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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: August ::
WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0517  Friday, 10 August 2007

[1] 	From: 		Roger Gross <
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	Date: 		Thursday, 09 Aug 2007 18:23:26 -0500
	Subj: 		Re: WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

[2] 	From: 		Robin Hamilton <
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	Date: 		Friday, 10 Aug 2007 03:31:40 +0100
	Subj: 		Re: WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

[3] 	From: 		Terence Hawkes <
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	Date: 		Friday, 10 Aug 2007 11:59:04 +0100
	Subj: 		Subject: WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Roger Gross <
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Date: 		Thursday, 09 Aug 2007 18:23:26 -0500
Subject: 18.0510 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0510 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

I'm suffering a bit of mind cramp, trying to reconcile the thought that 
this beautifully sensitive and insightful piece about Shakespeare came 
from the George W. Bush speechwriter who invented "the Axis of Evil" 
and "I'm not going to wait until we catch Sadam with a smoking gun in hand."

Go figure.

Roger Gross

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[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robin Hamilton <
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Date: 		Friday, 10 Aug 2007 03:31:40 +0100
Subject: 18.0510 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0510 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

 >Or, as Nigel Cliff concludes his book "The Shakespeare Riots"

...

 >We fire off paper bullets at one another over this and other web lists,
 >but in America in 1849, they threw bricks and shot each other over
 >Shakespeare. Amazing.
 >
 >Alan Pierpoint

Well, it was partly that, but Shakespeare was in this instance 
principally the occasion of an America vs. England standoff, the Astor 
Place Riot being more about the talents of Macready and Forrest, and 
their respective nationalities, than Shakespeare per se.

The Riot (as Cliff points out) found Captain George Matsell, then New 
York Chief of Police (and now mostly known for his involvement in 
Herbert Asbery's <I>The Gangs of New York</I>) on one side of the 
barricades, Captain Isaiah Rynders (who was principally responsible for 
organising and directing the rioters), Mike Walsh, and the egregious Ned 
Buntline on the other.

What Cliff doesn't point to, it not being germane to his purpose, is 
that the Riot was one of a series of incidents involving the four men. 
Matsell and Mike Walsh, a radical journalist and populist politician, 
had been associated at the time of the founding of the Loco Foco party 
in New York in the 1830s but later fell out, leading to Walsh memorably 
describing Matsell as (among other things) "300 lbs of blubber and malice."

Rynders and Matsell clashed at an anti-slavery meeting which was being 
addressed by Fredrick Douglas. Rynders was all set to break it up when 
Matsell quietly remarked that if Rynders laid a finger on Douglas, he'd 
have Rynders in the Tombs faster than you could say Jack Robinson.

When Boss Tweed took over Tamny Hall, and thus essentially New York 
politics, Matsell was ousted as chief of police, not to return till 
Tweed was slung in jail about fifteen years later.  Mike Walsh (who'd 
been a fellow-representative with Tweed in Congress) died of a fall down 
a stairway a couple of years after Tweed took over Tammany Hall.  No one 
saw this happen, and the inquest reported "no suspicious circumstances", 
so I've been informed that my hypothesis that he was murdered by Rynders 
at Boss Tweed's behest-"Who will rid me of this turbulent drunken Irish 
journalist?"- has no basis in fact.

There's a detailed contemporary account of the Astor Place Riot -- 
_Account of the Terrific and Fatal Riot at the New-York Astor Place 
Opera House_ online:

http://books.google.com/books?id=s9m_TmbOyT0C&pg=PA3&dq=astor+place&as_brr=1

Robin Hamilton

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Terence Hawkes <
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Date: 		Friday, 10 Aug 2007 11:59:04 +0100
Subject: SHK 18.0503 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare
Comment: 	Subject: Re: SHK 18.0503 WashPost: Ourselves in Shakespeare

Let's get it straight.  It's not what the plays say that counts, but the 
uses to which they are put. We wonder about what they 'mean'. But the 
truth is much starker. We mean. Worse, we mean it by the plays.

T. Hawkes

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