2005

Next Earl of Essex

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1243  Monday, 25 July 2005

From:           Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 22 Jul 2005 18:30:27 +0000
Subject: 16.1237 Next Earl of Essex
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1237 Next Earl of Essex

Didn't Garry Trudeau have great fun in "Doonesbury" with this idea a few
years back? He had Zonker, as I recall, learn that he had inherited a
dukedom.

Nancy Charlton

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Bardworld

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1242  Monday, 25 July 2005

From:           Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Mon, 25 Jul 2005 01:20:52 -0700
Subject:        Stirring up controversy on RSC's plans to present the canon

Under the title "Welcome to Bardworld" the Guardian last week had a pair
of commentaries on the Royal Shakespeare Company's recently announced
plan to produce all of Shakespeare, by a wide range of directors and
stage companies, at Stratford in 2006.  One article is an overly
enthusiastic, almost naive piece by the incoming artistic director of
the Globe, Dominic Dromgoole, the other a very cynical view of the
Shakespeare industry by Gary Taylor, coeditor of the Oxford Shakespeare.

Dromgoole outlines answers both intellectual and emotional for "why
Shakespeare now more than ever":  "...beyond the eternal blah-blahs and
the sheer devilry of it, there is a sense now that Shakespeare is moving
into his moment."   There's more blah-blah but some of it sounds nice.

Taylor prefaces his sound and fury with a remark that Oxford wanted a
new edition "to secure its commercial credentials as a purveyor of
'Shakespeare', one of Britain's most reliable commodities in the
international cultural marketplace."  The RSC in turn is "reinforcing
the 'global reach' of its chief commodity, and its own brand-name
clout."  Its approach "insures that its festival will not produce any
radically new ideas about Shakespeare's achievement in its entirety.
What we will get, instead, is the old cliche about Shakespeare's
'infinite variety'. The aesthetics of the supermarket. Walmart
Shakespeare. Walmart is international, Walmart is ambitious, and--if we
measure 'universality' numerically--Walmart tells us more about human
nature than the Complete Works of Shakespeare. But we all pay a price
for Walmart (whether or not we shop there), and we will all pay a price
for the year-long bard binge the RSC is about to impose on us."

More at
http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/classics/story/0,6000,1527508,00.html

Cheers,
Al Magary

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Shylock as Suffering Servant

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1240  Friday, 22 July 2005

[1]     From:   Joachim Martillo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 09:06:15 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[2]     From:   Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 08:20:33 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant

[3]     From:   Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 16:20:56 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK Shylock as Suffering Servant

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 13:03:47 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joachim Martillo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 09:06:15 EDT
Subject: 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant

More on names.

I have done some more research.  Shielock is a name that is attested in
England and Ireland for several hundred years.

Joachim Martillo

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 08:20:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant

Edmund Taft writes, "I have always thought that Shylock was angered to
the point that he sought revenge against Antonio. It seems clear to me
that his anger is justified, but in the culture of which he is a part,
there is no way for him to obtain any real satisfaction. Any attempt
will backfire because the Christians hold all the cards. That's what the
trial scene demonstrates, I think. Even concepts of mercy and justice
are manipulated by the dominant group.  So, with all due respect, while
I can accept 'suffering,' I don't see Shylock as a 'servant' at
all...but Shakespeare allows us to feel that the game was rigged from
the start.  Isn't that how it always is?"

Indeed, the Shakespearean message, if there is one, might be getting
through.  Although it might appear that MOV never escapes being bound by
Old Testament law, the Shiloh allusion suggests Shylock's salvation is
found in Shakespeare's New Testament.  None can dismiss the one thousand
three hundred Biblical references in Shakespeare's plays.

However, if we allow for the comparative literature implications that
Shylock is Shiloh, symbolically the Christian Messiah in another time
and place, then he becomes a suffering servant of God.  And his anger is
in stark contrast to Christian doctrine, and the words of Jesus.  His
Old Testament ways isolated his daughter from him and caught him up in
his hubris before his peers.  He never escaped his love of money unlike
Portia, and her lover who picked lead over gold and silver.  We note it
was the father of Portia who created the conundrum of the wisdom
caskets.  The father-daughter pairs offer us one as good foil to the
other as bad.  Remember, it was Shakespeare's creation, and the play is
a love comedy which emphasizes the clear choice of love over money as
good.  Sorry to say, but Shylock is a minor character in all this who is
the bad father.

