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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: June ::
Re: Pronunciation; Rhyming; Appropriation; Neutrality
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0655.  Wednesday, 11 June 1997.

[1]     From:   Rosalind King <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Jun 1997 14:08:26 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0645  Q: Pronunciation of Cloten

[2]     From:   Mark Mann <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Jun 1997 17:59:01 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0648 Re: Rhyming

[3]     From:   Jonathan Hope <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Jun 1997 08:54:35 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0648  Re: Appropriation

[4]     From:   John McWilliams <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Jun 1997 09:50:58  +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0651  Re: Neutrality; Stoic Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rosalind King <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Jun 1997 14:08:26 GMT0BST
Subject: 8.0645  Q: Pronunciation of Cloten
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0645  Q: Pronunciation of Cloten

I'm a native English (southern UK) speaker and say 'Clohten' - but only
because it's usually spelt 'Cloten' in modern spelling editions. But a
very cursory glance through the Folio shows that the spelling Clotten is
actually preferred for most of the play except on aaa4v and aaa6r+v, so
maybe that's how we should be pronouncing it.

Clotten suggests of course clot 1) congealed liquid or 2) hardened lump
of earth (clod) and hence 'thick head' - a usage that OED ascribes to
Ben Jonson in the 1630's. However a 'clote' is a burdock or the prickly
seedheads thereof which stick to your clothes (the word is also
connected to clayey stickey earth). I suppose the character does have
some characteristics of a clote in that he sticks and its impossible to
shake him off, but he is definitely a clod.

I no longer know which way to pronounce it!

Rosalind King
School of English and Drama
Queen Mary and Westfield College
University of London

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Mann <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Jun 1997 17:59:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0648 Re: Rhyming
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0648 Re: Rhyming

<<  the successful Scots actors (Andrew Cruickshank, Duncan Macrae,
 Alastair Sim etc.) either had to appear in Scots plays or amend their
 modes of speech to be considered acceptable >>

Harry Hill brings up a point mentioned in MacNeil's The Story of
English-that Scots heading south to make their ways in life often had to
amend their dialects to be considered for employment. A parallel
circumstance happens in the U.S. with one difference: there is no single
American style of speech which everyone agrees upon as the standard. We
have the provincial dialects, the Southern, the hillbilly, New Yawk, New
England, Midwestern nasal ( being an Ohioan, I offer myself as an expert
there), and many others-and there is discrimination of a sort against
some of these ( such as hillbilly types of speech), but there is no
basic mode of speech to learn to copy ( unless you count the speech of
our national newscasters, and even there you have Dan Rather's modified
Texas dialect). Seems funny to hear Brits criticizing each other's
speech, when to Americans, even the Cockney, even the Aussie, sounds
snooty and hi-falutin'.

In Shakespearean productions, in the companies I've acted and directed
for, the first rule of preparations always seems to be " No Brit
dialects!!" But it gets hard sometimes when all the recordings one hears
of Shakespeare are made by Brits, and pronunciations favor the Brit
style of speech ( I hear, but am not convinced yet, that Will may well
have hailed from England).  The theatre company I currently head is
preparing to make recordings of some of the canon, in American speech,
and the discussions have gotten rather deep and heated on the question
of what, after all, is "American speech." Any ideas out there?

It sounds perfectly natural on British recordings to have the nobles
speak in the public school  style, and to have the low-borns speak in
provincial dialects ( indeed the 1st recording I heard, in high school,
was an Iago speech delivered in a virtually incomprehensible ( to a Yank
teen, anyway) Cockney. Yet, in an American production, it doesn't do to
have the low-borns speaking like Kentucky Bluegrassers. Why is this?
Branagh has stated that he tries to cast a variety of actors in his
films to avoid the " plummy" style of Brit classical acting. So there
seems to be a reaction against the old classical " raund and abaut
thutty paunds"  style of speech.

All this is a way of simply asking, What is acceptable to y'all on the
Shakespearean stage? What fails ( other than bad acting-we're talkin'
'bout s peakin' here). And what suggestions, if any, are there for our
recordings.

Thanks....Mark Mann

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jun 1997 08:54:35 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 8.0648  Re: Appropriation
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0648  Re: Appropriation

It's not just the perfidious English who go round appropriating
territory.  Harry Hill might want to check the location of Hadrian's
Wall on a map.  Quite a few 'sassenachs' are born and raised to the
north of it.

Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John McWilliams <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Jun 1997 09:50:58  +0000
Subject: 8.0651  Re: Neutrality; Stoic Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0651  Re: Neutrality; Stoic Shakespeare

Dear Ben Schneider,

I feel we have reached an impasse... I can't help picking you up on just
one point of your last message however. You say "[i]t depended on the
prominence of the author's politics in the work" as to whether new
critics 'depoliticised'. Well you can't get much more overtly
politically engaged than Marvell's 'Horatian Ode' can you?

John McWilliams
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Cambridge
 

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