2002

Re: Desdemona and Emilia

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2198  Tuesday, 5 November 2002

[1]     From:   Gareth M. Euridge <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 13:55:51 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.2183 Re: Desdemona and Emilia

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 04 Nov 2002 00:20:14 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2183 Re: Desdemona and Emilia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gareth M. Euridge <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 13:55:51 -0500
Subject: 13.2183 Re: Desdemona and Emilia
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.2183 Re: Desdemona and Emilia

Friends:

Thank you all for your various responses, and, to be honest, I am a
little uncomfortable with the seeming reductiveness of my argument too.
But I would ask you all to remember that I was responding to an original
posting that claimed (my apologies to the original sender; I forget the
exact wording) that Emilia clearly loves Desdemona.  And I was observing
that, in my opinion, this seems to be an assumption too readily accepted
by contemporary readers.

The problem is that this assumption leads us into interpretational
difficulties because, well, how do we then explain Emilia's later
[in]actions-in particular, her "I know not, madam" when asked if she
knows where the hanky is, her subsequent silence when the situation
seems to be spinning dangerously out of control [my mind also turns to
Margaret in Much Ado who dresses up in Hero's clothes, smooches in the
window, and who is later silent about the charges against Hero;
Leonato's intention to "talk with Margaret" also fades from the text].

Certainly, I would acknowledge the merits of the wifely-obedience
argument (Iago has asked Emilia to steal if before and, perhaps, not
knowing the malicious extent to which Iago will use it, the theft is an
attempt to get into his good books, and perhaps, that night, his bed).
But I also contend that there is a strong element of class antagonism
here that, for very ideologically motivated reasons, we, and many before
us, have tended to marginalize.  Again, why should Emilia like Desdemona
any more than Iago should like Othello or Cassio?  [I always suspect
that there's a gender stereotype also involved in this:  women are nice
and lovely whereas, culturally, men are allowed to be mean].   Why
shouldn't Iago's malignity be echoed, albeit it more mutedly, in his
wife?  Why shouldn't Emilia also resent her husband's lack of promotion
(though, yes, I know-he was probably never eligible for the job, anyway,
and is lying to Roderigo).  Why should not the "cogging, cozening" slave
speech be delivered not with a suspicious glance at her husband but with
a sense of malicious complicity in the ongoing domestic vandalism-if she
is so fearfully obedient, this speech strikes me as dangerously lippy
indeed?  How concerned should Emilia feel for her "friend" Desdemona who
has ordered her to make the bed then la-di-das he way through the willow
song, which, as Desdemona punctiliously and rank-consciously informs
Emilia, was taught to her by her mother's maid?  Has a fraught Desdemona
simply forgotten her "please, sweetie-muffins" when telling Emilia to
"unpin me here" or "lay by these."  Perhaps, as Emilia admits, there are
indeed many things that she would do "i'th'dark."  What about the deep
class resentment underlying the following sentiment:  "Why, the wrong is
but a wrong i'th'world, and having the world for your labour, 'tis a
wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right"?  Isn't
"labour" here a strange choice of word . . . ?  And so, yes, I do feel
that resentment in these circumstances is "natural"-and any other
response does indeed strike me as the fruit of  a false consciousness .
. . .

My argument then is that the "problem" of Emilia is, really, one of our
own creation insofar as "elite" contemporary consumers of Shakespeare
have a vested interest in not acknowledging class-antagonism as a major
factor in the play; if we acknowledge that Emilia might resent
Desdemona, we also have to acknowledge that our building's custodians
might also not share fully or joyfully in our institutions' sense of
"community mission."  And such realizations are uncomfortable, are best
assuaged by a noblesse-obligic departmental whip-round at Xmas.  I also
suspect that a contemporaneous audience, at a time in which masters and
servants lived much more closely together and were not always separated
by stadium seating-plans and curtains across first class, would have
been much more receptive to this understanding of the play, would have
absolutely understood the economic and exploitative nature of the
relationship between Desdemona and Emilia-and would not have been fooled
by the "we're such friends" subterfuge, any more than a contemporary
reader is necessarily fooled by a "title" promotion rather than a salary
increase.

My best wishes,
gareth

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 04 Nov 2002 00:20:14 -0500
Subject: 13.2183 Re: Desdemona and Emilia
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2183 Re: Desdemona and Emilia

>If you review historical documents
>that are still is use today we find differences in meaning(s).  One
>example is the use of freedom and democracy in the U.S. Constitution,
>Bill Of Rights, as regarding slavery.

