1996

Re: Merchant of Venice and Anti-Semitism

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0961.  Thursday, 19 December 1996.

(1)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 14:20:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0955  Re: Merchant of Venice

(2)     From:   Daniel Lowenstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Dec 1996 12:10:52 PST
        Subj:   SHK 7.0955  Re: Politics and Ossified Art


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 14:20:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0955  Re: Merchant of Venice
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0955  Re: Merchant of Venice

Two responses to the argument that *Merchant of Venice* expresses Shakespeare's
opposition to anti-semitism:

1. How do we explain the popularity of the play in Nazi Germany?

2. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daniel Lowenstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 18 Dec 1996 12:10:52 PST
Subject: Re: Politics and Ossified Art
Comment:        SHK 7.0955  Re: Politics and Ossified Art

ANDY WHITE writes:

"As for Merchant, there is the distinct possibility that he wished to raise the
issue of anti-semitism in England (hence he puts it in Venice -- 'in the most
choice Italian' as Hamlet might say) or in general.  When the Stratford
festival staged it this year, they placed it in the modern equivalent of
Renaissance Venice, videlicit Fascist Italy of the 1930's. The hatred of Jews
was universal, even among those whom one would normally identify as romantic
heroes and heroines.  If you refuse to edit out certain sequences, include all
the ugliness of the trial and then go straight to Act 5, there is an almost
Brechtian effect on the audience. You want to be happy for the young couples,
but the knowledge of their inner ugliness makes it almost impossible.

"Not that you sympathise entirely with Shylock either.  He's an extremely
bitter man from the start, and at least initially a part of you can't blame
Jessica for running away.  If this is a comedy in the ha-ha sense, I don't get
it.  If it's a comedy in the 'at least they get married' sense, then I buy it."

White has been a voice of common (and good) sense in the debate on politics,
but not here, in my opinion.

Whatever may be the merits of a contemporary production of Merchant set in
Fascist Italy, it is preposterous to draw conclusions about Shakespeare's
intent from one's reactions to such a production. There is a good deal of
anti-semitism in Merchant, some of which Shakespeare and at least some members
of his audience may have understood to be excessive.  But on no reasonable view
can anti- Semitism be understood as having anything like the resonance and
associations that it has to a twentieth century audience, especially when that
resonance and those associations are heightened by setting the play in Fascist
Italy.

The primary ugliness in the trial is that of Shylock.  What is wrong with
Shylock is not that he is "extremely bitter," but that as Portia demonstrates,
he is guilty of attempted murder.  The dilemma underlying the trial is the
tension between the urgency for Venice of maintaining the principle of freedom
of contract within the commercial law, and of preventing the abuse of that
principle by Shylock.  Portia happily and justly resolves that tension by
applying the commercial and criminal laws to their own spheres.  The
celebration in Act V is an appropriate sequel to this happy resolution.  In
addition, the incident of the rings in Act V drives home Portia's point,
demonstrated also in the trial, of the need to take legal obligations
seriously.

                                Best,
                                Dan Lowenstein
                                UCLA Law School

Re: Knight's Imperial Shakspere

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0960.  Thursday, 19 December 1996.

(1)     From:   Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Dec 96 14:24:11 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0957  Q: Book Ages

(2)     From:   Judy Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 20:16:44 -0400 (AST)
        Subj:   Knight's Imperial Shakspere

(3)     From:   Michael A. Norman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 19:19:18 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0957  Qs: Book Ages

(4)     From:   Patricia E. Gallagher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 19:23:51 -0800
        Subj:   Re:  Book Ages

(5)     From:   Peter L. Groves <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 19 Dec 1996 12:33:25 GMT+1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0957  Qs: Book Ages


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Dec 96 14:24:11 EST
Subject: 7.0957  Q: Book Ages
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0957  Q: Book Ages

No doubt John Velz will also write in to tell Mr. Bibb that _One Touch of
Shakespeare: The Letters of Joseph Crosby_, which he and I edited, has
extensive discussion of Knight's Imperial edition of Shakespeare's _Works_. Our
book was published by the Folger in 1986 and I expect a copy is in the UCLA
library.  Fran Teague

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judy Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 20:16:44 -0400 (AST)
Subject:        Knight's Imperial Shakspere

Knight's Imperial Shakspere was published in London and New York (the latter by
Virtue and Yorston) in 1875-76.

There is an interesting monograph by John C. Yorston, *An essay on Charles
Knight's Imperial Shakspere, embracing biographical sketches of author, editor,
artists, engravers etc....*  Printed exclusively for private circulation, 1876.
 It is rare, but is available at the Folger.  Possibly the Huntington has it?
The New York Public Library copy has gone missing.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael A. Norman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 19:19:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0957  Qs: Book Ages
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0957  Qs: Book Ages

Matt, I did a little searching. I hope this helps you. I found the catalog
records at the University of California online catalog.

