1998

Re: Bibles: KJV and Geneva

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0744  Friday, 7 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 12:50:14 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0736  Re: KJV

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 15:23:28 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 9.0736  Re: KJV

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:20:10 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0736  Re: KJV

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:36:26 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0734  Q: Geneva Bible


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 12:50:14 -0700
Subject: 9.0736  Re: KJV
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0736  Re: KJV

> It is strange also that King James paid not a pound of gold to support
> these men through the years of their great study and travail,

They all held semi-official government posts.  Cranmer wasn't paid for
on a quid pro quo basis for handling legalities dealing with Henry
VIII's divorce, either.  To the best of my knowledge, Lloyd Axworthy
hasn't been given a bonus for the land mines treaty, either.

> nor did he
> repay them by mention when this gigantic effort was laid to the press,

If they were looking for glory, they would have lacked the humility of
good Bible translators.  Besides which, the important thing about the
KJV wasn't that it was written by X, and we can disagree with the
translation because we know X did it (like Tyndale, the Bishop's Bible,
etc.).  The important was that it was the "Authorized Version", designed
to rise above such petty squabbles.

> nor did he pay the printers the cost of the printing.

Of course not.  Handing them the rights to the best-selling English book
of all time was quite enough of a windfall.  I wouldn't be surprised if
they had paid him.

> And it is a wonder-some say
> it is a miracle-that a 54 man committee, as it were, could construct
> such a beautiful and lofty tower to God, and not fall a-babbling and
> a-scattering of words amongst themselves.

Not really.  The homilies were also written by committee and
anonymously.  I suppose that you're going to say that Shakespeare wrote
those, also?  It would explain the heavy links between Taming of the
Shrew and a Homily on Matrimony...

Cheers,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 15:23:28 -0700
Subject: Re: KJV -Reply
Comment:        SHK 9.0736  Re: KJV -Reply

Oh, the KJV.  Can't we have done with this, and give Ms. Hughes a break
from grasping at straws, by just agreeing that the Earl of Oxford single
handedly translated the King James Version of the Bible - even though he
was long dead?

Ironically yours,
Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:20:10 -0700
Subject: 9.0736  Re: KJV
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0736  Re: KJV

> > To some people's ears, any good Elizabethan writing sound Shakespearean.
> > The King James is very well written, but it doesn't sound anything like
> > Shakespeare's writing to me.  And all the evidence seems to tell against
> > it.
>
> Except the evidence of common sense.

What common sense?  That a writer of tawdry dramas with few
ascertainable theological leanings (and those heretical) would be chosen
to produce a definitive edition of the Bible?  That's mad!

> Sorry for lack of clarity. I don't claim anything for Shakespeare. I
> simply think that it's odd that none of the truly great writers of the
> day appear to have been involved in this important undertaking.

On the contrary, the evidence of a great writer is her or his writing.
Insofar as the KJV translators are the KJV translators, they are great
writers.

You seem to think that in order to be great translators of the KJV, they
would also have to prove their capabilities with other works, in totally
unrelated genres.  On the contrary, Cranmer left practically nothing of
note behind except the Book of Common Prayer.  I'm not of the school
that turns it into some sort of Anglican Tower of Babel, but it's really
much better than his other work, and constitutes his *only* major work.
There's no reason why people who otherwise wrote dense theological
tracts shouldn't rise to the occasion of brushing up Tyndale, et. al.,
for a new and more diplomatic printing.

> There you go, Carl. 47 of 54. Who were the missing seven, and why were
> they missing?

On the grounds that the other 47 were all learned clergymen, we would
expect that the remaining seven are learned clergymen, as well.  I think
Carl made that point quite clear.  To treat a large sample as
representative of the whole is the usual way of doing statistics.

It is, moreover, the only solution which makes any sense in this case.
No one would choose a professional hack to translate the Bible on the
grounds of his wordsmithing, any more than you'd choose a good mechanic
to do brain surgery on the basis of his manual dexterity.  There are
whole fields of further expertise required, all of which are careers
unto themselves, especially for the Renaissance.  Lancelot Andrewes, who
is confidently considered a translator of the KJV, spent every day
between his morning prayers and noon in intensive theological and
linguistic study.  He spoke oodles of languages, and was widely
consulted as an expert on things theological.  As Carl has shown,
everyone else on the translating committee made a *career* out of
languages and theology.  We most certainly know that Shakespeare did
not.

> I'm not saying they didn't know how to write, or to translate. I'm
> saying that's a lot of university dons who were able to write clearly,
> succinctly, and beautifully. And I'm doubting it.

Why not?  Cranmer was a university don.  More recently, so was C. S.
Lewis. All the previous versions had been the products of career
theologians and translators.  Luther's German version, still used in
some churches, I believe, was not the product of a poet.  Neither was
Jerome's Bible the work of anyone who had built up a reputation as an
author of popular works.

