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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: The Real Beale
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0636  Wednesday, 2 April 2003

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Apr 2003 11:18:11 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Apr 2003 11:27:08 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

[3]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Apr 2003 23:15:09 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

[4]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Apr 2003 17:36:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

[5]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 2 Apr 2003 04:31:23 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 01 Apr 2003 11:18:11 -0500
Subject: 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

Brian Willis <
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 > writes,

>What a second. What does a Renaissance prince look like? I'm not sure
>that there is a standard. Isn't this a perpetuated myth that those of
>noble birth are necessarily beautiful? I dare say that Henry VIII cannot
>be considered universally attractive. It is without argument that he was
>much overweight. Why don't we just say that that the best of nobility
>could only be male? Of course, Elizabeth recognized this, repeatedly
>referenced it, and contradicted it at every turn. Why is there a beauty
>myth about these people?  They rarely bathed and had bad teeth. These
>people were not the glorified portraits that we think they were. Nor
>should our actors be the same.

But "Hamlet" is not a documentary, and Prince Hamlet is a hero.

(By the way, I understand the young Henry VIII was, in fact, regarded as
a bit of a hunk.)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Apr 2003 11:27:08 -0600
Subject: 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

Brian Willis asks this quite legitimate question:

>What does a Renaissance prince look like? I'm not sure
>that there is a standard. Isn't this a perpetuated myth that those of
>noble birth are necessarily beautiful? I dare say that Henry VIII cannot
>be considered universally attractive. It is without argument that he was
>much overweight. Why don't we just say that that the best of nobility
>could only be male? Of course, Elizabeth recognized this, repeatedly
>referenced it, and contradicted it at every turn. Why is there a beauty
>myth about these people?  They rarely bathed and had bad teeth. These
>people were not the glorified portraits that we think they were. Nor
>should our actors be the same.

But the answer is either too obvious or too vague. What should a
swimsuit model look like? We all know whether we like the idea or not.
Of course, models are picked because they fit the ideal. Princes happen,
and they might fit the ideal or they might not. (I should note that
physical appearance, though important, is less so than intellectual
qualities. If you go back to Ophelia, she explains what a Renaissance
prince should have.)

Henry was quite athletic in his youth.

I'm not sure that much good is done by applying modern ideas of correct
behavior to the Elizabethans. That is, in a society where no one
frequently bathes, body odor is not noticeable unless it is
exceptionally bad. And as to teeth, my recollection is that they
commonly make critical references to people with bad teeth and bad
breath.

But the point is not terribly important either. It is a great deal
easier for Laurence Olivier or Mel Gibson to look like a Renaissance
prince than for, say, Danny De Vito. But the different success they made
of it had to do with acting skills rather than physical beauty.

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Tuesday, 1 Apr 2003 23:15:09 +0100
Subject: 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

I have to side with Charles Weinstein in this topic.  I have had similar
accusations when I attacked Julie Taymor, Mozart and Tolkein.  I felt
genuinely incensed by aspects of their work in regard to Shakespeare and
thought my remarks fairly constructed.  I received mostly condemnation
from the list and some abuse off.  To be fair several people supported
me.

Of course I constructed my argument to get maximum effect - but why
write to be un-noticed?  However, not one word was insincere or
dishonest.  My sole aim was to express a view, which I believed to be a
minority view, but that might be held by others.

Weinstein is a good writer - probably a good actor.  He is unafraid to
condemn the tardy and pretentious - and God knows there's plenty of that
in the Shakespeare world.  He needs not, as Thomas Larque suggests, to
preface every remark with "it's only my opinion" because it is so
abysmally obvious.  All of us can only speak of our onion.  If Weinstein
declared he had divine, unanswerable opinions I would object.  As far as
I know he has not.

The credo of "always finding something positive to say about . . ." is
at first laudable, but soon it begins to sound like a father teaching
his 3 year old son to ride his first two wheeled bike - all positive
encouragement with a fear of offending.

Professional theatre groups performing Shakespeare are grown adults
setting themselves up as interpreters of great poetry/drama.  If they
get it wrong they can expect verbal missiles.  It has ever been thus in
show business.  Read reviews of "Romeo and Juliet: The Musical" (The
English have always been awful at writing musicals - this time they have
reached a new level - etc. etc.)

If I could offer some advice to Mr Larque I would implore him not to
inform us of his personal slings and arrows, but write a dazzlingly
opposite riposte to Weinstein's negative - otherwise accept Charles'
view.

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

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 1 Apr 2003 17:36:13 -0500
Subject: 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

>What a second. What does a Renaissance prince look like?

In posing this question Brian Willis might pause long enough to reread
Ophelia's encomium on this particular prince; it does identify him as
"the glass of fashion and the mould of form," and although we need to
allow for lovers' tendency to overrate their idols' looks, there is an
implication that Hamlet is comely rather than otherwise.  He might also
study a little more fully the biography of Henry VIII, whose youthful
beauty was much admired--Neville Williams says he "had the figure and
features of a Greek god and moved gracefully"--and who did not grow
corpulent until a decade or more after he advanced from Prince to King.

David Evett

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 2 Apr 2003 04:31:23 EST
Subject: 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0631 Re: The Real Beale

Dear All

Why is it that when Charles Weinstein writes his excellently amusing and
pithy reviews / criticisms / harrangues (whatever you want to call them)
everyone always writes back full of fury and intent on personal
vindication?  The ridiculous tone of self-moralising inherent in most of
the replies to his admittedly strong and rhetorical views seems to me
merely to inflame the already vaguely incendary positions and remove any
possibility of rational thought on the matter at issue.

Of course if it wasn't for the righteous defenders of Mr. Beale (et al.)
rising to the bait with their easy and feckless enthusiasm, then the
SHAKSPER would be a lot less of a fun filled read.

All the best from the Pro-Charles Weinstein Lobby (England Inc.),
Marcus Dahl

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