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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: April ::
Re: PBS Show
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0335  Friday, 10 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Richard Nathan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Apr 1998 15:05:44 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0333  Re: PBS Show

[2]     From:   Peter T. Hadorn <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 10:21:01 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0333  Re: PBS Show

[3]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 08:50:20 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 9.0333  Re: PBS Show


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 Apr 1998 15:05:44 +0000
Subject: 9.0333  Re: PBS Show
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0333  Re: PBS Show

In The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0333  Thursday, 9 April 1998, David
Beauregard asked why I objected so strongly to the proposed PBS program
on Shakespeare's secret life and the Elizabethan police state. He said,
"One of the joys of Shakespeare studies is the varied and stimulating
conjecture that it can call forth."  What I objected to was the fact
that Shakespeare's Catholicism was being presented as fact, rather than
conjecture.

I would not be surprised if William Shakespeare was a Catholic, but this
has not been proven.

What really set me off was the statement that William Shakespeare was
able to write so powerfully about "the terror of the state" because of
the treatment of Catholics in England.  I agree that Catholics were
treated terribly in Elizabethan England, but where does Shakespeare
write powerfully about "the terror of the state."

Sure, he wrote about bad individual Kings (e.g., Richard III and
Macbeth) - but they were always portrayed as bad individuals.

Was Wood thinking about "MEASURE FOR MEASURE"?

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter T. Hadorn <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 10:21:01 -0500
Subject: 9.0333  Re: PBS Show
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0333  Re: PBS Show

Although I agree with David Beauregard that we shouldn't be censoring
explorations of  Shakespeare and history like the one proposed by PBS, I
find that I do have to do a lot of damage control with my students about
the many things they hear about Shakespeare.  I constantly have to
remind them that there are many things about Shakespeare that we simply
do not know.  Even so, that does not permit the perpetuation of stories
that are certainly myths.  The most recent story that I have heard for
about two years now is that Shakespeare wrote parts of the King James
*Bible* (busy fellow!).  I can only assume that students get these
notions from shows like this one that take as fact, things about which
we don't know, things that are improbable, or things that are down-right
wrong.  And to be sure, if it's on PBS, it must be true (actually, I'm a
bigger fan than that tone implies).

Does anyone out there have any idea how this King James *Bible* story
got started, or what the details are?

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Apr 1998 08:50:20 -0700
Subject: Re: PBS Show
Comment:        SHK 9.0333  Re: PBS Show

David Beauregard asked: "So why should Michael Wood not be allowed to
explore the subject in his direction, particularly since it seems a new
and interesting possibility in current scholarship?"

This is reference to a proposed TV show about Shakespeare the Catholic.

Why indeed?  I trust we all have a problem with censorship.

ON THE OTHER HAND - as a lad who has had perhaps twenty exasperating
conversations with people converted to Oxford by the one sided PBS
Frontline episode a few years ago, I hope Michael Wood's project will
not find funding.  That show was a disgrace in its failure to be even
handed with the evidence, the way it put on good scholars for the
Stratford side who were bad on TV and bad scholars for the Oxford side
who were good on TV, and more.  If the report in the original posting is
correct, there will not even be an attempt at even handedness.
Television is a powerful and convincing medium to those who use it as
their primary source of information, and that is most people.  I don't
need even more strangers smearing me with their ignorance.  Arrogant?
Maybe.  I think of it as tired.

With Michael Wood behind it, it will be funded.

Mike Jensen
 

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