Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: April ::
Re: Hamlet and Sanity; Underworld; Kempe; Ideology
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0427.  Tuesday, 8 April 1997.

[1]     From:   Nick Clary <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 7 Apr 1997 10:52:39 -0400
        Subj:   Hamlet and Sanity

[2]     From:   Billy Houck <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 7 Apr 1997 12:05:10 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0420 Re: Elizabethan Underworld and the Occult

[3]     From:   Keith Richards <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 7 Apr 1997 15:12:37 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0413  Qs: Falstaff

[4]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Apr 1997 13:17:09 GMT
        Subj:   Re: Ideology


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nick Clary <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 7 Apr 1997 10:52:39 -0400
Subject:        Hamlet and Sanity

John Boni notes, "Hamlet, when he denies madness to Gertrude in III.iv,
recites a standard formula for lucidity, 'Bring me to the test,/And I
the matter will reword, which madness/ Would gambol from.' [Hamlet (TLN
2526-7)]."  He goes on to ask, "Has anyone seen a comment on this?"

I believe H. N. Hudson's edition (1851-6) provides the first editorial
annotation  that I have found pertinent to Boni's question: "Science has
found the Poet's test a correct one. Dr. Ray, of Providence, in his work
on the Jurisprudence of Insanity, thus states the point: 'In simulated
mania, the imposter, when requested to repeat his disordered idea, will
generally do it correctly; while the genuine patient will be apt to
wander from the track, or introduce ideas that had not presented
themselves before.'"  This note, which introduces modern corroboration
from a non-literary source, is an early example of the American strain
in editorial commentary.

Nick Clary

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 7 Apr 1997 12:05:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0420 Re: Elizabethan Underworld and the Occult
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0420 Re: Elizabethan Underworld and the Occult

Peter Whelan's play THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT covers this topic in a very
readable and enjoyable manner.

Shakespeare is a character with the code name Stone.

Everything I know I learned in the theatre,
Billy

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Keith Richards <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 7 Apr 1997 15:12:37 -0400
Subject: 8.0413  Qs: Falstaff
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0413  Qs: Falstaff

Sean K. Lawrence wrote: "I've always been given the impression that the
role [Falstaff] was created by Walter Kemp.  I was at the RSA this
weekend, though, and someone mentioned that he departed the Lord
Chamberlain's men mysteriously in 1599."

William Kemp's departure from London wasn't mysterious . . . he went off
on his famous morris dance to Norwich (which is commemorated in _Kemps
nine daies wonder_).  There is also some evidence to suggest that he
returned to the Chamberlain's Men after his trip and performed again at
the Globe.  This can be found in SQ 44:4 (1993).  It is by James
Nielson, author of the brilliant _Unread Herrings: Thomas Nashe and the
Prosaics of the Real_.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 8 Apr 1997 13:17:09 GMT
Subject:        Re: Ideology

Paul Hawkins gives what he calls an aesthetic response to part of the
last scene of The Winter's Tale and asks what ideology has to do with
it. Part of Paul's description of his response is:

> . . . I am moved tremendously by the last scene of The
> Winter's Tale; I am struck most particularly by
> the imaginative richness of its conception and the
> simplicity of its execution, by the burnished
> spareness of its language, and by such particular
> things in the scene as the effect of the statue on
> Leontes, by Paulina's stage management of the
> situation and her remarkable line recalling to us
> the dead Antigonus--"I, an old turtle, / Will wing
> me to some withered bough"--before she is integrated
> into the comic resolution of the scene, and by the
> first and only words Hermione speaks in the
> scene:

The phrases 'richness of conception' and 'simplicity of execution' need
to be explained. Because these are commonplaces of literary criticism it
is easy for us to forget the enormous weight of prior assumptions needed
to make these phrases intelligible. I suspect that the first phrase
means more to Paul than just 'a good idea' but only by a shared
experience of literary criticism can I guess at the extra significance
that phrase is meant to convey. Likewise 'simplicity of execution'
implies that there is something other than the performance text (by
which I mean a performance considered as a text, not the script) which
the dramatist intended as the 'idea' and of which the performance text
is merely the means of transport.

These phrases imply a Romantic notion of creativity-private, cerebral,
and Platonic in it distinction between the 'idea' and the
'execution'-which has done sterling service in affording English Studies
the status of an academic subject worthy to be taught at university. It
might not be an appropriate model of the creativity of early modern
drama, but it feels so natural because it is deeply embedded in the
teaching of English Studies to children.

It's a good example of ideology in action.

Gabriel Egan
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.