1999

Re: Little Latin

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1331  Wednesday, 28 July 1999.

From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 27 Jul 1999 09:33:56 -0500
Subject: 10.1328 Little Latin, a query
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1328 Little Latin, a query

Marti Markus wrote:

>In  "Titus Andronicus" IV.14ff old Titus (or his brother Marcus) speaks
>to his grandson (grandnephew), little Titus jr.:  "Ah, boy, Cornelia
>never with more care / Read to her sons than she [=Lavinia] hath read to
>thee / Sweet poetry and Tully's Orator." Question: What  is "Tully's
>Orator"?
>
>It could be either Cicero's "Orator" or his "De Oratore" - both works
>seem to be rather of  rhetorical and philosophical interest, but, I must
>confess, I do not know either of them. Does anybody?  We know that
>classical education began early in Elizabethan times ((for the
>fortunate, the chosen few), but nevertheless,  I wonder what could have
>been in one of these works that might have been able to attract the
>attention of a small boy, at least in the eyes of his grandfather or
>grand uncle...
>
>How could the Elizabethans imagine that one of "Tully's works" could be
>something Roman mothers (or aunts) would read to their children (instead
>of the bible or of some fairy tales or instead of installing them in
>front of a TV-set to make them watch tele-tubbies). Could it be that
>Cicero uses small and simple stories (fables. perhaps) in one of these
>two works, and that some of these "short pieces" might have been used in
>Latin school books in the 16th Century? (=Where could one find these?)
>There could be some other explanations, of course, but they are less
>likely:
>
>* Remembering my own school days I could imagine that Cicero's works as
>a whole were considered to be of such an extremely somnolent quality
>that they could have been used as a sort of rhetorical equivalent to a
>sleeping pill ("just read out one sentence and your brats will fall
>asleep immediately: Quawn usque, yawn....patientia snorostra...")
>* or, Cicero's works were considered to be of extreme difficulty  - so
>that  our passage would then stress the point that the boys (the young
>Gracchi and young Titus) were of an extraordinary intelligence... (Just
>as our own kids,  to whom we all, I guess, read the usual bit of
>Heidegger and, if that does not help, some Bakhtin, Baudrillard or Lacan
>before we let them sleep, change their diapers or send them to the
>kindergarten.)

Among the papers of Richard Quiney surviving at Stratford-in addition to
Quiney's famous letter to Shakespeare-is a letter to Quiney from his
11-year-old son Richard, written in 1598.  In this letter, the younger
Quiney adapts a line from Cicero's Epistolae ad Familiares in a way that
makes it clear that he fully understands the line and its context.
Grammar school children in that era were drilled in Latin to an extent
that it's scarcely possible for most people to imagine today.  The
average Elizabethan grammar school graduate would know more Latin than
the average college classics major today.

Dave Kathman
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Just what did those Elizabethan schoolboys read?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1330  Wednesday, 28 July 1999.

From:           Yvonne Bruce <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 27 Jul 1999 10:00:15 -0400
Subject:        shk 10.1328 Just what did those Elizabethan schoolboys read?

Re Mr. Markus' observation that Cicero's works were "extremely
somnolent":

Don't forget about the popular taste for sententiae and similitudes.
Biographies, natural histories, political tracts, essays-all got the
Elizabethan condensed treatment in order to make moral instruction and
social fluency as economical as possible. Self-improvement was
fashionable. Think about the extremely successful and extremely plastic
Mirror for Magistrates.

The Latin authors (and Plutarch) lent themselves to this treatment very
well: Plutarch's Lives, Suetonius' Twelve Caesars, and the numerous
epistles, moral lessons, and descriptions of duty (including Cicero's)
so crucial to a grammar school education.

The best overview of middle-class popular and pedagogical tastes remains
Louis B. Wright, Middle-Class Culture in Elizabethan England. Coppelia
Kahn also has an instructive introduction to Elizabethan schoolroom
Latin in the very recent Roman Shakespeare: Warrior, Wounds, and Women.

Best,
Yvonne Bruce

Little Latin, a query

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1328  Tuesday, 27 July 1999.

From:           Marti Markus <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 27 Jul 1999 01:55:56 +0100
Subject:        Little Latin, a query

In  "Titus Andronicus" IV.14ff old Titus (or his brother Marcus) speaks
to his grandson (grandnephew), little Titus jr.:  "Ah, boy, Cornelia
never with more care / Read to her sons than she [=Lavinia] hath read to
thee / Sweet poetry and Tully's Orator." Question: What  is "Tully's
Orator"?