In the case of the NT, the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus before Pilate and
the Roman occupiers, but Jesus blamed none of this earth and stated
clearly that his death at the hands of the tribunal was the will of God.
  The point of Jesus' final exclamation from the cross, to his Father in
Heaven, wondering if he has been "forsaken," was the flesh talking and
not the mind which earlier had stated to his disciples, in Taft's words,
  "that the game was rigged from the start."  In KJV, John C 3, V 16,
Jesus said, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life."  This latter exclamation states his role of the suffering servant
of a forgiving God.

If Shakespeare wanted us to see Shylock as a Messianic figure, it
requires us to think deeply and appreciate the breadth of the mind of
the Almighty Bard [ ! ]

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

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 16:20:56 +0000
Subject: Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK Shylock as Suffering Servant

Ed Taft writes: "...Shakespeare allows us to feel that the game was
rigged from the start."

Right on, Ed.

Jacob's Leah, like Shylock's beloved, had an only daughter, Dinah. She
too was stolen and kept hostage by uncircumcised Gentiles after being
defiled by their young prince Shechem. Nonetheless he wanted her for his
wife. Like Shylock, Dinah's family plotted lethal vengeance. Their plan:
feign forgiveness of the Gentiles and permit the marriage only if all
males in the city undergo circumcision; then slay them in their weakened
state. The young Gentile prince and his father convince their people
with these words (GENESIS 34): "These people are friendly with us; let
them live in the land and trade in it...let us take their daughters in
marriage and let them marry ours...Will not their livestock, their
property, and all their animals be ours?"

Sound familiar? And so the sons of Jacob slaughtered the newly
circumcised Gentiles and plundered the city of its wealth, its women,
and its children.

Does Shylock, in his heart of hearts, know what to expect from these
Gentiles? Does he wish to strike first? Haven't Paul's Gentile Sons down
the centuries always feared circumcision as castration-lite, a prelude
to murder?

Joe Egert

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 13:03:47 -0400
Subject: 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1236 Shylock as Suffering Servant

 >It seems clear to me that his anger is
 >justified, but in the culture of which he is a part, there is no way for
 >him to obtain any real satisfaction.

He surely had the right to be angry with his daughter and Lorenzo for
stealing his property.  But he had no reason to believe that Antonio was
involved.

I also disagree that he had no recourse.  The trial scene makes clear
that the law of Venice would have supported him if he sought legal
remedies to recover his property.  Shylock himself expresses great
confidence that Venetian law will uphold his bond (as, indeed, it does,
albeit subject to rather strict construction).

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Two Questions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1241  Monday, 25 July 2005

From:           Ross Clement <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           22 Jul 2005 16:33:39 -0500
Subject:        "Reduction of Shakespeare to Numbers"

Dear all,

I have two questions. One academic, and the other not academic. The
academic one first.

In the relatively short time I've been working in the very computerised
version of authorship attribution, I've heard many second hand comments
about people who are very concerned about "reducing Shakespeare to
numbers". The books and journal papers I typically read are by those
interested in computer analysis of texts, and hence they are
unsurprisingly sympathetic to the view that relatively short lists of
numbers can represent some sort of "essence" of Shakespeare. I have
heard of conference audiences being extremely negative about work that
includes such severe reductions/simplifications. What I'd like to do is
find out more about the arguments against "reducing Shakespeare to
numbers", and understand more about arguments against. In particular, if
there are books, journal articles, and/or conference articles arguing
the case against "reductionism", I'd very much like to read them so that
I can understand more of the issues involved. Any recommendations?

The non-academic question:

I'm familiar with a number of ways in which Shakespeare's plays have
been reworked into very different things. The example I'm thinking of is
the movie _Forbidden Planet_. If I were to read or re-read one of
Shakespeare's plays, and then read/watch/listen to one of these
reworkings, what would people recommend? This would be for
entertainment, not study.

Cheers,
Ross Clement
Senior Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence
Harrow School of Computer Science
University of Westminster

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Less said the better, it seems

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1239  Friday, 22 July 2005

[1]     From:   Marcus Dahl <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 14:35:04 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1234 Less said the better, it seems

[2]     From:   D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 12:23:25 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1234 Less said the better, it seems

[3]     From:   Kathy Dent <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 19:44:39 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1234 Less said the better, it seems


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 14:35:04 +0100
Subject: 16.1234 Less said the better, it seems
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.1234 Less said the better, it seems

Dear All,

Isn't Terence Hawkes amusing?

Surely it is the sense in which to read Shakespeare and then for
example, Greene, Peele, Lodge, Marlowe, Nashe etc is to find that not
only is the quantity of S's work but also the quality of his work
superior? i.e. There is more of it and it is better. And the bets are
that for these two reasons alone it will outlast his contemporaries in
terms of being read and performed.

