2005

Date of King John

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0292  Monday, 14 February 2005

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 10:19:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0281 Date of King John

[2]     From:   Michael Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 05:43:36 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0281 Date of King John

[3]     From:   Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 12:24:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0281 Date of King John

[4]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 18:17:29 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0281 Date of King John

[5]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 18:17:29 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0281 Date of King John

[6]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 23:22:30 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0268 Date of King John


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 10:19:35 -0500
Subject: 16.0281 Date of King John
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0281 Date of King John

Michael Egan writes:

 >There are other features of  John F1 suggesting an
 >unperformed/unfinished text (i.e., it is not 'complete' as Grumman
 >claims). For instance, at III.ii.59-68 the King tells Hubert to kill
 >Arthur, but when the assassin comes to do it he carries instructions
 >only to blind the prince (IV.i.37-42). The discrepancy is never
 >explained (it seems to have been a careless carry- over from TR--another
 >detail confirming that play's priority). Isn't it likely that if KJ were
 >ever staged the actors would have pointed out the problem to
 >Shakespeare, who would then have made the correction?

First off, I meant "complete enough."  Probably no play is "really"
complete.  Other plays of Shakespeare's have loose ends, as Bill
Godshalk points out.  Also, I didn't realize the discussion was only
about whether this particular version of King John was performed or not,
so I was merely arguing that some version of this play was performed.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 05:43:36 -1000
Subject: 16.0281 Date of King John
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0281 Date of King John

I'm glad Bill Godshalk likes King John; so do I. To say that it is
interesting but not quite successful is not the same as calling it a
disaster. In many ways it is a seminal work. As Harold Bloom notes of
the Bastard in The Invention of Human: '...no one before in a
Shakespearean play is so persuasive a representation as a person. It is
not too much to say that the Bastard in King John inaugurates
Shakespeare's invention of the human, which is the subject of this
book.' Inter alia, this claim shows the importance of getting the play's
chronology right-uncritically accepting Honigmann, Bloom dates it before
1591, which makes a nonsense of what we know of Shakespeare's evolution
as a writer.

Another sign of the KJ's experimental nature is the scene in which
Arthur leaps from the walls to his death. It's theatrically powerful but
notoriously difficult to stage-the jump must be credibly fatal but not
from a point so high as actually to hurt the actor. On the other hand
Rich


Measure for Measure Production

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0291  Monday, 14 February 2005

[1]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 08:43:03 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

[2]     From:   Thomas M. Lahey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 08:36:24 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

[3]     From:   David Crosby <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 15:28:36 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

[4]     From:   Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 18:38:59 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

[5]     From:   John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 04:14:26 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

[6]     From:   M Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 07:17:30 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 08:43:03 -0600
Subject: 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

 >I haven't seen the Chicago production, but my experiences seeing Measure
 >for Measure performed have not been good. I'm thinking about seeing the
 >play at Stratford, ON this coming season, but I wonder whether the play
 >can be successfully performed. Has anyone seen a Measure that left a
 >positive impression?
 >
 >Heller

Yes, about 15 or 20 years back, Kevin Kline played the Duke in a Central
Park production that was very enjoyable.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas M. Lahey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 08:36:24 -0800
Subject: 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

 >Has anyone seen a Measure that left a positive impression?

Yes.  I've only seen one Measure, early eighties.  I can't remember
whether it was a Long Beach State or Dominguez Hills State (both L.A.
area universities) production.  We probably discussed the play in class,
but it's the production I recall.  Because of the production, Measure
became a drama I would like to see again; well done.  I apologize for
not remembering my instructor's, the director, probably the producer's,
name.

Stay healthy,
Tom

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Crosby <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 15:28:36 -0600
Subject: 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

Jack Heller asks,

 >Has anyone seen a Measure that left a positive impression?

At the Stratford Festival in about 1985, I saw a very powerful and
moving performance. It was set in a vaguely Eastern European
totalitarian state, where the Duke and Antonio were surrounded by
underlings dressed like members of the politburo, and where the
monumental architecture was reminiscent of Mussolini's Italy.
Announcements of public decrees were made over echoing microphones on a
festival stage resembling Red Square. And yet, the prison where
Barnardine was housed, and into which Claudio is thrust, resembled a
medieval dungeon down in the stage trap, and Barnardine was dressed in
the rags of a medieval beggar. In the scene where he reluctantly emerges
from the dungeon, he turns his back on the audience to take a piss back
into the trap, establishing his vulgarity in an emphatic way.

It was the opening of the play that most likely resembled what has been
said about the Chicago production. When we entered the theater, the
stage was already occupied by actors acting out a kind of Hollywood
fantasy of the Weimar Republic's decadent cabarets. Lots of leather and
whips, liquor being swilled, raunchy music playing as the cast enticed
arriving members of the audience onto the stage to participate in the
lewd and lascivious foreplay, confirming the suggestion that the Duke's
failure to enforce the morality laws had let the city descend into
sexual anarchy.