It could be either Cicero's "Orator" or his "De Oratore" - both works
seem to be rather of  rhetorical and philosophical interest, but, I must
confess, I do not know either of them. Does anybody?  We know that
classical education began early in Elizabethan times ((for the
fortunate, the chosen few), but nevertheless,  I wonder what could have
been in one of these works that might have been able to attract the
attention of a small boy, at least in the eyes of his grandfather or
grand uncle...

How could the Elizabethans imagine that one of "Tully's works" could be
something Roman mothers (or aunts) would read to their children (instead
of the bible or of some fairy tales or instead of installing them in
front of a TV-set to make them watch tele-tubbies). Could it be that
Cicero uses small and simple stories (fables. perhaps) in one of these
two works, and that some of these "short pieces" might have been used in
Latin school books in the 16th Century? (=Where could one find these?)
There could be some other explanations, of course, but they are less
likely:

* Remembering my own school days I could imagine that Cicero's works as
a whole were considered to be of such an extremely somnolent quality
that they could have been used as a sort of rhetorical equivalent to a
sleeping pill ("just read out one sentence and your brats will fall
asleep immediately: Quawn usque, yawn....patientia snorostra...")
* or, Cicero's works were considered to be of extreme difficulty  - so
that  our passage would then stress the point that the boys (the young
Gracchi and young Titus) were of an extraordinary intelligence... (Just
as our own kids,  to whom we all, I guess, read the usual bit of
Heidegger and, if that does not help, some Bakhtin, Baudrillard or Lacan
before we let them sleep, change their diapers or send them to the
kindergarten.)

Cheers, Markus Marti

Re: Shakespeare's Current Popularity

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1329  Tuesday, 27 July 1999.

[1]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 27 Jul 1999 18:26:45 +1000
        Subj:   Re: Reasons for Shakespeare's Current Popularity on Film

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tue, 27 Jul 1999 12:34:19 +0100
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare's Current Popularity


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 27 Jul 1999 18:26:45 +1000
Subject: 10.1318 Reasons for Shakespeare's Current Popularity
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1318 Reasons for Shakespeare's Current Popularity
on Film

>What do you think accounts for the number of films relating to
>Shakespeare and for his burgeoning popularity (if in fact it is
>burgeoning) in the last decade or so?
>
>Thanks for your help!
>
>Susan Oldrieve
>Baldwin-Wallace College

Susan, I suspect you'll be sorry you asked.  You're going to be deluged
by responses.

In my opinion, it goes straight back to Branagh's first two filmed
versions, Henry V and Much Ado.  Whatever one may think of Branagh's
interpretations of the texts, or of the specifics of his adaptations, he
showed that it was possible to speak Shakespeare's language, including
the verse, in a way which was easy for people with no background in
early modern language to understand.  That this often included radical
cutting-more than is acceptable by many-is still a point of debate.  It
doesn't, however, alter that Branagh found a way to defuse the
quite-common fear of feeling stupid that many people associate with
seeing Shakespeare.  The films that have followed, by Branagh and by
others, clearly show the influence of those first two adaptations.

My two cents, at any rate.

Cheers,
Karen Peterson-Kranz

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tue, 27 Jul 1999 12:34:19 +0100
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare's Current Popularity

Susan Oldrieve writes

>I 've been asked to do a short radio presentation for a local
> station on why Shakespeare has become so popular recently.
> I have some ideas of my own, but I am by no means an expert
> in this area, so I would appreciate the responses of listservice
> members to this question.

Gary Taylor had a piece in the British newspaper called The Guardian of
24 April 1999 arguing that Shakespeare is, despite the upward blips in
the last 5 years, on the wane. You will find the piece archived on the
newspaper's web archive. Go to

http://www.guardian.co.uk

then choose 'archive' from the drop-down list headed 'Useful stuff' and
enter 'Gary Taylor' as a the keyword search. I have an etext of it which
I'd be happy to send you if, as is often the case, the archive is down.

Gabriel Egan

Assorted Responses

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1327  Tuesday, 27 July 1999.

[1]     From:   Peter Berek <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 26 Jul 1999 16:40:13 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1316 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...

