1998

Re: Shakespeare's Pronunciation

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0708  Thursday, 30 July 1998.

From:           Jonathan Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 12:44:29 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 9.0696  Re: Shakespeare's Pronunciation
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0696  Re: Shakespeare's Pronunciation


> I've been consulting Helge Kokeritz's Shakespeare's Pronunciation. I am
> mainly interested in word forms and usage (not pronunciation) and it
> seems to me the book rests on some questionable assumptions. Can anyone
> tell if this book is a reliable source of information; has it been
> supplanted or discredited?

This, and related, questions seem to come up every now and then, so here
is what Charles Barber has to say in the 'Further reading' section at
the end of the chapter on 'Phonology' in his *Early Modern English*
(1997, Edinburgh UP):

"The standard work on English phonology in the period is Dobson (1968),
a work of prodigious scholarship.  Dobson demonstrates the great variety
of pronunciation that existed even in St[andard] E[nglish], and also has
a good deal to say about non-standard pronunciations.  He attaches great
importance (rightly, in my view) the evidence of the orthoepists of the
period, and analyses it with great care.  This kind of evidence,
however, does tend to give prominence to formal and conservative styles
of speech, and what Dobson presents as StE pronunciation at any given
date is often a very conservative brand of it.  In a subject so complex,
and with evidence often susceptible to different interpretations, there
are inevitable points of controversy, and Dobson's work has encountered
criticisms [...references to reviews omitted...] But, despite the points
of controversy, the work will undoubtedly remain for many years the
indispensable handbook on the subject.

Dobson's book, however, is a work for the specialist, not for the
general reader: it is enormously detailed, and moreover presupposes
in the reader a considerable knowledge of the phonology of Old
English and Middle English.  Other works in the field include
Zachrisson (1913), Wyld (1923), Kokeritz (1953), and Cercignani
(1981).  Kokeritz's book has long been popular with students of
English literature, but some of it rests on rather shaky evidence,
and it should be treated with great caution."

Dobson, EJ (1968) *English pronunciation 1500-1700* (2 vols, 2nd
ed.:Oxford)
Cercignani, F (1981) *Shakespeare's works and Elizabethan pronunciation*
(Oxford)
Kokeritz, H (1953) *Shakespeare's pronunciation* (Yale)
Wyld (1923) *Studies in English rhymes from Surrey to Pope*
Zachrisson (1913) *Pronunciation of English vowels 1400-1700*

Most people will find everything they need on this subject in Barber's
own chapter - reliable, and very clearly written.  I've just written a
chapter on Shakespeare's language for a forthcoming Blackwell's
Companion to Shakespeare, and the section on phonology borrows heavily
from Barber - he's the Top Man.

Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University

Re: Shakespeare and the Bible

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0707  Thursday, 30 July 1998.

[1]     From:   John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 98 18:44:42 EDT
        Subj:   Re:  SHK 9.0698  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible

[2]     From:   Peter Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 14:03:42 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0698  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 98 18:44:42 EDT
Subject: 9.0698  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible
Comment:        Re:  SHK 9.0698  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible

Hi, for a radically different view of Shakespeare and the Bible see the
Anthony Burgess novel "Shakespeare's Dark Lady'. In it he has
Shakespeare and Ben Jonson writing the King James' Version.

Is there any evidence that Shakespeare could have been a member of the
translating team?

John Ramsay
Welland Ontario
Canada

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 14:03:42 GMT
Subject: 9.0698  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0698  Re: Shakespeare and the Bible

I know it doesn't help people who want to read work on this topic now
but I thought SHAKSPERians might like to know that Steven Marx's book on
*Shakespeare and the Bible* will be published by Oxford University Press
in the first group of titles in a new series designed for undergraduates
called Oxford Shakespeare Topics. Stanley Wells and I are the General
Editors for the series.

Re: MND

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0705  Thursday, 30 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 10:51:56 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0701  Q: MND

[2]     From:   Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 14:09:52 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   MND

[3]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 19:06:04 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0701  Q: MND

[4]     From:   Peter Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 11:48:25 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0701  Q: MND

[5]     From:   Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 11:05:26 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0701 Q: MND

[6]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, July 30, 1998
        Subj:   Re: MND


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 10:51:56 -0700
Subject: 9.0701  Q: MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0701  Q: MND

> Does anybody know of a play which tackles similar subject matter as MND
> which appeared around the time MND first appeared?  Is it singular in
> what it tackles or were there others like it?  I have searched but seem
> to think that the play may be on its own.  Is this odd considering the
> amount of repetition that occurred in the repertories of the main London
> companies?
>
> Scott Crozier

I don't know of anything similar to MND at its time, but it does seem to
have spawned a series of derivatives.  There's a terrible late
sixteenth-century novel, in black letter in the Early Modern English
books collection of microfilms, called Theseus and Titana.  The author,
though, seems to have borrowed almost nothing except names and location.

There's also something from the mid-17th century called "Orlando, King
of the Faeries", or something like that.

