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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
Question on Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1701  Friday, 10 September 2004

[1]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Friday, September 10, 2004
        Subj:   Question on Measure for Measure

[2]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 10:57:30 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

[3]     From:   Kathy Dent <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 19:27:09 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

[4]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 16:17:37 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

[5]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 16:44:53 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

[6]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 15:18:59 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

[7]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 18:12:19 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

[8]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 15:25:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

[9]     From:   Tom Krause <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Sep 2004 03:22:37 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 15.1688: Question on Measure for Measure


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Friday, September 10, 2004
Subject:        Question on Measure for Measure

I have consulted with my Advisory Board and decided not to post some of
the messages that I have received in this thread today because I feel
that the language has crossed the threshold of acceptable academic
discourse. For now on, in this thread, I will not post vitriolic,
vituperative contributions. If this thread is to continue, contributors
will need to address the issues and not the persons in reasonably short
postings. I will be returning those posts that I have withheld and
offering the contributors the opportunity to restate their positions.

Hardy M. Cook
Editor-Moderator

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 10:57:30 EDT
Subject: 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

I'm not going to get into the particulars of the Mariana-Measure debate,
but let me offer a mini-review.

I like to see argument, even vigorous argument, but feel dismay when the
contention descends into personal attacks. I don't know personally any
of the combatants, so this is an attempt at an impartial assessment.
Tom Krause has the right to promote his theories, and Ed Taft has the
right to publish and defend them. Thomas Larque is entitled to disagree
with those theories. So far, so good.

My experience of Thomas Larque's SHAKSPER posts is that he seems to be
one of the more articulate and sensible voices in the conference. I
would feel more comfortable defending him if he had not now been brought
to the point of using words like idiotic, nutcase and garbage when
criticizing Krause's work. But his point that coincidences are
dangerously common and it is very easy and very tempting to read too
much into them is well taken. It's a caveat we should all emptorate, not
just Krause and Taft.

Ed Taft accuses Larque of spewing abuse, unclear writing, knowing
nothing, contradicting his betters, etc etc.  I went back and read thru
the thread from the beginning and Larque's initial disagreements with
Krause's theories, while pretty complete, were mildly phrased. The
escalation of anger has emanated from Taft's side; his
how-dare-you-disagree attitude has been apparent from the start. I
concede that Larque has now also begun to use angry dismissive words in
his responses.

I was almost amused when Taft attempted to insult Larque by comparing
him to Richard Levin. I know Levin has gained a rep as a contentious
writer, but, while I don't always agree with him, there is much wisdom
in what he says. If Larque is like Levin, he is in good company. Levin,
by the way, while taking many writers to task, does not indulge in ad
hominem attacks.


I don't want to get on Ed Taft's or Thomas Larque's bad sides, or be
seen as picking on them. Really. I'm just making a plea that this thread
be brought down to the level of scholarly disagreement. I've seen
interesting things said on both sides. Perhaps there's more to be said,
perhaps it's time to agree to disagree. Insults get us nowhere.

Bill Lloyd
The Dag Hammarksjold Institute



[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 19:27:09 +0100
Subject: 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

Larque v. Krause  Round 237

Gentlemen!  Sharpen your weapons!  My groaning in-tray reports that the
latest post on this subject is amounts to 115KB.  Words, words, words.
If it is entirely necessary for you to be bludgeoning each other in this
unseemly fashion, would it be possible to make your arguments with
enough wit and succinctness to keep the rest of us entertained?

Yours (yawn)
Kathy Dent

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 16:17:37 +0100
Subject: 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure



Edmund Taft wrote:

 >1. Read chapter 4 of Eric Mallin's _Inscribing the Time: Shakespeare and
 >the End of Elizabethan England_, in which Mallin demonstrates over and
 >over again the similarities between the Anjou affair and the main plot
 >of Twelfth Night.

I haven't read Mallin's "Inscribing the Time" either, so perhaps Ed Taft
will consign me to the same circle of hell as Thomas Larque, but the
review in Early Modern Literary Studies (the most accessible) doesn't
encourage me to read it.  If anyone wants to claim there are
similarities between the Alencon/Anjou affair and "Twelfth Night" (main
or sub-plots) they will have to demonstrate it themselves.

