1995

Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0942.  Monday, 4 December 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 03 Dec 1995 19:37:06 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0938  Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
(2)     From:   An Sonjae <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 4 Dec 1995 09:47:15 +0900 (KST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0938 Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
(3)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 03 Dec 1995 20:09:46 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0938  Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
(4)     From:   Peter C. Herman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Dec 1995 20:19:58 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0938 Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
(5)     From:   Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 4 Dec 1995 14:03:05 +1100 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Soliloquies and audiences
 
(6)     From:   Stephen Buhler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 4 Dec 1995 11:08:52 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0938 *Imaginary Audition*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 03 Dec 1995 19:37:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0938  Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0938  Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
Dear Moray McConnachie----I think the book you're looking for is by Harry
rather than John Berger and is called Imaginary Audition rather than Auditory
Imagination. I think it, along with Christy Desmet's Reading Shakespeare's
Characters, is one of the most recent interesting (or most interesting recent)
books on what you would call "silent reading"-----hope this helps,
 
Chris Stroffolino
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           An Sonjae <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 4 Dec 1995 09:47:15 +0900 (KST)
Subject: 6.0938 Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0938 Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
If the question is whether or not Ophelia might overhear Hamlet and whether or
not Hamlet knows Ophelia is listening, these are surely production-related
matters since I do not think anyone can find any clear basis for a single
answer in the text. No one seems yet to have pointed out the rather unsubtle
nature of the question; given the fame-notoriety of the lines in question, the
theatrical experience can never be a naturalistic one (and the lines are hardly
natural ones, are they?) since the audience is sitting there like the jury at
an elocution contest: right, here he goes, where's he going to put the
stresses? How fast will he take it? Anguished Hamlet ponders death! Anguished
actor ponders surrender! From my limited experience of productions, the entire
speech serves to remind us that we are watching actors reciting lines that say
more than anyone would normally say. Hamlet might just as well have Ophelia
check his pronunciation, since we all know what happens later in the play
anyway and I do not see how we can try to go back to being a "naive audience"
again.
 
An Sonjae
Sogang University. Seoul
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 03 Dec 1995 20:09:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0938  Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0938  Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
Thank you, Tom Bishop, for your insights into the difficulties of "this
soliloquy stuff" and the positing of a distinction between the character and
the actor (author?). Especially in Falstaff's case. Certainly the idea of
soliloquy as an expression of the "real" and/or "more authentic" psyche of the
character is something that seems alien to Shakespeare's non-essentialist
notions of identity, and perhaps we should consider such speeches as Othello's
(over the sleeping body of Desdemona) and Iachimo's (over the sleeping body of
Imogen) to be a kind of soliloquy as well.
 
At one point Coleridge speaks of Leontes' "soliloguies in the form of
dialogue", but more pertinantly I'd like to address the question of RICHARD
II's soliloquy you addressed---
 
I have been studying how I may compare Richard II's soliloquy to what Keats
calls Shakespeare's NEGATIVE CAPABILITY. For this soliloguy does seem to call
attention to dramatic artifice on a level similar to say the PYRAMUS AND THISBY
scene in MND (both written around the same time and they both occur near the
end of their plays). Yet, in Richard's case, the soliloquy works on a double
level in the sense that it can be both Richard speaking as well as *possibly*
"Shakespeare himself". Though the latter is no doubt a perlious assertion, some
of the METADRAMATIC critics like James Calderwood and John Blanpied have
addressed this point in detail. Harry Berger, in the book Moray asks about,
unfortunately ignores this soliloquy (though his book does center around the
play and character of R2). Anyway, I am curious what you mean when you say:
 
       "though the scene itself makes great and moving play with the
        sudden peopling of the world with Richard's mind who are "really"
        there in the audience."
 
Do you mean that Richard's "peopling" can reflect back on what we've seen in
the play? That what happens in the soliloquy can be a comment on what has
happened in the play outside of the context of Richard's psyche? If this is
what you're saying---and i can't tell--then the soliloquy subordinates
character to plot. Joan Hartwig (and others have followed) has an incredible
essay which shows how the conscious repetition of some of the phrases in
earlier scenes in this play (5.3 and 5.4) in this soliloquy may serve precisely
this THEMATIC purpose, and I think if we take such assertions seriously it may
enable a way of considering soliloquies in ways subvesive to many of the more
"official" readings of the play---whether they side with Richard over
Bullingbroke or Bullingbroke over Richard.... Chris Stroffolino
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter C. Herman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Dec 1995 20:19:58 -0500
Subject: 6.0938 Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0938 Re: Silent Reading and Soliloquies
 
I think that the book Prof. McConnachie has in mind is _Imaginary Audition_, by
Harry Berger, Jr. (University of California Press, 1989).
 
