2001

Re: Why Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1480  Wednesday, 13 June 2001

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 12 Aug 2001 12:51:00 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1452 Re: Why Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 09:22:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 23:28:28 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 12 Aug 2001 12:51:00 +0100
Subject: 12.1452 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1452 Re: Why Shakespeare

Sam Small wrote

> As every writer knows there is no such thing
> as a fictional character. All characters penned
> by such writers as Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare
> were amalgums of people they had met.

The charge of reductionism is often laid against cultural/textual
theories ending in "-ist" (especially feminist, Marxist, and
poststructuralist), which in the past Small has impugned in this forum.
However, it would be difficult to find an example of even the most
vulgar criticism from one of the "-ist" schools which could compete with
the childlike simplicity of the above model of artistic creation. But
we've already had this debate on SHAKSPER, and those possessing such an
attenuated sense of invention are extraordinarily difficult to disabuse.
It must suffice to point out a contradiction.

> Shakespeare was a more profound writer than Dostoyevsky
> because he saw the universal human conflict that operates in
> all ages, creeds, races, religions, classes and all manner of petty
> philosophies.

Since, as you claim, Shakespeare was able only to make amalgams of
people he had met (which theory we might dub 'neo-syncretism'), and
since his experience of "all . . . credes, races, [and] petty
philosophies" was impoverished by the absence of Scientologists,
Eskimos, and Fascists in early modern England, this leap from the
particular to the universal will take some explaining. The characters,
you assert, cannot be imaginative constructions ("there is no such thing
as a fictional character"), only versions of actual Elizabethans, yet
from their interaction arises a depiction of "the universal human
conflict". Are we understand that the persons Shakespeare met in early
modern England embodied all the conflicts which have ever, and could
ever, take place?

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 09:22:31 -0500
Subject: 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare

  Takashi Kozuka  writes,

>Is even Ariel an "amalgum (sic) of PEOPLE" Shakespeare "MET"? (emphasis
>added) Isn't an "amalgum" (sic) a "fictional character" by definition,
>if we mean "invented" by "fictional"?

Takashi: I have enjoyed many of your postings. But please don't assume
that typos in the texts of other postings are mistakes by their authors.
Strange things happen in the process of sending, receiving, and
re-sending. I have been startled at some of the things that have turned
up in my own postings when I am generally extremely cautious in editing
and proof-reading them.  (The problem, though, may not be in that but in
the simple lack of spell-checkers.)

Both the (sic) and the ironical quotation marks are likely to be taken
ill by the writer. I realize that when the misspelled word is central to
the point, one has a problem, but I still feel that the best policy is
to make the change to the correct form and assume that the incorrect one
was just a quirk of the transmission process.

Regards,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 23:28:28 +0100
Subject: 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1457 Re: Why Shakespeare

I thank Karen Peterson-Kranz for her encouragement and hope that Wales
being nice to her.

Karen Peterson-Kranz writes:

If you find just one obscure writer who can demonstrate that s/he does
NOT build characters from life sources, and the argument collapses.

Refutation of my argument therefore, would be to cite this obscure
writer.  I suggest he cannot be found.  I suggest that even the
characters in Alice on Wonderland were based upon some of Carrol's
university chums and their children - and probably a lot of himself.
However, writers of a political persuasion, like Dostoyevsky create
characters to be the personified mouthpieces of a pet philosophy.  These
are not characters, merely talking tomes.

Takashi Kozuka writes:

I never thought that I would hear in Shakespeare/literary studies again
the phrase "the UNIVERSAL human conflict that operates in ALL ages,
creeds, races, religions, classes..." (emphasis added)

You heard it again, as you will not doubt hear it again in the future,
because it is true.  Shakespeare's work is about love, hate, betrayal,
sexual longing, jealousy, pride, life, death, power, corruption, revenge
- these are the things that curse and bless every culture and race on
earth.  Petty philosophies, on the other hand, flutter around like
autumn leaves; are admired briefly and then become the compost of the
year to come.

SAM

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Re: SHAKSPERean Characters

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1479  Wednesday, 13 June 2001

[1]     From:   Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:29:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1415 SHAKSPERean Characters

[2]     From:   Markus Marti <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Jun 2001 03:24:54 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1464 Re: SHAKSPERean Characters


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:29:31 -0400
Subject: 12.1415 SHAKSPERean Characters?
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1415 SHAKSPERean Characters?

> Charles Weinstein wrote:
>
>  I played Polonius in a recent production ...
>
> This gave me considerable pause for thought.  Now, based on their
> postings here, are there any Shakespearean characters that members might
> be thought to play in real life (so to speak)?

