2000

Re: Isabella's Chastity

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1087  Wednesday, 24 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 23 May 2000 11:34:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1077 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[2]     From:   David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 23 May 2000 14:32:33 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1077 Re: Isabella's Chastity

[3]     From:   John Savage <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 23 May 2000 16:41:56 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 11.1061 Re: Isabella's Chastity


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 23 May 2000 11:34:21 -0400
Subject: 11.1077 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1077 Re: Isabella's Chastity

To Gabriel Egan:

Might I suggest that you obtain a dictionary, and consult it?

'DC, as anyone stateside would know, refers to the city of Washington,
as opposed to the state, as many miles from here as the Square Mile is.

I would expect a cosmopolitan Brit like you to know that, too.

And I'm sure you could produce a racist, sexist, Marxist, McCarthian
analysis on the subject of someone's saying "good morning"-and find a
way to turn it into prurience, too.

But that still wouldn't make your arguments valid.

To Marilyn Bonomi, who writes:

> I've *never* found Mike to be an insensitive reader of anything :)

Hear, hear.

And to Sean, who muses:

>I'm wondering whether the vaguery between notions of justice, that it's
>difficult to draw lines between them, shows that such notions tend to
>pollute one another. . . . The Duke's test seems modeled, as Florence
>Amit says, on God's experiment with Job. The comedic signals, including
>the Duke's omnipresence, let us feel the outcome is preordained.
>
>This seems to conflate things, as well, though not notions of justice,
>at least not explicitly.  Isn't there something rather wrong with the
>Duke assuming the role of God, shriving his subjects, for instance?  I
>would assume that his unwillingness to execute an unprepared Bernadine
>shows that he recognizes limits on his power.  But by the end, these
>limits seem to have been finessed, if not transgressed.
>
>I'm not sure whether the conflation of ideas of justice, like the
>conflation of spiritual guidance and secular rule, should be entirely
>viewed as a good thing.  This is, after all, a problem comedy.

I wonder if we can now put some comments made earlier in the thread into
perspective, i.e. about Shakespeare offering some gentle advice to a
James I (James VI, to some of you) who in 1603/4 was too busy slobbering
over his beloved "Steenie" and partying away the exchequer to take real
command of the throne he had so long sought after? His abdication of
responsibility and control was a major shock to a population ruled in
harmony, peace, and long prosperity by Good Queen Bess, and perhaps this
play is in part a comment about what happens when good men (or at least
supposedly decent men in power) do nothing, to apply Burke
retroactively. The deus ex machina activities of the Duke (stress on the
deus) certainly prevent the tragedy, and neatly facilitate the comedy:
but this is one of those plays in which "comedy" can be defined as
"tragedy averted." None of the putative "good guys" is particularly
good-and that may well be what's rotten in this corner of-well, you
know.

Best,
Carol Barton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 23 May 2000 14:32:33 -0400
Subject: 11.1077 Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1077 Re: Isabella's Chastity

I think Sean Lawrence and I probably do agree in our overall responses
to Measure for Measure. As for the details, it's always possible to be a
little more precise, even about vagueness.

I wonder how far the Duke's symbolic relation to God should be pressed.
It does bother me, for example, when he tells Isabella that Claudio is
dead. On the other hand, I don't want to treat him entirely as a
realistic character.  This play heavily emphasizes the experimental
nature of the Duke's actions, inviting a little detachment.

One thing the play seems concerned with is the relation of justice to
interest-to the position of the judge, or the appellant. The Duke says,
for example, that if Angelo is pure, then his actions are just. How
should we take this? And how far is it relevant, since we know he isn't
pure?

Would the case Isabella makes for sparing Angelo, at the end, be a
properly just response if it came directly from the Duke? But of course
it doesn't.  Shakespeare lets us accede to these arguments more easily
because Isabella makes them. You can bend justice out of self-interest
or out of mercy.  Either may be overdone. Here Graham "orgy of mercy"
Bradshaw seems to feel the Duke errs on the side of mercy. That might
feel truer if he didn't ratify arguments first made by Isabella.

