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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: May ::
Re: Norton Ed.; Peripety; Muisc from His Time
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0569.  Thursday, 15 May 1997.

[1]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 May 1997 14:02:32 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Norton Shak.

[2]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 May 1997 17:31:33 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Peripety

[3]     From:   Juul Muller-van Santen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 May 1997 17:15:52
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0561  Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 May 1997 14:02:32 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Norton Shak.

It is out.  I got a copy at Norton book display at SAA convention in
late March.

Cheers
John

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 May 1997 17:31:33 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Peripety

Jeff Barker:

I talked of peripety in a paper at Kalamazoo last Sunday.  Peripety I
see as a change in the direction the action is going.  If it comes early
enough in a play the characters can undergo anagnorisis and fit
comedically into the newly discovered tide of times.  But if the
peripety is irreversible and the anagnorisis comes too late, then we get
tragedy, or something like it.  There is a good discussion of peripety
in the earliest English drama; see O.B. Hardison *Christian Rite and
Christian Drama in the Middle Ages* (1965 ca.) Ch. I, or elsewhere very
early in the book.  Christians think of Christ's resurrection as a
comedic peripety (death turns toward life).  This is why the history of
the world is V-shaped, the downslope of the V representing the Old
Testament and the vertex at the bottom of the V standing for the point
at which history changes with the resurrection.  That radical turnaround
is the peripety.  Mystery Cycles naturally are V shaped because the
Bible is, and morality and saints' plays also are V-shaped.  No wonder
then that Shak. having seen Cycles in Coventry as a child, would think
that a radical turnaround from death to life was dramatic.  See the
structure of *Measure for Measure*, for instance.  "But one moment good
sister"  Act III sc. i.  Isabella turns to listen to the Friar and from
then on a play that had been driving teleologically toward the
choppingblock and the lustful bed turns toward possibility and
repentance and reunion.  I think Sh. got this view of peripety from the
Bible (note that title is from Sermon on the Mt. in Mark IV Matt. VII &
Luke VI).

I used to ask my students in class disc. to identify for  me the
peripety in *The Winter's Tale*.  Three poss. answers would come up, and
I would have the privilege of pointing out that all were correct, but
that each of them asked for a different reading of the play.  If, for
example the peripety is "There is no truth in the oracle; let the
sessions proceed" Then the play is about Leontes.  If the peripety is
Time's signalling of a 16 yr gap in 60% of the way through the action,
then the theme of time is all-important in the play as in Sh.'s source
"Pandosto: Or The Triumph of Time".  If the peripety is when the
shepherd exclaims to his son "Thou met'st with things dying; I with
things newborn" then the tone shifts as the peripety is met and we go
from a play of death and loss and defiance of the gods to a play of life
and reunion and loving relationship.  Character, theme, tone; each
hasits turning point in the play.

More than enough said.

Cheers.
John Velz

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Juul Muller-van Santen <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 May 1997 17:15:52
Subject: 8.0561  Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0561  Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time

The best place to find music to Shakespeare is in the five-volume *A
Shakespeare Music Catalogue* by Bryan Gooch and David Thatcher,
published by Oxford University Press (Clarendon) in 1991 and remaindered
by OUP itself last year. It is far and away the best sourcebook
available.

I have been watching for references to music of Shakespeare's time and
do not so much wonder why it has not been mentioned "too", but why
anyone would want to hear the poetry set to music from any other time? A
composer who hasn't got Shakespeare's own sound in his/her mind, will
usually produce anachronistic music (Benjamin Britten is a rare
exception: he knew the Elizabethan conventions).  I am not talking about
music inspired by the poetry, but actual settings, of course.

Julie Muller
Hogeschool Holland
Amsterdam
 

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