1997

Shakespeare's Language - Request for Suggestions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0787.  Saturday, 26 July 1997.

From:           Jonathan Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jul 1997 14:36:30 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare's Language - Request for Suggestions

I have been contracted by a publisher to write a chapter (c7000 words)
on Shakespeare's language for a companion to Shakespeare studies aimed
at undergraduates.

My intention is that this will be a discursive account of Early Modern
English, and Shakespeare's place within it - so I'll be trying to
contextualise both EModE, and Shakespeare.  If I can, I want to avoid
producing just a list of weird things Shakespeare does with the
language, and end up instead with an overview of what makes EModE
different from Present-day English, and within that what marks
Shakespeare out from other EModE users.

I have a fairly clear idea of how I want to go about this, and am about
to write a first draft.  However, I'd be interested to hear any pleas or
suggestions for things people would find useful in such a chapter -
which I'll consider for inclusion in a second draft.  Please reply
either directly to me, and I'll summarise (though not till September),
or to the whole list.

A final point: I'm a historical linguist, and the chapter will be
linguistic in approach. Other chapters will cover related issues like
rhetoric, versification, printing, reading and so on.

Thanks in anticipation,
Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University

Shakespeare on Radio

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0786.  Saturday, 26 July 1997.

From:           Hugh Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jul 1997 10:04:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare on Radio

In the new biography of Humphrey Bogart by A.M. Sperber and Eric Lax, a
brief discussion is given to the CBS Shakespeare Theater, a 1937 show
used to fill in as summer broadcasting in the days before taped
repeats.  Although the show only lasted this one summer, it apparently
caused NBC to schedule John Barrymore in a competing series, turning
Mondays into "The Battle of the Bard."  The CBS series was apparently
edited hours of Shakespeare, with some of the shows including Burgess
Meredith as Hamlet, Leslie Howard and Rosalind Russell in Much Ado,
Eddie Robinson in Shrew, and Tallulah Bankhead and Welles 12th Night.
Bogart joined Walter Huston and Brian Aherne in 1H4; Bogart was Hotspur,
but the other roles are not identified.  The book reviews Bogart's
performance as adequate (he couldn't compete with Aherne or Huston's
delivery), but it does not the novel casting, especially at a time when
Bogie only played gangsters, and the authors note that this finally gave
the actor a death speech.

This discussion is on page 81 and immediately following.

Do any list members know more about this intriguing series or its
competitor, and are any tapes remaining?

Thanks,
Hugh Davis

Call for Papers

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0784.  Tuesday, 22 July 1997.

From:           D K Manley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jul 1997 10:38:47 +0100
Subject:        Call for Papers

I thought those of you producing Shakespearean Drama in practical form
may like to contribute?

CALL FOR PAPERS

Submissions are invited for Issues 3 and 4 of 'Performance Practice', a
peer-reviewed journal, which deals with the processes of making creative
practical work for and with students. Papers concerned with
interdisciplinary investigations, mixed-media presentations and/or
installations are as appropriate to the philosophical 'brief' of
'Performance  Practice'  as  are  more  ostensibly  conventional
productions.

The policy of 'Performance Practice' Is to recognise diverse forms of
documentation in much the same way that one would seek to encourage a
variety of directorial methodologies. The concern of the recently
appointed Editorial Board is that the journal foregrounds a
concentration on performance as an event which is always distinct from
the 'dramatic text' of literary discourse.

'Performance Practice' Is perhaps most usefully described as one aspect
of the production-process; an aspect that always strives to be more
provocative than prescriptive and which allows the creative event a
resonance beyond its immediate, original audience.

Authors submitting material for Inclusion retain copyright of their
work.  Submitted articles are sent 'blind' to appropriate members of the
board for approval and/or comments. Authors of accepted articles will be
invited to submit a brief synopsis of their careers and research
Interests to date. 'Performance Practice' has a commitment to the
retainment of the author's voice; as such, only those sections of text
which are considered to impede the reader's understanding will be
subject to editorial alteration. The editorial team will endeavour to
check any amendments with authors prior to publication. wherever
possible, articles should be submitted in Word 6, on HD PC disks and
printed version to John Freeman, 'Performance Practice', University
College Chester, Cheyney Rd, Chester CHI 4BJ UK. Alternatively. material
can be faxed on 01244 373379 or e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Numbers 1 and; 2, alongside all future Issues of 'Performance Practice',
are available at http://chandra.chester.ac.uk/~dmanley/perform.htm, or
http://homepages.enterprise.net/davemanley/perform.htm  Copies In
magazine format are available by subscription.

