2005

Greenblatt Discussion Forum

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0199  Monday, 31 January 2005

[1]     From:   Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 14:32:33 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 19:43:56 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

[3]     From:   Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 12:41:51 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

[4]     From:   John-Paul Spiro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 12:51:38 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 14:32:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

I sent some of the SHAKSPER posts on Shakespeare's sexuality to
playwright Robert Patrick. He responds:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Scholars keep boiling the pot
A-war as to whether or not
W. Shakespeare
Was for W.H. queer.
Sonnet XX marks the spot.

Will clearly was tempted to try
What we now refer to as "bi,"
But went into panics
In re the mechanics,
Surrendering same with a sigh.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Cheers, Billy Houck

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 19:43:56 -0500
Subject: 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

Mr. Basch raises the intriguing notion that the addressee of the sonnets
was the lord.  Does anyone on the list know who the contemporary Earl of
Warwick was and whether Shakespeare might have had a relationship with him?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 12:41:51 -0000
Subject: 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

 >Will inept scholars
 >skirt the inner meaning of the Sonnets and trade the true poet that has
 >created a magnificent work at the highest level of artistry and
 >profundity for a false shadow of one- this a pathetic, self-denigrating
 >man that is a slave to his passions, hopelessly in thrall to the love of
 >a vacuous, self-centered young man? Can it be believed that this is
 >Shakespeare?

I for one much prefer the idea of WS as sad balding gay lover than Bible
Code loony.

Peter Bridgman

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John-Paul Spiro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 12:51:38 -0500
Subject: 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0185 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

David Basch writes:

 >It is imperative that the true greatness of the Sonnets be assessed
 >rather than writing this work off as nothing more than an artful
 >expose
 >of a poet's troubled psyche, with farfetched sophomoric sexual
 >allusions
 >dredged up as evidence. Even the most sacred of writings cannot
 >withstand a mindset to read in such spurious things. The question is
 >whether scholars will diminish their own professional calling by
 >diminishing the poet as some are proposing to do? Will inept
 >scholars
 >skirt the inner meaning of the Sonnets and trade the true poet that
 >has
 >created a magnificent work at the highest level of artistry and
 >profundity for a false shadow of one-this a pathetic,
 >self-denigrating
 >man that is a slave to his passions, hopelessly in thrall to the
 >love of
 >a vacuous, self-centered young man? Can it be believed that this is
 >Shakespeare? To pass on that erroneous image of a diminished poet to
 >future generations would be a tragic for literature and as the fate
 >for
 >the poet of the ages.

Just because someone makes a case for the identity (or identities) of
the boy of the Sonnets does not mean that the Sonnets are "nothing more
than" a kind of diary or personal expression of frustrated longing.  But
restricting the identity of that boy--even by calling him God--is
restricting the meanings of the poems.  And that diminishes the poet
more than anything else.

Shakespeare may well have had strong, albeit conflicted, feelings for a
vacuous, self-centered young man.  That he managed to write the Sonnets
about this young man only makes Shakespeare all the better.  Are we to
think that he couldn't have written such poems until he found a fitting
subject?  Would "Mona Lisa" be a worse painting if we found out that its
subject was just some stupid girl?  Of course not.  We would marvel at
how Leonardo took a person and made her into something more.

Basch's assumption that the object of the Sonnets is God is interesting,
but it's far more interesting to think that Shakespeare made this boy
up, or based him on someone (or more than one person) not quite
deserving, and yet deified him in some way while also demonstrating his
act of deification through writing.  Shakespeare was not a perfect man
and he almost certainly did not love perfectly.  If he did, he probably
would not have written very much or very well.

Don't kid yourself about the power that scholars have.  If some people
make biographical inferences based on the Sonnets, they're only doing
what the Sonnets tempt them to do.  That's part of the Sonnets' power.

John-Paul Spiro

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0198  Monday, 31 January 2005

[1]     From:   Steve Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 15:01:07 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"

[2]     From:   Bruce Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 17:50:15 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"

[3]     From:   John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2005 12:01:18 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"

[4]     From:   Stephen Dobbin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2005 08:46:02 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Pacino's Merchant


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 15:01:07 EST
Subject: 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"

Dear Friends,

Not to flog a dead horse, but Charles Weinstein's review of Pacino as
Shylock was spot-on. Tommy Lasorda could have done the role better.

