1999

Re: Psalm 46

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0042  Monday, 11 January 1999.

[1]     From:   Jimmy Jung <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 11:33:54 -0500
        Subj:   Bible

[2]     From:   Thomas Larque <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 19:57:56 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0029 Re: Psalm 46


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jimmy Jung <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 11:33:54 -0500
Subject:        Bible

A follow-up to my previous message about Psalm 46, where I asked for
other arguments about Shakespeare's hand in the KJV.  I've been an
inconstant lurker lately, busy in my non-literary life and have been
skipping and stockpiling messages.  I went back and search for some
older discussion on Psalm 46 and the KJV.  I found particularly useful
messages posted by David Evettt and Kathman that explain why
Shakespeare's involvement was unlikely.

Nevertheless, it is an attractive idea that I remain intrigued by, and
there are a few unnamed participants.  (Why were they unnamed anyway?)

jimmy

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 19:57:56 -0000
Subject: 10.0029 Re: Psalm 46
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0029 Re: Psalm 46

>If you consider it carefully-the words "shake" and "spear," and their
>position (46 words down and 46 words up in the 46th psalm) -- is it at
>all possible that such a thing could occur just by chance?

The only way to test this one is to see whether it is possible to
produce similar results by pure chance.

As a brief experiment I took a look at the names of previous posters on
this thread, and found the name "Peter Groves" (sorry for the liberty,
Peter) which can usefully be divided into two words which are likely to
turn up randomly in other texts (in the same way that "shake" and
"spear" do).

I then took a look at my Shakespeare Concordance to see whether Peter's
name turns up in any numerically significant positions as far as Act,
Scene and Line numbers are concerned in Shakespeare's plays.

Sure enough, in "Midsummer Night's Dream", the name "Peter" appears in
1.2.8 and the word "Grove" appears in 2.1.28.  Both references come from
the same play and end with exactly the same sequence of numbers - 128.

In the 3 volume edition of Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor's Oxford
edition of the plays, line 2.1.28 of "Midsummer Night's Dream" appears
in "Volume 2 : The Comedies" on page 581.  The first numbered page in
this Volume is page 453.  Unsurprisingly 581-453 = 128.  More evidence
for the "128 code".

There is another suitable reference in "Romeo and Juliet", where the
word "Grove" appears at 1.1.128 (in the Globe edition, used by
Bartlett), and later "Peter", the Capulet's servant, speaks line 4.5.128
("When griping grief the heart doth wound").

Does any of this mean anything?  Well, of course it doesn't.  It is just
a nice series of coincidences.  Shakespeare couldn't have known who
Peter Groves was, and had no idea of how subsequent editors would number
lines and pages.

On the other hand, I only looked for one randomly chosen name in one
randomly chosen text using a single "Act / Scene / Line code" that I had
invented seconds beforehand and had no reason to believe would work.
The fact that something turned up shows quite how common these
coincidences are.

>May we not conclude that it's fairly definite that someone (Will himself
>or someone wishing to give him what they may have thought would be his
>Warholian 15 minutes of fame) planted his name there?

I don't think so.  The "Psalm 46" coincidence may be more impressive
than my hastily constructed example above (I feel particularly guilty of
depriving Peter of his final "s"), but there are so many ways of
constructing "coded messages" by this sort of method that just about any
name you pick is bound to turn up somewhere and in some form as long as
it can be broken into two reasonably common words.

Unless you are willing to accept that such coincidences are always
"fairly definite" proof that a code exists, then you would not really be
justified in assuming - without any supporting evidence - that this must
be the case with "Psalm 46".

Thomas.

Re: PC Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0041  Monday, 11 January 1999.

[1]     From:   Tim Perfect <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 12:19:15
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0038 PC Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Ann Marie Olson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 17:10:39 -0600
        Subj:   PC Shakespeare

[3]     From:   David J. Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 14:34:05 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0038 PC Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tim Perfect <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 12:19:15
Subject: 10.0038 PC Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0038 PC Shakespeare

Unfortunately, it is true.

Jared Sakren was dismissed for his views on performing Shakespeare as it
was written, although those who fired him protest it was for other
reasons as well.  However, the fact remains that they did not agree with
his interpretation of Shakespeare, and imposed their views on him.

