2004

Psychology of Gertrude

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0026  Tuesday, 6 January 2004

[1]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, January 06, 2004
        Subj:   Correction

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 5 Jan 2004 07:57:26 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 5 Jan 2004 10:31:24 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude

[4]     From:   Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 5 Jan 2004 17:49:28 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude

[5]     From:   David Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 5 Jan 2004 20:17:30 -0600
        Subj:   Re: Psychology of Gertrude

[6]     From:   Tony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, January 05, 2004 1:43 PM
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Subject:        Correction

Yet another apology. Yesterday, I did not format correctly Frank
Whigham's posting in the Psychology of Gertrude thread. Below is the
text as it should have appeared.

From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 02 Jan 2004 17:33:35 -0600
Subject: 14.2466 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2466 Psychology of Gertrude

 >Though some have tried hard to defend Gertrude's virtues, it's perfectly
 >clear from the text that she had intercourse with Claudius while she was
 >married to Old Hamlet.

 >The Ghost describes Claudius as "that incestuous, that adulterate beast"
 >(1.5.42). Now, one may commit incest with a dead brother's wife (viz.
 >Henry VIII's troubled conscience) ... but one cannot commit adultery
 >with a brother's wife unless the brother is still alive (or at least
 >unburied). A wife's marriage to her husband does not end until the
 >husband is buried (whereas the husband's marriage to the wife ends at
 >the moment of her death).

Not quite perfectly clear, it seems to me.

(1) What we would regard as fetishistic husbandly possessiveness was
pretty common at the time. I see no reason to think that the sometimes
weirdly narcissistic ghost might not regard Gertrude's remarriage to
anyone as betrayal of her obligation to him, never mind to his brother.
To see their marriage as betraying him may be technically illogical
(since he is dead), but it fits easily with the cuckoldry fetish then so
common (and so present in the younger Hamlet's makeup).

(2) To deflect the blame for sexual betrayal onto the third party, and
away from the (here, nominally) betraying spouse, is an emotional
commonplace. One's own choice of the betraying spouse is thus not
brought into question.

(3) I've always wondered about the idea that "adulterate" might intermix
with some of the meanings we attach to "promiscuous": i.e., mixings. OED
has ("of things") "corrupted by base intermixture."

(4) Had Shakespeare wanted to be clear about the adultery, he could
easily have been so; he chose not to (witness the long-standing
debates). The epistemological obscurities are surely part of his aims,
whatever those might be.

(5) On the other hand, how this issue relates to Gertrude's sense of her
own "black and grained spots" is a very interesting matter. What exactly
might she mean by the phrase?

Frank Whigham

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 5 Jan 2004 07:57:26 -0600
Subject: 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude

Dana Wilson writes,

"Obviously, actors become actors because they have gigantic egos and
they always want the best lines and the most lines, and they go out and
get their parts by any means necessary . . ."

I find this not only not obvious, but not true. Actors become actors
because they have a gift for it, and this gift drives them. Not only are
other performing artists (like musicians, singers and dancers) much the
same in this "driven-ness," but creative artists as well. And, like all
artists, they are very vulnerable on the matter of their art. Being so,
they want approval -- applause, money, billing, the best parts.

Now it is true that some of them have "gigantic egos" but then so do
some computer geeks and car salesmen and everybody else. It is more
noticeable among performing artists because the more successful they
become the more vulnerable they are, but the more successful they are,
the more noticeable what they do. Nevertheless, even among the prima
donnas, most, if not all, of what seems to be egotism, is really
insecurity and the fear of failure.

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 5 Jan 2004 10:31:24 -0500
Subject: 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude

"Black and grained spots"?? The widow married her husband's brother
within four months of the funeral. Her mourning was, shall we say,
truncated? For a conventional girl, and Gertrude never seems anything
else, that's a pretty black and grained set of damned spots.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 5 Jan 2004 17:49:28 -0800
Subject: 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude

Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote,

 >I can easily imagine Claudius and Gertrude in a similar sort of scene as
 >that between RIII and Anne, perhaps without quite so much hatred on
 >Gertrude's part.

I can also imagine Ophelia consoling Hamlet in his grief, one thing
leading another, and nature taking its course....

Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote,

 >(3) I've always wondered about the idea that "adulterate" might intermix
 >with some of the meanings we attach to "promiscuous": i.e., mixings. OED
 >has ("of things") "corrupted by base intermixture."

This connects nicely with the "dram of eale" passage, only 100 lines
distant.

