2000

Re: Polyglot Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1192  Thursday, 8 June 2000.

From:           Florence Amit <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 12:02:01 +0000
Subject: 11.1177 Re: Polyglot Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1177 Re: Polyglot Shakespeare

Yes, quite right. I have it by way of Shakespeare from my Welsh cousins:
'duck head',  for an ignorant, obscurest hawk.

Florence Amit.

> Of course Shakespeare knew some Welsh:  ducdame, ducdame, ducdame. And
> as Florence Amit will be aware, the Welsh are one of the Lost Tribes of
> Israel.
>
> Terence Hawkes

Re: Isabella's Chastity

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1191  Thursday, 8 June 2000.

From:           Edmund M. Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Jun 2000 01:13:48 +0000
Subject:        Isabella's Chastity

Jennifer Drouin might be interested in what the Lord High Steward (the
"prosecuting attorney") said in the 1631 rape case against Mervin Lord
Audley:

    "Now rape is defined to be an unlawful carnal knowledge, and
    abuse of a woman by force against her will. . . . [He then mentions
    four rules of law that pertain to the case against Audley]:

    "First, when any offense is felony, either by the Statue, or Common
    Law, all accessories before and after, are incidentally included, so
    that if any be aiding, or abetting any to do the act, though the
    offense be personal, and done by one only, as it is in this case,
not
    only he that doth the act is principal, but also they that are
present,
    abetting and aiding the misdoer, are principals also.

    "Secondly, if the party on whom the crimes was committed be
    notoriously unchaste, and a known whore, yet there may be a
ravishment.

    "Thirdly, in an indictment of rape, there is no limitation of time.
. .
.
     "Fourthly, if a man take away a maid and ravish her by force, and
    afterward she give her consent and marries him that did the act,
    yet it is a rape."

    ("Trial," quoted in _English Women's Voices_, ed. Charlotte F.
Otten,
    Miami:  FL International UP, 1992: 34-35.)

The Lord High Steward's fourth point suggests that pregnancy did not
prove that the woman gave her consent to the act, for a future child was
one of the main reasons, historically, that women agreed to marry men
who raped them.

As to rape in MM, compare what the Lord High Steward says with what
Isabella says at the end of the play:

    "For Angelo,
    His act did not o'ertake his bad intent,
    And must be buried but as an intent
    That perish'd by the way.  Thoughts are no subjects,
    Intents but merely thoughts" (5.1.450-454).

legally, Isabella is right, but she is a novice!  Morally, she is dead
wrong. The intent to commit a crime is all it takes to make us guilty of
that crime in the eyes of God. Hence, if I decide to rob a bank but
cannot find the right time to do so, in God's eyes I am still a robber,
etc., etc.

--Ed Taft

To be an actor or not to be an actress

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1189  Thursday, 8 June 2000.

From:           Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 07 Jun 2000 20:59:32 +0100
Subject:        To be an actor or not to be an actress

Why is so very PC to call oneself an actor if one is a woman? It seems
to be the done thing to drop the word *actress* as if it a derogatory
term.  It is as if the male dressing room was the whole world and the
females occupied little more than the stage boom cupboard.  Perhaps by
calling oneself an actor whilst being female, the world would think more
of one.  It is a fact that a woman would almost never be asked to play a
male part in film television or stage.  So why this curious fashion?
The fact that there are more good parts by far for men does not distract
from the wonderful female parts in Shakespeare, for instance.  Be as it
may, male and female are not interchangeable in spite of the avant guard
theatre.  I *like* the word *actress*. It is not a put-down.  To be
called a great actress is a great compliment.

SAM SMALL

Gielgud Tribute on BBC Tonight

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1190  Thursday, 8 June 2000.

