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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Timon of Athens
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1508  Wednesday, 11 August 2004

[1]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Aug 2004 15:37:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1496 Timon of Athens

[2]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Aug 2004 20:41:40 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1496 Timon of Athens


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Aug 2004 15:37:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 15.1496 Timon of Athens
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1496 Timon of Athens

No sooner did I post my query than we got the announcement of the new
issue of EMLS, with a review of Chris Meads' book, Banquets Set Forth:
Banqueting in English Renaissance Drama. Thank you to all who responded
with play lists. I think Meads will have the most comprehensive list. To
let you know, what I am particularly looking for are instances when a
blessing is asked before the meal, or as in Timon, when such a blessing
is parodied.

It seems from the responses that the play's "unfinished" state has more
to do with resolving inconsistencies than with adding material, though I
think Timon's burial and the introduction to Alcibiades's subplot are
perhaps most clumsy. However, these did not strike me as large problems
with the staging of the play. I think it would be too bad if these are
the issues that keep this play from getting more attention.

I have been involved in an offlist conversation about the play, so I'll
note that I chose "homosocial" rather than "homoerotic" because I'm not
sure the text insists upon eroticism. However, some of the staging to me
suggested to me a repressed homoeroticism, especially from Lucullus and
Lucius. As for women characters, besides the prostitutes, there are the
Amazon dancers. I think the play would reward study of its homosocial
relations, whether or not they are homosexual. By the way, while some of
the criticism I've seen makes (unfavorable) comparisons of the play to
Lear, I think its emphasis on ingratitude, on homosocial society, and on
ontology would make for useful and happier comparisons to Coriolanus.
Offlist, one correspondent has proposed just such a comparison.

There was much useful in the responses to my query, for which I am most
grateful.

Jack Heller
Huntington College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Aug 2004 20:41:40 -0400
Subject: 15.1496 Timon of Athens
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1496 Timon of Athens

The reason Timon seems unfinished to me--a first draft, to be
accurate--is simply that it's a terrible play: no characters who are
even half-dimensional, a plot as stilted as the worst of the Bard's
histories but without their complexity, and just about no poetry of any
account.

--Bob G., back from travel so a little late with this

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