1999

Re: Productions of Much Ado

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1864  Tuesday, 2 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Peter Hyland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 1 Nov 1999 12:32:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1849 Re: Productions of Much Ado

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 01 Nov 1999 10:12:11 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1849 Re: Productions of Much Ado

[3]     From:   Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 01 Nov 1999 12:56:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1849 Re: Productions of Much Ado


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hyland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 Nov 1999 12:32:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.1849 Re: Productions of Much Ado
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1849 Re: Productions of Much Ado

The claim by Pervez Rizvi that all Shakespeare's bastards apart from Don
John are introduced as such on their first appearance is not quite
true.  Thersites in TROILUS AND CRESSIDA announces his bastardy only in
his final speech (Norton 5.8) when he is quite insistent on it (he uses
the word eight times in a single brief speech, along with 'illegitimate'
and 'son of a whore'), thus forcing the reader/spectator to reconsider
precisely where on the social margins he is to be located.

Peter Hyland

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 01 Nov 1999 10:12:11 -0800
Subject: 10.1849 Re: Productions of Much Ado
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1849 Re: Productions of Much Ado

Robin Hamilton wrote:

>But Prince John betrays the leaders of the rebellion, and orders them
>executed:
>
>Some guard these traitors to the block of death,
>Treason's true bed and yielder up of breath.
>         --  2HIV, Act 4, scene 1.
>
>If Don  Pedro had behaved similarly towards Don John in MUCH ADO, the
>latter character wouldn't have been around by the beginning of the play
>(which may have been, in order of composition, the play which
>immediately followed 2HIV).

This is quite true, but the betrayal isn't the parallel between the two
plays to which I'm pointing.  It's the assumption that, under normal
circumstances, a rebellion is designed not to get rid of a government or
a government system altogether, but to wring discrete, definable and
listed concessions from a government that remains in place.

If most rebellions ended in total victory and total defeat, Prince
John's action wouldn't be shocking.  The onstage reaction bespeaks
certain normative assumptions above rebellion.

Cheers,
Se


Re: Gertrude

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1864  Tuesday, 2 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Ed Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 01 Nov 1999 12:51:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude

[2]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 1 Nov 1999 12:06:40 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 01 Nov 1999 05:14:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude

[4]     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Nov 1999 07:35:08 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 01 Nov 1999 12:51:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.1850 Re: Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude

>I would have thought that the single defining fact about Gertrude-one of
>the very few things that can be taken as a fact-is that she is unknown.
>Like virtually everyone else around Hamlet, she has become a mystery, to
>us as well as to him.  None of the crucial questions are ever answered:
>when did she fall?  why did she fall?  what does she know, if anything,
>about the murder? does she drink the poison knowingly?  When she
>'confesses', it is only at knife-point and thus clearly untrustworthy
>(not to mention vague).  Obviously, this is not an accidental effect:
>the discovery that he knows no one, least of all his nearest and
>dearest, is a crucial fact of Hamlet's situation.  Of course an actress
>and a director dealing with the part must decide which of many possible
>Gertrudes they want to present, but that is not the same thing as
>finding the right one.  We should perhaps content ourselves with
>mysteries.
>
>Arthur Lindley

But like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Polonius, as critics, our
self-interest and academic promotion frequently seem to depend on our
"plucking out the heart of [Hamlet's or Gertrude's-or some other fictive
character's] mystery."  We must, I think, continually remind ourselves
that great art has "mystery" and ambiguity at its core.

Thank you for reinjecting that reminder into the mix.

Ed Pixley
SUNY-Oneonta

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 Nov 1999 12:06:40 -0600
Subject: 10.1850 Re: Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude

Maybe Gertrude is an example of Hamlet's "sometime paradox" (3.1.114,
Arden):  "the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it
is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness" (3.1.111-114, Arden).  Or, maybe she is our example of "false
as water" . .  . whatever we determined that meant.

Judy Craig

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 01 Nov 1999 05:14:35 -0500
Subject: 10.1850 Re: Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude

Sean Lawrence wrote

>Better minds than mine have burned themselves out trying to define the
>constitution of the fictional Denmark, but I would like to note that
>even electoral monarchies (like Sweden's a couple of centuries later)
>had limited electorates, often just the nobles.  Moreover, the word
>"election" as used by Hamlet might not indicate any sort of popular vote
>at all.  In King Lear 1.1, Burgundy uses the term "election" to simply
>mean a choice.

We've been through this before.  The kings of Viking Denmark were
elected by an assembly of chieftains or ur-nobles called the Witan.  WS
evidently was aware of the practice as the play refer several times to
an election in the sense of the choice of a body.  E.g., "popp'd in
between the election and my hopes."  And, of course, at the end Hamlet
confers his "dying voice" (i.e., vote) on Fortinbras.

I have also speculated that the main reason Hamlet despises Polonius
with such special venom is that Polonius was instrumental in the
election of Claudius, which Hamlet might have regarded as faithless to
his father as well as himself.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 2 Nov 1999 07:35:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Gertrude
Comment:        SHK 10.1850 Re: Gertrude

Must say I never trusted Gertrude myself. Drinks, you know. Especially
since Mrs. Polonius ran off.  Makes you wonder who Hamlet's REAL father
might be. I suspect the Macbeths could tell us a lot.

T. Hawkes

Trivial Observation ...

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1862  Monday, 1 November 1999.

From:           Robin Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 30 Oct 1999 07:15:17 +0100
Subject:        Trivial Observation ...

Has anyone discussed the point that +The Two Gentlemen of Verona+
(argued to be Shakespeare's first play) contains a "Duke of Milan", as
does +The Tempest+ (argued to be Shakespeare's last play).

Hm?

Robin Hamilton

Conference Announcement

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1863  Monday, 1 November 1999.

From:           Nely Keinanen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 Nov 1999 15:45:10 +0200
Subject:        Conference Announcement

Dear SHAKSPEReans:

As many of you know, the Department of English at the University of
Helsinki will be organizing the fifth ESSE (European Society for the
Study of English) conference, 25-29 August, 2000.  ESSE5 will include a
number of workshops or seminars run on a format similar to the one used
at the American SAA meetings, including some on Shakespeare or related
topics (e.g. Francois Laroque, "Fin de Si


Plot Inquiry

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1861  Monday, 1 November 1999.

From:           Allan Blackman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 31 Oct 1999 14:06:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Plot Inquiry

Can someone give me the source of the plot below?  It's likely from a
short story.  I associate it with the early (late 40s) days of American
television when classic short stories were often dramatized in half-hour
shows.  My best recollection is:

A man (in the 20th c., I think) discovers a manuscript containing an
unknown Shakespearean play, written in S's hand. Unsophisticated, he
thinks that the best way to cash in on his find is to copy the play and
offer it to publishers and/or producers as his own work.  The play is
rejected because of its "old-fashioned" style.  The manuscript itself
(which would have been worth a fortune on the auction block) is somehow
destroyed, and the finder ends up with nothing for all his efforts.

Allan Blackman

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