2001

Re: "Leaking" Plays

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0316  Friday, 9 February 2001

[1]     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 11:49:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0303 Re: "Leaking" Plays

[2]     From:   Ros King <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 18:28:22 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0303 Re: "Leaking" Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 11:49:31 -0500
Subject: 12.0303 Re: "Leaking" Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0303 Re: "Leaking" Plays

One more time and then I will probably shut up about his, but-

1) copyright to a printed book did exist

2) it could only be held by a man who was a member (either by
apprenticeship and freedom, freedom by patrimony, or freedom by
incorporation from another company [e.g., The Mercers, The Merchant
Taylors, etc.] of the Stationers' Company, or women who were widows of
Stationers and who did not remarry  3)copyright was real property and
could be sold, subdivided, inherited, or passed on by the same means as
a piece of land  4)except for Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh (after 1603),
and Dublin it was illegal to print books outside of London  5)all these
regulations, and many more, were granted by royal charter, first by Mary
I in 1558 and confirmed by subsequent monarchs 6)copyright was held in a
printed title and had no direct connection, in the case of plays, with
authority to perform a play, though all classes of writing needed an
authority of some kind to allow its printing.

Yes, there were illegal dealings and all sorts of other stuff like that
and it can be found by reading, among other things, the Stationers'
Court Books.  However, in the "leaking plays" matter (I hate the
thread's name, by the way) I think none of these "illegalities" have
much point.  Partly this is so, as Blayney makes abundantly clear,
because plays were just not worth very much to Stationers.

William Proctor Williams

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ros King <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 18:28:22 +0000
Subject: 12.0303 Re: "Leaking" Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0303 Re: "Leaking" Plays

Nobody has yet mentioned amateur production.

"Damon and Pythias" by Richard Edwards was first produced at court at
Christmas 1564-5 (and possibly immediately afterwards at Lincoln's Inn)
by the Chapel Royal children. The title page of the first quarto (1571)
states that it is:

'Newly imprinted as the same was shewed before the Queenes Maiestie, by
the Children of her Graces Chappell, except the Prologue that is
somewhat altered for the proper use  of them that hereafter shall have
occasion to plaie it, either in private, or open audience.'

There is a record of it being performed at Merton College in 1568 and it
was still known in Oxford 70 years later judging by the story recounted
by John Aubrey that the President of Trinity, Ralph Kettle, while
singing the refrain from the play's shaving song, seized a breadknife
and cut off the long hair of one of his students as he sat at dinner.
(And which of us could say we've never been tempted?)

Three copies of the first edition survive and one of the second (1582)
which might, perhaps, mean that it was read (and performed) to tatters
by generations of school children and students. What a nice thought! The
printer, Richard Jones, certainly seems to be hoping so in his
advertising blurb (above). He was no doubt highly commercially aware,
being a printer of ballads and indeed of other plays, although he moved
on to more serious things later.

Best
Ros

Re: Branagh

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0315  Friday, 9 February 2001

[1]     From:   Kristen McDermott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 11:13:58 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:44:40 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

[3]     From:   Ros King <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 18:50:55 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

[4]     From:   Kit Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 13:46:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

[5]     From:   Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 23:08:08 +0000
        Subj:   SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

[6]     From:   Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 19:42:45 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

[7]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 20:18:33 -0800
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristen McDermott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 11:13:58 EST
Subject: 12.0302 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

I was one of the "morons" in the Los Angeles audience who liked both
Branagh's (1990 RTC) Midsummer and Lear well enough.  I do agree with
Richard Nathan that Emma Thompson's satirical Helena and fearsomely
damaged Fool were by far the best things about the productions, but I
recall several details about the Lear that I still cite when teaching
the play in my classes.  In particular, the staging of 1.2 featured a
large floor-map of England rendered in some loose, spongy substance that
allowed Lear to draw lines through it.  Of course, as the action became
chaotic, the map flew into ruin under the feet of the actors -- I did
and still do think this was a wonderful effect.  The blinding of
Gloucester on one of the knife-like wall sconces was also horrifying.
Richard Briers did play Lear as beaten-down and disoriented, but this is
a possible choice for the role that was appropriate for Branagh's
anti-heroic interpretation of the play.  And the Midsummer musical
number, if I remember correctly, was not Pyramus and Thisbe but the
bergamasque afterwards, in which the whole cast joined.