Steve Sohmer

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 17:50:15 -0600
Subject: 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"

With some time off last week, and looking forward to nation-wide release
of the new Merchant of Venice, I indulged myself by renting the Olivier
MOV and a couple of other middle-aged productions that I hadn't seen
before. Although very good looking, the Olivier MOV (1973) was a huge
disappointment. The Gobbo family repartee is completely excised, and
with it the comic perspective on the filial struggles that rock the
Shylock household.  Many, many speeches throughout the play are
grievously truncated, with the expectable mangling of meanings and
affronts to poetry.

I was even more deeply disturbed by my rental of the Charlton
Heston/Jason Robards Julius Caesar, done in 1970. Robards gives what
must be the single worst performance in the history of drama as he tries
to read the part of Brutus from cards apparently held just off-camera.
The cardboard itself would have been more expressive.

And while Robards is polishing his acting award, the Orson Wells/Peter
Brook King Lear (1953) that I stumbled into on the same shelf must
surely win the competition for single worst production of any
Shakespeare play ever attempted, deleting the Gloucester family parallel
entirely, conflating characters, and squeezing the whole thing down to
about 75 minutes. If an audience member wasn't already well-acquainted
with the play, it would be absolutely impossible to understand what's
going on from the scraps left in the film.

So many film adaptations seem to find ways to ruin the Shakespeare
plays, I wonder if group members might mention any they've found that
make a moderately successful effort to hold the plays intact and
otherwise do a better job of mounting a Shakespeare production than the
sorry group I've just subjected myself to.

Bruce Richman
Columbia, Missouri

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 31 Jan 2005 12:01:18 -0000
Subject: 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0184 Al Pacino in "Merchant of Venice"

You are right,

The final image is Jessica, and it's the shot of the ring that she is
supposed to have exchanged for a monkey.  Radford's version is that she
hasn't exchanged it at all, and that Tubal's account is merely a rumour.
  If this is so, then the motive for Shylock's instence upon his bond is
nothing more than a Christian rumour.  Like Antonio he is left isolated
at the end of the play...as is, indeed, Jessica.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Dobbin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 31 Jan 2005 08:46:02 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Pacino's Merchant

I can give John Mahon a pretty firm answer on what the final shots of
Pacino's MOV are, as my company did the subtitles and audio description
for the UK theatrical release. Although it is, of course, possible there
was a re edit before it opened in the U.S.

The final sequence is of Jessica watching the fishermen in the lagoon
and looking down at Leah's ring on her finger (the story about her
having exchanged it for a monkey having been, apparently, just that- a
story). The shot of Shylock being shut out of the synagogue is before
this. So unless there is some suggestion that Shylock became a
fisherman, the last shot is of Jessica in the foreground, her back to
the camera, with two fishermen in the lagoon beyond her.

Stephen

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0196  Monday, 31 January 2005

[1]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 15:49:13 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[2]     From:   Arthur Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 09:39:10 +0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[3]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 07:47:37 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

[4]     From:   James Doyle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2005 13:33:56 -0000
        Subj:   Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 15:49:13 -0400
Subject: 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

I take a position similar to that of Bob Grumman.

The point of the letter is both to expose and exploit Malvolio's ego. As
Maria says:

the best persuaded of himself, so
crammed, as he thinks, with excellencies, that it is
his grounds of faith that all that look on him love
him; and on that vice in him will my revenge find
notable cause to work

MOAI, then, is clearly NOT "Malvolio" but close enough that Malvolio can
"crush it" and persuade himself that it is.

t.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 09:39:10 +0800
Subject: 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

 >Hate to be dull-witted about it, but for me the letters are just four
 >letters from Malvolio's name rearranged to allow us to watch Malvolio's
 >slow mind at work figuring out what name they might mean.  "M. A. I. O."
 >would, I think, seem too easy, even for Malvoio; hence the
 >rearrangement.  Your solution seems strained, something I can't imagine
 >many spectators trying to find, much less coming up with.  And a joking
 >riddle for the immensely sophisticated here would compete with what
 >seems to me the focus of the scene--Malovolio's discovery that Olivia is
 >in love with him.

