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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: April ::
Solid Flesh Once More
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.02037  Thursday, 3 April 2008

[1] 	From:	Gedaly Guberek <
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	Date:	Thursday, 3 Apr 2008 00:44:51 -0700
	Subj:	Re: Solid Flesh Once More

[2] 	From:	Terence Hawkes <
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	Date:	Thursday, 3 Apr 2008 12:48:49 +0100
	Subj:	SHK 19.0192 Solid Flesh Once More


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Gedaly Guberek <
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Date:		Thursday, 3 Apr 2008 00:44:51 -0700
Subject:	Re: Solid Flesh Once More

I'm beginning to think that the "Solid Flesh" conversation will never 
end. I might as well add my two cents. To the best of my knowledge the 
issue of solid/sullied/sallied in performance, specifically, has not 
come up. What works on the page only sometimes works on the stage. If I 
direct a production of Hamlet, I will always have the actor say "O that 
this too too solid flesh would melt . . ."

I'm not going to pick sides on which word I think Shakespeare wanted, or 
which is more truthful to the character's age. But as a director I would 
strive to make all the words easily accessible to the audience. The 
average audience doesn't get a lot of the words anyway, you might say. 
But why add to the words they don't get? Not many audience members would 
immediately recognize 'sullied' or 'sallied'. But in that line at that 
moment, in that important soliloquy, solid makes sense to the ears. So 
on stage - for me - 'solid' wins.

May The Bard Be With You

Gedaly Guberek
http://www.BardBlog.com

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Terence Hawkes <
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Date:		Thursday, 3 Apr 2008 12:48:49 +0100
Subject: Solid Flesh Once More
Comment:	SHK 19.0192 Solid Flesh Once More

David Bishop agrees that words can have multiple meanings, but would 
'still like to know what multiple meanings a critic believes they might 
have, in a particular case, and what that critic means by having a 
meaning.'

William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity draws attention to a very 
complex aspect of the way words mean and he describes the effect as 
producing 'a sort of taste in the head'.  He's talking about what we 
loosely decide is 'atmosphere' in verse. This is a major aspect of 'what 
is implied by the meaning' of the work, and in many cases, he concludes, 
the 'affective state' is conveyed apparently by 'devices of particular 
irrelevance'. In fact, this irrelevance is a major weapon of meaning, 
and one of the fundamental features of how language operates. The 
instance he offers is from Macbeth (3, 2, 50-51). Here a crow is 
irrelevantly sensed by Macbeth to seek its home forlornly in a 'rooky 
wood'. The ambiguity here wonderfully informs our notion of the play's 
tragedy and is a fine example of a 'taste in the head'. It excellently 
exhibits the dramatist's art and here -no less- the critic's brilliance.

T. Hawkes


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