Cheers,
Sean.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 14:09:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        MND

Scott Crozier asks if there are other plays similar to MND that appeared
at around the same time. John Lyly's *Gallathea* (1588?) and *Endymion,
or the Man in the Moon* (1588?) and George Peele's *The Old Wive's Tale*
(1591?) come to mind. They share with MND fantastic characters, romantic
settings, an emphasis on madness and the forest, madness and love as
similar (Peele), courtly compliments, etc. Peele, especially, seems to
have been a major influence on Shakespeare's comedies and on MND in
particular. The best article on Peele's *OWT* is still Gwenan Jones,
"The Intention of Peele's *Old Wives Tale*,* *Aberystwyth Studies,
1925,* 79-93.

--Ed Taft

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 19:06:04 -0700
Subject: 9.0701  Q: MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0701  Q: MND

"James IV", attributed to Robert Greene, written sometime in the late
1580s or early 90s, has many elements similar to those in MSND. It also
has a last act that's almost identical to the last act of AYLI. Theseus
and Hippolyta appear in much the same roles that they play in MSND in
"Two Noble Kinsmen" attributed to Shakespeare and Fletcher. Although
orthodox dating puts it late, it seems clear to me from the style to be
the same period as James IV. (If Fletcher was involved, it was only to
modernize it.) Anyway, you might want to take a look at these two plays.

Stephanie Hughes

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 11:48:25 GMT
Subject: 9.0701  Q: MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0701  Q: MND

Try Munday's *John a Kent and John a Cumber* which may be 1590 or  1596
(the date on the MS is unclear).

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jul 1998 11:05:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0701 Q: MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0701 Q: MND

There is a potential analogue to MND in Calderon's La vida es sueno (a
tilde should go over that "n" but my computer is as Anglo-centric as can
be). While it's tempting to believe that Sh knew the work of the Golden
Age Spanish dramatists, chances are slim to none, I'm told.

Fran Teague
New e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, July 30, 1998
Subject:        Re: MND

*Romeo and Juliet*

Re: Tempest and Faust

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0706  Thursday, 30 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 10:59:46 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0700  Tempest and Faust

[2]     From:   Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 21:34:47 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 9.0700 Tempest and Faust

[3]     From:   Marilyn E. Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 23:17:32 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0700  Tempest and Faust


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 10:59:46 -0700
Subject: 9.0700  Tempest and Faust
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0700  Tempest and Faust

The parallels between Faust stories and The Tempest have been noted for
some time.  I seem to recall this being mentioned in the introduction to
the Arden 2.  By the way, in some of the German tales, the magician's
familiar is named "Ariel."

I think this rather destroys the schematic division between neo-Platonic
'white' magic and 'black' magic that various early historicists liked to
hark on.  Prospero's work is dangerous.  It represents power over his
adversaries, a power he has great difficulty in giving up, and which,
except for the intervention of Ariel, would have been unleashed in the
most vengeful way.

Cheers,
Sean

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 21:34:47 +0100
Subject: Tempest and Faust
Comment:        SHK 9.0700 Tempest and Faust

It has long been my own contention that at one end of the spectrum lies
Marlowe's 'Faustus' and at the other Shakespeare's 'Tempest'.  Both
contain species of megalomaniacs -'over-reachers'- but there is of
course a major difference: Faustus is allowed the privilege of
exercising the staggering power he is offered and simply fritters it
away, not matching early rhetoric of mastery with action. Instead,
conjuring tricks, illusionist stuff, cheap and sometimes cruel jokes,
rabble-rousing anti-papist knockabout - all very meretricious stuff.
Until he sees Helen: the saddest moment in the play. For the first time,
he is confronted by beauty. BUT it is an illusion, for this is NOT
actually Helen of Troy at all that he has fallen in love with. It is
closer to a typical man-fantasy renaissance bimbo, supremely beautiful
maybe, but a devil merely impersonating Helen as a trick on Faustus
himself to keep him form repenting. Faust allows himself to be deceived
into accepting her reality. The big speech is fine, but is there not an
exquisite irony that at one of the truly memorable moments in the play's
poetry, Faustus is making love to an illusion?  But then he drives on to
self-destruction, warned, prayed for, begged and tugged towards a
salvation he will not bend his will to accept.  He goes to Hell, because
he does not know where the brakes are, or if he does, he simply will not
activate them to arrest his headlong progress. The power he wills at the
start of the play rules him, and finally sweeps him away. Nietzschean
will to power to destruction perhaps? Maybe that's OTT. Lots more to
say, but this is an e-mail posting, not a seminar paper!

And Prospero?