How exactly do you define the different "conceptions of justice"?

Just a few questions without final answers.

David

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Savage <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 23 May 2000 16:41:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Isabella's Chastity
Comment:        SHK 11.1061 Re: Isabella's Chastity

Michael Skovmand writes:

>The discussion concerning Isabella's chastity,
>it seems to me, is very much to do with MM being
>both a problem play and a comedy,

Isn't this a misuse of the word "comedy" as understood in Shakespeare's
day?

Re: Commercial Announcement

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1086  Wednesday, 24 May 2000.

From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 23 May 2000 11:58:36 -0400
Subject: 11.1080 Commercial Announcement
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1080 Commercial Announcement

Let me offer this absolutely unsolicitied testimonial on behalf of *No
Bed for Bacon*, which I am delighted to learn is back in print.  My wife
acquired a copy while doing a Fulbright at Westfield College in London,
and when we were studying for our qualifying exams we often returned
ourselves to sanity by reading passages from it aloud.  It makes a great
house present for literate friends.  And its solutions to several
significant Shakespearean biographical cruces are at least as persuasive
as those offered with full scholarly gravity.

Dave Evett

Mo' Bard Laughs

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1084  Tuesday, 23 May 2000.

From:           David Beenken <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 22 May 2000 19:35:56 -0500
Subject:        Mo' Bard Laughs

Some may enjoy the latest (?) online iteration of the *Shakespeareian
[sic] Insult Generator*. It is Macintosh-only and available at
      <http://www.crosswinds.net/~moonshinesw/sig.html>

The Web page says, "(12,000 different insults altogether.)"

Cheers, rogues, Dave Beenken

Re: FX and Stage Props

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1085  Tuesday, 23 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Bradley Ryner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 23 May 2000 00:15:26 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1071 FX and Stage Props

[2]     From:   Leslie Thomson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 23 May 2000 08:11:43 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1071 FX and Stage Props


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bradley Ryner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 23 May 2000 00:15:26 -0400
Subject: 11.1071 FX and Stage Props
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1071 FX and Stage Props

I'm sorry to say that I am not familiar with _A Looking Glass for London
and England_, so I cannot offer much conjecture about how these effects
were achieved in the context of the play.  However, I would highly
recommend looking at Philip Butterworth's _Theatre Of Fire:  Special
effects in early English and Scottish theatre_ (London, 1998).  The ISBN
is 085430 0627.  Butterworth does a wonderful job of explaining how
certain stage directions could be practically achieved.  He mentions one
of the effects that you're interested in, the "flames of fire" in which
"Radagon is swallowed."  He suggests that this could have been
accomplished by blowing gunpowder (or some other combustible material)
out of a tube and across a stationary flame under the stage (see p.
39-40).

As for the lightening, Butterworth show several ways in which flashes of
lightening were achieved (most of which involve some variation of
gunpowder or rosin being thrown on a flame).  He quotes the following
nineteenth century account how how to give the illusion that lightning
has actually struck an object:  "When a thunderbolt is to strike an
object, a wire is run from the flies to the object which is to be
struck.  A rider runs on the wire.  The rider consists of a section of
iron pipe.  Around it is secured asbestos by means of wire.  The
asbestos is soaked with alcohol, and is lighted just at the instant when
it is to be projected upon the object. It is usually held by a string,
which is cut.  It rushes flaming through the air, and produces the
effect of a ball of fire striking the object" (45).  Butterworth
suggests that this techniques could have been practiced in the 16th
century with cane soaked in aqua vitae used in place of the iron.

The hand out of the cloud and the burning sword effect seems a little
harder to account for.  Butterworth describes ways of designing a staff
that would hold slow burning gunpowder which would spark or flame out
from the staff.  The sword could be a variation of this, or it could
simply be any sword-shaped object soaked in aqua vitae.  The aqua vitae
would burn off and leave the object unharmed (and re-usable for another
show); however, I get the feeling that aqua vitae would burn down rather
quickly, meaning that the effect couldn't be sustained for too long.  I
wonder whether the "hand" was an actual human's hand or a larger than
life facsimile.  It might have been possible to move the latter across
the top of the stage via some form of pulley.  I also wonder about the
"cloud."  The stage direction immediately conjures to mind the image of
white, fluffy clouds, but may just as easily refer to a cloud of smoke
created during the effect (possibly to mask whatever was on the opposite
end of the hand from the sword).

