2001

Grigori Kozintsev's Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2149  Wednesday, 12 September 2001

From:           Mark Harris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 11:56:09 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Grigori Kozintsev's Hamlet

I am aware that this film has been mentioned at SHAKSPER before, but I'd
like to share this post I originally wrote for another group:

For years there has a been a rumor floating around (chiefly in printed
references) that Grigori Kozintsev's 1964 Soviet version of Hamlet was
the best you would ever want to see. Now that I have seen it, I can
confirm: this is the best Hamlet you would ever want to see.

The merits are many, the demerits non-existent. The film looks great:
beautiful b-and-w cinematography, gorgeous use of the wide frame. The
art direction deserves a gold medal; the exterior sets of Elsinore
Castle in particular are staggering (I assume it was built rather than
found). The music by Shostakovich is tremendous. The cast, as Kirk
points out, is evenly strong up and down the line, and Innokenti
Smoktunovsky (who was the narrator of Tarkovsky's Mirror) is a knock-out
as Hamlet.

What is peculiarly exciting at the level of cinematic conception is
Kozintsev's division of the action into four planes, and his stress on
making as many of those planes visible in single shots as possible. The
first plane is the sea, which is omnipresent. This is most appropriate
for Hamlet; remember, Denmark is not only surrounded by water, but
interpenetrated by water (Copenhagen is essentially a lagoon). The
second plane is the mighty exterior of Elsinore Castle and the desolate
surrounding landscape. The third plane is the richly appointed castle
interior. (This castle, by the way, bears affinities to Mervyn Peake's
Gormenghast; Peake was strongly influenced by Shakespeare's play.) The
fourth plane is the minds of the characters, as revealed in monologues,
asides, facial expressions (some of the monologues are handled as
voiceovers).  The relations between these four planes are frequently
breathtaking - witness the staging of the play-within-a-play on an
outdoor stage, at night, with the roiling ocean as backdrop. You believe
in the spatial connection between the interiors and the exterior; you
could practically draw a diagram of the castle. Kozintsev has entirely
solved the proscenium arch problem; there is not a trace of staginess
here.

The pace is stately, ceremonial, with sudden stabs of action. I loved
the closing sequence: Hamlet's body is borne on a bier, and Kozintsev
takes all the time he needs to end the movie on a note of awe. This is
properly tragic, and I am not surprised to learn that the clearly
thoughtful Kozintsev wrote a book about Shakespeare (which was
translated into English): Shakespeare: Time and Conscience.

Kozintsev was born in 1905, and after some early film successes he made
only three features in the last twenty years of his life (though I'm
betting he did a lot of stage direction as well). All were adaptations
of classics: Hamlet, Don Quixote, King Lear.  (Kozintsev's writings on
Lear were also translated into English as King Lear: The Space of
Tragedy - The Diary of a Film Director.)

Mark R. Harris

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Christine Edzard Films on Video

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2148  Wednesday, 12 September 2001

From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 14:44:58 -0400
Subject:        Christine Edzard Films on Video

For those of you who have been waiting for Christine Edzard's As You
Like It to appear on NTSC video, Buena Vista (who owns the North
American rights) is being a stickler about Edzard's company
manufacturing even a single video in NTSC (North American) format.
We're still working things out, but it might be a while yet before we
are able to convince them to allow a small run of the title.

On the other hand, Edzard's The Children's Midsummer Night's Dream,
performed entirely by students at underprivileged London schools, is
currently available for North American video players.  As far as I know,
Poor Yorick is the only source for this title on this side of the
puddle, at least for the time being.

Tanya Gough
Poor Yorick Shakespeare Multimedia
www.bardcentral.com

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Globe Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2146  Wednesday, 12 September 2001

[1]     From:   Louis Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 10 Sep 2001 13:15:20 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2135 Re: Globe Lear

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 10 Sep 2001 23:35:39 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2135 Re: Globe Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 13:15:20 -0500
Subject: 12.2135 Re: Globe Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2135 Re: Globe Lear

Dan Smith wrote,

" I am not sure I quite agree with the idea that Lear stripped is just a
distraction that adds nothing to the portrayal.  Lear is a man stripped
bare of everything, titles, power, sanity - to leave a bare
unacommodated man and this is a powerful symbol of that process."

