2008

Shakespeare's Style

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0143  Friday, 29 February 2008

[1] 	From:	David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 11:50:09 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

[2] 	From:	Jim Carroll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 18:56:11 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0138 Shakespeare's Style


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Basch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 11:50:09 -0500
Subject: 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

Concerning the discussions of the use of stylometric means of 
determining authorship, I must comment that these obviously are not 
always conclusive.  For example, Donald Foster's attempt to use such 
techniques to identify a "Funeral Elegy" as authored by Shakespeare's 
turned out to be dead wrong.

Stylometry is clearly not at the diagnostic level of DNA and its use, 
effective enough to reveal a writer of the caliber of Joe Klein, should 
be taken with a grain of salt, considered of interest but not 
definitive.  Authors whose works are marked by great complexity that 
include communication through such things as tone, meaning, and wide 
allusion simply cannot be boiled down to numbers.

This seems to be the case for the use of stylometric techniques for 
identifying "A Louvers complaint" (ALC). Such methods are too mechanical 
and crude to take account of the intangibles of style and meaning for 
which only human sensibility is adequate.

I do not consider myself an expert on such stylistic things, but my 
readings of ALC make me impressed by its vocabulary, which the writer 
manages to admirably integrate into his fluid lines, a skill and 
capacity that seem worthy of a Shakespeare. Besides, the poem is 
by-lined by Shakespeare. Hence skeptics about the poet's authorship are 
impugning Thomas Thorpe's character and accepting what is only 
speculation that Shakespeare had nothing to do with this publication.

No doubt, Brian Vickers brought forward evidence of the existence in ALC 
of parallel elements in the verse lines of his proposed candidate for 
authorship. But even this must be taken with great caution since others 
have reported how many themes in the Sonnets are commentaries and 
"parodies" of the lines and themes of earlier sonneteers and no one 
claims that these others wrote the Sonnets.

David Basch

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Jim Carroll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 18:56:11 -0500
Subject: 19.0138 Shakespeare's Style
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0138 Shakespeare's Style

In making attributions, commentators often overlook those things in 
Shakespeare which are commonplaces in his own style, not just his use of 
particular words but his use of imagery and the particular diction he 
uses in a given context. Most attributionists seem to make the same 
mistake: they make a list of things that one text has in common with one 
author, while ignoring the same attributes in other authors. Peele has 
been thought to be the writer of 1.1 Titus Andronicus, but much of 1.1 
Titus is consistent with Shakespeare elsewhere. For example, Peele's 
writing is characterized in part by a rather simple-minded verse style, 
which, among other things, uses too much consonantal echo:

Peele, Battle of Alcazar

Why, boy, is Amurath's Bassa such a bug,
That he is marked to do this doughty deed?

Villain, what dreadful sound of death and flight
Is this, wherewith thou dost afflict our ears?
But if there be no safety to abide
The favour, fortune, and success of war,
Away in haste, roll on, my chariot wheels,
Restless till I be safely set in shade

Now war begins his rage and ruthless reign,
And Nemesis, with bloody whip in hand,
Thunders for vengeance on this Negro-Moor.
Nor may the silence of the speechless night,
Divine architect of murders and misdeeds,
Of tragedies and tragic tyrannies,
**********

Titus has far fewer instances of excessive consonantal echo, but even 
that which is there is consistent with Shakespeare's practice elsewhere: 
however, if you wanted to, you could claim that this passage in Titus 
1.1 has affinities with Peele's writing:

Titus
Clear up, fair Queen, that cloudy countenance;
Though chance of war hath wrought this change of cheer,

"Countenance" was in fact one of early Shakespeare's favorite words, 
appearing 8 times in Taming of the Shrew alone. The word "countenance" 
seemed more often than not to associate itself in Shakespeare's mind 
with other words that began with hard "c" or "k" and also with the "ch" 
dipthong, as these examples show:

1H4
carded his state,
Mingled his royalty with capering fools,
Had his great name profaned with their scorns
And gave his countenance, against his name,
To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push
Of every beardless vain comparative,
Grew a companion to the common streets,

TofS
Your fellow Tranio here, to save my life,
Puts my apparel and my countenance on,
And I for my escape have put on his;
For in a quarrel since I came ashore
I kill'd a man and fear I was descried:
Wait you on him, I charge you, as becomes,

Lay hands on the villain: I believe a' means to
cozen somebody in this city under my countenance.

