2007

Class in OTHELLO

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0837  Sunday, 16 December 2007

From:		David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Thursday, 13 Dec 2007 18:06:21 -0500
Subject: 18.0830 Class in OTHELLO
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0830 Class in OTHELLO

Tom Bishop rightly notes that Michael Neill has written brilliantly 
about *Othello*, first, in some early pages of a book that readers 
wanting to understand our playwright ought to read all the way through, 
*Putting History to the Question: Power, Politics, and Society in 
English Renaissance Drama* (New York: Columbia U. P., 2000), later, in a 
pamphlet that's not easy to find but worth finding if you can, *'Servile 
ministers': Othello, King Lear, and the Sacralization of Service* (The 
2003 Garnett Sedgwick Memorial Lecture,  Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 
2003). I might note that I treat the play very extensively in my own 
study of service as a theme in Shakespeare, in ways that sometimes 
challenge the materialist limitations of Neill's approach.

David Evett

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The Manipulators of _Hamlet_

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0836  Sunday, 16 December 2007

From:		Arnie Perlstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Thursday, 13 Dec 2007 19:57:48 -0500
Subject:	The Manipulators of _Hamlet_

(Thanks to all for some very interesting answers about Helena's 
soliloquy, I had nothing new to add in response, but was educated by 
several of the comments)

If I may request a new thread....

Reading Scott Shepherd's message about Polonius as master manipulator of 
_Hamlet_ makes me wonder if it might not be fun, and also interesting, 
to have a round or two here about the various theories, crackpot and 
otherwise, that have been put forward over the centuries, as to who the 
"real" manipulators of _Hamlet_.

It seems to me that Shakespeare, anticipating the likes of Agatha 
Christie, deliberately built in a great deal of suggestiveness as to the 
identity of the one or more secret schemers of the play, so that many 
different candidates for such a role would be plausible. Starting with 
the hero, of course.

And if anyone who brings such a theory forward also knows who was the 
first and/or most notable famous exponent thereof, from across the last 
four centuries, of any of these theories, even better!

Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida

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Presentism

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0834  Thursday, 13 December 2007

[1] 	From:	William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 16:26:11 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0829 Presentism

[2] 	From:	Hugh Grady <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 20:33:10 -0500
	Subj:	RE: SHK 18.0829 Presentism

[3] 	From:	Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007 15:06:31 -0800 (PST)	
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0829 Presentism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 16:26:11 -0500
Subject: 18.0829 Presentism
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0829 Presentism

Perhaps we can all agree to cease the present debate, and to read and/or 
reread Montaigne's Apology for Raymond Sebonde (circa 1569), an essay on 
skepticism that Shakespeare apparently read and then used in King Lear. 
We will then have something concrete to discuss -- something at least 
tangentially concerning Shakespeare's skepticism.

Bill

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Hugh Grady <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 20:33:10 -0500
Subject: 18.0829 Presentism
Comment:	RE: SHK 18.0829 Presentism

IN re R. A. Cantrell's latest offering:

 >That is, we believe that we
 >know nothing for sure.

This is a perfect example of the idiocy of skepticism. Now that we are 
all "sure" that we know nothing for sure, we may as well just get on 
with things as best we may, and bye the bye, we might be just as well 
off not to have bothered discussing whether we know anything for sure or 
not. World without end. The purpose in the deployment of the tropes is 
to stultify one's adversary ( bring them to epoche, aporia, or whatever) 
and once they are silenced, continue to shout whatever inane crap you 
wish to shout but could not shout if anyone demanded that you make a 
substantive counter-case to that which you have shouted down by 
perpetually yakking about whether or not we, you him, or it can know 
anything for "sure."

Let's see: "idiocy," "as well off not to have bothered discussing," "The 
purpose in the deployment of the tropes is to stultify one's 
adversary"-all of this is contentless blustering that does nothing 
toward advancing the discussion beyond whatever relief the writer gets 
from blowing off the hot air. And might I suggest that one paragraph on 
epistemology is not likely to be very illuminating in the first place?

The discussion has become absurd. My heartfelt sympathy to John Drakakis 
for bootlessly trying to keep the discussion honest.

Merry Christmas to all,
Hugh Grady

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007 15:06:31 -0800 (PST)	
Subject: 18.0829 Presentism
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0829 Presentism

 >Ah, if only the 'truth' were that simple Joe!
 >
 >Textual editing doesn't, I'm afraid get us to
 >the unvarnished 'truth,
 >although it can help to cut down the margins
 >of palpable error.

