2005

Shakespeare's Personal Faith

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0757  Thursday, 21 April 2005

From:           Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 12:05:03 -0400
Subject: 16.0739 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0739 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

I'm assuming Larry Weiss's tongue was firmly in his cheek when he wrote:
" Consider the manner in which Christ and the Church address each other
in the Song of Songs." If it wasn't, don't tell me.

Peter Bridgman offers the possibility that Shakespeare's pyx/pax theft
mention was inspired by a series of such thefts a hundred or so years
earlier. It's not impossible. Will was voracious for knowledge and who
knows what he managed to read. But the incident in the time of Henry V
is clearly set out in Holinshed and there was no need for another source.

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Public Insults

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0756  Thursday, 21 April 2005

[1]     From:   Julia Griffin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 15:53:37 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0747  Public Insults

[2]     From:   Florence Amit <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 23:49:24 +0300
        Subj:   The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0747 Wednesday, 20 April 2005


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julia Griffin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 15:53:37 -0400
Subject: 16.0747 Public Insults
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0747 Public Insults

Although I have less than no taste for the Talmudic Shakespeare theory,
I'm not happy with Larry Weiss's analogy.  Florence Amit expresses a
wish to "challenge" without "raucous hilarity"; Larry Weiss interprets
this first as a demand for "respectful hearing" for any "harebrained
assertion" and then as equivalent to a requirement to teach such an
assertion in a school.  But expressing a view in a public forum is not
the same as teaching it, and does not deserve the same level of
opposition.  Ms Amit is not teaching.  She just wants to speak.

I think we know that professional academics are inclined to be more
ferocious in their writing than they need to be.  Some people (mostly
other academics, and mostly men) enjoy this sort of thing.  Others don't
and are upset by it, especially if they see themselves as outsiders.  Do
we want to put people off in this way just in order to indulge our own
irritation?  After all, as Hardy keeps reminding us, we could just
delete messages we don't like ...

I prefer "harebrained" posts to insulting ones because I think they do
less harm.  I can't think I am alone in this.

Julia

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Florence Amit <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 23:49:24 +0300
Subject: Conference: SHK 16.0747 Wednesday, 20 April 2005
Comment:        The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0747 Wednesday, 20 April 2005

I do not know what Larry Weiss is talking about. I have never claimed
that Shakespeare was a Jew.

My position is that when someone makes an aggressive attack against
someone who has views that do not sit well with the establishment that
person may be silenced although his views may be of some importance. So
then, who loses out?

Florence Amit

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The Use of Rolls?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0754  Thursday, 21 April 2005

From:           Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 16:28:13 EDT
Subject: 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0632 The Use of Rolls?

Marcus Dahl discussed some important issues in respect of the
relationship between the manuscript of Alleyn's player's part of the
title character in Greene's "Orlando Furioso" and the 1594 quarto of
that play. These relics are of great importance to the study of
Shakespeare's texts, despite their recent neglect.

My object is not merely to criticize Dahl's inferences, but to suggest
the utility of these texts as introduction to problems and solutions
touching the most important textual questions of the Shakespeare canon;
namely, the bad quartos.

One of the most influential books of recent times is Laurie Maguire's
_Shakespearean Suspect Texts_, wherein she judges whether various bad
quartos (Shakespearean or not) result from "memorial reconstruction,"
the criteria for which most of us have some understanding. Her answer in
most cases is "no," and in all cases her method is pointedly to ignore
comparisons of parallel texts. John Jowett lately asks, "Is it
methodologically better to evaluate a text according to an abstract
conception of how it should be, rather than according with how elsewhere
it actually was? . . . However plausibly it is justified, the effect of
excluding comparison between variant texts is to seal off a rich quarry
of potentially significant evidence." (After Oxford, 77).

To understand the fatal handicap Maguire labors under, we need only read
her tabulated result: "Omissions: Not detectable." (292).  Yet Orlando
Q1 reproduces roughly 67% of the lead character's lines and fails to
include many of the ms. cue lines. These are evidence of omission unless
one assumes the texts are not even related, and that is highly
improbable. Each of Maguire's criteria is similarly affected by her
failure to compare the parallel texts.

Assuming the necessity of comparison, I will briefly examine Marcus
Dahl's remarks:

 >Alfred Hart, like Greg, thought the quarto text of Orlando Furioso
 >to be inferior in poetic merit to Alleyn's part and in his 1942 book
 >'Stolene {{Stolne}} and Surreptitious Copies' argued that Orlando
 >Furioso Q1 retains "barely three hundred lines of the version of
 >Orlando's Part which appears in the Dulwich MS [Alleyn's Part]
 >but the mistakes made by the actors offer proof that Q1 is
 >surreptitious."