In summary, it was a very eclectic production, pulling resources from a
variety of places and times, and yet my experience of it then (and my
memory of it now) was that it worked wonderfully. More remarkably, my
mother and my mother-in-law (both 70-ish Midwestern housewives with
limited experience of theater, especially Shakespeare) sat quietly in
their seats, their attention never wavering from the stage, and declared
at the end (to my great relief) that the production "certainly was quite
a good show."

I also saw a very satisfactory and much more traditional staging at the
Utah Shakespearean Festival that raised many pertinent issues about
male-female relationships, and played fairly well even in Mormon country.

Regards,
David Crosby

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 18:38:59 EST
Subject: 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival did a really good Measure some time ago
-- maybe five years or so ago.

The sexuality and coarseness of the play were understated but hardly
ignored, and the lasting image that I remember is from the production's
end. In it, the Duke holds out his hand to Isabella, an invitation -- or
perhaps even a royal edit -- to accept his proposal in marriage.
Isabella looked at Claudio, and after a moment's pause, she reluctantly
extends her hand and walks with the Duke. Claudio takes a step forward
to protest, but with her free hand, Isabella holds her palm up,
gesturing for him to be silent and not protest her submission to the
Duke. It was evident that her acquiescence to the Duke was not joyful.

I am very much looking forward to the Stratford Festival's production
this summer. One of the Festival's most legendary productions, though I
did not see it, was a Measure for Measure somewhere in the mid to late
70's. The production starred Brian Bedford as Angelo, William Hutt as
the Duke, and Martha Henry. From what I understand, it was extraordinary.

Paul Swanson

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 04:14:26 -0500
Subject: 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

 >I haven't seen the Chicago production, but my experiences seeing Measure
 >for Measure performed have not been good. I'm thinking about seeing the
 >play at Stratford, ON this coming season, but I wonder whether the play
 >can be successfully performed. Has anyone seen a Measure that left a
 >positive impression?
 >
 >Heller

Did you see the Stratford ON production about 20 years ago?

My son, then in his teens, and I both thought it was well staged.

Don't see why Stratford ON can't do another well staged production.

John R.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 07:17:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0279 Measure for Measure Production

Measure for Measure is so rich and complex a work that I doubt any
production will ever completely encompass it. (Winter's Tale and King
Lear are I think equally elusive.) Also, in key scenes the action turns
on such subtle points of language and ideas, that the director and
actors must have a particular kind of sensitivity and intelligence to be
clear.

However, I have seen good productions of Measure (and bad ones). The bad
ones all took roughly the same approach, playing at degeneracy without
actually getting dirty.

The good ones all took wildly different approaches but had two things in
common. First, each took Isabella seriously and questioned her choices
without belittling her concerns. Second, each made a strong choice about
the world of the play. Vienna was variously portrayed as an Eastern
European bureaucratic society, a stinking cesspool, a moral
battleground, a repressive theocracy with a vibrant underground, and
sexually repressed bourgeois city.

Mark Lamos production at Lincoln Center in the early 1990s is especially
memorable for me since it made explicit something about the structure of
Shakespearean drama. The production demonstrated how Measure is built on
a repeated situation: Character A pleads to character B on behalf of
character C. This action recurred many times throughout with different
characters filling the A, B, and C roles. Lamos skill in
comparing/contrasting each recurrence was so striking that ever since I
have looked for repeated situations in other Shakespearean plays. This
exercise has enriched my understanding of these works, so I can say that
the Lincoln Center production of Measure taught me something important
about how to read Shakespeare.

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

Gambon Falstaff

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0289  Monday, 14 February 2005

From:           Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 09:07:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 16.0276 Gambon Falstaff
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0276 Gambon Falstaff

 >Michael Gambon is to play Falstaff for the NTC in both Hi and ii from
 >May-August. Nicholas Hytner director.

May I ask what or where NTC is?

Jack Heller

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

A Claudius Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0290  Monday, 14 February 2005

[1]     From:   Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 12:28:32 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

[2]     From:   Greg McSweeney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 16:35:07 -0500
        Subj:   Replies to Claudius Question

[3]     From:   Janet Costa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 15:40:54 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

[4]     From:   John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 04:14:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

[5]     From:   Robin Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 14:21:34 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

[6]     From:   D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 13:46:22 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

[7]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 23:42:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

[8]     From:   Bruce Brandt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 14 Feb 2005 12:34:46 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 12:28:32 -0500
Subject: 16.0272 A Claudius Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

It was an aethling system, wasn't it?  The nobles (rich guys) got
together and decided which one of them would be the leader. The nice
thing about the system, as opposed to primogeniture, is that it assured
that the king would have majority support going in, and that no infant
or idiot would be king.  Historically, the real motive for Duncan's
murder in Macbeth is that Duncan abolished the aethling system, in which
Macbeth had a fair chance of becoming king at Duncan's death, when he
appointed his son, Malcolm, Prince of Cumberland, making it the position
of royal heir, like the Prince of Wales in Britain.