I had the pleasure of working with Jared during my MFA program at Case
Western Reserve University in Cleveland, while he was in town performing
at the Cleveland Play House, and am truly disgusted by what transpired.
I read some of the articles at the time, and it was very sad.  I also
spoke with some of his graduate students as this was happening, (we had
interned at the Cleveland Play House together) and they were not
surprised by this.  Evidently conditions between Jared and the other
faculty had been tense for a while.

Tim Perfect

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann Marie Olson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 17:10:39 -0600
Subject:        PC Shakespeare

In response to  Mike Sirofchuck who questioned the veracity of the story
about the U of Arizona prof dismissed for teaching a non-PC Shakespeare:
The article in question appeared in Campus Magazine a couple of months
back. The magazine is very conservative-definitely not a _Washington
Post_ relative. I recall reading the article. Facts were quite
thoroughly delineated. The journal has a very specific and even a very
narrow editorial bias, but it does seem to document its information
thoroughly.

Regards,
Annie Olson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David J. Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 14:34:05 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 10.0038 PC Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0038 PC Shakespeare

Mike Sirofchuck wrote:

>A colleague recently related to me the tale of a professor from the Univ
>of Arizona who was supposedly dismissed from his position for teaching
>Shakespeare and refusing to "correct" the Eurocentrism and gender bias
>contained therein.
>
>Of course, the person who told him about it had read it in an article in the Washington Post or "something like that".
>
>Is this an urban myth or is there any truth to the tale?

The story you heard is based on a real incident, but it seems to have
gotten distorted more with each retelling.  The professor in question is
Jared Sakren, a dramaturg of some note, and it was Arizona State
University, not the University of Arizona.  Sakren was not "dismissed",
as many versions have it; he had been hired for a non-tenure-track
position, and at the end of his contract the university elected not to
extend his employment by offering him a new contract or a tenure-track
position.  The reasons for this are the main bone of contention.  Sakren
took his case to the media, claiming he had been fired for refusing to
toe the allegedly radical-feminist line of the department.  Many of
reporters Sakren approached were cultural conservatives such as John Leo
of U.S. News & World Report, who gleefully reported this story of P.C.
supposedly run amok.  I'm not sure how Shakespeare got involved, but
most of the stories soon were claiming that Sakren was fired for
"teaching Shakespeare", who his colleagues allegedly claimed was too
sexist.  I don't know all the facts, but it appears that much of what
has been written about this case is inaccurate, to be charitable.  The
ASU theater department strenuously denies most of Sakren's allegations,
but because of pending litigation, Sakren has refused to allow them to
open the files on the case in order to give the details of why his
contract was really not renewed.  The current chair of the department
has said that Sakren's contract was not renewed because of "extreme
problems with his job performance"; allegedly he did not teach what he
was explicitly hired to teach.  In any case, the ASU theater department
is certainly not anti-Shakespeare; they have produced many Shakespeare
plays in recent years, using all kinds of interpretations.  Certain
cultural critics have latched onto the concept that a professor was
"fired for teaching Shakespeare" because such horror stories make it
easy to ridicule allegedly rampant "PC police" in the universities;
unfortunately, like Ronald Reagan's famous welfare queen driving a
Cadillac, the reality is more complicated.

There was some discussion of the Sakren case on this list back in
February, and I'm appending part of that discussion below.  Your
colleague may have read about the case in the Wall Street Journal, which
ran a wildly inaccurate article about it on its editorial page a few
weeks ago.  (There was at least one subsequent letter to the editor
correcting the article's many mistakes, but of course few people who
read the article will see the letter.)

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

-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris J. Fassler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 24 Feb 1998 12:43:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        RE: Is Shakespeare sexist?

I'm posting this in response to the article submitted to the list Helen
Ostovich.

I teach in the English Department (not the Theater Department) at ASU.
And I should say that I have never met any of the parties involved in
this case nor do I have any inside information.  I have, however, read
all the stories in the local media and can say that this is one of the
least balanced.  There may have been an injustice in Sakren's case, for
all I know.  But anybody interested in this case ought to know that
things presented as fact in the article submitted to the list are
basically Sakren's contentions which the Department has (of course)
disputed.  There has not been a full clearing of the air, presumably
because of pending legalities, so things look a lot murkier from where I
sit.

Curtis Perry

-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Feb 98 19:02:24 -0700
Subject: 9.0162 Is Shakespeare sexist?
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0162 Is Shakespeare sexist?

