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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Timon of Athens
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1496  Tuesday, 10 August 2004

[1]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Aug 2004 09:33:39 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

[2]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Aug 2004 12:38:03 -0300
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

[3]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Aug 2004 11:40:25 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

[4]     From:   John Price <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Aug 2004 20:03:52 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

[5]     From:   Jack Hettinger <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Aug 2004 19:47:05 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

[6]     From:   Susan St. John <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Aug 2004 19:04:58 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

[7]     From:   Markus Marti <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Aug 2004 07:28:18 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Aug 2004 09:33:39 -0500
Subject: 15.1483 Timon of Athens
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

Jack Heller asks

 >Besides Timon, what plays have banqueting scenes? I think of Macbeth
 >and Richard III (or is it merely a council table when Hastings is
 >betrayed?). As most seem to think Timon is a collaboration of
 >Shakespeare and Middleton, can you help me list both Shakespearean and
 >non-Shakespearean banquet scenes? (This question will send me to reading
 >The Bloody Banquet.)

Both Shrew and Dream conclude with banquet scenes. Shrew might be
construed as having an earlier one when Petruchio arrives home and
throws the food all over the room. Not to mention Titus A (blech),
Tempest, AYLI (sort of), and . . .  Memory fails me and I am too
concerned with working up a new course to go over them all.

WS seemed to be fond of the scenes, though they're devilish hard to stage.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Aug 2004 12:38:03 -0300
Subject: 15.1483 Timon of Athens
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

Regarding Jack Heller's question about Timon and banqueting, though
perhaps obvious, a useful parallel to the banquet in Timon is the
banquet in Titus.  Both revel in the perverse potential of food.

As for what might have been added: I for one would like to know how the
dead Timon gets himself buried.

Todd Pettigrew
UCCB

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Aug 2004 11:40:25 -0400
Subject: 15.1483 Timon of Athens
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

In re questions on "Timon of Athens"

I reviewed criticism up to 2001 for the article on the play I wrote for
Dutton and Howard, A Companion to Shakespeare's Works, vol. 1: The
Tragedies. There are a number of interesting essays on the play, one of
the most often cited recent ones being Coppelia Kahn's 1987 "'Magic of
Bounty :

Timon of Athens, Jacobean Patronage, and Maternal Power" in Shakespeare
Quarterly 38 (1987). I haven't had a chance to see John Jowett's
Introduction in the new Oxford edn. of the play, but based on other work
of his on the play I've seen, I'd expect it to have the most up-to-date
discussion of textual issues and the case for co-authorship with Middleton.

The classic essay for the "unfinished play" thesis goes back a
ways--Una-Ellis Fermor, "Timon of Athens: An Unfinished Play," Review of
English Studies 18 (1942), 270-83. If memory is accurate, issues about
the Alcibiades sub-plot, the arguably inconsistent meanings of the
monetary unit "talent," and a lot of irregular versification (which
other critics see as Middleton's fingerprints) are the main evidence for
this position. All of them have been explained in other ways--but what
hasn't, in Shakespeare studies?

I don't know of any studies exploring possible homoerotic issues, but I
probably overlooked some.

There was a banquet scene in an academic comedy called "Timon" which
came to light in 1842 in a manuscript impossible to date accurately but
which was roughly contemporaneous with Shakespeare's work, and so it is
uncertain if it influenced Shakespeare (and Middleton) or vice versa.

Best,
Hugh Grady

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Price <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Aug 2004 20:03:52 +0100
Subject: 15.1483 Timon of Athens
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

With respect to banqueting scenes, I cannot answer the question
directly, but can suggest the following study by Chris Meads:

Banquets Set Forth: Banqueting in English Renaissance Drama
Revels Plays Companions Library
Publisher: Manchester University Press
ISBN: 0719055679

The Amazon description is as follows:

"Banquets proved an enduring setting in which to play out crucial and
compelling sections of 99 surviving plays written between 1585 and 1642.
  Food, sex and revenge; food, drink and violent disorder; food, harmony
and reconciliation; food, flattery and self-fashioning; arresting
combinations which early modern banquets on stage contrived to present.
  In this work Chris Meads provides a full account of these banquet
scenes on the English Renaissance stages, placing the play-texts within
their contexts in terms of contemporary playhouse, social and culinary
banqueting practices. The work examines the changes and developments in
the use of banquets and banqueting on the stage, touching on the works
of an overwhelming majority of playwrights, beginning with those who
made their mark in the Elizabethan period. It goes on to cover the
notable contributions made by Heywood, by Middleton and Dekker, by
Fletcher and his various collaborators, and by a final substantial group
of playwrights such as Ford, Davenant, Shirley, Brome, plus numerous
minor writers of the late-Jacobean and Caroline phase. This title will
be of interest to students of literature, theatre studies, Renaissance
studies, and to enthusiasts of the early modern period attracted by the
sections on contemporary culinary practices, and early modern staging."

