2001

Bogdanov Macbeth on Video

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0416  Wednesday, 21 February 2001

From:           Elizabeth Abele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 16:28:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Bogdanov Macbeth on Video

For those of you looking for a Macbeth for the classroom,  Bogdanov's
Macbeth for Granada TV is a trim, straight forward production.

You can find my full review at:
http://www.imagesjournal.com/issue10/reviews/macbeth/

Elizabeth J. Abele
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Re: Biographical Queries

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0415  Wednesday, 21 February 2001

[1]     From:   Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 18:20:27 +0000
        Subj:   SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries

[2]     From:   David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 23:18:27 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 18:20:27 +0000
Subject: Two Biographical Queries
Comment:        SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries

It is nearly always said that Hamnet drowned in a river/brook close to
the Shakespeare's home in Stratford.

Stuart Manger

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 23:18:27 -0600
Subject: 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0405 Two Biographical Queries

Tim Brookes wrote:

>1. Do we know how Hamnet died?

No.

>2. Do we know what happened to John Shakespeare's business? In other
>words, are there any records of him selling it, or whatever assets and
>equipment he owned, or leaving them to anyone in particular in his will?

No records survive of John Shakespeare selling his business, or
otherwise disposing of it.  He left no will; as Schoenbaum notes
(*William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life*, p. 181), "in the absence of
a will the double house in Henley Street would pass to his eldest son
William."  Presumably that's what happened, since William later left the
double house (where John Shakespeare's business had been located) in his
own will to his sister Joan.  There is considerable evidence that John
Shakespeare fell on hard times in the late 1570s; Park Honan, in his
recent biography (pp. 25-42) presents some pretty good circumstantial
evidence that this fall from grace was tied to a crackdown on illegal
wool dealing in late 1576, a practice from which John Shakespeare had
apparently derived much of his income.  As for what happened to his
glover business, there is no way to know for sure.  William was
supposedly apprenticed to his father at some point, but obviously he
didn't stick to it.  William's younger brother Gilbert (b. 1566) was a
haberdasher in London in 1597, but he was back in the Stratford area by
1602 (as we know from a 1609 lawsuit) and died in Stratford in 1612.  So
if John Shakespeare's business as a glover still even existed at his
death in 1601 (which is not at all certain), Gilbert may have taken it
over or otherwise disposed of it.

Dave Kathman
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Re: Welsh etc.

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0413  Wednesday, 21 February 2001

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 09:21:01 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 11:39:42 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 13:47:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.

[4]     From:   Simon Malloch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Feb 2001 12:12:37 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 09:21:01 -0600
Subject: 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.

Curse Terence Hawkes. He so often sends me scrambling around to try and
find what I base my points on. In the case of touring Bedlam, I can only
fadge up the following (I haven't time for more). From Hazleton
Spencer's introductory note to "The Changeling": "[It] is sadly marred,
to a modern taste, by the lunatic divertissements which were always
acceptable to Elizabethan audiences." My recollection is that I did a
bit of background reading on the treatment of lunatics when I was in
graduate school, but any notes I took are long gone. They were still
doing this (giving tours of Bedlam) into the 18th Century, as a variety
of references could show.

Surely there have been books written on the subject. I would welcome
some good references either to reassure me of my point or (even) to
correct a misapprehension.

With regard to Ed's response, I would only ask him to use caution in
using the Holocaust. It carries too much emotional weight to be bandied
about with hockey games.

The larger question, though, is his inference that because I stated an
opinion that the Elizabethans had a higher tolerance for cruelty than we
that I thought they were less moral than we in general. I said no such
thing and I would be extremely reluctant to make such a generalization.
He seems to think that I am subscriber to the Myth of Progress, which I
am not, any more than I am in believer in the Myth of the Golden Age.
But I do think that facts have to be looked at squarely, and where
values can be kept clear, judgments applied. What I see of the facts of
Elizabethan culture leads me to the judgment that I expressed above. If
the facts are true, then a judgment based on a condemnation of cruelty
is valid.

Ed assumes that, in my headlong attempt to sneer at the Elizabethans, I
simply forgot counter-examples. But the counter-examples don't represent
what decent people think. God knows, I am well aware of the large-scale
crimes perpetrated in the last century. I sometimes shock my students by
suggesting that future ages may identify the 20th Century as the Age of
Mass Murder. But this is not the same thing as legalized torture and
public execution (and sometimes, oh goody!, both). There is little I can
do to stop some vicious dictator from decimating his own people or some
designated enemy. I can, on the other hand, support the abolition of
capital punishment. I see no evidence of a widespread movement for that
in Shakespeare's time -- nor, indeed, in any period up till fairly
recent memory.

