1995

Re: Cleopatra and Dollabella

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0352.  Monday, 1 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 03:14:17 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
(2)     From:   James J. Hill, Jr. <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 17:47:00 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Dolabella and Cleopatra
 
(3)     From:   Don Foster <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 01 May 1995 10:24:55 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHAXICON and that Dolabella crux in ANT
 
(4)     From:   Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 30 Apr 95 13:11:12 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 03:14:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
Wm. Godshalk---I am intrigued by your reading of the end scenario of Antony and
Cleo, the idea that, in the power struggle with Caesar Cleo blinks for instance
is an interesting and needed tonic to the view that Cleo is primarily a woman
and her kingdom is strictly of another world, etc., but can you TOTALLY DENY
any but political significance to her eulogizing of Antony, etc., (I'm not
saying that's what your doing....I'm just asking). Also, what textual support
do you have for saying that "privately, Caesar knows that she must die, and
suicide would be best for his public image." Because i don't see it. But I must
say i admire your ability to make me rethink my Enobarbus-centered reading of
the play (which i thought was SOOOOO radical, and now I'm thinking it's old
hat), though I wonder sometimes how far we can take rhetoric---like Berger's
IMAGINARY AUDITION makes a convincing argument up to a point and then starts
assuming that because the play has a way of making us sympathize with Richard
2nd that therefore Richard 2nd must have engineered that, that his failure in
"the play" is his success "in the audience" and that Richard was ultimately
cunning then. This perhaps can be applied to what i know of your reading of
A&C.... but if Cleopatra is "cunning past man's thought" How do we KNOW she's
cunning (maybe Jean could answer that!), or merely cunning? Don't the (scratch
that---I'll end here) Chris Stroffolino
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James J. Hill, Jr. <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 17:47:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Dolabella and Cleopatra
 
Those who reject the obvious significance/function of Dolabella [see the
posting of Jean Peterson] in favor of a "conspiracy theory" that he is the
secret agent of Caesar to push Cleopatra to suicide should examine Janet
Adelman's demonstration of a pattern of structural repetitions in *Antony and
Cleopatra* [a series of servants desert their masters (living or dead): e.g.
Enobarbus, Menas, Alexas, Canidius, Seleucus, Decretas, and Dolabella]. See her
*The Common Liar* (1973), pp. 45-47.  It should also be noted that North's
*Plutarch* describes Dolabella as "a young gentleman...that was one of Caesars
great familiars, and besides did have no evil unto Cleopatra.  He sent her word
secretly, as she had requested him...that within three dayes [Caesar] would
sende her away before with her children."  Perhaps Janet Adelman and Jean
Peterson are correct when they see Dolabella acting compassionately [and not
conspiratorially] at the end of the play.  J.J.Hill
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Foster <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 01 May 1995 10:24:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: SHAXICON and that Dolabella crux in ANT
 
About the Dolabella controversy in 5.1:
 
SHAXICON offers a possible solution for the textual problem in 5.1.  In the
texts later than ANT, Shakespeare is very markedly influenced in his writing by
the rare-word diction of five parts in ANT, all bit roles: Agrippa, Philo,
Proculeius, Thidias, and Ventidius.  In most other texts, Shakespeare
"remembers" the rare-word diction of just one (or sometimes two) characters.
It is perhaps doubtful that Shakespeare this late in his career would have
studied five different roles, all bitsy parts at that, but that's a moot point:
for whatever reason, Shakespeare indeed "remembers" the rare-word diction of
these five roles while "forgetting" the rare-word diction of other characters
in the same play.  Given the example of other texts in which this selective
mnemonic recall is evident, my guess is that Shakespeare performed these five
roles--but that presents an immediate problem. It appears (at first glance)
that the same actor cannot possibly have played both Agrippa and Proculeius.
In F1 ANT, Agrippa is given an entrance at 5.1.0, but no lines.  Proculeius is
given lines and an exit, but no entrance.  And at 5.1.29 and 5.1.31, we've got
a problem with the speech prefixes (F1 Dola.), which most editors assign to
Agrippa.
 
