumptions) of non-correlation between these two things (and
their opposites: outdoor scenes and public theatre) for this to come close to
being a useful dating test.
 
[But this objection actually pales into insignificance beside the main one,
which is that *there is no known set of facts* about where the plays were first
performed. (There are some about particular performances, but there is no
reason to suppose these were premieres).  Furthermore there is no known order
of composition.  Dan How's procedures assume that there is.
>
>-}4.Dating by style and versification is entirely circular (hence entirely
>-}useless), except in those rare instances where external evidence gives an
>-}approximate date for a particular recognisable style
>
>        Once again, this is a broad oversimplification.  One can easily tell an
>        early work from a late work, for the most part, by the forms
>        Shakespeare uses.  Granted, trying to base a chronology on stylistic
>        changes which occured over the course of a year or two is very
>        questionable. As a general guide, however, style can serve rather well.
 
Saying things with confidence doesn't make them true.  You haven't engaged with
my point here at all. If you believe stylistic dating is *not* circular -
except under the specific conditions I described - perhaps you could explain
your grounds.
 
To Dan How, who writes:
 
>I was attempting to simplify a complicated process, but I'll agree that these
>methods have their short-comings.  I would like to emphasis that I'm no
>authority on the subject, but can you suggest other ways to date material?
 
Has it occurred to you that some 'material' *can't* be dated?  Your whole
conception of dating as a set of 'techniques' that you can simply apply and hey
presto! out pops 1596 is excessively cybernetic if you don't mind my saying so.
Being able to assign a date to a play depends on the existence of certain kinds
of information (which, unfortunately, may not exist), to which ordinary logic
is applied.
 
>Or [can you] verify that Shakespeare was the sole writer of all
>these plays?
 
No, I can't.  Other people on this list think they can.
 
>Mention of play performances in
>letters and publications can be used to give a rough idea of when a play was
>performed.
 
Only if we know it's a first performance (which in fact we never do).
 
>Internal references to other sources or events that can be
>verified, language references that can be attributed to such an event, and
>references to other known published work can also be used as evidence.... I
>think within the plays, if you assume that they are
>pretty close to the original, one can find enough references and evidence to
>roughly date it, if one knows what one is doing.
 
A nice thought if only there were an agreed and verified context of historical
referents for Shakespeare's plays.  There's not.
 
>I'm curious to know what methods you use, since I wasn't taught anything beyond
>what I just mentioned.
 
Logic and information (if available) is all there is.
 
> Personally, I notice a difference in style between, for
>example, CoE and Temp.
 
So do I.The question is whether you think one announces itself as *early* and
the other as *late*.
 
 Pat Buckridge
 

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