2003

Re: Barque does not bark

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0939  Wednesday, 14 May 2003

From:           James Conlan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 13 May 2003 20:03:57 +0000
Subject: 14.0930 Re: Barque does not bark
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0930 Re: Barque does not bark

I am afraid John Kennedy's post condemning the hypothesis that
Shakespeare went to Italy as "Anti-Strat propaganda" confuses the
reevaluation of Shakespeare's biography against the historical record
with the very different project of assuming the biography of Shakespeare
is correct in order to reattribute the plays that Shakespeare authored
to someone else entirely.

In a previous post already archived, I suggested that the expenditures
of the John Shakespeares are fully consistent with an absence from
Stratford at a time in William Shakespeare's life when it was both
customary and fashionable for English gentlemen to travel abroad and
complete their educations.  As the idea that Shakespeare studied at
Stratford until he was 18 has been simply posited without any evidence
beyond non-attendance at Oxford or Cambridge to support it, the
suggestion that Shakespeare studied in Italy because of the plays'
geographical accuracy is more precisely called revisionist scholarship.
The idea of William Shakespeare's Italian study was explored long ago by
Ernesto Grillo.  In contrast, the Oxfordian hypothesis declares that the
Earl of Oxford wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare because
Shakespeare cannot have been educated anywhere else but in
Stratford-on-Avon, and so, despite all attribution evidence to the
contrary, plays that allude to post-1605 events like _Macbeth_ and _The
Tempest_ must be attributed to someone who was dead in 1604.

Best,
JP Conlan
University of Puerto Rico

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Actors v Scholars

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0938  Wednesday, 14 May 2003

From:           Colin Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 13 May 2003 10:21:18 -0700
Subject: 14.0923 Re: Mercutio = Marlowe
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0923 Re: Mercutio = Marlowe

Tue Sorenson writes:

>I'm very glad to hear it! I'm intrigued that this is a common idea in
>performance, but apparently not in scholarship. Makes me wonder which
>other gems the thespian tradition has been keeping from us!

It has been a constant source of disappointment to me, the bewildering
'synaptic cleft' between scholar and thespian. What is the history of
this conundrum? Can anyone elucidate?

I remember being part of a workshop with a very prominent member of the
English acting fraternity and raising the topic of the spondee. She
immediately turned on me with "what are you, a scholar?" The neophyte
Shakespearean actors in the audience had their first lesson in the gulf
that seems to have been created between academics and artisans of the
craft (and I'm not a scholar in any sense of the word!)

At another event, in this instance chaired by Jan Kott, I asked the
practical question of why Shakespeare had written his plays. When I put
in my two cents that there must have been some economic motive to their
penning, several outraged scholars immediately dismissed me as being
obviously of the acting fraternity!

Anyone?

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Re: King John, Titus, Peele

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0936  Wednesday, 14 May 2003

From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 13 May 2003 16:56:46 +0100
Subject: Re: King John, Titus, Peele
Comment:        SHK 14.0927 Re: King John, Titus, Peele

"It's impossible for me to believe that Jonson, Heminge and Condell
would have bothered to put together a book of Shakespeare's plays if
they did not believe him to be the sole author", writes Jim Carroll.

And, one might add, especially Jonson, who executed many acts of
excision and revision in order to make his own folio Workes (1616)
completely his own.

Furthermore, the point about not blotting lines is not "Romantic
Shakespeare", as Jonathan Bate calls it, but also Jonsonian. And it was
not meant as a compliment to a Romantic genius, but as a suggested
criticism of a rival who did not expend the same amount of studious
effort on his "poems" as Jonson did. Why should Jonson have chosen to
criticize/mock Shakespeare in this way, if the easier option of pointing
to the limitations of Shakespeare's "collaborative composition" was open
to him? After all, Jonson himself agonized over the necessity that had
forced him into hack-work collaboration and revision for Henslowe in the
1590s - he clearly had little respect for this method of producing
drama. And the course of his later collaboration with Inigo Jones speaks
for itself.

m

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Re: Othello Retold

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0937  Wednesday, 14 May 2003

From:           Mary Todd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 13 May 2003 12:42:17 -0400
Subject: 14.0921 Othello Retold
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0921 Othello Retold

Speaking of Othello, how common were interracial marriages in
Shakespeare's day?  Did he have any historical references in mind beyond
his source, Cinthio?