Some interesting work might be done in that regard (and probably has):
social pressure for more "humane" methods of execution (such as the
trap-door method of hanging) leading eventually to a movement to abolish
it altogether. If this is progress (and I think it is) then it needs to
be recognized as such. But it is a mistake to generalize from one
example of progress to an assumption that decent  people today are more
moral than their equivalents four hundred years ago, and I made no such
assumption.

(Ironic post script: About thirty-five years ago, it was a joke that
when Swedish movie came to America, we cut out the sex, but when
American movies went to Sweden, they cut out the violence. I don't know
whether they're still censoring our movies for their violence, but we
certainly aren't cutting the sex out of anything any more. Is this
progress? We are freer (from censorship) than we were, but the freedom
is being mainly used to produce larger quantities of more graphic
garbage. No. I don't believe in the Myth of Progress.)

(Second ironic post script: when I originally wrote my first paragraph,
I used the phrase "background reading of the treatment of lunatics in
graduate school." Perhaps I shouldn't have corrected it.)

don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 11:39:42 -0500
Subject: 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.

Ed Taft says,

> 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.

I suspect that some anthropologists would agree with this while others
would not.  Cultural relativism is merely a different species of moral
relativism, and both are profoundly unsatisfying.

There is a stone age tribe in the New Guinea jungle which considers it
the pinnacle of social achievement to offer hospitality to sojourners
and then cut their heads off.   Macbeth does something similar, but he
(and we) do not applaud the murder as an act of high culture.  Can we
not say that our culture is better than, not just different from, the
stone age New Guinea tribe's?

A few years ago a public school board in Florida forbade its teachers
from teaching that the U.S.'s form of government is superior to other
systems.  I suppose an argument can be made (although I would not make
it) that parliamentary democracy has certain advantages, but is it
bigoted to prefer both over despotism?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 13:47:44 -0500
Subject: 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.

Werner Broennimann aptly reminds us that

>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."

I think an important phrase here is "general and generic."  Let me give
an example:  What do you call 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
Answer?  "A good start."  But what happens to the joke if we substitute
"Frank" for the generic "lawyers" and Frank happens to be our "sworn
brother" (2.4.6-7 Riverside)?  For me, Hal's joke is not palatable
because Francis is presented as more than a generic tapster; he is
someone with whom Hal has recently been drinking, and about whom Hal has
some intimate knowledge. And Francis is not in on the joke.

With Francis, I would compare Hotspur, whom Hal describes as his "factor
.  . ./To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf" (3.2.147-8). And when
Hal is finished playing with his factor, he will destroy him -- as he
will later destroy Falstaff -- another one of his playthings.

As for Progress, Smith & Wesson has recently developed a .32 H&R Magnum
AirLite, tauted as possibly the "ultimate concealed carry revolver."
How many people on this list have greeted this handgun as a step forward
on the Progress road?  And if not, why not?  It's certainly an example
of Western technology at its best.

Before we talk about Progress in any field, we have to define the word.
Is "progress" merely the reification of certain trends?  Certainly we
can't go to the zoo and see Nineteenth Century Progress.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Feb 2001 12:12:37 +0800
Subject: 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0397 Re: Welsh etc.

Terence Hawkes asks:

> 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?

This may not be quite 'early modern' enough, but Boswell records that he
and Johnson visited Bedlam (8 May 1775).  The Hill-Powell edition of the
Life provides a footnote noting a few other earlier 18th-century visits;
Boswell and Johnson's visit was not a fun and happy affair - but note
_The World_ June 7, 1753: a Londoner writes,  'I found a hundred people
at least... were suffered unattended to run rioting up and down the
wards, making sport... of the miserable inhabitants. ... I saw the
spectators in a loud laugh of triumph at the ravings they occasioned.'
The scene is  repeated in 'a young lady's' description in a letter to
Richardson of her visit to Bedlam.  Interestingly, both narratives
betray the necessity of provoking the inmates to gain a laugh.

But perhaps the past-time had become well and truly entrenched by the
18th-century?

Simon Malloch.

