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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reform
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.07366  Tuesday, 12 March 2002

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Mar 2002 05:33:10 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 13.0715 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reform

[2]     From:   R.A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Mar 2002 15:16:24 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Ref

[3]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Mar 2002 16:33:42 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation

[4]     From:   Arthur Lindley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Mar 2002 15:40:56 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Mar 2002 05:33:10 -0500
Subject: Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation
Comment:        SHK 13.0715 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation

Charles Weinstein's contributions strike me as well-written,
intelligent, incisive and funny. No doubt, for some of our colleagues,
these qualities lie so far removed from those fostered by their own
practices as to seem treasonable. However, any suggestion that he is
'abusing the list' is absurd. Enough of this self-congratulatory
hand-wringing.  We have recently learned that, as a result of his
opinions, Mr. Weinstein has himself been subjected to horrific abuse
off-list. We should be glad that he still bothers to write for us.

Terence Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R.A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Mar 2002 15:16:24 -0600
Subject: 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation

> Actually, I have always found L DiCaprio particularly dishy. Sounds like
> I'd rather meet him, or indeed Baz Luhrmann, than Charles Weinstein, in
> a dark Stratford alley, any night of the week,

Nice weather. How about those Dodgers?

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Mar 2002 16:33:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation

From Lois Potter's essay "Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1660-1900" from
The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare:

"The first Restoration adaptors approached Shakespeare much as
Shakespeare had approached his predecessors, modernizing his language
and complicating his plots".

I suggest that one accepts modern Shakespearean filmmaking as what it
is: yet another wave of independent viewpoints on how to make
Shakespeare work as an entertainer in modern society. Shakespeare took
previously existing plots (with a couple of notable exceptions),
sometimes combining two or more sources to create a plot for his play.
To say that this indicates no concern with plot is ridiculous. He took
the time to ensure his plays told a story, hopefully one that would
speak to his audience.

Restoration adaptors did the same, often working around touchy kingship
issues when there had so recently been a regicide and a commonwealth.
Modern theatre and film does the same thing that Shakespeare and his
Restoration adaptors did: make the plays speak to their modern audience.
Sometimes the films of the past 13 years have used Shakespeare's
language, sometimes they have used only his plot and characters.
Sometimes they set it in the period, more and more often they do not.
Because a filmmaker takes liberties with the text does not make them
wrong; it makes them a creator of a new message utilizing a different
medium than the theatre.

If one finds that they hate every single Shakespearean film of the past
13 years, every single major actor in those films, or indeed apparently
every stage effort during the recent past, there is no wrong with that.
But to make no argument and to continually raise the issue wastes
nothing but night, day and time. Perhaps Charles Lamb's view of
Shakespeare being unperformable is true for such a person. Perhaps they
should no longer go to theatre or cinema, but to sit alone in their
study and READ Shakespeare and imagine their perfect performance in
their head or watch their favorite old videos.

Me, I see value in some of the adaptations and new ideas germinating in
modern filmmakers. I prefer not to sit in my study, because I know there
is a world elsewhere. To try to convince me otherwise is fruitless and
annoying. Try to banish the Renaissance of Shakespearean filmmaking? No,
it chooses to banish you.

Brian Willis

P.S. Why do we seem to have multiple threads basically originating in
the "worthlessness" of modern Shakespeare interpretations?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Mar 2002 15:40:56 +0800
Subject: 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0727 Re: A Renaissance in Need of Reformation

> Stephen Dobbin notes that
>
> "Several years ago in its Feedback column, the British magazine 'New
> Scientist' identified an inexplicable phenomenon it called 'nominative
> determinism' which may be defined as the human compulsion to take up a
> profession described by his or her surname.
>
> It seems to have first been remarked on in 1994, when 'Feedback' drew
> readers attention to a paper on incontinence in the British Journal of
> Urology which was authored by J.W. Splatt and D. Weedon."

They were anticipated by Tom Stoppard who called it Cognomen Syndrome in
_Jumpers_ (1972).

Arthur Lindley

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