1995

Re: Tillyard

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0392.  Tuesday, 16 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Robert F. O'Connor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 May 1995 10:18:35 +0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0389  Re: Tillyard
 
(2)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 1995 20:54:15 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0389  Re: Tillyard
 
(3)     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 May 1995 12:05:07 GMT
        Subj:   Re: Tillyard
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert F. O'Connor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 May 1995 10:18:35 +0700
Subject: 6.0389  Re: Tillyard
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0389  Re: Tillyard
 
Robert Appelbaum is correct in identifying Dollimore as a major influence on
the 'discreditation' of Tillyard, but I don't agree that *Radical Tragedy*
decided the matter.  I have always felt that Dollimore and his fellow Cultural
Materialists had rather more in common with Tillyard than they were comfortable
to admit, particularly on methodological grounds. Both Dollimore and Tillyard
rest much of there arguments on assertion - constant iteration of some
authoritative THIS IS SO! - rather than 'proof' - insofar as proof is possible
in something as subjective as literary criticism.  Even beyond the methodology,
there is their mutual dependence on essentially the same texts, viewed from
ideologically dissimilar positions, to put forward theit cases - though I
concede that in Dollimore's case, the choice of texts may have been determined
by the fact that Tillyard used them.
 
It is true to say that Tillyard was searching for consensus, while much recent
criticism seems to focus on conflict, but in their single-minded attempts to
'prove' their point, both Historicism and Cultural Materialism are claiming
that there is a single right interpretation of Shakespeare, and that theirs are
the best pointers to it.  Robert Appelbaum, in referring to Ulysses' infamous
'degree' speech, has reminded us that there are a plurality of possible
interpretations - something which I think is anathema to the Tillyards and
Dollimores of Shakespearean criticism.  But I have to wonder why Mr Appelbaum
thinks that the plays are any better a source of insight into the period than
non-dramatic writing, or even privately-circulated material.  Everything was
subject to _kinds_ of censorship, especially the drama - a factor which
contributes to the ultimate unverifiablility of most hypotheses about
Elizabethan or Jacobean literature.  If he has any doubt about this, I refer
him to Richard Dutton's *Mastering the Revels* (Macmillan, 1991).
 
Robert F. O'Connor
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
English Department
Australian National University
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 1995 20:54:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0389  Re: Tillyard
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0389  Re: Tillyard
 
Dear Robert Applebaum---the Ulyssean "world order" in the context of the play
from which it's taken is quite clearly exposed as flawed by Shakespeare itself.
it didn't take Dollimore to see this. earlier writers like Frye and Harold
Goddard also pointed out that this world view was a ruse of rhetoric being
manipulated...in Ulysses at least...because Shakespeare himself so often
subverts the "world view" expressed in official accounts of that time (though
he has a character mouth it; and the subversion is no doubt lost on many both
then and now), one can conjecture that just as the "World View of the 1990's:
seen from a historical perspective may fail to account for much subversive
thought but rather accept the Bell Curve or the World Weekly News (which this
week has a headline that says "WHAT THE FBI DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW: ARAB PAID
OKLAHOMA BOMBING TERRORISTS") as a "world view'...Maybe my analogy is flawed,
but though the "world view" of Tillyard (or the work of Greenblatt for
instance) is helpful in a way, we should be careful to reduce the Renaissance
and all its writers to one "world view." Even if we take a Marxist approach,
that is NOT claiming ahistoricity for Shakespeare, we may see that today's
culture in many ways is of the same historical phase as Shakespeare's....
 
Chris Stroffolino
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 May 1995 12:05:07 GMT
Subject:        Re: Tillyard
 
Robert Appelbaum is slightly misleading when he says the problem isn't that
Tillyard is dated. The Elizabethan World Picture is very precisely dated and
that is exactly the problem. The book appeared in Britain in 1943 and its
commitment to an ideal of consensus within an ordered, golden age obviously
reproduces and reinforces many of the nostalgic fantasies of that turbulent
time. In fact its last sentence addresses the book directly to the 'present
conflicts and distresses' of the second World War. It remains, above all, an
imaginative response to that event, rather than a work of 'pure' scholarship.
But who ever met one of those?
 