I hope I did not suggest that Lear should not be stripped.  My point -
which I still maintain - is that an ACTOR playing Lear, stripped in an
open-air theater (the Globe) on a very cold day, distracts the audience
from concern and feeling for the character played to concern and feeling
for the actor playing him - and that cannot be the effect intended.  (I
am reminded of the old RSC (I think it was) production of "As You Like
It": the wrestling scene ended with Orlando's triumph over the wrestler
Charles by Orlando's knocking the wrestler in the head with his own
head.  The sound of this blow went ringing through the theater, causing
the audience to gasp - and not for the characters but for Roland Pickup
who played Orlando and the other actor who played Charles.  I was
sitting on the second row and had a clear view of Pickup's face and of
his eyes dangerously shifting focus.  I was not concerned for Orlando,
let me tell you, but for Mr. Pickup.  The necessary illusion of the play
was broken as we considered the pain of the actors. )

L. Swilley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 23:35:39 -0400
Subject: 12.2135 Re: Globe Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2135 Re: Globe Lear

Don Smith is right that Julian Glover is in much too good shape to strip
down to expose decrepitude.  Ian Holm succeeded in this quite well --
stark naked on stage and in a loincloth in the video version.

By the way (Dr. Burt take note), Holm seems to have a penchant for this
sort of thing.  He has a brief nude scene in an eminently forgettable
low budget Indie he did a year or so ago with Stanley Tucci, the name of
which I have forgotten.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Times Article

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2147  Wednesday, 12 September 2001

[1]     From:   Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 10 Sep 2001 14:36:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

[2]     From:   Peterson-Kranz Karen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 10 Sep 2001 20:12:14 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

[3]     From:   Mark Harris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 10 Sep 2001 11:40:44 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

[4]     From:   Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 00:33:24 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Times article; liberal education

[5]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 12:05:43 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

[6]     From:   Louis Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 08:22:11 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

[7]     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 14:19:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 14:36:03 -0400
Subject: 12.2137 Re: Times Article
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

Those who want a laugh should take a look at Porky's 2.  A high school
teach disagree as to whether "Shakespeare is filth," and their dispute
is adjucated by the principal, who gets into a quotation fight with the
Reverend (the Reverend cites offensive, obscene passages form
Shakespeare, and the principal cites similar passages form the Bible.)

Marcia Eppich writes:

> This might have already been mentioned, but I missed it if it was. Do
> you have many female students in your porn class? I'm curious about
> their reaction to the content.

Burt responds:

Actually, the only students ever to have written on Shakespeare porn in
my classes have been women (all of two), and both wrote excellent
papers).  I have also been contacted by three undergrad women students
who were writing about Shakespeare porn (one was at Wellesey, another at
De Paul, and the other in Florence, Italy), and one male post-grad in
the UK.

Louis Willey writes;

>It is really hard to believe that the makers of pornographic films,
>"Shakespearean" or otherwise, the filmakers' interest being so
>pronouncedly to serve the prurient interests of an audience, can  have
>anything significant to offer as a gloss on the thought and art of
>Shakespeare.
>The study of pornography of any description
> belongs in that part of the university Newman calls the "academy"; but
> if it is considered profitable for introduction to students, should it
> not be presented in the departments of Psychology, Sociology, or
> Anthropology?  I cannot see that it has anything to offer in the study
> of literature; how can Shakespeare porn contribute anything to elucidate
> and intensify our appreciation of the thought and art of Shakespeare?]

It might help, Louis, if you actually saw them first.  The problem with
the anti-porn argument is that the anti-porners (at least claim they)
never watch porn.  Their attacks are based on ignorance, not on
knowledge.  If you want to get a sense of what they "offer as a gloss on
the thought and art of Shakespeare" but can't bear to bring yourself to
watch them, try reading the second chapter ("Deep Inside William
Shakespeare") of my book, Unspeakable ShaXXXspeares.

