1996

Malone Society Membership: Special SHAKSPER Offer

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0692.  Tuesday, 24 September 1996.

From:           Thomas L. Berger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 1996 15:58:53 EDT
Subject:        Malone Society Membership

The Malone Society seeks new members.

Founded in 1906, the Malone Society was named after Edmond Malone, editor of
the first variorum edition of Shakespeare.  The Soceity's first General Editor
was W. W. Greg.  Now under the editorship of Roger Holdsworth, it continues to
publish editions of early modern plays from manuscript, photographic facsimiles
of printed plays of the period, and editions of original odcuments related to
the drama.  These volumes, all of which contain material not readily available
elsewhere, maintain the high standard of accuracy for which the Society is
renowned.  They are indispensable to serious student of British drama.

                        SPECIAL "SHAKSPER" OFFER

As part of its ongoing membership drive, the Malone Society is offering new
members two special "packages":

(1) 2-4-1 (two for one):  Enroll as a member for 1996, and the membership will
include the forthcoming 1996 volume, dramatic pieces by William Cavendish
preserved among the Portland mauscripts in the Hallward Library at the
University of Nottingham, edited by Lynn Hulse.  As well, members will receive
the 1995 volume, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, a facsimile of the first quarto
edition of 1600, prepared by Thomas L. Berger.  $27.00 (U.S.) / $35.00 (Canada)

(2) 3-4-1.5 (three for one and one-half)  Enroll as a member for 1996, and the
membership will include the 1996 volume, plus one of the following:
a.  A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (1600) a facsimile of the first quarto;
b.  HYMEN'S TRIUMPH, by Samuel Daniel, edited from manuscript by John Pitcher
c.  TOM A LINCOLN, edited from a British Library manuscript by Richard
    Proudfoot.  $45.00 (U.S.) / $56.00 (Canada)

Members also receive positively silly discounts on back volumes, special
treatment at the Malone Society Dance, and the (incalculable) good will of Tom
Berger and Ted McGee.

Please send enquiries, or, better, a check, to

Thomas L. Berger                     C.E. McGee
Department of English                Department of English
St. Lawrence Universtiy              Univ. of St. Jerome's College
Canton, NY 13617                     Waterloo, Ontario  N2L 3G3
U.S.A.                               CANADA

Thanks,
Tom Berger (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Re: Contemporary Cycle Play

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0691.  Tuesday, 24 September 1996.

(1)     From:   Norman J. Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 23 Sep 1996 16:05:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0687  Re: Contemporary Cycle Play

(2)     From:   Thomas G. Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 23 Sep 1996 17:06:15 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0687  Re: Contemporary Cycle Play


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norman J. Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 1996 16:05:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0687  Re: Contemporary Cycle Play
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0687  Re: Contemporary Cycle Play

>It's stretching it a bit to mock someone's faith and sincerity under the guise
>of a contemporary 'cycle play' being relevant to a Shakespeare Listserv.  I
>found the letter from a guy going through life with the name "Bishop" to be
>quite offensive, and inappropriate to an edited/moderated list.  If this
>message offends, anyone, please drop me from your list.
>
> Aloysius A. Norton

I accidentally deleted the posting cited by Aloysius Norton.  I'm sorry I did
because I, too, found "Bishop"'s posting somewhat inappropriate.  Not only that
but he seems to have missed a rare opportunity to address an important question
(if not appropriate for SHAKSPER certainly for "Perform", the Medieval Theatre
discussion list), namely: the relationship between a production and its
*intended* audience.  If the extensive documentation we have is at all
accurate, many of the revered Medieval religious plays (not to mention those of
Shakespeare and the others) were mounted with what might appear to us as equal
garishness and ridiculousness.  I can quite imagine that the Medieval audiences
were just as moved and thrilled by their "cycle plays" as the present-day
churchgoers might have been by theirs.  I imagine, too, that there were the
scoffers then. "Judge not, etc."

Norman Myers
Theatre
Bowling Green State University

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas G. Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 1996 17:06:15 -0400
Subject: 7.0687  Re: Contemporary Cycle Play
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0687  Re: Contemporary Cycle Play

Alas, Aloysius Norton seems to think my name requires me to defer to all
expressions of religious zeal no matter how clumsy. I'm sure that both Cardinal
Torquemada and John Calvin were faithful and sincere in their respective
protestations. This does not mean I am obliged to endorse their actions.

But as it happens, I hope it was clear to most readers that it is not the faith
and sincerity of Rev. Angeley and his flock that I find absurd. Indeed, I
believe in both respects they are often far ahead of me, and am not without my
moments of admiration on that score. No, it is only their -dramatic skill- that
I find worthy of comment. And on that score, I am as prepared to be moved by a
religious play as any true believer: I found the National Theatre's production
of "The Mysteries" one of the most moving works I have ever seen, even on
videotape, and would recommend it to anyone interested in what the modern
theater can do with religious material.

