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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: July ::
Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1316  Monday, 26 July 1999.

[1]     From:   Chris Stroffolino <
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        Date:   Friday, 23 Jul 1999 15:29:05 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1306 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...

[2]     From:   Michael Yawney <
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        Date:   Saturday, 24 Jul 1999 00:07:56 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1290 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <
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Date:           Friday, 23 Jul 1999 15:29:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.1306 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1306 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...

Thanks Evelyn Gajowski for correcting me (and apologies to Leah Marcus
if perchance she's on this list) about the author of the excellent
"shrew-tamer" article.

In response to Lawrence, an interesting point, an ultimately
unresolvable- though I don't think Marcus is saying that "A Shrew"
should REPLACE "The Shrew" as THE canonical play. Rather, she's arguing
against a singular text and wanting to foreground the very problem you
raise. Actually, I would frame your questions ("Is everything which
happens the fantasy of a drunken tinker? Is all a sort of giant joke?")
in the negative-to wit, what if it ISN'T a giant joke, what if it's NOT
the fantasy of a drunken tinker....  I don't think Shakespeare was a
shrewd about framing devices and their both "is and is not" "natural
perspective" that allows him to "have his cake and eat it too" in this
early play as he later became. And I think that the distubrbing elements
of this play (in contrast to say "The Merchant of Venice") are precisely
the way it seems to foreground the conventional plot in which "Kate, as
shrew, is tamed"-and, seeing it, it's hard to totally disregard the
"unironic reading" (largely because Petruchio and Kate's characters are
not as fleshed out as the leads of later plays) and its possible "moral"
about 1) what men have to do to win women and 2) what women should do
among men....

Of course, for me, one of the most interesting things that challenges
the "traditional" (non-ironic" in say Richard Levin's terms-if I got
that name right!) reading of the last scene and kate's renunciation
speech would be the idea that Kate and Petruchio are at this point
"playing a game" and are aligned against the more smug, "proper" widow
and Bianca, etc (since the widow has put Kate down at the beginning of
this scene). I also like I think Carole Neeley (am I right?)'s argument
that the scene on which they are riding back on horses and see the
"young lady" who is really a man and argue about the sun and moon is
something that to emphasize (and also the argument over whether Kate is
really Katherine).  Here, are glimpses of the more subtle undercutting
Shakespeare would foreground more in other plays.....

Chris

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Yawney <
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Date:           Saturday, 24 Jul 1999 00:07:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.1290 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1290 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...

>Clifford, your point about the metadramatic qualities to T of S is
>interesting, but still not sure if it makes it a better play than MND.
>Of course, I just saw the awful Central Park version of it.  But did you
>ever read I think Karen Newman's essay about the "Shakespe arean editor
>as shrew tamer" (in ELR 1992 Spring i think) which makes a good case for
>the "ur-Shrew" which keeps the Sly framing device in the end of the play
>as well (which was practically the only good "innovation" the Central
>Park production added, but wasn't enough to redeem it). I am also
>curious if you could elaborate on how this metadramtic quality makes it
>like Baudelaire....
>
>      Chris

The addition of the closing material from Taming of a Shrew is often
done and does seem to add a closure more in keeping with drama of the
period.

Slightly off topic: Shrew productions have become just as referential as
Hamlet. Serban put nearly the entire score of Kiss Me Kate in his
production and showed a video of the Pickford/Fairbanks film in the
lobby.  The Williamburg/Rees production seems to have lifted its
prologue (in which a drunken late-coming audience member stumbles on to
the stage to become Christopher Sly, then Petruchio with an usher/cop
becoming Kate) from Barrie Kyles production.

I guess its problematic view of gender relations makes it necessary to
either stick the plays history on stage, or steal a production strategy
that worked before.
 

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