1996

Q; Interpreting Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0618.  Friday, 23 August 1996.

From:           Albert Messeldine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 19 Aug 1996 14:27:58 -0400
Subject:        Q; Interpreting Merchant of Venice

A question led to a larger problem in a class discussion of Merchant of Venice,
and I'd appreciate some help.

The question: why does Shakespeare have Antonio say so clearly at the beginning
of the play that his whole estate is not at venture, when clearly it is
(because when his ships are wrecked, he cannot cover his debt). Thinking of
this led to another comment. Antonio tells Bassanio that he expects much more
than 3000 ducats "a month before the bond expires" and repeats this thought at
the end of the scene - "my ships come home a month before the day." Thus we can
assume that, since the wrecking (or apparent wrecking) of his ships must have
happened some time before he expected them home, he had more than a month to
raise the 3000 ducats before his bond fell due. Antonio, the much loved
Merchant of Venice, has six weeks to raise 3000 ducats, and can't do it to save
his life?

These comments led to other comments. Perhaps (it was suggested) Antonio is
lying to Salarino and Salanio so that he will appear a better business-man than
he really is, and he is lying to Bassanio to (falsely) reassure him about the
loan and the bond. And, as you can imagine, we plunge into all kinds of
psychological speculations about Antonio.

The larger problem this leads to is how strictly we can hold Shakespeare to
realistic standards. I know in Hamlet, for example, Horatio sometimes talks as
if he knows Old Hamlet quite well, and other times not, and we happily ignore
these discrepancies. However, the debt thing in MV seems more central.

Cheers. A Misseldine

Q: Early Modern

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0617.  Monday, 19 August 1996.

From:           David Middleton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 19 Aug 1996 11:59:13 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        [Q: Early Modern]

Can someone help me to define the conceptual limits of the phrase "early
modern?"  What political or social facts mark the beginning and the end of that
period, as the phrase is currently being used?  Thanks very much.  David
Middleton@ Trinity University

Re: Folio as Acting Script

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0615.  Friday, 16 August 1996.

From:           Don Weingust <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 14 Aug 1996 22:22:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 7.0606  Re: Folio as Acting Script
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0606  Re: Folio as Acting Script

Patrick Tucker does seem the most ardent proponent of F1 as acting script. Neil
Freeman in B.C. has also written a text on the subject, and brought his work to
companies, academic institutions and conferences.  Look for a forthcoming text
from Patrick Tucker, published by Routledge.  Patrick's contempt for academics
only runs so deep (he holds a graduate degree from an American university), but
he does get a good deal of mileage out of it, particularly with students.
Patrick's work is very compelling, and his methods are particularly powerful in
opening up student actors to the possibilities of the text.  His techniques
give young actors both license and form within which they may explore.  I am
particularly interested in hearing from editors and others the scholarly
arguments against this set of techniques, as well as the results of John
Senczuk's experiments.  I have heard a verse instructor refer to the "Cambridge
School," as a supposed earlier variant on the present subject.  Can anyone
provide more detailed reference?

Thanks,
Don Weingust
Dramatic Art, UC Berkeley
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Folio as Acting Script

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0616.  Monday, 19 August 1996.

From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 17 Aug 96 17:59:29 GMT
Subject: 7.0615  Re: Folio as Acting Script
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0615  Re: Folio as Acting Script

Don Weingust wrote

>Patrick [Tucker's] work is very compelling, and his methods are
>particularly powerful in opening up student actors to the
>possibilities of the text.  His techniques give young actors
>both license and form within which they may explore.  I am
>particularly interested in hearing from editors and others
>the scholarly arguments against this set of techniques, as
>well as the results of John Senczuk's experiments.

There are, to my knowledge, two fundamentally flawed beliefs underlying
Tucker's work:

1. For each play in the Shakespeare F1, Heminges and Condell chose from amongst
the available documents the one that best represented how the play was
performed by the company. The process of printing preserved many of the acting
cues present in these documents, for example the capitalization of words the
actor has to stress.

2. There were no rehearsals and each actor turned up for the first performance
having learned the 'part' given to them. This 'part' was their own lines plus
the cues indicating when to speak.

Proposition 1 indicates that Tucker does not know the current scholarly
consensus on the editing and printing of F1. It's just plain ignorance.

Proposition 2 is an implausible theory and there is evidence against it. For
example the text of Henslowe's binding of Robert Dawes is extant and Chambers
reprints it (ES2:255-7). This contract specifies the penalties Dawes must pay
for missing rehearsals ("which shall be the night before the rehearsall be
given publickly out"). I know of no evidence supporting Tucker's claim.

Gabriel Egan

Q: Electronic Texts

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0614.  Friday, 16 August 1996.

From:           Lawrence Manley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 15 Aug 1996 10:50:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Electronic Texts

Can anyone offer an update on searchable Shakespeare texts?  I'd be especially
interested in anyone with experience of the Shakespeare Database Project
CD-ROM, coming out of the University of Muenster, directed by Prof. J. Joachim
Neuhaus.  I know this subject comes up from time to time, but is this a good
time for a comprehensive and up-to-date discussion, or is such available
elsewhere?

Lawrence Manley
Yale University

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