2002

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1653  Wednesday, 17 July 2002

From:           John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Jul 2002 16:46:05 +0100
Subject:        Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

Does anyone know if the text used for the 1995/6 National Theatre
production of Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" has
been published, or is otherwise available or accessible?  I can't find
my copy of the programme, and the production isn't on the NT website.
But I seem to remember that the revision was reasonably significant
(mostly by cutting: he had taken out my favourite jokes!), and I am
wondering how this was connected to Stoppard's adaptation of his own
play for his 1991 film (the screenplay for that was published).  I
should be grateful for any information or references.

My reason for asking is that I am trying to compare theories of
Shakespeare's texts with work done on living playwrights, drawing on
Philip Gaskell's work on Stoppard in "Text and Act" (1978).

John Briggs

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Re: ASIDE: Cultural Studies and the Battle for

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1652  Wednesday, 17 July 2002

From:           L. Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 16 Jul 2001 16:20:53 -0500
Subject:        Re: ASIDE: Cultural Studies and the Battle for British Higher
Education

Richard Burt wrote,

>A cursory glance at any recent example of
>cultural studies will show how incredibly canned and processed it has
>become.  In my view, it tends at best to be ephemeral, vulgar
>sociology....etc.

I agree, and - although Dr. Burt might be horrified to learn why I do -
isn't it because we have lost a common definition of humanity and of
human destiny? Without that center from which there swings a free and
endless tether into a vastness of sound meaning, we can only be
"scientific," positing one desperate theory after another, those
colliding with one another in a very Hell of confusion.

        L. Swilley

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Shenandoah Shakespeare Express

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1650  Tuesday, 16 July 2002

From:           John Mahon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Jul 2002 18:44:11 -0400
Subject:        Shenandoah Shakespeare Express

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

Hardy Cook's Monday message reinforces the rave reviews everyone gives
to Shenandoah Shakespeare Express.  Do check out the Winter 2001/2002
issue of "The Shakespeare Newsletter" for a front-page story about the
opening of the new Blackfriars replica at SSE's headquarters in
Staunton, Virginia. Copies of any back issue of the newsletter (which
also features, in the Winter issue, an in-depth article on the co-called
"Sanders Portrait" of Shakespeare) are available for $4 from the
newsletter, at Iona College, 715 North Ave, New Rochelle, NY 10801.

Cheers,
John W. Mahon
Co-Editor, "The Shakespeare Newsletter"

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Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1651  Tuesday, 16 July 2002

From:           Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Jul 2002 22:00:38 EDT
Subject:        Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

I have a question I hope SHAKSPERians will discuss. In again studying
All's Well That Ends Well, I have noticed an abundance of instances
which establish Helena as an instrument of heaven and possibly even a
Christ-figure.

The Countess says that Heaven "delights to hear / And loves to grant"
Helena's prayers (3.4.27-28). Lafew describes her as "a medicine /
That's able to breathe life into stone" (2.1.71-72) and the "very hand
of heaven" (2.3.31), a miracle-like description perhaps bringing to mind
Christ's resurrection of Lazarus, as does perhaps Helena's resurrection
of the King.  Helena herself uses numerous religious inferences in
persuading the King to allow her to practice her healing on him,
equating herself with Heaven in telling the King "Of heaven, not me,
make an experiment" (2.1.153) and earlier hinting that her healing power
is "The help of heaven" (2.1.151).  Even the King says that in Helena
"some blessed spirit doth speak" (2.1.174).

My trouble with the equation of Helena to the "hand of heaven" -- and
hence my question for SHAKSPERians -- is that these images do not seem
at all congruent with the end of this play. Given the ambiguous nature
of this play -- the dubious ending, Helena's questionable moral state
(she bribes numerous people in the play to get what she wants, she
deceives Bertram in a mighty way) -- how are we to interpret what seems
to me to be a pretty clear alignment of Helena with heaven's will?

Much thanks for your comments and ideas.

Paul Swanson

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Re: Arthur

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1649  Tuesday, 16 July 2002

[1]     From:   Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Jul 2002 11:41:39 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur

[2]     From:   Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Jul 2002 14:31:17 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur

[3]     From:   Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Jul 2002 20:27:37 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur

[4]     From:   Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Jul 2002 21:32:57 +1000
        Subj:   Arthur and Brittany

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Jul 2002 22:27:28 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Jul 2002 11:41:39 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1632 Arthur
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur

> Somewhat indirectly related to *King John* is the
> question of why Arthur
> has that name. Everybody else has something either
> Biblical or
> Frenchified Germanic. Granted that this was the
> heyday of Matter of
> Britain romances, but the name seems to come out of
> left field.
>
> Anyone out there know?
>
> Thanks,
> Don

This is a great question and I would love to know if anyone has the
answer. I can only guess that it has something to do with King Arthur
and the loss of innocence and a "Camelot" embodied in the mythical reign
of Richard the Lion-Hearted (and embodied onstage in the Bastard).