> > We should not be surprised-in our far more
> > democratic age we do not find the names of Iris Murdoch or John Updike
> > or Toni Morrison or David Mamet or Adrienne Rich or Harold Pinter or
> > Brian Friel or Tony Kushner among the translators of the New Revised
> > Standard or New English or Anchor Bibles.   Those most significant late
> > C20 translations, like the AV, were produced  by scholars, not by
> > novelists or poets or playwrights.
>
> Which is, perhaps, why it makes such dull reading, and why it is so
> curious that the KJV is so beautiful.

Actually, I rather like the NIV.

> In any case, the production of an authorized version of the Bible would
> have been an extremely delicate matter at that time, and the choice of
> translators would have been equally delicate. The story as it has come
> down to us seem to me to have been cooked up for public consumption.
> Spread the responsibility as far as possible throughout the community of
> top level clergymen, and because poetry had a bad reputation in those
> days, best not to mention them.

The delicacy of choosing translators actually works against you. Any
theologians, especially those within the established church, would have
been far more closely scrutinized for their theological views than any
professional wordsmith.  The former were, by the nature of their
positions,
involved in sometimes very acrimonious theological controversy, where
the latter were not.  Using a Bible translated by certain bishops would
have been at least disconcerting to arch-protestants, and using one
translated by Calvinists wouldn't have appealed to neo-Catholics.  If
any names were to be hidden in order to allow for better public
consumption, it would most certainly have been the theologians, not your
hypothetical seven theological dilettantes.

Cheers,
Sean.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:36:26 -0700
Subject: 9.0734  Q: Geneva Bible
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0734  Q: Geneva Bible

Thomas F. Connolly wrote:

> Does anyone know of an inexpensive edition (new or used) of the Geneva
> Bible?  Searches on bibliofind or with the Massachusetts Bible Society
> produce only expensive editions ($35.00 and up).

Regent College, a local school of theology, has a copy from Pilgrim
Classic Commentaries, from 1989.  It's a facsimile softcover, with all
of the annotations intact, as you would expect.  Anyway, it's listed at
$33.25 Canadian; the editor is named Gerald T. Shephard.  Given the
precipitate decline of the Canadian dollar, it might even be worth your
time to order it from Regent, though I suppose that I shouldn't say
this, since I've been coveting the one copy on their shelves for some
time!

Incidentally, they also have the David Daniel edition of Tyndale's New
Testament from Yale for $21.95 Canadian.

Cheers,
Sean.

Re: Ophelia; Rape; Prospero; Porn

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0743  Friday, 7 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 15:36:09 +0000
        Subj:   Re: Incest and Ophelia

[2]     From:   Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:50:25 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0732  Re: Rape Laws

[3]     From:   Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 07 Aug 1998 09:51:14 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust

[4]     From:   Paul S. Rhodes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 7 Aug 1998 03:59:29 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0738  New Romeo and Juliet Porn Spin-Off


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 15:36:09 +0000
Subject:        Re: Incest and Ophelia

I found the information provided by Mike Jensen on Alzheimer's
enlightening.  But I have heard that other mental or emotional disorders
sometimes lead a person who has lived and spoken chastely in the past to
speak quite uncharacteristically.

Two more bits of evidence to add to the debate on whether Polonius's
family is plagued by incest (repressed or otherwise):

1.      Twice in the play, we are told that even the most virtuous may be
tarnished by "calumny": "Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes"
(1.3.38);  "be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not
escape calumny" (3.1.135-36).  I'm still pondering what the point of
these lines is for the world of the play (maybe something about that
world being so tainted that it is hard even for the virtuous in it to
avoid picking up some of the taint).  But perhaps the lines should serve
as a caution to interpreters, i.e., to avoid dealing out unnecessarily
"calumnious strokes"-even to the characters who inhabit the play's
hypothetical world.

2. A few lines in the play hint that Polonius and Ophelia may be in a
way parallel to Jephthah and his daughter (2.2.403, 410-12).  If the
parallel is pursued it would suggest that Polonius is a loving (but
foolish?) father who unwittingly damages his daughter.  I just noticed
today something in the story of Jephthah that has a bearing on whether
Ophelia was "honest" (i.e., chaste).  Learning she must be sacrificed to
fulfill her father's vow, Jephthah's daughter asks for two months in
which to "bewail [her] virginity":

        And she went with her companions, and bewailed her
        virginity upon the mountains.  ...  and she knew no man.
        (Judges 11:37-39)

Rather than being any sort of literal report of her past activities,
perhaps Ophelia's mad songs are in part her way of "bewailing her
virginity."

