1997

Re: Cleopatra

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1186.  Friday, 21 November 1997.

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 10:51:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1180  Re: Cleopatra

[2]     From:   Cora Lee Wolfe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 10:46:25 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1180  Re: Cleopatra


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 10:51:55 -0500
Subject: 8.1180  Re: Cleopatra
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1180  Re: Cleopatra

>Shakespeare's Cleopatra is a character, on the stage and on the printed
>page.  She behaves exactly as Shakespeare meant her to.  As such, she
>doesn't actually have a will of her own, and to speculate, without
>textual evidence, on how she might have reacted to different situations
>is just that - speculation.

writes Julia MacKenzie

The qualifier, "without textual evidence," helps my case. The play gives
us a good deal of textual evidence that Cleopatra is ever a boggler. Her
best friends say so (3.13.110). And 3.13 shows her boggling with
Thidias, and the final scene of the play shows her testing Caesar to see
if she can seduce yet one more Roman. And, of course, she's bound by the
script to fail, but an auditor surely has a perfect right to speculate
about probabilities, given certain facts from the script.

And, yes, of course, Shakespeare controls his characters, and makes them
do what he wants them to do. He did not seem to feel bound completely by
his sources fictional or historical. I couldn't agree more thoroughly.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cora Lee Wolfe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 10:46:25 -0700
Subject: 8.1180  Re: Cleopatra
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1180  Re: Cleopatra

Julia  wrote:

> Shakespeare's Cleopatra is a character, on the stage and on the printed
> page.  She behaves exactly as Shakespeare meant her to.  As such, she
> doesn't actually have a will of her own, and to speculate, without
> textual evidence, on how she might have reacted to different situations
> is just that - speculation.

How is speculation about Cleopatra's motivation any different than
speculating about Hamlet's or Lady Anne's.  Why do we read any of this
stuff?

Re: Anti-Semitism; Arden MV

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1185.  Friday, 21 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Stevie Simkin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 14:55:07 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism; Arden MV

[2]     From:   Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:34:47 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism

[3]     From:   Cary Mazer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 12:27:22 -0500
        Subj:    Re: SHK 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism; Arden MV


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stevie Simkin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 14:55:07 -0000
Subject: 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism; Arden MV
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism; Arden MV

Further reflctions on MofV, Marlowe's Jew of Malta and anti-Semitism...

In response to Tom Clayton's point, I was merely drawing attention to
the limitations of Brown's introduction to the Arden2 MofV.  I don't
think Cohen, in commenting on the cursory treatment of the anti-Semitism
issue in that introduction, is implying Brown is anti-Semitic.  I was
certainly not meaning to imply any such thing.  And I would endorse
Tom's recommendation of Jay L. Halio's Oxford edition, which I used when
teaching the play on a Shakespeare and Ideology module.  (The A3 Othello
came just too late for the same module - I haven't caught up on this new
one yet myself, so any thoughts, anyone, on the discussion of
race/ethnicity in this edition?).

I agree that the full historical context (or as full as we can be,
always recognizing that we can never fully recover history) is vital to
an understanding of the way Shylock is represented in the play.  And
this includes the Puritanism angle that Jesus Cora helpfully pinpoints.

On the case of "adapting" Marlowe's play,  there is far too much to deal
with to attempt anything like a full reply on-list.