Tom Krause wrote:

 >John Briggs writes:
 >
 >"Actually, we don't know that Shakespeare intentionally named Angelo
 >after the coin."
 >
 >See Thomas Larque's last post, with the Lever discussion.

This is probably no more than I deserve, but I would point out that
there are those (including N.W. Bawcutt in his Oxford edition) who
consider that the coin imagery (something of a commonplace in
Shakespeare's plays at this time) was exaggerated by Lever.  Bawcutt
doesn't accept "Spirits are not finely touched / But to fine issues"
(1.1.36-37) as coin imagery, rather than at least the wording of
biblical imagery (from St Luke, as it happens).

Angelo certainly says "Let there be some more test of my mettle, /
Before so noble and so great a figure / be stamped upon it."
(1.1.49-51), but it is not obvious that he is referring to the Angel
Noble, so dramatic irony (at best) is all that could be claimed.
("Metal" and "mettle" were two spellings of the same word.)

I might as well add (as I have pointed out before) that the whole
"Shakeshafte" nonsense results from a lack of onomastic knowledge -
"Shakeshafte" is the Lancashire form related to the predominantly
Warwickshire "Shakespeare".  Somewhere else, in another part of the
wood, there could have been another unconnected player named "William
Wagstaff".

John Briggs

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 Sep 2004 16:44:53 +0100
Subject: 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

As far as the names of the characters are concerned, it doesn't seem
unreasonable that Shakespeare should have populated what is presumably a
Habsburg Vienna with a mixture of vaguely Italian and vaguely Spanish
names.  It is, of course, the usual Never-Never land where everyone
behaves as if they were in a Tudor or Stuart London.  There is a nod
towards a vague Roman Catholicism - at least to extent of people being
nuns or friars - but the awful lurking suspicion remains that
Shakespeare might not have realised that the predominant language ought
to be German.

John Briggs

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 15:18:59 -0400
Subject: 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

This from Ed Taft:

 >I'm afraid that the problem with Larque is that,
 >while he rails at great length against modern criticism, he hasn't
 >actually read much of it.

Perhaps not, but would you be so good as to let us know how you reach
this surmise (other than that he disagrees with you, of course).

 >Mariana was well known long before 1604-1605 as one of the leading
 >intellectuals of his day.

Kindly cite your authority for this.

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 18:12:19 -0400
Subject: 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

This from Krause, which he repeats a number of times:

 >Isabella and the
 >Duke play monarch roles in the debasement metaphor.

But, as your thesis postulates, wasn't the monarchical role to initiate
debasement, not forestall it?

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Sep 2004 15:25:16 -0400
Subject: 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1688 Question on Measure for Measure

If "picture in little" is a coin, why would anyone pay "Forty, fifty, an
hundred ducats apiece" to acquire one, when it could be obtained for its
face value.  A 100 ducat coin would hardly be "little."

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Sep 2004 03:22:37 -0400
Subject: Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        SHK 15.1688: Question on Measure for Measure

I'm afraid I can't dedicate much more time to this either (and will be
traveling over the weekend and have many upcoming commitments that will
prevent me from posting as regularly as I have been).  I'm going to
start this one by just reviewing the basic points of the Measure for
Measure allegory one last time, for people who came in late, and perhaps
with the hope that Mr. Larque will eventually realize how innocuous it
all is.

Mr. Larque's last post probably contains more mischaracterizations,
exaggerations, and bad arguments than the previous ones put together and
I will only have a chance to address a few of them below.  If anybody
with a reasonably intact prefrontal cortex sees something in Mr.
Larque's post that requires reply beyond what I provide below and have
provided in previous posts, please let me know, either by email or a
separate post, and I'll address those points in a future post.  Of
course, any comments directed at improving the essay would be most welcome.

To put the theory simply, I think Shakespeare may have written a nifty
little allegory into Measure for Measure.  Here goes:

As we know, the basic plot is that the Duke leaves Angelo in charge - in
part to "test" him - and Angelo enforces a law that has not been
enforced for many years against Claudio, who has gotten his fianc

 

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