Kristen McDermott
Central Michigan University

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:44:40 -0500
Subject: 12.0302 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

>I thought Heston's Player was quite
>moving.

Me, too. Watching his rendition of "The rugged Pyrrhus" speech I began
to try to forgive him for shilling for the NRA. Warrior ethos and all
that. Heston is now doing A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" on stage.  I saw
him, and thought him wonderful in it -- although not all critics have
been kind.

Geralyn Horton, Playwright
Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ros King <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 18:50:55 +0000
Subject: 12.0302 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

On the stage Lear:

Lear was Richard Briars - an actor best known for light comedy on TV,
but actually much more thoughtful than that would imply. He was also in
the LLL film as a Sir Nathanial in love with the schoolmistress,
Holofernes.

What I remember of the production is a ditch in the stage, needed to
catch the rain for the (admittedly) striking storm scene but a liability
for the rest of the show (a kind of permanent English channel over which
Cordelia and France held hands and then had to hop!). Branagh was
playing Edgar - at least he was when he was speaking.  When he was
silent he fell into Branagh-as-director watching his own production or
else sat on the edge of said ditch and twiddled his feet in the
remaining water - well, you had to use it somehow because it was so
insistently there! Emma Thompson's line about him reserving a blanket
else we had all been shamed was said as only a wife contemplating
divorce could say it.

No, I didn't like it.

Ros

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kit Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 13:46:37 -0500
Subject: 12.0302 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

While I respect my colleagues' rights to their opinions, I would simply
like to state that I have enjoyed Kenneth Branagh's work immensely, both
as an actor and as a director. I thought LLL was wonderful and charming,
a great way to introduce a little known (to other than scholars) play to
movie audiences. (And despite its failure at the box office by typical
standards, a lot of people still saw it, and many of us enjoyed it). I
also saw the touring productions of MND and Lear in Chicago in 1990, and
unlike Richard Nathan, found them engaging, thoughtful, and in the case
of Lear (who was played by Richard Briers) profoundly moving. My
children (11 and 9 at the time) had insisted on accompanying my husband
and myself to Chicago (we were hoping for a weekend getaway) because
both of them had seen and loved Henry V. I am sorry that we won't have
Branagh's Macbeth and As You Like It in the near future. I hope he will
decide to do them someday; I'll be in line on the first day.

Chris

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 23:08:08 +0000
Subject: Re: Branagh
Comment:        SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

I was lucky enough to see Branagh's H5 on stage in Stratford for the
RSC, and although he was a competent peg upon which to hang the play, he
was simply acted out of sight by the cast around him! Brian Blessed's
huge, bear-like Exeter, a crafty, weary dangerous old fox of a French
King, an arch and very clearly witty and manipulative French princess
(Emma Thompson again) and above all the sorely, shamefully under-rated
Iain MacDiarmid as a Chorus, whose verse speaking, rapport with the
audience, pacifist irony of delivery simply stole the show. I'm not
surprised that HE didn't get invited to be part of the film to upstage
the master, a film in which Branagh's physical and thespian shortcomings
were brilliantly and utterly convincingly covered by some clever,
atmospheric and very cinematic business. On a stage, live, there is
absolutely nowhere to hide. And he needed places to hide in that
Stratford show, I can tell you.

Did anyone else see it?

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 19:42:45 -0500
Subject: 12.0302 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

Richard Nathan wrote:

> It destroyed the humor in the piece, but all the morons in
> the audience where I saw it (in Los Angeles) loved it.

Damn groundlings. They'll do it every time.

Tad Davis

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 20:18:33 -0800
Subject: 12.0302 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Fw: SHK 12.0302 Re: Branagh

Once more unto the breach (hoperfully the last time): If anyone wants to
see Branagh's weaknesses as a director, I 'recommend' the _12th Night_
video. At no time is Viola ever convincing as a 'boy', the pacing is
exceedingly slow (which helps the otherwise fine Olivia -- can't
remember who the actress is), and the Edwardian period interferes with
the logic of many scenes (especially the 'dark room'). Again, a very
well thought out and honest performance by Richard Briers (Malovlio)
saves much, but not enough. I think it also may be the longest _12th
Night_ ever.