I also would like to open up the discussion of King John a bit further.
I am beginning rehearsals of the play and would love to hear of any
interesting interpretations and stagings. The only two productions I
have seen were RSC and Northern Broadsides 2001.  Both were outstanding
productions but still very little for me to go on. I have some good
ideas of how to play the Bastard, but I always like to research into the
roles I play, to see directions and motivations that did and did not
work for other actors. Ultimately, I want to create something original,
but I need to know the work of those who have come before. It also helps
me to explore the play in ways that I may not have before. I would
appreciate anyone's input.

Brian Willis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Jul 2002 14:31:17 -0700
Subject: 13.1632 Arthur
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur

Don Bloom asked:

> Somewhat indirectly related to *King John* is the question of why Arthur
> has that name. Everybody else has something either Biblical or
> Frenchified Germanic. Granted that this was the heyday of Matter of
> Britain romances, but the name seems to come out of left field.
>
> Anyone out there know?

The ArthurNet list has been asking and answering this question since, I
believe, the Creation of Cyberspace.  List info and the archives
(searchable, also browsable) at http://www.mun.ca/lists/arthurnet/
There was an excellent long thread in Aug.-Sept. 2001.

Al Magary

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Jul 2002 20:27:37 +1000
Subject: 13.1632 Arthur
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur

Prince Arthur was called that because as you point out, Don, the Matter
of Britain--in its Anglo-Norman version--was at its height in the
twelfth/thirteenth century. John's mother Eleanor of Aquitaine and her
daughter by the French king, Marie of Champagne, were noted patrons of
the poets who wrote much of the Arthurian romances, such as Chretien de
Troyes.  Henry II, John's father, was also one of the patrons of Marie
de France, who also wrote Arthurian romances and narrative poems (lais)
based on Breton tradition, which was intensely Arthurian. The
Plantagenets were also very concerned with  associating themselves
personally with the whole Arthurian mythos: Richard the Lionheart, for
example, gave a sword supposed to be 'Excalibur' to his brother in law,
Tancred of Sicily; and it was during Richard's reign that the supposed
tomb of Arthur and his 'second wife Guinevere', as the inscription was
said to state, was discovered at Glastonbury Abbey. Not surprising then
that there should be a Prince Arthur in the royal family! But it is not
a well-omened name; as if to mock any pretensions of anyone mortal, or
non-legendary, to the title of 'King Arthur' not one Prince Arthur has
succeeded to the throne. For example, Henry VIII's older brother Arthur,
who was to be the King, and who was the first husband of Katharine of
Aragon, died at a very young age, leaving Henry to inherit. It's not a
good sign even for Prince Charles, perhaps, whose second name is Arthur!

A small publicity aside: my novel, Forest of Dreams (Random House
Australia 2001), set in the twelfth century, and based on the life and
work of Marie de France, does go into some of this background and
atmosphere., especially in its second part. John even appears in it as a
young boy.

Sophie Masson
Author site: http://www.northnet.com.au/~smasson

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Jul 2002 21:32:57 +1000
Subject:        Arthur and Brittany

As an expansion of my earlier post re Don Bloom's question about the
name of Arthur of Brittany:

Brittany has always been a troublesome ally/adjunct to the French
crown.  Fiercely independent and sure of their Celtic identity, as well
as being noted fighters, the Bretons have been cajoled or forced into
French alliances in several ways, but chief amongst which is the appeal
to their ancestral traditions. The legendary King Arthur is as famous in
Brittany as he is in Wales, for obvious reasons. His name is still
invoked in Breton literature and music to this day, and he and Merlin
feature very strongly in the Barzazh Breizh, the extraordinary
collection of traditional Breton material gathered in the 19th century
by the Breton aristocrat Theodore Hersart de Villemarque (and before
anyone says this is suspect, the B.B. has been comprehensively
documented and proven to be absolutely authentic in research in Brittany
in the last few years).

In the Middle Ages of course, that connection was even stronger. It was
not a romance novelty for the Bretons, but a strong ancestral
tradition--and when Young Henry married Constance of Brittany and
produced an heir, the choice of Arthur as a name made perfect sense. Not
only would the child be half-Breton, he'd also have a moniker of strong
resonance. John knew that an army under the name of Arthur of Brittany
could easily be raised amongst the Bretons(and was, of course!)quite
apart from the fact that in medieval dynastic terms, Arthur, as the
original Crown Prince's son and heir, had perhaps a stronger claim to
the throne than his uncle did. Of course, Arthur was younger than John
and so more easily manipulated at first.

Sophie Masson
Author site: http://www.northnet.com.au/~smasson

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Jul 2002 22:27:28 -0400
Subject: 13.1632 Arthur
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1632 Arthur

His name really was Arthur.
_______________________________________________________________
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
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