I do not follow this point.

Slavery is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights.  In fact, it is not
mentioned as such at all until the Thirteenth Amendment, adopted in
1865, which abolished slavery.  There are, however, provisions in
Article I regarding the calculation of taxes and the allocation of
Congressional seats which refer obliquely to slaves (the "Three Fifths
Compromise") as well as a prohibition against Congress legislating
against the "Importation of ... Persons" until at least 1808.  There is
also a provision is Article IV requiring each state to return any
fugitive "held to Service or  Labour" in another state.

The word "democracy" appears no where in the U.S. Constitution.

The word "freedom" appears only once:  in the First Amendment's
provision that Congress may not make a law "abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press."

_______________________________________________________________
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 Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2197  Tuesday, 5 November 2002

[1]     From:   John Zuill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 03 Nov 2002 13:40:58 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

[2]     From:   Michael B. Luskin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 14:40:45 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

[3]     From:   John V. Knapp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 13:52:06 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

[4]     From:   Jim Slager <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 4 Nov 2002 09:38:35 -0800
        Subj:   Re: Taming of the Shrew Film...


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Zuill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 03 Nov 2002 13:40:58 -0300
Subject: 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

>I say, whatever it takes to get kids to enjoy Shakespeare, USE IT! Get
>out of the ivory tower. BTW, try linking "Hamlet" with "Home Alone."
>Both are revenge plays. Sure makes "Hamlet" accessible to non-readers.

A bit off the subject but I found that the film "The Manchurian
Candidate" follows the plot of Hamlet very closely right down to Sinatra
as Horatio. You have to assume that Hamlet is really crazy to make it
work but the other parallels are fascinating.

John Zuill

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael B. Luskin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 14:40:45 EST
Subject: 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

>Was I the only child who ever lived, to say, "Although this art form
>seems peculiar to me now, credible adults clearly think much of it, and
>therefore I shall pay attention to it as best I can, trusting that, with
>maturity, I shall appreciate it more?"

I think you were the only child who ever said that.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John V. Knapp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 13:52:06 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2184 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

Dear Ruth Ross --

You said:

>C'mon! Shakespeare did not write to be read; he wrote to be performed.
>And some of the people in his audience, especially those in the pit,
>were illiterate or semi- and just loved a good story. He wrote to please
>them, too, not just the "educated" noblemen seated in the more expensive
>seats. Heaven forfend that the groundlings started to throw things or
>(dread!) ask for their money back. It's time to stop making our students
>think they're too stupid to ever understand the Bard -- unless a
>brilliant teacher explains it to them! -- and let them enjoy it!
>Obviously, seeing a live performance isn't always possible, so a movie
>is the next best thing. I often have them read the opening act and then
>show it to them on the VCR, whetting their appetites. We then read the
>rest of the play fairly quickly and watch the rest of the film
>afterwards. My junior English students loved "Othello" this way and felt
>really good about being able to understand it."

My reply:

My argument is predicated on the fact that few American HS students
will, in this day of TV, video-games, and "Jackass"-type films be able
or willing either to see or to read Shakespeare independently.  Into
such a vacuum many teachers -- as do you -- show them "film" versions,
including that dreadful Almereyda's *Hamlet.*   God deliver me from evil
if my sole experience (as a HS student) with Shakespeare is that version
-- or the infamous Mel Gibsonian frame-taleless *Hamlet* as well.  Key
questions: WHY do we want to teach Shakespeare -- other than his iconic
value -- and what goes into the experience that answers the why?

If you think your students have arrived at an independent level of skill
-- either in reading OR viewing Shakespeare -- from an in-class trip
through one or the other of such film re-fashionings -- I'd love to see
your evidence.  My intention, using far more than teacherly charisma, is
to help them with an early modern English that is to them not merely a
"foreign language" -- although one could easily say that -- but a type
of reading that is increasingly being lost.  That is, they must learn
HOW to read poetry and esthetic language, or any language beyond the
efferent.  I WANT them to struggle with images, trops, convoluted
syntax, elements of culture and history far in the distant past, and
etc., so that at the end of it all, they are developing a level of
independence FROM the teacher AND the director;  hence, many (but not
all) WILL, therefore read and view on their own. I can point to the
pride of many of my students' students who claim, with justification,
that they are no longer afraid of picking up a new play (for them) since
they can handle those tasks that were, earlier, completely daunting.
AFTER they have learned these elementary reading skills, THEN watching a
film can be both productive and stimulating.

