1999

No Bed for Bacon

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0265  Monday, 15 February 1999.

From:           Charles Frey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 Feb 1999 17:14:24 -0800
Subject:        No Bed for Bacon

There have been at least two references on SHAKSPER to the novel No Bed
for Bacon, by Caryl Brahms (pseudonym for Doris Caroline Abrahams) and
S. J. Simon (London: Michael Joseph, Ltd., 1941). It has been alleged
that this novel is an unacknowledged source for the film "Shakespeare in
Love." I found the novel in the University of Washington library, read
it, and can report the following. It is set in London in 1594. Henslowe
is short of money. In good times he is friends with Burbage, in bad
times, enemies.  There is a shortage of players and threat of plague.
Shakespeare is introduced practicing various spellings of his name, and,
throughout the novel, he gets ideas for now-famous lines by overhearing
other persons.  There is a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare is
writing Twelfth Night for the Queen and Essex. Francis Drake would like
to ship Essex to "Raleigh's new colony" (22), and Raleigh's cloak
figures prominently. One Viola Compton is a maid of honor to the Queen,
and Essex fancies her. Viola visits Shakespeare's theater, is attracted
to Shakespeare, and tells Elizabeth that she, Viola, wants to go to
Shakespeare disguised as a boy.  Viola, pretending to be a boy actor,
recites Shakespeare's lines at audition and "There was an expression of
awe on Shakespeare's face" (94).  Later he says to her, "you can speak a
line. By God-you can speak a line" (172). Shakespeare is pressured on
all sides to finish the writing of various plays. He gives Viola the
part of Viola in Twelfth Night, and he soon discovers that she is Viola
Compton. They seem to love each other, but no lovemaking is clearly
evoked. Near the end, he tells Viola he wants to write a play for her,
"a play that needs a woman and cannot be acted by some prancing boy"
(223). On the last page, Viola, as she is leaving, tells Shakespeare:
"You have never so much as written a single sonnet to me" (224), and the
novel ends with these words: "He reached for another sheet.  He thought.
Soon he was writing again. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day."
According to an article in Entertainment Weekly, Feb. 12, 1999, "Tom
Stoppard says he flipped through the book 'when he first got the job'
and found it 'of no use'." I do think the film clearly draws on the
world and spirit of the book. Stoppard might helpfully admit that, but
he has, in my judgment, every right to be proud of his (and Marc
Norman's?) contributions to the plot and proud of his own witty and
sometimes trenchant and moving writing.

Hardy the Mole

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0264  Monday, 15 February 1999.

From:           Pete McCluskey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 20:41:17 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Hardy the Mole

The 15 February feature in _Time _ on the authorship question ("The
Bard's Beard?") contains the following passage: "'But those plays aren't
really Shakespeare's!'  That is the rebel yell of a hardy band of
amatuer historians...."  Hardy band?  Is this not proof that our beloved
SHAKSPER moderator is in fact an Oxfordian in Shakes-clothes?
Furthermore, every fifth word of the fifth paragraph (there being five
letters in the name Hardy) give us this cryptic message: "In
Shakespeare, reason sonnets as the De Vere's reason in telling King
affair de Vere affair earl name actor the of."  Need I say more?

A politic pick-lock of scene,
Pete McCluskey

[Editor's Note: The views expressed in this posting do not necessarily
reflect those of the management of the SHAKSPER listserv (i.e., me) or
of Bowie State University (i.e., my current employer). To reply, to this
editorial, write to Time Magazine and mention Samuel Schoenbaum's *A
Documentary Life* and his *Shakespeare's Lives*, Frank Wadsworth's *The
Poacher from Stratford*, and Irvin Matus's *Shakespeare In Fact.*
--Hardy]

Qs: Irish Masque; Mooncalf; WT

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0262  Monday, 15 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Scott Oldenburg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 14 Feb 1999 12:54:15 -0700
        Subj:   "Irish Masque"

[2]     From:   Deborah Dale <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sat, 13 Feb 1999 09:48:06 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: Mooncalf

[3]     From:   Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 12:23:22 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Winter's Tale


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Oldenburg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 Feb 1999 12:54:15 -0700
Subject:        "Irish Masque"

Query:  A while back someone mentioned to me that Jonson's "Irish
Masque" (like the Masque of Blackness) was probably performed in
black-face.  I have had difficulty finding any evidence of this,
however.  Does anyone on the list have any information regarding this or
any other instances from the early modern period in which the Irish are
described a black or are associated with blackness?  Any info would be a
great help-because the querty is not specifically related to
Shakespeare, please feel free to send info to me directly.

Thanks,
Scott Oldenburg

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Deborah Dale <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sat, 13 Feb 1999 09:48:06 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Re: Mooncalf

Dear Shakespearians,

I am hoping someone on the list can lead me to sources that mention the
monstrous origin of the word  "mooncalf."  I've been looking, even
translating portions of early Latin texts, such as Aldrovandi's
_Monstorum Historia_ in hopes of finding more information, though what I
have found is very little.  Thus any guidance will be much appreciated.

Deborah Dale

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 12:23:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Winter's Tale

On page 1564 of the intro to The Winter's Tale in Riverside, Hallet
Smith says that "Shakespeare uses comically, in this play, a bit of
source material he put aside as unsuitable for Cymbeline; it is the
description of the frightful fate to be meted out to the poor Clown,
according to Autolycus in IV,iv,783-91."  Does anyone know what the
basis of this assertion is?  To what source material does he refer?
What evidence is there for the purported motive for excluding it from
the earlier play?

Clifford Stetner
CUNY

Romeo and Juliet Video

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0263  Monday, 15 February 1999.

