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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: August ::
Re: Talbot; Salvini
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0600.  Wednesday, 2 August 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Lawrence Manley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Aug 1995 14:04:05 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0595 Q: Talbot's Size
 
(2)     From:   John Mucci <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 August, 1995
        Subj:   Salvini
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lawrence Manley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 1 Aug 1995 14:04:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0595 Q: Talbot's Size
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0595 Q: Talbot's Size
 
One answer to Lisa Broome's query about the stature of Talbot may be found in
Sigurd Burckhardt's _Shakespearian Meanings_. If Shakespeare is writing against
the grain of Marlowe's _Tamburlaine_ (and it does seem as if he's always
thinking of Marlowe in these early plays), then Talbot's possible diminutive
stature, as well as his understatement and self-possessed demeanor, may be a
Shakespearian counterweight to the hyperbole of Tamburlaine, as playedby the
towering Edward Alleyn.  I think it's Alexander Leggatt, in _Shakespeare's
Political Drama_, who suggests a linguistic parallel between the Countess's
imprecations against Talbot the "weak and writhled shrimp" (1 Hen VI 2.3.23)
and Richard Duke of Glucester's complaint that his mother's womb shrunk "mine
arm up like a wither'd shrub" (3 Hen VI 3.2.156).
 
About later performance history I don't know.  But on the "writhled shrimp" and
"wither'd shrub": we do know that Richard Burbage played Richard III, and in a
very problematic book no longer much credited, _The Organization and Personnel
of the Shakespeare Company_, T.W. Baldwin, who believed he could intuit casting
by inference from actors' "lines" or specialties, conjectures that Burbage also
played Talbot.  He explained that Burbage would have suited both roles
physically because, not yet twenty, Burbage was not yet fully grown.  Take with
many grains of salt!
 
Janet Adelman's _Suffocating Mothers" is the best gloss on what's going on here
with threats of shrinkage coming from strong women.
 
Lawrence Manley
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Mucci <
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Date:           Tuesday, 1 August, 1995
Subject:        Salvini
 
Over a year ago, I recall that someone on this list requested information on
the actor Salvini and his opinions on Shakespeare; I cannot find who it was,
unfortunately, but have discovered a lovely article on the subject, written in
the 1880s, which I will gladly share, if the persons interested let me know.  I
believe she was working on a thesis concerning Salvini, and I'd love to know
where to get a copy of it, if anyone can help out there.  Thank you.
 
John Mucci
GTE VisNet
 

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