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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Shakespeare for Kids
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0140  Tuesday, 20 January 2004

[1]     From:   David Cohen <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Jan 2004 09:03:42 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 Jan 2004 13:08:40 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids

[3]     From:   David Cohen <
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 >
        Date:   Monday, 19 Jan 2004 17:27:42 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Jan 2004 09:03:42 -0600
Subject: 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids

 >David Cohen and others make the point, more or less, that Sh.'s plays
 >often need Sh.'s plot.  One has only to recall the 2002 BBC/PBS
 >Masterpiece Theatre production of Othello:  the plot only (reset to
 >today's London--John Othello is the new head of Scotland Yard), no
 >poetry.  With only one leg, it didn't stand up very well.  I criticized
 >it on that ground at the time
 >(http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2002/0249.html).  I'd sooner have
 >poetry, no plot.

I believe your criticism on "that ground" is groundless, for at least
two reasons: [1] One anecdote is no proof of anything, only testimony
that a particular production at a particular time was less than
satisfactory; [2] the importance of plot may vary from minor (even
granting your argument, for argument's sake, in Othello) to major (with
Cymbeline, Richard III, or a host of other plays).  In short, I would
suggest, the importance of plot is not categorical but rather a matter
of degree.  Moreover, it's interest and importance will depend somewhat
on characterization and poetry, which are all interconnected.  I would
say that the plot of 1Henry VI is rather thin compared to the
characterization (e.g., Winchester), while the plot of 3Henry VI is
rather compelling.  What kind of silly plot is Love's Labor's Lost, but
the poetry, well, that's another story!

David Cohen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Jan 2004 13:08:40 -0500
Subject: Shakespeare for Kids
Comment:        SHK 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids

If only poor Thomas Larque could be prevailed upon NOT to 'paraphrase'
my argument 'fairly heavily'!  His version is far longer, less clear and
-I flatter myself-- indisputably more boring than the original:
characteristics to some extent shared, oddly enough,  by the adaptations
of Shakespeare which he so admires. His enthusiasm for lines like

"Meanwhile King Claudius was still uptight.
The cause of Hamlet's madness had not come to light"
(Hamlet, 'Shakespeare Can Be Fun' series)

is thus predictable. It strikes me as merely shaming.  Let me ask a
simple question. The language of the 'Shakespeare Can Be Fun' books is
not Shakespeare's. The verse-form they employ is not Shakespeare's. The
stories they tell are not Shakespeare's. What, then, is the source of
the 'fun' ?

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Jan 2004 17:27:42 -0600
Subject: 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0132 Shakespeare for Kids

 >>even if the plots aren't "the single most important things about
 >>Shakespeare"-
 >>that "most important" being arguable
 >
 >David Cohen's main arguments are actually quite compatible with my own
 >opinions, but I do object a bit to the selective (mis)quotation that
 >takes place above.  I suspect that if anybody did that to a critic in a
 >University essay, and it was noticed, they would be considerably marked
 >down.

Ooo, good sir, I am justly but perhaps too severely chastised when a
little chiding might have done.  I did misquote, and for that I
apologize.   But why go on about meanings and marking down, especially
when my posting was, quite coincidentally, fully consistent with yours?
  Two things.  First, by now you have seen my posting indicating know
how much I admire your comments, and second, for all you know, I am a
slightly dyslexic Nobel prize winner!   Now don't you feel bad?

David Cohen

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