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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: September ::
Re: Authentic Performance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1759  Tuesday, 19 September 2000.

[1]     From:   Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Sep 2000 20:10:24 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Sep 2000 23:36:51 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 18 Sep 2000 23:28:08 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Sep 2000 20:10:24 -0400
Subject: 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance

>But like it or not the Hebrew is there and it
>will not disappear for you.
>
>Florence Amit

Florence, I am sorry, because I know how important this subject is for
you and how many years of loving labor you have put into it, but no, it
is not there... it was never there... and thus it cannot "disappear."

As you know, I deeply admire the passion you bring to your defense of
your interpretation, but that passion cannot make real what has never
been real.

Sincerely,
Marilyn A. Bonomi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 18 Sep 2000 23:36:51 -0400
Subject: 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance

Florence Amit still insists,

> like it or not the Hebrew is there

Where?  Where but in the airy free associations of an armchair
speculator who has nothing to go on but a few translingual homophonic
syllables, one or two of which, by liberal application of bovine
fertilizer, might be made to grow into the semblance of a cognate?
Could not Arabic, Armenian, Hindi or any other Semitic or Indo-European
language Shakespeare also certainly didn't know be made to yield as rich
a crop by a imaginative speaker of the language?

Where is the evidence?  Where in England was Hebrew taught or spoken in
the 1570's?  Did WS have access to those teachers?  Was it a part of a
typical Warwickshire classical education?  Did WS have little Latin and
less Greek because he was so thoroughly immersed in Hebrew?  If there is
no objective evidence that WS could have studied Hebrew at Stratford
Grammar School, where did he develop so profound a knowledge of the
language that his understanding cannot be plumbed by any but a handful
of modern Hebrew speakers?

Or are we intended to draw some other, even more dramatic, conclusion?
Perhaps the author was not the man from Stratford at all, but an
itinerant Talmudist from Lublin.  Was Shakespeare a rabbi?  If not, was
he at least a Jew?  Where is Jim Shapiro when he really would come in
handy?

Or maybe WS was not himself aware of the Hebrew double meanings:  They
may have been inspired by a puckish Yahweh to be discovered at the dawn
of the Third Millennium in a reborn Hebrew state.  But to what end?
It's a mystery.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 18 Sep 2000 23:28:08 -0700
Subject: 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1749 Re: Authentic Performance

Florence Amit writes:

> The poetic ear I dared to exercise with my speculation about a hard,
> sarcastic  K -  a k like in "more kin than kind". If you do not agree
> with me - your privilege. But like it or not the Hebrew is there and it
> will not disappear for you.

Bear in mind that no amount of erudition can actually summon it into
being, either.

Allow me to offer a counter-example:  having been born in the Canadian
Arctic, I have an Inuktitut nickname, Tookasiq, now used only by my
godmother, on the rare occasions when we meet.  A Jewish friend,
however, took some delight in pointing out that it's a single sound
removed from a Yiddish phrase meaning "ass-kisser".  I don't think that
this comes from the fact that the Inuit are the lost tribe, and Nunavut
is Israel north.  It's just a sort of coincidence that two words with
quite separate derivations sound similar.

I'm sure my father, who has a working knowledge of both languages, could
come up with many other examples.  If he became convinced of the idea
that the Inuit represent the lost tribe, he might manage to come up with
enough such coincidences as to prove it to his own satisfaction.

A large number of Shakespeare's names are borrowed directly from his
sources; there's no reason to think that Shakespeare chose them very
deliberately.  Even if he was choosing the names (which he usually
wasn't), there isn't any evidence that he spoke any Hebrew at all, apart
from the names themselves, which makes for a circular argument.  And
even if he did speak Hebrew, and did choose his own names, there seems
frightfully little reason why he should make the meanings of the names
(if they have any) so occult that only a few Biblical scholars would
have been able to work out their meanings, on the rare occasions when
they attended the theatre.  In fact, there seems very little reason why
he should wish to "hide" meanings at all.  Neither a poem nor a play is
a cryptogram, to be "cracked", like the enigma code, by finding the
right formula.

Shalom,
Se

 

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