From:           Benjamin Sher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 13:59:01 -0500
Subject:        Romeo and Juliet Video

Dear friends:

I forgot to mention Romeo and Juliet as one of the videos on
Broadcast.com at:

http://www.broadcast.com

This is a BBC Production but it is not a filmed play but a film,
featuring Celia Johnson, Michael Horden, Joseph O' Connor and Anthony
Andrews with a memorable opening by John Gielgud as the Chorus) and
directed by Alvin Rakoff. No date is given. It is available both in
broadband (Video, Broadband, Shakespeare) or 56k narrow-band by
selecting simply Video.

I recommend it both as a fine performance and as a fine illustration of
the future of Web multimedia, that is, broadband: The screen is
somewhere between a small screen and real full-screen. More like a
double zoom size. But the resolution is sharp and clear, in beautiful,
vivid color and with full synchronization of voice and image at 24
frames per second. Not quite Cable quality but quite close (in
broadband, that is). And no strain on the eyes, since you are sitting
right in front ot the screen. Again, this is only true for broadband.

This film version of Romeo and Juliet is 2 hours and 22 minutes long.
And by the way, it's also in Stereo!

For 56k, go to Broadcast.com, select Video and you should see it right
at the top. For broadband, select Video, then Broadband, then
Shakespeare.

One sad note: I checked the King Lear. Clearly a fine performance.
However, it is unfortunately only Part I (and it says so). I checked the
timing: 1:45 minutes. What happened to Part II. How can one watch Part I
without being quite outraged. May I ask those of you who have a chance
to see it to consider writing to Broadcast.com (as I have already done)
to urge them to find Part II, to explain to them (these are good people
but literature is not their bag) that King Lear is not just an ordinary
play or video but one of the great treasures of English literature.
That's the only way they will get the message.  The more they hear from
us, the more videos we will get in the long run.

Meanwhile, enjoy Romeo and Juliet!

Yours,
Benjamin

Benjamin Sher
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Shakespeare in Love

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0261  Monday, 15 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Simon Malloch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 22:38:17 +0800
        Subj:   Bloom on Shakespeare in Love

[2]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, February 15, 1999
        Subj:   Shakespeare in Love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Feb 1999 22:38:17 +0800
Subject:        Bloom on Shakespeare in Love

Here is an interesting insight into Harold Bloom watching movies,  not
to mention his thoughts on Shakespeare in Love.

Simon Malloch.

=======================================================
Bloom the Bardolator
The Yale scholar is charmed by 'Shakespeare in Love'-with a few
reservations.

By Yahlin Chang

In the cozy orange kitchen of an old shingled house in New Haven, Conn.,
Harold Bloom welcomes a visitor ("Come in, little bear!") and settles
into a chair in front of the VCR. The author of the surprise best seller
"Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human" has not yet seen the surprise
hit film "Shakespeare in Love." Starting up the tape, the visitor asks
Bloom to provide a running commentary. "Oh, Harold always talks his way
through movies," says his wife, Jeanne, bringing tea.  Bloom laughs.

"[Yale] Professor Vincent Scully and I used to get thrown out of movies
together because we'd get involved in these tremendous conversations."
From the moment the film flickers on, Bloom interacts with the screen
like a kid with a new videogame. When the moneyman threatens to cut off
the producer's nose, Bloom claps his hand to his own nose, giggling,
then covers his eyes and peeks through his fingers. When Shakespeare
(Joseph Fiennes) explains how Mercutio dies, Bloom exclaims, "He dies
beautifully!" and launches into: "Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find
me a grave man." And when "Romeo and Juliet's" theater gets shut down,
the professor cries, "Surely it can't end badly!"

Watching the film with Bloom Brontosaurus Bardolator (as he calls
himself) means you get every Shakespearean allusion instantly unpacked.
It turns out that the play Queen Elizabeth is snoring through is "The
Two Gentlemen of Verona." And Rosaline-Shakespeare's first love interest
in the film-is the name not only of Romeo's first girlfriend but of a
major character in "Love's Labour's Lost." Bloom identifies that
Rosaline with the "dark lady" of Shakespeare's sonnets ("the love of his
life!"), so he's naturally disturbed that the movie Rosaline turns out
to be the town slut.

The professor does not fall for Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Viola-"A
wonderful actress, but not a beauty, is she?"-though he's quite taken in
by Fiennes. "Shakespeare was not particularly good-looking, unlike this
fellow," he says. "He had a drab exterior and was prematurely balding.
This is a marvelous gussying-up for him!"

The sequences taken straight from "Romeo and Juliet" delight him. Bloom
loves watching Shakespeare speak Juliet's lines-to him, the best in the
play. But listening to the lovers proclaim their affection makes him
cringe. "The language of 'Romeo and Juliet' is extraordinary, and then
this is a terrible falling away. It's common goo! They are not
star-crossed lovers; it's just good old-fashioned lust. They are not
Romeo and Juliet-but I suppose that's an impossible standard. I suppose
[writers] Mr. Stoppard and Mr. Whateverhisnamewas could say, 'Well of
course not, Professor Bloom. How could they be?' "

"Oh, Harold, the movie's fine, and it's a nice conceit," says Mrs.
Bloom.

"Yeah." Bloom ponders. "You know, I mustn't snipe, because this is a
charming movie. It does capture 'Romeo and Juliet.' And that I think is
the glory of it."

Newsweek, February 15, 1999

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, February 15, 1999
Subject:        Shakespeare in Love

I saw for the second time this weekend Shakespeare in Love. I was
clearly incorrect in my attempting to make a pun about Kit's death, but
I stand firm that there was so much gender play in the film as to NOT
mark it as simply straight.

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