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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare in Love
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0418  Wednesday, 10 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Martin Green <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0392 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[2]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 00:51:03 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[3]     From:   Ed Pixley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 11:51:14 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[4]     From:   Tiffany Rasovic <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 13:15:28 -0500
        Subj:   Shakes in Love

[5]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 12:25:58 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[6]     From:   Andy White <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999 19:22:53 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[7]     From:   R. D. H. Wells <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 10:45:50 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare in Love

[8]     From:   Michael Yogev <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1993 09:47:38 +0200
        Subj:   Shakespeare in Love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Green <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999
Subject: 10.0392 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0392 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Well, I have no quarrel with anyone who liked "Shakespeare in Love"
(most of my friends did); I merely stated why I didn't like it.

One respondent to my posting suggested that since we don't know very
much about Shakespeare, in London or elsewhere, it's OK to write
anything about him, especially if it's entertaining, and I can't quarrel
with that, either, since I realize that that is the premise for most
recent academic writing on Shakespeare (except that that stuff, to the
extent that is it is comprehensible, is seldom entertaining).

Others asked, what about "Richard III" and Richard III?  Which just
proves my point, for our poor academicians have written scores - - maybe
hundreds - - of books, trying to set the general public straight on the
bad history of "Richard III" and the other English history plays.
Nevertheless, the perspective afforded by the questions about Richard
III helps me to see that my concerns about the movie's lack of
historicity may be unwarranted, for it is unlikely that "Shakespeare in
Love," four hundred years hence, will be a source well enough known to
require correction. But maybe next month?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 00:51:03 +1000
Subject: 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

As a former high school English and now-college English teacher, I can
sympathize with those who worry about historical mis-impressions, not to
mention general problems with "film/reality," and "fiction/non-fiction."
Some of my past HS students, a few years ago, saw the quite-horrible
"Outbreak" movie and came to school the next day panic-stricken, asking
where the town was that had been nearly blown up.  On a more hopeful
note, however, when some of the brighter ones saw the recent
"contemporary" R&J, they came in and told me not to go as I would no
doubt have a screaming fit at the butchery of Shakespeare's language.
(Of course, they also reported that it was just plain weird having
supposedly present-day people speaking in verse).

Perhaps we should view such "historical" entertainments as inevitable
"variants" (see Bernard Cerquiglini's recent book out of JHU press), to
be cherished for their differences.

Special note re: Skip's Question 47: this looks like a trick question to
me, but I'm game.  I would guess that all of them have more inaccuracies
than "S in L."

Cheers,
Karen Peterson-Kranz
University of Guam

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Pixley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 11:51:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

>What's wrong with 'Shakespeare in Love' is that it rests on and fosters
>two deeply corrupting presuppositions: that writers write most
>powerfully about what they personally 'feel', and that art's primary
>concern is to express the 'personality' of the artist. It will be
>showered with Oscars.
>
>T. Hawkes

But isn't that what biographical criticism is all about?  I suspect that
most people who read or, in this case, watch biographies of artists do
so with precisely those expectations.  So, what's new?  One of my
colleagues told me I should urge my playwriting students to see
Shakespeare in Love.  Well, they might learn a great deal about how
Stoppard writes plays, but I'm certain that my colleague expected them
to learn how Shakespeare wrote plays.  As comical as that suggestion may
seem (Romeo and Ethyl!  Come now!), it doesn't detract from the sheer
wit (often tongue in cheek) in the film. The idea of that boy, John
Webster, with his pet rats someday writing Duchess of Malfi cracked me
up.

Ed Pixley

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tiffany Rasovic <
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Date:           Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 13:15:28 -0500
Subject:        Shakes in Love

~What's wrong with 'Shakespeare in Love' is that it rests on and fosters
~two deeply corrupting presuppositions: that writers write most
~powerfully about what they personally 'feel', and that art's primary
~concern is to express the 'personality' of the artist. It will be
~showered with Oscars.

I must say that the historical play in the film did not bother me at
all, even if the 20-somethings to whom the film was pitched will use it
as a reference.

(Actually, little John Webster really gave me a good laugh! As did a
lewd QE1.)

My problem was indeed the romance and Romanticism of the point of view.
Seeing Shakes as the tortured genius became a torture indeed for me as I
watched a man who I am sure spent a good deal of time reading, studying
languages and rhetoric, being a real-world business man, and so forth,
instead run around like a mindless idler chasing after some r/Romantic
heroine/muse woman.

The movie was clever and cute, and so were its protagonists. And that is
what the Oscars seem to reward.  Fine.

TR

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 12:25:58 -0800
Subject: 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Terence Hawkes writes:

>What's wrong with 'Shakespeare in Love' is that it rests on and fosters
>two deeply corrupting presuppositions: that writers write most
>powerfully about what they personally 'feel', and that art's primary
>concern is to express the 'personality' of the artist.

Are you sure that the corrupting propositions don't concern the
importance of market and political forces impinging on the Elizabethan
stage?  The wonderful thing about broad parodies is that they serve as
litmus tests of the viewers, who reveal their own positions both by what
they take issue with, and what parodies they don't even notice.

Cheers,
Se

 

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