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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: "Offspring" of Shakespeare's Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1034.  Tuesday, 14 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Edward M Moore <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Oct 1997 09:32:03 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Shk 8.1020 Othello inspired novels

[2]     From:   Robert Appelbaum <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Oct 1997 12:30:49 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1028  "Offspring" of Shakespeare's Plays (Oth Ins

[3]     From:   John Velz  <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Oct 1997 14:32:33 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   A Thousand Acres & Lr.

[4]     From:   Richard A Burt <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 Oct 1997 17:30:34 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1023  Re: Oth-Inspired Film

[5]     From:   Hugh Howard Davis <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 00:47:34 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1023  Re: Oth-Inspired Film


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward M Moore <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Oct 1997 09:32:03 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Shk 8.1020 Othello inspired novels

I don't think anyone has mentioned John Peale Bishop's novel Act of
Darkness, 1936. Avon issued a paperback edition in 1967 with an
afterword by Leslie Fiedler

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Appelbaum <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Oct 1997 12:30:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.1028  "Offspring" of Shakespeare's Plays (Oth Ins
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1028  "Offspring" of Shakespeare's Plays (Oth Ins

If it hasn't been mentioned yet, another adaptation of Othello is
Internal Affairs (1990), starring Richard Gere and Andy Garcia, directed
by Mike Figgis.  It's an L.A. cops-and-robbers story, with the crooked
cop played by Gere standing in for Iago, and the Hispanic good cop
played by Garcia standing in for Othello.  Yes, there's jealousy and
murder and even an object recalling the handkerchief.  It's not a great
movie but it's worth renting and seeing.  My colleague here Jon Kamholz
has been showing it to classes for several years; I tried it this year
and the class both enjoyed the movie and learned something from it.

Turn out the light.

Robert Appelbaum
University of Cincinnati

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz  <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Oct 1997 14:32:33 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        A Thousand Acres & Lr.

Ron Dwelle and others interested:

I have lectured twice on this topic (one of the talks called "*King
Lear* in Iowa") so will leave the full exposition to others, but it is
unmistakably connected to *Lear*.  Larry divides up his land among three
daughters one of whom balks and promptly is shut out.  The remaining two
daughters have affairs with the Edmund character, Jeff.  The old man is
driven out into a storm which he survives. He runs mad (courtroom
scene).  Larry / Lear  Ginny / Goneril Rose / Regan, Caroline /
Cordelia. And so on.  The story is told from Goneril's Ginny's p.v. a
shocking shift from Shak.  where she is unredeemably heartless.

Two big differences are the absence of a political dimension in the
book; the lack of royal succession question diminishes the book to an
account of a mean-spirited family's scrabbling for land and the power it
brings.  The other difference is the incest motif, which is surely what
Ron Dwelle means by "disgusting".  I suppose that Smiley put it in (no
hint of this in Lear) because it is timely and might sell books but at a
more serious level because daughter abuse by a father is patriarchalism
pushed to its grossest limits.  In the book Larry makes it clear that he
thinks he has the right to do what he likes with his daughters' bodies,
because after all he made them.  They are his. Lear is less overtly
sexual in his power wielding, but note that he curses Goneril's womb and
sees women in negative physical terms (this, however, could be madness,
which is characterized by crude bawdy on the Elizabethan stage on the
rationale that the abandonment of reason sinks us to the animalistic
level-with Lear compare Timon, Ophelia, and Hamlet pretending to be
mad).

One of the two lectures I gave on this subject was to a book club that
is almost all women, and the session I talked to was all female.  During
the question period all they wanted to talk about was the incest motif
and patriarchal power. The average age was prob. 40; all were once
university students, for the most part English majors.  I was taken
aback, as there were other dimensions to the book (symbolism of poison
and subterranean water, e.g.) that seemed worth discussion.  So Smiley
knew what she was up to.

On Nov. 21 I am to talk elsewhere on the film with Jessica Lange and
Michelle Pfeiffer and Jason Robards and other fine actors.  In relation
to *King Lear*, once again.  So Ron's question is timely.  He ought to
go see the film and see if it changes any of his perceptions.

Yours for Shakespeare with a difference:

John Velz

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A Burt <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Oct 1997 17:30:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.1023  Re: Oth-Inspired Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1023  Re: Oth-Inspired Film

One more film of interest in relation to _Othello_ is _The Playboys_
(1991, I think).

Best,
Richard

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Howard Davis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 00:47:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.1023  Re: Oth-Inspired Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1023  Re: Oth-Inspired Film

Coincidentally, TNT is showing _Jubal_, the Othello-inspired western, on
this Thursday afternoon at 2 PM eastern time.

Hugh Davis
 

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