He really has the kind of power that even Faustus would dream about:
total power over the proximate elements, power over even life and death
(God's privetee?), he makes beauty, he makes torture, he has servants
who obey his every whim, a daughter who worships him and who is only
just second to his books, AND he is unchallenged - maybe even
unchallengeable within his sphere. BUT then he does have challenges,
ironically of his own invitation: the Milanese / Neapolitan Wedding
party are made to crash, made to come on shore, preserved and then drawn
to a final showdown with the man they have collectively and individually
wronged years before - a grudge that has gone on hurting and festering.
But Prospero has awesome power, and is manifestly seen in the play to
exercise it spectacularly - at the very edge of what the current stage
machinery could encompass, one speculates. The wonderfully innocent
stage direction - he claps his wings upon the table and the banquet
disappears. Crumbs!! The theatre is littered with the corpses of stage
managers hanging gibbering and screaming from the flies in their
desperation in interpreting THAT! And that is only one such of a series
of stipulated stage procedures indicating just how far the play required
demonstrations of astonishment, beauty and power. But it is no hassle
for Ariel. Indeed, nor is it difficult for Propsero to imagine them: he
utters salvoes of such commands in the total confidence that all will be
executed - even to opening graves and letting forth the spirits of the
dead?

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. Why? so no one else can ever get
them. It is always said that whether we ban nuclear weapons or not, the
stark truth is that we can never un-learn how to make them, we cannot
disinvent them. Prospero does: he releases Ariel, he ensures that no one
who follows him will ever have access to that truly universal sovereign
sway and masterdom that most tragic heroes crave / boast / abuse. He
apparently had the power of life and death in some form or other, but he
renounces it. I cannot think of anyone in history who has done that, and
been totally and indivisibly human? Certainly not in literature.  So at
one end, a man who destroyed himself through greed for power, and at the
other, a man who finds himself by renouncing what is more than a dream,
but a reality for him. He discovers that to be truly human is to
renounce, not to possess. Uncomfortable lesson for the mighty? For
anyone? And for kings who may have watched the play in London? Very
uncheery stuff indeed, I'd say.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn E. Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 23:17:32 -0400
Subject: 9.0700  Tempest and Faust
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0700  Tempest and Faust

Re Shattuck's
> reading Shakespeare's<<The Tempest>> as a modified Faust play

Modified in that unlike Faustus, who cannot bring himself to repent,
Prospero throws away his book?  Is this text offering the suggestion
that Shakespeare has Prospero reject rationalism, humanism, etc. to
realign himself with the medieval logocentric view of the universe?

Marlowe seems to me to be deconstructing the traditional Christian view
by presenting a protagonist who is trying to construct himself, having
discovered what James Rhodes has called the "awful presence of God's
absence" to be reason enough for the choices he makes.  (And I'd argue
that Faust does not repent b/c he cannot ever accept that there is a god
to forgive him.  Part of him never believes either in Hell OR in
Heaven.)

Prospero on the other hand does "repent" of his necromancy, if we are to
maintain the parallel between the two plays.  He abjures magic, he frees
those spirits over whom he had maintained control.  He takes up again
the temporal roles he had rejected.  Are we to read the last scene of
this play as a reconciliation with the Christian divinity?  As an
abjuration of the hell awaiting those who seek knowledge not outlined
(or ordained) in church-sanctioned texts?

I'd like to see additional discussion of this topic, from the many
SHAKSPERians who are far more knowledgeable than I on both Marlowe and
Shakespeare (Stevie Simpkin, where are you?)

Marilyn B.

Re: Incest

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0704  Thursday, 30 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Roy Flannagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 12:41:11 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0702  Re: Incest

[2]     From:   Paul S. Rhodes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 17:52:23 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0702  Re: Incest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 12:41:11 -0400
Subject: 9.0702  Re: Incest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0702  Re: Incest

>I'm afraid we're still scarcely doing justice to the complexities posed
>by Satia Testman's question.  Textual evidence, indeed! Such pedantry
>merely obscures the issue. I blame the parents. In fact, call me a
>suspicious old sod, but the silence, nay absence of Mrs Polonius has
>always struck me as deeply  significant.  Not that we ever got on.
>
>T. Hawkes

I have always assumed that Ms. Polonius was bored to death by her
husband.

Roy Flannagan

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul S. Rhodes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jul 1998 17:52:23 -0600
Subject: 9.0702  Re: Incest
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0702  Re: Incest

The good Mr. Hawkes wrote:

>In fact, call me a
>suspicious old sod, but the silence, nay absence of Mrs Polonius has
>always struck me as deeply  significant.  Not that we ever got on.

You didn't get on?  But I would think that you would be Mrs. Polonius'
type.  No, I could not resist.

But, to the point.  Following this interesting discussion of whether of
not Polonius or Laertes ever got wise with Ophelia, I was reminded of a
post to this list a long time ago in which the claim was made the herbs
that Ophelia mentions  in her mad scene constitute an abortifacient when
taken together.  Does anyone know if this is true?

I for one think it is clear from Ophelia's dirty songs that someone knew
her in the Biblical Sense.  The question is who.  Branagh, as we all
know, thinks it was Hamlet.  I think there is much more textual evidence
to suggest that it was either Polonius or Laertes.  I will agree that
this evidence is scant but is still much more than the evidence
supporting Branagh's take.

Paul S. Rhodes

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