Steve
http://princehamlet.com

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 5 Jan 2004 20:17:30 -0600
Subject:        Re: Psychology of Gertrude

 >In response to David Cohen's comment, Richard of Gloucester demonstrates
 >a good deal of loving respect and grief for his father, Richard Duke of
 >York--perhaps sufficient to qualify as idealization.  Note 3 Henry VI,
 >2.1.10-20 (ending "Methinks 'tis prize enough to be his son"). In the
 >same scene, see Richard's speeches at 79-88 and 91-94; in 3.2, his lines
 >at 114-16; in 2.4, lines 1-4; in 2.6, lines 46-51.  Even in Richard III,
 >he speaks in the same tonalities in 1.3, 173-180, and even for a moment
 >during the wooing of Lady Anne--1.2.151-66.  On the other hand, he
 >doesn't get along that well with his mother.
 >
 >Tom Pendleton

Yes, I have gone back to those lines, and you are right. Richard's
comments do suggest idealization, if not idolatry-not mere self-serving
hyperbole. Still, don't you agree that, aside from Hamlet and Richard,
there is precious little of this sort of thing in Shakespeare-the sort
of thing that isn't perfunctory (idealizing comments about Edward III),
personal (love expressed by Prince Hal for his dying father; by
Cymbeline's adopted boys for their adopted father Belarius), or
political (the Bastard of King John).  Where else?

David Cohen

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, January 05, 2004 1:43 PM
Subject: 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2473 Psychology of Gertrude

The discussion of Gertrude's problematic adultery with Claudius during
King Hamlet's life is, in my humble opinion, contaminated with modern
attitudes, preoccupations, and narrowly literal reading habits that do
not ring true.  Surely, an Elizabethan/Jacobean audience would have
understood adultery far more flexibly than we know it -- I'm thinking of
the familiar legal context, as a ground for divorce -- so as to embrace
the specifically Christian new testament biblical sense of Matthew, v,
28: "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed
adultery already in his heart."  The book of Matthew was among the more
frequently visited subjects of chapter-by-chapter close scrutiny,
expatiation, and moralization in weekly sermons throughout England.

And for the Elizabethan scholarly, Lactantius (Inst. Div.) held that
"The mind is guilty of adultery even if it merely pictures to itself a
vision of carnal pleasure."

In other words, "adulterate" served to express the idea that Claudius
had planned for some time before he murdered his brother, to wed and bed
Gertrude.  And that is very much the point of my articles in The
Shakespeare Bulletin a few years back, of Hamlet's "prophetic soul"
remark, and why his explanation of the plot of The Murder of Gonzago
included the murtderer getting the love of his victim's widow.  The
point being that the murderer's (Claudius's) motive was the economic one
of acquiring his victim's property, and an essential element for his
plan was to marry the widow.  Thus, the ghost's charge of adultery was a
way of saying the whole catastrophe (to Hamlet) -- father's death and
mother's remarriage -- was envisioned by CLaudius well before the
events, and carried out in accordance with that preconceived vision.
And of course, the fact that Claudius's driving motive was economic does
not in any way negate the possibility of his having had lustful
intentiions toward Gertrude, although it certainly  diminishes their
primacy.  (He tells Laertes he loves her, but we don't have to believe
his words, given the circumstances under which they were spoken.)

I see nothing in the text of Hamlet to justify the suggestion that
Gertrude and Claudius were married (and presumably enjoying sexual
intimacies) before the old king was buried.  If anything, Hamlet's
remark that the funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the
marriage tables suggests that events unfolded the other way round, as if
Shakespeare arranged the sequence of events so as to exclude rather than
imply any suspicion of irregularity on that score.  Not knowing about
the adultery-if sex-before-burial rule, I accept the fact of its
accuracy and applicability to sovereigns, for the purpose of this
discussion.

Tony Burton

_______________________________________________________________
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.
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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New Year's Correction

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0025  Tuesday, 6 January 2004

From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Subject:        New Year's Correction

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

This seems to be my day for apologies.

I just realized that I have been in automatic pilot since New Year's Day
and that I did not start re-numbering the digests with this year's
volume number - 15 - indicating SHAKSPER's fifteen year.

As I have mentioned before, SHAKSPER began on Thursday, July 26, 1990,
with an initial message from list founder Ken Steele. However, volume
numbers have since commenced with the turn of the New Year.

Anyone interested in SHAKSPER's progress might wish to read Ken's
initial greetings and some of the subsequent New Year's messages from
the web site at

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1990/0000.html

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1991/0000.html

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1994/0000.html

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1996/0000.html

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1997/0000.html

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1999/0000.html

Happy New Year,
Hardy

_______________________________________________________________
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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 Webpage <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.

