1998

Shakespeare Conference Announcement

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1295  Monday, 14 December 1998.

From:           A. J. Hoenselaars <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 17:56:12 +0100
Subject:        Shakespeare Conference Announcement

GENERAL INFORMATION & CALL FOR PAPERS

International Conference
"FOUR CENTURIES OF SHAKESPEARE IN EUROPE"

University of Murcia, Spain
18-20 November, 1999

Academic Committee
Michael Hattaway (University of Sheffield), A. Luis Pujante (University
of Murcia), Ton Hoenselaars (University of Utrecht), Alexander Shurbanov
(University of Sofia), Manfred Draudt (University of Vienna), Jean-Marie
Maguin (University of Montpellier)

Local Organizing Committee: A. Luis Pujante, Clara Calvo,  Keith Gregor
(Conference Secretary)

Building on previous initiatives in the expanding field of "Shakespeare
in Europe", the conference will assess the reception  and impact of
Shakespeare's work across Europe from the seventeenth century to the
present. Embracing (and, where necessary, interrelating), the areas of
Scholarship & Criticism, Translation and performance, the conference
will provide an opportunity to examine the extent of Shakespeare's
influence on different national cultures, as well as the contribution of
those cultures to Shakespeare's standing in Europe and indeed the world
as a whole. As well as reassessing the earliest textual and stage
manifestations of Shakespeare's work across the continent, there will be
a chance to discuss the myriad processes by which the playwright's work
has been absorbed and adapted by different cultural
producers/institutions, the concept of a Shakespeare "without his
language" and the complex relations between the reception of the plays
in the English and non-English-speaking countries.  In these and other
issues discussed, the stress will also fall inevitably on the historical
factors affecting the spread of Shakespeare's work in Europe over the
last four centuries.

Keynote lectures in the areas of Scholarship & Criticism, Translation
and Performance will be given by Balz Engler (U. of Basle), Martin
Hilsk


Re: Ghost from Purgatory

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1294  Monday, 14 December 1998.

[1]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 09:57:24 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory

[2]     From:   Genevieve Guenther <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 10:40:28 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 13 Dec 1998 01:00:24 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 09:57:24 +0000
Subject: 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory

Shakespeare refers to a number of belief systems in his works, and seems
himself to have been rather more secular than an adherent of any one
system. The thought presented here by more than one poster that he was,
first and foremost, a playwright, out to capture the attention of his
audience by whatever means, seem cogent, and certainly ghosts, witches,
sprites and other supernatural manifestations provided thrills that
audiences could get no other way, one reason no doubt why so many plays
provided them.

Hamlet himself questions whether the ghost is, in fact, his father's
spirit, or a devil from Hell, called forth perhaps by his own anxieties,
remaining unconvinced until the play elicits a guilty response from
Claudius.  Although Catholicism offered a vision of purgatory, it was
certainly not the only source for ghosts, which had inhabited the
English imagination long before the Church imposed its own definitions
on English folkways. Since they derive from an oral, hence unwritten,
tradition, these deeply-rooted folkways are too often forgotten as a
rich source of Shakespeare's art, one that he draws from freely in most
of his plays.

Stephanie Hughes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Genevieve Guenther <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 10:40:28 -0800
Subject: 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory

Steve Simkin writes:

[snip]

>". . . the people also understanding the thing as it was,
>every man hastened to be first out of dores."  (Chambers, III,  424)
>
>How much this actually proves about what proportion of the audiences
>"believed" in demons and physical manifestations of the same I guess has
>to remain up for grabs.  Certainly Prynne would have endorsed any tatty
>old story if it would have helped get the playhouses closed.  It also
>fails to take account of audiences responding in a way they believe is
>*appropriate* rather than in some kind of mass hysteria.  Anyone who has
>seen _Scream_ or _Scream 2_ in a packed cinema will know what I mean.

