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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: December ::
Re: Festivals; Q1 *Hamlet*; Last Lines of Lear
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0971.  Monday, 23 December 1996.

(1)     From:   Ronald Vince <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Dec 1996 14:41:42 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Festivals

(2)     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Dec 1996 23:48:21 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Ham & Gertie

(3)     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
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        Date:   Saturday, 21 Dec 96 16:40:53 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 17 Dec 1996 to 19 Dec 1996


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Vince <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Dec 1996 14:41:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Festivals

Dave Evett mentioned that the the "Stratford Shakespeare Festival" was belying
its name by devoting only a third of its productions to Shakespeare. The
festival has for several years been known simply as "The Stratford Festival" in
recognition, one assumes, of the fact that Dave laments. American musicals
appear to be the preferred "draw."

Cheers,
Ron Vince

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Dec 1996 23:48:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Ham & Gertie

Here's what I've got from the edition of the 1603 Quarto, edited by Albert
Weiner:

Queen:
Hamlet, I vow by that majesty
That knows our thoughts and looks into our hearts
I will conceal, consent, and do my best,
What strategem soe-er thou shalt devise.

This, as opposed to the " .. I have no life to breath" speech in the
other editions.

This one falls much closer to the Saxo Grammaticus legend, and it makes me
think that the original from which Shakespeare worked had a plot and ending
much more like the Danish version, in which Hamlet returns one year after his
departure from England on the very evening of his wake for an alleged death at
sea, and proceeds to get everyone drunk and burns the whole place down, killing
his uncle in bed ... his mom, of course, being in on the whole plot before he
left, and being silent while he carried it out.

Which makes me wonder; if the original "oyster wife" Hamlet from the 1590's was
so lousy, was it because it was so faithful to the Grammaticus story, as
perhaps interpreted by Belleforest?

Andy White
Urbana, IL

Best wishes to all for the Solstice

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Saturday, 21 Dec 96 16:40:53 EST
Subject:        Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 17 Dec 1996 to 19 Dec 1996

Louis Swilley asks, " granting the argument of the play, who should get the
last speech in Lear?"  Or something like that question.

The question assumes that there is only one argument and one play, "the
argument" and "the play."  Only idealized, mental fabrications live in such
blessed singularities.  If you read along through the 1608 version, Albany can
be that last speaker.  And the world will not end if in your imagined
production you hand the speech over the Albany if you're following Q.  Won't
end if you're following F either.  Once again, I invite you to look at the book
I wrote in 1980, SHAKESPEARE'S REVISION OF KING LEAR.  I argue that the 1623
text has different, and in ways that I like, "better" versions of roughly 10%
of the play.

The VALUE of these differences, I've argued, is that when we see a theater
craftsman at work, we can understand better how theatrical codes may be read.
Rembrandt's etchings on display at the Morgan Library right now let us note how
he manipulated inks, papers, content, and overall forms.  We see better for the
exercise.  It's more fun that way.

I'd be glad to share offprints of essays I've written on this subject, and the
LEAR book is still in print, a $16 or $17 paperback from Princeton.

Joys of the crisp cold to all,
                              Steve Urkowitz 
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