2005

Gertrude-Ophelia

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1986  Thursday, 1 December 2005

[1] 	From: 	Jay Feldman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 07:41:00 -1000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1975 Gertrude-Ophelia

[2] 	From: 	Margaret Litvin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 12:59:13 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1965 Gertrude-Ophelia

[3] 	From: 	Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 13:02:03 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1975 Gertrude-Ophelia

[4] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 13:20:53 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1975 Gertrude-Ophelia

[5] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 13:50:31 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1975 Gertrude-Ophelia

[6] 	From: 	Donald Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 14:33:58 -0600
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1975 Gertrude-Ophelia

[7] 	From: 	John Reed <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 01 Dec 2005 06:45:25 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: Gertrude-Ophelia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jay Feldman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 07:41:00 -1000
Subject: 16.1975 Gertrude-Ophelia
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1975 Gertrude-Ophelia

". . . thinking spectators/readers cannot help but wonder why Gertrude, 
who was apparently an eyewitness to Ophelia's death, did not help her or 
call for help - the drowning takes a long time, even in the telling on 
stage!"

A non-scholar's response to Ed Taft's answerless question:

- It is Gertrude's breathing time of day. She has climbed the four 
flights to the ramparts and looks on the high eastward hill where the 
stream flows. There she spies Ophelia's danger and instantly orders her 
ladies and guards to her aid. She remains to observe. -

Works for me - Jay

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Margaret Litvin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 12:59:13 -0500
Subject: 16.1965 Gertrude-Ophelia
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1965 Gertrude-Ophelia

Couldn't resist belatedly chiming in from a cross-cultural perspective.

In the Arab world, there is a fairly accepted reading among directors 
and critics that accuses the whole Claudius regime, not just Gertrude, 
of Ophelia's murder.  The evidence is pretty much the usual: lack of 
witnesses at the drowning; Gertrude's too-flowery elegy; and the textual 
hints of Claudius' excessive interest in Ophelia, whether as an 
attractive woman or as a source of subversive talk ("Pretty Ophelia ... 
Follow her close, give her good watch, I pray you.").  One Egyptian 
critic admits she is haunted by Claudius' earlier line, referring to 
Hamlet: "Madness in great ones must not unwatched go."

But what makes this interpretation work on stage is the character of 
Claudius, played as a plausibly monstrous tyrant, 


Living Characters

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1985  Thursday, 1 December 2005

From: 		John V. Knapp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 15:12:26 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 16.1966 Living Characters
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1966 Living Characters

Hardy, David Bishop, et al., -

We seem to be talking somewhat at cross-purposes here, and again for the 
sake of argument, I'll assume I'm not being clear.  So, of course the 
term (but perhaps not the concept) of "sibling rivalry" is 
anachronistic, but then if contemporary criticism were to confine itself 
to speaking only of concepts and language from 1600, then each 
generation's reconsideration of Shakespeare's works would consist of 
recycling what is mostly already known.  Isn't it the job of the critic 
to look anew, now and then, at, say, *Hamlet* in the light of what we 
have most recently learned about human beings and our aesthetic 
responses to its mimetic characters?  Art historians constantly revise 
their views of famous old paintings in the light of x-ray technology, 
chemistry, etc., so why shouldn't literary critics also rethink what 
appears to be "obvious" now and then, but not with a Freudian critical 
lens from 1920 but with a more contemporary psychology?

My point remains a simple one: let's look again at selected mimetic 
characters in the context of their (assumed) family life, and reconsider 
what we know about their behaviors in the knowledge of recent (since the 
1940s & '50s) thinking about human systems.  Of course, we cannot 
thereby do violence to what is in, or is not in the text, but 
speculation about such "back-stories" can range from the impossible (how 
many children had Lady Macbeth?), to the "interesting": almost all the 
opinions about Claudius, for example, come from his murdered brother's 
ghost or his son.  Why does their bitterness toward him feel so much 
more like familial betrayal and less the betrayal of a King by a mere 
usurper?  Would consideration of a reasonable back-story concerning 
Hamlet's feelings about family life help us understand a bit better what 
IS explicit in the text?

