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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Ghost Appearance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0552  Thursday, 26 February 2004

[1]     From:   Bruce W. Richman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 08:31:07 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0538 Ghost Appearance

[2]     From:   Holger Schott <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 11:03:47 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0538 Ghost Appearance


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce W. Richman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 08:31:07 -0600
Subject: 15.0538 Ghost Appearance
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0538 Ghost Appearance

I apologize to all for twice in this strand mis-citing acts and scenes.
  The scene in which the Ghost and Polonius appear together, and in
which Polonius dies behind the arras, is of course III.iv,
notwithstanding whatever else I've said in two notes on the subject of
actors playing multiple parts. Perhaps I've been intoxicated by the
majesty of the play; I hope I haven't confused anyone who's been
following the discussion.

Bruce W. Richman
Dept. of Psychiatry
University of Missouri School of Medicine

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Holger Schott <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 11:03:47 -0500
Subject: 15.0538 Ghost Appearance
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0538 Ghost Appearance

Bruce Richman wrote:

 >If any of the traditional information we have about the roles that
 >Shakespeare took for himself is to be credited, the poet's parts
 >were consistently minor, apparently requiring that he not spend
 >not much time on stage or in rehearsal.

 >My authority for supposing that Shakespeare doubled the Ghost and the
 >Player King is SHAXICON and Harold Bloom.

Don Foster's conclusions, as presented in SNL, sound interesting, but
since SHAXICON still hasn't been published, I find it difficult to give
them too much credit. Harold Bloom surely has no authority in these
matters -- he is not a theatre historian, nor has he done any archival
research to speak of, certainly not in the last 15 years...

As I have said before, I find Steve Sohmer's argument that Shakespeare
played Polonius and Julius Caesar pretty convincing, although it relies
entirely on internal evidence. He has offered (perhaps intentionally?)
no evidence that would suggest that Polonius' part _was_ doubled with
that of the ghost, although he has tried to show that this doubling
would have been feasible; however, the undeniable awkwardness of such a
casting decision makes it rather unlikely to my mind. If "tradition" is
all we rely on in assigning old Hamlet to Shakespeare (tradition and
Stephen Daedalus?), I personally would be more comfortable with giving
up on that idea and replacing it with Steve's theory (based on arguments).

Best,
Holger


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