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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Girl Actors; Vocabulary; Size; Othello and
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0263.  Thursday, 4 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Peter S. Donaldson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Apr 96 08:39:07
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0254  Q: Girl Actors

(2)     From:   Ian Lancashire <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Apr 1996 10:40:59 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare's vocabulary

(3)     From:   Michael Best <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Apr 1996 08:16:26 -0800
        Subj:   Size of Elizabethans

(4)     From:   Suzanne Westfall <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Apr 1996 15:53:58 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Othello and Mulberried


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter S. Donaldson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Apr 96 08:39:07
Subject: 7.0254  Q: Girl Actors
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0254  Q: Girl Actors

The part of Romeo in Bellini's I Capuletti e Montecchi was written as a
"breech" role for female voice.  The libretto derives, however, not from
Shakespeare but from Shakespeare's source.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ian Lancashire <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Apr 1996 10:40:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare's vocabulary

My colleague H. Joachim Neuhaus at Muenster wrote recently to report that
Shakespeare's vocabulary size is part of the findings of the Shakespeare
Database Project there.  Dr. Neuhaus says:

        The Shakespeare Database Project has done antedating research for all
        Shakespearean lemmata. There have been substantial corrections to OED
        datings. Since we lemmatized the Shakespeare corpus we know about his
        vocabulary size, not just his type / token statistics.

        In our WWW Home-Page there is a project bibliography with references
        to published work and also the forthcoming CD-ROM.

        Univ.-Prof. Dr. H. J. Neuhaus
        Internet: 
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        http://ves101.uni-muenster.de (SHAKESPEARE DATABASE)
        Westf. Wilhelms-Universitaet
        Johannisstrasse 12-20  D-48143 Muenster, Germany

This achievement will help everyone doing research in Shakespearean stylistics
and authorship studies ... at least those who are willing to abandon
impressionism for a more responsible approach, one that bases conclusions on
publicly available data and gives advice on how those conclusions can be shown
to be false.

To base judgments about Shakespeare's authorship of texts on personal likes and
dislikes is an intellectual error akin to the mistakes made by many
bard-biographers and exposed by the late, missed Sam Schoenbaum in his
wonderful book Shakespeare's Lives.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Best <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Apr 1996 08:16:26 -0800
Subject:        Size of Elizabethans

Three things we can learn from this thread:

1. We are more interested in the physical size of Elizabethans than in their
smell (only a couple of replies [thanks!] to my earlier query, and no hard
evidence so far)

2. Those that challenge the accepted evidence show a healthy skepticism of
received belief, conditioned as it is by our frames of reference.

3. They are, however, interestingly limited by their own frames of reference.
To suggest that only smaller sizes of clothes would survive is to assume the
values of a society that throws away or puts aside things that don't fit. In an
age when cloth was a valuable and expensive resource, smaller (and larger)
sizes would be as efficiently reused as those that needed no alteration.

And for Brooke Brod: crinolines are a later invention. Bum-rolls, yes.

Michael Best
Department of English, University of Victoria,

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Suzanne Westfall <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Apr 1996 15:53:58 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Othello and Mulberried

Florence Amit's comments on the connection between the Bassano family's
heraldic icon (the mulberry) and _Othello_ caught my attention.  Last summer I
toured the Charterhouse in London, one of the many monasteries that Henry
"liberated," giving it afterward to the Bassanos (a family of musicians that he
had "raided" from the Doge of Venice) as a London residence.  In the courtyard
there stands a large and very old mulberry tree.  One of the Charterhouse
Brothers informed me that the mulberries from the tree have been sent yearly to
the Lord mayor since the 14th century, so I assume that the tree predates the
Bassanos; but the coincidence is amusing, if not provocative.

Regards,
Suzanne Westfall
Dept. of English, Lafayette College
 

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