Why, for example, is young Hamlet so fascinated ("I chiefly lov'd") by 
Aeneas' tale to Dido of "Priam's slaughter" in Virgil (II,ii, 446-48; 
cf. Riverside text)?  A quick look at the Aeneid reveals the Queen's 
wretching request of Priam: "Come to me, come to the altar,/It will 
protect us, or at least let us /Die all together" (trans. Rolfe 
Humphries, 1951:  2:50.  As I have argued in Reading the Family Dance, 
the closing of family ranks to withstand the horror of "deadly Pyrrus" 
is reflected in Hamlet's "fantasy of an intact family, one similiar to 
where Hector's mother loves his father enough to die with him," and 
where "the elderly Priam love's Hector's mother enough to defend her to 
the death against Pyrrus's "villainous behavior" (Reading, 212). 
Hamlet's own recent family history has fallen short of that ideal.

Thus the bitter hatred Hamlet feels for Claudius, his burning anger 
toward his mother, his self-doubts about his own lack of resolve all 
seem even more intense to the reader/viewer by knowing that what he 
fantasizes about family life is exemplified in this little detail of his 
reading.  Can such an interesting reinforcement of what most readers 
already know or suspect be anachronistic?  Should we reduce *Hamlet* to 
what James Phelan calls "thematic leaps," where all can understood by 
moving from gritty characterological details to single concepts like 
"revenge" or "justice?" Where's the fun in that?

JVK

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1983  Thursday, 1 December 2005

From: 		Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 15:35:05 EST
Subject: 16.1974 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1974 Lions and Tigers and Wagers...oh my...

Michael Egan writes:

 >Ward Elliott is obviously looking for a fight. I'm not interested. If he
 >wants to discuss the authorship of 1 Richard II/Woodstock, it must be in
 >an appropriately scholarly manner.

I went back and re-read Ward's last few posts and I don't see that he's 
"looking for a fight". It appears to me that Ward, while disagreeing 
with Michael, has been civil; and it's the latter who in his posts comes 
over all pugnacious. Michael Egan has clearly done a lot of work on 
Woodstock, and not all of it has to do with its authorship. For that he 
should be commended. However, when others disagree with him or offer 
evidence to rebut his theories, he seems to take it personally, and 
becomes angry and dismissive [or at least that's how it seems to me].

I've been meaning to write a post on the Woodstock authorship issue, but 
have been occupied with other things; and it's not a subject easy to 
bring into a small compass. However, let me offer a few observations.

It's clear that there exists a state of 'intertextuality' between 
Woodstock and some of Shakespeare's plays, especially Richard II, but 
also the Henry VI series, Much Ado and others. Michael has industriously 
assembled in his edition and on his website over 1600 points of 
resemblance between Woodstock and Shakespeare's work. Ward Elliott said: 
"Most of the resemblances I looked at on his webpage - which did not 
include all 1600 -- seemed plausible." Many seem to me to be 
commonplaces of various kinds and don't much help his argument, but 
certainly some are telling.

What is the significance of the connections between Woodstock and 
Shakespeare's plays? Michael believes that the cause of this 
intertextuality is clearly that both Woodstock and Richard II were 
written by the same person and that person is William Shakespeare. But 
there are other possibilities, and to a large extent it comes down to a 
question of Woodstock's date. MacDonald P. Jackson's article offers a 
lot of evidence that Woodstock was not just re-copied but composed in 
the early seventeenth century. [See his article "Shakespeare's Richard 
II and the Anonymous Richard II" in Medieval and Renaissance Drama in 
England, 14 (2001)-essential reading for anyone interested in this 
subject.] If Woodstock was written after Shakespeare's Richard II [and 
Henry VI, Much Ado, etc], then the connections are easily explained: 
Woodstock's author, like many playwrights of the day was familiar with 
and influenced by Shakespeare's plays and, consciously or unconsciously, 
echoed them. According to Michael, this would mean that the author 
"stole from Shakespeare plays or portions of Shakespeare plays". He 
implies that this outrage would have been unacceptable in the world of 
Elizabethan public-theatre scriptwriters. But this goes against what 
elsewhere we have observed, that early modern playwrights and the 
companies they worked for were not jealous in this way but were content 
to recycle themes, sources, characters, gags, lines, phrases, images, 
oaths, colloquialisms [etc] that had been used successfully before. The 
concept of plagiarism as we know it had not yet formed. For instance, 
Robert Davenport, who wrote history plays for Shakespeare's company in 
the 1620s, 'stole' a good deal of his *King John and Matilda* from 
Chettle & Mundy's *Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon*.

