1999

Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1728  Tuesday, 12 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:59:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Marilyn Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 11:49:11 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 12:37:53 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[4]     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 19:36:01 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[5]     From:   A. D. Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Oct 1999 12:56:34 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:59:44 -0400
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

One reason for the near-universal teaching of Julius Caesar is that it
is, so to speak, auto-bowdlerized: very limited sexual by-play or
references.  Similarly, high school kids are inoculated against ever
enjoying George Eliot (another great writer who took a lot of interest
in sexuality) by being force-fed Silas Marner instead of something they
might actually enjoy. (In defense of high school teachers, Middlemarch,
Mill on the Floss, and Romola are probably too long to be taught in high
school).

Dana (Shilling)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 11:49:11 -0400
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

Most of the high school lit anthologies of the 50's-60's bowdlerized the
plays.  I believe that the ones we used in high school were the same as
the ones when I first started teaching: the Adventures in... series
published by Harcourt, Brace (Now HBJ).  When I started teaching in 1966
(yeah, I'm an antique <g>) the book room was filled w/ versions of
various plays... some hardback, some paperback.  I recall a school
series in hb that was seriously amended, at least in the case of R&J
(which even then I knew mostly by heart, esp. the racier portions, b/c
of a college production on which I had worked).  However, after the
first year when I felt cheated (and so provided the students w/ the
missing lines <snickering>) I moved on to paperbacks and have been using
the Folger's almost ever since.  Starting last year, I ask my Honors
students to come up w/ the $11 or so it will cost them and buy the Arden
edition.  If anyone knows the Cambridge (NOT the schoolboy's version) or
Oxford World's Classics and thinks it's better, LMK b/c I'm about to
order their books for this year.

I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and teach in suburban New Haven, for
what it's worth in the context of butchered classics.

Marilyn Bonomi

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 12:37:53 -0700
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

The only Shakespeare in my father's hundreds of books was a bowdlerized,
illustrated copy of Hamlet, copyright 1922 by Samuel Thurber, Jr.,
published in 1944 by Allyn and Bacon as one of The Academy Classics.
It's stamped Property of Bronxville Public Schools.

What I love most about it is the section "Subjects for Composition." For
instance, Number 4 is "References to the Bible in Hamlet. Make a
collection of all references to the Bible in the play. Note the
circumstances and character of each. What conclusion do you draw as to
Shakespeare's knowledge and use of the scriptures?"

Number 34 is "Ophelia writes to Laertes. Try to imagine the sort of
letter she would write. She is affectionate, and she has a keen sense of
humor (see I.3. 45-51). Would she mention Hamlet?

Number 42 is " 'My Switzers.' See IV.5.80. Hunt up references to the
Swiss Guard in history. Write a theme embodying what you find, with
special reference to the 'Lion of Lucerne.' "

Anybody give high school students an assignment like those recently?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 19:36:01 -0500
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

If one actually looks, textually, at the Bowdler and Malone editions,
one finds that Bowdler did not Bowdlerize so much as one has been lead
to believe.

William Proctor Williams

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           A. D. Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Oct 1999 12:56:34 +0100
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

I'm pretty sure that the Shakespeare texts used when I was at secondary
school in Ireland in the '70s had at least some level of expurgation. It
wasn't until many years later that the irony of this occurred to me: the
series was called the 'Malone Shakespeare', in honour of the famous
Irish-born editor, Edmond Malone.

Though not really intended for a scholarly audience, Noel Perrin's book
'Dr. Bowdler's Legacy' (Macmillan, 1970) is a very useful account of the
history of expurgation and contains much useful material on Shakespeare.

Thomas Bowdler himself was a student here at St. Andrews for a spell,
though he appears not to have left much trace behind. We do, however,
have a number of books in the library which have obscene annotations by
C18th students.

Cheers,
Andrew
School of English
University of St. Andrews

Re: Desdemona

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1727  Tuesday, 12 October 1999.

From:           Dana Shilling <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:49:40 -0400
Subject: 10.1716 SHK 10.1716 Re: Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1716 SHK 10.1716 Re: Desdemona

I think one demon in the other's hell?

Sonnetishly yours,
Dana (Shilling)

>And "hell" in Othello.

>David Schalkwyk

Henry V Directors

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1725  Tuesday, 12 October 1999.

From:           Brian Wallace <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Oct 1999 18:22:26 PDT
Subject:        Henry V Directors

[Editor's Note: This positing is from someone who is not a member of
SHAKSPER. If you choose to reply, please do so directly to Brian Wallace
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and NOT by using the REPLY function. -Hardy]

To Whom It May Concern:

I was referred to you by "Shakespeare Magazine", who is considering
publishing an article I am now composing regarding the play HENRY V and
the Battle of Agincourt. What I am researching are the historical facts
of the actual battle and the subsequent stage combat techniques used to
adapt it in productions of Shakespeare's drama.

I was hoping you might put me into contact with some directors you know
who would not mind talking at length about this aspect of their
particular shows.