Shall we now discuss how cruel Duke Theseus and Shakespeare are to make fun of
Nick Bottom and the Rude Mechanicals? At least I sat through "Jacob and Joseph"
in (mostly) silence.

I gotta go write my review of the local Sunday School pageant.

Cheers,
Tom

Productions: *Romeo and Juliet*; *All's Well*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0689.  Tuesday, 24 September 1996.

(1)     From:   Kate Thompson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 23 Sep 96 17:47:57 UT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0676  Re: Just Like R&J

(2)     From:   David Skeele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 23 Sep 1996 15:28:08 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0642  Q: *All's Well


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kate Thompson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 96 17:47:57 UT
Subject: 7.0676  Re: Just Like R&J
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0676  Re: Just Like R&J

Re:  the casting of Romeo and Juliet

Looks like they've done a pretty good job.  Both Danes and DiCaprio are bright
young people.  They've shown on many occasions that they are able to handle
complex characters and difficult language.  I'm quite curious to see how they
handle verse.  (Or will they cut "Gallop apace..." as was done in the
Zeffirelli R&J?)

Any cast including such skilled stage actors as Brian Dennehy and Diane Venora
is likely to have some "good bits" to make it worth the admission price.
Whether it will be a useful educational tool is an entirely different question.

IMO, since it's not another Zeffirelli extravaganza (all looks, no
content...not even the original Shakespeare sometimes), it's worth giving a
chance.  It's not fair to condemn a performer because you haven't seen them do
something before.  Many actors on soap operas have a classical background --
just because they've decided to do work that pays doesn't mean that they should
be looked down upon or thought of as less skilled.

My .02....

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

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Skeele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 1996 15:28:08 -0500
Subject: 7.0642  Q: *All's Well
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0642  Q: *All's Well

> My University is kicking off the season with a production of All's Well
>That Ends Well.  I plan to audition for the part of the Countess of
>Rousillon.  I'm a playwright/actor.  It is my feeling that the plot of this
>play is one of Shakespeare weakest especially in the Diana/Helena switch
>(and they thought they developed the scheming look alike on Dallas.)  It
>seems to, I don't know, contrived.  What are your thoughts?  It also bothers
>me the way the title is said two or three times towards the end of the play.
>Again, any thoughts?  Anyone seem any interesting productions of this play?

I directed *All's Well* a couple of years ago, and found (as is often the case
with "problem" plays) that some of its apparent difficulties turn out to be its
virtues.  One example is the artificiality of much of the play.  I feel that
Shakespeare is consciously, theatrically manipulating and twisting the
traditional fairy-tale formula in order to show its inadequacy as a "mirror of
the times."  The play seems to me to enact a hard collision between fairy-tale
magic and gritty reality, so the contrived, artificial portions are an
important part of the mix.  Incidentally, I chose to see the play as an aging
Shakespeare's cynical attack on the callowness and self-centredness of Jacobean
youth (which probably can translate as "an aging David Skeele's cynical attack
on the callowness and self-centredness of Slippery Rock frat boys").  The
visual style of the production stressed generational battle, with a beautifully
marbled set that had crude graffiti spray-painted onto it, and stainless steel
platforms incongruously grafted on.  The costumes featured a sort of glittery,
elegant version of pre-Raphaelite for the older generation and a sort of
romanticized contemporary soldier/biker for the young'uns (for instance, the
soldiers wore black jeans and Doc Martens.  Shirtless, they wore black satin
vests and camouflage cummerbunds).

At any rate, I found that the problem with the "bed trick" was not that it was
too contrived, but that it might be easy for an audience to miss--it is a vital
plot point, and it merely gets talked about a couple of times before it
happens.  My "solution" was to substitute a dumb-show (replacing about half of
the Dumaine's dialogue about the subject) in which the audience actually gets
to see the event taking place (well, more or less).  Bertram's soldier buddies
escort him Diana's door, hooting and hollering their encouragement and blasting
loud electric guitar.  Diana appears, makes him don a blindfold (to the
derision of his buddies), and escorts him inside.  While the soldiers cavort,
Diana is seen to slip away. Bertram reemerges, with "Diana's" panties in hand.
After much male celebration, the guys all leave, and Helena, apparently naked
under a blanket, emerges.  Diana reenters, and Helena proudly brandishes the
ring as the music ends.  This made the plot point crystal-clear, and went a
long way toward establishing my point about the aggression and crudity of the
crowd from whom Bertram is eventually saved.

The single biggest problem I had (considering the inexperience of most of my
actors) was the sort of gnomic sing-song of much of the verse--particularly in
the King/Helena scenes.  It took a long time for the two actors to bring
urgency and meaning to lines that initially sound like the recitation of
nursery-rhymes.

Well, a long-winded response to a simple question.  The Countess is a fairly
delicious role, and I wish you a lot of luck in getting it, Cindy.