Michael makes much of the fact that Mac Jackson once referred in print 
to Woodstock as dating from the early 1590s. Both Mac and I have pointed 
out that this was before Mac had taken up the subject of Woodstock's 
authorship and that he was merely listing early history plays with their 
conventional dates, but Michael does not acknowledge this and still 
considers it a flaw in Mac's argument. He also makes much of flaws in 
the text of Woodstock that Mac used [Rossiter's], but Mac's case does 
not depend one way or the other on those features.

Perhaps I missed it [it's a big website] but Michael doesn't seem to 
address several of Mac's most telling points: the enormous quantity of 
"ye" used for "you" in Woodstock, a feature present in only a few other 
early modern playwrights, and the rare spelling "eth" for the 
contraction "i'th'", both of which are found in the work of Mac's 
candidate for Woodstock's authorship, Samuel Rowley. Michael's 
all-purpose answer for any feature of Woodstock that smacks of the 
seventeenth century seems to be that it was recopied then [probably 
true] by an interfering scribe [less likely at least to the extent 
required to account for some features], or [for features belonging to 
'compositional' strata-such as metrics and features no scribe would 
introduce] that Shakespeare revised the play in the 1600s. This last 
maneuver is one of those all-purpose arguments to which there can be no 
rebuttal, but not because there's any independent evidence for it. It's 
just a wishful assertion.

Michael makes much of his view that Rowley's acknowledged play *When You 
See Me You Know Me" is inferior to Woodstock [though he doesn't really 
account for its numerous similarities]. But an argument from quality is 
only worth so much. Hamlet is a much better play than King John although 
they were written by the same man just five years apart, roughly the 
number of years that [in the Jacksonian view] probably separate When You 
See Me and Woodstock. Surely Rowley, like Shakespeare, must be allowed 
to grow artistically. By the way, most members of this list probably 
have read work by Samuel Rowley, as he likely is the author of most of 
the B-text-only sections of Dr. Faustus.

Samuel Rowley was, like Shakespeare, an actor as well as a scriptwriter. 
Between 1594 and 1610 or so he must have acted in hundreds of plays at 
the Rose and Fortune playhouses for the Lord Admiral's and Prince 
Henry's men. Among these were a number of English history plays, as 
recorded in Henslowe's Diary. Unfortunately those plays are lost, but 
it's hard to imagine they were not profoundly influenced by [and 
borrowed language from] Shakespeare's histories written in the 1590s. 
The language of Henry VI, Edward II, Richard II, Woodstock, Edmund 
Ironside, etc is similar in large part because those plays deploy the 
shared language of the genre. We would expect to find many similarities 
in their diction whether or not any of them had been written by the same 
person. Rowley, acting in these Admiral's histories would have 
internalized this shared history-play vocabulary, and if writing a 
history play himself, would be likely to recall it. And if the history 
he was writing dealt with the same subject as a history play by the 
rival company [Shakespeare's company], he would be very likely to echo 
especially that play-hence 'caterpillars' etcetc. in both Woodstock and 
Richard II

Another interesting possibility is that Samuel Rowley may have been a 
boy actor in Shakespeare's [probable] earlier company, Lord Strange's, 
around the time they were staging the Henry VI series. Rowley is first 
known as a hired man [likely a young man] with the Admiral's in 1594. 
But in the platt of The Dead Man's Fortune [Henslowe's Diary p. 327] one 
of the actors alongside Richard Burbage is designated "b sam". This is 
usually interpreted as "b[oy]: sam" and the platt conjecturally assigned 
to Strange's around 1590. If teenaged Rowley acted the part of, say, 
Queen Margaret or Joan La Pucelle or Margery Jourdain, it would account 
for his internalizing much of the language of those plays. Of course 
this is rank speculation-but I like it.

I hope Michael Egan doesn't think I'm just trying to rain on his parade. 
I'm not against the idea per se that Shakespeare may have written 
Woodstock. But I find Mac's arguments convincing and Michael's 
unconvincing; and since it doesn't sound to me like Shakespeare's voice 
when I read it I'm not led to switch sides.

As to stylometrics, it has its limitations, but used properly can supply 
valuable evidence, if not 'proof'. Ward's deployment of it, in this and 
other questions, while not flawless seems well thought out and generally 
reliable. I suspect that if the stylometric verdict was that Woodstock 
did resemble Shakespeare's early histories in various ways, Michael 
would be all for it.