Peter C. Herman
Dept. of English Georgia State U
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 4 Dec 1995 14:03:05 +1100 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Soliloquies and audiences
 
Further to Tom Bishop's excellent list of examples of types of soliloquy, I'd
like to add Launce's speech at the beginning of 4.4 of _Two Gentlemen of
Verona_. In this solitary (except for the dog who is not being addressed here
but rather discussed) speech he directly addresses the audience, with "look
you", and "You shall judge". In 2.3 he also says (while similarly alone), "I'll
show you the manner of it." These are direct addresses to the audience, but
perhaps it will be argued that these speeches in this play are more Elizabethan
stand-up comedy than Hamlet-like soliloquy. But I certainly know of no other
speeches in Shakespeare, always and importantly excluding prologues, epilogues
and choral interjections (as in _Henry V), where a character in a play
addresses the audience as "you". (I think there are some in Jonson, but can't
recall the references.) I'd be interested if anyone can contradict me on this
point.
 
Adrian Kiernander
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Florence Amit <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 04 Dec 1995 12:30:20 +0200
Subject:        Re: re.to Shk 6.0938
 
>>Richard II says "and for because the world is populous/ And here is not a
>>>person but myself/ I cannot do it."  This is harder. It makes very little
>>>sense for the desperately lonely character Richard to be "talking to the
>>>audience" here, though the scene itself makes great and moving play with the
>>>sudden peopling of the world with figures from Richard's mind who are
>>>"really" there in the audience.
 
I would like to make this observation to Thomas Bishop, whose essay I so much
enjoyed:
 
I have long thought and even tried to describe to a few that I believed had
influence on productions, that Richard's  prison scene might with benefit be
orchestrated differently. The prison and Bolingbrooke's audience chamber should
be on the stage at the same time. As Aumerle's mother pleads for the life of
her son (and the continuance of York) Richard envisions the future of the line
in its historic confrontation with Lancaster. Richard's contemplations are
fleshed out with a real presence and the Duchess' couplets become nicely
dispersed throughout.
 
This way Richard's words do have a more on stage-audience (almost)
 
(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Buhler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 4 Dec 1995 11:08:52 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 6.0938 *Imaginary Audition*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0938 *Imaginary Audition*
 
The book to which Moray McConnachie refers is *Imaginary Audition: Shakespeare
on Stage and Page* by Harry Berger, Jr. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of
California P, 1989).  While this valuable and provocative book is written --
and presented as -- "Against New Histrionicism," Berger's argument is more
specifically with the critical maneuver of appealing to stage practice as
"proof" in support of traditional and naive interpretations of the plays.
Berger prefers to explore how the idea of theatricality might function within
the world-of-the-play, focusing on *Richard II*.  Richard "imagines" himself as
actor -- notably in the deposition scene -- ever mindful of his audience.  On
the vexed question of soliloquies as "thinking out loud" or as "addressing the
audience directly" (whether in character or not), Berger tends to stay in the
"thought" camp, in keeping with his defense of more speculative *textual*
approaches to the plays as opposed to the more pragmatic varieties of the
*script-based* approach.
 
Stephen M. Buhler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Re: Nothing; Branagh's *Hamlet*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0941.  Sunday, 3 December 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Martin Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 14:38:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Nothing
 
(2)     From:   Chris Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Dec 95 11:50:41 -0600
        Subj:   Branagh's *Hamlet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Green <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 14:38:54 -0500
Subject:        Re: Nothing
 
Well, I don't know if the validity of the helpful insight that "nothing" is an
Elizabethan term for female genitalia can ever be conclusively established, but
a most persuasive argument that this is so was made (for the first time, I
believe) by Thomas Pyles, in an article entitled "Ophelia's 'Nothing'" in LXIV
Modern Language Notes, p. 322 (1949). The article  makes such good sense that
Pyles' conclusion is almost universally accepted.
 
Also, when we consider (a point not made by Pyles) that "thing," in many
contexts (not exclusively Shakespearean), is easily perceived to be a reference
to "penis," then the aptness of no-thing to characterize the female sexual area
becomes easily discernible.
 
