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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: June ::
Re: English Ed.; Fencing; Apocrypha
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0598  Friday, 26 June 1998.

[1]     From:   Alex Went <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Jun 1998 16:09:49 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0583  Re: Shakespeare and English Education

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Jun 1998 12:37:40 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0579  Ado Fencing Question

[3]     From:   Richard Dutton <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Jun 1998 13:43:00 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0591  Re: Apocrypha


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alex Went <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Jun 1998 16:09:49 +0100
Subject: 9.0583  Re: Shakespeare and English Education
Comment:        Re:  SHK 9.0583  Re: Shakespeare and English Education

As far as I can tell, this is not the reason for the error; it lies
rather in the fact that there are two different syllabuses for English A
level: one involves preparing texts for a terminal exam at the end of a
two-year course; the alternative is a modular scheme. Lists of set texts
for the terminal exam are published alongside those for the modular
course. The exact details of the system are not easy to follow; it is
sufficient to understand that there is a degree of overlap between the
two lists. In the last two years it has been possible to teach a text
prescribed for terminal exam the following year as if it were included
on the list for the current year's modular exam. Or something like
that.  I don't understand it - I'm only a teacher after all.

But the implied slur by the first poster in this thread, that there is
something intrinsically wrong with the British educational approach to
Shakespeare is without foundation. The original correspondent had
inferred, incorrectly, that we spend two years teaching only two
Shakespeare plays. In fact, the course is more various - it takes in the
detailed study of ten or more texts, two of which are Shakespeare plays.

Alex Went

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Jun 1998 12:37:40 -0700
Subject: 9.0579  Ado Fencing Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0579  Ado Fencing Question

Perhaps by way of redeeming myself after the Hamlet fencing gaff, I
looked up Mountano in two on-line fencing manuals contemporary with
Shakespeare.

Silver's Paradoxes of Defense defines Mountano as follows:

( http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/brief.html ):

(3) Mountanta(19): is to carry your rapier pommel in the palm of your
hand resting it on your little finger with your hand below & so mounting
it up a loft, & so to come in with a thrust upon your enemy's face or
breast, as of out of the Imbrocata.

Described this way, it sounds like the movement from fourth parry to
thrust in modern foil fencing, which is done a lot without any
particular disgrace.  On the whole, Silver isn't very favourable towards
the use of the "Italian" rapier over more indigenous weapons, so he says
this about defense against rapier attack generally:

11. Understand that the whole sum of the long rapier fight is either
upon the Stocata, Passata, Imbrocata, or Mountanta, all these, and all
the rest of their devices you may safely prevent by keeping your
distance, because thereby you shall still drive him to use the time of
his feet, whereby you shall still prevent him of the true place, &
therefore he cannot in due time make any of these fights offensive upon
you by reason that the number of his feet will still be too great, so
that he shall still use the slow time of his feet to the swift time of
your hand.

This sounds more or less like what Beatrice does, keeping her distance,
and keeping Benedick off balance.  But maybe I'm pushing the analogy.

In any case, DiGrassi, his True Arte of Defense seems to describe
Mountano in the following, but doesn't seem to consider it disgraceful,
either:

( http://www.cs.unc.edu/~hudson/digrassi/single.html ):

The hurt of the Lowe warde at single Rapier. A Man may in like maner in
this ward, as in others, deliver a thrust, a right blowe, and a reverse:
but the true and principall effect of this warde, is to expect the
enimie, aswell for that a man beareth him selfe without warinesse, as
also, because it is apt and readie to defende all blowes either high or
lowe: For being in the middle, it is as easily somewhat lifted up, as
something borne downe: So that when one standeth in this warde, he may
not (as for his advantage) be the first that shall give either the
down-right blowe, or the reverse: for both the one and the other
(departing out of the straight lyne) are deadly, because they give time
to the enimie to enter nimbly with a thrust, The thrust therefore, may
be only used when one meaneth to strike first, and it is practised
either within, or without, alwaies regarding in either of the waies, so
to beare and place his arme, that he have no neede (before he thrust) to
drawe backe the same. And if the enimie warde it, by the traverse or
crosse motion of his Rapier, as many use to do, then he ought to
encrease a straight pace and lift up his sword hand, holding the point
thereof downwards betwixt the enimies arme and his bodie, & with the
encrease of a straight pace to deliver a thrust. And this maner of
thrust doth easily speede, because it increaseth continually in the
straight lyne in such sort that the enimie can do no other then give
backe, and especially when it is done without, for then the sworde is
safe from the traverse motion of the other sworde.

Cheers,
Sean.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Dutton <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Jun 1998 13:43:00 +0100
Subject: 9.0591  Re: Apocrypha
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0591  Re: Apocrypha

I have no answer to Melissa Aaron's question about why so many anonymous
plays are attributed to Middleton, tho' my own reading of 'The Second
Maiden's Tragedy' (for what it is worth) suggests to me that it is
indeed (mainly) his. But I think we should take seriously the argument
advanced by Eric Rasmussen (SQ some years back) that some passages
pasted late into the manuscript may actually be by Shakespeare.

I also don't know what play was actually staged as 'Cardenio', but I
think those who quickly dismiss Theobald's 'Double Jeopardy' should know
that Richard Wilson has recently argued a strong case for it indeed
being based on a Jacobean original (its seems to allude, among other
things, to circumstances surrounding the death of Prince Henry which
Theobald himself almost certainly could not have known). This is not yet
in print (tho' it will be) but has been argued at conferences.

Richard Dutton
 

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