I, too,  played Polonius, many years ago in a university production.  As
a young man, in my mid-20s, I got wonderful reviews for my ability to
understand and portray this aging man.  Now, as an ostentatiously aging
man, I frequently see far too much of Polonius's garrulous and obtuse
nature in myself and wonder, perhaps, whether that casting director knew
something I didn't.   Nevertheless, I would far rather be Polonius than
that waterfly, Osric.  As we age, most of us would probably like to be
fonts of wisdom, but Shakespeare seems to have lacked great reverence
for that type.

Ed Pixley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Jun 2001 03:24:54 +0100
Subject: 12.1464 Re: SHAKSPERean Characters
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1464 Re: SHAKSPERean Characters

Your Mr President Bush is already cast for MND V.1.135, together with
lantern, dog and thorn. I don't believe that he is able to perform more
roles than that one. And honestly, I hope not. Florida will have to
decide whether we let him play the lion, too.

Markus Marti

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Re: Abhorred Slave

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1477  Wednesday, 13 June 2001

[1]     From:   Vick Bennison <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:03:23 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1469 Abhorred Slave

[2]     From:   David Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 19:50:10 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1469 Abhorred Slave

[3]     From:   Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Jun 2001 12:12:34 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1469 Abhorred Slave


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Vick Bennison <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:03:23 EDT
Subject: 12.1469 Abhorred Slave
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1469 Abhorred Slave

David Bishop writes:

It seems pretty unanimous among modern editors that the "Abhorred slave"
speech at 1.2.354 in The Tempest should be assigned, as in the Folio, to
Miranda. To me it seems clear that the older editors were right, that
this speech is entirely out of character for Miranda, and belongs to
Prospero.  But I'm willing to bet that many members of this list would
disagree. Does anyone else find the reasons given by Kermode, Orgel et.
al. inadequate?

David,

I assume by "older editors" you don't mean Hemmings, Condell, and
Jonson.  ;^)  In my recent community production I decided to stick with
the Folio.  Miranda at least taught Caliban about the man in the moon
(and his dog and his bush).  Also, I can't imagine Prospero teaching
Caliban how to curse.  But adolescent Miranda??? ;^) I think the jury
will always be out on this one.

- Vick

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 19:50:10 +0100
Subject: 12.1469 Abhorred Slave
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1469 Abhorred Slave

> It seems pretty unanimous among modern editors that the "Abhorred slave"
> speech at 1.2.354 in The Tempest should be assigned, as in the Folio, to
> Miranda. To me it seems clear that the older editors were right, that
> this speech is entirely out of character for Miranda, and belongs to
> Prospero.  But I'm willing to bet that many members of this list would
> disagree. Does anyone else find the reasons given by Kermode, Orgel et.
> al. inadequate?

As another editor who has accepted F.s ascription of this speech to
Miranda I'd give several reasons of different kinds:

a) One must have a good editorial reason to change the Folio
ascription.  Of course it's possible that compositor or scribe got it
wrong - but there seems no obvious reason why they should have misread
their copy in this way.  (The later example in the same play of
misascription of Antonio and Sebastian's speeches at 2.1.  37-8 has
single-line speeches next to one another, where one might think an error
was much more possible.)

b) Theobald's reason for accepting the re-ascription of this speech to
Miranda was that it 'would be ... an Indecency in her to reply to what
Caliban last was speaking of' - a rather different version of  David
Bishop's assertion that it is 'out of character'.  On what grounds is
this assertion made?  That girls ought not to speak out?  Shouldn't we
rather take this speech as evidence of what Miranda's 'character'
actually is, rather than excluding the possibility on the grounds of
what we think her character ought to be?

c) In 2.2 134 (Orgel's lineation) Caliban indicates that Miranda did
indeed take some part in his education, which bears out her claim here.

d) (And more contentiously and unprovably) there is no specific
indication in the text as to how recent Caliban's attempted rape of
Miranda was.  My assumption would be that it was recent, a mark of her
emergence into womanhood (unless one wants to convict Caliban of
paedophilia) - in this context it is perhaps entirely reasonable and 'in
character' that Miranda should so aggressively respond to her would-be
rapist.  Indeed, though Miranda has usually had a bad press from
feminist critics, one might have thought that at some level her response
is understandable, justifiable, even worthy of some bonus points.

But Dymkowski suggests that the speech was not given back to Miranda
until 1925 - and even in some relatively recent productions, such as RSC
1982 (a performance which used rather an old edition as its copy) Derek
Jacobi was given these lines.  Old views of what it is appropriate for a
young woman to speak of, it seems, die hard.