And I, long ago, suggested that when Shakespeare writes, in Sonnet 20, that
 
 
   . . . Nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting,
  And by addition me of thee defeated
  By adding one thing to my purpose nothing,
 
the ever-punning poet, far from negating the thought that the Fair Friend's sex
prevented him from being a sexual object, was saying that by addition, Nature
defeated (vanquished) me BY thee, by adding one thing (male organ) which to my
purpose (i.e., from my point of view) is no-thing (a female sex organ - - i.e.,
 an appropriate focus for sexual fulfillment).
 
My rule in seeing puns in Shakespeare is this: if it makes sense, it's there.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Dec 95 11:50:41 -0600
Subject:        Branagh's *Hamlet*
 
I just received this information from a friend in another discussion group and
thought SHAKSPEReans would be interested:
 
According to Variety, the cast that has been signed so far:
 
Kenneth Branagh - Hamlet
Kate Winslet - Ophelia
Derek Jacobi - Claudius
Julie Christie - Gertrude
Jack Lemmon - Marcellus
Billy Crystal - Gravedigger #1
Robin Williams - Osric
Charlton Heston - Player King
Rosemary Harris - Player Queen
 
Signed but role not noted:
 
Gerard Depardieu
Sir John Mills
Sir John Gielgud
 
Filming is to start January 30/96 in England.

Re: Abhorson

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0939.  Sunday, 3 December 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Corrie Zoll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 1 Dec 1995 20:24:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0934 Qs:  Abhorson
 
(2)     From:   Michael Saenger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 1 Dec 1995 22:07:02 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0934 Qs: Abhorson
 
(3)     From:   Joseph L Lockett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 14:28:15 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: Abhorson
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Corrie Zoll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 1 Dec 1995 20:24:33 -0500
Subject: 6.0934 Qs:  Abhorson
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0934 Qs:  Abhorson
 
I recently performed the role of Abhorson in Frank Theatre's Minneapolis
production of Measure for Measure, wearing leather chaps, a big gold codpiece,
a muscle shirt and tattoos.  To answer Steven Marx's question about Abhorson's
proof:
 
Can anyone help me, and one of my students, to construe the meaning of
this"proof" that Abhorson's occupation as hangman is a mystery?  Every true
man's apparel fits your thief: if it be too little for your thief, your true
man thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it
little enough: so every true man's apparel fits your thief.
 
The Arden Measure for Measure states that the F version splits the lines of the
proof between Abhorson and and Pompey. It goes on to say "The 'proof' that the
true man's apparel 'fits' (satisfies) the thief shows the thief to be a fitter
of clothes i.e. tailor, whose occupation is a 'mystery'  Executioners and
Thieves are associated because the clothes of the condemned man were the
hangman's perquisite...One stage of the syllogism, relating the executioner to
the thief, is missing...little and big in terms of (i) size (ii) value."  Not
very illuminating, to be sure.  We cut the proof entirely.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Saenger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 1 Dec 1995 22:07:02 -0500
Subject: 6.0934 Qs: Abhorson
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0934 Qs: Abhorson
 
How do we explain the passage:
>
> Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be too little for your thief,
> your true man thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your
> thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's apparel fits your thief.
 
Well, fools rush in to offer solutions, and let me be among them.  True to his
assertion that his trade is a mystery, Abhorson presents an enigma.  But I do
think that, like the porter in Macbeth, his language reflects on the "higher"
action of the play.  So, take the Duke to be the true man, and Angelo the
thief.  The Duke dresses Angelo in a brief authority, and how it fits him is
very much an issue, particularly as it resonates with a noose, which, of
course, becomes smaller at a key moment.  That is not to say that direct
meaning can be translated onto the larger play, but merely that a resonance
exists.
 
Michael Baird Saenger
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph L Lockett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 14:28:15 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Re: Abhorson
 
> Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be too little for your thief,
> your true man thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your
> thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's apparel fits your thief.
 
I'm not sure why a noose would be referred to as "true man's apparel": perhaps
that's the crux of your question?  (Or perhaps it shows us something of
Abhorson's view of the universe?)
 
As to the sentence... If the noose is too tight on the thief, nevertheless the
observer of the hanging thinks it's big enough (he'll die anyway).  If it's too
big, the thief thinks that nevertheless it's small enough (he'll die anyway).
So a noose always "fits".
 
This is a "mystery" presumably because it is, as presented, a seemingly
contradictory yet true statement.  That is, it is not a Agatha-Christie- type
"mystery" to be puzzled out, but a "mystery" in the ancient sense (a la the
Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece, or other cultic rituals): a strange
credo that makes sense once you understand the logic behind it. I believe the
Elizabethans were great fans of such logic puzzles and such.
 