Terence Hawkes

Re: *Rom.*; *Ham.*; *Cor.*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0391.  Tuesday, 16 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 1995 10:27:56 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0385  Qs: *Rom.*
 
(2)     From:   David M Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 1995 12:50:00 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Notes on Verona, Elsinore, and Corioli
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 1995 10:27:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0385  Qs: *Rom.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0385  Qs: *Rom.*
 
I don't remember whether I responded to the original request, but if I didn't,
here's my all-time favorite: Dympna Callaghan's "The Ideology of Romantic Love:
The Case of *Romeo and Juliet,* in *The Weyward Sisters: Shakespeare and
Feminist Politics* by Dympna Callaghan, Lorraine Helms and Jyotsna Singh
(Blackwell, 1994)
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David M Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 1995 12:50:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Notes on Verona, Elsinore, and Corioli
 
This posting is what comes of reading several dozen SHAKSPER postings in a row
when one is punchy (reeling?) with semester's end anomie. First, my favorite
pieces on R. and J. (as per Milla Riggio's request) remain Susan Snyder's
discussions in *The Comic Matrix in Shakespeare's Tragedies*, Princeton, 1979;
also Steve Urkowitz's essay that turned up right here on the SHAKSPER
fileserver on Textual Di(Per)versity.  I am myself preparing a production of R.
and J. that must travel, and I will base it on Q1.  Steve Urkowitz's comments
on that text's version of the pre-nuptial scene with Romeo, Juliet, and the
Friar is worth several hundred thousand pages of the latest -ism.
 
On favorite Hamlets, the best Claudius and Gertrude of my experience were James
Earl Jones and Colleen Dewhurst, in a Joe Papp production in the Park in 1972.
Raoul Julia was a wonderful Osric.  Jones and Dewhurst were so energetic,
sexual, passionately alive that one wanted the rather cold and feckless Hamlet
to die early and let them get on with them.
 
With all this talk about Burton's *Hamlet*, let me say a word about the Caedmon
recording of *Coriolanus* with Burton, Jessica Tandy, and Michael Hordern.
Definitive.  The boy soldier, cracking out orders and insults at top speed,
with impeccable diction.  Some of the best verse speaking that can ever
pleasure the ear.
 
David Richman
University of New Hampshire

Re: Folger Institute; Tillyard; Shakespeare Globe on

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0389.  Monday, 15 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Skip Shand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 14 May 1995 12:03:06 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0387  Folger Institute
 
(2)     From:   Robert Appelbaum <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 14 May 1995 11:08:36 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Tillyard
 
(3)     From:   Andreas Schlenger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 1995 14:32:08 +0200 (MET DST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare Globe on WWW (Cologne)
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Shand <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 May 1995 12:03:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0387  Folger Institute
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0387  Folger Institute
 
A query/suggestion to Georgianna Ziegler re the Folger Institute and the full
NEH sponsorship of "fifteen faculty members chosen to participate": Will the
NEH sponsor citizens of countries other than the U.S.A.? If not, as I believe
has always (and quite understandably, I might add) been the case in the past,
then maybe the broadly international readership of SHAKSPER deserves to be
reminded that you mean "fifteen *American* faculty members"--just so the rest
of us, particularly those who actually live within reach of the Folger, don't
start dreaming impossible dreams!
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Appelbaum <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 May 1995 11:08:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Tillyard
 
I seem to recall Jonathan Dollimore dispensing with Tillyard rather decisively
in *Radical Tragedy* some ten years ago.  But the problem isn't that Tillyard
is "dated"; in fact, a number of British historians (Kevin Sharpe and J.P.
Kenyon, for example) still cling to the Tillyard view.  The problem has to do
with how literary evidence is used for deciding cultural-historical questions,
and how our concepts of culture and history and especially cultural history are
to be fashioned.  In brief, the Tillyard approach encourages to look for
consensus.  What many of us are doing nowadays (I think) is looking for
conflict.  Ulysses's speech in *Troilus* can be taken as evidence for a
worldview (which it is our misfortune to have lost, perhaps); or it can be
taken as evidence of a conflict in the social order which Shakespeare is
putting in the mouth of Ulysses, a conflict in the "observance of degree" which
Ulysses can be seen to be somewhat hysterically and ineffectually responding
to. I'm particularly interested in the political experience of the Jacobean
period, concerning which the drama is often our best evidence (since so much
else was subject to censorship), and would be interested in hearing how others
respond to this issue.
 
