Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: June ::
New and Improved Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1054  Monday, 6 June 2005

[1]     From:   Alex Went <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 3 Jun 2005 16:22:20 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

[2]     From:   Colin Cox <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 03 Jun 2005 08:17:58 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

[3]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 3 Jun 2005 12:50:34 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

[4]     From:   Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 4 Jun 2005 10:14:45 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 5 Jun 2005 22:04:31 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

[6]     From:   Bill Arnold <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 3 Jun 2005 12:16:53 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare and Comparative Literature


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alex Went <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 3 Jun 2005 16:22:20 +0100
Subject: 16.1045 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

"Pray you, undo this button" is a final, devastatingly ironic moment of
recall. Just as the King repeats almost verbatim Cordelia's words when
he says to the Fool 'Why no, boy, nothing can be made out of nothing',
so here, in extremis, Lear 'accidentally' repeats his own earlier words:
'Come, unbutton here', his great tragic cry during the storm. It's
typical of Shakespeare to invest such a moment of high tragedy in the
detailed, domestic image of undoing a single button. This reading would
also suggest to a director that it should be Lear's own button that is
referred to - though the moment would lose none of its potency and
pathos were this a deluded attempt to get a dead Cordelia to breathe
once more.

Alex Went

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 03 Jun 2005 08:17:58 -0700
Subject: 16.1045 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

Dr. Greenberg asks:

"Can someone tell me the dates of Nahum Tate's first performance?"

Tate, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, arrived in London in 1673.
In 1682 he coauthored Absalom and Achitophel with Dryden. He was made
poet laureate in 1692.

Colin Cox

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 3 Jun 2005 12:50:34 -0400
Subject: New and Improved Lear
Comment:        SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

Robin Hamilton claims

'Well, it could be a button on Lear's own clothes'.

Well, of course, it could be a button on anybody's clothes. But only if
it's a button on Cordelia's clothes do the immediately following lines
focus on their object with maximum intensity:

'Do you see this? Look on her. Look, her lips.
  Look there, look there' (5. 3. 286-7)

Clothes, and their capacity to conceal or reveal, as well as the
significance of their absence -nakedness- are a major concern throughout
this play. At its climax, mere unbuttoning to relieve an old man's
angina is not the point. Opening a garment to lay bare the appalling
violence done to a young woman's body is.

T. Hawkes

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 4 Jun 2005 10:14:45 +0100
Subject: New and Improved Lear
Comment:        SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

Might Lear's first audiences have been amused and stimulated to see The
King's Men present the same words of the play's final scene in radically
different ways from one night to the next?

Does anyone know of a contemporary reference to such a "directorial"
conceit? Can't say I do.

m

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Sunday, 5 Jun 2005 22:04:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 16.1045 New and Improved Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1045 New and Improved Lear

The Book of Job ends with Job restored to his wealth and given a brand
new family.  WS's sources for Lear also ended happily.  WS revised this
to have Lear die miserably. How, then, can WS's KL be a dramatization of
Job?

The ambiguity which Robin Hamilton notes in the line "my poor fool is
hanged" is even more delicious when one considers the possibility
(likelihood, to my way of thinking) that the same actor doubled as
Cordelia and Fool.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 3 Jun 2005 12:16:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare and Comparative Literature

In the last group of messages I noted that David Basch sent a message in
which he compared Lear to Job.  I assumed that because he was still
hanging in there with his work on William's indebtedness to Old
Testament writings as a crutch, I would offer this up as a new thread
rather than feed the Lear messages with subtexts I really did not want
to delve into myself.

When I was in grad school, and in fact throughout my life as a reader, I
have always read texts with an immediate light-bulb going off over my
head of, ahah! and saw comparativeness to other texts I had read.  I did
learn in grad school that there is a whole world related to this arcane
stuff called Comparative Literature.  No doubt, it is a respected genre:
there are scholars who haunt these Ivory-Towered halls and have
respected followers.

I guess I suspect that David Basch, who apparently is steeped deeply in
Old Testament lore, does not realize he is a budding Comparative
Literature buff who restricts himself to these two x and y links:
x=William and y=OT texts.

Where I differ with him is in his restrictions to the equation to the
exclusion of all other variables.  It is what I would call his slippery
slope of interest.

God knows it is a legitimate field, comparative literature, and we
probably have some Shakespeare scholars onboard who can speak to the
subject.

I recall in my own biblical scholarship readings that I once
light-bulbed over the Adam-Eve-Cain-Abel-Moses stories and saw them as
derivative of the Geb-Nut-Osiris-Isis-Set-Nephthys-Horus-Anubis stories.
  When the y precedes the x, we call it derivative.  And because the
ancient Egyptian pyramid texts are the oldest writings extant in the
world, as far as I know, and because the Hebrews acknowledge their
captivity in Egypt, it seems a reasonable conclusion in the realm of
comparative literature.  However, it does not lead me to the conclusion
that all the writings of the Hebrews were derivative of the ancient
Egyptians.  And God knows I am not the first to speak to the subject.

Thus, to read everything-Shakespeare as everything-OT seems to me to be
more than comparative literature but on that slippery slope on the edge
of the discipline.  Shakespeare, obviously, can be found in many earlier
stories but what makes him uniquely special is what he did with his own
writings, regardless of where he got his ideas.

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 e-mail 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.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.