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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1125  Wednesday, 24 April 2002

[1]     From:   Charles Weinstein <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Apr 2002 20:02:33 -0400
        Subj:   Accents

[2]     From:   Lise Olson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 24 Apr 2002 12:33:31 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1105 Re: Accents


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Apr 2002 20:02:33 -0400
Subject:        Accents

Tell me:  where does regional vigor leave off and slovenliness begin?
Or do radical egalitarians deny that some people speak English badly--in
an ugly, slipshod fashion that is not the optimal medium for
Shakespeare's highly-wrought Renaissance verse?

For the moment, I'll let the Brits decide upon the relative or absolute
value of hearing Shakespeare's Kings and Queens conversing in the
accents of Whitechapel.  Me, I'll just talk about the Bronx dialect,
redolent as it is with American urban squalor.  What is gained by
watching one of the Bard's history plays through the grimy window of
this patois?  Well, it does suggest an analogy between royal
machinations and street thuggery, a point which is made in the first
five minutes.  In exchange for this rich, deep insight, we have to
endure several hours of hearing Shakespeare's language butchered by an
actor who has (shall we say) an inadequate understanding of the words,
and who lacks the intellectual, educational, spiritual and technical
resources to articulate them.

Hearing Mozart played on a kazoo may be amusingly incongruous or
bracingly subversive to some; most would just find it God-awful; no one
could claim that it does full justice to the beauty, precision and
complexity of the music.  Oh, I forgot--beauty, precision and complexity
are elite values, which no right-thinking person could tolerate.  A
thousand pardons!

--Charles Weinstein

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lise Olson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 24 Apr 2002 12:33:31 +0100
Subject: 13.1105 Re: Accents
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1105 Re: Accents

Mr. Bloom seems to think I was suggesting that people from the regions
cannot understand RP. I don't recall suggesting that. I DO recall saying
that RP is NOT perceived as neutral in many regions.

Lise Olson

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