2003

Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1623  Friday, 15 August 2003

[1]     From:   Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 11:17:40 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius

[2]     From:   David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 15 Aug 2003 01:29:08 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius

[Editor's Note: For me to allow this thread to continue, posters will
need to stick only to the issue of the reference itself without extended
speculation. -Hardy]

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 11:17:40 -0700
Subject: 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Roscius

Even an apprentice scholar could list 10 erroneous assumptions made, and
biases demonstrated, by the Oxfordian who analyzed the alleged 1620-50
handwritten annotation in a 1590 ed. of Camden's Britannia in the
Huntington Library.  The first error is the assumption that the
annotation itself is genuine--i.e., not itself a fraud, perhaps one
committed by an Oxfordian.  (Even the article's author admits that copy
of Britannia was in unknown hands up until 1922.)   The second is the
apparent failure of the author to consult any Latinist other than one
who makes a controversial translation but is anonymous in the citation.
The third is the assumption that the annotator was an expert in any
subject whatsoever.  The fourth is the assumption that Shakespeare was
well known enough in 1590 to be considered a famous son of Stratford.
(Camden wrote voluminously but he wasn't writing a Fuller's Worthies
catalogue.)  The fifth is that this absence (of Sh. as famous son) is
proof of any kind of literary fraud.  The sixth is that...

Shoot; I'm not going to go on.  The article is an excellent example of
fabulous scholarship--as in "resembling a fable; absurd."

Al Magary

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 15 Aug 2003 01:29:08 -0600
Subject: 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Roscius

Terry Ross wrote:

>The latest issue of *Shakespeare Matters* contains an essay by Paul
>Altrocchi that presents what may be a hitherto unnoticed contemporary
>reference to Shakespeare as an actor.  The annotation is in a Huntington
>Library copy of the 1590 edition of William Camden's *Britannia*, and it
>is a comment on a passage about Stratford, which (in the translation
>from Camden's Latin that appears in Altrocchi's essay) "owes all of its
>reputation to its two foster sons, John of Stratford, the Archbishop of
>Canterbury, who built the church, and Hugh Clopton, the magistrate of
>London who began the stone bridge over the Avon supported by fourteen
>arches, not without very great expense."
>
>The word "alumnis" ("foster sons") in Camden has been underlined, and
>this note has been written underneath: "& Guglielmo Shakespear Roscio
>planh nostro." Altroccchi translates the note, "and certainly to our
>Roscius, William Shakespeare."  The annotation in effect adds a third
>Stratford "alumnus" to Camden's pair, John of Stratford and Hugh
>Clopton.  In the annotator's opinion, the great actor William
>Shakespeare certainly should be counted with John of Stratford and Hugh
>Clopton as a Stratford notable.
>
>According to Altrocchi, the Huntington's Mary Robertson believes that
>characteristics of the handwriting "'suggest that our annotation was
>most likely written between 1620 and 1650.'"
>
>*Shakespeare Matters* is published by the Shakespeare Fellowship, which
>is an organization primarily for those who believe that Shakespeare did
>not and that the 17th earl of Oxford DID write the works generally
>attributed to Shakespeare.  Atrocchi gives an Oxfordian spin to the
>annotation, but if what he has found is indeed a hitherto unnoticed
>contemporary reference to Shakespeare, his discovery itself may be of
>considerable interest.  The Shakespeare Fellowship has made Altrocchi's
>essay available at this URL:
>
>http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/Newsletter/Latin_annotation.pdf

Alan Nelson has put up a page on his web site about the annotation, in
which he corrects a few things in Altrocchi's essay (beyond the usual
Oxfordian drivel, such as the ludicrous claim that "there is no evidence
that Shaksper of Stratford was a famous actor and little or no evidence
that he was an actor at all").  Nelson also provides one significant
piece of further information: the name of the book's owner, which is
inscribed on the inside cover.  He was Richard Hunt, who was born c.1596
and was vicar of Long Itchington, Warwickshire from 1621 on.  Nelson's
essay is at:

http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~ahnelson/Roscius.html

And his main web page is at:

http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~ahnelson/

Dave Kathman
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

_______________________________________________________________
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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
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Book Project

