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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: July ::
Re: Shakespeare's Parts; SHAXICON
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0539.  Friday, 7 July 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Peter J. Callahan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 06 Jul 1995 13:50:04 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare's Parts
 
(2)     From:   John Owen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 6 Jul 1995 17:39:39 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0533  SHAXICON
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter J. Callahan <
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Date:           Thursday, 06 Jul 1995 13:50:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare's Parts
 
As per request.  I am going to list the parts that Shakespeare has played
according to Ronald Watkins book *On Producing Shakespeare* , Citadel Press;
New York, 1965.  This may coincide with Don Foster's list, but it won't be as
detailed.  Thanks to Don Foster for putting in the time and research.
 
According to Watkins, in appendix III of his book, the list that follows is
 
                A selection from T.W. Baldwin's conjectural cast-lists is
                given below.  For the complete lists the reader is referred to
                *Organization and Personnel of the Shakespearean Company*.
 
Then he goes on to list the parts.
RIII - Not listed
MidS-  Not Listed
KJohn- Not Listed
RII  - Not Listed
1H4  - Not Listed
2H4  - Not Listed
MoV  - Duke
R&J  - Escalus
MADO - F.Francis
H5   - Charles
JC   - ?Poet Cinna  ? Cicero
AYLI - Adam  (Known from external evidence)
12N  - Sea-Captain
Ham  - Ghost (Known from external evidence)
MWW  - Not Listed
Big O- Duke
M4M  - Peter
KLear- Not Listed
Macb - Duncan
A&C  - Lepidus
 
That is all the plays that Watkins lists.  I am sure that Don Foster's
information is more accurate than what I have, even though Watkins book is a
Second Ed, the first being from 1950.
 
Again, I hope that this is helpful.
 
                Peter J. Callahan
                Shepherd College
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Owen <
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Date:           Thursday, 6 Jul 1995 17:39:39 -0700
Subject: 6.0533  SHAXICON
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0533  SHAXICON
 
I am surely not the only reader tantalized by Dan Foster's summary report on
SHAXICON. The roles assigned to Shakespeare have a pleasing consistency -- in
relation to each other and to the scanty biographical information available.
However, I do have a few questions.
 
1. Clearly, Mr. Foster used external sources after SHAXICON's stats were
generated in order to supplement or correct the apparent assignment of roles.
My question is, how much of this was incorporated during the program's design.
In other words, is this data truly a raw count of rare words, or are we somehow
getting a synthesis of what we already expected to find?
 
2. Does Mr. Foster have any references to provide background for SHAXICON's
assumptions? Even if SHAXICON's data is meaningful, I am not sure I understand
why it should be. If Shakespeare is playing a part, the words in that part will
be reused more frequently than others in the plays Shakespeare writes during
the run of the play he is appearing in. This may be tested by making queries
against relatively unusual words in the plays. It sounds reasonable, but can
the validity of this method be confirmed (has it been?) by some type of textual
experiment outside the Shakespeare corpus, preferably where we have more
external information with which to corroborate the results?
 
3. How does Mr. Foster rate the evidence provided by SHAXICON? Should it be
used to correct, confirm, or supplement already existing scholarship? Let me
put this another way: SHAXICON supports John Aubrey's statements about
Shakespeare's performances, (Ghost in Hamlet, Adam in AYL). If they were to
disagree, would Dan be confident enough to submit his version in place of the
traditional account?
 
Finally, I hope Mr. Foster will keep us updated about his appearances and
publications. This sounds like great stuff.
 
John Owen
 

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