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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: August ::
Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0480  Monday, 18 August 2008

[1] From:   John Briggs <
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     Date:   Saturday, 16 Aug 2008 02:13:00 +0100
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_

[2] From:   Larry Weiss <
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     Date:   Saturday, 16 Aug 2008 00:47:05 -0400
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_

[3] From:   John Briggs <
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     Date:   Monday, 18 Aug 2008 00:03:17 +0100
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John Briggs <
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 >
Date:       Saturday, 16 Aug 2008 02:13:00 +0100
Subject: 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_

Hardy M. Cook wrote:

 >[Editor's Note: Arden has just released the Anthony B. Dawson and
 >Gretchen E. Minton _Timon of Athens_, the Keir Elam _ Twelfth Night_,
 >and the Katherine Duncan-Jones and H.R. Woudhuysen _Shakespeare's
 >Poems_ -- the first modern edition to include the variant reading I
 >discovered in Q1 _Lucrece_ -- see _N&Q_ 250 (2005): 193-195. Arden
 >sponsored the opening reception at the International Conference to
 >plug these three.

Somewhat confusingly, _Shakespeare's Poems_ was the last volume published under 
the Thomson Learning imprint, and the other two are the first ones published 
under the Cengage Learning imprint. (It may be worth offering a prize for a 
correct listing of all the publishers for the series.)

I have to say that I am considerably underwhelmed by Keir Elam's _Twelfth 
Night_. It is not a marked advance over the Lothian & Craik Arden2 edition 
(1975: making it one of the last - and best - of the series) - or even the 
workmanlike Oxford edition by Warren & Wells (1995). Unfortunately, Elam is no 
Juliet Dusinberre, whose sensitive discussion of gender relations illuminated 
her Arden3 _As You Like It_ (2006) (He isn't Suzanne Gossett either, who made 
thoughtful connections with Shakespeare's own life and concerns in her Arden3 
_Pericles_ (2004). [She also does a better job of "Patience on a monument".] I'm 
not normally one for a "biographical" approach, but you have to wonder about 
someone who follows a _Hamlet_ with a play about a girl who has lost her twin 
brother!) Elam's own specialty is the eunuch question -- and he makes heavy 
weather of it. Fortunately, he gives enough reference to the work of more 
perceptive scholars to enable the reader to construct their own argument 
(although I resent having to do the work!) It is surprising that it has taken so 
long for anyone to notice that the "Some are born great" passage is a parody of 
Matthew 19:12 - although the Bishops' Bible has "chaste" rather than "eunuch." 
("Born great" works better as a pun on "born chaste" -- with hilarious 
application to Malvolio's own situation.) In any case, it is apparent that the 
"eunuch" remark by Viola is no accident of (non-)revision, but is probably just 
a nod to the audience that this is Terentian comedy, with an allusion to the 
cross-dressing "Eunuchus." And no other significance was intended (I seem to 
have invented a post-modern Shakespeare -- Shakespeare Our Contemporary, 
anyone?) The resemblance to Plautus' "Menechmus" presumably didn't need to be 
stressed. In his collation Elam relies heavily on Lothian & Craik - he makes no 
independent use whatsoever of the Douai MS which Dusinberre explored so 
fruitfully. This is a pity, as the Douai MS anticipates Rowe in key emendations. 
Textual matters and editorial procedures are relegated to Appendix I. Appendix 
II covers casting, with a useful doubling chart - although the discussion is a 
bit inconsequential. Appendix III just reprints the music from Lothian & Craik - 
thus wasting everybody's time.

A large part of the rather rambling introduction is taken up with theatre 
history, and a discussion of 120 tabulated productions. Themes are not fully 
explored: not enough is made of Steve Sohmer's observation that names are taken 
from the Advent and post-Christmas portion of the church calendar (Andrew, 
Sebastian, Fabian, Valentine, and possibly Antonio). Other names are taken from 
Florio's Dictionary (Feste, Malvolio, Orsino, Viola - this seems to be an 
original observation of Elam's. It was probably the name Feste [festa, feast] 
which sent Shakespeare to the calendar.) Unfortunately, despite these advances, 
it is not possible to discard the Lothian & Craik edition as there are pertinent 
observations (on Manningham's Diary and the Lady of the Strachey, for example) 
which have just not been carried forward.

John Briggs

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:       Saturday, 16 Aug 2008 00:47:05 -0400
Subject: 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_

 >I still believe that it is impossible to stage _Shrew_
 >in the twenty-first century.

I respectfully disagree with Hardy about this. It seems to me that if the entire 
Sly frame is incorporated from "A Shrew," including the epilogue in which Sly 
returns to his original condition and has a conversation with the Tapster in 
which he says that he has had a dream in which he learned how to tame a shrew 
and was now going home to practice it on his own wife, the unmitigated farce of 
the play-within-a-play becomes patent and none of it can be taken seriously; it 
is a metajoke. This is obviously enhanced if the main action is played in 
Commedia d'ell Arte style, as the American Conservatory Theater successfully did 
several years ago (and which is invited by the names and stock roles of several 
of the characters), but I don't think that is essential.

I too have wondered about the delayed Arden3. About three years ago, after Arden 
announced the release of the edition, I got in touch with them about this and 
was informed by email that Barbara Hodgden was ill. She has since made a number 
of appearances, including at the last SAA. I am delighted to say that she seems 
to have recovered fully.

We can at least look forward to a forthcoming New Kittredge edition edited by 
Laury Magnus.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John Briggs <
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 >
Date:       Monday, 18 Aug 2008 00:03:17 +0100
Subject: 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0468 Barbara Hodgdon's _The Taming of the Shrew_

John Briggs wrote:

 >While we are at it, does anyone know what has happened to Barbara
 >Hodgdon's "The Taming of the Shrew," confidently announced for 15
 >September 2005?

To throw some light on my own question: Keir Elam's _Twelfth Night_ (2008) was 
described as "forthcoming" and quoted verbatim in Thompson & Taylor's _Hamlet_ 
(2006)  [Ann Thompson is one of the General Editors, so that was probably an 
abuse of privilege.] Unfortunately, the footnote of Elam's quoted _in extenso_ 
on p. 170 of _Hamlet: The texts of 1603 and 1623_ does not appear in the 
published volume!  Was it deleted by the editor, the General Editors or the 
Arden staff? Is this a clue that the Arden Shakespeare was not a happy ship?

John Briggs

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