Paul E. Doniger

Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0313  Friday, 9 February 2001

[1]     From:   Philip Tomposki <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 10:35:33 EST
        Subj:   RE: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 15:55:40 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

[3]     From:   Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 08:54:28 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:15:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

[5]     From:   Alex Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 09:19:07 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

[6]     From:   Andrew W. White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 13:24:57 -0500
        Subj:   Hamlet and the Passage of Time

[7]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 20:18:23 -0800
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Tomposki <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 10:35:33 EST
Subject:        RE: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

Stephanie Hughes writes:

"That Hamlet makes mistakes regarding the amount of time that's passed
since his father's death is one more clue, to my mind, that the author
was writing from personal experience, if not based on his own feelings
at such a time, then having observed the behavior of someone under the
stress of the kind of grief and suspicion that trouble Hamlet. How else
would a writer know that the passage of time becomes extremely hazy
where there is severe psychological trauma?  Books? I don't think so."

I don't think severe psychological trauma is at all necessary to distort
the perception of time.  When I worked as an interlibrary loan
librarian, I found the usually precise engineers, who were my customers,
were routinely mistaken about when a conference had occurred or when a
journal article was published.

There may well be a psychological motive involved in discrepancy between
Hamlet's and Ophelia's perception of time.  Hamlet's 'agenda' is to harp
on how quickly Gertrude has gotten over her husband's death.  Ophelia
may be countering his exaggerations by over-estimations of her own.
I've had enough of such disagreements with my own spouse to know that
'severe psychological trauma' is hardly a factor such disagreements.
(At least, I don't THINK it was a factor!)

Of course, S had experience some psychological trauma by the time Hamlet
was written.  He had already lost his young son, and I believe his
father died about this time.  (I don't recall the date exactly.)
Certainly, no one believes that he got ALL (or even necessarily most) of
his knowledge from books.  In this case I don't see how anything beyond
life's normal 'traumas' were necessary to enlighten him.

Philip Tomposki

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 15:55:40 -0000
Subject: 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

Stephanie Hughes writes

>That Hamlet makes mistakes regarding the amount of time that's passed
>since his father's death is one more clue, to my mind, that the author
>was writing from personal experience, if not based on his own feelings
>at such a time, then having observed the behavior of someone under the
>stress of the kind of grief and suspicion that trouble Hamlet. How else
>would a writer know that the passage of time becomes extremely hazy
>where there is severe psychological trauma?  Books? I don't think so.

Say I accept your assertion that trauma causes a loss of one's sense of
time. Now I know it, and only because you told me so; it's not part of
my personal experience. Why do you think an email discussion list can do
this and books can't?

Gabriel Egan

PS: Terry Eagleton jokily commented that "it's hard to disagree with
Stanley Fish. Not because he's right, but because his model of
communication tells him that you simply don't understand what he's
saying". I suggest that Hughes's model (a community of personal
experience) likewise posits an excessively impermeable boundary.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 08:54:28 -0800
Subject: Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time
Comment:        SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

Stephanie Hughes wrote:

>That Hamlet makes mistakes regarding the amount of time that's passed
>since his father's death is one more clue, to my mind, that the author
>was writing from personal experience

Do you also claim that when he made time mistakes (actually, I think of
them as paradoxes) in Othello, Merry Wives, Twelfth Night, and several
other plays, that he was writing from personal experience?

Mike Jensen

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:15:35 -0500
Subject: 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

>doesn't the graveyard scene make clear that Hamlet is thirty?

Yes; and as if to emphasize that it is not a mistake, the characters
tell us twice.

But, until act V Hamlet doesn't appear, from the language or action of
the play, to be a middle-aged fat man.  Of course, if we saw Burbage
perform the part we would know immediately that he was.  Is it possible
that WS added these speeches (they are not in Q1) to accommodate
Burbage, who may have been taking some ribbing for being a trifle
o'erparted. Gertrude's comment in the duel that Hamlet is "fat and scant
of breath" may have served a similar purpose.