What I find amusing about Louis's opposition between Shakespeare
(valuable, part of the academy) and Shakespeare porn (no value, outside
the academy) is that he appears to think that there is nothing at all
obscene about Shakespeare, that the question of obscenity is one that
has no interest for Shakespeare.  Certainly the Reverend Bowdler and his
ilk thought differently and happily expurgated the plays (not
particularly well, of course).   One simply has to recall the brothel
scenes and prostitutes in Measure for Measure and Pericles, Bottom's
malapropism that the mechanicals will rehearse "most obscenely" (see
also Costard in LLL), and the porno painting in T of S to see just how
Louis is.  And makers of Shakespeare porn are not the only ones to
engage Shakespeare's interests in eroticism, sex work, and obscenity.
Greenaway includes a book of porno in Prospero's Books (even more
explicit in the screenplay), the Almereyda Hamlet has clips from Deep
Throat, the 1972 porno with Linda Lovelace; My Own Private Idaho has a
scene in a gay porn bookstore; Porky's 2 explores the question of a
filthy Shakespeare, as I noted above; and mainstream and art film
versions of the plays in the 90s have invariably gone "bardcore":
Othello and Desdemona have sex in the Parker and Nelson films; Branagh
adds a sexually explicit (R-rated) scene in which Hamlet and Ophelia
have sex.; Rivers (Robert Downey, Jr.) has sex with a stewardess in the
Loncraine RIII.  Contrary to what some people would like to believe,
Shakespeare porn is part of a general trend in the cinematic
reproduction of Shakespeare toward  (as far as possible and get an
R-rating) and including the pornographic.  Given this trend, it hardly
makes sense to exclude Shakespeare porn from consideration, especially
when one has never even seen it.

In response to Todd Lidh :

Thanks for looking through my websites so thoroughly. I encourage all
readers of this exchange to see my websites for themselves and view all
quoted remarks in their original contexts.

http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~eng222sh/

http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~eng700sh/

http://www.naughtyprofessor.com/

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peterson-Kranz Karen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 20:12:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.2137 Re: Times Article
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

I was delighted to see this discussion expand with the voices and
opinions of a number of other list members.

Just a few comments.  Ok, maybe more than a few.

Susan Neill asked,

> Who can take any of this seriously?  It doesn't pass
> the cynic's laugh
> test.

First, I would say that laughing at our work and work-related obsessions
is perhaps not such a bad thing.

Second, and more seriously, to address Susan's first comment: It wasn't
too long ago that no one took the study of Shakespeare in and on film
seriously.  Or film studies in general.  Or women's studies.  Or...well,
you undoubtedly get my drift.  I'm not saying that "porn studies" will
achieve the same status as the various newer academic disciplines cited
or suggested above.  But...I'm (only?!) 44, and remember distinctly the
scorn with which courses related to "women in literature" or "women in
history" were greeted in my earliest undergraduate days in the late
1970s.  Who knows...?

Marcia Eppich asks a good question:

> This might have already been mentioned, but I missed
> it if it was. Do
> you have many female students in your porn class?
> I'm curious about
> their reaction to the content.

So am I.  Richard?

While I have not (yet!) actually presented anything in a class that *I*
would class as pornography, I have required some texts which have been
banned as pornographic in some of the more conservative US states.  I
have initiated discussions of whether the students felt offended by the
texts, of what they think constitutes "pornography" or "obscenity," and
of whether it is appropriate to study such things at the university
level.  Oddly enough, the women in my classes were often much more
relaxed about the topic than the men.  I am very interested in how
Richard's students have responded.

In general, I'd like to applaud Marcia's open, fair and non-judgmental
letter.

Louis Swilley wrote,

> Dr. Peterson-Kranz wrote...

Thank you for the compliment, but I'm not a doctor yet.  Working on it,
but for the moment am but a lowly doctoral candidate and part-time
lecturer.  And thank you for the fair and gracious hearing you gave to
my letter.

Louis wrote in response:

> Being usually of legal age, the student has the
> "right" to take anything offered by the institution,
> from nuclear physics to tiddly-winks.  My point
> concerned not what the student might want, but
> what a university that presumes to guide his studies
> should advise and demand.

