1998

Related to Merchant

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0327  Thursday, 9 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 08 Apr 1998 11:42:44 -0500
        Subj:   Brides and Anti-Semitism

[2]     From:   Syd Kasten <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Apr 1998 22:47:51 +0300 (IDT)
        Subj:   From Leah to Monkey


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 08 Apr 1998 11:42:44 -0500
Subject:        Brides and Anti-Semitism

Regarding:

Urkowitz:

>to me [selling Leah's ring] seems instead like a repudiation
>of  the bonds between momma and poppa in favor of her new relationship.

Taft:

>I particularly like your view because it relates
>back to Jessica's comment that "Our house is hell!" (2.3.2).

Any reason these statements need be seen as radically separate from
Jessica's surreptitious, unsponsored, and at least partly shameful
religious/ethnic eloping outmarriage and conversion? Why "instead"? Why
not as Shakespeare's redaction (non-simple, to be sure) of a multiform
negotiation of an unusually thickened moment of cultural transformation:
one that engages (1) age/life-stage (the entrance into adulthood and
authority, (2) the change from daughter to wife), (3) primary familial
orientation (the change from agnatic to affinal, stronger for early
modern women than men), (4) religious/ethnic orientation (from Jewish to
Christian), (5) economic status (from money-lender's daughter to the
fringes of Belmont's leisure class), and (6) some sort of zone of
cultural privilege (from membership in a despised and spat-upon minority
to membership in the satellite gentry of Belmont). Perhaps even color
(7), if Portia is blond and Jessica gilded. Plenty of room here for
several coincident kinds of departure from mom and pop and their
cultural locus, several more-or-less repudiations and celebrations, no?

To some degree aren't we (some of us, anyway) arguing rather about
whether to like or dislike the transition or transformation as Jessica
conducts it?

A further question: is there a sense in early modern England of some
kind of specialized eroticizing of the Jewish woman, as there seems to
be in the 19th century, with its "sultry" sense of the "Jewess"? Partly
Shylock and Jessica offer an opportunity to explore how (or whether?)
Jewishness is gendered in early modern England.

Frank Whigham

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Syd Kasten <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Apr 1998 22:47:51 +0300 (IDT)
Subject:        From Leah to Monkey

First of all, thanks to Frank Whigham (SHK 9.0258) for his

"I'll make fast the doors and be with you straight,"-

ever so much subtler than "a Daniel" of the trial in conveying a racial
attribute.  Unless these are a part of stock theatrical
characterizations of the times, I would consider closed the question as
to whether or not Shakespeare had met Jews.

Thanks to Mike Jensen (SHK 9.0268) for his focus on commitment.  Would
he add to his  list Tubal as an exemplar of a diligent expeditious,
altruistic and self-abnegating messenger?  And all these attributes
placed by the author in a Jew!?  Shakespeare an antisemite?!

Of the three Jewish characters in the play Tubal is the only one whose
name has a Hebrew meaning, even though it has not been used, to my
knowledge, as a name since the first chapters of the Book of Genesis.
The word means "seasoned".  It is of the same root (tbl) as the word for
*immersion* (John the Baptiser is known, at least in modern Hebrew, as
Yokhanan HaMatbil), and to an attuned ear might therefore imply ritual
purity.

The closest I can come to a Hebrew name for Shylock is Jacob's deathbed
blessing of his twelve sons (Genesis XLIX). In his blessing to Judah
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from
between his feet, *as long as men come to Shiloh*; and unto him shall
the obedience of people be." (v.9, Soncino Chumash, Soncino Press,
London).  The commentator in my edition informs me that the Authorized
Version is in accord with a Rabbinic tradition that Shiloh is one of the
names of The Messiah:  "until Shilo come".

Jessica gave me more trouble.  Iscah, another name of Sarah (Genesis XI,
29), Is a good possibility as a source, emphasizing Shylock's adherence
to his roots in naming his child.  On the other hand, as part of an
allegory another possibility presents itself: "-ica",  implying a
feminine diminutive, gives "Little Jesu"!

I agree with those who deduce that Leah (the unseen character who alone
in the play has a traditional Jewish name) gave Shylock a ring as an
engagement present.  On the other hand, the historical Leah was the
mother of Judah and of the majority of the tribes of Israel.