I would like to suggest here a point which I obscured in my response to
Professor Flannagan in order to emphasize the ghost's fictional status
(which I'll just re-emphasize by saying that, if "the ghost walks," he
walks on the stage). As Mr. Simkin's textual citations imply, the line
between the effect of magic and the effect of the theater was quite
thin, if even extant, in the imagination and practice of the Elizabethan
theater: just as a great deal of spiritual power was being evacuated
from the Catholic church only to be reinvested in the theater (as
Stephen Greenblatt has, I think, persuasively argued), so was a great
deal of imaginative power being drained from magic by the beginnings of
breakdown of belief only to be transferred into theatrical experience.
Thus, what we understand to be an "appropriate" response to theatrical
performance is, I would suggest, actually a product of this transfer of
imaginative investment which found its first historical circumstances in
the Elizabethan theater.  That we expect to be transported by terror
when we see, for example, Scream, and that theatrical techniques which
may create that transporting do exist, we may understand at least
partially by looking at the dramaturgy and poetics of the Elizabethan,
and particularly Shakespearian, theater.  Nor should we underestimate,
by the way, the accuracy of antitheatrical polemic when we want to
discern what the cultural take on certain practices might have been:
although they make their points in order to criticize the theater,
Puritan polemicists like Prynne often describe a general sense of what
was going on (of course, not everyone thought that what was going on was
bad). In any case, I'm actually planning to work all of that out
systematically in my dissertation (despite Professor Flannagan's polite
and generous titling for me, I must say that I'm still a graduate
student, who feels that it would be bad faith and bad luck to accept,
even implicitly, a title that I have not yet earned. . . with the job
market as it is, I have no desire to sneer at the fates!).

Best,
Genevieve Guenther

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 13 Dec 1998 01:00:24 -0000
Subject: 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1285 Re: Ghost from Purgatory

>As Roy Flannagan admits in his entry, he has missed the long history of
>the scholarly discussion on the Ghost in _Hamlet_.  The Ghost is not so
>'clearly Roman Catholic' as Flannagan expects it to be.

<SNIP>

>So many other scholars have commented on the identity of the Ghost
>(Consult the MLA Bibliography for more details), and I myself am
>studying this subject as a part of my PhD dissertation on _Hamlet_.

If we're listing discussions of the status of the ghost, it should at
least include the fullest account, Robert H. West, _Shakespeare and the
Outer Mystery_ (1968), pp. 56-68.

However, if an answer could be arrived at simply by piling up the weight
of secondary discussion and seeing which side of the argument massed the
heavier, the question wouldn't arise in the first place.

Robin Hamilton.

Questions on R&J

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1292  Saturday, 12 December 1998.

From:           Marilyn Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 10 Dec 1998 07:32:50 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Questions on R&J

Two questions from my 15-year-old Honors students about R&J:

In the nurse's speech in 1.3, she speaks of Juliet's weaning and says
that she had upon her head a bump big "as a young cockerel's stone."
The Arden footnotes "stone" as "testicle." However, cokerels'
reproductive organs are not external, are they?  (This question needs
answering by a poultry expert, not a Shakespeare expert, no doubt <g>!)

In the same vein, the students wanted to know if "cock" as a slang term
for penis was current in Elizabethan times.

This is a really alert group!

Thanks for any help; I'll be sharing answers w/ the class from my
classroom computer!

Marilyn Bonomi

Re: "Shakespeare in Love"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1293  Monday, 14 December 1998.

[1]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 11:49:56 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love"

[2]     From:   Richard Nathan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 18:47:00 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love"

[3]     From:   Jerry Bangham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 12:58:18 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love" - Two more reviews


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 11:49:56 -0500
Subject: 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love"
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love"

>This film's
>exhilarating cleverness springs from its speculation about where the
>playwright might have found the beginnings of "Romeo and Juliet," but it
>is not constrained by worries about literary or historical accuracy.
<snip>
>Ingenious as the film's many inventions happen to be (from boatmen who
>behave like cabbies to its equivalent of Shakespearean outtakes-"One
>Gentleman of Verona" in the writing process)

I find myself irresistibly reminded of the cartoon "Peabody's Improbable
History" in which Peabody and Sherman journey in the Wayback machine
just
in time to suggest to Shakespeare that he might like not to entitle his
new
play Romeo and Zelda.

