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 10.0441  Friday, 12 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Frank Whigham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 11 Mar 1999 08:18:50 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 11 Mar 1999 10:48:39 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[3]     From:   Peter T. Hadorn <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 11 Mar 1999 15:57:00 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

[4]     From:   Judy Lewis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 12 Mar 1999 23:09:32 +1300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 11 Mar 1999 08:18:50 -0600
Subject: 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love

It seems patent to me that WS read a great many books (see Bullough),
and that this experience played a major role in what he wrote. (I
thought a large problem with the pleasant film was that it ignored this
bookish fellow's enormous reading. The fact that Jonson may have read
more is no disproof of anything about WS.) North's Plutarch isn't a box
of Wheaties, though both project role models to the consumer, for what
it's worth. Why (Shakespeare's) reading should be so readily dismissed
by so many of those who do it for a living and bespeak its crucial value
all the time is beyond me. Reading isn't chopped liver, much less
"nothing." This matter is no simpler than the stage and page issue,
which it resembles in its capacity to summon up cartoons.

Frank Whigham

>One of the things it ["Science"]
>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

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 11 Mar 1999 10:48:39 -0800
Subject: Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        SHK 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love

I find some the comments about the expressions of artists to be, well,
not very historically informed.

Of course some artists express their deepest feelings.  There is little
doubt that Michelangelo's appreciation of the male form informed some of
his sculpture as well as the pitiful guilt expressed in his sonnets.
Certainly if an artist is completely ignorant of something, he or she
can not express it.  Pretty obvious, that.  Does this mean all artists
must feel something deeply to express it deeply?

Stephanie Hughes accepts a very modern/psychological construct of this.
Not her fault.  She was formed when this construct was common and it is
reinforced in modern biographies where the authors look for
psychological causes for artistic effects.  There was a time, not all
that long ago, when this view did not exist.  There may be a time when
it is considered a silly blip that our era foolishly found valid.  That
is the danger of mistaking social constructs for reality.

The fact is that before the invention of the museum and the concert
hall, most art was made for practical purposes.  You want a house?  You
hire a carpenter.  You want an altarpiece?  You hire a painter.  A
carpenter needed to know building materials and have a plan.  So did the
painter.  Both artifacts had practical purposes: of putting a roof over
your head or reminding the illiterate of a religious story and its
meaning.

Did every artist who painted a crucifixion with sorrow on the faces of
those around the cross feel that sorrow, or did they learn to do that
through technical means, just as putting bits of white on a painting of
a glass gives the illusion of light reflecting on it?  Were all
crucifixion painters deeply religious?  Probably not.

I know a comic book writer who does the same thing.  He is one of the
coldest and most emotionally distant people I have ever met.  In his
work he seems very wise and caring.  He knows how to pull it off through
technical means. True, Ms. Hughes, he has to understand it at some level
or he could not portray it, but he does not understand it in the deep
personal way that you mean.

As a lad who has published a sonnet or three, I can tell you that I have
set out to express a particular feeling, but the structure would not
allow that feeling, or more accurately, I was not clever enough to get
it to do so.  I ended up saying something else that others found very
moving.  I just didn't feel it very strongly.

I hope I don't come off as having made any definitive statements here.
I believe this issue is too complex to answer to the generalizations
given on this list.  Indubitably, some artistic expressions come from
the deeply felt experience of the artist.  To claim that it MUST flies
in the face of a lot of other evidence.  Perhaps a more even handed
approach is in order?  Can we not accept that it comes by different
means for different artists, or a mixture of the deeply felt and the
technical for some?

Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter T. Hadorn <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 11 Mar 1999 15:57:00 -0600
Subject: 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.0418 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Maybe I'm indulging in bardolatry, but Shakespeare in Love picked up on
something that I've been thinking about a lot lately: Shakespeare's
writing "firsts."

According to the movie, Romeo and Juliet is the first play to depict
"real" romantic love.

I have read elsewhere that when he wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream,
Shakespeare was fully aware that it was the best comedy written to
date-whatever "best" means.

I just finished teaching "Shrew" and remarked that Petruchio and
Katherine's first exchange is probably the first non-cliched
(non-Petrarchan) "wooing" scene that he, or perhaps anyone else, had
written (you might say it's not a wooing scene, but they do get married
in the next scene, and Katherine does seem upset that Petruchio doesn't
show).

The class noted that this convention is now quite popular:  those who
will be lovers start out hating each other, go through various verbal
(and sometimes physical) sparring matches, and end up loving each other
(again assuming that P and K do end up loving each other.  Compare also
Beatrice and Benedick).

I'm afraid this might be getting confused, but my point is that this
sort of relationship, as far I can gather, started with Shakespeare.  Is
this true?  Are there any other "firsts" that we can identify?  And is
it really useful to pursue this line of questioning?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judy Lewis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 12 Mar 1999 23:09:32 +1300
Subject: 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0434 Re: Shakespeare in Love

Francis Barasch wrote: They wanted to know about Alencon's
cross-dressing....

But the suitor shown in Elizabeth was not Alencon but his older brother
Anjou who was homosexual, probably a cross-dresser, never set foot in
England and was aged about 19 to Elizabeth's 37 at the time that a
marriage was suggested between them. Alencon did not enter the equation
until 1572.  Only several among many inaccuracies.

David Frankel wrote:  I take it as an axiom that plays (films, novels,
etc.) reflect contemporary concerns no matter where and when they may be
set.  Elizabeth, ultimately, is not a historical document about an
English queen of the 16th century; whatever it says, and whether done
well or ill, it speaks to and about the current world.

Enlighten me.  What does it speak?
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.