Here's what I take to be the likeliest explanation:  After the script was
written, the play was casted (perhaps during the initial rehearsals).  It was
decided that Shakespeare would play Agrippa, Proculeius, Philo, Thidias, and
Ventidius (hence the lopsided mnemonic recall of these roles in Shakespeare's
later writing).  But a problem arose in 5.1: let's imagine a first rehearsal in
which Shakespeare-the-actor enters as Agrippa at 5.1.0, together with Caesar,
Dolabella, Maecenas, and Gallus (and perhaps others).  Let's assume for the
moment that the s.d.'s at ANT 5.1.29 and 5.1.31 DID in fact say "Agri" in the
original script, as most editors have assumed, and that F1 "Dola" is a mistake
in both instances, as most editors have concluded. (Dolabella appears to exit
at 5.1.3, even as the Egyptian exits at 5.1.60, Proculeius at 5.1.68, and
Gallus at 5.1.69; a comparison of 5.1.3 with 5.1.68 leaves little room to doubt
that Dolabella DOES exit at 5.1.3).  But if Shakespeare-the-actor is to stand,
speak, and exit as Proculeius at 5.1.61 ff., then the earlier, "Agri," speech
prefixes in the script need to be lined out: right actor (no change there), but
the wrong character, since Shakespeare-the-actor will now be Proculeius
throughout 5.1.  The only mistake, then, is that the stagehouse bookkeeper, or
the printer, or someone, in trying to restore the lined out speech prefixes at
5.1.29 and 31, guessed wrong, inserting "Dola.," which has been emended by
modern editors back to "Agri."
 
While this scenario cannot be proven, SHAXICON offers, I think, a plausible and
economical explanation for all of the confusion in 5.1:
 
Problem: The S.P.s at 5.1.29 and 5.1.31 are indeed wrong in F1 (an attempt to
supply s.p. after "Agri" was lined out); the entrance without exit for Agrippa,
and the exit without entrance for Proculeius, are likewise mistakes.
 
Solutions: If the editor or theatrical director wishes to represent the script
as originally intended by Shakespeare-the-writer, "Proculeius" should indeed be
added to "Agrippa" in the SD at 5.1.0, and "Dola" emended to "Agri" at 5.1.29
and 31; Agrippa thereby speaks twice before Proculeius speaks.  If, however,
the editor or director wishes to represent the script as first acted, then
"Agrippa" should be emended to "Proculeius" at 5.1.0, and "Dola" should be
emended to "Proc" at 5.1.29 and 31; the same actor (Shakespeare or whoever)
thus speaks lines originally intended (by Shakespeare the writer) for both
Agrippa and Proculeius, and he speaks all three speeches AS Proculeius (5.1.29
ff, 31 ff., 68).  Proc thus enters at 5.1.0 and exits at 5.1.68.
 
Eureka!  Even the apparent *contradictions* in SHAXICON (How can the same actor
play both Proculeius and Agrippa! Not possible!) now begin to look like
revelations (But of course! F1 contradicts itself at precisely the same
juncture!).  After years of muttering curses at this database for all of the
time and labor it has consumed, I'm starting to think rather well of it... Stay
tuned.
 
Foster
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 30 Apr 95 13:11:12 EDT
Subject: 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0345  Cleopatra and Dollabella
 
Prof. Godshalk has met some resistance to his argument that Dolabella is a
secret agent who pushes Cleopatra into suicide. Certainly if that is the way he
would have the actor playing Dolabella perform the part in a produc- tion he
directs, then that Dolabella will indeed be a secret agent. But why all
Dolabella performances _have_ to follow that interpretation eludes me (as does
any argument that the role could _not_ be performed that way).
 
I'm not at all comfortable with the announcement that Caesar's role is
comparable to Elizabeth I's "charade" in condemning Mary, Queen of Scots to
death. Every responsible account of what occurred in 1587 agrees that Elizabeth
was deeply troubled both by Mary Stuart's plotting a rebellion and by the
insistence of Parliament (and of her councillers) that Mary Stuart must be
executed. To suggest the Elizabeth I is some sort of 16th century Dragon Lady
of Deviousness just continues misrepresentation of her accomplishments--she was
neither Wonder Woman nor the Scarlet Woman. I prefer history without soap opera
characters, when I can get it.

Re: PC and Productions

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0351.  Monday, 1 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Kezia Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 15:23:19 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0349 Qs: PC and Pro...
 