Briefly -

a) By setting JofM as we have, I would contend that we are still doing
Marlowe's play, but doing it inside a second context (the "1939 play"
with its Nazi-occupied Poland setting), so that the original resonates
to us through two contexts (from 1590ish, through 1939, to 1997).  This
is not the same as setting the Marlowe play in 1939.  What is crucial is
the performative aspect:  the anti-Semitism can be challenged by having
actors playing the parts of 1939 Jews, who are in turn playing (and by
various means subverting) the anti-Semitic stereotypes.
b) What do we mean by showing the play "as it is"?  This is the old
argument, isn't it, about "doing the play straight" (or not).  If
audiences are unable to watch a play immune to their context (and the
gap between their context and the play's original context), how can
performers perform it immune from same?
c) Is the play  anti-Semitic or anti-Machiavellian?  The fact I was able
to extract a good number of uncompromisingly anti-Semitic insults,
asides, comments, etc. to help create prologue and epilogue suggests the
former.
d)  All the options on different (and more immediately contemporary)
settings Jesus Cora suggests are thought-provoking, too:  they bring to
mind Charles Marowitz's 1946 Palestine setting for his adaptation of the
play, "Variations on The MofV". One of the greatest challenges for our
version has been to keep the Marlowe text pretty much intact (very, very
minor actual alterations of text, apart from cuts for running time) but
to turn the play "inside-out". Or (if the analogy isn't too
clever-clever!) to spring a trap for the play using the text's own
anti-Semitism as bait. Interesting implications for signifier/signified
debates, apart from anything else.

Stevie Simkin
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[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:34:47 -0600
Subject: 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism

For useful material see Siegel, Paul N. "Shylock the Puritan." Columbia
University Forum 5.4 (1962): 14-19.

Whether this partial element falsifies the presence of anti-Semitism,
enacted or interrogated, is another matter entirely.

>1) We must not consider Shylock only as a Jew. He is a composite
>character. He shows strains of the Senex archetype in _fabula palliata_
>and his negative aspects, especially those of being a usurer and a miser
>spring from this archetype, not his being a Jew. Besides, Shylock's
>jewish-ness is, to my mind, a way of concealing the true object of
>Shakespeare's criticisms: the Puritans, who in many cases, were also
>usurers and certain-ly hated music and profane entertainments and were
>quite strict with the interpretation of the law (the Bible). The
>association between Puritans and Jews is explicated in Jonson's
>_Bartholomew Fair_, where Zeal-of-the-land Busy is called "Rabbi" by
>Littlewit.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary Mazer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 12:27:22 -0500
Subject: 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism; Arden MV
Comment:         Re: SHK 8.1177  Re: Anti-Semitism; Arden MV

Jesus Cora  wrote:

>It is a good idea to add a frame to Marlowe's
>play, but in that case, it is no longer Marlowe's play. It is something
>different, Marlowe's text and historical context are affected by the
>relationship with the later events and figures. Would it not be
>appropriate to call that a new play, and find a new title accordingly?

As I've written to the list before, the sooner we think of *every*
theatrical performance as "a new play" and "something different" the
better, for then we will no longer judge a performance on its fidelity
to an original text, but can celebrate it on its own merits, as an
independent work of art built upon the raw material of a pre-existing
script (along with lots of other materials).

Cary

P.S.  The production ideas for JofM sound *wonderful*!

Re: Hazle

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1183.  Friday, 21 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Alex G. Bennett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:17:05 +0000 (HELP)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1178 Re: Hazle

[2]     From:   John E. Perry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 21 Nov 1997 00:41:57 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1178  Re: Hazle


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alex G. Bennett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:17:05 +0000 (HELP)
Subject: 8.1178 Re: Hazle
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1178 Re: Hazle

On Petruchio's description of Kate in II, i-I'm teaching _Shrew_ at the
moment to my undergrads, and after rereading the play I've found that it
seems to centre around the importance of reputation, of what's said
about you. Up until II, i, Kate's heard nothing but how bad she is-she's
a shrew, a devil, cursed, and so on. Her father humiliates her in public
and openly prefers her younger (and ever so demure) sister-after hearing
how awful she is over and over again, is it any wonder that she's
_become_ what is said of her? As the sonnet goes, "'Tis better to be
vile than vile esteemed." When Petruchio shows up and tells her "'Twas
told me you were rough and coy and sullen,/ And now I find report a very
liar;/ For thou art pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous...," he's
giving her the first alternative view of herself that she might ever
have heard. He's rewriting her image for her, giving her another
possibility of behaving. Granted, this does tend to fit in to a reading
of _Shrew_ as a love story, but with all the other references to
role-playing and other issues of identity it seems to work fairly well.

