2004

Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0655  Thursday, 11 March 2004

From:           W Lin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           10 Mar 2004 15:53:26 +0000
Subject: 15.0628 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0628 Shakespeare, the Famous English Chunk Writer

I think whether teaching chunks or selected whole plays, what is being
taught is still just an extract from Shakespeare's complete works.
Anyway, I believe most Shakespeare teachers teach both a/a couple of
complete play(s) with several passages from other plays. It seems to me
what a Shakespeare teacher can do in class is limited, compared to what
he/she wishes to. As long as the teacher makes it lucid to students that
the set texts in class is not all that there is, and as long as students
are aroused the desire to read more or willingness to learn more about
Shakespeare, I guess the classroom hours are not spent in vain. Even if
the teacher tends to teach to the test, it is still possible to remain
inspiring and intriguing at the same time.

Some teachers appear to be 'preachers of Shakespeare' who force students
to read/learn Shakespeare plays and who believe those who don't are
doomed to stay in the category of the ignorant or the uncultured, but
like Martin Steward mentioned, 'we must not simply assume that reading
Shakespeare offers to everyone or anyone some kind of mysterious key
into a transcendent knowledge, understanding, humanity, happiness,
sophistication, or whatever.' I don't think Martin Steward provides a
reason not to study Shakespeare at all (according to Sean Lawrence), but
rather, it sounds to me like a starting point where we, students of
literature, can ever read Shakespeare as it is, instead of learning it
simply for cultural heritage's sake. Shakespeare does not need such
sacred reputation to be passed on. Like Larry Weiss asked 'do we want to
teach students to truly read (and perhaps enjoy) Shakespeare or do we
simply want to acquire some vague "appreciation" for a cultural icon?'
it is worth revaluating why teach Shakespeare and what students in fact
learn from it.

I'm working on a similar research topic so please send me any comments
or more advice. Many thanks. Wan-yu Lin, MPhil/PhD student in the
University of York This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Hamlet On Film Query Follow Up

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0654  Thursday, 11 March 2004

From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 2004 12:06:59 -0500
Subject:        Hamlet On Film Query Follow Up

Many thanks to the many who responded to my query regarding Hamlet
productions on film.  It is clear to me now that I hadn't gotten the
questions quite right - that it was Sarah Bernhardt who first performed
Hamlet on film and that Hepburn's Morning Glory recitation was the first
time the speech "To be or not to be" was spoken in film.  No doubt I
accidentally confused Bernhardt with Asta Neilsen because the latter was
foremost on my mind while working on the catalogue.

It's too late now to append the information to the catalogue, but I'd
like to confirm that this is the case for my own peace of mind.  Ken
Meaney mentions a recitation by Donald Calthrop in the Elstree Calling
revue of 1930, but was this a vaudeville type assemblage of acts, or was
the To Be speech integrated into a story line?   Does it make a
difference, or is the first occurrence the first, no matter what form it
took?

And now that I have the Bernhardt issue sorted out, does anyone have an
earlier Hamlet on record?

Sorry to have taken so long to follow up on this.

Tanya Gough
The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue
www.bardcentral.com

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The Three Sons in Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0652  Thursday, 11 March 2004

From:           Rolland Banker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 9 Mar 2004 22:32:58 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        The Three Sons in Hamlet

I bought some Shakespeare tapes from the Teaching Company awhile ago and
in appreciation received this fascinating article from the Atlantic
Monthly c/o Teaching Company.

The Three Sons in Hamlet
By Jean Paris; June 1959

An excerpt:

"....But in the very opening scene, and before the Ghost has spoken, we
are given an inkling of the fact that the tragic cycle goes back further
than that. When the two sentinels, Marcellus and Bernardo, wish to know
why the kingdom is in such a frenzy of military preparation, Horatio
explains to them that some time before, the late king, Hamlet, had taken
on Fortinbras, king of Norway, in single combat, had slain him and
annexed a large portion of his lands. To regain them young Fortinbras,
his son, "of unimproved mettle hot and full," was now busy gathering
together a force of "lawless resolutes,"

and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.