That is my concern as well.  Especially, my concern is that students
should have a legitimate *choice* offered to them.  Richard Burt's
courses on Shakespeare in popular culture (including those focusing on
Shakespearian themes, references and allusions in pornographic films)
would not readily find a home at many universities.  For example, I
suspect many "Christian" colleges and universities would never consider
such offerings (even as electives!).  But I do think that the field of
Shakespeare studies (in which all of us on this list participate to
varying degrees) owes it to ourselves and to our field of interest to at
least *consider* how new venues for Shakespeare, new media, new (or even
not so new; pronography is hardly a recent invention!) cultural
manifestations may potentially enrich our understanding AND the
understanding of our students.  Then, as Shakespeareans (in the broadest
sense), we will be better prepared to defend Shakespeare studies (again,
in the broadest sense) against the increasing hegemony of
industrial/vocational studies which, as I said yesterday, seem the
greater threat against studies of both capital-C culture AND culture
studies in so many universities today.

In the interest of (relative) brevity, I will not address all of Louis's
thoughts here.  All of them, however, are valid, and valuable,
contributions to the debate in progress.  Some of his comments,
nevertheless, are too important NOT to address.  For example:

> We too often and unwisely take the position
> of "either...or," when the situation at hand might
> easily accommodate "this AND that".  It is
> possible for universities to entertain the new, the
> popular, even the highly questionable...they have
> only to distance their traditional programs from
> the "fads" by creating Schools of This or That,
> reserving their better name for programs that strive
> to create the whole mind, providing sound
> philosophical bases for judgements in all areas of
> thought.

Once, in a universe not so very far away or long ago, similar arguments
were made to support the concept of a traditional, liberal arts
education that revolved exclusively around "the classics" (i.e. the
study of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, philosophy and
literature).  I am not saying this to be sarcastic, but only to point
out the ideas of what constitute the "core" of a "traditional"
curriculum, as opposed to "fads," must and does inevitably change,
usually in the direction of expansion to include "schools" (or more
commonly these days, "programs") of study previously thought too
contemporary, too faddish or too subversive.  The field of "English
literature," including the concentrated academic study of Shakespeare,
is largely a nineteenth century invention.

Louis also wrote that

> if it is considered profitable for introduction to
> students, should it not be presented in the
> departments of Psychology, Sociology, or
> Anthropology?  I cannot see that it has anything to
> offer in the study of literature; how can
> Shakespeare porn contribute anything to elucidate
> and intensify our appreciation of the thought and
> art of Shakespeare?

Richard Burt can answer the last question better than I can.  Off-hand,
I would say that the point of such study is NOT appreciation of the
thought and art of Shakespeare, but appreciation of the resonance of
Shakespeare throughout even the most unlikely manifestations of Western
culture.  I suppose that studies of culture may belong more to the
social sciences; however, the disciplines cited tend (not always, but
sometimes) to reject "literature" as a factor in cultural phenomena
(those disciplines have their own arguments about disciplinary purity
and inclusiveness!).  I am prejudiced here: my BA is from an institution
(the Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington) which was one of the
leaders in interdisciplinary studies, modelling itself in part after
UC-Santa Cruz.  So I, perhaps, am more ready to see Shakespeare studies
as a "cultural", and not merely "literary", discipline.

Thank you, Ed, for your (as always) cogent, concise comments.  Are we
blowing smoke?  Good question.  What do others think?

Karen Peterson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Harris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 11:40:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.2137 Re: Times Article
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

Ed Taft asked whether students of literature and the arts need
"grounding":

< But is it the same in the liberal arts? I think that the answer is
"No." Some of our most talented MA students focus almost completely on
literature since 1960, and they seem not much hindered by the fact that
they have never read Spenser -- or even Chaucer!  Some of the newer
Ph.D.'s in our department assert that they have no need to read
criticism written before 1980 because it just isn't relevant to what
they do. >

They may be M.A.s, they may be Ph.D.'s, but with such contempt for the
past they are not part of the "Republic of Letters" as I would define
it; whereas the commonest of common readers who approaches the texts of
the past *and* the present with respect, as Jonathan Rose's new
historical study The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
makes clear, is a citizen of that Republic forever in good standing.
What Mr. Taft has written confirms my impression that in these days it
is particularly incumbent upon that common reader to preserve the spirit
of intelligence and inquiry, since the English departments have largely
been hijacked by the enemies of literature. As an educational consultant
advising students on college admissions, I tell my clients who truly
love books to steer clear of college English departments as much as
possible, major in other subjects, and obtain their literary grounding
in autodidactic fashion.

