2005

Love's Labours Won

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0717  Friday, 15 April 2005

[1]     From:   David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Apr 2005 15:48:09 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0708 Love's Labours Won

[2]     From:   John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 15 Apr 2005 02:22:24 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0708 Love's Labours Won


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Apr 2005 15:48:09 -0400
Subject: 16.0708 Love's Labours Won
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0708 Love's Labours Won

Sandra Sparks wrote:

 >Has anyone ever made any progress in finding any portion of this lost
 >play? Not as a retitled version as some think (All's Well, or other
 >guesses) but as a continuation of Love's Labours Lost?

Concerning Sandra Sparks' query about whether anyone ever found Love's
Labour's Won, here is something clarifying that I read. I don't know if
he is right, but Professor Leslie Hotson (late of Yale) offered the
solution to the lost play of Love's Labour's Won as the play Troilus and
Cressida.

He suggested that everyone gets the meaning of the titles wrong on
Love's Labour's Won (and Lost), failing to note the second apostrophe in
Labour's. To lose love's labor means that you are not "laboring" anymore
for it, that is, suffering its ravages, the ravages having been at last
lost. That is the good thing that happens in that play Love's Labour's
Lost (Love's Labour IS Lost). But in T&C, Troilus indeed wins love's
labor. His life carries love's burden. Truly, in Troilus's case, Love's
Labour's Won (Love's Labour IS won).

Anyway, that is what Leslie Hotson thought.

David Basch

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 15 Apr 2005 02:22:24 +0100
Subject: 16.0708 Love's Labours Won
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0708 Love's Labours Won

Sandra Sparks wrote:

 >Has anyone ever made any progress in finding any portion of this lost
 >play? Not as a retitled version as some think (All's Well, or other
 >guesses) but as a continuation of Love's Labours Lost?

I don't know what "progress" Sandra Sparks expects simple scholars to
make: we can't conjure up non-existent plays out of thin air (although
T.W. Baldwin managed to write a whole book about this one!)  If it is
any consolation, no portions of any other lost plays by Shakespeare have
been found!

It is by no means obvious that LLW is a sequel to LLL - there are
unlimited other explanations (or limited only by human imagination,
which amounts to the same thing).  All that we actually know is that it
was apparently known as a play by Shakespeare (or as a book, assumed to
be of a play by Shakespeare) to Francis Meres, and as a book to a
contemporary stationer. But we also know that there was a lost 'first'
quarto of LLL.  My own suggestion (invoking, as usual, Ockham's Razor)
is that this lost quarto was a 'Bad' quarto, and bore the title "Love's
Labours Lost, Love's Labours Won".

John Briggs

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Shakespeare's Personal Faith

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0716  Thursday, 14 April 2005


[1]     From:   Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 17:43:24 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 18:31:26 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[3]     From:   Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 12:25:25 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[4]     From:   Dan Decker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Apr 2005 10:18:29 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[5]     From:   David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 23:28:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 17:43:24 +0100
Subject: 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

David Basch writes ...

 >It is altogether different when the
 >relationship is asymmetrical and involves a spectacularly evolved person
 >who places his love at the feet of an uncaring partner infinitely less
 >developed in human terms.

Dante and Beatrice?  Yeats and Iseult Gonne?

Peter Bridgman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 18:31:26 +0100
Subject: 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Bruce MacDonald writes ....

 >In all his rantings, Basch ignores the fact that (as any reasonably
 >alert college freshman knows) the speaker in a poem is not the poet.
 >Helen Vendler carefully makes this distinction and sees the sonnets as a
 >working out of a little drama (surprise, surprise-who would have thought
 >that Shakespeare thought dramatically?).  She wisely does not attempt to
 >use the poems to uncover Shakespeare's "real" beliefs about anything,
 >least of all any religious feelings.  She recognizes that the "I" of the
 >sonnets is a character, as much as Lear or Hamlet or Rosalind or anyone
 >else in the plays is a character.  We'll probably never know the exact
 >relationship that the "I" has to Shakespeare himself, but it's a sure
 >bet the two aren't identical.