Interestingly, WS never wrote another major lead for a young man.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alex Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 09:19:07 -0800
Subject: 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

Accelerated or decelerated time is not uncommon in Elizabethan drama.
Another time lapse that has caught my eye in HAMLET is in the very first
scene.  At first the changing of the watch @ midnight, but by the end of
the scene the Ghost suggests that it is almost dawn by "scent[ing] the
morning air."  Perhaps the phenomenon of the Ghost accounts for the
unaccounted passage of time.  Similarly, the quick passage of time at
the climax of Marlowe's FAUSTUS I have attributed to the mixture of the
supernatural and the mortal.  As for the Hamlet's references to the
quick passage of time in the play within a play I would have to agree
with previous postings since I think Hamlet is playing with words to
confuse people (as he often does with Polonius and R&G).

Another note, I think Shakespeare, in general, did not know how to
account for the passage of time.  Has anyone seen a production of ROMEO
& JULIET that was unedited and ran two hours?  And yet Shakespeare
suggests that the running time of R&J is two hour, "The fearful passage
of their death-marked love and the continuance of their parents'
rage...Is now the two-hours traffic of our stage".  A minor stipulation,
but I find it humorous anyway.

Alex Houck
Santa Clara University

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 13:24:57 -0500
Subject:        Hamlet and the Passage of Time

Stephanie Hughes writes:

>That Hamlet makes mistakes regarding the amount of time that's passed
>since his father's death is one more clue, to my mind, that the author
>was writing from personal experience. . .

Sorry, I'm not convinced:  within the play, Hamlet has already
established that when in public he is in Antic Disposition Mode (DAM).
What's more, his crude repartee with Ophelia at that point court, was -
within the world of the play - designed to play to those around him,
entertain them, but reveal to them in 'foolish' ways what he really felt
about her now.  And that he taunts his mother with being so happy so
soon after his father's death, well, his 'mistake' in time can be read
as deliberate.

The Hamlet of Saxo talked sense disguised as nonsense, for as Saxo said
repeatedly, Hamlet could never lie.  I find Saxo's guide as more helpful
than any extra-textual speculation on author's motives or experience.

In other words, I think Ophelia's timing is correct:  Hamlet is playing
the fool, talking in riddles as he is supposed to do at this time in the
play.  And if we take Ophelia at her word, Hamlet's ADM has been going
on for well nigh 2 months (take Hamlet's "but two months dead" and
Ophelia's line, and voila -- 2 months) -- hence Claudius' and Gertrude's
desperation to find out what the problem is.  The 'hours' since Hamlet
Sr.'s death is simply ADM-speak for "Mum couldn't _wait_ to switch
horses."

Andy White

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 20:18:23 -0800
Subject: 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time
Comment:        Fw: SHK 12.0300 Re: Hamlet and the Passage of Time

Two points regarding Hamlet and time:

a) I don't see that Hamlet "makes mistakes regarding the amount of time
that's passed since his father's death. He counts it as two months in
1.2, yet remembers that his mother and uncle married within a month of
his father's death. Later, in 3.2, he mentions that it has been twice
two months since his father died. This passage of time, which most
likely occurs between 1.5 and 2.1, seems quite logical. Where's the
error?

b) Regarding Hamlet's age, much has been written. Few critics have
accepted the "thirty years" without comment or question. Hamlet is
apparently much younger at the opening of the play (how many 30 year old
students were there at Wittenberg?). At the end of the first scene,
Horatio plans to report news of the Ghost to "young Hamlet." The
question is, by no means, an easy one.  >From the beginning, Hamlet
'seems' quite a bit younger than thirty, but philosophizes like an much
older man. This is one of those problems that drives actors and
directors to distraction. The Variorum, incidentally, spends about four
pages of notes just on the "thirty years" line.

Paul E. Doniger

Re: The Ambitious Norway

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0314  Friday, 9 February 2001

[1]     From:   Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 10:52:34 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[2]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 11:20:58 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[3]     From:   Carol Morley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 16:34:18 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[4]     From:   John Robinson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 12:15:09 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:27:10 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[6]     From:   Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:37:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[7]     From:   David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 14:23:50 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[8]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 22:58:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

[9]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 9 Feb 2001 09:08:18 -0500
        Subj:   RE: The Ambitious Norway


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 10:52:34 -0500
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

