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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Re: Assorted Responses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0832  Friday, 7 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 May 1999 09:13:06 EDT
        Subj:   A genre for T&C

[2]     From:   John Savage <
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        Date:   Thursday, 6 May 1999 10:01:43 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 10.0803 Assorted Responses

[3]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Thursday, 6 May 1999 17:09:25 +0100
        Subj:   Re: Henry

[4]     From:   Janet Maclellan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 6 May 1999 13:20:42 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Branagh and Clowns

[5]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 06 May 1999 22:19:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0825 Assorted Responses


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Friday, 7 May 1999 09:13:06 EDT
Subject:        A genre for T&C

Although some editors think T&C may be a comedy, they only testify to
the relative lack of discernment of editors.  That beast is a SATIRE,
one of a class of critters that we laugh at (like comedies) but just
don't marry.  (William Arrowsmith described Petronius' SATYRICON as a
story with a wierd fascination,  he said, "rather like watching
alligators copulate." Interesting in the abstract, but nothing one would
like to try for oneself.) Similar fictions might include GULLIVER'S
TRAVELS and Kubrick's DR STRANGELOVE. Northrop Frye (ah, there's a name
to conjure with when adrift in the poststructuralist swamps) lays out
the forms of satire in his ANATOMY OF CRITICISM.

We wince at Hector's mutilation, maybe spit, but we are also caught in
the rueful , ironic, and angry laughter of the veteran watching someone
do a damned foolish  move based on an honor code that we know has been
corrupted along the way. Hector is not Lear or Hamlet or even
Coriolanus.  The triumph of folly or vice is what Aristotle refers to in
the Poetics as the shape of Comedy, the imitation of a foolish action.
For Aristotle, comedy was of the Aristophanic variety, not the romantic
"and they lived happily ever after" formulation.  T&C romps in that
spiky garden.

Ever,
Steve Urgigglewitz

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Savage <
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Date:           Thursday, 6 May 1999 10:01:43 -0400
Subject: Assorted Responses
Comment:        SHK 10.0803 Assorted Responses

>Don't forget that women wore shifts but not underpants, so the
>association of ideas would have been something like eating parsley-having
>to urinate-squatting in the field-one thing leads to another.

Does anyone have any solid info on the existence-of lack-of toilets in
the Globe and other Elizabethan playhouses?  Were elegantly-dressed
ladies expected to just go out on the grass?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Thursday, 6 May 1999 17:09:25 +0100
Subject:        Re: Henry

Hugh Grady asks: 'Alas, is only Harold Bloom with me on behalf of that
Falstaff? A bad world, I say.'

A rhetorical question, surely? Dryden, Johnson, Morgann, Hazlitt,
Bradley - we could do worse!

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Janet Maclellan <
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Date:           Thursday, 6 May 1999 13:20:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Branagh and Clowns

Moira Russell wrote:

>I was intrigued by a comment you made that
>Branagh has consistently miscast the clowns in his filmed versions of
>the plays.  Could you possibly write a brief elaboration on this?

Sorry for the belated reply. The discussion to which I referred was not
about "consistent miscasting" but rather about Branagh's preferred
strategy for dealing with the difficulties of Shakespearean clown
language (with all those now-obscure early modern puns, etc.). What I've
been told (and I hope someone will correct me if I'm misinformed) is
that Branagh tends to try to get around the problem by giving the clown
parts to professional comedians and leaving it up to them to make the
dialogue funny any way they can. Sometimes it works (e.g. Billy Crystal
as the gravedigger in Hamlet-although I thought his reading was actually
fairly traditional); sometimes it doesn't (e.g. Michael Keaton, who made
Dogberry's malapropisms-which are actually quite funny to a modern
audience-unintelligible).

Janet MacLellan

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[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 06 May 1999 22:19:21 -0400
Subject: 10.0825 Assorted Responses
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0825 Assorted Responses

T. Hawkes writes:

>It's still my intention to nominate you
>for the award of The Golden Quill. I'm sure you'll know what to do with
>it.

Yes, Terence, I know exactly what I'll do with it.  So you'd better pray
to the shades of Marx and Engels that I'm not armed with the golden
quill when next we meet.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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