If this is true, the "I" of the Sonnets must be Shakespeare's least
successful dramatic creation.

Whereas 'Venus and Adonis' and the 'Rape of Lucrece' went through
numerous editions, the Sonnets had only a single edition, to which WS'
contemporaries responded with a resounding silence.  This silence was
partly due to the fact the Sonnets appeared in a plague year, but it was
also due to the fact that love poetry addressed to another male was
somewhat unusual.  To say the least.

Peter Bridgman

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 12:25:25 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Bruce MacDonald writes, "In all his rantings, Basch ignores the fact
that (as any reasonably alert college freshman knows) the speaker in a
poem is not the poet. Helen Vendler carefully makes this
distinction...She recognizes that the 'I' of the sonnets is a character...."

Oh, really?  Then who is the "Will" of the *Will* sonnets, if not our
Will Shakespeare?

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dan Decker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Apr 2005 10:18:29 EDT
Subject: 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

 >>Can we really believe that the great poet would invest an alleged young
 >>friend with the power to become "the grave where buried love doth live,"
 >>to be the one in whom resides the love that was once shared with
 >>departed friends, as he does in Sonnet 31?
 >
 >Yes we can. Let's see how you explain away Sonnet 110.

Only if we accept the unsupportable position that all the sonnets in the
collection were written to two people. And the other unsupportable
position that WS wrote them with the simple and single-minded objective
of unpacking his heart.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 23:28:54 -0400
Subject: 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0703 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Shakespeare's Personal Faith

A number of persons on the list were good enough to respond to my
comment on the problems associated with the poet's mysterious friend of
the sonnets (4/13/05). In response to my observation that, were this a
relationship with the alleged young man, it could be termed masochistic,
Robin Hamilton observes, "these things happen."

This is true enough, but I would point out that the frequency of such
relationships does not make them any less pathological. As I have tried
to explain, such relationships bespeak impairment that could have an
impact on distorting perceptions of oneself and the world. This is
possibly a serious matter when it afflicts someone who is engaged with
the highest of human thoughts and feelings.  But as I noted in my last
posting, if that is what the situation was, so be it. But if it was not
that way we ought to know that too and not jump to conclusions.

So what do individual sonnets tell us about the poet's relationship with
his friend? Take the couplet of Sonnet 78 in which the poet declares of
his friend:

[13]  But thou art all my art,and doost aduance
[14]  As high as learning,my rude ignorance.

Here is the poet, a supreme poet/intellect, allegedly telling the young
man, a person indifferent to him, that he is all his art.  Isn't there
something wrong with the poet's psyche if this unhealthy situation is
the way it is? But note how the situation is clarified and amended when
it is recognized that this is the poet's praise of God whose inspiration
has led the poet to such heights.

Next, look at Sonnet 40 in another address to his friend:

[9]     I  doe forgiue thy robb'rie gentle theefe
[10]    Although thou steale thee all my pouerty:
[11]    And yet loue knowes it is a greater griefe
[12]    To beare loues wrong,then hates knowne iniury.
[13]      Lasciuious grace,in whom all il wel showes,
[14]      Kill me with spights yet we must not be foes.

If it is the young man that the poet is here hopelessly in love with, he
sure has got it bad and that ain't good. As we read, the poet forgive
his friend's "robbery" and pleads how bad it is when it is a loved one
that is inflicting grief. Yet we find the poet willing to suffer this
from his friend even unto death and the poet rejects the idea of
becoming his friend's foe.

This would be the pitiful complaint of a severe masochist were it
directed to the alleged young man, as even Hellen Vendler describes it
in the first line discussing this sonnet: "The masochism of abjectness
in love here reaches its first peak." But again, the lines are
transformed when it is recognized that the poet is addressing God, a
loving God that allows terrible things to happen to good people. The
sonnet is the poet's theodicy, a justification of God's ways.