John Price

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Hettinger <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Aug 2004 19:47:05 -0400
Subject: 15.1483 Timon of Athens
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

Jack,

These remarks from Bevington's introduction to Timon of Athens (the 1992
Complete Works) may help you:

The play may not have been produced; the text, not printed until the
1623 Folio, appears to have been taken from the author's unfinished
manuscript, with contradictory uncanceled lines (see Timon's will,
5.4.70-73), unresolved discrepancies as to the amount of money Timon
gives or requests, and passages of half-versified prose (1256).

The lines from the will, including the quotation marks, are:

"Here lies a wretched corpse, of wretched soul bereft.
Seek not my name. A plague consume you wicked caitiffs left!
Here lie I, Timon, who, alive, all living men did hate.
Pass by and curse they fill, but pass and stay not here thy gait."

Bevington's note states "(Of these two inscriptions, both found in
Plutarch, Shakespeare would presumably have deleted one, since they
contradict one another.)" I don't know why the parentheses are in the
note, but there they are.

Bevington does not specify any particular "passages of half-versified
prose", but I think one such is 1.2.38-52, which I shall furnish for
those without a text of the play, as well as those too trusting of their
fellows. Apemantus speaks:

I scorn thy meat; 'twould choke me, for I                         38
should ne'er flatter thee. O you gods, what a number
of men eats Timon, and he sees 'em not! It grieves me     40
to see so many dip their meat in one man's blood; and
all the madness is, he cheers them up, too.
I wonder men dare trust themselves with men.
Methinks they should invite them without knives;
Good for their meat, and safer for their lives.                    45
There's much example for 't. The fellow that sits next
him, now parts bread with him, pledges the breath of
him in a divided draft, is the readiest man to kill
him. 'T has been proved. If I were a huge man, I
should fear to drink at meals,                                         50
Lest they should spy my windpipe's dangerous notes.
Great men should drink with harness on their throats.

As for banquet scenes, I think of the shipboard feast of Caesar, Antony,
Pompey, Lepidus, and others in Antony and Cleopatra (2.7), as well as
the "one other gaudy night" (3.13.186) Antony commands, and to which he
and Cleopatra are proceeding in 4.2, but which we do not see.

Jack Hettinger

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Aug 2004 19:04:58 -0700
Subject: 15.1483 Timon of Athens
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

There is a banquet (magically produced) in TEMPEST

And a casual banquet of sorts in the forest in AYLI

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Aug 2004 07:28:18 +0200
Subject: 15.1483 Timon of Athens
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1483 Timon of Athens

 >I am wondering how we would figure it to be unfinished. And what is
 >missing from the play that one would add to it?

It's not so much the missing parts, it's rather that some things have
not been cleaned up, eg. the "talents" ("so and so many"), and there are
also too many epitaphs of/for Timon.

 >Besides Timon, what plays have banqueting scenes? I think of Macbeth
 >and Richard III (or is it merely a council table when Hastings is
 >betrayed?). ...

Banqueting scenes are a common feature in revenge tragedies. Revenge
themes ask for banquets, where the bad people get punished: You'll find
them in Seneca's/Heywood's Thyestes, in Titus Andronicus, in the
Tempest, in Henry 8th, in Marlowe's Jew of Malta etc.

 >I think the Stratford staging successfully places the first half of
 >the action in a New York-ish club millieu, clearly homosocial. Can
 >anyone direct me to a critical reading that emphasizes homosocial
 >and/or constructions of masculinity in this play?

Coppelia Kahn (Sh. Q. 1987) speaks about the missing MOTHER;
patriarchism is connected with materialism (and, if you want,
homosexuality - e.g. relationship between Timon and Alcibiades). There
are no women in this play, apart from two whores who deal their body for
money (for what else?). Otherwise, the question of this play is whether
money can beget money, and what effects that would have. It questions
money, and it questions capitalism. For some obvious reasons, it was
Karl Marx's favourite Shakespearean play.

Have a closer look, comrade!

Markus

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