1998

Re: *Twelfth Night*

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0012  Saturday, 3 January 1998.

[1]     From:   Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 2 Jan 1998 18:06:06 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.008  Re: *Twelfth Night*

[2]     From:   Peter Hillyar-Russ <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 18:24:27 -0000
        Subj:   Twelfth Night


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 2 Jan 1998 18:06:06 -0500
Subject: 9.008  Re: *Twelfth Night*
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.008  Re: *Twelfth Night*

I recall the production Marilyn Bonomi mentions; it was indeed awful.
The imprisonment of Malvolio high up in a wire cage was excellent,
though, if you like the idea of cruelty in the play. It was about three
years ago; I recall because I went with a granddaughter's class when she
was 11.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hillyar-Russ <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 18:24:27 -0000
Subject:        Twelfth Night

Recent discussion of Twelfth Night in this forum has observed a tendency
to produce this play in a "safe" way, making the whole thing into a
"lark". This tendency extends to this season's new production (by Adrian
Noble) at the RSC, which (in my opinion) is strong on humour and weak on
emotion.

Surely the heart of this play lies in the bereavement which both Olivia
and Viola suffer for their lost brothers (in Viola's case, of course,
mistakenly). Viola and Sebastian are twins, and twin bereavement tends,
I understand, to be particularly grievous. One documented feature is a
compulsion often experienced by the survivor to assume the identity of
the dead sibling. This is, in fact, what Viola does by dressing in man's
attire (an action having no clear alternative explanation, beyond its
convenience to the dramatist).

It is perhaps significant that Shakespeare may have witnessed the
effects of twin bereavement, for he was the father of twins, one of whom
died. The survivor (Judith) may be imagined as being of about Viola's
age - in her mid to late teens - when the play first appeared. Judith's
brother, Hamnet, had died when they were eleven, at which pre-pubescent
age they might well have been far more confusible than a seventeen year
old pair of twins would be.

Like Viola, Olivia (why are these names near anagram's?) is also
bereaved by a brother's death, but in her case the slightest touch of
eroticism dismisses her grief - though her brother actually is dead.
Viola's falling in love results in increased sadness, which, when
focused by Feste's "Come away death" song becomes almost unendurable.
When she tells her story to her new love Orsino, in its misleading terms
- "My father had a daughter loved a man, as it may be, perhaps, were I a
woman, I should your lordship". She becomes so caught up in emotion that
her grasp on the normal vocabulary of family relationships slips into
the, to my mind, overwhelming sentence: "I am all the daughters of my
father's house, and all the brothers [we would expect 'sons'] too, and
yet I know not."

When Sebastian does return to resolve the tensions in Viola's story we
seem to be getting little more than a rewrite of "Comedy of Errors"
material - a play written when both of Shakespeare's own twins were
alive and certainly young enough to be confusible. In this play the role
of the male twin is not really developed - but the next play could well
have been Hamlet, and James Joyce, through his character Stephen Dedalus
(in Ulysses, in the chapter commonly called "Scylla and Charybdis"),
presents a case for seeing Hamlet as a work in which the playwright's
own grief for the dead Hamnet is expressed. Here, in Twelfth Night, we
may perhaps see something of Shakespeare's observation of his daughter's
coming to terms with her brother's death; and her simultaneous
developing adult sexuality.

When people refer to the "dark" side of this play I suspect they are
referring to the iniquitous treatment of Malvolio - certainly most of
the examples recently cited refer to Malvolio. This is indisputably
true, but I think there is much darkness in the main plot too. The play
shows a very clever use of the sub-plot by Shakespeare to "reflect" the
opposites of the main plot. The main plot is, I believe, one in which
really agonising emotional turmoil is resolved into a perfect happy
ending: but Shakespeare is not so simplistic - in the subplot jolly
"larking" comedy prevails, but ends in hideous cruelty; enough to blight
the happy ending of the main plot, and it is unresolved (as almost all
happy endings turn out to be unresolved in real life). Feste links the
plots by focusing the drama in both.

Peter Hillyar-Russ
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Q: Haymarket Theatre

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0011  Saturday, 3 January 1998.