To be clear, Hart rationalizes 474 ms. lines, of which 33 are prose.  Q1
retains 296 verse lines and seven of prose; and adds about 100 lines,
mostly in prose. Greg suggests that Alleyn's part originally comprised
800 lines. In any case, 300 lines in common offer a lot of evidence.

 >Hart then argues that the Q1 lines: (Q1.604-6)
 >
 >Faire Flora make her couch amidst thy flowres,
 >Sweet Christall springs, wash ye with roses,
 >When she longs to drinke. Ah, thought my heavn;
 >
 >are "defective metrically and in sense" and that the lines in
 >Alleyn's part are the correct ones - an answer to the "defective
 >stupidity" of the other line.

Dahl conflates quotation of Hart, where a fuller citation may be more
clear: "Why does such a monotonously regular metrist as Greene write two
irregular lines of verse? . . . Interpolation of the words 'amidst thy
flowers' caused the metrical disorder; the defective sense is due to
stupidity and the insertion of 'with' for 'her.' " (171)

 >Hart argues that the Quarto is wrong to have ' with' for 'her'.
 >Surely though, Hart is wrong: e.g.
 >
 >Kinde Clora make her couch, fair cristall springs
 >Washe you her Roses, yf she long to drinck
 >Oh thought, my heaven, etc.

 >It is the Alleyn part that makes no sense - why would "clora"
 >(Chloe meets Flora?) want her roses washed if she wanted
 >to drink?

Greg seems rightly to observe that Orlando asks the fountains to "well
up and kiss her rosy cheeks . . . . Of course, 'wash you her Roses' is a
conceit that seems strained to modern sense, but it would certainly not
have been obscure to an Elizabethan.  The version offered by Q is
hopeless." (215)

 >. . . However the Quarto also contains what appear to be blind
 >repetitions (or transpositions to an earlier scene) e.g. l.759-769
 >not in Alleyn's plot:
 >
 >Villaine, provide me straight a Lions skin,
 >Thou seest I now am mightie Hercules:
 >Looke wheres my maisies [massie, 'massy'] club upon my necke.
 >I must to hell, to seek for Medor and Angelica,***
 >Or else I dye.
 >You that are the rest, get you quickly away,
 >Provide ye horses all of burnisht gold,
 >Saddles of corke because Ile haue them light,
 >For Charlemaine the Great is vp in armes.
 >And Arthur with a crue of Bristons comes
 >To seeke for Medor and Angelica.***

 >The above . . . thus raises questions concerning (1) originality and
 >literary value -namely -is a single playwright capable of this kind of
 >repetition (or as in the earlier example, senselessness); - and (2)
 >bibliographic- namely - whether the repetition is not more likely to
 >be an unwitting printer error -either a misreading of the author's text
 >or a mechanical print mis-setting rather than an author's or actor's
 >mistake (3) The new text could be a playhouse alteration: whereby
 >an actor creates a 'new' part by writing down his original part from
 >memory - perhaps to replace a lost or damaged part. This seems
 >a likely explanation of many obvious Quarto errors and such errors
 >as those found in Alleyn's part.

Marcus Dahl's speculations are mostly obviated by his choice of example.
Despite his statement to the contrary, Q lines 759 - 69 are represented
in Alleyn's part at 104ff. Rather than raise these issues, the parallel
lines confirm corruptions of a 'bad' quarto.

I must to hell to fight with Cerberus       ms 107
and find out medor ther, you Vilaynes or Ile dye

"To seek for Medor and Angelica" (Q l. 762) comes from ms 116, which is
properly given at Q 769. Greg observes, "The phrase 'to seeke . . .' has
crept in here by anticipation . . . " (318). This must be the correct
interpretation; confirmed as Hart adds, when "The complete line of Q1 is
repeated in an interpolated scene (ll.888-9) of Q1. (228)  Anticipation
and repetition are signs of bad quartos.

None of Q at this point seems to be new, though the manuscript is
imperfect. In fact, Q cuts some of the passage. According to Greg,
"After this Q omits a reply . . . and the beginning of the next speech
by Orlando. A [i.e., the ms.] is mutilated here . . . but if, as I
believe, Q 764 corresponds to A 113 the text is substantially preserved
between them." (224-5).

Hart comments further on the meter of 762-3: "The complete line and
Alexandrine of ms. become a fourteener and a four-syllable line in Q1."
Corruption of meter is characteristic of Q. However, Alleyn's part is
also somewhat defective in this respect: The alexandrine "and find out
medor ther, you Vilaynes or Ile dye" is probably itself a corruption of
Greene's verse, as described by B A P Van Dam. While it is important to
compare ms. to Q, it is also important to study them independently, as
the quarto obviously did not derive directly from the player's part.