[2]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 26 Jul 1999 20:17:56 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1317 Re: Unwitnessed Events

[3]     From:   Grant Moss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 26 Jul 1999 15:46:59 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1312 Re: Elizabeth I

[4]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tue, 27 Jul 1999 17:58:52 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1319 Re: Hamlets

[5]     From:   Judith Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 26 Jul 1999 18:27:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Caliban and Ariel


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Berek <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 26 Jul 1999 16:40:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.1316 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1316 Re: Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare...

In response to Michael Yawney:  I suspect he means "Williamstown," not
"Williamsburg," as the site of the the recent Taming of the Shrew
directed by Rees.  And the first production I know of which had Sly
appear as a drunk in the midst of the arriving audience was directed by
Michael Bogdanov for the RSC in 1978.  Jonathan Pryce played Petruchio
and arrived onstage on a motorcycle.

                                        Peter Berek

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 26 Jul 1999 20:17:56 -0400
Subject: 10.1317 Re: Unwitnessed Events
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1317 Re: Unwitnessed Events

>A totally off-the-cuff thought about bears, in response to John Savage
>and Clifford Stetner:
>
>>John Savage wrote:
>>
>>>What's your guess as to what the bear was in
>>>Shakespeare's day?  There
>>>were obviously quite a few bears around, what with bear-baiting arenas
>>>near his theatre, but wouldn't it be difficult, if not impossible, to
>>>get a bear to act on split-second cue, not to mention the danger of
>>>dealing with a live, truculent bear?  Is it not more likely that, even
>>>as today, the bear was a guy in a bear suit?
>
>And Clifford Stetner wrote:
>
>>According to Riverside, Mucedorus (based on Sidney's Arcadia), possibly
>>the most popular of all Elizabethan plays, which was staged by the
>>King's Men in 1610 (possibly at the Globe), involved a "live bear."  I,
>>too, would like to see the evidence, but assuming Riverside is reliable,
>>I would guess that the live animal was such a hit with the audience in
>>1610 that Shakespeare wrote him into the Winter's Tale.  Apparently even
>>the poor beasts destined for the slaughter could be trained at least to
>>run across the stage on some cue (perhaps led by a long chain from the
>>other side?).
>>
>>In part this would be an intertextual nod toward the popular Mucedorus.
>>Like the telly tubbies, the King's Men seem to have found the value of
>>repetition of familiar images and conventions in fascinating their
>>audience.  But I think that Shakespeare was trying to capture the shock
>>value of the sudden brief appearance of a wild animal (familiar to them
>>in the context of the savagery and bloody violence of the bear-batings)
>>to emphasize his rhetorical and allegorical themes.
>>
>>In discussing their options in escaping the horrific tortures to be
>>applied to them by the State just described by Autolycus, the Clown
>>says: "though authority be a stubborn bear, he is often led by the nose
>>with gold."  My guess is that the bear (like Auto lycus the wolf and
>>Leon tes the lion) is a symbol.  As in Mucedorus (and Arcadia) he is a
>>symbol of authority.  By bringing the lumbering, slobbering, savage
>>beast in near contact with the audience, Shakespeare is giving flesh and
>>blood to the symbol of State terrorism.

There is a certain amount of evidence that bears, like lions, are royal
symbols and also connected with lechery and violence-but of course even
a symbols has to be staged somehow.  Couple of interesting facts to
"bear" in mind-

In 1608/09, three white bears were brought back from a voyage from
around the polar regions.  In 1609 (November, I believe) one white bear
escaped from Paris Garden and mauled a child; in 1610, Henslowe and
Alleyn were paid for the upkeep of two white bears and a young lion.

The bear in Mucedorus is white (Mouse: "I see her wite head and her wite
belly. . he bad me not to be caught with a white bear")  and that
appears in the 1598 quarto; but possibly the 1610 revival, which
includes an expanded scene for the bear, was partially inspired by the
topical appeal of  white bears.  Yet you will notice that if these
really are polar bears, they are especially unpredictable and
dangerous.  Yes, all Shakespeare's bear has to do is run across the
stage; but in Mucedorus the bear has to remain perfectly still while the
Clown, Mouse, does an "accidental" back-flip over him (ask any acrobat
the potential dangers of movement in that kind of trick) and the two
white bears in Oberon-same year-have to pull a chariot slowly, and that
chariot containing the Prince of Wales.

