Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
Question on Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1940  Monday, 25 October 2004

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 22 Oct 2004 12:26:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure

[2]     From:   Tom Krause <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 22 Oct 2004 20:08:47 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure

[3]     From:   Edmund Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 23 Oct 2004 10:29:39 -0400
        Subj:   Question on Measure for Measure

[4]     From:   John Briggs <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 25 Oct 2004 01:43:27 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 22 Oct 2004 12:26:06 -0400
Subject: 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure

Abigail Quart <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

 >Yeah, most writers that we know from that period were What You See Is
 >What You Get, WYSIWYG. Shakespeare wasn't. That's why we still study
 >him, still discover new in his 400-year-old wordplay. He wasn't ordinary
 >and comparing him to ordinary talented writers is apples and oranges and
 >always will be.

This is rank bardolatry, so clean you could eat off it, and so extreme
that, were it applied to Christ Jesus Himself, it would be condemned as
Apollinarian heresy.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Krause <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 22 Oct 2004 20:08:47 -0400
Subject: Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        SHK 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure

Peter Bridgman wrote:

"Mr Krause's single-mindedness is stunning. . . ."

No, what's stunning is how you've managed to construe what was
essentially a joke on my part as evidence of my "single-mindedness," and
then -- disregarding my warning not to go there -- turned around and
"refuted" my "point" with a stunningly single-minded (if derivative)
theory of your own.

To get back on track and help get this thread out of Hardy's hair, here
is what you can do: Read the quotes from Kaufman from my last post (the
ones that explain how the opening lines of the play set us up for an
extended economic metaphor). Then, assume that everyone watching the
play was worried about debasement, had heard of Juan de Mariana, and
knew that he was against debasement. Then tell me what you think of the
debasement theory.

I actually have a lot of hope for you, because you have shown yourself
to be someone who believes that Shakespeare might have put allegories
and contemporary references into his plays. Obviously, this exercise
will be difficult if you are POSITIVE that nobody in England at the time
knew of Juan de Mariana. But remember what Fitzgerald said
(approximately): "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability
to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain
the ability to function."  I'm sure you can do it, and I promise you it
will move the ball forward -- if you accept those premises, any flaws in
the theory that you identify will probably be flaws that I truly need to
address.

Sarah Cohen writes:

"Did Shakespeare put a debasement allegory in Measure for Measure? I
don't know. If he did, his audience would have caught it. But if he did
not, his audience might have caught it anyway!"

The voice of reason!

Tom Krause

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 23 Oct 2004 10:29:39 -0400
Subject:        Question on Measure for Measure

In an earlier post, John Briggs wrote:

 >"I do, however, find the correlation of Marianas to bed-tricks
 >intriguing, and would suggest that Shakespeare (possibly unconsciously)
 >picked up the name 'Mariana' while studying other bed-trick plays,
 >preparatory to writing one of his own - probably "All's Well That Ends
 >Well"."

To which Tom Krause replied the next day:

 >"What correlation?  Why are you so eager to accept a "correlation"
 >without proof (i.e. number of plays, number of Marianas, number
 >of bed tricks, variance, etc.) but insist on more and more proof as
 >to Federico?"

Or more and more proof that Mariana was well known to many English by
the early 1600's, and that his views on currency and debasement had
"circulated," so to speak?  John's position now is not one of the
reasonable skeptic but the obstructionist, out at all costs to demand
more and more proof without ever considering what is "probable," - the
only real criterion in arguments like this, where the quantity and
quality of evidence will never amount to what, ideally, we would all like.

Tom has an obligation - which he has amply fulfilled - to persuade with
arguments and evidence. Doesn't John Briggs also have an obligation to
eschew obstructionism and, at the very least, admit that Krause has made
a reasonable case that persuades others, if not John himself?

Ed Taft

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 25 Oct 2004 01:43:27 +0100
Subject: 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1924 Question on Measure for Measure

Hardy M. Cook wrote:

 >[Editor's Note: I would appreciate it if contributors to this thread
 >would make an effort to bring it to a conclusion soon.]