Helen Ostovich posted an article titled "Is Shakespeare sexist?" by
Rachel Alexander from the Arizona Daily Wildcat dated February 2, 1998
which expounded on the unfair treatment of theatre prof. Jared Sakren.
I am a little distraught by this article, being a graduate of the UofA
in Tucson (a wildcat) but living in ASU country, Tempe, Arizona.  I'm
not sure how accurate or believable one should take an article printed
in a student newspaper (even from my own alma mater) about happenings at
its cross-town rival school.

I do not at this time know any details of this seemingly unfair
treatment of an ASU acting prof, but I will find out what truths I can.

In the meantime, know that ASU produced a fairly accurate production of
"Shrew" a couple years ago (without the Sly business), but no one seemed
inclined to change the end or the sexist nature (if any) of the original
Shakespeare text.

I also know that ASU has produced several other Shakes plays; a
marvelous post-apocalyptic Macbeth last year, and a phenomenal Lear just
last month.

I also have worked with Lyn Wright (former Dept. Chair) and have never
found her to be unfair or overly concerned with women's issues.  Her
whole raison d'etre is Children's Theatre!

So, I hope you will all take this article with a grain of salt and not
think too poorly of ASU's theatre dept. or UofA's journalism, until I
have a chance to check out some facts.

Thanks for your indulgence.

Susan St. John

-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn A. Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 23 Feb 1998 22:55:56 -0500
Subject: 9.0162  Is Shakespeare sexist?
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0162  Is Shakespeare sexist?

Helen Ostovich provides us w/ what she calls an "article" from the
school paper at one of the Arizona state universities (The Arizona Daily
Wildcat).

Since I'm not a sports fan, I don't know if it's from Arizona State or
not.

However, what she presents us with tells us a great deal more about the
state of the editorial board at this school's paper than it does about
the issue of some drama professor's tenure and evaluation.

First of all, what it IS NOT is objective reporting.  It MAY be an
column of opinion, but if it is, it should be so labeled.

It is not objective, does not contain good reporting, offers editorial
comments and biased terminology.  There is no direct citation from any
documents or individuals having to do w/ the issue at hand: the
evaluations being based on his teaching Shakespeare.  It does contain an
indirect smear of the other department members from the professor:
<<Unlike most of the faculty in the Department of Theater, Sakren has
extensive professional theater experience, he said.>>

The material continues to quote Sakren both directly and indirectly in
his attacks on his fellow department members:

<<[department head] Lynn Wright has expressed her displeasure for
classics in the curriculum. She has gleefully exhorted that the
feminists in the department will "kill off the classics," Sakren said.
Sakren was told to quit teaching Shakespeare, because it was "sexist."
Or, if he insisted on teaching so-called "sexist" works like "The Taming
of the Shrew," he must change the ending, so it "wouldn't offend women,"
Sakren said.

There is a quote that supposedly led to the department recommendation
against tenure, but it's not clear who wrote this statement or in what
document the reporter (???!!!) found it: <<to "let his program fall
apart," as the DPC termed it.>>

Then follows another unattributed accusation presented as FACT: << His
office has been searched without explanation and vicious untrue rumors
have been spread about him.>.

There follows a summary of what the Committee on Academic Freedom and
Tenure supposedly said.  However, NO direct citations appear from this
document, and no quotes come from any person who served on this
committee.

Then comes a most astonishing statement if indeed this material is a
news article:

<< Since there are a few people in ASU's theater department who seem not
to care how many times their reviews of Sakren are thrown out, we can
expect more of the same.>>

WHO IS THE "WE" cited here?

Next comes an even more egregious violation of basic journalism:

<<Furthermore, several ASU law professors have stated that sending
Sakren's review back to the issuing committee violates his
constitutional right to due process.>>  Which professors?  Precisely
what did they say?

<<As a result, a court of law is being asked to decide whether Sakren's
constitutional rights were violated, whether there was a breach of
contract, and whether there was discrimination.>>

WHAT court?  Who brought the suit?  Against whom?

IN other words, fellow SHAKSPERians, what we have here is NOT evidence
of PC being used to destroy a wonderful teacher who honors the great
classics of drama.  What we DO have is evidence of extremely shoddy
journalism.