Bob Grumman is right, of course.  There is simply no reason for assuming
any hidden meaning.  The device is a trap for Malvolio's vanity: four
letters from his own name in the wrong order.  Somewhere among the
cutlery, we seem to have misplaced Occam's Razor.

Arthur Lindley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 07:47:37 -0500
Subject: 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0179 Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

Malvolio Omnem Amorem Intendo

Jeff Myers

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Doyle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 31 Jan 2005 13:33:56 -0000
Subject:        Solving the M.O.A.I. Riddle

I wondered when I first read the play if M.O.A.I. could be read as 'Amo
Ei' - which would mean 'I love to him/her', I think. It's not good
Latin, but then we're told WS wasn't much of a Latin scholar.

James Doyle

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Macbeth Characters

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0197  Monday, 31 January 2005

[1]     From:   Ruth Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 16:18:55 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0183 Macbeth Characters

[2]     From:   Mary Todd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2005 09:36:34 -0500
        Subj:   correction accepted


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ruth Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 16:18:55 -0500
Subject: 16.0183 Macbeth Characters
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0183 Macbeth Characters

I agree with Matthew Baynham about the murderers. Macbeth has consigned
his soul to Hell by killing Duncan and the two guards; now he coerces
and lies to two desperate men to commit his murders, thus sending them
directly to Hell. It's not just Banquo who dies; these two have also
been done in by Macbeth. In the Polanski film, the two are led down a
hallway and murdered themselves.

Ruth Ross

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Todd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 31 Jan 2005 09:36:34 -0500
Subject:        correction accepted

I am glad Matthew Baynham urged the correction of my poor choice of the
word thugs to describe the two murderers.  They do the work of thugs,
but I agree with Mr. Baynham that they are important symbols of the
desperate poor, a category of people who become easy prey for the
unscrupulous power mongers who can and often do exploit their misery.
That lesson is one I try to impress on students in the independent
school where I teach.  Ideally, we should care about the men and the
causes of their problems.  Ours is not, of course, an ideal or even the
best-of-all-possible worlds.  We would do well to address the needs of
men like these, not only for their good but for the good of the society.
  Wouldn't it be lovely if there were no people so "weary with
disasters, tugged with fortune" that they would be willing to "set
[their] life on any chance/To mend it or be rid on 't"?

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Date of King John

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0195  Monday, 31 January 2005

[1]     From:   Michael Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 08:45:36 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

[2]     From:   William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 21:23:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

[3]     From:   Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Jan 2005 22:16:57 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

[4]     From:   Marcus Dahl <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 31 Jan 2005 11:25:10 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Jan 2005 08:45:36 -1000
Subject: 16.0176 Date of King John
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0176 Date of King John

It's remarkable that the Alexander-Honigmann thesis concerning the
chronological priority of King John (first published 1623) over The
Troublesome Reign (first published 1591) continues to draw adherents.
It's entirely without merit or evidence. Worse, its acceptance means
that an innovative and experimental work like John must have been
written no later than 1590, i.e. contemporary with the Henry VI
plays--much too early. What can be documented is that (1) in 1622-3
everyone who was in  a position to know considered Shakespeare to be the
principal author of The Troublesome Reign (published twice under his
name) and (2) that Peele wrote the verse (as Brian Vickers has recently
shown).

The obvious solution, as I argue in my introduction to the play in
Joseph Rosenblum (ed): A Student's Companion to Shakespeare: A
Comprehensive Guide to the Plays and Poems (Evergreen Press,
forthcoming), is that Shakespeare prepared TR's 'Author's Plot,' some
years later replacing Peele's wooden language with his own.

Dover Wilson and others have demonstrated the stylistic affinities
between King John and Richard II, in that compositional order. Since
Richard II dates no earlier than 1595 and no later than 1597, when it
was first published,1594 seems the likeliest compositional date for
John. Examination of its Folio text (the only one we have) suggests also
that the play was never performed in its author's life time. The
earliest recorded staging is 1737 at Covent Garden.

Incidentally, a generally accessible copy of TR appears in Bullough's
Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shake


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