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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1251  Tuesday, 7 May 2002

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 May 2002 10:50:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1242 Re: Accents

[2]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 07 May 2002 07:41:00 +1000 (EST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1242 Re: Accents

[3]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 7 May 2002 01:18:32 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1231 Re: Accents


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Monday, 6 May 2002 10:50:54 -0400
Subject: 13.1242 Re: Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1242 Re: Accents

David Evett said:

>It is true (as a glance at any
> > dictionary that oftens guidance about pronunciation will show), that
> > NAtive ENglish SPEAkers learn where to place stress in POlysylLAbics.
[....] Process
> > Mr. Wallace's own ordinary quotidian speech through an oscillograph and
> > you will observe that in almost every utterance, he stresses-that is,
> > expends relatively more vocal energy on-monosyllabic active VERBS,
> > NOUNS, substantive adjectives and adverbs (those that further relate the
> > other WORDS in the sentence to the LARGE WORLD rather than to each

Which reminds me, that in the audience-participation Richard III,
shouldn't the question be "WHAT is the Winter of our Discontent MADE?"
"Now is the WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT made GLORIOUS SUMMER by this Son of
York"? After all, the answer to "Wherefore art thou ROMEO?" isn't "Look
behind you!"

Dana Shilling

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Tuesday, 07 May 2002 07:41:00 +1000 (EST)
Subject: 13.1242 Re: Accents
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1242 Re: Accents

> 1       I've /just been to the /LIBrary.
>
> 2       I've just /BEEN to the /library.
>

> The <Sonnets>, to take one example, are full of lines that are
> unmetrical unless contextually determined focus and contrastive accent
> are taken into account:
>
> As he takes *from* you, I ingraft you new       (15.14)
>
> By adding *one* thing to my purpose nothing     (20.12)
>
> And every faire with *his* faire doth reherse,  (21.4)
>
> And then beleeve me, *my* love is as faire      (21.10)
>
> And what is't but mine owne when I praise *thee*?       (39.4)
>
> Be it lawfull I love *thee* as thou lov'st those,       (142.9)
>
> And so on and so on ...
>
> Peter Groves

If this appears a little cryptic, it is because most of it somehow got
lost in transmission.  I don't, unfortunately, have a copy of what I
wrote -- is it still sitting on Hardy's hard drive or did it never
arrive at all?

Peter Groves

[Editor's Note: I'm so sorry, Peter. What you see above is all that I
have left of your message to the list and all that I remember receiving.
There are several possibilities for what happened. Either the message
was corrupted in transmission or there may have been an issue with the
number of characters in a line of text. If you want to try to figure
this out, let me know as best you can where information you sent is
missing. My apologies. Hardy]

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Tuesday, 7 May 2002 01:18:32 +0100
Subject: 13.1231 Re: Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1231 Re: Accents

There's a lot of talk - some of it, I'm sure, quite responsible -
regarding syllable stress and rhythm.  My own rule is that meter is
meaningless, meaning is everything.  I'm sure some academics can quote
the standard rationale that metre is in some way expressing the
meaning.  I have never had this convincingly explained.  Meaning must be
paramount to the actor when he, in truth, is reciting poetry on a stage.

I saw a reading performance called "Shakespeare on Love" at the Actor's
Church in Covent Garden on the 21st April last.  A lovely setting, nice
string accompaniment and many nice people on the stage.  But for more
than once in the offering of Bard's excerpts I went into a fearful
comatosed numbness I haven't experienced since a teenager.  The words
began to sound like a rattling machine-gun from which I was helpless to
defend myself.  An inner voice was praying for the speech to stop - for
another character to enter and interrupt this verbal assault.  I am sure
that the metre was correct - they all being professional actors and
actresses.  But it left me breathless and irritated.  My attitude to
reciting Shakespeare is the same as driving a Formula One car.  100%
concentration is required for 100% of the time or you will crash and
probably die.  Poetry is concentrated meaning - you must hit the
audience with every single word, and in some way, every single meaning.
An impossible task, of course, but one worth aiming for.

Newsflash from Europe.  Nazi politicians ride high; someone is shot
through the heart for his political views; a two day old baby is stolen
from a hospital; an old man is beaten to death in front of his wife for
a few pounds.  A vile, Godless Shakespearean landscape.  Where's the
metre in that?

SAM SMALL
http://www.passioninpieces.co.uk

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