(2)     From:   Heather Stephenson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 18:51:42 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: Directorial Responsibility
 
(3)     From:   Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 1 May 1995 10:54:43 +1000
        Subj:   Re: Merchant
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kezia Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 15:23:19 -0400
Subject: 6.0349 Qs: PC and Pro...
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0349 Qs: PC and Pro...
 
For Ian Doescher: The term "politically correct" was, according to a reliable
informant (Jean Godby at OCLC Online Computer Library Center, who is a
linguist), invented to discredit feminists and perhaps others who may urge
change, in order to make us appear fascist or narrow. So, strong feminist that
I am, I'd recommend not worrying about political correctness: instead, look
closely at the text and present what you find. I find hugely sympathetic
feminist ideas throughout the Shakespeare canon--in fact, I learned about
feminism from these texts, and am still learning. Specifically on TOS, Coppelia
Kahn wrote a study of it that might be very helpful to you as a Director. I
can't remember where it was finally published. I saw it in manuscript more than
20 years ago, and cited it in my dissertation (A Reappraisal of Shakespeare's
View of Women, Ohio State, 1975) as follows: "Coppelia Kahn's study 'The Taming
of the Shrew: Shakespeare's Mirror of Marriage' (unpublished ms.) argues that
Katherin is participating in Petruchio's comic exaggeration when she makes her
final speech, just as she participated in it in her sun/moon speech. Professor
Kahn point out several processes in that play which combine to indicate that it
is meant to satirize conventional methods of courtship. For example, the entire
Bianca subplot can be seen this way. Her study argues that Katherine and
Petruchio understnad each other and have a good marriage." Interestingly, Kahn
told me in 1974 that she "kept her feminism separate from her scholarship," and
I assured her I found feminism and scholarship perfectly congruent. National
Theatre Company toured TOS through Columbus in the late 1970s, and in their
production Petruchio sat on a 3-legged stool during Kate's speech; at its end,
she puts her hand under his boot and topples hims backward. He has smiled and
bragged via body language throughout her comic overstatement, but keeps
laughing as he falls. I suspect that if the theatres hadn't closed in 1642,
stage tradition would have passed such lore down to us directly from
Shakespeare's company. Keep your eyes on the text and you can't fail. That same
advice holds for Merchant of Venice: stay with the text. The most eloquent
anti-racist statement and most influential in my life ("Hath not a Jew eyes?
etc.) comes from the mouth of Shylock. It truly pulls sympathy. Let Shylock be
a whole person onstage, angry, but whole, as the text allows. You might also
add a program note about the other "Jewish" plays being staged when that one
was written: in context, Shakespeare's is not so bad. Scheduled
audience/actor/director discussions of these problems after the curtain can
help. We surely need more open public real time dialogue on these matters, and
less restriction and concern with what's "proper" or "correct."  "The weight of
this sad time we must obey/ Say what we feel, not what we ought to say." (text
may be garbled there??)
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Heather Stephenson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Apr 1995 18:51:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: Directorial Responsibility
 
Ian Doescher writes:
>In our politically correct society, how ought directors or performers deal
>with the issues of racism and sexism in "Merchant of Venice" and "Taming of
>the Shrew?"  Quite clearly, the racism against Shylock must be dealt with in
>order to be appropriate for modern audiences, as well as the inherent sexist
>attitudes towards Kate.  Should directors nowadays concern themselves with
>making their productions point out the negativity of racism and sexism?  Or is
>it not a director's responsibility to be sensitive to an audience?
 
Of course it is a director's responsibility to be sensitive... if not to the
audience itself, at least to the pertinant issues of her/his time period.  What
are Shakespearean plays if not tools with which to interpret current issues?
More than simply being examples of English Renaissance history, the plays are
"living literatures" because they are adaptable, interpretable, and force the
director and audience member to THINK... to consider and to create meaning.
The interpretive gaps that Shakespeare left in the plays open a wealth of
opportunity for directoral and audience intervention in the texts.  Perhaps the
charge to the director is not to point out the negativity of racism or sexism,
but to highlight the existance of these negatives, show potential readings and
make the audience itself take on the responsibility to THINK and assign
meaning.  Kate's speech at the end of _TotS_ is uncomfortable.  And it is this
discomfort that forces directors and audience members (and actor/actresses...
in short, all players in the interpretive process) to wrestle with the many
issues of sexism and finally to come up with a satisfactory or at least
plausible explanation. The attention to these negative issues provides an
opportunity for education, enlightenment and growth -- for all who encounter
the plays. Choosing NOT to highlight or address these issues is in itself
addressing them, assigning a value to them.  NOT being sensitive to racism,
sexism, classism... avoiding filling in these areas of interpretation actually
fills them in a very specific manner.
 