If I've only told you what you already know, I apologize.  But it is indeed a
fascinating line to puzzle out!

Qs: *Ham.* Texts; *AYL*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0940.  Sunday, 3 December 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Scott Shepherd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
        Date:   Friday, 1 Dec 1995 17:22:13 -0500
        Subj:   Q: Texts
 
(2)     From:   Kila Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Dec 1995 18:54:14 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   AS YOU LIKE IT (Shepherd references)
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Shepherd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Date:           Friday, 1 Dec 1995 17:22:13 -0500
Subject:        Q: Texts
 
Do unedited Folio and Quarto texts exist in some freely downloadable electronic
form somewhere? I'm looking specifically for the F and Q2 Hamlets.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kila Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Dec 1995 18:54:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        AS YOU LIKE IT (Shepherd references)
 
I am co-directing AYLI at at HS in Virginia.  We are changing the forest of
Arden into a more contemporary urban ghetto setting, with a directorial
emphasis on the "character building benefits of adversity". One problem we are
finding is how to translate the shepherd references in the story.  I want to
leave them intact; letting them stand as analogies (for ex. if Corin were to
become a street preacher, "flock" has applicable Christian references.  If you
have any ideas or comments I'd love to hear from you.
 
Kila

Re: *R3*: Film and Politics

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0938.  Sunday, 3 December 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Harry Teplitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 1 Dec 95 13:49:00 PST
        Subj:   [*R3*]
 
(2)     From:   Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 1 Dec 1995 17:36:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0935  Re: Ian McKellen and Richard III
 
(3)     From:   Laura Blanchard <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 1 Dec 1995 23:46:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0935 Re: Ian McKellen and Richard III
 
(4)     From:   Piers Lewis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
        Date:   Sunday, 03 Dec 1995 09:12:16 -0600
        Subj:   R3
 
(5)     From:   Robert Appelbaum <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 12:03:55 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Politics
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Teplitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 1 Dec 95 13:49:00 PST
Subject:        [*R3*]
 
This is my first posting to this list, so please be patient...
 
I was lucky enough to see an advance screening of the Richard III film this
week (one of the perks of living in LA).  While there are good points to be
made against the interpretation itself, I was extremely impressed with the
film, and highly recommend it.
 
I, too, saw the stage version on tour (at UCLA, in a very large theater), and
found it a little disappointing.  The focus on Richard overwhelemed the other
characters, and many of his quirks were difficult to see from the balcony. Both
these problems are solved immediately by the transition to film, allowing the
production to say what it really wants to.
 
The film is remarkably bold in its interpretion; even more so than the play.
Much of the dialogue is rearranged, given to other characters, and outright
invented.  There are some changes I don't agree with, and there are gratuitous
battle scenes, perhaps for market value. I don't want to cover too many details
here so as not to spoil it, but I can safely say that there will be a lot of
objections of the sort that were recently discussed in speculation about
changing Othello.
 
Despite this controvery, the film is brilliant.  Performances are strong by
most of the principals, the imagery is striking, and the music is wonderful.  I
don't know if popular opinion (on this list, anyway) will agree, but I
preferred this version to the Olivier film.  In the traditon of Peter Brook's
King Lear, this film proves that it's worth taking risks with Shakepeare when
bringing it to film.
 
        -- Harry Teplitz
        UCLA Shakespeare Performance Group
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 1 Dec 1995 17:36:00 -0500
Subject: 6.0935  Re: Ian McKellen and Richard III
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0935  Re: Ian McKellen and Richard III
 
Dave Evett's question about ideology motivating coups d'etat in the plays is an
interesting one.  I wonder if, even in the most immediate case, Richard III,
there isnt a partial exception:  Richmond, it seems to me, _is_ intervening for
what he thinks is "the good of the country" and he goes on at some length after
Richard's death, as well as before it, to describe at least in negative terms
what that entails. Among other things, it entails a language of "friends" and,
especially, of the "body of the country" hence a sacramental and corporate
image of England as a national unity, versus Richard's own stirring but much
more aristocrat-based appeal to martial heroism and violence. Likewise in the
Tartan tragedy, even if Malcolm doesnt, Macduff _does_ lament for "Scotland."
And Gaunt (perhaps even York) certainly has something like a political vision
in mind when he warns Richard not to "lease out" the country. It may be
significant that in these latter cases, it is those not directly struggling for
power that have the political vision of national transformation. But then Lech
Walesa is no longer the President of Poland either.
 
