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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Representations of the Living
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0607  Thursday, 31 March 2005

[1]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 15:46:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0589 Representations of the Living

[2]     From:   Duncan Salkeld <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 19:49:20 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0589 Representations of the Living

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 31 Mar 2005 00:09:10 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0589 Representations of the Living


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 15:46:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 16.0589 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0589 Representations of the Living

What a diverse list of plays the representations of the living present.
It doesn't seem that such representations form any kind of
easily-identifiable dramatic tradition. My thanks, in any case, for the
replies. I will go back to Aristophanes.

Jack Heller

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Duncan Salkeld <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 19:49:20 +0100
Subject: 16.0589 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0589 Representations of the Living

The most obvious Shakespearean example, as many will be aware, is the
famous reference to Essex in the fifth Chorus (only in F), though it is
merely an allusion, not a 'representation'. Probably unconnected with
Henry V, an order from the Privy Council, dated 10 May 1601, records the
following: 'we do understand that certaine players that use to recyte
their playes at the Curtaine in Moorefeildes do represent upon the stage
in their interludes the persons of some gentlemen of good desert and
quallity that are yet alive under obscure manner, but yet in such sort
as all the hearers may take notice both of the matter and the persons
that are meant thereby' [Chambers, ES, IV, 332]. It is possible that
Henry V was played at the Curtain and not the Globe, but Essex was
emphatically not 'of good desert' in May 1601 (he'd been executed on
21st February) and the libellous play remains unknown.

Hitherto similarly unknown is the person alluded to in scene five of
Jonson's Bartholomew Fair (1614). Wasp turns on Mistress Overdo, saying,
'Good Lord!  How sharp you are, with being at Bedlam yesterday!
Whetstone has set an edge upon you, has he?' (1.5.22-23). In an article
forthcoming (I am informed) June 2005 in Review of English Studies, I
show that this Whetstone was a notorious lunatic at Bethlem, first
arrested in 1606 'for a vagrant turbulent fellow and usuall raylinge in
the church against preachers'. An order the following year places him
with friends in the Strand. A census of inmates at Bethlem, taken by the
Governors on 28 June 1624 records that, 'William Whetston hath been here
about 18 yeares & is fitt to be kepte; was sent from the Court' [i.e.
the Court of Bridewell].  He died the following year aged 35. Further
details are in my article (here shamelessly plugged) which focuses
mainly on a prosecution of Christopher Beeston for rape in 1602.
Something of the case, though it is difficult to specify exactly what,
seems to underlie parts of Measure for Measure. As critics have often
noted, contemporary allusion was more Jonson's style than Shakespeare's,
but the cryptic reference to 'Yaughan' in Hamlet (V.1.60, only in F) may
be another example.

Duncan Salkeld
University College Chichester

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 31 Mar 2005 00:09:10 -0500
Subject: 16.0589 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0589 Representations of the Living

Henry IV of France, who was Navarre in Marlowe's "Massacre at Paris" and
assumed the throne at the end of the play, was the reigning French
monarch when that play was written (c. 1592).  He died in 1610.

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