In short, the director absolutely MUST be sensitive to the negative issues in
Shakespeare, lest s/he take a stand by refusing to take one.
 
Heather Stephenson
Georgetown University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 May 1995 10:54:43 +1000
Subject:        Re: Merchant
 
In reply to Ian Doescher's question about _Merchant_ a good place to start
thinking about these issues would be the first chapter in Alan Sinfield's
recent (1994) _Cultural Politics--Queer Reading_, published by Routledge.
 
Adrian Kiernander
Department of Theatre Studies
University of New England
Armidale, NSW 2351
AUSTRALIA

Re: Textbooks

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0350.  Monday, 1 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Grant Moss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Apr 1995 22:34:13 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0349 Qs: Textbooks
 
(2)     From:   Luc Borot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 1 May 1995 11:19:20 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0349  Qs: Textbooks on the Bible in Eng Lit
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Grant Moss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Apr 1995 22:34:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0349 Qs: Textbooks
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0349 Qs: Textbooks
 
Re Gayle Gaskill's inquiry on textbooks about Elizabeth, it's hard to know
where to begin.  Susan Frye's new book (Oxford UP) "Elizabeth I: The
Competition for Representation," is quite good, although without knowing the
specifics of your course, I can't be certain that it will be what you're
looking for.  Susan Bassnett's "Elizabeth I: A Feminist Perspective" is an
interesting variant on/critique of the traditional studies of Elizabeth.
Alison Plowden's work (unfortunately, its title escapes me for the moment) is
also useful.  If you're looking for a straight biography, Christopher Hibbert's
"The Virgin Queen: The Personal History of Elizabeth I" is a good one (although
there are many others).  Lisa Jardine's "Stil Harping on Daughters: Women and
Drama in the Age of Shakespeare" is a good study of women during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, with a chapter devoted to Elizabeth.  I have not yet
read Carole Levin's "The Heart and Stomach of a King: Elizabeth I and the
Politics of Sex and Power," but it sounds like it might be useful to you.
 
Grant Moss
UNC-Chapel Hill
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Luc Borot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 May 1995 11:19:20 +0100
Subject: 6.0349  Qs: Textbooks on the Bible in Eng Lit
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0349  Qs: Textbooks on the Bible in Eng Lit
 
In SHAKSPER Vol. 6, No. 0349, on Friday, 28 April 1995, Gayle Gaskill
<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> asks for advice on
 
>1.  The Bible in literture.
>2.  The Age of Elizabeth: Politics and Literature in the Reign of Elizabeth I.
 
As regards item #1, one should read Northrop Frye's *The Great Code, or the
Bible as Literature* (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983) to start a study
of the presence of Scripture in Literature by a presentation of the literary
status of the "holy library" constituted by these two bodies of writing (OT and
NT).
 
Christopher Hill's *The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution*
(London: Allen Lane, the Penguin Press, 1993) may be another source, for the
XVIIth century.
 
Barbara Kiefer Lewalski wrote a book on the biblical inspiration of English
meditation poetry whose title eludes me for the moment (it's a Princeton book,
I think), and on Milton's *Paradise Regained* she wrote another book, *Milton's
Minor Epic*, in which you'll find excellent passages on the subject.
 
Father Peter Millward, SJ, wrote several pieces on Shakespeare and the Bible in
a Japanese series published by Sophia University in Tokyo (something like
'English Renaissance Monographs'). All this is in the Elizabethan Centre's
Library in Montpellier, but today is May 1st, and it's closed: I apologise for
my poor memory.
 
As regards item #2, I'll wait till I'm in college, and till others have sent
replies, to fill in possible gaps, but my notes aren't within reach just now.
 
                Hope this helps
                Luc

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