-- Robert Appelbaum
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andreas Schlenger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 1995 14:32:08 +0200 (MET DST)
Subject:        Shakespeare Globe on WWW (Cologne)
 
Dear members of SHAKSPER!
 
Please allow me to draw your attention to a new, illustrated item on our
International Shakespeare Globe Centre Germany Web Page: THE ELIZABETHAN
THEATRE, a "tagged" lecture Professor Hilda D. Spear held at Cologne University
in 1989.
 
It's URL is:
 
http://www.rrz.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/englisch/shakespeare/spear.html
 
Regards,
Andreas Schlenger
University of Cologne
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: *Hamlet*s: Burton, Fiennes, Plummer

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0390.  Tuesday, 16 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 1995 09:02:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0388  Re: Burton and Fiennes *Hamlet*s
 
(2)     From:   Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 1995 16:25:51 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0388 Re: Burton and Fiennes *Hamlet*s
 
(3)     From:   James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 1995 13:20:56 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Plummer *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 1995 09:02:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0388  Re: Burton and Fiennes *Hamlet*s
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0388  Re: Burton and Fiennes *Hamlet*s
 
I was in my twenties when I saw the filmed version of the Burton Hamlet, and
found Hume Cronyn's Polonius a quite annoying performance that overstated and
underlined what a more subtle actor such as Redgrave made chilling by control
and calm.
 
I could only assume that, for his ghostly voice-over, Gielgud had courageously
removed his dentures. Alfred Drake's Claudius caught little of the
"pleasantness" of the politician and lover.
 
Although Burton was at other times superbly able to handle verse (his recording
of Donne, for instance, on Caedmon Records, captures well the visceral
immediacy of the more popular poems), for Hamlet his method eschewed the given
rhythms in favour of a prose reading of the role. It was very exciting, but of
course missed too many of the ambiguities that a Scofield is capable of
conveying. Burton's virility, however, and the electric quality of his voice
supported by his infamous heavy inhalations, showed -- in fact, lived -- how a
young intellect confronted with death and duty becomes existentially heroic. I
have never since seen a Hamlet whose wit was such a fist shaken at the cosmos
and its order, nor whose voice was such an embodiment of that fist.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 1995 16:25:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0388 Re: Burton and Fiennes *Hamlet*s
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0388 Re: Burton and Fiennes *Hamlet*s
 
Dear Steve, No one has greater respect for your intelligence, wit, erudition,
and perspicuity than I but I must've seen a different performance of the Ralph
Fiennes' HAMLET than the pathetic thing you so cleverly bashed on the network.
I thought Fiennes was dynamite; Francesca Annis as Gertrude, mesmerizing; the
ghost/gravedigger/1st player person, versatile; the Hamlet/Ophelia high jinks,
plausible. I faulted Laertes a bit for being less physically aggressive than
Hamlet. As for the propped up, chalk-white Gertrude, I admit that having a
corpse so rigidly erect was odd but then I decided she was either echoing the
Player Queen in the dumbshow, or it was just a bit of theatrical license,
harmless enough. Or again maybe I was so in shock from having bought 5 tickets
at $55 each (my family loyally accompanied me) that I was determined to love
Fiennes' performance, no matter what. Only rarely does one see Hamlet played by
Schindler and Charles Van Doren. With all due respect to Steve's opinions, I
claim that it's a show well worth seeing if you're in New York and have $55.
Ken Rothwell
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 1995 13:20:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Plummer *Hamlet*
 
Mary Jane Miller's mention of Christopher Plummer's Hamlet at Stratford,
Ontario recalled a story I heard about that production nearly 30 yrs ago from
Kirk Denmark at Beloit College.  As he told it, during the scene in the Queen's
closet, Plummer was so distracted by the beauties of his Gertrude that
Polonius's behind-the-arras cries of "What ho! Help!" found Hamlet all the way
down center.  Improvising, Hamlet pointed his sword and shouted, "Die!" --
which Polonius obliging did, presumably of a heart attack.
 
James F. Schaefer Jr.
Georgetown University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Burton and Feines *Hamlet*s

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0388.  Monday, 15 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   David Evett <R0870%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 May 1995 11:57pm ET
        Subj:   Burton Hamlet
 
(2)     From:   David Levine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 14 May 1995 17:38:26 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0383 Re: Burton *Ha...
 