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1622  Friday, 15 August 2003

From:           Marie Macaisa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 11:56:28 -0500
Subject:        Re: Book Project

[Editor's Note: Some apparent misunderstandings occurred as a
consequence of the version of the Book Project announcement I sent out
yesterday. Below is the intended posting. -Hardy]

Currently, I'm working for an American publisher to envision what these
books can be.  We would like for them to contain not just the text of
the play but also an audio CD featuring key scenes and passages from the
play as performed by the world's greatest actors.  The idea is to bring
Shakespeare to the masses in an accessible manner.

I'm now trying to determine the best text from which we can start.
Though I'm working on getting permissions to use existing versions, I
would also like to explore what it would take for someone to start from
the First Folio or a Quarto and transcribe a "clean" version for us,
using modern spelling and making "basic" corrections, such as using
consistent spelling of the characters' names (though that's just an
example; I'm open to different proposals).

I thought that there might be academic researchers on your list who
would be interested in undertaking such a project.  Would this be an
appropriate request to post on your list?  How would I go about finding
and reaching interested parties?

Thank you very much for any assistance you can provide.  I look forward
to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Marie Macaisa
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

_______________________________________________________________
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: Denouements of Forgiveness and Gender

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1620  Friday, 15 August 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 13:33:08 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 14.1612 Re: Denouements of Forgiveness and Gender

[2]     From:   Donald Jellerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 15 Aug 2003 01:55:16 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Denouements of Forgiveness and Gender


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 13:33:08 -0700
Subject: Re: Denouements of Forgiveness and Gender
Comment:        SHK 14.1612 Re: Denouements of Forgiveness and Gender

David Wallace asks,

>What choice does Portia have except to forgive?

She offers one:  she could cuckold Bassanio.  Moreover, the forgiveness
doesn't come without strings.  It increases Portia's claim over
Bassanio, and conscripts Antonio into reinforcing that claim.  Antonio
hasn't just been defeated in his competing claim upon Bassanio, but
co-opted, something altogether more insidious.

Sincerely,
Sean Lawrence,
Okanagan University College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Donald Jellerson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 15 Aug 2003 01:55:16 -0700
Subject:        Re: Denouements of Forgiveness and Gender

Thanks to Annalisa Castaldo and David Wallace for responding to my
query.

About The Merchant of Venice, Annalisa Castaldo writes:

"Bassanio describes her as 'a lady richly left' and suggests that she
favors him 'Sometimes from her eyes/I did receive fair speechless
messages.' The rest of his discussion with Antonio is how, if he had the
money to woo her, he is sure he would win her (tellingly calling himself
another Jason after another Golden Fleece) and so pay off his debts."

This is correct.  But, to my mind, it should be seen as only part of the
dialectic that Shakespeare is working with in MV.  The point of the
riddle of the three caskets (and much of the action of the play) seems
to be that Antonio and Bassanio must be willing to risk everything -
worldly wealth, pride, ego, even love - in order to succeed.  The
paradox is something like the proposition that only a renunciation of
desire will achieve it.

Bassanio and Antonio enter the heart of this paradox with the question
of the giving of the rings.  The nature of the world (in MV) is such
that male friendships are necessarily in conflict with heterosexual
love, and the only way out of the conflict is some kind of forgiving
rapprochement between the two demands.  What is required is a kind of
life-affirming flexibility (that Shylock, for example, cannot bring
himself to show).

Consider Portia's speech in III.iv:

                for in companions
That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,
There must be needs a like proportion
Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit;
Which makes me think that this Antonio,
Being the bosom lover of my lord,
Must needs be like my lord.

Here Shakespeare plays on the same kind of interchangeability - or union
of three - that we see in the denouement of TGV ("All that was mine in
Sylvia I give thee") or in Sonnet 40 ("Take all my loves, my love...").
But this time, importantly, we're seeing it from the woman's
perspective.  Portia hints at the possibility that the male friendship
of B. and A. can be resolved within the context of her own
(heterosexual) love.