--Bruce Young

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:50:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0732  Re: Rape Laws
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0732  Re: Rape Laws

First, thank you very much to all of the people, legal scholars and lay
people alike, who responded to my query about rape laws.  Since David
Schalkwyk raises the reasonable question whether the whole issue is even
relevant to *Measure* or not, I'll offer an explanation why I asked
about it.

Some of you may have noticed that one of the seminars for the SAA next
year, led by Karen Bamford and Karen Robertson, is "Reconsidering Rape:
Sexual Violence on the Renaissance Stage."  If I am placed in this
seminar, I'm thinking about writing a paper about, in one sense, the
critical argument over whether "rape" is the appropriate term to
describe what Angelo attempts to do to Isabella, and in another sense,
the marked theatrical propensity over the last 20 years or so for stage
productions to perform 2.4 of *Measure* as a physical rape attempt.
Therefore, I'm interested, from a textual perspective, in how
Shakespeare and his audiences might have considered this situation, and
also how modern audiences would respond to it.  In that way, modern rape
laws in Wisconsin might be relevant, if the play were being performed
there.

However, as I suspected and feared, there does not seem to be a
clear-cut consensus about whether the term "rape" is appropriate or
not.  In posing the question and the current theatrical tendency to
various people, I have received widely varying reactions.  And not
everyone would necessarily agree that the law, even if it were clear
cut, would dictate how an audience would respond.  My preliminary
assessment is that the performance choice to make Angelo's proposal a
rape attempt offers certain immediate benefits, particularly with regard
to Isabella's dilemma, but that it also complicates the end of the play,
particularly Angelo's marriage to Mariana, even further.

Anyway, I'm still at the mulling-it-over stage on this question, and I
appreciate all the help.

        Michael Friedman
        University of Scranton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 07 Aug 1998 09:51:14 +1000
Subject: 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0706  Re: Tempest and Faust

Stuart Manger claims that the astonishing thing about Prospero is that
he stops:

>BUT what does Prospero do then? He stops. Can I say that again - he
>STOPS. How many in history accoutered with such devastating power have
>ever simply put it down and walked away, satisfying himself with stern
>words, secret whisperings, and the gift of love and humble
>reconciliation? And is that not the point? Prospero demonstrates that
>man has the potential for limitless devastation, moral duplicity,
>cruelty, beauty, tyranny, fatherhood, friendship and moral virtue, and
>that in the end, he at least can simply see the path to destruction when
>Ariel has those amazing words at the start of Act 5: 'mine would, sir,
>were I human' So simple, but they stop Prospero in his tracks along
>their primrose path, turns form the Faustian way with the antidote to
>all the tragedies - particularly Lear - with 'The rarer action is in
>virtue than in vengeance' - easy words, no great surprise in them, we
>think in the darkened theatre. BUT then the man actually turns the pious
>platitude into action before our eyes: he simply drops plans for a
>stored vengeance. He breaks his staff, buries his books certain fathoms,
>deeper than did ever plummet sound.

What does it do to this argument if it is pointed out that we don't see
Propero on stage actually break his staff or drown his books "before our
eyes"? He SAYS he will do this (he would say that, wouldn't he), but in
the last lines of his final speech, not counting the epilogue, he is
still controlling the weather ("I...promise you calm seas, auspicious
gales...") and ordering Ariel to implement his promise. ("My Ariel,
chick,/ That is thy charge.") It is true that he continues "Then to the
elements/ Be free, and fare thou well!", but Ariel has heard that kind
of promise many times before, as have the slaves/servants/underlings of
many another Faustian master "accoutered with...devastating power", and
by the time this text runs out it still hasn't happened. We may choose
to imagine that it will happen in some hyperfictional realm beyond the
play, but the question is unresolved in the script.

Adrian Kiernander

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul S. Rhodes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 7 Aug 1998 03:59:29 -0600
Subject: 9.0738  New Romeo and Juliet Porn Spin-Off
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0738  New Romeo and Juliet Porn Spin-Off

Someone posted this meritricious and pandering post:

>I just found out about a video entitled _Exiles_, a futuristic spin-off
>of _Romeo and Juliet_.  It is directed by Brad Armstrong and stars Jill
>Kelly (Juliette), Raylene, Stephanie Swift, Sydnee Steele, Kailani Reid,
>Alec Metro (Romeo), Mickey G., Brad Armstrong, Mark Davis, Veronica
>Hart, George Kaplan, and Ron Vogel.  86 mins. Color. Wicked Pictures.
>USA.
>
>There is a very positive review in the August issue of AVN (Adult Video
>News, a trade publication directed mostly at  video store owners) on p
>130.
>
>If anyone is interested in mail order, Excaliburfilms.com (no connection
>to me) carries it for 26.95.