Poor Yorick Re-launch

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2479  Tuesday, 6 January 2004

From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 5 Jan 2004 17:57:56 -0500
Subject:        Poor Yorick Re-launch

Poor Yorick is pleased to announce the re-launch of our website at
www.bardcentral.com, with many new features.  Now, in addition to our
ever growing collection of Shakespeare-related products, we are also
featuring an articles section.  The current site contains:

"The Afterlife of Lady Macbeth" by Stephen Orgel (Stanford U.)

"Made glorious summer by this son of New York: Looking for Richard in
the Big Apple" by Stephen Buhler (U. Nebraska) and

"Forbidden Tempest" by freelance writer Mike Jensen

New articles will begin to circulate at the end of the month, and all
articles will remain archived for future reference.   There are also new
modules that allow you to post your own reviews and comments of films,
books and reviews.

The winners of our Pitch a Play contest have also been posted.

Please be advised that there are some graphical elements that remain to
be updated on the site and that we will continue tweaking throughout the
next few weeks before officially launching later in the month.  We would
be delighted to receive feedback and comments, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Many thanks to all,
Tanya Gough
The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue
www.bardcentral.com

_______________________________________________________________
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.

1 Richard II?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2480  Tuesday, 6 January 2004

[1]     From:   Hugh Grady <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 5 Jan 2004 09:42:41 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2468 1 Richard II?

[2]     From:   Mac Jackson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Jan 2004 16:54:03 +1300
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2468 1 Richard II?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 5 Jan 2004 09:42:41 -0500
Subject: 14.2468 1 Richard II?
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2468 1 Richard II?

Of course there is no "absolute consensus" on "Woodstock" as a prequel
to Shakespeare's "Richard II," and the case for this idea, such as it
is, is speculative at best. The connection was a pet notion of Cambridge
Shakespearean A. P. Rossiter (_Angel with Horns_, 1961), whose idea, as
I recall from a rereading several years back, was that "Woodstock"
clarified Richard's hand in the death of Thomas of Woodstock and so
helped show that Bolingbroke's charges against Mowbray at the beginning
of the play were really directed against Richard from the first. An
interesting speculation, but to my mind part of the chimerical search of
the old historicism for a supposed "solid reality" underlying
Shakespeare's shifting discourses and openness to multiple interpretations.

--Hugh Grady

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mac Jackson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 6 Jan 2004 16:54:03 +1300
Subject: 14.2468 1 Richard II?
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2468 1 Richard II?

In reply to Andy Jones, there is no consensus on the relation between
Woodstock and Richard II. In "Shakespeare's Richard II and the Anonymous
Thomas of Woodstock", Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, 14
(2002), 17-65, I give grounds for believing that Woodstock was composed
in the seventeenth century, probably around 1606, by Samuel Rowley, and
that it therefore echoes Shakespeare's play, instead of Shakespeare's
play echoing it. My case has been found persuasive by several competent
scholars, though not by Corbin and Sedge in their recent Revels edition.
They don't, however, attempt to answer my arguments.

Michael Egan doesn't agree with me either.

Mac Jackson

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Important Changes to the World Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2478  Tuesday, 6 January 2004

From:           Jim Harner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 07 Jan 2004 11:10:44 -0600
Subject:        Important Changes to the World Shakespeare Bibliography

The annual print World Shakespeare Bibliography (covering 2002) is now
in-press. When you open a copy, you will find the following preface:

Regular users of the annual World Shakespeare Bibliography will notice
immediately that this year's volume is about 600-700 entries shorter
than its recent predecessors. This decline is not the result of a
reduction in the number of publications about Shakespeare, but rather
reflects our decision to include entries for productions, audio and
video recordings, and films in only the World Shakespeare Bibliography
Online <http://www.worldshakesbib.org>.

This is the first stage in the transformation of the World Shakespeare
Bibliography into a completely electronic resource. Next year's
Bibliography, which will be the final printed volume, will exclude
reviews of books that were listed in earlier bibliographies.

Discontinuing the annual print volume will allow the Bibliography staff
to devote substantially more time and resources to improving the
coverage and currency of the award-winning World Shakespeare
Bibliography Online. And, savings in production costs will allow for the
expansion of the number of articles and reviews that Shakespeare
Quarterly can publish each year.

Moving to an all-electronic World Shakespeare Bibliography will offer
researchers a resource that best meets their needs and best reflects
Shakespeare Quarterly's commitment to proving *the* record of
Shakespeare scholarship and productions worldwide. [end of preface]

So that we don't inadvertently overlook a publication or production and
so that we can optimize the currency of our coverage, I urge you all to
keep me informed of your publications (including reviews) and
productions--and to send along offprints/copies of publications that we
might have trouble tracking down. (Please send copies to me at the
address below.)

Jim Harner
Editor, World Shakespeare Bibliography
Department of English
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4227

_______________________________________________________________
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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