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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: May ::
Re: Teaching; Texts; Funeral Elegy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0383.  Friday, 17 May 1996.

(1)     From:   David Skeele <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 May 96 11:13:45 EDT
        Subj:   SHK 7.0364  TEACHING SHAKESPEARE THROUGH PERFORMANCE

(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 May 1996 23:37:00 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0371 Re: Texts

(3)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 May 1996 18:07:10 -0700
        Subj:   Funeral Elegy


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Skeele <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 May 96 11:13:45 EDT
Subject: TEACHING SHAKESPEARE THROUGH PERFORMANCE
Comment:        SHK 7.0364  TEACHING SHAKESPEARE THROUGH PERFORMANCE

In response to Milla Riggio's query about useful text for the teaching of
Acting Shakespeare, I have had good luck with Robert Cohen's book (I believe
called "Acting Shakespeare" or "Acting in Shakespeare").  It is marred by a
dreadful middle section called "a gallery of Shakespearean characters," which
features photos of a couple of actors mugging their way through conceptions of
a number of characters, but aside from this unfortunate chapter, I have found
it to  be clear, engagingly written and full of really helpful exercises.  I
usually combine it with Kristen Linklater's "Freeing Shakespeare's Voice" and
Cicely Berry's "Voice and the Actor."  Hope this helps.

                                               David Skeele
                                               Slippery Rock University

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 May 1996 23:37:00 +0100
Subject: 7.0371 Re: Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0371 Re: Texts

John Drakakis wrote

>On the question of the definition of terms, Egan seems to thing that meaning is
>what he thinks it is.  He wants to be "historical" when it suits his argument
>and utterly unbound by any historical context when it doesn't.

I don't at all reject the validity of Marxist and Freudian notions of "fetish",
and agree that somebody might think I was invoking them. But I wasn't, and made
that clear upon request. As you have shown, Marx uses the word in a different
way to Freud. Or, presumably they both use some non-English word or words that
have been translated as "fetish". To claim, as I do, to have been using
"fetish" in a non-specialist sense (which I defined at your request) is not to
claim that meaning isn't social and contested.But if you don't accept that
"fetishize" can have the non-specialist meaning too then you cut yourself off
from the majority of speakers of the language.

You might as well say that I can't speak of "surplus" energy without invoking
the Marxist sense of the word.

Concerning the Shakespearean Originals series...

> And in any case when we get to an "original" text do we not then encounter
> the discursive fields within which it is historically situated?...One could
> argue that "Beginings" might have been a better term.

I'd quibble on that one too. The early printed texts of Shakespeare are
variously mediated forms that cannot easily be put under one category. Is a
printed text based on an authorial draft the same kind of "beginning" as a one
based on post-performance text? What if the post-performance text became a book
because the play was no longer in the repertory of the company. Isn't this the
"ending" rather than the beginning? Especially in the case of Shakespeare who
appears to have had no interest in the plays being printed.

I'd be happy with "Shakespearean Early Printed Texts" as the title of the
series!

> A cursory sideways glance at the political version of Deconstruction
> will, I am sure, reveal the provisional finitude of the epithet "original".

I genuinely don't understand you here, sorry.

Gabriel Egan

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 May 1996 18:07:10 -0700
Subject:        Funeral Elegy

Here are some curious lines out of the Funeral Elegy:

"And here to thy memorable worth,
In this last act of friendship, sacrifice
My love to thee, which I could not set forth
In any other habit of disguise."

The writer seems to say that he is writing the Elegy as a "last act of
friendship", that seems clear.  And then that odd phrase "sacrifice my love".
What does that mean? How do you sacrifice your love directed towards another?
Or is that what he means?  But the most puzzling is the last part: "I could not
set forth in any other habit of disguise". A disguise to what, the Elegy, his
friendship, his sacrifice, himself?

Well, it isn't clear.  But you've got to consider this "disguise" word.  My
theory, anyway, is that "W.S." was not Shakespeare, but John Ford in disguise.
The trouble with the writer of the Elegy was of the same trouble Ford had with
rambling syntax. They seem to offer some information, but not at all, the
writer being undone by trick language.  There's much of this in the Elegy.  You
might argue, for example, that Shakespeare was young when he wrote it, or was
only in a poetical muse for a time, thinking he was young.  But John Ford _was_
young, and known to be an elegist.

 But besides all, I hope you'll only have to read a few lines of the Funeral
Elegy to see that "W.S." was much ado of piety, and much a loss for poetry, nor
was the writer our man, our darling of language, our great unknown, our "Sweet
Willie".
 

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