Annalisa Castaldo writes:

"As far as the men in the play know, the relationships they have are
exactly those of TGV--male friendship trumps romantic love, women are
indistinguishable (both plays have lovers completely unable to recognize
their women), and the only power women have is their value, both
monetary worth and virtue."

I'm not sure about this.  At the end of TGV, the women are silent and
presumably helpless.  Not so in MV.  The sinners in both plays are men.
But in TGV the man forgiving his male friend brings about the
resolution, and in MV forgiveness is the province of women.  The
resolution of MV is dependent on the quality in Portia that is absent in
Shylock: mercy.  Perhaps the question of which kind of love "trumps" the
other is arguable?

David Wallace writes:

"If the comedies consistently illustrate anything about marriage, it is
that marriage is a financial contract from which men consistently
benefit and which provides women absolutely no assurances. If the women
tend to re-establish the social order, it is because they are so utterly
vulnerable (and often victimized) when that order is disrupted. In the
'mature' comedies, the women are certainly more intelligent but the
forgiveness they teach often (ironically) seems a survival technique in
a world in which they have no real power."

Okay, but my argument is not based on the social power of women, or that
men in the value systems of the plays are - or are not - more powerful.
My proposition is that, in the TGV denouement, heterosexual
relationships (given: dominated by men) seem to take a clear back seat
to male friendship.  In Act V of MV the two types of love are in
conflict again, and the emphasis seems to me to be on some kind of
balance between the two forces.  For this balance to occur, women are
given a different kind of agency in the resolution than in that of TGV.
In some measure, then, can't we see MV as a revision of the earlier
play?  Isn't it fair to say that Shakespeare is working out the way to
bring off romantic comedy?

At the risk of being facile, how about this...  Shakespeare starts with
TGV, perhaps a failed experiment, but certainly a proving ground for
many of the motifs he will later use to better effect.  The ending,
however, with its interchangeable women and clear subjugation of
heterosexual love to the homosocial, stands in need of development.
(Even Shakespeare must have seen that the ending of TGV was not so
good.)  In MV he works on the problem of the conflict of the two kinds
of love again, but this time tries to bring them into a more convincing
balance, giving more agency to women in the resolution.  In the later
comedies, male friendship will come up again, but never in such a
prominent plot position (in direct, sustained thematic opposition to
heterosexual love).  Women, however, will retain their position in the
romantic comedies as those who practice Christlike forgiveness.

Donald Jellerson

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Early Modern View of Literary Study

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1621  Friday, 15 August 2003

From:           Thomas Larque <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 23:23:10 +0100
Subject:        Early Modern View of Literary Study

The British magazine "History Today" has an entertaining Early Modern
judgement on Literary Study as the introduction to an article on
"Hunting, Hawking and the Early Tudor Gentleman".  Volume 53 (8) August
2003: 21-27.

"By God's Body I would rather that my son should hang than study
literature.  It behoves the sons of gentlemen to blow horn calls
correctly, to hunt skilfully, to train a hawk well and carry it
elegantly.  But the study of literature should be left to clodhoppers"
(comment from an anonymous gentleman to Richard Pace, 1517).

Since SHAKSPER is full of ungentlemanly literature-loving clodhoppers
like myself, I thought this might be of interest.

Thomas Larque.
"Shakespeare and His Critics"
http://shakespearean.org.uk

_______________________________________________________________
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: Romeo Is Banished

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1619  Friday, 15 August 2003

From:           Jan Pick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 11:39:14 -0700
Subject: 14.1609 Re: Romeo Is Banished
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1609 Re: Romeo Is Banished

Mercutio was on the Capulet guest list as well - so he must have been
persona grata - and yet not a friend of Tybalt.  Mercutio, of course,
had a brother, Valentine!

Jan Pick

_______________________________________________________________
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.

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