I have been educating teachers for well over 30 years and have
encountered such arguments as yours repeatedly.  They are made with all
good intentions, focus primarily on motivation, and usually specify what
you have: they WON'T read (as well as can't) and so therefore as a
substitute, (ie, the "next best thing") I'll at least give them a film
experience and hope for SOME level of transfer.

I would argue, however, that it is a consummation devoutly to be wished
for two reasons:  a) their own imagination gets short-circuited by the
camera work, the director's and actors' visions, and therefore reading
becomes filling in the schema already outlined; b) with their own
imagination (what must Caliban look like?) thus curtailed, they become
MORE dependent, not less, on the camera's focusing in a way different
from a stage play or from independent reading.  However, again, IF your
approach works, show me the evidence beyond the local and anecdotal.
More importantly, show me the cognitive mechanism(s) by which transfer
takes place between watching a film in class -- with a structured
debriefing after -- and reading or watching a stage production AND
understanding a play on one's own.

Cheers,
John V. Knapp

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Slager <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 4 Nov 2002 09:38:35 -0800
Subject:        Re: Taming of the Shrew Film...

Ruth Ross writes:  "... some of the people in his audience, especially
those in the pit, were illiterate or semi- and just loved a good story.
He wrote to please them, too, not just the "educated" noblemen seated in
the more expensive seats. Heaven forfend that the groundlings started to
throw things or (dread!) ask for their money back."

I've rarely seen a live production of a Shakespeare play that wasn't
severely cut in order to shorten the play.  I wonder why it is believed
that modern audiences cannot sit through an entire play in our
upholstered seats in an air conditioned theater.  Why could
Shakespeare's audience sitting in uncomfortable wooden seats or even
standing in the heat or cold endure the entire play?  It would seen that
Shakespeare, over his long career, must have carefully tailored his
plays to suit his audience.  Why have audiences changed so much?

Regards,
Jim Slager

_______________________________________________________________
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 Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Dario Argento's Opera

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2195  Tuesday, 5 November 2002

From:           Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 03 Nov 2002 10:08:54 -0500
Subject:        Dario Argento's Opera

Sometime ago, I posted a note on the Anchor Bay DVD release of one of
Argento's violent and controversial (and, in my view, brilliant) films,
Opera (it has scenes from an avant-garde production of Verdi's
Macbeth).  There is an article on the film at
http://www.kinoeye.org/02/12/sevastakis12.html The article is part of a
special two issue series of Kinoeye devoted to Argento.

An extensive bibliography and related links are also on the website.
http://www.kinoeye.org/02/12/argentobibliography12.html

_______________________________________________________________
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 Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2196  Tuesday, 5 November 2002

[1]     From:   John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 15:49:31 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2187 Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary

[2]     From:   Alexander Huang <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 11:13:24 -0800
        Subj:   Re: Recent discovery of T. Jenkins' diary (Titus Andronicus)

[3]     From:   John D. Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 4 Nov 2002 12:36:02 -0500
        Subj:   T. Jenkins' diary


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 15:49:31 -0000
Subject: 13.2187 Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2187 Re: Recent Discovery of T. Jenkins' Diary

I had rather assumed that, as the alleged interlocutors were James
Burbage, Richard Burbage, and William Shakespeare, and as the Theatre at
Shoreditch had been explicitly mentioned, the subject of the discussion
was a putative production at the Theatre, rather than at the Rose.  If
that is the case, the forger followed the conventional view that the
play at the Rose in January 1593 was "Titus and Vespasian" (ne - Rd at
tittus & vespacia the 11 of aprell 1591 [i.e. 1592] iij li iiij s).

I am pleased that Imtiaz Habib thinks my dismissal of the "discovery" is
"casual", as I work hard give that appearance.  Whether it is "hasty and
premature" only time will tell, but I would simply point out that there
is more calculation to my position than I would appear to be given
credit for.

In Britain today, whenever there are sensational scientific discoveries
presented in the popular press, politicians are likely to call for
"peer-reviewed publication" to take place first.  As if that
heavily-flawed mechanism were a combination of a quality-control service
and a device for turning sows' ears into silk purses.  Imtiaz Habib
would like to know more about the Jenkins diary entries.  Normally, this
is an attitude I would commend.  But in this instance, until there is
"peer-reviewed publication", I, for one, would like to know less.