I hope that some of this conjecture has been helpful.

Best,
Brad

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Leslie Thomson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 23 May 2000 08:11:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 11.1071 FX and Stage Props
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1071 FX and Stage Props

There is a copy of a quarto of *LGLE* which is annotated for
performance, at the U of Chicago Libraries. It has been extensively
documented in a 1932 article, which I suspect few have read. It is by
Charles Baskerville, in *Modern Philology* 30 (1932). The *Dictionary of
Stage Directions in English Drama, 1580-1642* (CUP, 1999) has entries
for virtually all of the terms in these stage directions.

Leslie Thomson

Gielgud -- Memories

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1083  Tuesday, 23 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Andrew W. White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 22 May 2000 18:25:16 -0400
        Subj:   Gielgud -- Memories

[2]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, May 23, 2000
        Subj:   John Gielgud Remembered in US Press


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 22 May 2000 18:25:16 -0400
Subject:        Gielgud -- Memories

News has just reached me Sir John Gielgud's passing.  I hope we can take
some time out on this list to share some of our favorite anecdotes,
remembrances, etc.-here's mine:

I was one of those wide-eyed young actors dreaming of playing Hamlet one
day, and had been quite taken with Harley Granville Barker's _Preface_.
But I wasn't sure where to turn next, and knowing Gielgud had studied
extensively for the role, I wrote him to ask for advice-further reading,
memories of Hamlets he saw in his youth, etc.

Imagine my surprise when he wrote me back!  At first I wasn't sure what
to make of the fact that the letter seemed to taper off at the edges,
written in a sort of teacup-shape.  'He's nearly 90, must be his hand
getting shaky.'  Only later did I learn that he not only enjoyed his
correspondence, but he would often write his letters in a teacup shape.

The advice in that letter, and the letter itself of course, remain a
talisman often pulled down from the shelf (sandwiched in a book of his,
for safekeeping).  Would that actors on my side of the Atlantic had but
an ounce of his style, let alone his kind consideration for younger
actors.

Andrew White
Arlington, VA

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, May 23, 2000
Subject:        John Gielgud Remembered in US Press

THE WASHINGTON POST

Shakespearean Virtuoso Sir John Gielgud, 96, Dies
By Bart Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 23, 2000 ; B07

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53867-2000May23.html

A Century at Center Stage
By Lloyd Rose
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday , May 23, 2000 ; C01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52481-2000May22.html


THE NEW YORK TIMES

May 23, 2000
John Gielgud, 96, Dies; Beacon of Classical Stage
By MEL GUSSOW

http://www.nytimes.com/library/theater/052300obit-j-gielgud.html

May 22, 2000
Actor Sir John Gielgud Dies at 96
Filed at 7:15 p.m. EDT
By The Associated Press

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/i/AP-Obit-Gielgud.html


THE BALTIMORE SUN

Gielgud, at age 96, takes his final bow
Appreciation: The master Shakespearean may be best remembered
Stateside as Hobson the impish butler.
By J. Wynn Rousuck
Sun Theater Critic

http://www.sunspot.net/content/archive/story?section=archive&pagename=story&storyid=1150340214180


ABCnews.com

Theater giant Sir John Gielgud dies at home
Reuters

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Entertainment/reuters20000522_2501.html


USA TODAY

Towering presence Gielgud dies at 96
By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY

http://www.usatoday.com/life/enter/movies/movie461.htm


LA TIMES

Incomparable Voice of John Gielgud
An Appreciation: The range and longevity of the Shakespearean actor's
vocal
instrument are unmatched.
By CHARLES CHAMPLIN, Special To The Times

http://www.calendarlive.com/celebs/obit_gielgudapp.htm

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