So, yeah, Claudius could have been older. Could have been a twin, too.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Greg McSweeney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 16:35:07 -0500
Subject:        Replies to Claudius Question

I just wanted to thank the people who responded off-list to my question
about King Hamlet and Claudius, their ages, and primogeniture. They were
very helpful. Several respondents mentioned the elections, which I was
aware of-especially when the Prince talks about Claudius "popping"
between them and him. So does this sound right? Eligibility for the
monarchy depends on one's status as a royal, and from that eligible pool
of candidates, the population elects a suitable king?

Do we think that Claudius would have been a defeated candidate in the
election won by King Hamlet? In his inaugural speech (1.2) Claudius
seems to believe he has the support of the population; is this just an
example of his smoothing things over with his brilliant rhetoric? Or has
he genuinely won over the rabble by marrying Gertrude? And why aren't
other characters as outraged as Hamlet is at the haste of his mother's
remarriage? Or am I being anachronistic?

Thanks again -

Greg McSweeney
Montreal

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Janet Costa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 15:40:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0272 A Claudius Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

Greg McSweeney: "a student has asked me why Hamlet's father had been
king instead of Claudius in the first place."

Greg:

Primogeniture was not an issue in Denmark in this period. The earliest
recorded date for an elected monarch is 958 ACE, and Denmark remained an
elective monarchy until 1660-1661. In 1849, Denmark became a
constitutional monarchy.

Now, in this elected monarchy, succession was limited to the royal
house, but not to just the male line. It was possible for nephews,
cousins, and women to gain the crown.

Vague reference is made to these circumstances in two places of which I
am aware. When Hamlet returns from England, he tells Horatio:

He that hath killed my king, and whored my mother;
Popped in between the election and my hopes... (4.2)

Further on, when Claudius explains to Laertes why he has not taken
action with Hamlet, Claudius offers him two reasons, one of which is
Gertrude and the other:

The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timbered for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aimed them. (4.7.18-26)

I teach Hamlet quite often, and the family structure and the elected
monarchy are sometimes difficult concepts to understand. I hope this helps.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 04:14:49 -0500
Subject: 16.0272 A Claudius Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

 >I've looked around for the answer to this probably-stupid question, and
 >can't find anything definitive. Perhaps someone here could help me out.
 >
 >I'm teaching Hamlet and Lear this semester, and a student has asked me
 >why Hamlet's father had been king instead of Claudius in the first
 >place. If I'd ever thought about it, which I hadn't, I probably would
 >have assumed that Claudius was the younger brother, and that Hamlet was
 >king through primogeniture. I don't recall textual reference to this in
 >the play, nor can I find the question addressed in critical material.
 >
 >Primogeniture will come up in the discussion of Edmund and Edgar, of
 >course, but I don't want to jump the gun and make a similar statement
 >about Hamlet and Claudius if I'm just speculating.
 >
 >Am I right or wrong?
 >
 >Thanks -
 >
 >Greg McSweeney
 >Montreal

Look in the text. It's clear that 'election' rather than primogeniture
applied in Denmark at that time.

If it did not historically then WS was employing dramatic license.
Something he was rather good at -:)

John Ramsay

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 14:21:34 -0000
Subject: 16.0272 A Claudius Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

Greg:

 >I'm teaching Hamlet and Lear this semester, and a student has asked me
 >why Hamlet's father had been king instead of Claudius in the first
 >place. If I'd ever thought about it, which I hadn't, I probably would
 >have assumed that Claudius was the younger brother, and that Hamlet was
 >king through primogeniture. I don't recall textual reference to this in
 >the play, nor can I find the question addressed in critical material.

Someone else will probably be able to give a better answer than this,
but . . .

The default audience-assumption for those watching _Hamlet_ would be
that title came with (male) primogeniture, thus Old Hamlet as the elder
brother trumped Claudius.

But at points Shakespeare plays with the idea of an elective Danish
monarchy, with the constituency drawn from those close to the throne,
which is why Claudius, rather than Young Hamlet, can succeed Old Hamlet.

 >Primogeniture will come up in the discussion of Edmund and Edgar, of
 >course, but I don't want to jump the gun and make a similar statement
 >about Hamlet and Claudius if I'm just speculating.

