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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Re: "My Own Private Idaho"
Shakespeare Electronic Conference: SHK 8.0217.  Saturday, 15 February 1997.

(1)     From:   Mark Lawhorn <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 1997 11:16:36 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0214  Re: Parallel Scenes (and "My Own Private Idaho")

(2)     From:   Harvey Roy Greenberg <
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        Date:   Saturday, 15 Feb 1997 04:47:35 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0214 Re: Parallel Scenes (and "My Own Private Idaho")


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Lawhorn <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 1997 11:16:36 -1000
Subject: 8.0214  Re: Parallel Scenes (and "My Own Private Idaho")
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0214  Re: Parallel Scenes (and "My Own Private Idaho")

Another note on "My Own Private Idaho" -- a colleague of mine who recently
graduated from the film school at USC informed me a couple of days ago that
when Van Sant lectured at USC, he claimed not to have modeled any scenes on
"Chimes at Midnight."  My response to this alleged denial is a fairly firm,
"Ha."  I just watched one film after the other, and in this case, seeing is
definitely disbelieving.  I think that the narcolepsy bit does not allude to
any specific pathology in a Shakespeare character but instead to Shakespeare's
frequent use of the "life is but a dream" metaphor, otherwise known as the
"row, row, row your boat" trope.  In the Henriad, Shakespeare's most memorable
use of this device is in Hal's denial of Falstaff: "I have long dreamt of such
a kind of man,/ So surfeit-swelled,so old, and so profane,/ But, being awaked,
I do despise my dream" (2 Henry IV V.v.49-51).  I agree that one cannot
logically draw a perfect parallel between the River Phoenix character and
Poins.  But it's the logical starting point.

Mark H. Lawhorn
UH Manoa

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harvey Roy Greenberg <
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Date:           Saturday, 15 Feb 1997 04:47:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0214 Re: Parallel Scenes (and "My Own Private Idaho")
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0214 Re: Parallel Scenes (and "My Own Private Idaho")

Richert is obviously intended to be an avatar of Falstaff by virtue of age,
girth, and wit; I believe -- and am ready to be refuted -- that Mike would have
to represent Poins, indeed conflate all the dimwits surrounding Falstaff,
attracted to Hal and VV, endearingly loyal and foolish. But I'd like to see
your thesis. My own overview of My Own Private Idaho appeared in Film Quarterly
several years back; let me know if you want it sent by snailmail.

hr greenberg md
 

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