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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: April ::
Re: Cordelia; Ideology; Ghost; More; Distressed
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0487.  Tuesday, 22 April 1997.

[1]     From:   Gerda Grice <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Apr 1997 13:34:02 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0480 Re: Cordelia

[2]     From:   Robert Appelbaum <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Apr 1997 17:39:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Ideology And WT

[3]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Apr 97 15:47 CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0483  Q: The Ghost in Ham.

[4]     From:   John V Robinson <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Apr 1997 21:47:39 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0479 Qs: Sir Thomas More

[5]     From:   Bill McRae <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Apr 1997 06:58:36 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0472  Distressed by *Lear*


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gerda Grice <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Apr 1997 13:34:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0480 Re: Cordelia
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0480 Re: Cordelia

Many years ago, I  played Cordelia in an Earl Grey Players touring
production of _King Lear_.  (Older Canadian list members may remember
this company.)  The company that year toured the Maritime provinces, and
performed for student audiences in high school auditoriums throughout
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I.  (I was one of the youngest and
least experienced members of the company, and I suspect I was cast
mainly for two reasons.  I weighed only about 90 lbs., so I was easily
portable for Lear's Cordelia-bearing last entrance, and I was
inexperienced enough not to object to being used as a coffee gofer
during the long middle part of the play when Cordelia doesn't appear.)

One of our performances was in Halifax, and I was startled to read in
one of the Halifax papers the morning after the performance that I had
been fine as Cordelia, who-in the reviewer's opinion-was "clearly a
psychopath".  (Now, that's a reason for Cordelia's inarticulateness that
no one on this list has suggested so far!)  I was not a very good
Cordelia, and so it's entirely possible that my performance didn't
always express my vision of the role, but certainly that vision did not
include anything resembling mental illness.  I saw, and still see, the
reason for Cordelia's "failure to humour and flatter her father as her
inability either to articulate her deepest emotions (I cannot heave/ My
heart into my mouth) or to exercise the "glib and oily art" of creating
flattering speeches.  I do not think she is either a prig or a love-by
numbers young woman.  Rather, she is simply a person for whom speech is
not always easy.

Another point about Cordelia's words and behaviour in Act One, scene one
that no one yet seems to have made concerns her repeated use of the word
"nothing" in response to Lear's questions.  It seems to me that her use
of "nothing" is meant to parallel and contrast with Edmund's use of the
same word in response to Gloucester's query about the letter he sees
Edmund apparently hastily putting away as he approaches him:  Glouc.
What paper were you reading?  Edm.  Nothing, my lord.

Gerda Grice
Ryerson Polytechnic University
Toronto, Canada

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Appelbaum <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Apr 1997 17:39:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Ideology And WT

Professor Rackin wants to know if anyone's mind has been changed as a
result of the ideology thread.  But it doesn't seem to me that "changing
one's mind" is exactly the point.  Of course, Gabriel Egan would
probably find a way of arguing that "changing one's mind" is either
impossible, tautological, or delusional-in any case, an ideological
"effect."   But what I mean is that the sheer act of arguing ideas the
way Egan and the others have done has changed the ideas themselves.  I
don't know what I am going to do with my "mind."  I suppose I am still
subject to the same  predispositions on the subject of Shakespeare and
ideology as I ever was.  But I think that the ideas have changed because
they have been allowed to develop in a contentious, idea-challenging
environment.  I now see some silliness where I didn't see any before and
I now see some new directions I didn't see before either.  If the whole
thing has gotten tedious, its implications have gotten a little bit
clearer too.

I have not been persuaded by anyone's argument to change my "mind"-but I
do see different ways of getting engaged with the ideas in question if
and when my mind feels called upon to enter into discourse about them.
I also see different ways of not getting engaged with them, and that for
me is an even greater thing to have learned.

Robert Appelbaum
English Department
University of Cincinnati

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Apr 97 15:47 CDT
Subject: 8.0483  Q: The Ghost in Ham.
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0483  Q: The Ghost in Ham.

If you look at the text closely you will see that Hamlet Snr is in
Purgatory.  This is certainly a Roman Catholic, not a Reformation
belief.  How long did the "old religion" hang on?  We simply do not
know, but it clearly was around at the turn of the century in
Shakespeare's and his audiences' minds.

William Proctor Williams
Department of English
Northern Illinois University

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John V Robinson <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Apr 1997 21:47:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0479 Qs: Sir Thomas More
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0479 Qs: Sir Thomas More

<< Is there any Elizabethan Era play called "Sir Thomas Moore"? The only
 one I've been able to come up with is by Anouilh. Thanks. >>

A good resource about STM is the book: Sir Thomas More. eds. Vittorio
Gabrieli and Giorgio Melchiori. Manchester UP 1990.  For a good resource
about the Shakespearean addition to STM  consult  Thomas Clayton's
monograph "The 'Shakespearean' Addition in the Booke of Sir Thomas
Moore..."  published by Shakespeare Studies Monograph Series 1969.  This
study is an invaluable resource that contains lots of useful information
and a concordance.

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill McRae <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Apr 1997 06:58:36 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 8.0472  Distressed by *Lear*
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0472  Distressed by *Lear*

ENCOURAGE HIM!  Whatever else he declares of himself, he is cut out for
the trade.  It's always rewarding to see a student challenge the
orthodoxies.
 

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