From:           Patricia Palermo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 02 Jan 1998 16:59:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Haymarket Theatre


Can some kind soul please tell me how to search the holdings of the
British Library?  I am trying to locate the ledgers, or account books,
of the Haymarket Theatre, and I believe they may be held there.  Any
help gratefully received,

Patricia Palermo

Re: Price Check

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.009  Saturday, 3 January 1998.

[1]     From:   Stephen Orgel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 2 Jan 1998 11:43:44 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.005  Qs: Price Check;

[2]     From:   R. Thomas Simone <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 2 Jan 1998 15:03:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   FIRST FOLIO prices

[3]     From:   Jim Harner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 2 Jan 1998 20:40:53 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Price Check

[4]     From:   Paul Werstine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 11:10:43 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Price Check

[5]     From:   Leslie Thomson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 03 Jan 1998 11:37:55 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.005  Q: Price Check

[6]     From:   Andrew Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 17:03:02 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.005 Q: Price Check


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Orgel <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 2 Jan 1998 11:43:44 -0700
Subject: 9.005  Qs: Price Check;
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.005  Qs: Price Check;

In reply to Steven Marx's price check, the folio sold for 15 shillings
unbound; binding in plain calf would have been an additional 3
shillings.  As for recent prices, I'm not aware of one that's come on
the market for a long time, but last summer a London bookseller had a
4th folio for 37,500 pounds. Peter Blayney's Folger Library pamphlet THE
FIRST FOLIO OF SHAKESPEARE has some interesting  history about the
book's price.

Happy shopping.
s.o.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. Thomas Simone <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 2 Jan 1998 15:03:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        FIRST FOLIO prices

Steve Marx asks for current value of a First Folio copy.  While note an
exceptionally rare book (1000 or so copies), the FF is highly prized.  I
believe recent sales are rather scanty, but a price in the $750K to 1
Million might do.  3rd edition Folios are available for around $75K.

I'm not sure that we have any exact initial price of the FF, but I seem
to recall Greg mentioning 30 shillings as an approximation for a price
in 1623.

A call to a major rare book dealer like Hertiage Books in LA would lead
to more accurate information.  A very knowledgeable Leo Biondi is the
resident expert at Heritage.

Happy New Year.

Tom Simone

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Harner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 2 Jan 1998 20:40:53 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Price Check

The best sources for current auction prices of rare books are +Book
Auction Records+ and +American Book Prices Current+ (which, despite the
title, includes British and Continental auctions).

Jim Harner
Editor, World Shakespeare Bibliography

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Werstine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 11:10:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Price Check

The Sh. 1st Folio is traditionally said to have cost a pound in 1623;
Peter Blayney has noted that there's a copy in the Folger marked  on the
flyleaf as 15 shillings ({The Shakespeare First Folio} Washington, DC:
Folger, 1991, pp. 25-28.)

Good luck with the Bible.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Leslie Thomson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 03 Jan 1998 11:37:55 -0800
Subject: 9.005  Q: Price Check
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.005  Q: Price Check

The answer to the question about the original price of the First Folio
can be found in Peter Blayney's book, *The First Folio of Shakespeare*
(Folger Library Publications), pp. 25-9. The Webster copy, sold in the
early 1990's by Sotheby's, fetched $650,000--Peter does not think this
has been exceeded.

Leslie Thomson

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 17:03:02 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 9.005 Q: Price Check
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.005 Q: Price Check

As far as the original price of F1 is concerned, the most frequently
quoted figure is #1, but for a very good guide to the possible range of
prices (which depended on the state and kind of binding), see Peter
Blayney's excellent short book on F1, published by the Folger.

Regarding a possible present-day price, it seems hard to say, but I
gather when the National Lottery was launched here in the UK, a copy of
F1 was brought into the studio and was represented as being worth #1m. I
don't think they were offering it as a prize . . . .

Hope this is useful

Andrew

Re: The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0010  Saturday, 3 January 1998.