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alexander Huang <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 3 Nov 2002 11:13:24 -0800
Subject:        Re: Recent discovery of T. Jenkins' diary (Titus Andronicus)

I appreciate all your responses, especially Prof. Habib's refined
argument about the dates. I figured some explanations is in order here.
Unfortunately, no date of the discovery was given, so we do not know how
"recent" it is. We only know that it is claimed to have been discovered
in the Bodleian Library (Oxford).

One of my student claimed that she has translated the "diary fragments
in dialogue form" from the original Latin into English and is submitting
it as an assignment. No copy of the original document is provided and no
location is give, i.e. I do not know where the dialogue among the
figures (supposed to be James Burbage, Richard Burbage, and William
Shakespeare) takes place. The dates for the two diary entries
(fragments) are December 2, 1592 and January 23, 1593, and could
therefore be a record of a discussion / preparation of a new play
(during the time when theatres are closed) to rival Kyd's Spanish
Tragedy when theatres are to reopen (Shoreditch).

Of course, it fails to meet the requirement of the assignment I gave (a
3-5-page paper on Titus Andronicus as a tragedy or melodrama). I am
interested to know if there are other stronger evidences (other than the
dates when theatres were closed) pointing toward forgery or the validity
for such a document.

Please refer to the diary entries below. How would Shakespeare have been
addressed in his life time? Probably not "Shakespeare." How probable
does that "Will" sound down there? There are other problematic parts.
Please comment.

Here is part of the translation:

December 2, 1592

James: Shakespeare, I need a powerful play. My playhouse is losing money
to competitors like Henslowe. His Rose takes in three pounds at each
performance of Jeronimo.

Richard: Will, we're asking you to write a striking tragedy like
Jeronimo that rouses our audience.

James: The groundlings are stirred by blood and death, the more the
better.

Will: Yes, I'll do it. For the last year, I've probed and penetrated the
great tragedies and now I'm ready to compose my own. Do you think a
bloody spectacle is the key to a great tragic play?

James: In my 20 years experience, you don't need much more.

Will: Bloody entertainments will always draw a crowd, but if all they
want is blood, they can spend their pence on the cockfights.

Richard: Playgoers want to see men on the stage moved by great emotions
like vengeance. The courtiers admire the artful words and bold deeds of
high passion.

Will: If they want bloody justice, they have the piked heads on London
Bridge. If they want golden words, they have the preachers in St.
Paul's. Doesn't a tragedy need a great story?

Richard: I've scoured my books for a good story and Ovid has a promising
tale of Tereus and Philomela. It's a bloody revenge like Jeronimo.
...
Will: I'll begin now. However, tragedy to you is a blaze of words and
deeds quenched by blood lust. I know there is much more to a great
tragedy that I'll show in the draft of this play.

For the entry on January 23, 1593, Shakespeare uses the phrase "parvum
drama" (translated problematically as melodrama, a preposterous error)
to contrast his tragedy, Titus Andronicus.

Alexander Huang
Teaching Fellow
Harvard University

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John D. Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 4 Nov 2002 12:36:02 -0500
Subject:        T. Jenkins' diary

So far, no one addressing the supposed entry in T. Jenkins' diary has
identified the source of the story.  I can't help wondering if the whole
issue is an internet rumor.  What better place to plant it than
SHAKSPER?  If the story is genuine, would someone please identify where
it was first published?

Thanks,
John Cox

[Editor


Virus/Worm/Trojan Horse Update

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2194  Tuesday, 5 November 2002

From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Subject:        Virus/Worm/Trojan Horse Update

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

Eric and I have extensively checked out the Unix server that is the home
of SHAKSPER, and we are convinced that neither my desktop nor the server
is the source of the Virus/Worm/Trojan Horse I warned everyone about
yesterday. First of all, the server cannot relay mail; thus, it cannot
be taken over by a hacker to send spam or viruses, even if that hacker
were to somehow or other get past all of the firewalls that are in
place. Second, the most prevalent bugs on the Internet target Windows
machine (especially those using Outlook) whereas Unix is not affected by
them.

WARNING: If you received any message that appears to come from me and
that has an executable attachment, you should delete it immediately 


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