From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 07 Jun 2000 16:22:58 -0700
Subject:        Gielgud Tribute on BBC Tonight

>From the About.com British Theatre Newsletter:

>For those living in Britain: BBC Radio 3 is
>broadcasting a special 3 hour tribute to Sir John
>Gielgud on Thursday of this week (15th) from 9.00 pm
>to midnight.   In the programme Michael Billington
>will trace his career, with extracts and with
>comments from those who knew him:

>From 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm: the 1920s, 30s and 40s.
>From 10.00 pm to 11.00 pm: 1950s and 60s.
>From 11.00 pm to 12 midnight: 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Happy listening,
Mike Jensen

Re: Article of Interest

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1188  Thursday, 8 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Marcus Dahl <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 7 Jun 2000 13:23:25 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1172 Re: Article of Interest

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Jun 2000 14:18:50 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Article of Interest

[3]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Jun 2000 16:31:10 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1172 Re: Article of Interest

[4]     From:   Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Jun 2000 10:19:52 +1000
        Subj:   Re: Article of Interest


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 7 Jun 2000 13:23:25 EDT
Subject: 11.1172 Re: Article of Interest
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1172 Re: Article of Interest

Re: Shakespeare Authorship and evidence.

Evidence must be the foundation of any empirical proposition. There is
plenty of good evidence concerning Shakespeare's life and times -
(Schoenbaum -Documentary Life, EK Chambers - Life of WS / The
Elizabethan Stage, Walter Greg -Dramatic Documents, etc -these are just
the beginning).

There is substantial direct and circumstantial evidence but no
unimpeachable evidence about William Shakespeare of Stratford's
authorship of any of the plays (though there is I think rationally no
other author of the two major poems Venus/ Rape) attributed to him
(notably in his time  -e.g. from "The Birth of Merlin" to "King Lear" or
"Loves Labours Lost"). John Shakespeare was an Alderman of Stratford and
his signature appears on numerous records to that effect.  (e.g. 15th
Feb 1566 Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office, Council Book A,
pp.11-14. Transcript: MA,i.148-52.) One of your other contributors does
make a good point about ability to read 16th century secretary hand -
sometimes you have to trust the experts - but the documents themselves
are there to be seen and checked by anyone with the time and patience.

Many of the kinds of questions asked on this forum do directly hinge
upon complex questions of date and character (ie James vs Elizabeth) or
authority (A Shrew/the Shrew - Good quarto / bad quartos etc) and if
scholarship is to be a systematic and rational procedure anyone arguing
a case about a given author ought to know at least the basic facts (and
arguments) as to who that author was, what he wrote and what he didn't.
If it wasn't for the hard work of scholars such as Chambers, Greg etc
who systematically edited, published and interpreted (though of course
not always with complete certainty) 3/4 of all the known Shakespearean
documents known to modern scholars - none of the other base arguments
concerning 'Shakespeare's' works would stand the tide of dissenters
(ignorant or otherwise). Somebody sometime has got to do the hard work
of facts, dates, spell checking -cross referencing etc. We cannot all be
Jacques Derrida et al -though sometimes I suspect many modern 'critics'
would like to be.

Yours,
Marcus.

ps:
Wee wondred (Shake-speare) that thou wnet'st so soone
from the worlds Stage, to the Graues-Tyring-roome.
wee thought thee dead, but this thy printed worth,
Tels thy Spectators, that thou went'st but forth
To enter with applause. An actors Art,
Can dye, and liue, to acte a second part.
That's but an Exit of Mortalite ;
This, a Re-entrance to a Plaudite.

I.M.

(From the First Folio 1623)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 07 Jun 2000 14:18:50 -0400
Subject:        Re: Article of Interest

I find the authorship debate inherently uninteresting, and strained
given the usual state of what passes for scholarship on the issue.  But
I cannot accept that it would be without importance if, in fact, there
were real evidence that some other identifiable person wrote the works.
Such a discovery (and I do not believe anyone has come close to making
it) would have at least two significant consequences:

1.  If the author is known to have written other works, the Canon would
be expanded and what we now consider the "complete works" (or as
complete as we can now get them) would have to be re-evaluated as part
of a larger whole.

