2006

The Small Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0592  Friday, 23 June 2006

From: 		John Crowley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 23 Jun 2006 07:36:41 -0400
Subject: 	The Small Question

Sam Small is unsatisfied that we have accounted for Shakespeare's moral 
effect in the world that regards him as Top Writer.  Shouldn't we, 
having given out this award, be able to show that Shakespeare has done 
more to improve the world than any other writer?  Or at least that he 
has had a demonstrable effect for the better on human life?  Or at least 
SOME good effect, and if not that, then no bad effect?

Well, if this is a competition, maybe Mr. Small could name a few others 
who have had a good moral influence over the centuries, ones he perhaps 
would consider for top places.  I am trying myself, and wondering what 
measure to use.  There are a few witnesses to the good moral influence 
of WS, but not nearly as many (I would think) as to the Gospel writers, 
say, if they are even to get credit for those works.  George Eliot 
instructed a generation or two in right thinking, Victorian style; 
Dickens can be credited for improving the conditions of prisons and 
workhouses and possibly for the treatment of children, at least in 
English-speaking countries.  I think, though, that a list figured on 
these principles would look a little odd, if restricted to the writers 
of imaginative literatuire and excluding hortatory moralists (Plato, 
Bacon, Confucius).  Strange to have a list that would put -- say  -- 
"All Quiet on the Western Front" or "The Man with the Golden Arm" or 
Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" above -- say -- "Madame Bovary" and 
"Ulysses" and the works of WS.  Hard even to imagine where Marlowe and 
Webster would fall, the bottom I guess, down with pornographers and 
novels by Nazis, though Dante might rank high still.  Something is, 
however, very wrong here, and Mr. Small might look into "The Secular 
Scripture" by Northrop Frye for a sophisticated account of what 
imaginative literature is really about, and what it is not about, and 
how much this has distressed readers who share Mr. Small's apparent view 
of its worth or lack thereof.

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Faustus Titlepage Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0591  Friday, 23 June 2006

From: 		Peter Farey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 23 Jun 2006 07:55:35 +0100
Subject: 17.0586 Faustus Titlepage Question
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0586 Faustus Titlepage Question

John Briggs offers us http://astrolabes.org/mariner.htm in support of it 
being a mariner's astrolabe. My best, and final, shots in support of the 
planispheric version (which I would have thought more appropriate to the 
learned Doctor anyway?) are to be found on the wonderful Epact site at:

www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/epact/catalogue.php?ENumber=47119&Search=Astrolabe

and

www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/epact/catalogue.php?ENumber=24711&Search=Astrolabe

Peter Farey
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www2.prestel.co.uk/rey/index.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.

Sir Toby & Pronouns

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0589  Friday, 23 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 12:16:19 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0584 Sir Toby & Pronouns

[2] 	From: 	Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 11:36:06 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0584 Sir Toby & Pronouns

[3] 	From: 	Sarah Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 09:59:07 -0700
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0584 Sir Toby & Pronouns

[4] 	From: 	William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 14:24:52 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0584 Sir Toby & Pronouns

[5] 	From: 	Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Friday, 23 Jun 2006 08:55:31 +1200
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0584 Sir Toby & Pronouns


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 12:16:19 -0400
Subject: 17.0584 Sir Toby & Pronouns
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0584 Sir Toby & Pronouns

Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

 >I am about to start rehearsals for Twelfth Night this summer
 >(playing Sir Toby Belch), and have been mulling over a couple
 >of issues. One is in regards to his use of the second person
 >pronouns: In 3.4.220-227 (Arden Shakespeare), he calls "Cesario"
 >thou and thee, but starting on line 231, he switches suddenly to
 >you.  I can't find any critical or scholarly commentary on these
 >particular lines regarding this sudden switch, and I was wondering
 >if anyone out there can point me in a good direction or if you've
 >thought about this odd issue. I doubt that the reason can simply be
 >explained away by referring to his drinking; that seems too facile,
 >and besides, Toby is very shrewd in this sequence. I doubt that he's
 >simply slipping up in his language.

Why, I do not think that he changes to "you" because of his drinking, 
but he might have started with "thou" because of his drinking (and 
because he is engaging, after all, in nothing more than a practical 
joke), and then corrected himself, thinking "you" more appropriate to 
the feigned situation and his assumed r


Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0590  Friday, 23 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 12:44:47 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

[2] 	From: 	Conrad Geller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 18:57:43 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

[3] 	From: 	Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Friday, 23 Jun 2006 13:10:38 -0600
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 12:44:47 -0400
Subject: 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

Paul E. Doniger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

 >In most productions that I have seen of the play, Sir Toby remains
 >unrepentant through the end. His final words are usually delivered
 >as rather harsh comments on the ignorance of Sir Andrew. However,
 >something rather curious suggests to me that there is another way to
 >interpret these lines (and consequently Toby's character). In 5.1.204
 >(Arden edition), Toby's line is written: "Will you help? An ass head,
... ;" however, the First Folio is written: "Will you helpe an Ass-head 
  , ... ."
 >
 >Now, I realize that just about every editor since Rowe has added the 
question
 >mark, assuming a compositor's error, but I wonder if it isn't possible 
that
 >Shakespeare meant Toby to refer to himself as the asshead, and not Sir
 >Andrew. After all, since at least his interrupted duel with Sebastian 
(if not
 >even earlier), he seems far out of his usual role as lord of misrule. 
He is
 >concerned about being out of favor with Olivia, and we soon find out that
 >he married Maria (ostensibly because of her maneuvering the jest against
 >Malvolio), probably before this scene. He also, even earlier, offered to
 >"have mercy" on Malvolio. Earlier in 5.1, he said he hates a drunken 
rogue.
 >Could he be referring to hi Subject: Re: SHK 17.0585 Toby Belch: 
Redemptive
or Not? myself as well as Dick Surgeon?