Incidentally, "Peabody," starring the world's most teleological dog,
really is a fascinating study, since it's the dog who keeps having to
correct the "great men" of history (invariably buffoons) so the history
books come out right.  Its insistence on hierarchical reversal is fairly
consistent right from the beginning-"And this is my boy, Sherman. Say
hello to the people, Sherman."  "Hello."  "Good boy!"

Oh, well-yet another essay I keep intending to write once this raft of
comp papers is graded.

Melissa D. Aaron
University of Michigan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 18:47:00 +0000
Subject: 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love"
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love"

Stephanie Cowell asked what others thought of "SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE."

First, I'd like to start by saying I completely recommend Stephanie's
novel, "THE PLAYER" about Shakespeare's early days.  I'm not convinced
by some of her conjectures (I don't believe Southampton was the fair
youth), but it's still a great read.

I hadn't realized she has another novel out in which Shakespeare is a
character.  I'll have to look for it.

As to "SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE" - I agree with her that it's very funny and
quite silly.  The main plot line focuses on how Shakespeare takes
elements from his own life and uses them to come up with the plot of
"ROMEO AND JULIET," ignoring the fact that the story had been around for
a long time before Shakespeare got to it.

I do not agree with Ms. Cowell that Ben Afflick stuck out like a sore
thumb.  I thought he was funny and silly like the rest of the film.  The
one performance that bothered me was Joseph Fiennes in the title role.
I find him a cold actor - like his brother.  But I liked him in this
film far better than I did in "ELIZABETH."

Both the Fiennes brothers always seem to me to be holding something back
- to be detached, over-intellectualizing.  But in this film, that sort
of works for a writer.  He's never so much in the love affair that he's
not standing back and observing it, for use in his play.  He claims that
the love affair is more important to him than his plays, but I never
believed it for a moment.  I'm not sure I was supposed to believe it.
This Shakespeare seemed incapable of completely giving himself over to
feeling.  Was that the role, or was it Fiennes?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jerry Bangham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 12:58:18 -0600
Subject: 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love" - Two more reviews
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.1287 "Shakespeare in Love" - Two more reviews

TNT roughcut.com's "60-second Movie Review":
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (Miramax) R
December 11, 1998

It seems appropriate that the words to describe the entrancing
Shakespeare in Love escape me, as the film, which imagines the creation
of the greatest and most tragic love story of the ages, finds the young
Bard consumed with writer's block. Joseph Fiennes, creates a charming,
handsome William Shakespeare that looks just the way us romantics would
picture the master.  At the core of the comedy is the romance between
young Will and his muse (Gwyneth Paltrow sparkles as Viola), but more so
about the impact their love has on the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet,
which has plagued generations since 1593. In addition to the
Fiennes/Paltrow chemistry there's a remarkable supporting cast including
Geoffrey Rush (hysterical as a struggling theater owner) and Judi Dench
(brutal perfection as the revolutionary Elizabeth I).
The verdict: Don't miss

>From "Salon"

BY LAURA MILLER | Early in John Madden's good-natured romantic comedy
"Shakespeare in Love," the eponymous Elizabethan bard (Joseph Fiennes),
tormented by writer's block, sets aside a ceramic coffee mug when local
theater manager Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) drops by to ask how his
new play is coming along. The mug has "A Present from Stratford on Avon"
printed on it. That groaner is probably the worst of the dumb, goofy
schtick littered throughout this film, although there's a moment, when
the characters pile into a tavern and you can overhear someone on the
soundtrack reciting a list of specials ("roast pig with a juniper berry
sauce on a bed of ... "), that comes pretty close. The movie has a
smattering of bookishly clever bits as well, most of which are probably
the handiwork of Tom Stoppard, who did a rewrite on Marc Norman's
original script. The nasty, squinty little boy who likes to feed live
mice to stray cats and describes his idea of great theater as "plenty of
blood" turns out to be John Webster, who will become the author of the
Jacobean gorefest "The Duchess of Malfi." A preacher denouncing the
theater in London's streets subliminally supplies some of the best lines
in the play Shakespeare is writing throughout the film, "Romeo and
Juliet." Mostly, though, "Shakespeare in Love" is a corny, old-fashioned
backstage farce, a lot like the kind of movie that would star Joan
Blondell and John Barrymore in the 1930s.