To explain the sonnet, what does it mean for God to rob the poet of all
his poverty? We can answer that by thinking about what it is that makes
a poor man poor? The answer is that it is his children that he must
support. In the poet's case, God did indeed rob him of his son, Hamnet,
aged 11. That is a pretty bad sock.  Yet the poet concludes that,
despite such things, man must not become the enemy of God. Such is the
faith of the poet and this is what he, in his wisdom, is telling the
world about how we must confront a world in which terrible things happen
to good people under the eye of an all powerful, loving God.

Incidentally, Vendler notes how reminiscent line 13 is to Job's
statement of devotion to God, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in
him." In fact, Vendler's account is full of religious allusions that she
must subdue by inventing a whole story of the young man's romance with
the lady of the sonnets as a betrayal of the poet, a story that is
completely non historical and pure fantasy.

On the other hand, Colin Cox of our list thinks that the themes of
Sonnets 110 and 111 confirm that the poet was indeed involved in the
kind of unhealthy relationship I have said it was. In answer to him, I
would suggest that he reread those sonnets and he would see that they as
easily make the case that this friend is God. In fact, in Sonnet 110,
the poet actually describes his friend as "God" ("a God in love") and
"my heaven" to whom he has returned after straying, having, I would
allege, been lax in prayer and in his religious obligations.

Similarly, in Sonnet 111, the first line can be read as the poet
declaring that it was for the poet's own sake that his friend has used
fortune to chide him, to chide him, no doubt, for his lapses to correct
him to better behavior. The poet concludes that his friend's pity is
sufficient to cure him of his ills, such being the power of God's pity.

Bruce MacDonald lays down a number of points questioning my motive and
argument. In his first point, he wishes to paint me as a homophobe, with
my disguising this through a discussion of masochism. I must disagree
with Bruce here since I have tried to stay away from the problem of
homosexuality and do sincerely mean to point to the masochism observed
as something negative that could be a serious human impairment in a
creative writer dealing with big ideas and philosophies. Sure, as Bruce
writes, we all may have a touch of this but the poet's condition would
seem more severe than the ordinary were it the fact that he worships
that young man.

In another point, Bruce defends Hellen Vendler as placing space between
the poet himself and the "character" that is the poet as the dramatic
speaker of the sonnets and Bruce also calls attention to Vendler's
marvellous skill in analyzing the literary structure of the poems. While
all this is true, I think he skirts the fact that implicit in Vendler's
analyses is the poet as hopelessly in love with the young man. This
forces her to again and again invent imaginary scenarios that explain
some of the difficulties in understanding the poems that this
perspective leads to. And by the way, I am not alone, as Bruce alleges,
in my views that the poet is addressing his friend, God, and his higher
and lower angels. I may be alone on this on our list, but not elsewhere.

Bruce's final point leaves us with the problem we started with, namely,
what is the truth about the sonnets? Are the sonnets love poems to a
young man and woman or are they love poems to God and the guiding angels
He gives to each man/woman? I have no conceit that it is my preferences
that must decide this issue. I have offered abundant evidence for my
views and would offer more.  Bruce thinks that just because it is not
the view he prefers that I must be wrong. Now is that fair?

Finally, Julia Griffin makes clear what may bother many persons about my
view. It is that the alleged secular Shakespeare that they have been in
love with has actually been inspired by religious beliefs that have been
a balm to his existence in this very troubled world that the poet often
described. In fact, it seems to me that the poet in the Sonnets is
making the case for religion as a vital force that can ennoble man and
make life beautiful.

If I am right about this, is it not important that the world learn that
the great Shakespeare, the keenest of intellects and the most sensitive
of human instruments probing our inner heart of hearts,
had this side to him? The poet may be telling the world something very
important in this that we and the unbelievers among us should consider
carefully. And if this is the man he was, will love alter when it
alteration finds?

David Basch

_______________________________________________________________
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 16.0714  Thursday, 14 April 2005

From:           Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 14:03:45 -0400
Subject:        A Claudius Question

Joseph Egert writes: "The court world of Hamlet is an inauthentic prison
world where the young are suffocated by their elders' indirect traps,
plots. . . ." Yes., and this acute observation applies as much to Old
Hamlet as it does to, say, Polonius.