Profitable investigation of the bad quartos has been at a low ebb for
some time. Progress will come only with renewed interest in the best
evidence. Unfortunately, recent efforts (as Maguire's) tend to
discourage interest in complete review of that evidence.  It is much
more rewarding to read Greg and Hart; and in my opinion, to study the
correctives to Greg in Van Dam's two articles in _English Studies_ Vol.
Eleven, 1929).

Van Dam's years-long study of the prosody and text of the era led him to
what I believe are reasonable presumptions and inferences that were
never given their due, in large part because he was not loathe to
criticize excesses of the New Bibliography.  As a result Van Dam is
almost never cited or (apparently) read; though I believe he was ahead
of his time-and even further ahead of our own.

Gerald E. Downs

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Love's Labours Won

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0755  Thursday, 21 April 2005

From:           Melvyn R. Leventhal <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 23:48:37 EDT
Subject: 16.0749 Love's Labours Won
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0749 Love's Labours Won

Lukas Erne in his recently published Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist,
p. 82 note 18, (Cambridge University Press, 2003),makes a persuasive
case for LLW being " a popular title" for Much Ado About Nothing. He
reaches this conclusion after fully considering the significance of the
"bookseller's list" to the debate.

Melvyn R. Leventhal

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Dating Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0753  Thursday, 21 April 2005

From:           Steve Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 11:19:23 EDT
Subject: 16.0735 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0735 Dating Hamlet

Dear Friends,

Colin Cox errs when he alleges that "Shakespeare makes no bones about
time or setting." Shakespeare filled his plays with scenes set on
specific days of the week, on solar and lunar holy days, even on the
solstice. Moreover, Shakespeare set certain of his plays in specific
years, e.g. the annus praesens of Romeo and Juliet is 1582, of Merchant
of Venice is 1596, and Othello is 1603.

If Wells and Taylor are moderately correct about the dates and sequence
of the writing of the plays, Shakespeare does not seem particularly
interested in the calendar when he writes Two Gents or Taming of the
Shrew (1590-1). But by the time he has battled through a number of
historical dramas (H6, R3, Titus, Lucrece) he emerges with an intense
interest in the calendar and time (and time-keeping) in The Comedy of
Errors (1594). He explores the Gregorian reform and confusion ensuing in
R&J (1595) and writes an occasional, night-specific play in the same
year -- Dream (see David Wiles on this). By the time Shakespeare writes
King John (1596) he's sophisticated enough to refer to a solstice in
order to make a recondite political statement (regarding Magna Carta).

In 1598/9 a remarkable change occurs in Shakespeare's technique. Into
Henry V (set ca. AD 1412), his last play written for performance at The
Curtain, Shakespeare injects a speech clearly referring to Essex's
contemporary adventure in Ireland (March 1599). Into Julius Caesar,
which everyone knows takes place in 44-42 BC, Shakespeare injects a
striking clock; anachronism was a long-established playwright's tactic
for referring onstage events (in this case, in ancient Rome) to
contemporary events in England.

Shakespeare purpose-wrote JC in 1599 to open the new Bankside Globe; in
that venue Shakespeare begins making planes of times slide past and
through each other. In As You Like It the seasons become pied as there
are no clocks in the forest. In Twelfth Night, a Christmas carol conveys
that the English Julian 12th of December was the actual date of
Christmas. In Othello, a group of Gregorian Venetians occupy an island
which keeps the Greek (and English) Julian calendar, and all manner of
time confusion occurs. These plays are artifacts of a master of
time-play at work.

But what of Hamlet? Amleth, if he lived at all, would have been a near
contemporary of Leir. To understand the time-scheme of Hamlet it may be
useful to compare the Danish tragedy with Lear. And there are hints of
the early medieval era in Hamlet; England is a Danish fief. The Player
King's speech reckons the passing of time in moons, i.e. by the lunar
calendar; the calendar in King Lear is also a lunar calendar (Leir
flourished before the founding of Rome). But there are also nagging
anachronisms in Hamlet: cannon, for one, another striking clock, the
prince's Copernican verses to Ophelia. Wittenberg became a place of
learning only in 1507. And Hamlet, returned from Wittenberg where the
Julian calendar prevails to a Gregorian Denmark, cannot remember how
long it's been since his father died -- "But two months dead, nay not so
much, not two ... within a month ... A little month ... within a month"
-- is pondering the calendar confusion ensuing after 1582. The time
really is out of joint.

Shakespeare's time-setting of Hamlet, therefore, seems to be in flux
between medieval and contemporary dates. And that instability is an
unappreciated but elemental aspect of Shakespeare's design for the play.
Shakespeare has incised a hard calendar into Hamlet. It is biological.
Hamlet is thirty. He was born on the day Old Hamlet overcame Old
Fortinbras, the very day on which the absolute Clown became sexton of
the church. That is the calendar which shapes the drama of Shakespeare's
play, and the calendar he wishes us to contemplate.

Hope this helps.

Steve Sohmer

_______________________________________________________________
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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