[1]     From:   Peter C. Herman" <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Fri, 2 Jan 1998 11:34:38 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.007  "The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets"

[2]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 03:53:14 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.007  "The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter C. Herman" <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Fri, 2 Jan 1998 11:34:38 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 9.007  "The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets"
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.007  "The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets"

Bravo to Martin Green for articulating (finally!) a critical perspective
on Vendler's book. Admittedly, I too have only "grazed" through it, as
Vendler suggests, yet I found the contents remarkably thin. I agree with
Martin Green that the diagrams don't really help (but I assumed that was
because I'm not a structuralist). What bothers me most of all, however,
is Vendler's utter disregard for history. Whether or not one is a new,
middle, or old style historicist (I tend to align myself with the
former), I think that we can pretty much agree that words have
particular meanings in particular circumstances and eras (somehow, I
think the line "I am tired of poets who are gay") would be interpreted
to mean something very differently than what Yeats had in mind), but
Vendler seems to think that she doesn't have to know any history.
Certainly, her bibliography lacks any contextual works. To give but one
example, her comment on "profiteless usurer" in Sonnet 4: Only the third
covative, *profitless usurer*, is a true homiletic
vocative-to-the-sinner, in which both essence *and* accident are
reproved." Well, OK, but this completely misses the fact that during the
period Shakespeare wrote these poems, "usurer" was a dirty word and that
there was a raging pamphlet war against it. Also, the anti-usury statute
of 1570 was debated at least a couple of times. But because Vendler
seems to think that the Sonnets can be looked at without regard to their
historical contexts, she misses all of this, hence misses the
multivalences and complexities of invoking usury. In addition, it is
worth noting that the Oxford English Dictionary is missing from her
bibliography, leading me at least suspect that she didn't consult it.
Finally, Vendler completely sidesteps the important question of dating
and authorization.

All told, I think that Vendler's book will have limited utility, but not
no utility at all. At least we have an academic getting positive
attention in the press, which is worth something.

Oh, also, the copy I purchased has the cover upside down. Anyone else
have the same thing?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 03:53:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.007  "The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets"
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.007  "The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets"

Would anybody who's been able to find the Vendler book be willing to
share with me (and us) what she has to say about sonnet 8?

I would be very curious to see what she does with it.

I think the introduction's claim that she is not interested in the
MEANING of the sonnets is dubious to say the least (didn't Booth make a
similar argument?)

chris

Re: *Twelfth Night*

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.008  Friday, 2 January 1998.

[1]     From:   Marilyn Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 01 Jan 1998 10:48:40 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 8.1266  Re: *Twelfth Night*

[2]     From:   Carl Fortunato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 01 Jan 98 14:06:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: *Twelfth Night*


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 01 Jan 1998 10:48:40 -0500
Subject: Re: *Twelfth Night*
Comment:        SHK 8.1266  Re: *Twelfth Night*

Safe versus risky productions,  hmm...  How about the Yale Repertory
Theatre production, I think about 6 years ago-maybe less, but at my age
I've long since lost track of time.

Staged as a 1960's piece-Feste as a lounge crooner (one of the few
things that worked for me, actually), excessively cruel punishment for
Malvolio at the end (bloody flogging!), the dissolute nature of the
characters making virtually all of them more or less despicable.  Olivia
as the European nobility breezing in and out.

Taking student audiences to see it was an embarrassment.  Seeing it as
an adult was an embarrassment of a different sort.

Anyone else remember this one and willing to comment on it?

Happy New Year!
Marilyn B.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carl Fortunato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 01 Jan 98 14:06:00 -0400
Subject:        Re: *Twelfth Night*

> Just to correct a small inaccuracy...

> I think the version of "Twelfth Night", produced by Renaissance Films,
> currently being discussed was directed by Trevor Nunn, rather than by
> Sir Peter Hall.

> Possibly the best casting in the piece was the county of Cornwall as
> the scenery, but Renaissance are good at that - Blenheim Palace in
> their Hamlet far outclassed any of the actors.

I thought Ben Kingsley as Feste was rather wonderful.  He played him as
some sort of a holy fool - almost a mystical figure, and I like it very
much.  The rest of the casting I didn't much care for.  Sir Toby was so
unimpressive that only don't I remember his name - I don't remember what
he looked like.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.