Strange as it may seem, I know of no major Shakespeare critic or scholar
who has given to this speech of Horatio's the attention it would seem to
deserve. This is all the more extraordinary in that it occurs at the
very beginning and was apparently intended to point up the genesis, the
"original sin," in the fateful cycle of events that make up the tragedy
of Hamlet. If we want proof of this, we can find it in the gravedigger's
scene in the last act. When asked by Hamlet how long he has been digging
graves, the gravemaker replies:

I came to't that day that our last king Hamlet
Overcame Fortinbras . . . the very day that young
Hamlet was born-he that is mad, and sent into
England.

There is no reason to suppose that Shakespeare gave the gravedigger
these pregnant lines to establish an odd coincidence. It seems clear
enough that in this scene, one of the most meaningful in the entire
play, ...."

I found it fascinating and The Teaching Co. told me to share it so here
'tis:

http://www.teach12.com/ttc/ThreeSonsHamlet.asp?ai=16417

If that doesn't work I can send the whole article by email if anyone is
interested.

_______________________________________________________________
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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A Thought for St. David's Day

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0653  Thursday, 11 March 2004

From:           Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 2004 07:19:00 EST
Subject: 15.0611 A Thought for St. David's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0611 A Thought for St. David's Day

Falstaff tells Hal "There's neither honesty nor manhood nor good
fellowship in thee," if he will not come robbing. He claims robbery as
his vocation and says, "Tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation."
  Apparently this is part of his essential Welshness...

Here's a story from C Mery Talys [100 Merry Tales] the Tudor jest book
that Benedick claims as the source of Beatrice's good wit. [It's also
the source of several incidents in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, a play
that Shakespeare probably acted in c1602.]  It contains a number of
'Welsh jokes'. In common with other subdued foreigners [e.g., Mexicans
as seen by Texans, the Wild Irish as seen by Tudor Englishmen, the rest
of the world-- barbaros-- as seen by the ancient Greeks] the Welsh are
regarded as laughingstocks, violent and ignorant, who live across the
border and speak an incomprehensible gibberish.

"A Welshman, dwelling in a wild place of Wales, came to his curate in
the time of Lent and was confessed. And when his confession was in
manner at the end the curate asked an he had any other thing to say that
grieved his conscience; which sore abashed [he] answered no words a good
while. At last by exhortation of his ghostly father he said that there
was one thing in his mind that greatly grieved his conscience which he
was ashamed to utter, for it was so grievous he trowed God would never
forgive him. To which the curate replied that God's mercy was above all,
and bad him not despair in the mercy of God, for whatsoever it was, if
he were repentant, that God would forgive him.  And so by long
exhortation he showed it and said thus: 'Sir, it happened once that as
my wife was making a cheese upon a Friday, I would have 'sayed whether
it had been salt or fresh and took a little of the whey in my hand and
put it in my mouth; and ere I was 'ware, part of it went down my throat
against my will, and so I broke my fast.'  To whom the curate said: 'An
if there be no other thing, I warrant God shall forgive thee.'  So when
he had comforted him with the mercy of God, the curate prayed him to
answer a question and to tell him truth, and when the Welshman had
promised to tell the truth, the curate said that there were robberies
and murders done nigh the place where he dwelt and divers men found
slain, and asked whether he knew aught pointing to any of them. To whom
he answered and said yes, and said he had been privy to many of them and
did help to rob and slay divers of them. Then the curate asked him why
he did not confess him thereof. The Welshman answered and said he took
that for no sin, for it was custom amongst them that when any booty came
of any rich merchant riding that it was but a true-neighbor deed, one to
help another when one called another, and so they held it but for good
fellowship and neighborhood."

I'd say there's a "whiff of potential disorder" in this Welshness...

Lloyd the Bookstore

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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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Much Ado Questions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0651  Thursday, 11 March 2004

From:           Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Mar 2004 07:37:39 EST
Subject: 15.0636 Much Ado Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0636 Much Ado Questions

On the subject of whether 'case' is properly regarded as a sexual pun, I
don''t think I've seen Mistress Quickly quoted...

In the Latin lesson in 4.1 of Merry Wives of Windsor, Sir Hugh is
quizzing young William Page:

Sir Hugh: What is your genitive case plural, William?
William: Genitive case?
Sir Hugh: Ay.
William: Genitivo: 'horum, harum, horum'.
Mistress Quickly: Vengeance of Jenny's case! Fie on her! Never name her,
child, if she be a whore!

'Case' was, like 'captain' and 'occupy', apparently an excellent good
word before it was ill-sorted...

Bill Lloyd

_______________________________________________________________
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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