Perhaps Rebecca Buchnell has some thoughts here in  _Tragedies of Tyrants_ --
the relevant discourse would presumably be that of tyranny and its
alternatives.
 
On Machiavelli, I suspect the relevant text is not "The Prince" but "The
Discourses" where he discusses at length the processes that generate
constitutional change in the Roman Republic.  The latter is, at least for my
money, his really innovative and important work as historian and political
theorist.
 
Cheers,
Tom
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Laura Blanchard <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 1 Dec 1995 23:46:00 -0500
Subject: 6.0935 Re: Ian McKellen and Richard III
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0935 Re: Ian McKellen and Richard III
 
In a message dated 95-12-01 16:47:02 EST, David Evett writes:
 
> Can SHAKSPER subscribers recommend histories of political thought that address
>the problem?  Have any of you out there thought about it, maybe even written
>about it, and about the ways it might touch on our reading, production, etc.?
 
There's a new collection of essays just out from St. Martin's Press, _The Wars
of the Roses_, edited by A.J. Pollard, which tackles this very problem,
attempting to get at the balance between ambition and principle in the major
players of the Wars of the Roses.
 
As Pollard asks in his introductory essay, "Were the motives of the
participants no more elevated than the pursuit of base self-interest, or were
important matters of principle at stake? And were the wars the reflection of a
deeper crisis out of which the English monarchy emerged stronger and more
autocratic? These are some of the questions explored in the chapters which
follow."  Taken together with the essays in Rosemary Horrox's _Fifteenth
Century Attitudes_, just out from Cambridge University Press this spring or
last fall, the essays in _The Wars of the Roses_ paint a much more complex
picture of the mental, emotional, and moral landscape of the period than we've
witnessed previously.
 
This is a fascinating thread. I look forward to seeing where it goes.
 
Regards,
Laura Blanchard
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Piers Lewis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date:           Sunday, 03 Dec 1995 09:12:16 -0600
Subject:        R3
 
Maybe it's just my natural depravity.  I find Richard amusing--he's a little
like Edmund in that respect.  His wit and energy is particularly obvious
because everyone else is tedious.  He makes the play.  Without him it's
nothing.  He's demonic not thuggish.  That's another reason not to turn him
into a fascist or nazi prototype.
 
Piers Lewis
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Appelbaum <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 2 Dec 1995 12:03:55 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Politics
 
Dear David Evett:
 
I think you're selling Machiavelli short.  There are many references to the
welfare of the citizenry in *The Prince.*  *The Prince* also concludes with a
utopian vision of a united Italy, and what that would mean to the virtue of
Italians.  *The Discourses,* conversely, are concerned from beginning to end
with the value of different kinds of government and governors -- the greatest
goal for Machiavelli, as for WS's Brutus, being virtue itself.  Brutus, I
believe, doesn't want to *change* Rome, but to "reduce" it to its pre-Caesar
condition of republican virtue; as a republican -- Plutarchian, Tacitean, or
Machiavellian --  he must be committed to returning power to the Senate, not to
wresting power for himself.
 
The literature of political theory on the period is for me somewhat
disappointing, probably because the British are still fighting about it as a
contemporary issue (let's hear it for a written constitution already, and a
bill of rights!), and as a result don't quite achieve the clarity my
American-mind would prefer, but indispensable reading has to include Quentin
Skinner, *Foundations of Modern Political Thought,* P.G.A. Pocock, *The
Machiavellian Moment,* Felix Raab, *The English Face of Machiavelli,* and
Johann Sommerville, *Politics and Ideology in England 1603-1640.*  There are
some interesting remarks on *Coriolanus* in Mark Kishlansky, *Parliamentary
Selection,* where Kishlansky argues that Coriolanus's problem is *not* personal
at all, but rather an expression of the dilemma of public voting in Tudor and
Stuart England.  Has anyone else out there responded to what Kishlansky says?
 
Obviously, we cannot expect Shakespearean politicians to speak the language of
benefits in quite the sense that a 20th century politician would be expected to
speak it.  But that doesn't mean that benefits are irrelevant, only that they
are differently conceived, and frequently subordinated to questions of *right.*
 I think you're right, David, to call attention to the moralization of
political language in people like Elyot.  I think we need to be suspicious of
that moralization -- obviously it is hiding something -- but we also need to
respect the idea that political values and benefits are ultimately moral in
character, and cannot simply be advertised as if they were mere commodities.
 
Robert Appelbaum

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