Moreover, the only member of the younger generation to survive and
prosper is young Fortinbras, who is a clone of the older generation's
attitudes and values - attitudes and values that are suspect, at best.

Ed Taft

_______________________________________________________________
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Public Insults

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0715  Thursday, 14 April 2005

[1] From:               D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 11:09:07 -0500
Subject: 16.0689 Public Insults
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0689 Public Insults

[2] From:               Tom Krause <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 20:37:50 -0400
Subject: Public Insults
Comment:        SHK 16.0701 Public Insults


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 11:09:07 -0500
Subject: 16.0689 Public Insults
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0689 Public Insults

Terence Hawkes :

Enough of this sanctimonious snivelling!

Sanctimonious Snivelling? Wasn't he a canting dissenter in one of Ben
Jonson's plays?

don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Krause <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 20:37:50 -0400
Subject: Public Insults
Comment:        SHK 16.0701 Public Insults

As anyone who has studied advocacy can tell you, personal attacks
invariably make good arguments look worse.  Since you wouldn't be
writing unless you thought you were making a good argument, it's good
policy to leave them out.

The paradox is that personal attacks can sometimes make bad arguments
look better, especially to a casual reader (which, let's face it, many
of us are, much of the time).

Hardy's rule against personal insults thus achieves the social optimum:
it prevents good arguments from looking worse than they are, and bad
ones from looking better.

While personal attacks may be entertaining to the rest of us, keep in
mind that we are more likely laughing at you than your intended victim.
  Case in point:  every time Larry Weiss calls someone "delusional"
nowadays, I am reminded of the kinder, gentler Larry Weiss who said
"What offends me a great deal more than [something other listmembers had
found offensive] is one list member calling another 'delusional.'"
(http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2004/1774.html).

Tom Krause

[Editor's Note: For the record, I have not made rules, only suggestions.
My preferences are for tolerance and civility. And in my position as
Vicar of this tea party, I feel compelled to suffer fools more gladly
that I might otherwise. I confess I do have times when I am also
concerned about my liability, but I am not a lawyer, nor was meant to
be. I am but an attendant lord . . . In any case, I do not think there
is reason to continue this thread.]

_______________________________________________________________
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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.

Ukrainian and English in Latvia

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0713  Thursday, 14 April 2005

[1]     From:   Tom Pendleton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 14:12:50 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0696 Ukrainian and English in Latvia

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 20:14:13 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0696 Ukrainian and English in Latvia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Pendleton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 14:12:50 -0400
Subject: 16.0696 Ukrainian and English in Latvia
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0696 Ukrainian and English in Latvia

I expect that Syd Kasten is right about Lithuania and Latvia.  I know he
is right about John Velz.

Tom Pendleton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Apr 2005 20:14:13 -0400
Subject: 16.0696 Ukrainian and English in Latvia
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0696 Ukrainian and English in Latvia

I am distressed that Syd Kasten should think that I intended to be
disrespectful to John Velz, whom I admire this side of idolatry.  I was
only trying (however ineptly) to point out that a person might feel a
need to flee Soviet as well as Nazi domination, and that someone who
precipitously left Latvia in 1940 was likely to be so motivated.
Obviously, Syd's friends did have this fear or need, as they moved to
Uzbekistan.  But the protagonist of John's story sailed to Sweden, where
freedom from both Stalinism and Nazism could be expected.  I hope it is
not politically incorrect to suggest that anti-Bolshevism is as
legitimate a motive to take refuge as anti-Nazism.

I must also take umbrage at the suggestion at the end of Syd's post that
I aspire to be a junior varsity T. Hawkes:  --

 >I think Weiss has promise, but he should make a deeper study of the wit
 >of T. Hawkes, who, I think, must throw away much more than he uses.

I hope that my contributions, such as they are, are evaluated on their
own demerits and not by odorous comparison with Prof Hawkes's commentaries.

_______________________________________________________________
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
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