Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare in Love
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0434  Thursday, 11 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Frances K. Barasch <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 10:19:46 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[2]     From:   Charles Costello <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 10:54:40 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[3]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 12:56:39 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[4]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 13:04:13 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0392 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[5]     From:   Dale Lyles <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 22:11:24 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frances K. Barasch <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 10:19:46 EST
Subject: 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Normally, my college Shakespeare students are bored by "historical
background" lectures, but after they saw the films "Elizabeth" and
"Shakespeare in Love" (before I did and without my requiring these),
they asked many questions, knowing full well that the films were
fictionalized.  They wanted to know about Alencon's cross-dressing,
e.g., and the Elizabeth paintings (which I brought to show), and so on
and on.  On the required live plays they saw in New York City, the best
papers were those about "poor" productions; when they liked the
production, they had less to say.  Point: if these films motivate, they
are GREAT; if a poor production inspires the "critical" mind, GREAT.  So
much for teaching!

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Costello <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 10:54:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

The problem with S in L is the problem with all toys: one soon grows
tired of them.  It's a nice toy, one of those spinning things, with arms
that lift.  But the spinning itself got tiresome, don't you think?  I
saw it twice, but I'm happy now to let it lie inert.

Chuck Costello
Graduate Centre for Study of Drama
The University of Toronto

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 12:56:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Michael Yogev writes,

'Perhaps the most historically "accurate" segment of the film is its
opening sequences with Henslowe's feet to the fire . . .'

Yes, but it's careful to undermine even the shallow materialism that the
Henslowe character allows. Heavy-handed references to 'feeling'-fests
such as 'Shine' take their toll.  Pianos have a lot to answer for.

 T. Hawkes

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 13:04:13 +0000
Subject: 10.0392 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0392 Re: Shakespeare in Love

>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.

Actually there has been a shift in the general consciousness with regard
to Richard III. I no longer see it automatically assumed in passing, as
it was years ago, in popular media commentary that he murdered the
little princes, but this turnaround is less the result of academic
efforts than that of the popular writer, Josephine Tey, who worked her
thoughts on Richard into the mystery "The Daughter of Time." (Correct me
if I'm wrong.) The public can only be "set straight" when its heart-not
its head alone-is touched.

>>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.

Even the most cursory study of the lives of great artists should show
that the best art does indeed arise from what Terrence Hawkes calls
these "deeply corrupting presuppostions," namely that great art arises
from personal experience, and that artists write (paint, compose,
choreograph) with most credibility and passion when they are dealing
with personal issues.

In fact, the obverse of this notion seems to me to be the fundamental
reality of all great art, namely that it arises from a need, often a
desperate need, to communicate a personal reality that can be
communicated in no other way.  Writers read other writers, poets read
poetry, painters look at the paintings of others, etc., and all who
would succeed must keep the level of their present audience in view
(though there are many artists for whom this "audience" consisted of a
single pair of ears or eyes, Emily Dickenson comes to mind), yet it is
the song of the heart that uses the material collected by the head to
reach that audience, and that song can ONLY arise from personal
experience.

Read the writings of artists themselves on this subject. With one voice
they claim this truth. If critics refuse to believe them I can only
think that either it's because there's something lacking in the way
they're listening, or because they have fallen for the 20th century
scientific fallacy, the notion that only that which can be measured is
"true." We can't measure feeling, experience or commitment, so they
become suspect, and ultimately "deeply corrupting" influences, and thus
we throw the baby out with the bath. Luckily this is a resilient baby,
and often it is the stupid public that rescues it.

Of course the author of "Romeo and Juliet" knew from personal experience
what this sort of love FELT like, otherwise he WOULD have written "Romeo
and Ethel"!  It probably didn't take the form shown in the movie, but of
one thing we can be absolutely certain, he lived a similar love,
suffered, and out of his suffering this marvelous play was born. (And
any emperor of ideas that tells you different should start looking for a
couple of honest tailors!)

Science, IF read right, has much to tell us. One of the things it
insists upon is that you can't get something from nothing. You can't
write a romance that lasts four hundred years from reading about
somebody else's feelings, any more than you can get nourished from
reading the ads on cereal boxes.

Stephanie Hughes

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 1999 22:11:24 EST
Subject: 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0411 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Oh my God, I'm agreeing with Terence Hawkes again!

He writes that SiL 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."

As I tell earnest adolescent poets, the purpose of poetry is not to
express your emotions, it's to trigger those emotions in others.

However, I'm aware that's an awfully Apollonian attitude.  Any
Dionysians care to reply?

Dale Lyles
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.