Obviously, nothing much more would be achieved by further discussion of
the alleged allegory, but I would have hoped that further discussion of
issues such as the extent of the involvement of Middleton as a reviser
or collaborator might be permitted?

Peter Bridgman wrote:

 >WS's collaborator on Pericles was the Catholic recusant George
 >Wilkins.

I have seen Wilkins described as a drunkard and as a brothel-keeper, but
not, I think, as a recusant.

 >In 1609 Pericles was included in a season of religious mystery
 >plays staged by a troupe of Catholic recusant actors that toured the
 >Yorkshire Dales.

They also performed King Lear!

Abigail Quart wrote

 >Mr. Briggs, Shakespeare was very particular in his character's names.
 >If that hasn't been amply proven by now, I dunno, I just dunno.

This is a truly baffling statement!  There must be some examples - but I
can't, at the moment, think of any character names that have any
significance whatsoever.

Sarah Cohen wrote:

 >Certainly enough of these people existed in contemporary theatre
 >audiences for Ben Jonson to make fun of them in his Induction to
 >Bartholomew Fair:

I would suggest that the Induction to Bartholomew Fair is not meant to
be taken at face value, and thus that it would be very dangerous to draw
any conclusions about anything from it (and certainly not the production
date of Titus Andronicus!)

Tom Krause wrote:

 >I'm baffled by your apparent belief that the Spinola example
 >demonstrates a defect in my "style of reasoning."  The last time you
 >raised this point (your Aug. 24 post), I explained to you that Spinola
 >had been a prominent member of Spain's military force from 1593-1603,
 >and that his death in a naval battle off Ostend would certainly have
 >been widely reported (see my Aug. 25 post).  Now you seem to be
 >insisting that I prove (beyond this obvious inference) that the
 >English had heard of him.  Of course they had.

This is exactly what I am complaining about.  I was asking for
quotations from contemporary sources to illustrate the point, not
assumptions about significance and quotations from modern historians.

 >I don't have a citation to an exact contemporary source about
 >Federico's death, but I assure you it was a big deal.  An account of
 >it appears in Edward Grimeston's "A Generall History of the
 >Netherlands" (London 1608), and I'd be willing to bet, though I can't
 >prove just now, that Federico's death is mentioned in Grimeston's "A
 >True Historie of the Memorable Siege of Ostend" (London 1604).
 >
 >Does that satisfy my onus?

That's much more like it - but quotations, please.

 >And where exactly do you draw the line on your "work of fiction"
 >argument?  Do you take a position on what the plague, the war, the
 >peace, the sweat, the gallows, and the King of Hungary refer to?  If
 >you say they don't refer to anything (it's fiction, after all), then
 >you are taking a position, but it's a position that most critics
 >disagree with.

My 'position' is that they don't refer to anything specific: Shakespeare
(or Middleton!) put them in as 'local colour' - something that his
audience could relate to from their own experience, and would thus find
plausible for the time and place of the play's action.  This is not a
particularly original position: even if 'most critics' disagree with
different parts of it, they are unable to agree amongst themselves (as
you yourself have shown) as to what elements, if any, refer to which
specific events of 1603, 1604 or 1621.

 >see Hendrik Dijkgraaf, The
 >Library of a Jesuit Community at Holbeck, Nottinghamshire, 1679
 >(2003) isbn 0951881175.
 >
 >
 >Interesting, and this could be helpful if it tells us that the library
 >was in existence in 1603-04 and what its collection contained then
 >(does the book address these questions?).

You misunderstand my purpose: I am supplying the reference in order that
you might check it - I was not proposing to do the work myself!

 >I think Taylor and Jowett's answer would be that they believe they
 >have found a clear contemporary reference to a 1621 event, as
 >described in my post (i.e. the attack on Vienna by the King of
 >Hungary).

I propose to draw a discreet veil of silence over the question of
whether (or not!) there might have been a 'King of Hungary' in 1621!

John Briggs

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail 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.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.