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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: July ::
Re: Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1406  Wednesday, 9 July 2003

[1]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 Jul 2003 08:20:12 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1392 Re: Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jul 2003 16:29:00 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 14.1392 Yet more carelessness on Church matters

[3]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Jul 2003 17:37:56 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1392 Re: Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 Jul 2003 08:20:12 -0700
Subject: 14.1392 Re: Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1392 Re: Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare

Good Morning Vietnam!!! Now, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Here we go.

Abigail:

Friar Lawrence? He's a Catholic not a saint. Henry V, the English
Patton?  Makes total sense to me. It's 1599, Shakespeare's hero (a man
very sympathetic to Catholics) is heading off to Ireland. Shakespeare
hopes that Essex will return a bigger hero than Henry (Chorus Act V).
Now Henry is every fighting Englishman's dream. There are dozens of
plays abounding the Elizabethan stage on the exploits of our Plantagenet
'Rambo'. When the Queen's Men played him, he wore a satin doublet laced
with gold. In 1599, Henri V is everything that an English monarch should
be and in 1599 that must be is also a Protestant. Will, supreme
Hollywood god that he is, knows how to bend the details. Our 'Enery
certainly can no longer be the boon companion of a notorious Lollard!
There's your reformation.

Will left home to regain the honour of his fallen from grace, Catholic
father. (Abigail this one is huge and in need of a very long and
spirited discussion.)

John Briggs wrote:

> Not everyone would regard Edmund Campion as "the greatest of all the
> English martyrs" - John Foxe would have had other views.

I agree attaching 'greatest' to any figure in history is a very personal
opinion. But I would have to say that Campion was a hell of a guy! And
as to William being a priest, take a look at Honigmann's book.

Ah, the elusive Monsieur Carroll writes:

"My own ancestors are about 75% Catholic, 25% Protestant, as far as I
can tell, but if I were to go back far enough, I'm sure I'd find some
pagans."

Don't know if you need to go that far back, Jim.

>"I don't know about this one, but other things that Honigmann has written
> make a lot of sense."

EAJ wrote a book called the 'Seven Lost Years.' It's a wonderful book
and should provide more than flippant answers to your questions. EAJ has
some of the highest standards of evidence of any scholar I know; a
little higher than yours it would seem as you seem so unwilling to
address the possibilities.

And finally, though certainly not least, the veritable Master Small
writes:

"The one and only clear fact we have from Shakespeare are the plays and
poems."

Now Sam, I'm on your side in the debate as to who wrote 'em, but there
are a host of folk, all god-fearin', decent, rational, family lovin',
kinds of folk, who have a little trouble with that statement. The play
may be the thing but a ton o' people find it equally fascinating and
important to contemplate the pen that put that ink to paper; Mark Twain
among 'em.

It's been a barrel o' laughs chattin' wit' y'all. Wonder how I'd fayre
on HLAS?!!

Colin Cox
Artistic Director
Will & Company

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jul 2003 16:29:00 +0100
Subject: Yet more carelessness on Church matters
Comment:        SHK 14.1392 Yet more carelessness on Church matters

"Uh, that was the British Reformation, right? King becomes head of
Church? Right?" asks/proclaims Abigail Quart.

Er... the Scottish Presbyterians might grumble a bit at this... (1637
and all that)...

but then they grumble at everything

m

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 8 Jul 2003 17:37:56 +0100
Subject: 14.1392 Re: Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1392 Re: Michael Wood's In Search of Shakespeare

Televisually, the series is a winner. Wood is riveting and charismatic -
be honest! For teaching young students who know nothing about
Shakespeare and can be hooked for the Renaissance age and its intrigues
and cross-currents in this whodunnit kind of thoroughly photogenic way,
this is a satisfying series.  Coffee table TV. So far, so pretty so
popular.

BUT

As a scholarly exercise, it has enough holes for a sieve in which only
witches might sail with security - as correspondents have pointed out.

Surely, the problem is, as so often with so-called 'serious TV", how to
balance weighty scholarship with ratings? Starkey managed it
brilliantly, albeit I can abide him not. Wood has, as many have pointed
out, no particular expertise in the field.

So do you rubbish ALL the Wood offering as Reader's Digest glossy
superficiality with a slight sniff of academic disdain, OR do you, like
me, think seriously about showing it with suitable caveats to a young
and hungry audience who are generally more sophisticated about visual
education than we give credit?

Tricky?

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