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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: February ::
Qs: Odor/Weddings; *Per.*; Educational Videos; Shylock
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0134. Thursday, 22 February 1996.

(1)     From:   Michael Best <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Feb 1996 08:21:34 -0800
        Subj:   Bodily odours and weddings

(2)     From:   David Skeele <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 96 12:51:46 EST
        Subj:   [*Pericles*]

(3)     From:   Mike Field <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Feb 1996 13:10:05 -0500
        Subj:   Educational Videos

(4)     From:   Richard Spacek <
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        Date:   Thursday, 22 Feb 1996 12:18:24 -0400
        Subj:   The Judgement of Shylock


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Best <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Feb 1996 08:21:34 -0800
Subject:        Bodily odours and weddings

I have been trying to find concrete evidence to support two commonly held
beliefs about social life in renaissance England, but can find nothing. Can
anyone help?

1. There seems to be a widespread belief that the Elizabethans did not wash,
and that they (the nobility at any rate) covered their bodily smells with
perfume rather than bathing. The poorer classes presumably simply stank. Is
there any evidence to support this assertion?

2. Did the marriage rituals of the time conclude with some kind of charivari --
the awakening of the bedded couple with noise or other kinds of celebration /
torment? Again, I've seen this referred to, but never with any kind of
contemporary reference.

Michael Best
Department of English
University of Victoria

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Skeele <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 96 12:51:46 EST
Subject:        [*Pericles*]

A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a query regarding poststructuralist criticism
of _Pericles_.  I haven't heard anything in response yet, and that may be
because none of the information I am seeking exists.  However, if no one minds
I thought I would reissue the query, adding an additional question to the mix.
What I had asked was whether anyone was aware of any recent criticism of
_Pericles_ which does not seek to apply any kind of unifying pattern to the
play's various fragments, but rather accepts the fragmentation (perhaps even
celebrates it). Currently in my writing I am leaning too heavily on Steven
Mullaney's New Historicist reading, which does not so much embrace the
fragmentation as simply render the whole question of unity irrelevant.  I was
particularly interested in hearing more about the book "Shakespeare's Theatre
of Wonders" which was mentioned by Kristin Olson a few weeks ago.  Foolishly, I
deleted the message which contained your E-mail address, Kristin, (and I had to
jettison the SHAKSPER directory to make more room some time ago), so I hope
that you see this and respond (either directly or through SHAKSPER).

My second query involves the National Theatre production of _Pericles_ from
June of 1994.  I have written a chapter which examines postmodern,"collage"
type treatments of the play, focussing on Peter Sellars' 1983 production at
Boston Shakespeare and Michael Greif's staging at New York Shakespeare
Festival.  Has anyone seen the production at the National?  What were your
general impressions?  Was the director seeking to apply a unifying concept to
the play, or did she seem to be deliberately fostering a sense of incoherence
and fragmentation? In other words, to what extent, in your opinion, was this a
"postmodern" production?  I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks!

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Field <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Feb 1996 13:10:05 -0500
Subject:        Educational Videos

I know this subject has been touched upon from time to time, but I'm wondering
what kind of video programs, designed specifically for high school and/or
college-level students, are currently on the market? Is there, perchance, a
list somewhere of what's available? Any recommendations or execrations? Please
feel free to reply directly if you wish.

Mike Field

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(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Spacek <
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Date:           Thursday, 22 Feb 1996 12:18:24 -0400
Subject:        The Judgement of Shylock

Here is a nice riddle:  exactly what remains to Shylock after the court's
judgement and Antonio's "rendering of mercy"?  Is it (G/2) - F, where "G" = all
Shylock's goods and "F" = a fine imposed by the Duke?  Or simply (G/2)? The
simple splitting in half of Shylock's goods seems most likely to me--a gentle,
Christian punishment it appears, although an age less used to taxes might have
considered it harsh.

Antonio appears willing to administer his half of Shylock's goods only briefly.
I can't help imagining a sequel in which Antonio, forced by Shylock's death to
surrender the capital to Lorenzo (but unable to do so because his ships are
"wrack'd on the narrow seas"), is dragged into another court--and executed!

Antonio:  (pleading) I did once lend my body for your wealth.
Bassanio: (snickering) Pardon this fault, and by my soul I swear
                      I never more will break an oath with thee. . . .

Richard Spacek
Dept. of English/Extension
University of New Brunswick
 

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