Edmund is ruled-out on two counts -- not only (which he makes a big
thing about) is he illegitimate, but even if he *were* legitimate, he'd
be the younger brother.

Robin Hamilton

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 13:46:22 -0600
Subject: 16.0272 A Claudius Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

You can't find anything definitive because the play is operating in
three worlds at once: the Renaissance (or Late Medieval) world in which
primogeniture is institutionalized; the early Medieval world of the
semi-legendary Amlethus in which kingship is elective within the royal
family (so that King Hamlet was elected ahead of Claudius, Claudius
ahead of Prince Hamlet, and Fortinbras (apparently a cousin) ahead of
some non-royal Dane); and the never-never-land of the stage (or
Shakespeare's imagination, whichever you prefer).

The play makes clear that the early Medieval world is primary since the
election is referred to several times. But Shakespeare and his audience
would have believed firmly that primogeniture was best. I have long
assumed a bias against Claudius even before the Ghost's revelations
because he took advantage of the situation (the existence of the
election and the absence of Hamlet in Wittenberg) to gain a crown that
should rightly have gone to the son, even if custom allowed him to do so.

The Edgar / Edmund business, since it has to do with legitimacy rather
than primacy, is connected to Hamlet / Claudius / Hamlet business only
in the jealousy and viciousness of the usurper.

Cheers,
don

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 23:42:33 -0500
Subject: 16.0272 A Claudius Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

Primogeniture is probably a likely assumption, but it is not a necessary
one.  Denmark's kings were elected, as WS reflected in the play.  If
Claudius was in fact the older brother, that would add an interesting
dimension to the council's selection of Old Hamlet and an additional
reason for Claudius to be resentful, especially as he was almost
certainly the abler leader.  But there is no reason to believe he was older.

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Brandt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 14 Feb 2005 12:34:46 -0600
Subject: 16.0272 A Claudius Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0272 A Claudius Question

Primogeniture is the wrong assumption. Here are two notes from Harold
Jenkins Arden edition:

1.  "Hamlet our dear brother] On the succession. The succession by a
king's brother rather than his son was permitted by the system of an
elective monarchy, which Denmark in fact had. See G. Sj


Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0288  Monday, 14 February 2005

[1]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 08:55:00 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

[2]     From:   Steve Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 09:05:56 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

[3]     From:   Norman Hinton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Feb 2005 11:14:46 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

[4]     From:   John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 22:58:14 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

[5]     From:   D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 15:09:02 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 08:55:00 -0500
Subject: 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

 >Shakespeare's wife signed her name with an "X" so the
 >assumption is that she was not able to read.
 >
 >Louis W. Thompson

So, Shakespeare's father would also have been illiterate under that
criterion?

Jeff Myers

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 09:05:56 EST
Subject: 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

Dear Friends,

If one carefully tracks the careers of women who can read in
Shakespeare's plays I think that one must come to the conclusion that
the bard regarded female literacy as a socially destabilizing force. It
was certainly recognized by his male-centered society that literacy
empowered women while illiteracy was a form of bondage and tended to
reinforce women's subservience.

Shakespeare had no hand in Anne Hathaway's early education. A more
relevant question is whether Shakespeare's daughter Susannah could read.
I'd be glad to learn of opinions on this.

Hope this helps.

Steve Sohmer

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norman Hinton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 Feb 2005 11:14:46 -0600
Subject: 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

 >Shakespeare's wife signed her name with an "X" so the assumption is that
 >she was not able to read

This is an unwarranted assumption. As has been pointed out by a number
of medieval scholars, the techniques of reading and of writing are quite
different from each other, and for centuries, ability to read did not
imply ability to write.  (See, for instance, M. Clanchy, _From Memory to
Written Record_).  The number of people who could read was much larger
in the Middle Ages than was previously thought -- the ability to write
was not. (After all, one could hire a scribe.)

So we can't assume anything about Shakespeare's wife's ability to read.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 12 Feb 2005 22:58:14 -0000
Subject: 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

Louis W. Thompson wrote:

 >Shakespeare's wife signed her name with an "X" so the assumption is
 >that she was not able to read.

That is NOT a safe assumption.  Certainly, it has been noted that more
women than men signed with a mark, and it has been suggested that girls
were usually taught to read but not to write.  Alternatively, it has
also been noted that people who are known to have been able to read and
write perfectly well sometimes signed with a mark.  It may well be that
the preparers of legal documents were reluctant to allow people unused
to signing their name to make a mess of it!

John Briggs

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 13 Feb 2005 15:09:02 -0600
Subject: 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0273 Was Shakespeare's Wife Literate?

I remember reading somewhere -- perhaps on this list -- that it was not
uncommon even for literate people to sign their name with an X.

Is this true?

don

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