Mark R. Harris

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 00:33:24 -0700
Subject:        Re: Times article; liberal education

I wish I could be so self-indulgent as to write out all my thoughts on
the subjects raised in this thread, as it is one of those "don't get me
started" subjects on which I could talk the horns off a billy goat.  But
I've set a timer, and when it goes off, I'll finish the current
paragraph and no mo!

I recall something by Sylvia Plath, perhaps in _The Bell Jar_, where she
finds that a graduate of a teacher's college from some multiple compass
point has read more Shakespeare, more Milton, more etc etc than did she
at Smith. She found she had spent a lot of time on airy nothing, and
despite its cost and greater perceived prestige, she felt let down by
her alma mater.  One would expect it to be the other way about, that the
compass point would be more like what Karen Peterson said of the former
college president's statement that 'there was no reason for
undergraduates to study literature, history, philosophy, or foreign
languages when the region was in such desperate need of trained
accountants, computer programmers and managers.' Now, 40 or 50 years
later, the push is on in some of the halls of ivy to reduce or abolish
the liberal arts.

In this curricular triage, as Mr Swilley puts it, "we too often and
unwisely take the position of 'either...or,' when the situation at hand
might easily accommodate 'this AND that.'  Legislatures certainly do
this; corporate funding sources might do it more subtly.  Business
thinks short-term; long-range planning is a year and four years an
eternity.  Moreover, the dominant educational philosophy in the US at
least seems to be that educations prepares one to work, to go round Go
and collect your $200.  In contrast, I think of Thornton Wilder's _Our
Town_, where the New England mill workers and farmers all studied Latin
and algebra, never questioning that this was what education was all
about.  Rote learning some of it may have been, but I'm pleased to think
that Wilder was not too unrealistic in depicting people who _thought_
for recreation and who had a much stronger sense of community than
appears now to be the case.  No, Ed Taft, no one "needs" Shakespeare,
Spenser, Homer, Vergil, Dante, and the rest of the Western canon. We can
live without them, good little worker bees, but we can live so much more
richly and grandly and articulately _with them_.

Where does porn or porn studies fit in to all this?  To use a metaphor
from early music, the traditional core of what was known in earlier
times by the all-encompassing term "philosophy" might be considered the
"ground" upon which airs and descants and ornaments might be improvised.
If someone considers porn to be one of these, let them. But if their
'ground' is indeed the ethical core of the liberal arts, they may think
twice when they realize that some bad stuff is going on in those films.
That people are fucking each other without any passion, realism, or
commitment. That rape is going down as entertainment. That children are
being abused.  That, as Susan Neill suggested, they reduce human
sexuality to a ludicrous performance that should "bore the heck out of
you." But they may parody or travesty plays of Shakespeare, and wow! now
all of a sudden it's significant. But where is the character
development, the plot necessities, the wit, the wordplay, the poetry?
The love?

Well, my timer just went off, but I want to reproduce in its entirety an
email that came in last week.  I couldn't believe, I thought someone was
playing a joke on me.  It seems to speak precisely to more than one of
our discussions. Res ipsa loquitur. Here 'tis:

> From: "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."
> <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
> Bcc:
> Subject: A University Degree?  Easily!
> Date: Fri, 06 Sep 2002 22:58:37 -0400 (EDT)
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>
>
> A University Diploma is waiting for you.
>
> Obtain a prosperous future, money earning power,
> and the admiration of all.
>
> Select your field of study from business, computers,
> engineering, education, the sciences, liberal arts,
> fine arts, social sciences, history, literature,
> languages, or any other discipline.
>
> No required tests, classes, books, or interviews.
>
> All levels of diplomas awarded - including bachelors,
> masters, PhD's, and MBA's.
>
> Diplomas from prestigious non-accredited universities
> based on your present knowledge and life experience.
>
> Open enrollment means that you are already
> accepted into this unique program.
>
> Someone is always waiting to take your call -
> 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including weekends.
> All you have to do is call to insure your future!
>
> 1 - 2 1 2 - 2 1 4 - 0 6 6 9
>
> All calls kept strictly confidential.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 12:05:43 +0100
Subject: 12.2137 Re: Times Article
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