If someone can make contact w/ faculty at ASU and get some REAL
information, I for one would be thrilled to make a passionate plea for
the Bard, and all those other DWEM's who have so brilliantly shaped our
culture... so long as their presence doesn't exclude all those who
aren't D, W, E, or M from being equally acknowledged.

Yours in the pursuit of truth and good journalism!

Marilyn B.

-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Bibb <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Feb 98 10:31:30 -0800
Subject:        Is Shakespeare Sexist?

SHAKSPERians,

I'm forwarding this response to the list concerning the "Is Shakespeare
Sexist?" article with the permission of its author, Bonnie Eckard. Ms.
Eckard is the Chair of the Department of Theatre at ASU.

     Matt Bibb
     Lost Dog Productions

****************************
I had not seen this article.  It's totally misinformed.  Unfortunately,
the writer did not check with the Department of Theatre before
publishing her article.  Please be assured that the Department of
Theatre is not abandoning the classics (particularly Shakespeare) and
certainly not abandoning the cannon of Western literature.

Every year, for the past four years, we have produced a major
Shakespearean play as a part of our mainstage season.  This  year, we
produced King Lear, directed by Marshall W. Mason, an Obie winning
director who is a member of our faculty. Professor Mason, who has
directed on and off Broadway for many years, is a white man who was
hired the same year Sakren was hired.  Mason received tenure and
promotion after two years; Sakren received a terminal contract (he never
stood for tenure).  One can only ask why Sakren was terminated.
Unfortunately, because Sakren has refused to allow us to discuss his
case, I cannot give you more information.  You need to know, however,
that our faculty is a professional faculty including Marshall W.  Mason,
Artistic Director Victoria Holloway, playwright Guillermo Reyes, and
Scenographer Jeff Thomson, among others.  (The writer's assertions are
so easy to disprove, it's laughable!)

Although I was not Chair at the time, my faculty tell me Mr. Sakren was
never told how to interpret his productions.  He was never told how to
teach or direct or what to teach or direct.  These accusations are
false, and I believe they have been published by newspapers in order to
sell papers that appeal to a sexist feminist backlash.  There is no
truth in his accusations.  Mr. Sakren has been terminated because of
extreme problems in his job performance.

The evaluation process has been complete and fair.  The evaluation
process here at ASU involves a five level peer review process.  The
writer has misrepresented the grievance process and the recommendation
of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure who heard his case.  We
are prevented to sharing the report from the committee because Sakren
has refused to allow us to do so.

I urge you not to believe everything you read.  Remember, Sakren has
refused to allow us to open his files to reveal the real reasons for his
termination.  Without that permission, I am prevented from discussing
any more details regarding his personnel situation with you.

I appreciate your concern, and I hope this information will reassure you
that diversity of thought is alive and well at Arizona State
University-particularly in the Department of Theatre.  If you wish to
talk with me directly,  I can be reached at (602)965-9547.

Bonnie J. Eckard, Chair, Department of Theatre
602-965-9547  FAX 602-965-5351
e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Personality

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0039  Sunday, 10 January 1999.

From:           Simon Spiero <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 10:25:36 -0800
Subject: 10.0031 Re: Personality; Marlowe; Coleridge
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.0031 Re: Personality; Marlowe; Coleridge

There is little doubt about the satisfaction of many of us in
Shakespeare coming "Top of the Poll" in the BBC Radio 4 "British
Personality of the Millenium " Contest.

However not all of the other contestants were as "daft" as Baldric. I
gather that among serious contenders there could have been Queen
Elizabeth I and Samuel Johnson.

Charles Darwin appeared to have come fourth and the second most popular
was Winston Churchill ,of course. Still ,the Bard's genius won  out in
the end.

Simon Spiero.

Re: Shakespeare in Love

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0040  Monday, 11 January 1999.

[1]     From:   Andy White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 15:56:34 -0500
        Subj:   SIL and The Celluloid Closet

[2]     From:   Marion K Morford <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 20:34:35 +0000
        Subj:   'Shakespeare in Love'

[3]     From:   Matthew Gretzinger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Jan 1999 08:45:45 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.0033 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[4]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, January 11, 1999
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare in Love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andy White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 15:56:34 -0500
Subject:        SIL and The Celluloid Closet

Perhaps, rather than asking for explicit signs of sexual orientation, we
could spend some time looking behind the obvious stuff for other, more
subtle signs of homo-or-bisexuality in Shakespeare in Love.  For those
familiar with The Celluloid Closet and its premise, there is often more
to be gained looking beyond the surface.