    2.  If there were biographical information about the
non-Stratfordian writer, that would cast the works in new lights.  We
would have a field day explaining cruces, reinterpreting text and
applying entirely different critical assumptions.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 07 Jun 2000 16:31:10 -0700
Subject: 11.1172 Re: Article of Interest
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1172 Re: Article of Interest

Carol Barton wrote:

>With respect to Sophie, whose article I read and enjoyed, I don't think
>that the primary fascination of authorship is any longer classism, or a
>romantic view of the author as an inspired genius.  On the contrary, it
>has something to do with how naturopaths (in their worser moods) seem to
>portray the medical establishment as a conspiracy that gets rich by
>keeping people sick, the left-wing sees the IMF as a conspiracy to keep
>people poor, the right-wing sees the UN as a conspiracy to keep people
>unfree, Baconians see Shakespeare studies as a conspiracy to keep their
>man out, and various people see practically everything as a conspiracy
>caused by the establishment.
>
>The conspiracy has become a dominant mode of thought (sic) in this
>post-enlightenment age.  <snip>
>
>Think how good it must feel to be amongst the illuminati who realize the
>'true' authorship, despite the efforts of a Shakespearean establishment
>to keep it down, and despite one's own inability to read Elizabethan
>secretary?

I am reminded of a parallel situation in another field of study, worth
(I hope) mentioning here.  At one point in my checkered pre-grad-school
career, I lived near the University of Chicago and was friendly with a
good number of people who worked at the Oriental Institute.  I filled in
at one point as a receptionist, and in between answering the phone and
typing the occasional document was invited to read a large file referred
to jocularly as the "nut file."  In which was filed letters from people
who believed that they alone had the secret of reading hieroglyphics, or
that they were the reincarnation of some Egyptian high priest, or that
the lost records of Atlantis lie buried under the Great Pyramids of
Giza, etc.

Important disclaimer: I do NOT think Oxfordians can be categorized as
"nuts." (Or Oxonians, for that matter, though as a Cantabridgian I have
my doubts).

What I did learn from the experience is that Egyptology and Shakespeare
studies alike can be categorized as attractive nuisances.  They both
exert a powerful influence on the popular imagination.  And this, most
of the time, is a good thing.  It keeps hundreds of Shakespeare
Festivals going and paperbacks in print and helps fund the National
Geographic Society.  What goes along with popularity is that there's
bound to be some misunderstanding and misapplication and misinformation
disseminated widely on TV and the movies.  I gave up being irritated by
this a long time ago.  The best way to handle this is to present
whatever point of view we as scholars have arrived at, to our students,
and if requested, to the wider media, politely, clearly, intelligently,
and respectfully.

Very politely and respectfully yours,
Melissa D. Aaron
California Polytechnic State University at Pomona

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Jun 2000 10:19:52 +1000
Subject:        Re: Article of Interest

It's funny-the guy who is making this Marlovian doco said to me that the
exhibit at the Globe 'proves' that the authorship question can be taken
seriously, and that Marlowe is top of the list for contenders! Which is
the same as interpreting (something else he's done) Dickens's comment
that he hoped the mystery of WS would never be solved as an admission
that he wasn't who he was! How can you argue with someone like that?
Invincible ignorance is right indeed.

Re Sean's comment about the love of conspiracy and anti-orthodox points
of view being one of the mainsprings, I think that's right, though I
think WS attracts more of this than other authors because of the breadth
and splendour of his work: people simply can't cope with the idea. I
thought list members might be interested to read what one of the recent
theorists, Joseph Sobran, said about his own raison d'etre, as it were
(from The Daily Oklahaman, in 1988 sometime): "..to do your own thinking
is always to risk appearing eccentric to people who follow the herd. In
this respect, I'd rather be an eccentric than a centric-a person who
assumes the conventional must always be correct.'

Sophie

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