Dear Hardy,

The famous armor in which King Hamlet defeated Fortinbras I was kept on
display in the throne room of Elsinore for many years after the King's
great victory, still covered with the dried blood of the vanquished
King. Fortinbras' younger brother, Punybras, complained bitterly several
times about this, but since Norway itself had been reduced to a mere
rump state (Fortinbras having forfeited "all those his lands /Which he
stood seiz'd of" i.e. most of Norway, leaving his brother,
embarrassingly, only "skirts" to wear) his complaints were ignored. So
Horatio was very familiar with this armor, having seen it on numerous
vacation visits. Claudius, however, had recently had it removed into
storage (whence the Ghost himself retrieved it without anyone else
noticing). Incidentally, the famous "sledded poleaxe" was kept in a
glass case next door. King Hamlet did like his trophies.

Tom

[Editor's Note: Dear Tom, thanks for the info about the armor and
Punybras. I did, however, know about the "sledded poleaxe"; but I bet
you didn't know it was called "Rosebud." -Hardy]

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 11:20:58 -0500
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

Hardy asks (and I answer):

>1. how would Horatio know what armor Old King Hamlet wore at the time,
>assuming that Horatio, Hamlet's school chum, are roughly the same age?
>
>and
>
>2. has Fortinbras been holding a grudge against Denmark for at least
>thirty years of his undetermined life span?

(1) The armor on the ghost is insubstantial, ghostly armor.  The
original armor was hung up in a local church as a thank you offering to
god for a victorious fight, etc.  See the beginning of R3 (1.1.6: "Our
bruised arms hung up for monuments.")  Horatio has seen the armor on
display.

(2) Actually, Fortinbras is a posthumous son, born about 29 years ago.
He's now ready to do something about his father's defeat.  Talk about
the delay of the revenger!  Of course, Vindice delays nine years and
walks around with his lover's skull in hand (with a nod to Yorick).

Hamlet (the play) is, in large part, about what happened in the past,
and the consequences of historical actions on the present, thus the
emphasis on ghosts and skulls and ancient grudges.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Morley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 16:34:18 -0000
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

Dear Hardy- some answers off the cuff:

1       a Hamlet told him some time at Wittenberg
         b Denmark struck a commemorative medal, Horatio got one for
Christmas
         c down town Elsinore has an equestrian statue of the armed king
at the moment of victory
        d The very suit of armour (now an heirloom) now preserved in the
corridor outside the guestroom Horatio has been given, and is labelled.
2       Yes.

Best wishes, Carol.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Robinson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 12:15:09 EST
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

> 1. how would Horatio know what armor Old King Hamlet wore at the time,
>  assuming that Horatio, Hamlet's school chum, are roughly the same age?

Perhaps the king, old Hamlet, had only one set of battle armor, and
defeating old Fortinbra was his greatest achievement. So the two would
be associated in people's (even the young) minds.

Reagrds,
John Robinson

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:27:10 -0500
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

>1. how would Horatio know what armor Old King Hamlet wore at the time,
>assuming that Horatio, Hamlet's school chum, are roughly the same age?
>
>and
>
>2. has Fortinbras been holding a grudge against Denmark for at least
>thirty years of his undetermined life span?

1.  It was on display at the Elsinore Museum of Arms.

2.  This does not seem unusual.  Besides, is a grudge necessary to
explain a desire to recover national territory?

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 12:37:25 -0500
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

Are unscholarly unsupported opinions ok?

> 1. how would Horatio know what armor Old King Hamlet wore at the time,

Fame. Statues, engravings, poems, the old armor hung in a place of honor
and strapped on for parade occasions until the belly no longer fit in
it.  Think of all the W.W.I & W.W.II images we recognize that we were
too young to have seen.

> 2. has Fortinbras been holding a grudge against Denmark for at least
> thirty years of his undetermined life span?

Yup. Even if he'd been in the womb at the time.

Geralyn Horton, Playwright
Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 8 Feb 2001 14:23:50 -0500
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

One thing that makes literature such a slippery proposition is that some
questions you're supposed to ask and some you're not--and how do you
tell which is which?