Thank you for any help,
Brian Walllace
(205) 933-2609
PO Box 531034 Birmingham, AL 35253
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Fat Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1726  Tuesday, 12 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Carol Fortunato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:14:14 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[2]     From:   Dana Shilling <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:56:19 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[3]     From:   Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 11:07:59 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[4]     From:   James P. Lusardi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 16:20:56 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 17:51:58 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[6]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 17:51:58 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[7]     From:   Marti Markus <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 23:42:01 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[8]     From:   Geoffrey Forward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 18:10:02 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

[9]     From:   Michael Ullyot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Oct 1999 09:57:09 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Fortunato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:14:14 EDT
Subject: 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

>In the final scene of Hamlet, while Hamlet is fighting with Laertes
>Gertrude says of Hamlet:
>
>He's fat, and scant of breath.
>
>I have always been curious as to what the 'fat' refers to.  My
>mathematics lecturer (a Russian lady who has a bit of a thing for
>Shakespeare, which she says sounds better in Russian) used this line to
>defend the forty-something year old, rather portly Hamlet of the
>well-known Russian version of Hamlet.

It's my understanding that Richard Burbage was a pretty hefty guy.  If
so, the original Hamlet WAS fat.

[Editor's Note: This subject was discussed on SHAKSPER some time ago.
Anyone wished to located previous discussions should use the SEARCH
FUNCTION. -Hardy]

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:56:19 -0400
Subject: 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

This line is often explained away as meaning something like "sweaty and
greasy". However, since Hamlet is also 30 years old (a considerable age
in those days), Shakespeare may be experimenting with an alienation
effect here-the plump and middle-aged have existential crises too, you
know.

Plumply and middle-agedly,
Dana (Shilling)

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 11:07:59 EDT
Subject: 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

Hardin Craig says this may be a reference to the portly Burbage, who
played Hamlet when the play was first staged, but he also points out
that other editors gloss it as "soft, out of training," and that
emendations "faint" and "hot" have been suggested.  Since Gertrude
offers him her handkerchief to "rub [his] brows" with, Hamlet is
obviously sweating-and since that occasions a remark from her (which it
wouldn't, if he customarily perspired when fencing), I am inclined to
agree with the interpretation that says he is out of shape from hanging
around the castle with no one but Polonius with whom to engage in
swordplay.

Best to all,
Carol Barton

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James P. Lusardi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 16:20:56 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

An article that may interest you, "Hamlet's Fat" by Laura Keyes,
appeared in Shakespeare and the Triple Play, ed. Sidney Homan,
Lewisburg:  Bucknell UP, 1988, pp. 89-104.

Yours--Jim Lusardi, Co-Editor, Shakespeare Bulletin

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 17:48:35 -0400
Subject: 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

The "fat" is almost certainly intended literally.  Burbage is said to
have weighed something like 17 stn.

I also think that the V.i references to Hamlet's age as 30 were added to
accommodate Burbage, who may have been taking a ribbing for playing a
college kid.  So your Russian math teacher might be on to something.

Larry Weiss

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 17:51:58 -0400
Subject: 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

Or maybe WS meant "phat."

Larry

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marti Markus <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 23:42:01 +0100
Subject: 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1721 Q: Fat Hamlet

A FAT  Hamlet led to Georg Britting's "Lebenslauf eines dicken Menschen,
der Hamlet hiess" (=Thee life of a fat man called Hamlet), which is a
marvellous novel of "late" (=after WW2)  expressionism in Germany
(1961).

The title of his novel is due to the very line you are quoting.

But in the German reception of Hamlet the actor playing that role was
normally a very lean and rather small  "intellectual"  - certainly not a
Falstaff  figure.

"fat", though, just means "sweating" or "bleeding" in some other
contexts:   cf 2Hen IV, II..44..214: "alas ...  how thou sweat'st! Come
let me wipe thy face" or Macb. II.3.6., where napkins are asked for, and
"bleeding" as a synonym for "fat" is another option in  Hen.V, IV.6. 8.

(All those examples are taken from: Ernst Leisi, Problemw


Re: Shakespeare References

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1724  Tuesday, 12 October 1999.

From:           John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 10 Oct 99 1:17:06 EDT
Subject: 10.1699 Re: Shakespeare References
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1699 Re: Shakespeare References

Dear SHAKSPERians, the Toronto Star, Oct 9 99, looked at 2 Shakespeare
reworks.

"10 Things I Hate About You", out on video.  An irreverent reworking of
'Taming of the Shrew' set in Padua High School.
- Nods to the Bard are frequent and extremely clever.

"MacHomer: The Simpsons Do Macbeth", making its Toronto debut, has been
seen by more than 50,000 people across the country. A one-man tour de
force, Rick Miller inhabits more than 50 characters from TV's The
Simpsons, bringing them together with 300 hand-painted animation cels
and a Shakespearean script - albeit much-abbreviated and hilariously
mangled - for a 70-minute show.  reworks.

John Ramsay
Welland Ontario
Canada

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