Keeping in mind that the acceptance of The Ten Commandments at Sinai is
embedded in the Jewish tradition as a form of marriage between God and
chosen people, and using the information offered by  Steve Sohmer (SHK
9.0306 Re: Monkeys) we can derive a cohesive, if incomplete  metaphor:

The Children of Israel were imbued with a sense of tradition and unity
from the time of the matriarchs and through the Egyption period
enslavement, the period of "bachelorhood" before the before the
"wedding" at Sinai. Of the "marriage" was born a daughter religion  who,
taking her message to the gentiles, assumed pagan values and squandered
her cultural birthright on the Bishop of Rome, the rest being history.
Shylock has earlier referred to the subsequent unhappy relations between
the mother and the daughter religions.

Is Shakespeare so malleable that we can make out of his lines whatever
we want, or are we truly discerning an agenda that he wove into the
fabric of his play?  Are there subliminal messages being transmitted
here?  After a mere fifty years from the publishing of the play Jews
were invited back into into England, ending more than three hundred
years of banishment.  Could MofV have been received by some as the
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" of its day.  It's true that it took only fifteen
years from the publication of Ms Stowe's best seller to achieve the
emancipation of the black slaves in the Reunited States, but the means
of disseminating ideas were much more evolved in the IXth century than
in the XVIIth.  (Interesting to me that Shakespeare, through Shylock,
pointed a subliminial finger at the institution of slavery.  Interesting
too that one hundred years after the Emancipation, "uncle Tom" had
become a pejorative in the freedom movement of the sixties.)

Season's Greetings,
Syd Kasten

Brides; PBS Show; Star Trek CD

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0326  Wednesday, 8 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Apr 1998 10:25:18 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Monkeys

[2]     From:   Richard Nathan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Apr 1998 04:51:43 +0000
        Subj:   Possible Nonsense on PBS

[3]     From:   Richard A Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Apr 1998 21:47:28 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Star Trek CD


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Apr 1998 10:25:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Monkeys

Dear Steve Urkowitz,

First, best wishes to the soon-to-be bride. May she have a long and
happy married life! Second, I'd best clarify my original message on
monkeys. In it, I related a story I remembered about "Gue" or "JGew," a
famous trained monkey of the time, and then asked how this story might
be related to the end of 3.1. But I don't want to be doctrinaire on the
subject. Shakespeare is hardly ever doctrinaire, is he? So we should
follow his example.  I particularly like your view because it relates
back to Jessica's comment that "Our house is hell!" (2.3.2). Bill's
interpretation also connects up to this earlier statement.

You know, my daughter is only 9, but already I think about the day when
I will be "replaced." On to *The Tempest*!

Best wishes,
Ed Taft

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Apr 1998 04:51:43 +0000
Subject:        Possible Nonsense on PBS

There was a story in Marily Beck's and Stacy Jenel Smith's column in the
April 7, 1998, issue of the DAILY NEWS which says that PBS (the U.S.
public television service) is negotiating with Michael Wood for a
documentary on Shakespeare.  Unfortunately, the article quotes Wood as
saying that his documentary will be.... "The story of his secret life
and the Elizabethan police state.  Shakespeare was a Catholic in
England, tied in with Jesuit missions, at a time when Catholics were
being persecuted in that country to the degree that priests were
brutally tortured and executed.  The reason he wrote so powerfully about
the terror of the state was that he experienced it himself.  One of his
mother's kinsmen was drawn and quartered, and his head was put on a
spike on the London Bridge."  The article goes on to say that Wood is
relying on archives of the secret police of the day for research.

I urge everyone to write to PBS (their e-mail address is www.pbs.org)
and ask them not to fund this nonsense.  Yes, Shakespeare may have had
Catholic sympathies, but it is ridiculous to present this as a proven
fact.

And what is Wood talking about when he says Shakespeare wrote powerfully
about "the terror of the state"?  Has the man even read Shakespeare???

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Apr 1998 21:47:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Star Trek CD

I ran across an unintentionally hilarious (and equally horrendous) CD
the other day, a release of an album William Shatner did in 1968 on MCA
records in which he does selections from Hamlet, Henry V, and Romeo and
Juliet interspersed with covers of Mr. Tambourine Man, It Was a Very
Good Year, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  The CD (album) is entitled
The Transformed Man. By William Shatner, Captain of Star Trek.  It's is
truly unbelievable.

Best,
Richard

Jonas Barish, 76, Scholar of Theater History

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0324  Wednesday, 8 April 1998.

