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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
NYTimes.com Article: Avon Calling
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0086  Tuesday, 13 January 2004

[1]     From:   Peter Holland <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 Jan 2004 13:34:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0076 NYTimes.com Article: Avon Calling

[2]     From:   Gary Kosinsky <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 Jan 2004 15:04:56 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0076 NYTimes.com Article: Avon Calling


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Holland <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 12 Jan 2004 13:34:55 -0500
Subject: 15.0076 NYTimes.com Article: Avon Calling
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0076 NYTimes.com Article: Avon Calling

Richard Burt's helpful posting of Kermode's NYTimes piece only reprints
part of the article. Follow the link Richard provided to read all of it,
including Kermode's praise of Stephen Orgel's marvellous collection
Imagining Shakespeare.

[Editor's Note: I try not to send out complete articles that are easily
available on the Internet, encouraging the submitters to abstract the
pieces themselves. In this case, I hurriedly did the excerpting myself,
neglecting the section on Stephen Orgel, which I now include below. -Hardy]

Stephen Orgel's ''Imagining Shakespeare,'' with its origins in a
distinguished lecture series, is addressed to a scholarly audience.
Orgel is celebrated for his work on the masques of the Stuart court and
other visual aspects of Renaissance staging. These elegant and witty
chapters return to those concerns but treat a considerable variety of
different topics, nearly all lending themselves to vivid illustration.
One chapter deals with the now familiar point that Elizabethan plays
were necessarily the products of collaboration. More enlivening are a
valuable study of the Shakespeare portraits and a brilliantly clever
chapter on the sexual undertones of ''A Midsummer Night's Dream.'' A
study of Shylock gives ample evidence of Orgel's highly individual
scholarship (Shylock was a common English, not a Jewish name, and one
might play him as ''one of the Puritan moneylenders of Shakespeare's
London.'')

The oddest of these chapters is ''The Pornographic Ideal,'' a study of
Giulio Romano, named by Shakespeare as the sculptor supposed to have
made the statue of Hermione in ''The Winter's Tale,'' though, as every
schoolchild knows, the artist of that name was not a sculptor. To this
old problem Orgel brings not so much a new solution as a sort of
collateral investigation of works actually produced by Giulio,
principally the obscene drawings he made for the engravings that
illustrated Pietro Aretino's pornographic poems on the sexual positions.
Suppressed by papal order, copies of this famous book almost
disappeared; but not quite, and Orgel is able to reproduce and discuss
some of the engravings. It is not claimed that the Aretino illustrations
have anything directly to do with ''The Winter's Tale,'' but they may be
said to have their own interest; and it is certainly true that Orgel
always writes well about art. His chapter on the ''pornographic ideal''
also contains an interesting excursus on the great art collections
taking shape at the time, one of which, belonging to the Earl of
Arundel, included drawings by Giulio, though apparently not the ones
reproduced and studied in this book, for the interests of the earl and
his lady lay elsewhere.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gary Kosinsky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 12 Jan 2004 15:04:56 -0800
Subject: 15.0076 NYTimes.com Article: Avon Calling
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0076 NYTimes.com Article: Avon Calling

 >And Wells believes that the father's
 >own explanation of nonattendance at church was the true one: he
 >was afraid of exposing himself to arrest for debt.

Would this mean John Shakespeare spent most of his life holed up in his
home in Stratford?  If he was afraid of exposing himself to arrest for
debt by going to Church, why would he feel safe exposing himself
anywhere in a relatively small town?

And what does being arrested for debt mean?  Was there a debtor's prison
in Stratford?  And if there were officials responsible for arresting
people for debt, why wouldn't they simply have gone to John's house?

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