Editor: John Freeman University College Chester)
Review Board: Gerry Harris (Lancaster University), Barry Edwards
(Reader, Brunel University),Dr. Sue Purdie (University of Plymouth),
Marsha Meskimmon (Staffordshire University), Prof. Robert Germay
(University of Liege), Prof.  James De Paul (University of Wisconsin).

D K Manley This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Hamlet and Characters

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0785.  Saturday, 26 July 1997.

[1]     From:   John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Jul 1997 13:40:09 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0782 Re: Hamlet and Characters

[2]     From:   Gilad Shapira <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Jul 97 22:22:34 PDT
        Subj:   Re: Various Hamlet

[3]     From:   Ed Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 24 Jul 1997 12:30:54 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0751  Re: Various Re: Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jul 1997 13:40:09 +0100
Subject: 8.0782 Re: Hamlet and Characters
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0782 Re: Hamlet and Characters

Obviously, Simon Malloch has missed Terry Hawkes's point entirely.
Hamlet is neither a naturalistic play nor is it a soap opera.
Characters in Elizabethan plays don't "think", nor are they "human" in
the kind of transhistorical sense that Malloch seems to be suggesting.

Cheers
John Drakakis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gilad Shapira <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Jul 97 22:22:34 PDT
Subject:        Re: Various Hamlet

I want to emphasize the role of the artistic power of the playwright
building his characters. Instead of asking why Hamlet is doing
something, I rather ask why Shakespeare made him act in such a way and
what is the meaning of this artistic decision.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 24 Jul 1997 12:30:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0751  Re: Various Re: Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0751  Re: Various Re: Hamlet

> One more Director's question:  does Hamlet really think Claudius is in
> Gertrude's room, behind the arras?  He's just left him behind in the
> chapel (which, at Elsinore, is near a spiral staircase leading to the
> Queen's chambers, I believe) and I've always wondered whether this meant
> his remarks after stabbing Polonius were meant as sarcasm.

Andy:  As you will note from the date, I am over a week behind in my
messages, so your question may already have been talked to death, but
I'll throw in my 2 cents anyway.

I like to think of Hamlet as an impulsive, even impetuous, character (I
think it was Frances Fergusson who called him improvisational).  He
himself uses the term "rash."  But this is a quality in himself that he
dislikes; he admires Horatio, "that man who is not passion's slave,"
whom he "will wear in [his] heart, ay, in [his] heart's core," and so
on. He does act rashly, when he follows the Ghost, when he interrupts
the Players, and, of course, when he kills Polonius.  But such rash
actions come only when he is so impassioned that he doesn't have time
for "thought" to intervene-when "the native hue of resolution

            Is sicklied o'er  with the pale cast of thought,
            And enterprises of great pitch and moment
            With this regard their currents turn awry,
            And lose the name of action."

He is, at this point in the play, a believer in consequential action,
and so he cannot act without knowing the consequences, and when he
thinks about the consequences, he becomes paralyzed-as when he doesn't
kill the king at prayer:  "and so 'a goes to heaven;

            And so I am revenged.  That would be scanned.

Only gradually does he move to a belief in existential, rather than
consequential action.  A key point for this change is in his soliloquy
about Fortinbras:

           "Rightly to be great,
           Is not to stir without great argument,
           But rightly to find quarrel in a straw
           When honor's at the stake."

The whole graveyard scene is devoted to the question of what comes of
the great actions of Yorick, Great Caesar, and Alexander.  And when
Hamlet describes to Horatio what he did on board ship in finding their
packet, he begins by observing:

             "Rashly---
          And praised be rashness for it; let us know,
          Our indiscretion sometime serves us well
          When our deep plots do pall."

And of course he ends that discussion with the "special providence in
the fall of a sparrow" speech.  "Since no man of aught he leaves knows,
what is't to leave betimes?  Let be."  That conclusion is the exact
opposite of what he said in the "To be or not to be" soliloquy."

So, if it has already been beaten to death, I apologize for the
intrusion, but, hey, I at least had a good time intruding.  So thanks
for the question.

Ed Pixley

Re: Poems; Stewart; Othello's Age

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0783.  Tuesday, 22 July 1997.