David Lindley
Professor of Renaissance Literature
School of English
University of Leeds

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Jun 2001 12:12:34 +1000
Subject: 12.1469 Abhorred Slave
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1469 Abhorred Slave

What does it mean, and what are the implications of saying it, to
declare that something is "out of character" for a role in a play? If
the actor playing Miranda speaks these lines we see/hear her for a
moment (and perhaps beyond that moment) as someone who is abusive to
another. If those lines are spoken by the actor playing her father, or
if they are cut from the script, we don't see/hear her being abusive
(though this doesn't necessarily mean we can't imagine her as being
capable of such abuse). I can imagine a Miranda who is unlikely to speak
such words and doesn't, and a Miranda who is likely to say them and
does, and a Miranda who is unlikely to speak them and yet does, taking
me by surprise. So what does "out of character" mean? Even more,
"entirely out of character"?

Adrian Kiernander

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Re: Geography

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1478  Wednesday, 13 June 2001

[1]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 15:34:44 -0500
        Subj:   Geography

[2]     From:   John Jowett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Jun 2001 09:41:56 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1466 Re: Geography


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 15:34:44 -0500
Subject:        Geography

>> Who knows where (in late 16th cent. lit.) the phrase "Islands of the
>> Germanies" may be found. Special prize to Terence Hawkes if he knows
>> and can communicate the information.
>
> Could they be Spain's Balearic Islands? Named after the Germanies revolt
> of 1520?
>
> Just guessing.
>
> Yours, Bill Godshalk

Thanks for the guess, Bill.  My question was where in late 16th century
literature may the phrase be found, not where in the world the islands
might be found.

p.s. I passed a season in the Balearics when Graves was still living,
and living there.  That was interesting.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Jowett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Jun 2001 09:41:56 GMT
Subject: 12.1466 Re: Geography
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1466 Re: Geography

A Scottish friend of mine will be very pleased to hear that some
Shakespearians think Shakespeare saw England as a mere peninsula,
presumably of Scotland.

John Jowett

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Re: Film of King Lear (2000)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1476  Wednesday, 13 June 2001

[1]     From:   Kathryn Prince <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:00:15 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

[2]     From:   Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 09:59:15 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

[3]     From:   Tom Dale Keever <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:42:35 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

[4]     From:   Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 08:12:10 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

[5]     From:   Gary Allen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 23:55:35 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathryn Prince <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:00:15 -0400
Subject: 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

Also missing from the Internet Movie Database, I believe, is Cromwell's
quirky 1999 King Lear starring Brian Blessed. Blessed directed the film
himself after falling out with his co- (or assistant?) director, so if
you want to see what happens when a bellowing lunatic has utter free
reign this is the film for you.

Kathryn Prince

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 09:59:15 -0400
Subject: 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

I can't help with Thomas Larque's inquiry about THE KING IS ALIVE, but I
do hope he remembers that THE DRESSER with Albert Finney and Tom
Courtenay is about the relationship between an actor who plays Lear and
his costuming assistant.

Jack Heller

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 10:42:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

Could this be a video release of the Royal National Theatre production
that was broadcast in '99?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 08:12:10 -0700
Subject: 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

> Browsing the Internet Movie Database
> (www.imdb.com), I see that there was (or was supposed to be?) a film of
> "King Lear" released in 2000.

There was a film with Jessica Lange set in a small town in Iowa that was
very much an updated Lear.  It's called A Thousand Acres - I thought
this might be what you had heard of, but when I looked it up I found
that it was released in 1997.  Figured I'd send the info anyway.  Good
Luck.

Susan.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gary Allen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Jun 2001 23:55:35 EDT
Subject: 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1460 Film of King Lear (2000)

Thomas Larque asks:

>Browsing the Internet Movie Database
>(www.imdb.com), I see that there was (or was supposed to be?) a film of
>"King Lear" released in 2000.  IMDB says nothing about this production
>other than that the Writing Credits belong to Ernst Kaufmann.  The only
>Lear related film that I know of in this period was "The King is Alive"
>- with stranded bus passengers acting out Lear.  Are the two related?
>If not, does anybody know anything about the Kaufmann "King Lear".

The scenarists of "The King Is Alive" are listed as Kristian Levring and
Anders Thomas Jensen, so it seems that movie is not your answer.

Since Mr. Kaufmann is otherwise unknown to the IMDB, or to Google for
that matter, I strongly suspect that this is a vanity entry by said
Writer himself.  Perhaps it is a screenplay he is trying to market to
the studios and this is his first blast of the trumpet.  Most
pre-production entries in IMDB for a movie in the making will list a
producer or lead actors, sometimes a director, but for the only
statement to be the screenwriter's name--and for a filming of
Shakespeare's most difficult tragedy, no less--is more an indicator of
delusions of grandeur than of accomplishment.  I'm willing to be proven
wrong should the next Tom Stoppard be ready to emerge, but how often
does that happen?

Gary

_______________________________________________________________
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>

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