By way of an example, not exactly related but I hope helpful, I've
recently enjoyed watching an old Hitchcock flick, The Secret Agent,
starring John Gielgud.  He is introduced, through a long focus on a
newspaper headline, as a "Bachelor Poet".  His character is sent to
Switzerland on a spying mission, and he is given a wife as a cover for
his activities.

The dialogue between Gielgud and his "wife" upon his arrival in
Switzerland is priceless, if you know  Gielgud's orientation, and the
way Hitchcock creates the character is so subtle that you'd miss it if
you were a typical hetero-type, simply going to the cinema for a good
suspense flick.

I would imagine there are similar bits of business in SIL, and hope we
can begin to cover those.  My impression of the Elizabethan scene is
that it was one in which sexuality was in flux, there was a wide variety
of activity, untainted by attempts to pidgin-hole people (pardon the
expression) into one orientation or another.

Cheers,
Andy White
Arlington, VA

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marion K Morford <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Jan 1999 20:34:35 +0000
Subject:        'Shakespeare in Love'

Dear Bard-buds;

This was in my local paper on Sunday.

Morf

----------------------------------
In-jokes and allusions add humor and depth to 'Shakespeare in Love'

Robert W. Butler; Knight Ridder Newspapers

You don't have to know anything about the world of Elizabethan theater
to enjoy "Shakespeare in Love," a romantic comedy set in the London of
1593. But those who have grounding in the personalities and events
depicted may get much more from the movie.

Screenwriters Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard have crammed the movie with
in-jokes and scholarly references, deftly throwing together fictional
characters and real historic personages and scattering visual and spoken
allusions that fly over the heads of all but the most alert Shakespeare
aficionados.

One example: Shakespeare's plagiarism. Scholars have long recognized
that Shakespeare cribbed his subjects and plots from plays, histories
and other sources. They hasten to add that the Bard from Avon improved
them immensely, thanks to his inventive dialogue, an unprecedented grasp
of language and subtly drawn characters.

"Shakespeare in Love," though, plays with the notion that Shakespeare
(portrayed by Joseph Fiennes) didn't write his own dialogue but used
snatches of conversation he overheard.

Philip Henslowe (portrayed by Geoffrey Rush) was real, a theatrical
entrepreneur who opened several theaters, including the Rose in
Southwark, for which Shakespeare wrote and performed.

Henslowe's account books have for 400 years provided the most complete
description of Elizabethan theater - costs for costumes, fees paid to
playwrights and actors, production schedules and so forth.

The movie strays, though, when it portrays Henslowe as a laughable
bungler and monetary incompetent in debt to a thuggish loan shark. The
truth is quite different.

According to "Brewer's Theater: A Phrase and Fable Dictionary," "The
accounts of Henslowe's theaters include loans made to actors. Some
researchers suspect that Henslowe kept actors in debt to him in order to
tie them to his theater. In 1615 several actors drew up a document
headed 'Articles of Grievance, and Articles of Oppression, against Mr.
Hinchlowe,' accusing him of embezzling their money and unlawfully
retaining their property."

In the film, young Shakespeare's main theatrical rival is Christopher
Marlowe, who has enjoyed several big hits while the man from Stratford
struggles to find his voice.

Among Marlowe's most famous plays are "The Tragical History of Doctor
Faustus," "The Jew of Malta" and "Tamburlaine the Great."

In the film, the young Shakespeare is struggling with the play that will
eventually become "Romeo and Juliet," and the screenwriters have created
for their Shakespeare a fictional lover, a young woman named Viola de
Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is engaged to the pompous Lord Wessex
(Colin Firth). When Wessex accuses Shakespeare of having an affair with
Viola and demands his name, Shakespeare answers: "Christopher Marlowe."

Then, when Marlowe is killed in a tavern fight, Shakespeare is overcome
with guilt. He assumes the killers were assassins sent by Wessex and
fears that he is responsible for an innocent man's death.

The real Marlowe was killed in a barroom brawl in Deptford in 1593; the
business about Shakespeare being indirectly responsible is fiction.