By the way, I don't recall any response to Marcus Dahl's suggestion that 
Woodstock [and Edmund Ironside] are reconstructed texts ['bad' quartos]. 
Where has this argument been made?

Sorry this post is so long!

Bill Lloyd

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Dead Horses and Closing Threads

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1984  Thursday, 1 December 2005

[1] 	From: 	Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 12:40:14 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[2] 	From: 	Tom Krause <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 21:51:42 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

[3] 	From: 	Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 19:55:36 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 12:40:14 -0500
Subject: 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

 >As the only living proponent of the theory that Will wrote at
 >least Sonnet #1 to a guy named Edmund, most likely his kid
 >brother, am I not allowed to mutter about it without having a
 >published paper to back it up? Which is fair, I suppose, but it
 >does get so very lonely.

Please, allow Abigail to mutter!  I missed this theory the first time. 
Whence comes it?  "World" = mund-?   and--"E" t or d- something? 
Or....?????

Do you suspect that Will's kid brother was drop-dead handsome, and 
possibly the model for the series of young men in the plays who need 
only walk into a room to have ladies and gents fall instantly in love?

G.L. Horton, playwright
Newton, MA
http://www.stagepage.info/monologs/_monologs.html

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Tom Krause <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 21:51:42 -0500
Subject: 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

Larry Weiss writes:

 >"Please!  I stood foursquare with Thomas Larque in *opposition* to [the
 >Measure for Measure currency debasement] conjecture.  I chimed in only 
after
 >I felt that Tom was being ganged up on unfairly by the two proponents."

*Sigh* And now I must ask Hardy's indulgence to respond to the 
allegation that I took part in ganging up on the aforesaid listmember in 
a long-dead thread.  If anyone takes seriously Larry's suggestion that 
there was anything unfair in Larque's treatment, take a look at Larque's 
three posts from 9/10/04 
(http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2004/1693.html), and then work your 
way backward to see if you can find any provocation either by me or by 
one of my subordinate gangmembers.  I submit that any reproof that 
Larque may have received on my behalf was amply deserved.

Since the topic of my article has now been raised in two successive 
posts on this thread, I feel compelled to announce that I've posted the 
article itself (as published) plus voluminous supporting materials at 
www.wmshakespeare.com.  I had not intended to make this announcement so 
soon (there are still some typos, broken links, and maybe even some 
minor factual errors), but it seems timely now, and eventually I'll get 
around to perfecting the site (and will announce its perfection at that 
time).  Among other things, the materials on the site refute all of the 
objections I've heard to the article, and also (in the FAQ section) 
provide a list of 12 useful contributions that the article makes to 
Shakespeare scholarship even if its thesis turns out to be utterly 
wrong.  Since Hardy's got enough on his hands already (and we've been 
through this once before), I suggest that any reactions to the site be 
directed straight to me, or (better yet) posted on the Yahoo group I've 
set up for that purpose (see site for instructions).

As for the subject of this thread, I agree with everyone (including 
Larry) who would not discourage nonscholars from participating.  But I 
also encourage the true scholars among us to participate more, to give 
Hardy something more substantial back for his efforts.  If we heard more 
from the true scholars, perhaps the nonscholars would be content to sit 
back and watch.

Tom Krause

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 19:55:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1969 Dead Horses and Closing Threads

Abigail Quart writes, "As the only living proponent of the theory that 
Will wrote at least  Sonnet #1 to a guy named Edmund, most likely his 
kid brother, am I not  allowed to mutter about it without having a 
published paper to back it up? Which is fair, I suppose, but it does get 
so very lonely."

No wonder Hardy wanted to *kill* this thread.  Surely, you jest?

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

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Modern Bowdlerizations

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1982  Thursday, 1 December 2005

From: 		Thomas Pendleton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 30 Nov 2005 13:24:56 -0500
Subject: 16.1968 Modern Bowdlerizations
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1968 Modern Bowdlerizations

Jeff

You're right (obviously), and I was wrong. I misread Riverside's textual 
notes.  The Folio, Q2, and Q3 all have "open, or"; Q1 has "Et caetera," 
and Q4 "open & catera, and." Riverside cites Richard Hosley's 1961 Yale 
Shakespeare edition as the source of the "open-arse" reading.

Tom Pendleton

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.