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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Question Concerning Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1586  Wednesday, 25 August 2004

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 10:05:10 -0400
        Subj:   Question Concerning Measure for Measure

[2]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 11:23:24 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

[3]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 18:22:58 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

[4]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 23:33:51 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 10:05:10 -0400
Subject:        Question Concerning Measure for Measure

I've just read the recent exchange between Peter and Tom. I was the
reader who evaluated and then accepted Tom Krause's essay on Measure for
Measure for publication. In my view, Tom makes a fascinating and
extremely well supported argument for an allegorical reading of M for M.
I wrote in my evaluation that Tom's reading uncovers PART of
Shakespeare's intention but not all of it. In other words, there's
plenty of room for discussions of justice versus mercy, forced
marriages, etc.. But on an allegorical level, Tom cold-cocked the play:
he's right.

I understand that Tom will post his essay. When you read the whole
argument, I think you'll be as impressed as I was.

Ed Taft
Editorial Board Member
SRASP (Shakespeare and Renaissance Association: Selected Papers)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 11:23:24 -0400
Subject: 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

Personally, I'm swooning over Mr. Krause's theory. I like the link of
"debased" to the name Claudio/Claudius in Shakespeare's mind so much
better than the meaning "lame" considering the characters to whom he
assigns it.  And the "debased" theme is certainly in the play. What
jumps into my mind is "fond sicles of the tested gold." Sure, it's a fun
play on "testicles," but it won't be the first time Shakespeare has used
sexual imagery to lead into a political theme. The temple garden scene
in H VI part 1 with its "plucking a rose" (deflowering a virgin) pissing
match between the scions of York and Lancaster was a pretty caustic
reference to the rape of England in those rose wars.

But I'm going to have to sit for a while with the romance between
Elizabeth (Isabella) and James (the Duke).  I don't hate it. Basically,
it makes Elizabeth wrong for refusing to marry and encourages James to
leave off his Catholic leanings (masquerading as a monk) and take
responsibility for ruling a Protestant kingdom (Elizabeth). Wouldn't you
say?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 18:22:58 +0100
Subject: 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

Tom Krause wrote:

 >Peter Bridgman writes . . .
 >>
 >>>Are you at all related to the "credulous Krause" who appears in the
 >>>footnotes to Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman?  There is a certain
 >>>similarity in your thinking.
 >
 >Peter - "Credulous Kraus" had no "e" -- no relation.  What we have in
 >common, however, is a critic (in my case you, and in his case the
 >narrator) who casts aspersions on our work without troubling to explain
 >the criticism and quite possibly without reading the work.  "Credulous"
 >is a particularly strange word to describe me, since my work shows me
 >skeptical of just about everything that has ever been written about
 >Measure for Measure.

I must confess that I have not read "The Third Policeman", but I shall
remedy the deficiency if the footnotes contain nonsense of such quality.
  I have not heard of Federigo (Federico) Spinola who, perhaps unfairly,
has not troubled historians.  More to the point, Shakespeare would not
have done so either (let alone poor William Shakeshafte in rural
Lancashire).  It was Federico's younger brother Ambrogio (Ambrosio),
millionaire banker and self-taught military genius, who was a "great
soldier" - the greatest general of his age, but he did not achieve any
fame until his capture of Ostend in 1604, a trifle late for notice in
"Measure for Measure".

John Briggs

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 23:33:51 +0100
Subject: 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1576 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

Tom Krause writes ...

 >Juan de Mariana was a Spanish Jesuit who argued against debasement
 >of the currency.

Yes he did.  But Mariana's De Monetae Mutatione (On the Alteration of
Money) was published in 1605.  Whereas Measure for Measure was first
performed late 1603 or early 1604.

 >As to the moated grange, I am not aware of any other attempts to
 >identify a "real" moated grange.  But "Lyford Grange" was a grange that
 >had a moat, and would have been well known to at least some members of
 >Shakespeare's audience as the site at which Jesuit Edmund Campion was
 >captured in 1581.  The "moated grange" thus points to Jesuits and thus
 >to Juan de Mariana.

Lyford Grange was in Berkshire.  May I propose two alternative moated
granges that WS might have known in Warwickshire?  And both with
religious connections?

The Benedictine Priory outside Coventry (situated where the Keresley and
Sadler roads met) was a moated grange.  And so was (and still is)
Baddesley Clinton, which was used in 1603 as a meeting place for the
Jesuit mission under Henry Garnet (he of Macbeth fame).

 >1.  Isabella's name:  Isabella is Spanish for Elizabeth.  That fact,
 >plus the presence of other Spanish elements in the play, points to
 >Isabella as Queen Elizabeth.

Actually the Spanish for Elizabeth is Isabel.  Isabella is Italian.  And
most of the other characters in the play have Italian names too.

I'm not sure what you mean by Spanish elements in the play pointing to
Isabella as Queen Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had no Spanish blood and hated
both Spain and the memory of her father's Spanish wife.

 >5. Excision of the entire text of Measure for Measure in a 1632 Folio
 >version of Shakespeare's plays that was censored by the Spanish
 >Inquisition: points to Isabella as Elizabeth, in that references to
 >Elizabeth in other plays were removed.

I wasn't aware of this, but if it is true, isn't it more likely the
Inquisition had the same problem with the play that Thomas Bowdler had,
centuries later?  That once they'd removed all the bawdy jokes and
references to sex and syphilis, there wasn't much of a play left to read?

Peter Bridgman

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