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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: January ::
Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0057  Wednesday, 10 January 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Jan 2001 11:11:09 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 12.0041 Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Philip Tomposki <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Jan 2001 15:53:19 EST
        Subj:   Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Gerda Grice <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Jan 2001 17:14:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0041 Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare

[4]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Jan 2001 12:30:01 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0038  Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 09 Jan 2001 11:11:09 -0800
Subject: Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare
Comment:        SHK 12.0041 Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare

Stephanie Hughes is at it again.

> Great writers may doubt that their work will find an audience, but they
> do not doubt the value of the work itself and unless they are sick they
> will do whatever they can to see that it reaches its proper audience,
> even if that audience is unborn at the time that they are writing.

How you are able to divine what all great writers think and do?

My point is that unless you can answer that question convincingly, we
must believe that you presume quite a lot.  As I asked before, where is
the evidence?  Is this an matter of faith for you?  If so, please
explain why we should convert.

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Tomposki <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Jan 2001 15:53:19 EST
Subject:        Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare

I think Sean Lawrence has a point when he suggests that Shakespeare saw
himself as a craftsman rather than a 'great artists'.  Students of music
history are disabused of the 'great artists' notion when reading of the
humiliating conditions that composers like J.S. Bach and Joseph Haydn
were often compelled to work under.  Until Beethoven, composers were
regarded as mere servants of the aristocrat, churchman or monarch who
employed them.  Technically, the Lord Chamberlain's/King's Men had the
same status, although they were more like independent businessmen.
However, from everything I've read, there seems no reason to believe
they were given the respect and reverence that 'artists', at least
successful ones, are given today.

Philip Tomposki

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gerda Grice <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Jan 2001 17:14:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 12.0041 Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0041 Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare

Well, there is evidence at least that Shakespeare believed his sonnets
would have a long, in fact eternal, life in print:

      Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
      When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
           So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
           So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. (S. 18)

Gerda Grice
Ryerson Polytechnic University
Toronto, Canada

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 09 Jan 2001 12:30:01 +0000
Subject: 12.0038  Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0038  Re: Literary vs. Theatrical Shakespeare

Dave Knauer writes;

> But my own reading into this question
> (Chambers, Albright, Kirschbaum, Honigmann, Blayney, and several others
> I'm forgetting) suggests that you're basically right: it's very
> difficult to generalize with any certainty about arrangements between
> theatre companies, playwrights, and printers. Some playwrights actively
> pursued the printing of their plays; others claimed to resent it (not
> always sincerely). Theatre companies do not seem to have discouraged the
> printing of their plays because they thought it would reduce demand for
> performances or allow theft by another company. They weren't opposed to
> printing per se, but surreptitious printing, which seems understandable,
> given the fact that the play was their property and they were entitled
> to the 6 pounds it would bring. As Blayney has convincingly shown,
> printed plays were not a hot commodity regardless.

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

This raises another question, the possible relevance of the ownership of
the Shakespeare plays by the Kings Men as one reason why it took so long
to publish the First Folio. Were the King's Men reluctant to publish the
plays because they were the centerpieces of their repertory and to
publish might diminish the audience? Or, is it true that, as some have
said, the plays of Shakespeare were no longer performed by the time that
the FF was published?  I don't recall seeing evidence, either way.

Did the possibility that in 1623, their "boss" at Court, the Lord
Chamberlain, Pembroke, might lose his position due to the enmity of
Buckingham, have anything to do with the seemingly hurried publication
of the First Folio, a project that the ignorant Buckingham or anyone he
placed as Lord Chamberlain, would probably not have promoted?

I'm interested in any thoughts on this subject.

Stephanie Hughes
 

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