An interesting thought, but it seems to have several problems.

First, the entire line is:

   Will you helpe an Asse-head, and a coxcombe, &
   a knaue: a thin fac'd knaue, a gull?

A suddenly reformed Sir Toby might be believed to condemn himself as "an 
Asse-head, and a coxcombe, & a knaue", but what of "thin fac'd knaue," a 
description most unbefitting any Sir Toby I have ever seen, or "a gull", 
which seems rather inapposite.

Second, even if one were to let "thin fac'd" and "gull" pass, it is a 
remarkably short and vague speech to contain so wholesale an anagnorisis 
and peripeteia.

Third, have we not already had enough of the Tragedy of Malvolio? Must 
we now superadd to it the Tragedy of Sir Toby Belch? Must we eternally 
be "trying to munch whipped cream as if it were venison"?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Conrad Geller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, 22 Jun 2006 18:57:43 +0000
Subject: 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

Your suggested interpretation certainly seems well within the 
possibilities of text (even leaving punctuation aside). My only cavil 
would be about the general atmosphere, which seems to me uniformly 
cruel. Malvolio's exit, for example, shows that he has learned nothing 
of value. In general terms it's a play about discovery, not redemption.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 23 Jun 2006 13:10:38 -0600
Subject: 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0585 Toby Belch: Redemptive or Not?

Does Toby change, and more specifically, does he call himself "an 
Ass-head"?  To the first part of the question, I say maybe (Toby does 
start worrying he's gone too far and wishes he "were well rid of [his] 
knavery").  To the second part, I say, "I doubt it."

In the Riverside the lines in question read:

Andrew: I'll help you, Sir Toby, because we'll be dress'd together.
Sir Toby: Will you help? -- an ass-head and a coxcomb and a knave, a 
thin-fac'd knave, a gull!

The Folio, as Paul Doniger, points out has no break after Toby's "help"; 
it reads: "Will you helpe an Asse-head, and a coxcombe, & a knaue: a 
thin fac'd knaue, a gull?"

I like the Folio's question mark at the end, instead of an exclamation 
point (though apparently a question mark was sometimes used for 
exclamations).  But I find it hard to read the line as self-criticism.

The problem is that, if Toby is calling himself an ass-head, he also 
seems to go on to call himself a coxcomb, knave, THIN-fac'd knave, and 
gull.  And "thin-fac'd" almost certainly means Andrew, not Toby. 
There's no indication that Toby is switching the object of his insults 
after the first "knave," let a lone immediately after "ass-head."

For him to be doing that we'd have to read the lines as meaning 
something like "Will you [Sir Andrew] help [me, who am] an ass-head and 
a coxcomb and a knave--[YOU, who are not only a knave like me, but] a 
thin-fac'd knave, a gull?"

I think that's a stretch.  The switch in objects has to be inferred; 
there's nothing to signal the switch; and there's no time really for the 
switch to be made, unless the actor pauses between the two "knave's." 
Even if he does that, the switch would have to be signaled by gesture or 
inflection, and I can't think how that could be done clearly or 
persuasively.

And if Toby's calling Andrew a knave and gull, what would keep him from 
directing the other insults at his "friend" as well?  In any case, Toby 
doesn't seem in a very repentant mood.

The two uses of "knave" make better sense if both refer to Andrew.  The 
second "knave" seems to me to lift the line to a climax: you, Andrew, 
are not only a knave, but a THIN-FAC'D knave and a gull.

Despite the missing break after "help" in the Folio, the traditional 
interpretation makes more sense to me, by which I mean reading the line 
as saying: "Will YOU [Sir Andrew] help [me], [you who are] an ass-head, 
etc.?"

Bruce Young

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Shakespeare and Islam

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0588  Friday, 23 June 2006

From: 		Cary DiPietro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 23 Jun 2006 00:37:22 +0900
Subject: 	RE: Shakespeare and Islam

A brief search through the SHAKSPER archives shows that little 
discussion has been given over to Shakespeare's possible encounters with 
Islam, though the question has come up in the context of Othello's 
Moorish identity.  Emily Bartel's 'Making More of the Moor' (SQ, 1990) 
would seem to be the definitive word on this subject as it draws out 
Shakespeare's Moors through early modern texts such as Hakluyt's 
_Principal Navigations_, and Shakespeare's possible engagements with 
such cultural discourses.

I also have Nicholas Moschovakis' more recent article on religious 
pieties in _Titus_, which situates Shakespeare's treatment of excessive 
violence in the context of Reformation and post-Reformation 
Protestant/Catholic antipathies.  As he goes on to discuss how 
Shakespeare potentially attacks 'pretexts for religious violence', he 
describes Aaron as 'more than just a Machiavellian atheist; he also 
incarnates the unsettling consequences of widening religious and 
cultural divisions in early modern society.'  Moschovakis, however, 
stops short of discussing Aaron's Moor status in great detail.

The question I'm posing is obviously very topical in light of current 
global rifts (and especially in the context of _Titus Andronicus_ and 
piously motivated revenge killings), but I wonder how Shakespeare's 
possible resistance to religious pretexts for violence intersects with 
his characterization of Aaron as a Moor and with Shakespeare's possible 
encounters with or understanding of Islam, especially in the early to 
mid-1590s?  I also wonder how Edward Said's argument about Orientalism 
as an enabling discourse of European colonialism might be read back to a 
play such as _Titus_ and in light of the play's own treatment of Roman 
Empire?

I'll pose these questions to the list, but I'll also gladly entertain 
any suggestions for source materials offlist.

Cary DiPietro

_______________________________________________________________
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.