[1]     From:   Skip Nicholson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Jul 1997 10:35:15 -0700
        Subj:   Re: The Poems

[2]     From:   Chuck G. Peeren <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 21 Jul 1997 08:30:32 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0758 RE: PATRICK STEWART AS OTHELLO

[3]     From:   Ed Peschko <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 21 Jul 1997 11:19:18 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0780  Re: Patrick Stewart

[4]     From:   Syd Kasten <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 21 Jul 1997 23:07:42 +0300 (IDT)
        Subj:   SHK 8.0758  Re: Othello's Age


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Nicholson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Jul 1997 10:35:15 -0700
Subject:        Re: The Poems

The site Stephen Windle wisely gives for Shakespeare's poems has an
extra "e" in the address. The URL should read
http://www.ludweb.com/poetry . Mr. Windle's standards seem awfully high
if he gives this site a rating of "fairly decent." I think most of us
would go much higher. Take a look and decide. It includes not only the
sonnets but all the poetry, and the sonnets are searchable. The
enigmatic crest of the "ludweb" is worth exploring as well.

Skip Nicholson
Just north of Escondido, California

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chuck G. Peeren <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 21 Jul 1997 08:30:32 EDT
Subject: 8.0758 RE: PATRICK STEWART AS OTHELLO
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0758 RE: PATRICK STEWART AS OTHELLO

Further to the conversation of Patrick Stewart as Othello I personally
would love to see it. I admire Mr Stewart as one of our great
contemporary actors. Having said that I do think that the role reversal
convention which would allow him to assume the role of Othello was
indeed contrived for that purpose.

Given that race being quite the charged issue it is in the U.S.

I have a couple of concerns with the execution of this convention:

The first, please excuse the pun, would not the racial aspects of the
production easily over shadow the other, what I feel are, the more
intriguing psychological aspects of  the production?

Second what do you do about Iago? Portrayed by a black man to a white
man's Othello would that not play to the stereo typical view of the
U.S.  black and be as a consequence a bit of a turn off?

  chuck

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Peschko <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 21 Jul 1997 11:19:18 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: 8.0780  Re: Patrick Stewart
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0780  Re: Patrick Stewart

> Stewart also played Sejanus in the I CLAUDIUS series, and an
> alien-possessed psychiatrist in Tobe Hooper's LIFEFORCE (interalia).

And a nasty Sejanus he was too! Next to Livia, probably the nastiest
character in the whole series ( and there were plenty of them in that
series...)

I seem to remember him being Claudius in the BBC production of Hamlet,
as well.

Ed

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Syd Kasten <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 21 Jul 1997 23:07:42 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Othello's Age
Comment:        SHK 8.0758  Re: Othello's Age

On Wednesday, 16 Jul 1997 (SHK 8.0758) James Marino speculated on
Othello's age, implying that Othello was "at least as old as her father"
and that this was one of the reasons for his proneness to suspicion.
This is an interesting idea, but on the other hand, when Brabantio comes
to arrest Othello the latter tries to mollify him with "Good signior,
you shall more command with *years*, than with your weapons."  Marino
invokes Brabantio's "...in spite of nature, of years..." to support the
idea of Othello's advanced age.  My understanding of these lines in the
trial is that they refer to Desdemona's qualities and that "years"
refers to her youth rather than to Othello's age.

One need not rely only on Othello's seniority to see a disparity in age
between Othello and Desdemona.  To my ear Desdemona is a faithful
rendition of an unfinished product, more girl than woman.  Her inability
to see in advance the effects that her words and actions will have on
others is as absolute as it is innocent.  Her banter is witty but not
particularly sophisticated.  She fell in love with Othello because of
his scary stories.  Her cajoling of Othello to see Cassio is like asking
for another candy: Who could refuse her "pretty please?". But her
question of Emilia - Are there women who actually do what Othello has
accused her of? - implies an innocence of life that is consistent with
her being either "intellectually challenged" or very young.  Fourteen
year old Juliet seems the height of sophistication in comparison.

In Jewish canon law a girl attains majority with respect to the right to
choose or refuse a marital partner at the age of 12 years and a day.  I
wonder what the situation was in that respect in Shakespeare's England
and in his Venice. Can a case be made that Desdemona was at the time of
her elopment younger then the local age of majority,(Otherwise Brabantio
would not have had a case to put before the duke), that B. could have
insisted on her return home but chose not to out of anger or out of
inability to refuse his daughter anything she wanted (or both), and that
during the bulk of the play the relationship beween Othello and
Desdemona, though termed "marriage", was actually the state of
betrothal. Emilia, at the outset of the unpinning scene, expresses
surprise (my edition has an exclamation mark) to hear that Othello left
orders for her to be dismissed.  The ritual dressing of Desdemona
suggests to me the preparation of a bride.  We have no prior scene or
statement to hint that consummation has ever taken place.  Could
Desdemona's solemnity be due, not to a foreboding of death but to a
consciousness of her impending change of state to womanhood?  Is the
tragedy not merely that she died violently and young but that she died a
virgin and that the consummation of the love between Othello and
Desdemona was death?

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten
Jerusalem

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