We can try to answer these questions as if they're supposed to have
answers.  For example, the gravedigger's "thirty years" could be a
generic number, meaning "a long time", or the time it takes to transform
a boy into a man, a meaning that may be emphasized by "thirty years, man
and boy". How carefully did gravediggers count the years in those days?
We might make Horatio older than Hamlet, or assume he's a student of
Danish history familiar with descriptions of the combat. Fortinbras
might have developed his resentment and desire for revenge as he learned
the history himself and became an older and angrier young man. Or we
might say that these points are incidental enough, and far enough
removed from the later "contradictory" points, for the contradiction to
go unremarked by all but the lamp-burners. In this case I tend toward
the latter option, until a better argument comes along.

David

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 22:58:22 -0500
Subject: 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0301 The Ambitious Norway

To Hardy's questions about Old Hamlet:

(1) Notable armors were often kept around the place as memorials of
great occasions, so Horatio might have seen it on display in hall or
long gallery-especially if, as seems likely, the king could no longer
squeeze himself into something made for him in his lean youth.  If
slaying Fortinbras I of Norway were the high point of the old king's
life and reign it would be appropriate that his ghost appear in this
guise.

(2)  Young Fortinbras, who is usually played as about Hamlet's age,
would presumably have grown up hearing about the battle, and regretting
both the loss of lands and the loss of Norwegian honor.  When he's
mature enough to hope for success, he tries to force a return bout to
rec over both the losses.

Dave Evett

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 9 Feb 2001 09:08:18 -0500
Subject:        RE: The Ambitious Norway

You know, I have been over and over the "how old is Hamlet?" question,
and never thought of those lines. However, they make even more clear to
me that the very specific reference to Hamlet's age is also very
specific to Act 5. I have always felt that the Hamlet of the last act is
a different person than the earlier acts, still a thinker, but not in
the obsessive, meditative way that leads to soliloquy after soliloquy.
He is more active - leaping into the grave, fencing, even describing his
fight with the pirates. He is also, suddenly, concerned with questions
of ruling - for the first time he mentions Claudius as an usurper as
well as an adulterer and murderer and his final words are about the
state, when he nominates Fortinbras.

All of this makes me believe that Shakespeare inserted the reference to
Hamlet's age so that his audience would suddenly see Hamlet as mature
and capable of rule. If they knew the Danish source, the audience would
think of Hamlet as quite young (whatever the actor's age), and perhaps
even the Ur-Hamlet had a Hamlet who was, perhaps, too young to take over
the throne or plan a revenge. So it would have been a shock to suddenly
be told that Hamlet was 30, mature, adult, especially after his behavior
and early clues such as the speech Hardy quoted. But, and this is
important, the shock would not have been retroactive. Only readers (or
those knowing the play going in) would have spent the first 4 acts
wondering how all the pieces fit together. Instead, I think Hamlet's
true age is meant to come as a revelation, not answering anything, but
fitting this new version of the prince.

Annalisa Castaldo

Re: Wittenberg and Paris

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0312  Friday, 9 February 2001

[1]     From:   Edmond Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 10:23:54 -0500
        Subj:   Wittenberg and Paris

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 13:11:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 14:23:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmond Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 10:23:54 -0500
Subject:        Wittenberg and Paris

Regarding Graham Bradshaw's recent posts on religious sects, Kenneth
Muir used to point out -- rightly, in my view -- that 17th-Century
theology was like modern economics:  there were so many schools of
thought, and so self-contradictory, that no one could be sure about the
truth of anything.

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 13:11:33 -0500
Subject: 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

Paul Rhodes opines:

>Purgatory is not an invention but a reality, otherwise the
>prayers for the dead mentioned throughout Holy Scripture would make no
>sense

Can someone help me with the name of this logical fallacy.  Is it
begging the question?  What do we call a syllogistic failure due to
rejection of an unexpressed major premise -- in this case, something
like "Holy Scripture is reliable"?

As Paul acknowledges,

>if one does accept the Bible as an authority, I really don't know how one
>can
>avoid a concept of Purgatory.

See Touchstone on "if."

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Feb 2001 14:23:44 -0500
Subject: 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0308 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

Paul S. Rhodes translates from the First Book of Heinrich Heine's Zur
Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland in which (he
suggests) the Jewish (turned Protestant) Heinrich Heine penned a very
lively and cogent defense of the indulgence trade.  Now it has been
suggested that Shakespeare was a Jew, so maybe he would have agreed with
Heine.  But if Heine's not being ironic, my name isn't Wilhelm.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

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