To which I respond:

Oh, yeah, I usually put much trust in a favorable review in something
called Adult Video News.  What would such a publication regard as the
elements of a good film?  Creative neon lighting?  Genuine leather?
Subtle nuances in the actresses' moans?  Just curious.

Posts like the above make me wonder if I should not reconsider Gabriel
Egan's academic elitism.  At least that would exclude discussion of
something as mindless and crass as a porn version of R&J.  Then again, I
may be giving academic elitism much too much credit.  I sure hope not.

I would urge our editor to exercise better discretion

Paul S. Rhodes

Re: New Globe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0741  Friday, 7 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:05:41 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0737  Re: New Globe

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 7 Aug 1998 05:55:43 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 9.0737  Re: New Globe


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 06 Aug 1998 16:05:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0737  Re: New Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0737  Re: New Globe

The sound of a yelping audience

Some months ago, on a cold Wednesday afternoon, my fellow actors and I
looked at each other with wild surmise as we heard over the speakers in
our dressing rooms the hoots and hollers, squeals and yells of a high
school audience let out of their prisons to come and see Ronald
Harwood's `Taking Sides' at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal. There were
ten minutes left before curtain-up, and the noise increased. As I
watched the beginning of the play on the closed-circuit television, my
pity for the three actors onstage soon became mixed with a thrilling
admiration for the ability of these unpractised teenagers to hear and
respond to the lines, which in this particular play are largely argument
about art and ideology.

When I made my slow entrance as Wilhelm Furtwaengler in a long black
overcoat with lambskin collar, my hair greyly flying, there was loud
derisive laughter. The conscious part of me agreed with the tousled
tykes that I looked ridiculous, an arty farty gentleman standing
opposite a boorish soldier, and this encouraged me to be more
"dignified" than ever.  As the argumentative events of the play ran
their course, we enjoyed some of the most powerful silences I have
encountered as audience or performer, and knew that when the youngsters
began to cheer the old musical curmudgeon rather my philistine
interrogator that we "had 'em".

Truthfully, I would rather have the "respectful silence" of our very
boring and self-conscious twentieth century theatre, but I do know that
there is a disgraceful falseness about it. There is an equal falseness
about productions that pretend to encourage participation, as the story
about the interfering clown yesterday illustrated well. Just to get
people to shout YES! to "Do you believe in fairies?" to keep
Tinkerbell's light alive in `Peter Pan' strikes me as artistically
insufficient. But to hear no gasps when Isabella appears to surrender,
to hear only silence when Lear awakens to Cordelia's voice...these are
indeed occasions when we would be better off reading a book.

It doesn't need saying that we've no real idea what an Early Modern
audience sounded like, but they sure as eggs is eggs didn't sound like a
1998 subscription crowd, or, worse, those who laugh at Shakespeare's
jokes because they imagine they understand them and want their
neighbours to know it.

        Harry Hill

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 7 Aug 1998 05:55:43 -0400
Subject: Re: New Globe
Comment:        SHK 9.0737  Re: New Globe

Maybe -at last- some of the audience have started to resent the immense
condescension underlying the whole project? Like most theme-park
re-creations, the New Globe offers Culture viewed from the top down
disguised as Culture seen from the bottom up. It can't be long before
the Queen officially designates it a symbol of our national heritage.

Terence Hawkes

Stratford (Ont) 1999 Season

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0742  Friday, 7 August 1998.

From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 6 Aug 1998 14:45:10 -0400
Subject:        Stratford (Ont) 1999 Season

Ok, so the 1998 season is only half over.  But in case you are
interested, here's the Stratford line up for 1999, which was announced
last Tuesday:

(season runs from May 3 (previews) to Novermber 7)

Festival Theatre:
        The Tempest
        Midsummer Night's Dream
        Pride and Prejudice (by Christina Calvit, adapted from Austen)
        The Alchemist (Jonson)
        School for Scandal (Sheridan)

Avon Theatre:
        West Side Story
        Dracula (book and lyrics by Richard Ouzounian, based on Stoker)

Patterson Theatre:
        Richard II
        Macbeth
        Glen (by David Young, based on the life of Glenn Gould)

Of course I'm not terribly pleased that there will be no Shakespeare at
the Avon (which is next door to us), but then again, the Dracula theme
may just be too good to resist!

Tanya "the horror, the horror!" Gough

Sturua's Richard III

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0740  Thursday, 6 August 1998.

From:           John Jowett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 6 Aug 1998 10:52:12 GMT
Subject:        Re: Sturua's Richard III

I've found out from a listing on the American Film Institute's website
(http://www.afionline.org/) that Robert Sturua's legendary production of
Richard III that played at Edinburgh in 1979 and London in 1980 was made
into a film (Soviet Union, 1980).  Does anyone know whether the film is,
in these global days, available commercially?

Thanks,
John Jowett
The Shakespeare Institute

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