(3)     From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Monday, 15 May 95 01:09:30 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0384  Re: Burton *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 May 1995 11:57pm ET
Subject:        Burton Hamlet
 
I saw the Burton Hamlet in Boston, maybe still a little bit in process, but
essentially the production that stopped traffic on Broadway a couple of weeks
later.  An earlier poster complains about the bad speaking of the secondary
roles; the real problem, it seemed to us then, was the unresolved competition
of acting styles, a roomful of British and American stars never wrought into an
ensemble.  Alfred Drake, better known as a leading man in musical comedy, wore
3-inch elevator shoes and was still shorter than his Gertrude; like a lot of
Claudiuses he succeeded very well in the first half and less so in the second.
Hume Cronyn was surely the most dapper Polonius ever, brisk, efficient,
superficial, a figure out of drawing room comedy.  George Rose stole the show
as the grave-digger; he _owned_ that graveyard, the way a farmer owns his
field, and made everybody else seem rootless.  Burton was brilliant; we saw him
on one of the manic nights (he told an interviewer that he played the role for
laughs or signs according to whether or night the audience laughed at "I know
not seems") and he caught all the dizzying fertility of the Hamlet wit. But he
did seem to be playing more to the audience than to the other characters, and
the final scene was not particularly moving: you expect a rocket to have a
short if brilliant life. But I'll hope you all have a chance to judge for
yourself.
 
Retrospectively,
Dave Evett
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Levine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 May 1995 17:38:26 -0400
Subject: 6.0383 Re: Burton *Ha...
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0383 Re: Burton *Ha...
 
Several points:  there was a complete recording of the Burton Hamlet on
Columbia, which might still be available fom Columbia Special products.  Check
Round-Up Records in Cambridge, Mass.  It was in their catalogue last year (3
LP's).  I used to have it, and it's still extremely interesting.  Burton's
reading was a deliberately unusual one, and much of it still works, although he
does spend a good deal of effort miling his (considerable) vocal pyrotechnics.
 
There are TWO books on the production.  One was by Richard Sterne, who had a
tiny part.  It's a very complete record of the rehearsal process which was, by
all accounts, not a happy one (Gielgud dismisses it as a failure).  Also,
William Redfield's Letters from an Actor, which was recently remaindered by
Limelight Editions, is about the production and is a very amusing work in its
own right.
 
Hope the above was helpful.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Monday, 15 May 95 01:09:30 EDT
Subject: 6.0384  Re: Burton *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0384  Re: Burton *Hamlet*
 
I saw the Broadway run of Burton's HAMLET in 1963-64; wonderful, energetic,
crackling with taut laughter.  Burton "played" the audience, and I remember
being elated by the exuberant wit that he shared with us, moment by moment.
The rehearsal clothes made sense, since social registers were accurately
translated in ways that Elizabethan dress on modern bodies rarely project.  I
saw the production with my sixteen year old brother, and he cheered and laughed
and choked back in final pain too.
 
This was quite a different experience than the grimly monotonous Rafe Feines
(however spelt) production I saw a week ago.  The recent event's rapidly fading
into grey.  One spark of insight: when Laertes first touches Ophelia, she
winces in aversion.  But the stale flatness of barked language, running for
hours on single notes . . . pfui.  Perhaps someone will explicate for me the
"meaning" or dramatic value of having Gertrude die illuminated by a brilliant
blue-white spotlight while the rest of the stage flumped along in dust-colored
evening?
 
The set had terrific doors and windows and levels.  Wheee!  Les Miz, watch out!
 
The squat actor playing the Ghost (doubling as the gravedigger and other parts)
was such a troll compared to the matinee-idol Claudius that Hamlet's comparison
of the two portraits made at least the people I was with speculate that
Hamlet's eyesight or his judgment were terminally bent.  The casual stupidity
of Hamlet's pawing of Ophelia during the "get thee to a nunnary" passages was
simply one out of many actions unconnected to words and words spoken with no
necessary accompanying human action.  "Oh, you literal minded Yanks.  Can't
understand the IDEA."  Sorry, Jack.  For ideas, I slog through books and
journals and philosophy.  For my money I go to the theatre for action,
emotional verisimilitude, the visceral involvement and atachment of masterful
playing.  Burton and that 1960s cast did it.  These poor goobers from merry-old
didn't even come close.
 
As ever, Steve Verisimilowitz  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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