There have been a lot of interesting speculations on this point over the
years-Michael Hattaway, George Reynolds, WS. Lawrence and Paul Monkemyer
have all written about it.  I lean , for all the reasons I cited above,
to a bear suit; and further speculate that the bear in Winter's Tale is
in there partly because someone-probably Inigo Jones-designed a smashing
bear suit or two for Oberon and it was a shame to let them go to waste.

Melissa Aaron
University of Michigan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Grant Moss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 26 Jul 1999 15:46:59 -0400
Subject: 10.1312 Re: Elizabeth I
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1312 Re: Elizabeth I

Re the question of biographies of Elizabeth I, Hardy mentioned Maria
Perry's *Elizabeth I, The Word of a Prince: A Life from Contemporary
Documents* but raised questions about its availability.  When I checked
this morning, the book was available from Amazon.com, and presumably
other online sources as well.

You might also want to peruse Anne Somerset's *Elizabeth I*, Wallace
MacCaffrey's *Elizabeth I*, and J.E. Neale's *Queen Elizabeth I*.  The
last was once considered the standard bio, but is very old-fashioned by
today's standards; it's still in print, though (Academy Chicago Press),
and is an interesting read.

Grant Moss
Department of English
University of North Carolina

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tue, 27 Jul 1999 17:58:52 +1000
Subject: 10.1319 Re: Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1319 Re: Hamlets

Dana wrote:

>I think that the players in the Mel Gibson version where esp squalid.
>In fact, the director cut out the test to which Hamlet puts the players
>to allow us to see them more alone the lines of 'gypsies' than
>accomplished thespians.  This in my opinion makes even more ironic the
>speech where Polonius declares the players to be the greatest in the
>world.

I just wanted to thank Dana for pointing this out.  Tomorrow I embark on
showing the Zeffirelli/Mel Gibson version to one of my classes, followed
by the 1996 Branagh version, with the idea of getting the students to
think about why certain scenes and/or sections of text were cut from the
former...and why other scenes were considerably expanded (visually, at
least) in the latter.  You've given me a great example to (hopefully)
get them talking, and maybe even (gasp!) thinking.

Yours in the tropics,
Karen Peterson-Kranz
University of Guam

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Craig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 26 Jul 1999 18:27:00 -0500
Subject:        Re: Caliban and Ariel

If you read the play symbolically as many older critics used to do
(Ariel some kind of icon for the spiritual part of the soul [his name
means "mountain of God" or "hero" in Hebrew] and Caliban an icon for the
appetitive part) then the disappearing banquet makes a lot of sense.
Food and sex themes are linked throughout the play, and in the
disappearing banquet scene Ariel, "like a harpy, claps his wings upon
the table" (stage direction 3.3), causing the banquet to disappear
before the usurpers, Sebastian and Antonio.  Harpies, of course, in The
Aeneid, drive Aeneas' crew for the Strophades by destroying their feast
and are described as "flying things/,With young girls' faces, but foul
ooze below,/Talons for hands, pale famished nightmare mouths"
(Fitzgerald translation).   As an emblem of perverse sexuality, they
cause a feast of metaphorical and lust-filled sexuality to vanish.
Prospero balances the masque of the disappearing banquet with the
marriage masque of Ceres in 4.1.  Caliban, of course, interrupts this
masque and destroys it for the young lovers, foreshadowing trials to
come.

The sexually disappointed goddesses, Juno (jealous of Zeus' sexual
exploits) and Ceres (continually searching for a daughter abducted to
Hades) preside over this masque and foreshadow the trials Miranda will
face if Ferdinand rapes her (a precaution Prospero guards against in
making him carry logs and continually beating Caliban, the appetitive
icon).   If Ferdinand becomes power-hungry and betrays her (a problem
she deals with in the chess scene 5.1), then the marriage would likely
fail. We are left with Prospero's problem-a single father with a
daughter, using the glistering magic robes given to him by Ariel
(symbolizing his magic powers as a playwright, I think) in the final
masque of the play (4.1) to deceive the usurpers, Stephano, Caliban and
Trinculo.

I could go on, but I am not involved in theatrical productions or acting
and don't know how exactly to convey this on the stage.  There must be a
way, though, because it is so clearly worked out in the symbolism and
the different levels of reality given in the play.

Cheers,
Judy Craig

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