In this sense we might do well to remember how Shakespeare was once
considered the poet of Nature. The sense of this became clear to me (at
least) in a passage by Xavier De Maistre:

'Happy, too, is the painter whom the love of landscape leads out on
solitary excursions, who is able to express on canvas the feeling of
melancholy inspired in him by a gloomy wood or deserted countryside.'

Substitute the quill for a brush and a play for a canvas and you see
what Shakespeare does - he allows one in a quite unique way (for the
sixteenth century at least) to experience something of the way things
are. He's also rather good at verse.

Remember kids - Dr. Johnson is always right!

All best,
Marcus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 21 Jul 2005 12:23:25 -0500
Subject: 16.1234 Less said the better, it seems
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.1234 Less said the better, it seems

Edmund Taft offers a curious defense and/or justification of my
position, despite his well-known and openly stated disagreement with
nearly everything I say. He puts my general position rather more
stridently and absolutely than I do, but I will not inspect the teeth of
this gift-horse.

I also find it odd being compared to and associated with the learned and
ailing chief justice with whom I disagree as regularly (and completely)
as I do with ET. But I will also let that pass.

The matter of authorial intentionality, however, I find a need to remark
on. He writes, "Most of all, he believes in authorial intention and that
a good reader can discern it."

First, we need to beware of arguing against extreme positions of either
side. On the one hand, I cannot imagine that anyone on this list assumes
that WS was some kind of automaton or medium whereby a supernatural
force expressed itself. He wrote (or re-wrote) "Hamlet" because he
wanted to. On the other hand, it is silly (to my mind) to assume that we
can ever uncover all of the author's intentions in any given work. Or,
alternatively, if we could, there would be nothing there to discuss- as
in a geology textbook or most political writing.

My position, thus, is that the intention of an author in any given
composition (or one worth discussing) is both real and fundamental, yet
also a matter of some complexity.

In fact, I believe it to be true that an author is only partly aware of
his or her own intentions, and that these may fluctuate or even change
radically over the course of the writing process as inspirations arise
and new possibilities develop. My view coincides to some degree with
Nietzsche's idea of the Apollonian and the Dionysian.

Any number of major works show evidence of having changed in intention
over the course of development. Cervantes apparently started out
satirizing chivalric romance but found that he could do much more by
satirizing all of his society. Fitzgerald began with a story of a
lovelorn farmboy turned gangster before the story got away from him and
he wrote something much better. Twain's satire on small-town life in the
1840's likewise got away from him when he plunged into the issues of
slavery and racism. His inability to figure out a way to regain control
makes the book a flawed masterpiece. (Satire would appear to be
especially prone to this process.)

But this change occurs because writing is always partly unconscious-
that is, the discovery and formulation of ideas is so. As such it always
remains to some degree unreachable by anyone, even the writer. The
acceptance or rejection of a given idea, however, and the verbal
expression of it remain conscious processes-as they must be.

Now discovering the intention of a given author in producing a given
work is inevitably provisional and (I fear) somewhat circular. You
arrive at an idea of the intention by mulling over the characters and
what thematic ideas they develop; but you understand character and theme
by how they relate to the apparent intention.

Obviously, it is easy to deceive yourself in these matters-as several of
our correspondents illustrate. So you check your interpretation against
those of others, both established critics and contemporaries.  You test
it by how well you can defend it. You modify it as needed to accommodate
the reasoned ideas of others.

For example, to borrow from another thread, I find that MOV is primarily
an affirmation of romantic love, friendship and justice. That, I
believe, was Shakespeare's intent in writing it the way he did. Such a
view covers what are the major outcomes-the saving of the faithful
friend, the happy union of the loving couple, the defeat of the evil and
murderous outsider, the escape of the good daughter from her malignant
father.

Now I recognize that many people disagree with this interpretation. I
have taken their arguments seriously, but I find them generally weak and
forced. They do not cohere well, and compel the holders to imagine an
intention in the work quite at odds with what is at all likely in the
author.

(Likelihood is (to me) very important. I have cited this before, but
will repeat it. A prominent theory about Dryden's Killigrew Ode holds
that the author actually wrote it to criticize the foolish pretensions
of young women like Anne Killigrew. To offer such an attack on the dead
daughter to a grieving father is disgusting almost beyond imagining, but
that is what the theory assumes.)

We might notice that Much Ado has much the same interplay of romantic
love and friendship as Merchant, but worked out rather differently. One
of the most dramatic moments in the whole canon is Beatrice's simple
demand, "Kill Claudio." An entire world (now mostly gone) of European
culture is embodied in the implications of those two words, and in
Benedick's horrified response. Did Shakespeare first imagine this scene
-- what if a man should fall in love with a woman, whose best friend
dies as a result of being falsely and publicly shamed by her fianc


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