The real Marlowe also was gay, which makes ironic the idea of
Shakespeare categorizing him as a womanizer. And though there's no
reference to Marlowe's sexual orientation in the movie, he's portrayed
by Rupert Everett ("My Best Friend's Wedding"), one of the few openly
gay actors working in films.

There's yet another in-joke at work here. When Shakespeare tries to pass
himself off as Christopher Marlowe, it's a sly reference to those who
have suggested that Marlowe actually wrote some of the plays credited to
Shakespeare.

Ned Alleyn (Ben Affleck) is a vain but talented actor who in
"Shakespeare in Love" takes the showcase role of Mercutio in "Romeo and
Juliet" (though he's still upset that his character is killed halfway
through).

There really was an Edward "Ned" Alleyn, who began his acting career
about 1583 and gained wide fame for portraying Dr. Faustus and
Tamburlaine in Marlowe's plays.

Alleyn married three times and became quite wealthy from real estate
investments and theatrical interests. Eventually he was elevated to the
position of royal zookeeper and master of the royal bear garden.

One of the film's minor characters is a surly street urchin (Joe
Roberts) who spies on rehearsals in The Curtain Theatre and takes
perverse delight in dangling a live mouse in front of a hungry feline.

Late in the film we learn the boy's name: John Webster. The real John
Webster was a playwright who wrote two masterpieces of the so-called
Jacobean "revenge tragedy": "The White Devil" (1612) and "The Duchess of
Malfi" (1614).

The film suggests Webster got the theater bug after watching Shakespeare
work and found it a perfect outlet for his anti-social inclinations.

One of the major plot developments of "Shakespeare in Love" has Viola
disguising herself as a man so she can audition for a role in
Shakespeare's new play, "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter" (which
during rehearsals, at Alleyn's suggestion, will become "Romeo and
Juliet"). At the time, women were banned from the English stage.

Shakespeare finds himself strangely drawn to this young "man," not
recognizing him as the woman he loves. Later he discovers Viola's ruse
and is amused by his earlier attraction.

Women posing as men became a recurring motif in Shakespeare's later
comedies, and the film suggests this is where he got the idea.

January 10, 1999

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Gretzinger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Jan 1999 08:45:45 -0500
Subject: 10.0033 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.0033 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Please forgive my Johnny-come-lateness.  The film didn't make it to my
part of Ohio 'til this last Friday.

I want to thank the makers of 'Shakespeare in Love' for bringing to my
local Cineplex the single word "SHAKESPEARE", in letters three feet
tall, where usually stand such words as "SCREAM" or "ARMAGEDDON" or "THE
FACULTY." Thanks also for the amazing film they produced, no more
unfaithful to history or anachronistic than Richard III or Henry IV, and
for me at least, just as much fun.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, January 11, 1999
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare in Love

>Please go see this film.  Let it make an obnoxious amount of money.  Let
>it win more Oscars than Titanic.  Send Hollywood the message that we
>like this type of romantic comedy (even if not historically pure and
>accurate) and that we could do with more of it and less of Adam Sandler,
>and Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan not only re-making Jimmy Stewart films but
>re-making their own.  Forget for the films "two hours and more" traffic
>of the stage/screen everything you had to learn in defense of your
>dissertation and just enjoy it.  Please.

Hear! Hear!

>>Mike Field:  (I'm assuming, like most people, that the script is
>>virtually entirely his [Stoppard's] own).

>Yes, that's what I assume too.

I am wondering if anyone knows for sure about the collaboration between
Norman and Stoppard on the script?

>One thing I found interesting in the film was that Gwyneth Paltrow was >a much more convincing Romeo than she was a Juliet.

Independently, both my daughter Melissa and wife Kathy told me that they
thought that Gwyneth Paltrow was a better Romeo than Joseph Fiennes was.
Kathy elaborated, saying that she felt that Viola played Romeo the way
that a woman would want a man to behave.

PC Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0038  Sunday, 10 January 1999.

From:           Mike Sirofchuck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 8 Jan 1999 13:05:05 -0900
Subject:        PC Shakespeare

A colleague recently related to me the tale of a professor from the Univ
of Arizona who was supposedly dismissed from his position for teaching
Shakespeare and refusing to "correct" the Eurocentrism and gender bias
contained therein.

Of course, the person who told him about it had read it in an article in
the Washington Post or "something like that".

Is this an urban myth or is there any truth to the tale?

Mike Sirofchuck
Kodiak High School

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