2001

Re: The Glass Menagerie

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0493  Friday, 2 March 2001

[1]     From:   Tim Perfect <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 08:06:07 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

[2]     From:   Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 11:41:23 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

[3]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 21:02:46 -0800
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tim Perfect <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 08:06:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

>Have other 20th century playwrights referred to themselves, if only in a
>roundabout way, as Shakespeare?

The only other reference (not a playwright, alas) that comes to mind for
me (probably due to the fact that I recently saw it again) is in Kevin
Costner's film "The Postman".  The evil General Nathan Bethlehem refers
to Costner's character as "Shakespeare", after learning that Costner's
character was an actor. They have a kind of silly back and forth
recitation battle of lines.

Tim Perfect

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 11:41:23 EST
Subject: 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

Well, my friends used to call me Beethoven because I played the piano
from an early age. Surely it is a kind of friendly banter that calls Tom
Shakespeare?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 21:02:46 -0800
Subject: 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie
Comment:        Fw: SHK 12.0482 The Glass Menagerie

Not only is Tom an alter ego for Williams (whose real name was Thomas),
but Amanda and Laura are very much based on Williams's own mother and
sister (his sister, I believe, was eventually committed to an asylum and
her death, apparently, left him with a strong sense of guilt). I've
taught the play in both English and acting classes, and it's fascinating
to me how drastically one's opinions of the characters changes as one
gets older. Who is the 'hero' of the play (if there is one), anyway?

Regarding the Shakespeare question, I don't think it's much of a big
deal in the play; his friend, Jim, calls him Shakespeare simply because
he writes poetry on the job, and I think that's as far as it goes. Jim
is a pretty flat character who is quite insensitive to Laura's
vulnerability; it seems to me that Williams paints him as a drudge whose
only real, deep interest is making money.

The only other reference to Shakespeare of this nature, that I can think
of, is in Anouilh's _The Cavern_, in which the Superintendent tells The
Author that Shakespeare probably had difficulty writing his plays, too
(The Author in this play is the main character, and the play is
"presented" by him as unfinished, piecemeal -- a variation on
Pirandello); the Author then complains that one "should never utter
Shakespeare's name to another playwright; it's hurtful."

This is hardly like the mentions of Shakespeare in _TGM_, however, so I
don't know that it will help you.

Paul E. Doniger

Re: Castration

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0492  Friday, 2 March 2001

[1]     From:   Michele Marrapodi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 16:42:27 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0477 Castration Query Conference

[2]     From:   David Linton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 12:02:56 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.0477 Castration Query Conference


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michele Marrapodi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 16:42:27 +0100
Subject: 12.0477 Castration Query Conference
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0477 Castration Query Conference

>I wonder if anyone on the list could direct me to primary or secondary
>texts dealing with castration in early modern England/Europe.  I am
>particularly keen on finding works from which I could glean early modern
>attitudes toward castration, eunuchs, and so on.

For a brilliant and wide-ranging treatment of the eunuch topos in early
modern drama, see Keir Elam, "The Fertile Eunuch: _Twelfth Night_ Early
Modern Intercourse, and the Fruits of Castration," _Shakespeare
Quarterly_, 47 (Spring, 1996), pp. 1-36.

Michele Marrapodi,
University of Palermo.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Linton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 12:02:56 -0500
Subject: 12.0477 Castration Query Conference
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.0477 Castration Query Conference

It may be of general interest to the list that Gary Taylor, author of
Reinventing Shakespeare and co-editor of the Oxford Shakespeare has just
published a fascinating book called Castration which includes a good
deal about castration practices in early modern England and other times
and places as well.

Re: Hal

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0490  Friday, 2 March 2001

[1]     From:   Skip Nicholson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 07:03:44 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.0484 Hal (was Welsh, etc.)

[2]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 01 Mar 2001 16:03:15 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0484 Hal (was Welsh, etc.)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Nicholson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 07:03:44 -0800
Subject: 12.0484 Hal (was Welsh, etc.)
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.0484 Hal (was Welsh, etc.)

Happy St David's Day to Hal and all...

Cheers,
Skip Nicholson
South Pasadena [CA] HS
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 01 Mar 2001 16:03:15 -0500
Subject: 12.0484 Hal (was Welsh, etc.)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0484 Hal (was Welsh, etc.)

Merri Neidorff writes:

>Is this the accepted reading of these lines? I have never formally
>studied Shakespeare, but I've done a lot of reading and, as this is a
>favorite play, have it in a number of editions (Riverside, Bevington,
>Folger, Arden). I don't see it in the footnotes. I've always read the
>"foul and ugly mists" as Hal referring to his own dalliance, the "loose
>behavior" he promises to throw off.