Amongst a number of astute observations, Todd Lidh wrote:

> I can't help but believe that he [Burt] has so far retreated
> from 'traditional' teaching of Shakespeare as to have lost
> any sense of context for his students. Instead, they are
> presented with, to use his course website as metaphor,
> a pitch-black background and blood-red text in, oftentimes,
> frenetic font all describing Shakespeare's excesses of
> violence, sex and booze. Is his course an English class or
> a film course? Is it a film course or a sociology course? Is
>  it a sociology course or a theater course? Is it a theater
> course or a computers and technology course? Instead, it
> is defended as it is *because* it is. Both in appearance
> and defense, Dr. Burt's course smacks of 'art for art's
> sake' mentality.

I've checked quite carefully and cannot find the word 'masturbation'
amongst the postings responding to Burt's teaching and research.
Students are often encouraged by a teacher's overt enjoyment of the
materials under discussion, but in literary studies the maintenance of a
critical distance is generally thought laudable. Lidh's point about
Burt's lack of such distance is well made.

People are not at their intellectual best when, saving your reverences,
having a wank. My objections to Burt's promotion of his unidextrous
hobby have in the past fallen on stony ground, as it were. Reading the
material Burt offers in defence of his subject (leaving aside the
obvious smoke-screen stuff about his objectors being puritans and
conservatives) only two serious arguments emerge:

1) sex-workers want to work in this industry;

2) everyone likes pornography, even if they won't admit it.

I trust in the perspicacity of SHAKSPERians to see through these flimsy
defences of the industry within which Burt has chosen to locate his
professional persona.

Gabriel Egan

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 08:22:11 -0500
Subject: 12.2137 Re: Times Article
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

Edmund Taft wrote,

" It is clearly true that one must be grounded in the sciences and
mathematics before attempting advanced or even intermediate study in
these areas... But is it the same in the liberal arts? I think that the
answer is "No." Some of our most talented MA students focus almost
completely on literature since 1960, and they seem not much hindered by
the fact that they have never read Spenser -- or even Chaucer!  Some of
the newer Ph.D.'s in our department assert that they have no need to
read criticism written before 1980 because it just isn't relevant to
what they do."

[In literary studies, the rudiments corresponding to those of Freshman
Chemistry, etc., are studies in the works of the past.  Those students
of modern literature without that are without the knowledge of the
thought and style of earlier ages and therefore without a proper
sensitivity to present beauty, the chief concern of anyone who presumes
to have anything to say about any of the arts. It is inconceivable that
a student of literature should have missed the glories of Chaucer, his
insights into character (the Wife of Bath!!) and the rich music of his
Middle English. And is there not a kind of ugly intellectual
provincialism in "talented MA students [who] focus almost completely on
literature since 1960"?  Practically speaking, and with regard to
literary criticism alone, those who have read nothing "before 1980" in
that field are in danger of the embarrassment of "reinventing the
wheel," and presenting the theories of Aristotle, Horace or Saintsbury
as something they themselves have just concocted? They should remember
Santayana's warning and change their wicked ways, for everything of the
past is relevant to what we do and to what we will do. ]

L. Swilley

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 14:19:31 -0400
Subject: 12.2137 Re: Times Article
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2137 Re: Times Article

It is threads like these which make me almost despair of SHAKSPER as a
forum for the serious discussion of its declared subject.  I say,
"almost," for I will continue to belong but will just use the delete
button more.  This is unfortunate because serious discussion of
Shakespeare may be buried somewhere in those 5 to 8 messages hooked to a
subject line.  Well, sorry about that, but whole postings are going to
go into Trash.  And I plan to clear my Trash folder regularly.