From:           Daniel Traister <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 13:12:59 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Jonas Barish, 76, Scholar of Theater History

Jonas Barish, 76, Scholar of Theater History
By ERIC PACE

The New York Times, April 7, 1998

Jonas A. Barish, a historian of the theater and an authority on the
English dramatist and poet Ben Jonson and his contemporary Shakespeare,
died on Wednesday at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, Calif.
He was 76 and lived in Berkeley, Calif.

The cause was respiratory complications from pneumonia, said his
daughter Judith Barish.

Barish taught at the University of California at Berkeley, where he
joined the English department in 1954 after teaching at Yale. He retired
in 1991.

The critic and author Stanley Kauffmann wrote in 1995: "In a
distinguished book called 'The Antitheatrical Prejudice,' Jonas Barish
articulates the long record of this prejudice in the Western world." The
book reviews the history of enmity toward the theater as it has been
displayed, in drama and in literary theorizing in a variety of tongues,
from Plato's day to current times.

Kauffmann cited "one example, a famous one: in the 18th century,
Rousseau, who had already achieved success as a playwright, turned
bitterly against the theater as a source of moral imbalance."

Another Berkeley professor of English, Paul Alpers, said on Monday that
"The Antitheatrical Prejudice" (1981, University of California Press)
contains Barish's "most remarkable and scholarly work."

Alpers said the book "was immediately recognized as having given
intellectual and historical definition to a phenomenon which up to that
point had been only dimly observed and understood." For writing it,
Barish was awarded the American Theater Association's Barnard Hewitt
Award for outstanding research in theater history.

An earlier book by Barish, "Ben Jonson and the Language of Prose Comedy"
(1960), brought him prominence in scholarly circles. It has been called
a milestone in the interpretation of plays by Jonson.

Barish's writings included articles on Jonson, Shakespeare and other
English playwrights. He also edited editions of works by Jonson and
Shakespeare.

Barish was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He was born in New York City, was a graduate of Harvard College and
served in the Army Signal Corps in Europe during World War II. He
received a doctorate in English from Harvard in 1953, and taught briefly
at Yale.

In addition to his daughter Judith of San Francisco, he is survived by
his wife, the former Mildred Seaquist, whom he married in 1964; another
daughter, Rachel Barish, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and a sister, Grace
Pologe, of Teaneck, N.J.

        Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company

Q: AYL Quotation

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0325  Wednesday, 8 April 1998.

From:           Scott Crozier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Apr 1998 15:15:51 +1000
Subject:        As You Like It

Scott Crozier

Can anybody help me uncover the possible original reading of Celia's "So
you may put a man in your belly." 3:2:201. Is this only reference to
future procreation?

Regards,
Scott Crozier

Re: The Tempest and . . .

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0323  Wednesday, 8 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Dana Spradley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 08:56:40 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0319  Re: The Tempest and . . .

[2]     From:   Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 13:07:17 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0319  Re: The Tempest and . . .

[3]     From:   Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 20:08:56 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Chess, anyone?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Spradley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 08:56:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 9.0319  Re: The Tempest and . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0319  Re: The Tempest and . . .

John Velz:

I'm glad to hear they put the chess scene back in. What would the
denouement be without it?! But as to the theater of engagement, I'd
think that would be Italy, or Europe in general. They're playing for
kingdoms, no?

Nancy N. Doherty:

You've got me intrigued - what about the politics of kingship in the
"new world" context?

Master of the ship people:

Seems the Master isn't incompetent or inattentive, just otherwise
occupied when the nobles come up to make sure he's doing his job. Ah,
yes, my Gilligan's Island theme again - they're the Howells, he's the
Captain... Isn't the ship of state an operative metaphor at this time?
Maybe the Master proposes an alternative model: the king as "he who
knows how best to rule" (a la Helicanus in Pericles), whether those of
noble blood recognize this or not.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 13:07:17 -0400
Subject: 9.0319  Re: The Tempest and . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0319  Re: The Tempest and . . .

Thanks Nancy for the kind plug.  Just for clarification's sake, we do
have a website, located at

http://granite.cyg.net/~yorick

We are in the midst of some radical expansion there, so please do check
in from time to time.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 20:08:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Chess, anyone?

Perhaps it's the return of Spring, but the use of chess in Tempest has
always seemed amusing to me.  Boy and girl are left alone in her old
man's domicile; the old man draws a curtain, revealing the boy and
girl-what?  Playing chess.

Right.  And I'm the queen of Romania.  If one were using real
adolescents, I hardly think they would have made use of the chessboard
except as a convincing cover for more, shall we say, preferable
activities.

Cheers,
Andy White
Arlington, VA

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