I'm not big on accepted readings, because every now and again a student
will come up with a totally unacceptable reading that I find quite
acceptable and insightful.  So perhaps the "base contagious clouds" are
Hal's own actions rather than his base followers.  But he does begin his
speech: "I know you all, and will a while uphold /The unyok'd humor of
your idleness" (Riverside 1.2.195-6). He may be addressing the departing
or departed Poins and Falstaff, or the audience at large. In any case, I
feel that "you all" makes a better referent for "ugly mists" than Hal's
"loose behavior" (208).  But I certainly see the strength of your
argument: "So when this loose behavior I throw off" may refer back to
"breaking through the foul and ugly mists/Of vapors."

>Let me hasten to add, before the arrows start to fly, that I *am* aware
>there is no "real" Hal, but this is how I envision him when I read the
>play; and that the above is my own interpretation and I don't require
>anyone to adopt it.

Absolutely!  Characters are not real people.  But we make believe that
they are, and we treat them "as if" (als ob) they are more than mere
words on a page.  Nevertheless, as Norm Holland reminds us, it would be
silly to ask: "Where is Hal these days?" If I asked that about King
Henry V, you could answer quite rightly: "We know exactly where he is."

Yours, Bill Godshalk

Re: Shakespeare Bashing

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0491  Friday, 2 March 2001

[1]     From:   Jonathan R. Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 16:32:02 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0483 Shakespeare Bashing

[2]     From:   Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 01 Mar 2001 16:35:12 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0483 Shakespeare Bashing


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan R. Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Mar 2001 16:32:02 +0100
Subject: 12.0483 Shakespeare Bashing
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0483 Shakespeare Bashing

I'm fond of the following, probably unintentional, bashing of the bard's
bonce from Anthony Powell's Journals (for 11 March 1982):

'I now habitually end the day with reading Shakespeare in bed, followed
by some poetry.'

Jonathan Hope
Strathclyde University
Glasgow

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 01 Mar 2001 16:35:12 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 12.0483 Shakespeare Bashing
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0483 Shakespeare Bashing

>Maybe this could be the beginning of a thread about what we Shakespeare
>lovers hate about Shakespeare. I, for example, could never read The
>Tempest without being disappointed. I've tried a lot of times to find
>the play good but, alas, I find it stiff and boring. (Oops, have I outed
>myself as a tasteless greaseball?)

As one whose research has as much to do with Shakespeare's
contemporaries as with Shakespeare himself, I suggest that such a
discussion may be usefully balanced by asking what plays by other
writers do we favor over particular plays by Shakespeare. And a third
useful category could be what Shakespeare plays we think are underrated.
I have seen some fascinating productions of plays that aren't generally
considered his best, so even if I say that Two Gentleman of Verona does
not present Shakespeare at his highest powers, I remember vividly a
touring group from the Kennedy Center staging it as a Western. Just
listing, then, here goes:

Shakespeare's weakest:

Romeo and Juliet (to me, his most overrated work. The boring
underwritten lovers and family members are easily upstaged by Mercutio
and Tybalt. The play should have been about them.)
all of the Henries the Sixes
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Titus Andronicus
Merry Wives of Windsor

Plays better than any of those above by Shakespeare's contemporaries

Marlowe's Edward II
Ford's Perkin Warbeck
Webster's The White Devil
Marston's Sophonisba
Middeton and Dekker's The Roaring Girl
Jonson's Bartholomew Fair
This list could be much longer, but I'll save the rest.

Underrated--or Underperformed Shakespeare:

Coriolanus (which could make a great movie)
King John (which, with its plot based on power gained by strong
possession, could have merited a mention back in December)

Jack Heller

Query from Alaska

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0489  Thursday, 1 March 2001

From:           Peter Porco <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 01 Mar 2001 01:40:42 -0900
Subject:        Query from Alaska

[Editor's Note: Here is another one of those queries from a non-member
that someone may be moved to answer. If you do so, please respond
directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. -HMC]

Dear SHAKSPER Fileserver:

I'm a newspaper reporter for the Anchorage Daily News in Anchorage,
Alaska.  I'm working on a story about a recent nine-day,
open-to-the-public, round-the-clock reading of the entire works of
Shakespeare that occurred this month in Fairbanks, Alaska.

In order to make an impression on the reader as to what such a task
might entail, and to indicate to the reader the scope of Shakespeare's
vocabulary and its hold on the readers, I thought I would try to answer
the following questions:

* Exactly how many words are contained in the complete Shakespeare
oeuvre?

* How many different words are there in the complete works -- the limit
of his vocabulary?

* Who are the writers closest to him by these measures?  For example, I
have read that the Bible contains about 2,000 different words. Joyce's
"Ulysses" contains about 8,000 different words. How many might all of
Shakespeare's works have, and who is the writer nearest to him? A
professor I know thought it might be Milton.

If these are not the kinds of questions readily answered, would you know
where I might go next? If an editor of a concordance or online
compendium would know, could you suggest who?

I appreciate that this request will take a little bit of time (but not
much, I hope), and you have my deepest gratitude for whatever help you
may provide.

Sincerely,
Peter Porco, reporter
Anchorage Daily News
P.O.B. 14-9001
Anchorage, AK 99514-9001

email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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