2H6
A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,
Under the countenance and confederacy
Of Lady Eleanor,

R3
Well, Suffolk, thou shalt not see me blush
Nor change my countenance for this arrest:

1H6
and let men say we be men of good government,
being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and
chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.

MAAN
Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.

AYLI
And therefore put I on the countenance
Of stern commandment.

WT
Go then; and with a countenance as clear
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia
And with your queen.

The king hath on him such a countenance
As he had lost some province and a region
Loved as he loves himself: even now I met him
With customary compliment; when he,
Wafting his eyes to the contrary and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me and
So leaves me to consider what is breeding
That changeth thus his manners.

Cym
But keep that countenance still. My husband's hand!
That drug-damn'd Italy hath out-craftied him,

Ham
Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's countenance, his
rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the
king best service in the end: he keeps them,

Cor
I looked upon him o'
Wednesday half an hour together: has such a
confirmed countenance. I saw him run after a gilded
butterfly: and when he caught it, he let it go
again; and after it again; and over and over he
comes, and again; catched it again;

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that it is too easy to claim thing 
"Shakespearean" or "not Shakespearean" with incomplete sets of comparisons.

Jim Carroll

_______________________________________________________________
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>

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editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Untouchable Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0142  Thursday, 29 February 2008

[1] 	From:	Thomas Pendleton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 14:53:53 -0500
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0139 Untouchable Shakespeare

[2] 	From:	Aaron Azlant <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 23:56:13 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0139 Untouchable Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Thomas Pendleton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 14:53:53 -0500
Subject: 19.0139 Untouchable Shakespeare
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0139 Untouchable Shakespeare

 >It is past time for students of Shakespeare to get their heads
 >out of the gutter of anti-Semitism. The Merchant of Venice is
 >no more anti-Semitic than Huckleberry Finn is racist. Shylock
 >is not the Jew; he is the Devil. How many times does
 >Shakespeare have to say that before we believe him?

Once.

Tom Pendleton

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Aaron Azlant <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 23:56:13 -0500
Subject: 19.0139 Untouchable Shakespeare
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0139 Untouchable Shakespeare

For my money, the best, least reductive interpretation of the Shylock 
issue is the one presented by Norman Rabkin in "Meaning and The Merchant 
of Venice," from his larger book on "Shakespeare and the Problem of 
Meaning." The entire essay is worth reading, but I thought that the 
following passage in particular might shed some light on the subject at 
hand:

"From moment to moment, even simultaneously, we respond to signals of 
Shylock's injured fatherhood, of his role as heavy father, of his 
lighthearted mistreatment at the hands of the negligible Salerio and 
Solanio, of his motiveless malignity, and we try hopelessly to reduce to 
a single attitude our response to his self-defining scorn for Antonio, 
whose combination of generosity, passivity, sensibility, and spitting 
hatred has itself already led us to mixed feelings."

--AA

_______________________________________________________________
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 on Video

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0140  Thursday, 29 February 2008

From:		Olwen Terris <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 16:24:52 -0000
Subject: 19.0134 Shakespeare on Video
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0134 Shakespeare on Video

Yes, Frank Finlay performed very little Shakespeare to my regret. Robert 
Stephens in his autobiography suggested that Olivier chose Finlay as 
Iago to his Othello because he thought he wouldn't be very good and so 
Olivier would be in no danger of having the limelight stolen. Finlay 
played Brutus in a BBC 'Play of the Month' (13 April 1969), Robert 
Stephens was Mark Antony. A copy survives in the BFI National Archive. 
He played Dogberry in the famed National Theatre Zeffirelli production 
of 'Much Ado About Nothing' which was directed for the BBC by Alan 
Cooke. Long believed lost, a copy has recently been acquired by the 
Library of Congress taped from its showing on PBS on March 11 and March 
18 1971. Finlay also played First Gravedigger in Peter O'Toole's 
'Hamlet' directed by Olivier, the first play to be performed by the 
National Theatre Company. Happily a live studio sound recording of this 
production has survived - a copy is with the British Library Sound Archive.

Olwen Terris
Senior Researcher
Shakespeare Project
British Universities Film & Video Council.