JE: But John, will Terence Hawkes admit your editing helps to "cut down 
the margins of palpable error"? Doesn't his defeatist theory deny even 
that possibility? Remember: "to seek, 'the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth, despite our limitations' is absurdly 
self-destructive." And why, John, do you surround "truth" with scare 
quotes and leave error naked and undefended? Don't you see the blatant 
inconsistency here?

In any event, I agree with you that your editing efforts are not wasted.

Welcome aboard!
Joe Egert


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EMLS Call for Theatre Reviews

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0835  Sunday, 16 December 2007

From:		David Nicol <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Saturday, 15 Dec 2007 22:51:05 -0400
Subject:	EMLS Call for Theatre Reviews

Hello SHAKSPERians,

I find myself theatre reviews editor for the online journal Early Modern 
Literary Studies. <http://purl.org/emls>

It strikes me that the journal could publish more reviews and could have 
a more global coverage - at present it is heavily slanted toward British 
productions. This is where you come in. Have you seen an interesting 
production recently, and would you like to write a detailed analysis for 
publication?

Here follows official blurb:

Early Modern Literary Studies is an online refereed journal. EMLS 
encourages scholars in the field, including graduate students, to submit 
theatre reviews for publication. Reviews may cover productions of plays 
from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or of plays about those 
periods. Reviews may be of professional or of university productions, 
and may cover individual productions or entire seasons. A length of at 
least 1,000 words is recommended, and longer analyses are encouraged.

Reviews should be submitted to David Nicol, theatre reviews editor of 
EMLS at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

David Nicol
Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia

_______________________________________________________________
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
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editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0833  Thursday, 13 December 2007

[1] 	From:	Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 11:27:41 -0800 (PST)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

[2] 	From:	Marilyn A. Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 16:54:48 -0500
	Subj:	RE: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

[3] 	From:	Scott Shepherd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007 10:24:23 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 11:27:41 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

Ed Taft writes:

 >Joe Egert asks: "Can one truly seek to deceive oneself
 >at a conscious level?" I think that the answer is yes, Joe.
 >
 >Have you read Harry Berger on the failure to acknowledge
 >in _King Lear_?

In essence, Berger argues that humans cannot know what they know if they 
file away in the back of their minds what they fear to examine about 
themselves or others.

But Ed, are they filing it away consciously?

Joe

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Marilyn A. Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007 16:54:48 -0500
Subject: 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?
Comment:	RE: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

Berger, Harry. _Making Trifles of Terrors-Redistributing Complicities in 
Shakespeare_. Stanford: Stanford U Press, 1997.

The essay in question is "_King Lear_: The Lear Family Romance."

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Scott Shepherd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007 10:24:23 -0500
Subject: 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0828 Soliloquies - Truth or Lie...or Overheard?

Astonishingly, it turns out that almost all the characters in Hamlet may 
have been coached by Polonius at one time or another:

     All that lives must die,
     Passing through nature to eternity.

     The chariest maid is prodigal enough
     If she unmask her beauty to the moon.

     The canker galls the infants of the spring
     Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
     And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
     Contagious blastments are most imminent.

     Best safety lies in fear.
     Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.

     The very substance of the ambitious is but the shadow of a dream.

     Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

     Diseases desperate grown
     By desperate appliance are relieved
     Or not at all.

     So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
     It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.

     When sorrows come, they come not single spies
     But in battalions.

And R & G may have received some general instructions for their 
conversation with the King in 3.3.

Also, it is hard to believe that Hamlet, who is so quick to perceive the 
significance of Ophelia's single couplet, does not notice that Polonius 
is the author of the entire dialogue between the Player King and Queen 
in The Mousetrap!

Most alarming is when Hamlet himself shows signs of coaching:

     To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pick'd out of 
ten thousand.
     There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
     Use every man after his desserts, and who shall scape whipping?
     There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.

Curiously Polonius himself, probably to avoid giving himself away, 
remains uncharacteristically restrained in his own aphoristic 
utterances. Outside of the famous "precepts" speech, I could find only 
three, and they aren't even very good ones:

     I do know
     When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
     Lends the tongue vows.

     Brevity is the soul of wit
     And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes

     'Tis too much prov'd, that with devotion's visage
     And pious action, we do sugar o'er
     The devil himself.

As for the precepts speech itself, it *is* fairly satisfying in this 
regard, but I'm surprised that none of it rhymes. In fact, unless you 
count the aphorisms spoken by others, Polonius only rhymes once in the 
whole play, on a weird line that hardly makes any sense!

_______________________________________________________________
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.

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