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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Assorted Responses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0920  Monday, 31 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Sunday, 30 May 1999 06:40:14 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0910 Child Roland

[2]     From:   Edmund M. Taft <
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        Date:   Thursday, 06 Sep 1956 21:36:42 +0000
        Subj:   Chooseth

[3]     From:   Lyn Wood <
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        Date:   Saturday, 29 May 1999 16:07:01 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0913 Shaw's "Cymbeline Revisited"

[4]     From:   Skip Nicholson <
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        Date:   Saturday, 29 May 1999 22:29:19 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.0892 Merry Wives Question

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 28 May 1999 11:44:19 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0912 Various Responses


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Sunday, 30 May 1999 06:40:14 -0400
Subject: 10.0910 Child Roland
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0910 Child Roland

>In the quarto text of King Lear, Edgar's famous line (Sc. 11. 167 of the
>Oxford edition, end of 3. 4. in Folio-based texts) reads 'Child Rowland,
>to the darke towne come,', whereas the Folio has 'Tower came'. Either
>noun could easily be a misreading of the other. In preparing an edition
>based on the quarto I feel a duty to preserve 'towne', which makes
>perfectly good sense. ('come' I take to be the old form of the past
>tense.) Can anyone tell me, however, whether there is anything in
>Arthurian legend which would support 'Tower'?

I do not seem to have a decent translation to have in my office, but I'd
look at Orlando Furioso.  Some vague memory prompts that Orlando arrives
at the tower of a wizard and is incited to attempt the fidelity test
which then results in him running mad.

In a more generic sense, the questers of Spenser and Ariosto et al more
often run into towers than towns.

Melissa D. Aaron
University of Michigan
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mdaaron/index.html

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund M. Taft <
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Date:           Thursday, 06 Sep 1956 21:36:42 +0000
Subject:        Chooseth

In my view, Brian Haylett idealizes Portia in much the same way that an
earlier generation of critics idealized Henry V and the Duke in Measure
for Measure.  Like her father, Portia is an agent of control whose chief
function is to exclude "others" or to accept them on a conditional
basis, e.g. Jessica, who "converts."  Portia excludes Morocco and Aragon
and effectively disables both Shylock and Antonio.  She not only rigs
the casket scene in favor of Bassanio but in the trial scene also
pretends to qualifications and expertise that she clearly does not have,
much like the Duke in MM, except that, unlike the Duke, she goes too far
and destroys a man when she does not have to.

Some basic observations: (1) I never said that Portia is a racist, but
the shoe may fit.  My point about "complexion" is that earlier editors
tended to "gloss" the word only in its benign sense, when both are
clearly intended, as Bevington points out in his recent edition of the
plays.  (2) Brian's observation that Portia gives Shylock three chances
"to escape his predicament" is literally true but carries little force.
After all, Shylock wants revenge and thinks that the law is on his side.
Portia knows that he will not accept her "offers," and so the offers
themselves are a way to justify the ensuing judgment, which reeks of
revenge in its own right.

So my point still stands.  In effect, Portia represents "old money" and
the power old money asssumes it has to bend or break the rules whenever
it wants.  Porita is really a kind of gatekeeper who lets in "the right
sort" and keeps out "the riffraff."

Idealizing Portia simply causes us to miss too much of what really
happens in the play.  Like Antonio, Portia suffers from not knowing
herself well enough. She recognizes, I think, that she is working in her
own self interest, but I think that she is only dimly aware of her
function as an enforcer of class, social,  and religious values.

MV is really about the limits of multi-culturalism in a society that is
highly stratified and dominated by one religion.  It accurately
reflects, for example, the hegemony of upper-class, Protestant America
until about 1950.  It's not a pretty picture,  no matter how hard we try
to justify/idealize it.

--Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lyn Wood <
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Date:           Saturday, 29 May 1999 16:07:01 -0700
Subject: 10.0913 Shaw's "Cymbeline Revisited"
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0913 Shaw's "Cymbeline Revisited"

John T. Aney writes

>I am currently involved with doing some dramaturgical work on a
>production of "Cymbeline" to be performed here in the Seattle area in
>July.
snip
>Does anyone know if it has ever even been performed?

There was a staging at the Embassy Theatre in London, beginning 16 Nov
1927 and apparently not lasting very long, of *Cymbeline* with Shaw's
rewritten 5th act.  J. C. Trewin mentions it in his book *Shakespeare on
the English Stage, 1900-1964*.  He says, "Amiable Shaw; but after the
Embassy production . . . it slipped from sight."

Lyn

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Nicholson <
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Date:           Saturday, 29 May 1999 22:29:19 -0700
Subject: 10.0892 Merry Wives Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.0892 Merry Wives Question

>A colleague asked if I could recommend a Shakespearean expert on *Merry
>Wives of Windsor,* whose work on the play he could review, as he
>translates the play into Spanish for an on-going project he is working
>on to produce first-rate foreign language editions of Shakespeare's
>plays.
>
>Any ideas, suggestions, and/or comments applicable to this type of
>project would be greatly appreciated.

Jeanne Roberts of Washington D.C. (American University and the Folger
Shakespeare Library) has the first (and maybe still the only)
book-length study of the play, _Shakespeare's English Comedy : The Merry
Wives in Context_.

Cheers,
Skip Nicholson
South Pasadena (CA) HS

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[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 28 May 1999 11:44:19 -0400
Subject: 10.0912 Various Responses
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0912 Various Responses

In response to the inquiry about pages, Dale Lyles mentions the page in
the Sly scenes in T/S.  I wonder if anyone agrees with me that Grumio is
addressing this character when he says in I.ii "Help, mistress, help!
My master is mad." Theobald amended "mistress" to "masters"; but I think
he is wrong.
 

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