Unable to finish his new comedy, "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's
Daughter," the up-and-coming young playwright wallows in a picturesque
funk (and puffy shirt), yearning for a new muse. Meanwhile, Henslowe
appeases a brutal loan shark by cutting him in on the new production, so
if Will doesn't produce, his boss could wind up minus an ear or two.
Furthermore, all of Henslowe's best actors are out on the road trying to
rustle up funds. Then there's the rival theater owned by the legendary
actor Richard Burbage, who has the town's finest playwright, Christopher
Marlowe, on contract, but wouldn't mind stealing Will away as well.

Will's muse arrives in the person of Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow),
an (excessively) fictional maiden of modest name and extravagant fortune
who thrills to the theater and decides to disguise herself as a boy in
order to audition for a part in Shakespeare's new play. Her parents
intend to marry her off to one Lord Wessex (Colin Firth, reprising the
uptight sourpuss role that made him a heartthrob in the BBC's most
recent version of "Pride and Prejudice"), who plans to take his bride to
Virginia. Will spots Viola at a dance, is smitten, eventually figures
out that she's the "boy" actor cast as Romeo, wins her heart and,
inspired by true love, writes his first great play.

Fiennes-a lanky, doe-eyed dreamboat-seems a perfect match with Paltrow.
Both are handsome, competent actors of no particularly distinctive
charisma or talent. Other, more appealing character actors appear in
minor, limited roles: Judi Dench as a cranky Queen Elizabeth, Rupert
Everett as Marlowe and Antony Sher (he played Disraeli in "Mrs. Brown"),
wasted, as Will's "therapist," arching his marvelous eyebrows at Will's
litany of unwittingly Freudian metaphors for his writer's block. Such
dopey anachronistic humor eventually gives way to a pleasant, if very
familiar, package of hoary showbiz jokes-vain actors, envious writers,
stage-struck investors, scheming rivals, mistaken identities,
last-minute disasters and fortuitous substitutions.

Madden clearly wants the movie to feel like one of Shakespeare's sunny,
mature comedies-a bit of melodrama, a few clowns, some disguises, a
touch of philosophy, some bawdy jokes, all wrapped around a romance-a
grab bag of whimsies transformed by the bard's uncanny alchemy into
something sublime. Of course, not even Stoppard is Shakespeare, and the
end result resembles one of Neil Simon's middlebrow romps more than it
does "As You Like It." Veins of Shakespeare's poetry run through the
screenplay, and they deliver occasional jolts of genius, heady and rich,
that tend to dull the surrounding prose. Likewise (to my own enduring
surprise) Ben Affleck, playing the famous Elizabethan actor Ned Alleyn,
strides into the beleaguered theater company halfway through the film
like a godling cast among mortals. He's so commanding a presence, such a
delight to watch, that the rest of the perfectly fine performers get
perceptibly drabber in his company. That, you think with a start, is a
movie star. Unfortunately, it's the only entirely unexpected thing about
"Shakespeare in Love."

SALON | Dec. 11, 1998

Shakespeare and the Powers of Language

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1291  Saturday, 12 December 1998.

From:           Geoffrey Wall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Dec 1998 16:29:39 +0000
Subject:        Shakespeare and the Powers of Language

I'm designing an MA module. Its going to be called Shakespeare and the
Powers of Language.  Its obviously a big miscellaneous topic.  The aim
is to bring together, in nine seminars taught over nine weeks, various
kinds of understanding. Rhetoric, poetics, linguistics and the kind of
cultural history that the children of Foucault are good at. I'd love to
know, for self-clarification, if anyone is doing anything similar.

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