                                                Best Wishes,
                                                David Skeele
                                                Slippery Rock University

Re: Old Criticism; State of Profession/Criticism

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0690.  Tuesday, 24 September 1996.

(1)     From:   Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 23 Sep 1996 15:49:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0680  Re: Old Criticism

(2)     From:   Thomas Ruddick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 23 Sep 96 15:34:13 EST
        Subj:   State of Profession/Criticism


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 1996 15:49:06 -0400
Subject: 7.0680  Re: Old Criticism
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0680  Re: Old Criticism

>It is interesting, and symptomatic, that Dana Barnes should want to construct a
>reading list which excludes material published before 1950 (though even this is
>generous compared with many who would exclude anything since 1984).  Is there
>no place for the criticism and, especially, the scholarship of the earlier part
>of the century? It's often humbling to go back and realise that our forbears
>were there before us. Perhaps members of the list would care to nominate
>pre-1950 books that they still find significant and important in their thinking
>about Shakespeare and his period?

David Lindley's challenge seems to me a useful exercise in mental hygiene, so
here's my response. These are off the top of my head or off the shelf, and
sticking only to the present century.

Chambers and Bradley, Shaw and Empson.  Early work of Bradbrook, Wilson Knight,
F.P. Wilson, Rossiter and Harbage.  Louis B. Wright's invaluable book on
Middle-Class Culture, Baldwin on Elizabethan schooling, Boas on University
Drama, Hillebrand on the boy companies, Baskerville on the Jig and Welsford on
the Fool, and Kernodle's "From Art to Theatre" also come to mind. Also Francis
Fergusson's "Idea of a Theater". I find Basil Willey's "Seventeenth Century
Background" a very valuable book to refer students to. And for sparking
discussion, Lytton Strachey's "Elizabeth and Essex".

I note that many of these are "old historicist" empiricist histories. I admire
the application and thoroughness of these workers in the vineyard, and am
deeply grateful to them for saving me from having to do that sort of archival
hoeing and harrowing myself.  Sometimes I feel they get too little credit for
it, since so much that we do now depends on their having done what they did,
and done it mostly well.

I'm sure I've left off some vital things, but that's all I can get from a swift
look around my shelves and through my mental files.  I'll be interested to see
how others respond. I guess this is rather like Bill Godshalk's question about
the State of the Profession, "through a glass darkly".

Tom Bishop

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Ruddick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 96 15:34:13 EST
Subject:        State of Profession/Criticism

This seemed to me relevant to the ongoing discussion of the state of the
profession on this list (which I take to mean literary scholars and not
performers nor dilletants).

On 17 Sept. Douglas Abel responded to those who took umbrage at his unkind
comments toward some actors (particularly myself, since his comments are
written to mirror mine):

> It seems that a lot of people on this list, no matter what camp they put
> themselves in, have trouble with criticism, period.  It's getting rather
> boring.

I've been unable to respond promptly, and I've seen no one else take issue with
this statement.  Further I think it speaks to more widespread problems in the
profession of literary scholarship.  So I'll assume that there's general
acceptance of his statement as innocuous, and I'll take it on from that angle--

Douglas, from your comments I see you fail to differentiate between criticism
and opinion.  Opinion is the personal reaction you might have to your
experiences, and yours is just as valid as anyone's (that includes any high
school dropouts you might encounter, so don't take that as praise). Criticism,
on the other hand, is characterized by an informed analysis of the experience,
undertaken with the intent to assist the artist in improving future efforts or
to improve the understanding and appreciation of the audience.

Your personal opinion of Michael Keaton's performance, when presented,
encourages others to trumpet their dissenting opinions as they wish.  I
trumpeted mine--indulging in just a little criticism by pointing out that I saw
some echoes of Kemp (as I understand him to have been--historical accounts
being imperfect) in that performance.

I was heartened to see that my embryonic criticism inspired someone else to
question my assumptions (apologies to someone else for not having recorded your
name), and to assert merrily that Keaton was more in the tradition of the Three
Stooges--who themselves might be seen as in the tradition of Kemp.

Thus criticism and opinion can be seen yielding different results.  Opinions
lead to disagreement--criticism invites scholarly argument where (in the best
cases) something is learned.

From my secure perspective outside the profession of literary scholarship, I
wonder if some of the problems of the profession--relevance, demand--have to do
with too many lecturers and researchers who devote themselves to promoting
personal opinions rather than engaging in rigorous criticism.

Q: Applause Facsimile

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0688.  Monday, 23 September 1996.

From:           Andrew Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Sep 1996 11:45:31 +0100 (BST)
Subject:        Applause Facsimile

I missed the Globe conference this year, but I've heard that, in launching the
new edition of Hinman's F1, the Norton rep claimed that the Applause facsimile
had been withdrawn because it was in breech of copyright. Does anyone on the
list know anything about this (for instance, whose copyright does it violate,
exactly)? Does this mean that my copy of the Applause is now a collector's
item!

Andrew Murphy
University of Hertfordshire

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