William Proctor Williams

_______________________________________________________________
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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Re: Cartmell's Views

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2145  Monday, 10 September 2001

[1]     From:   Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 07 Sep 2001 11:02:31 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2131 Cartmell's Views

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 10 Sep 2001 07:48:27 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2131 Cartmell's Views


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 07 Sep 2001 11:02:31 -0600
Subject: 12.2131 Cartmell's Views
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2131 Cartmell's Views

In response to Mike Jensen's original questions:

1. No, I didn't think of Darth Vader on any of the numerous occasions
I've seen Branagh's Henry V.  (But I guess I'll probably think of him
from now on.  Thanks a lot.)  I'm surprised that virtually everyone else
who has responded has make the Vader connection.  I'm VERY well
acquainted with the Star Wars movies and have probably seen them as
often as I've seen Henry V.  But I guess when I've watched Branagh's
film I've just entered into another world where it would never have
occurred to me (consciously at least) that Vader belonged.  And
honestly, Vader still doesn't seem particularly relevant--and I'd bet
Branagh would agree.  On the other hand, whenever I watch Luke
Skywalker's combat with himself (with his shadow self dressed as Vader)
in The Empire Strikes Back, I think of the Cave of Mammon in The Faerie
Queene Book 2.

2. I don't know whether the dark side of Branagh's Henry was influenced
by new historicism, etc.  But someone could ask Branagh.  He actually
answers letters--at least some of them anyway.

3. I've heard the "right-wing" claim often but have never been fully
persuaded by it.  For one thing, Branagh's film has always seemed to me
deeply ambivalent about war, emphasizing its dark and destructive side
much more than Olivier's film, which sanitizes the battle scenes, gives
a more idealized (and I think flat) version of Henry himself, and mocks
and condescends to the French much more than Branagh does.  (And isn't
Olivier pretty obviously patriotic and pro-English?  Though he doesn't
take the clergymen at the beginning very seriously, there are none of
the dark suggestions of ulterior motives found in Branagh's version.)

The difficulty with interpreting Branagh's intent seems sharpest in the
post-battle sequence in which Henry carries the boy across the field to
the strains of the beautiful Te Deum.  On the one hand, the pathos,
beauty, and touch of transcendence may distract us from the ugly
realities we have just witnessed and are still witnessing.  On the other
hand, many of the ugly realities are there before our eyes--the corpses,
Pistol falling cynically into a life of crime, the French women railing
angrily at Henry, even having to be held back from attacking him (I
assume everyone notices these details).  And I think the pathos clearly
communicated in the scene is appropriate: sorrow ought to be felt at the
loss not only of the boy, but of all the English and French slaughtered
in the battle.  In his published screenplay, Branagh says that in this
scene Henry hangs his head in shame.  So clearly Branagh's intent (in
his own mind) was anti-war.  But it's hard for viewers to know Henry is
supposed to be feeling shame--he could also be hanging his head in
relief or gratitude or reverence.

I suppose different viewers see and feel different things.  For me, at
least, when I first saw the film, it resonated with my own anti-war
feelings, and the new prominence given to the play by Branagh's version
helped shape my response to the Gulf War (which as I remember followed
hard upon), leading me to post passages from the play about the horrors
of war on my office door and to give lectures before showings of the
film on campus in which I emphasized its mixed, and in many ways harsh
and realistic, treatment of war.

Bruce Young

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 10 Sep 2001 07:48:27 -0500
Subject: 12.2131 Cartmell's Views
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2131 Cartmell's Views

In reference to the Branagh film of "Henry V," Ed Taft writes:

>Earlier in the movie, Falstaff's death is reported by the Hostess and
>the reference to Socrates made clear, he who was wrongly charged with
>the crime of "misleading youth." After battle, Branagh forces Henry to
>carry the weight of a dead boy for all to see!  Thinking members of the
>audience have a chance to ask themselves who is the real misleader of
>youth? Falstaff or Henry?

At the risk of being accused of picking nits, I would question the
adverb "wrongly." My knowledge of Athenian politics of the early 4th
century is admittedly hazy, but I believe that Socrates was a powerful
spokesman for the anti-democratic / oligarchic faction, and that he made
a concerted effort to lead youth not only into more profound ways of
thinking but into a social / political revolution.

He may have been right, of course. But he may also have been wrong. In
any case, I believe that the charges were not trumped up, but simply
reflected a radical difference in political values -- a difference that
wouldn't have mattered had it not been for the catastrophic failure of
the Pelopennesian War.

Cheers,
don

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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