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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Welsh etc.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0397  Tuesday, 20 February 2001

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Feb 2001 12:11:30 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 12.0391 Re: Welsh etc.

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Feb 2001 12:49:25 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 12.0391 Re: Welsh etc.

[3]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 Feb 2001 14:18:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0380 Re: Welsh etc.

[4]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Saturday, 17 Feb 2001 11:41:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0391 Re: Welsh etc.

[5]     From:   Werner Broennimann <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Feb 2001 09:38:45 +0000
        Subj:   Welsh etc.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Feb 2001 12:11:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        SHK 12.0391 Re: Welsh etc.

Don Bloom mentions what he takes to be the early modern practice of
'visiting the inmates of Bedlam to have a good laugh'. Is there any hard
evidence that this took place?

Terence Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Feb 2001 12:49:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        SHK 12.0391 Re: Welsh etc.

Richard Nathan is certainly correct to see similarities between the
Hal/Francis episode and the trick Henry plays on Williams (and
Fluellen).  In part, both episodes illustrate how Hal/Henry behaves when
he is out of Falstaff's orbit.  Falstaff is able to make himself the
butt of jokes.  Henry can only do that with conquered women like Kate.

Where Hal/Henry's contempt for his people comes from is a question worth
investigating. I suspect that part of it comes from having to dedicate
his life to ruling England.  I also think that part of it springs from
his knowledge that the public is so easily manipulated.  We tend to
de-value those we can easily control.

I'm sorry I offended Don Bloom.  All I can say is that the case can be
made for scientific and technical progress much more easily than it can
be made for moral, ethical, or any other kind of progress.  It seems to
me that Don uses cultural differences to argue for the superiority of
one culture (our own) over another (Shakespeare's).  Any anthropologist
can tell you that that type of argument is specious.  Differences in
cultures tell us only that cultures are different -- period.  My
response simply added some things that Don left out.

A brief anecdote about Henry James illustrates my point.  Near the end
of his life, James started to write a novel called _A Sense of the
Past_, in which a modern man trades places with his ancestor from the
18th Century.  Both men find themselves "out of place," but especially
the modern man, who perceives the brutality of 18th-Century values,
which seem fixated on money, class, and position.  James was arguing for
moral and ethical progress, but he never completed his novel because it
was interrupted by World War 1.  That war -- completely unnecessary and
a huge waste of life -- blasted James's notion that cultural progress of
a moral or ethical sort was possible.  He never finished _A Sense of the
Past_ because he finally realized that what it was attempting to say was
just plain wrong.

--Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <
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Date:           Friday, 16 Feb 2001 14:18:54 -0500
Subject: 12.0380 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0380 Re: Welsh etc.

I wonder if it would be considering too curiously to suggest that
"Francis" and "Anon" act as a subliminal pun for the fact that in Hal's
life France is anon. His tavern days about to be put behind him, he is
playing them for all they're worth, while his underlying awareness of
what's approaching comes through in the pun, and also in the nature of
the jest: Hal himself feels pulled two ways at once.

David

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Saturday, 17 Feb 2001 11:41:59 -0500
Subject: 12.0391 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0391 Re: Welsh etc.

For Richard Nathan:

>With respect to Hal's treatment of Francis, it reminds me of King Henry
>V's treatment of Williams in Henry V.

I similarly think we have to take Hal's abuse of Francis in the context
of his later treatment of Falstaff, who gets a pointy nose and a broken
heart, but no gloveful of money.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Werner Broennimann <
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Date:           Monday, 19 Feb 2001 09:38:45 +0000
Subject:        Welsh etc.

Like many other disputants I have always found Hal's eliciting of anons
rather tedious--the joke, if any, being mainly based on social snobbery
and on the bicycle principle of stepping down to move on and up.  But
Hal's practical joking belongs to the general and generic practice of
knocking other professions (as I keep reminding my lawyer friends), in
particular tapsters, whose slowness and inability to compute the bill
was a permanent butt of satirical comments.  David Bevington, in his
Oxford Sh compares Nashe's "Summer's Last Will and Testament": "Why,
friend, I am no tapster to say anon, anon, sir."  Some time later, Henry
Fielding in "A Voyage to Lisbon" also makes deprecatory remarks about
the English gastro industry.  In the meantime, things have greatly
improved, and I have always been given exact change.

Werner
 

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