Re: Videos

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0414  Wednesday, 21 February 2001

[1]     From:   Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 08:45:52 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0409 Re: Branagh

[2]     From:   Bob Haas <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 12:21:34 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0401 Re: Nunn's Twelfth Night


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 08:45:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 12.0409 Re: Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0409 Re: Branagh

The Trevor Nunn Macbeth with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench is the best
available, despite the inadequacy of the two leads.  It can be purchased
from a variety of outlets for $19.95.  The Stratford Festival of Ontario
sells a videotape of its stage version of Errors; I don't remember the
price, but it is less than the $90-100 required for the BBC version.
You won't find Roger Daltrey in it (deo gracia), but it's pleasant
enough.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Haas <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 12:21:34 -0500
Subject: 12.0401 Re: Nunn's Twelfth Night
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0401 Re: Nunn's Twelfth Night

The VHS version available to consumers is unfortunately pan and scan.
BRAVO, however, from time to time runs a letterboxed version of the film
which I was lucky enough to copy . . . for scholarly pursuits that I
hope would fall under the protection of fair use.  You might also try to
get TCM to run the film in letterbox format.  That cable network does
take requests, but its metier usually is older films.

bob

Re: Hamlet and Oedipus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0412  Wednesday, 21 February 2001

[1]     From:   Pat Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 08:21:51 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0400 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus

[2]     From:   Graham Bradshaw <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Feb 2001 11:48:02 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0407 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001 08:21:51 -0600
Subject: 12.0400 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0400 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus

> I'm reminded of the recent impulse to destroy the stature of Christopher
> Columbus and Thomas Jefferson, because they didn't conform to present
> standards of the Ideal.

What's being done is this: historians are pointing out that Jefferson
and Columbus don't conform to our present notions of the ideal, in spite
of the continual propaganda to the contrary. (My son was told this fall
that Columbus discovered America.) Jefferson didn't really believe in
the equality of all human beings--not even "men"--and was a vexed and
complex person, which to my mind makes him much more interesting that
the sanitised hagiographic version. Columbus didn't convince people that
the earth was round (our medieval and early modern predecessors weren't
as stupid as our school history books make out). And their human
limitations had consequences for real people--Sally Hemming and her
up-to-now de-Jeffersoned descendants and people who don't understand
that slavery included rape (John Ashcroft for example). Columbus's
consequences for the Arawaks and indigenous Americans were incredibly
severe, tens of millions died and human beings lost their land and much
of their way of life to rapacious (themselves complex) invaders. (In the
context of the American west, Patricia Nelson Limerick is good on this.)

I'm wondering if Stephanie Hughes realises how profoundly relativist she
sounds when she suggests that we shouldn't attend to Jefferson's racism
and rape (can a slave consent?) or Columbus's violence and greed.

This is relevant to a Shakespeare list, because there is no figure more
likely to have the values we think we hold foisted upon him. I've seen
Shakespeare the "art for art's sake" poet, Shakespeare the timeless
thinker, Shakespeare the friend to the working class and on and on and
on. My Shakespeare, the ordinary guy who takes an interest in theatre,
works hard and conscientiously, writes about erotic passion in a variety
of registers and finds his talents uniquely melded to a (contingent)
English literary historical moment is no less historically conditioned
(notice I didn't say "determined") than anyone else's. But I think I
have good arguments for regarding him that way, including arguments
about the literature and culture of early modern London.

The trouble with "Ultimately we need to honour our pathfinders, not for
what they didn't do, or did wrong, but for what they did right," is that
it requires us to ignore or suppress the evidence. Intellectual honesty
may be a historically and culturally contingent value, but it's one I
treasure.  I think everybody on this list does so as well.

Cheers,
Pat

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Bradshaw <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Feb 2001 11:48:02 +0900
Subject: 12.0407 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0407 Re: Hamlet and Oedipus

A.D. Nuttall provides a different "take" on Hamlet and Oedipus in his
essay, "Freud and Shakespeare: Hamlet" (in John Batchelor, Tom Cain and
Claire Lamont, eds., Shakespearean Continuities: Essays in Honour of E.
A. J. Honigmann, London: Macmillan, and New York: St. Martin's Press,
1997: pp.123-137.).

Nuttall's essay begins:

"All male children pass through a phase in which they wish to murder
their fathers and have sexual intercourse with their mothers. We have
grown accustomed to Freud's famous theory of the Oedipus Complex. The
simple sentence in which the theory is stated no longer shocks. Does
this mean that we have learned to accept the proposition as true? If we
have indeed reached a stage of belief--as distinct from mere numb
habituation--then, I suggest, we ought not to have done so. There might
indeed be something salutary in using our imagination to recover the
original shock effect.  The shock arose not only from the sexual content
of the sentence but also from sheer implausibility. If ever a statement
needed to earn acceptance by vigorous demonstration, it was this."

Nuttall himself goes on to recall how "the philosopher Sidney Hook asked
one psychoanalyst after another what would count as evidence that a
child had not got an Oedipus Complex and never obtained an answer"
(p.128).

Then there's Joyce's wonderful Finnegan joke on the dangers of being
"jung and easily freudened."

Graham Bradshaw

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