The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1143 Friday, 26 April 2002
Date: Friday, 26 Apr 2002 11:15:57 +1000 (EST)
Subject: 13.1127 Re: Accents
Comment: RE: SHK 13.1127 Re: Accents
I have two versions of the <Sonnets> on disk: a complete rendition by
the English actor Jack Edwards, and the selection recited by Helen
Vendler on a CD included in her recent book. I *much* prefer the
latter, partly because even to my ears, as a British speaker of
something close to RP (despite 20 years in Australia), Edwards'
artificial early-Gielgud fluting grates on my ear (the CD was recorded
as recently as 1986!), but more because Vendler, unlike the actor,
actually understands what she's reading and inflects her performance
accordingly. It's the silliest kind of snobbery to correlate accent
with intelligence and sensitivity (though very common, as
socio-linguistic experiments have shown: when an actor delivers a given
message to two different audiences, to the first in the prestige accent
and to the second in a working-class one, he tends to be perceived as
more intelligent and competent but colder and less trustworthy in the
first persona than in the second).
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