AUTHOR     Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
TITLE      Works. 1873
           The works of Shakspere. Ed. by Charles Knight; with
           illustration on steel from pictures by C.W. Cope, R.A.,
           E.M. Ward, R.A., C.R. Leslie, R.A. [and others]
EDITION    Imperial edition.
IMPRINT    London, Virtue; New York, Patterson and Neilson, [1873-76]
DESC.      2 v. fronts. (ports.) plates. 39 cm.
NOTE       Added title-pages, engraved, with vignettes.
           Issued in 50 parts to subscribers only.
           English
ADD AUTHOR Knight, Charles, 1791-1873


AUTHOR     Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
TITLE      Works. 1881
           The works of Shakspere. Ed. by Charles Knight; with
           illustration on steel from pictures by C.W. Cope, R.A.,
           E.M. Ward, R.A., C.R. Leslie, R.A. [and others]
EDITION    Imperial edition.
IMPRINT    New York : Virtue and Vorston, [1881]
DESC.      2 v. fronts. (ports.) plates. 39 cm.
NOTE       Added title-pages, engraved, with vignettes.
           English
ADD AUTHOR Knight, Charles, 1791-1873

These two examples may not be what you want. Charles Knight edited many
different works of Shakespeare's plays. Hopefully, someone else on the list can
give you more information on Knight or the above works.

Good luck.
Michael Norman

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patricia E. Gallagher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 19:23:51 -0800
Subject:        Re:  Book Ages

According to OCLC, there was a two volume set of Shakespeare's "Works",
published by Virtue in London, between 1873 and 1876. It was edited by Charles
Knight and was referred to as the "Imperial Edition."

I should add that several "Imperial editions, " with different numbers of
volumes and edited by Charles Knight, were published around the same period of
time.  If you ask your l librarian to do a search for you (on either OCLC or
RLIN), you should get a fair estimate of the dates and publishers of those
texts.

Patricia Gallagher
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter L. Groves <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 19 Dec 1996 12:33:25 GMT+1000
Subject: 7.0957  Qs: Book Ages
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0957  Qs: Book Ages

> "Knight's Imperial Shakspere" with notes by Charles Knight, and they were
> published in London by Virtue & Co., Limited, 294, City Road. Any help you can
> provide would be greatly appreciated.

Knight's Shakespeare was first published (8 vols) 1838-43; your two-volume edn
must therefore be later.  Knight is rather interesting in that he is one of the
very few editors of Shakespeare who doesn't relinieate his copy-text in order
to "regularize" the metre--he is the only editor since Rowe to print the
opening of *Mac* 2.2 more or less as F has it.

Peter Groves
Department of English
Monash University
Melbourne

Re: Tone of "Madam"

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0958.  Tuesday, 17 December 1996.

From:           Jesus Cora <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Dec 1996 15:12:36 UTC+0100
Subject: Q: Tone of "Madam"
Comment:        SHK 7.0936  Q: Tone of "Madam"

Dear Ron Dwelle,

Certainly the tone is ironic, but I would not say that the use of Madam is
completeley ironical here. The force of the irony is in *seems*, whereas
*Madam* is apparently devoid of irony. As to the use of *Madam* when addres-
sing to one's mother, think that Hamlet is not only adressing his mother, but
also the Queen of Denmark and he must show respect before the rest of the
court. No "sneering condescension" to me.

J. Cora.

Shakespeare Magazine

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0959.  Thursday, 19 December 1996.

From:           Michael C LoMonico <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 17 Dec 1996 11:06:24 EST
Subject:        Shakespeare Magazine

Shakespeare  magazine wants to know:  Now that Shakespeare films are popping up
everywhere,  what's your dream scheme?  What Shakespearean play do you most
want to see made into a film?  Name the play, the director, and principal
actors.  Limit answers to 50 words or less.

Post responses to the listserv or send them to:

        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Look for the results in the Winter issue of Shakespeare magazine.

Qs: Conferences and Festivals; Book Ages

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0957.  Tuesday, 17 December 1996.

(1)     From:   Bruce Fenton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 16 Dec 1996 07:36:48 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK Ohio Conference

(2)     From:   Matthew Bibb <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 16 Dec 96 15:28:18 PST
        Subj:   Book Ages


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Fenton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Dec 1996 07:36:48 -0500
Subject: Ohio Conference
Comment:        Re: SHK Ohio Conference

Recently, I saw some discussion about a Shakespeare conference in Ohio
(Columbus I believe).  Could someone please post the details- what will it be
like.

I am looking for a festival of some sort to attend- with lots of plays - any
other ideas?

Thank you!
Bruce Fenton

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Bibb <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Dec 96 15:28:18 PST
Subject:        Book Ages

Dear SHAKSPERians:

A friend of mine recently showed me a two volume Shakespeare collection that
belonged to her great-grandmother. She has not been able to locate a date for
the books and I'm hoping someone on the list can help. The books are called
"Knight's Imperial Shakspere" with notes by Charles Knight, and they were
published in London by Virtue & Co., Limited, 294, City Road. Any help you can
provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Matt Bibb
UCLA Shakespeare Reading and Performance Group

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