Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: June ::
Re: Volpone Video; Scamels and Skim-alls
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0411.  Monday, 3 June 1996.

(1)     From:   Harry Hill <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 02 Jun 1996 09:38:04 +0000 (HELP)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0409  Re: Volpone Video

(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 02 Jun 1996 23:28:17 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0406  Re: Texts

(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 03 Jun 1996 16:32:06 -0400
        Subj:   Scamels and Skim-alls


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 02 Jun 1996 09:38:04 +0000 (HELP)
Subject: 7.0409  Re: Volpone Video
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0409  Re: Volpone Video

Donald Wolfit made a sterling Fox on BBC in the late fifties; I have since been
unable to imagine a Volpone without those eyebrows and those cheekbones, let
alone that blueberry cordial of a voice so capable of conniving and beguiling.
His eyes could be cold as any but always held a hint of vulnerability that lent
depth to villainy, especially useful instruments for roles such as the devil
mayor in von Kleist's *Der Zerbrochene Krug*.

I was an assitant assistant assistant stage manager then, and remember the
theatrical knight's careful inspection of the set and everyone else's props
before performances. One evening I got to hold his umbrella for him on the walk
back to the Caledonian Hotel with his wife Rosalind Iden, and in my pimply
adolscence replied to his inquiry about how I enjoyed the play with a
precocious "Well, it isn't really the best translation, is it?"---to which he
replied, grabbing his brollie from me, "Nonsense! It's brilliant!". This
attitude to the public's attempt to untheatricalize the theatre has stayed
with me, I'm glad to say.

What colour left the stage when Sir Donald died.

        Harry Hill

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 02 Jun 1996 23:28:17 -0400
Subject: 7.0406  Re: Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0406  Re: Texts

David Lindley writes:

>A limit case might be the famous 'scamels' that Caliban promises to get for
>Stephano and Trinculo. No-one knows what they are; it's the only known use of
>the word. Purely pragmatically one might think that this is a misprint,
>deriving perhaps from scribe or compositor mistranscribing the 'original'.
>Hypotheses are legion. . . .

I was reading Thoreau's *Cape Cod* a few weeks ago and noticed the word "skim
all" for an oyster shell -- as I recall -- that's used for skimming. Is it
possible that "scamel" is a form of "Skimall"-- i.e., oyster.  So the "Young
scamels from the rocks" (2.2.172) would then be young oysters.

Frank Kermode's note (Arden ed.) reads in part: "It is not yet impossible that
this tedious argument will be settled by evidence that scamel is after all a
shellfish" (68).  What we need is a British (rather than American) use of
"skimall" for oyster and a variant spelling "scamel."

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 03 Jun 1996 16:32:06 -0400
Subject:        Scamels and Skim-alls

In my last posting on scamels and skim-alls, I suggested that "skim-alls" were
oysters. But let me quoted the passage from *Cape Cod* in volume 4 of *The
Writings of Henry David Thoreau* (Boston: Hougton Mifflin, 1906): "their women
had got a better skimmer than they {in italics, i.e., peddlars} could make, in
the shell of their clams; it was shaped just right for this purpose.--They call
them 'skim-alls' in some places" (86).

Now that I look at this passage closely, it seems a good bet that the
"skim-alls" are the shells of the clams, not the clams themselves, and
certainly NOT oysters!  Of course, synecdochically, "skim-all" might refer to a
clam with a certain kind of shell.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.