Incidentally, I remember reading a few years ago of an RSC (?)
production of _Shrew_ in which Kate _does_ limp and stomp her way around
the stage until Petruchio says that those who report her limping are
liars, whereupon she stops.

Cheers,
Alex Bennett
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John E. Perry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 21 Nov 1997 00:41:57 -0500
Subject: 8.1178  Re: Hazle
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1178  Re: Hazle

> >that there are very dark-skinned women there who are extravagantly
> >beautiful.
>
> Yeowch.  Led with my chin on that one.  Yes, I can state that too.

> However, my point was, and question is, does it work as a compliment _in
> this scene_?  I've never seen the first scene between Kate and P. work
> if he is straightforwardly complimentary and lovey-dovey throughout.
> Has anyone else?  Even if he enters with only the best intent (which in
> itself may or may not be seen to be the case), I don't think it can last
> the entire scene.

I don't see him entering with anything but the intent to overpower a
hideously twisted monster (which Kate is --  look at her actions, none
of them justified by events in the play).

But he finds one of the rare people in the world who can keep up with
him in wordplay (the other one in the play is Grumio).  He falls in love
then and there.  To me, this is a love story, more than a comedy.

I've never seen a _ToS_ that worked.  They all try to make an arrogant
boor of Petruchio and a misunderstood victim of Kate --  and the text
doesn't support either interpretation.  Take it seriously, play it
straight, and you get both a hilarious comedy and a quirky love story.

A quirky, funny love story I love to read, and would love to see played
on stage.

john perry
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Works; Windows; BBC; Rooky/Roaky

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1184.  Friday, 21 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:16:10 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1169  Re: Arden Editions

[2]     From:   Walter Golman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 08:46:11 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   "Widows" in Literature, as noted in SHK 8.1173

[3]     From:   Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:39:32 -0500
        Subj:   BBC Petition Results

[4]     From:   John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 15:17:14 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Roaky/Rooky


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:16:10 -0400
Subject: 8.1169  Re: Arden Editions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1169  Re: Arden Editions

On the question of Sh. editions:

The TEACHING SHAKESPEARE THROUGH PERFORMANCE volume in the pipeline from
the MLA will have a section evaluating whole and single volume
Shakespeare editions for the classroom when it emerges next year,
building on Thompson.

A side note:  for some of us the Riverside Edition was the CROSS we had
to bear when it was being duplicated and put into electronic formats and
relied on and all such else.  I never thought it attained canonical
status in itself!
]
Milla Riggio

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Walter Golman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 08:46:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Literature, as noted in SHK 8.1173
Comment:        "Widows" in Literature, as noted in SHK 8.1173

Jean Peterson's comment about the traits attributed mockingly to widows
in Elizabethan literature brings to mind the acerbic comment by Ambrose
Bierce, whose definition of "Widow" in his "Devil's Dictionary," runs as
follows: "A pathetic figure that the Christian world has agreed to take
humorously, although Christ's tenderness towards widows was one of the
most marked features of his character." Cruelty to widows, of course,
predates Elizabethan times and continues to this day in a variety of
societies.

Walter Golman, Silver Spring, Maryland

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 09:39:32 -0500
Subject:        BBC Petition Results

Well, I'm back from my hectic and not-nearly-long-enough trip to NYC, so
here's the scoop on BBC:

The Beeb and CBS-Fox have had an arrangement for some time now to
release BBC titles - some of the CBS-Fox people have been receptive to
discussions about releasing Shakespeare titles, but others have been
hesitant, so the general discussion has been floundering for some time.
Laura Palmer, the Beeb's video distribution manager, graciously gave me
an hour of her time.  She will be compiling a "request count" by the end
of this month and promises to keep me current on the proceedings.  My
feeling on the matter is that they will probably start releasing titles
next year - one or two at a time.  Derek Jacobi's Hamlet is a strong
contender for the first batch, as is John Cleese's Taming (remember we
are dealing with Hollywood mentality here - star power counts).  We'll
keep plugging away until the whole set is out.