_______________________________________________________________
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.

The Best Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0141  Thursday, 29 February 2008

[1] 	From:	Gloria J Betcher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 10:54:04 -0600
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

[2] 	From:	Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 08:50:17 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0129 The Best Hamlet

[3] 	From:	Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 09:41:40 -0500 (EST)
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

[4] 	From:	Tom Reedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date:	Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 10:41:57 -0600
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Gloria J Betcher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 10:54:04 -0600
Subject: 19.0137 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

Having read this thread, I have to ask, didn't anyone else see Roger 
Rees's Hamlet for the RSC (1984-85)? His is still my favorite Hamlet, 
yet I've found few others who actually saw the production. I loved 
Rees's neuroses-come-to-life antic disposition. Granted, he was a bit 
old at 40, but I have never been as engrossed in the character (one I 
know well, and love watching) as I was seeing Roger Rees play him. He 
made me believe that Hamlet's feigned madness had become real. While 
I've seen and appreciated many of the Hamlets others have mentioned, not 
one of those Hamlets kept me as engrossed in the character as Roger Rees 
did.

Gloria Betcher

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Tad Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 08:50:17 -0500
Subject: 19.0129 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0129 The Best Hamlet

I have to agree with Hardy Cook on Nicol Williamson's Hamlet. The film 
itself isn't great: it had a low budget, and the budget, or lack of  it, 
is visible in every frame. There are two moments in Williamson's 
performance that stand out for me: first, when he sees his father's 
ghost (for once, I believed in the ghost, even though he never 
physically appears in the film); and second, his initial reaction to the 
killing of Polonius. I've never heard the line "Nay, I know not; is it 
the King?" delivered more convincingly.

I also disagree with most critics of the film about Gordon Jackson: I 
think he makes a wonderful Horatio, and the relationship between Hamlet 
and Horatio seems deep and real.

It's a film I hope will someday be available on DVD, with the print 
spruced up a bit. My old VHS tape is worn out.

[Editor's Note: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has released a 
"spruced up" DVD (Widescreen 1.66:1, 2004) in the UK. The UK Amazon site 
sells it new for less than 4 pounds sterling, but then you will need a 
DVD player that plays any PAL or NTSC DVD from regions 0-6. You can find 
a variety of choices here http://www.samstores.com/Store.asp?CtgID=23. -HMC]

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 09:41:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 19.0137 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

This is one of those threads in which I think some realities escape many 
of those replying-it certainly takes some advantages both economically 
and locationally to have seen enough staged Hamlets to form an opinion 
on the best Hamlet. I've only seen two staged Hamlets, one performed as 
a heroin addict at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, a good 
performance of a very bad idea, and the other Hamlet at Chicago 
Shakespeare in 2006. I have no idea how Ben Carlson of the Chicago 
production ranks in the scale of Hamlet performances, but I think there 
is a snootiness to try to choose the best among stars when (a) most of 
us will not have seen them and (b) the good productions we have seen 
will go largely unacknowledged.

I confess, I don't think "locationally" is an actual word, but I like 
its parallelism.

Jack Heller

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Tom Reedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Thursday, 28 Feb 2008 10:41:57 -0600
Subject: 19.0137 The Best Hamlet
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0137 The Best Hamlet

David Evett wrote:

 >It is discouraging but not surprising to learn
 >that a lot of our posters comment only on filmed
 >versions of Ham (where much depends on
 >cinematographers and editors ) - swift movements
 >of eyes and facial muscles, even subtle vocal
 >inflections, don't make it to the more distant
 >rows of the main houses at either Stratford - and
 >not the thing on stage.

Well, we were after all speaking of the *best* Hamlets, and not all of 
us live near the east coast or in England. I have seen several staged 
productions in my part of the country (North Texas), one of them quite 
good, but none of them near the quality of the filmed versions that have 
been named.

Tom Reedy

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Untouchable Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0139  Wednesday, 27 February 2008

From:		William Blanton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:		Monday, 25 Feb 2008 17:24:32 -0600
Subject: 19.0070 Untouchable Shakespeare
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0070 Untouchable Shakespeare

It is past time for students of Shakespeare to get their heads out of 
the gutter of anti-Semitism. The Merchant of Venice is no more 
anti-Semitic than Huckleberry Finn is racist. Shylock is not the Jew; he 
is the Devil. How many times does Shakespeare have to say that before we 
believe him?

Yours,
Bill Blanton

_______________________________________________________________
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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