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Re: Performances and Audiences in Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0935  Wednesday, 14 May 2003

[1]     From:   Michael Shurgot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 13 May 2003 08:55:58 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0917 Re: Performances and Audiences in Hamlet

[2]     From:   Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 13 May 2003 23:00:55 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0917 Re: Performances and Audiences in Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Shurgot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 13 May 2003 08:55:58 -0700
Subject: 14.0917 Re: Performances and Audiences in Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0917 Re: Performances and Audiences in Hamlet

Dear Colleagues:

Tony Burton's remarks (5/13) on Paul Swanson's earlier post is a bit
confusing, and I suggest needs clarification. First, the First Player's
Pyrrhus speech is not "scripted": he has that memorized, and yes Hamlet
is initially quite upset that the player is apparently more "moved" than
he is.  (See esp. Emrys James as 1st Player in the BBC Hamlet).
However, there is considerable anger in Hamlet's following soliloquy; is
not this the soliloquy of a man moved to real anger at himself by what
he has heard?  Second, Hamlet is way too moved by Gonzago; as H. R.
Coursen and M. R.  Woodhead have demonstrated clearly, Hamlet blows his
cover, upsets the whole "script" he has apparently revised, and tells
the whole court that he plans to kill the king: "...Lucianus, nephew to
the King" (i.e. not Duke, as the "script" of Gonzago would have it), so
Mousetrap becomes an image of a past event (killing Hamlet Sr.) and a
prediction of a future (killing Claudius).

I admit that I have not read Grebanier since grad school in the early
70's, but does not the script make clear that Hamlet is struggling with
why HE has been called on to right a wrong by killing a King, exactly
Claudius's crime?  ("O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it
right.") Etc. There is revenge, and there is philosophy; Hamlet has much
of the latter, ponders the nature and fate of human kind, especially his
"god-like" reason, and has trouble fitting the former into the latter.
Do we really admire people who just run out and kill?

Lest this become a boring, third-rate mini-lecture to my betters,
enough.  And aren't we being rated this week? Woodhead's essay is in Sh.
Survey (32-1979); and Coursen's essay is in Sh. Performance as
Interpretation (Delaware, 1992). I have dabbled in the Mousetrap, but
with deep bows to Woodhead and Coursen.

Best wishes,
Michael Shurgot

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 13 May 2003 23:00:55 EDT
Subject: 14.0917 Re: Performances and Audiences in Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0917 Re: Performances and Audiences in Hamlet

Tony Burton responds to one of my comments about performances and
audiences in "Hamlet" by saying that "It doesn't lead smoothly, however,
to Swanson's further remark, that "In each performance, however, both
Hamlet and Claudius respectively are 'touched,' drawing a clear parallel
between their characters."

Tony, I think, perhaps points out my imprecise language here, and I
appreciate his point and thank him for his response. Allow me to clarify
my argument that the performances in "The Mousetrap" and "The Murder of
Priam" draw startling parallels between Hamlet and Claudius.

What I think I should have said was that these performances each
accentuate the moral guilt hanging over both Claudius and Hamlet and
their respective frustrations with their own feelings. For Claudius,
obviously, the guilt -- elicited from "The Mousetrap" performance --
stems from his murderous action. For Hamlet, the "Priam" speech reveals
his guilt for his unfilial INaction.

This inaction is even echoed by Claudius as he attempts to pray after
"The Mousetrap":

Pray can I not
Though inclination be as sharp as will,
My stronger guilt defeats my stronger intent,
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect (3.3.38-43).

Whether or not this is a case of "like father, like son," I know not.
But we can clearly see that the two characters replicate both moral
guilt and a powerful inability to achieve a desired action.

Paul Swanson

_______________________________________________________________
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.
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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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