Thanks for all your support and voluminous responses.  If you care to
send additional requests to the BBC, please feel free to do so.  I will
forward everything I get.

Yours,
Tanya Gough

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Nov 1997 15:17:14 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Roaky/Rooky

The reason Crosby doubted "the rooky wood" is that a crow and a rook are
in general speech the same thing.  I think, as Perez Rizvi does, that
*roaky* in its sense of smokey is the primary meaning and that *rooky*
is a characteristically allusive pun of secondary but real significance.

Perez Rizvi speaks of *beetles* as a verb (in *Hamlet*, not *Othello*).
W.A. Armstrong discusses this word in *Shakespeare's Imagination* 1946,
pp.  18-19.  Rooky is also suggested to be roaky p. 19n. Crosby's
identification 75 yrs. earlier could not have been known to Armstrong,
as the Crosby letters were in uncatalogued ms. (in Folger Shakespeare
Library) from 1921 until 1975, first pubd. in 1986.  Crosby was a great
student of Sh's language, the more remarkably in that he was working
before the OED was available.  He might be of interest to Perez Rizvi as
he works on peculiar neologisms in Sh.  Frances Teague and I edited the
ms., or rather 27% of it, for the Folger Shakespeare Library, in
collaboration with Associated University Presses, 1986 under title *One
Touch of Shakespeare: Letters of Joseph Crosby to Joseph Parker Norris
1875-1878*.  There is a detailed index to the book, and another in the
Folger Reading Room to the whole ms.  Anyone interested in Shakespeare's
language could do well to chk the index in the reading room.  The Folger
owns a microfilm of the ms. as well as the ms. itself.  The hand is
easily legible.

To P.R.: Good Luck, which is to say, Good Hunting.

John W. Velz

1988 Oxford Summer Study; Gangsta Sh.; Eve's Rom.

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1182.  Thursday, 20 November 1997.

[1]     From:   William Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Nov 1997 10:18:26 -0600
        Subj:   1988 Oxford Summer Study

[2]     From:   Richard A. Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Nov 1997 17:34:59 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Gangsta Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Richard A. Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Nov 1997 17:36:30 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Eve's R and J Bayou


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Nov 1997 10:18:26 -0600
Subject:        1988 Oxford Summer Study

I thank the list in advance for its indulgence, Students interested in
for-credit summer study in Oxford in 1998 might want to visit:
http://www.niu.edu/acad/english/oxford.html

Thank you.

William Proctor Williams
Department of  English
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL  60115
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A. Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Nov 1997 17:34:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Gangsta Shakespeare

Anyone interested in Mafia Shakespeare might be interested to know that
Shakespeare turns up in both parts of the recently aired (horrendous)
CBS min-series, Mafia Wives (aka Bella Mafia).  In the first part, the
grand dame (Vanessa Redgrave) gives her favorite son a copy of Hamlet
and cites the line about providence) before sending him off to Harvard
(the family lives in Palermo, Sicily).  In the second part, the bastard
son of a poor woman and the favorite son turns up later as an assassin
(of her sons by her previous lover's brothers-the other guy got
murdered) and mentions Romeo and Juliet (also citing it) before killing
two people on two separate occasions. I suppose one could try to make
something of the citations in relation to the gender reversal in the
story (the wives take revenge on the murders of all the males, adult and
children, in their family).  But it's unclear to me whether the energy
would be worth it.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A. Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Nov 1997 17:36:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Eve's R and J Bayou

There are some incidental quotations from _Romeo and Juliet_ in the film
_Eve's  Bayou_.  They are not thematically integrated, as far as I could
see.

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