2008

An Image in Greenblatt's _Hamlet in Purgatory_

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0476  Monday, 18 August 2008

From:       Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Sunday, 17 Aug 2008 15:35:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:    An Image in Greenblatt's _Hamlet in Purgatory_

Colleagues:

I am interested in the image of the Mass of St. Gregory on page 56 of Stephen 
Greenblatt's _Hamlet in Purgatory_. Greenblatt discusses the mass itself and the 
panel on the upper right of a soul crawling out of a cauldron. I would like to 
know what others believe is occurring in the panel on the left side of the 
image. Is the blood of the Christ figure flowing into the chalice-like font 
below? Is this accessible to the human figures in that panel? If so, by what 
means? And what are those human figures standing in?

This image resembles some images I am writing about in relation to JULIUS 
CAESAR, so any help with these questions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Jack Heller
Huntington University

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Mannerism

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0475  Friday, 15 August 2008

From:       David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 12:52:45 -0400
Subject: 19.0462 Intentions Reactions
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0462 Intentions Reactions

 >Arnold Hauser classifies him convincingly as a Mannerist; others
 >say he has no mannerisms. So there is quite a lot to sort out.

Felix de Villiers should understand that Mannerism, as an art historical term 
designating (a) a group of 16th- and early 17th-century painters, sculptors, and 
architects that included Michelangelo and El Greco, among many others or, as 
Hauser proposes, (b) a recurrent way of making art that also has 19th- and 20th- 
and presumably 21st-century practioners, as Hauser proposes, is not a matter of 
having mannerisms. Some, maybe most artists have distinctive ways of doing 
things -- mannerisms, if you will -- that among other things help the critic or 
appraiser or historian to identify a work as Pontormo's or Francis Bacon's even 
without the signature and authenticated provenance. The term began as an 
observation that in the work of some artists, the manner -- what de Villiers 
presumably means by Style -- seems to become an object in itself rather than a 
means for presenting or representing some subject. The topic would hence belong 
very comfortably in the discussion de Villiers proposes. The real usefulness of 
the style-content dichotomy is pretty widely challenged in post-modern theory, 
of course; but that could be one of the threads of the conversation.

Hauser's is hardly the last word on the topic, by the way.

David Evett

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The Theatre at Shoreditch Discovered

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0473  Friday, 15 August 2008

[1] From:   John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 22:08:27 +0100
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0454 The Theatre at Shoreditch Discovered

[2] From:   David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 20:19:18 -0500
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0454 The Theatre at Shoreditch Discovered


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 22:08:27 +0100
Subject: 19.0454 The Theatre at Shoreditch Discovered
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0454 The Theatre at Shoreditch Discovered

 >It was undoubtedly on the road and in Shoreditch, with Burbage's son
 >and star actor Richard, that the upstart crow learned his trade, what
 >worked and what bored the groundlings so that they started cracking
 >walnuts and gossiping, how many kickshawses Andrew Aguecheek
 >could dance across the thrust stage before he fell off into the pit, and
 >what carried to the top gallery of The Wooden O: the famous phrase
 >from Henry V almost certainly refers to The Theatre and was first heard
 >there.

This is spectacularly inaccurate, even for a national newspaper. We just don't 
know where Shakespeare "learned his trade" or with whom. But by 1592 and the 
"upstart crow" jibe, he was at The Rose. Sir Andrew Aguecheek was at The Globe 
(not to mention the Middle Temple Hall.) Whatever kickshawses were, they 
probably weren't specific dance-steps: it was Sir Andrew's 'back-trick' which 
would send him off the stage. The Wooden O was definitely not The Theatre - 
Henry V was probably premiered at The Curtain while The Globe was being built.

John Briggs

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 20:19:18 -0500
Subject: 19.0454 The Theatre at Shoreditch Discovered
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0454 The Theatre at Shoreditch Discovered

The site of the excavations are visible in a satellite photograph on Google 
Earth, which one can see at the following URL I created:

http://tinyurl.com/6du6tz

The building at the corner of Curtain Road and New Inn Yard, visible  in this 
photograph as a white square with a bit taken out of its upper  left corner 
(there was a Foxtons store on the ground floor when I was  there two years ago), 
has two plaques on it. One says "The site of this building forms part of what 
was once the precinct of the Priory of S. John the Baptist, Holywell. Within a 
few yards stood from 1577 to 1598, the first London building specially devoted 
to the performance of plays, and known as "The Theatre." The other plaque says 
"London Borough of Hackney. William Shakespeare Acted at The Theatre. Built by 
James Burbage. Plays by Shakespeare were performed here." The excavations 
mentioned in the press articles are visible as a construction area to the north 
and east of this building in the Google Earth photo, with a red crane rising 
above it. I'm not sure when the satellite photo was taken. Julian Bowsher, the 
Museum of London archeologist quoted in one of Hardy's articles, told me last 
week that they're not 100% certain that the remains they found are of the 
Theatre, but they're the right type of remains in the right place. A few years 
ago they found part of the Long Barn that was just to the south of the Theatre, 
and it was to the south of these new remains.

Dave Kathman
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Iago and the Joker

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0474  Friday, 15 August 2008

[1] From:   Virginia Byrne <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 21:45:35 EDT
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0463  Iago and the Joker

[2] From:   Murray Schwartz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thu, 14 Aug 2008 10:00:03 -0400
     Suct:   RE: SHK 19.0463 Iago and the Joker

[3] From:   Conrad Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 11:02:24 -0400
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0450 Iagogo

[4] From:   Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Saturday, 16 Aug 2008 08:32:01 +1000
     Suct:   Re: SHK 19.0463 Iago and the Joker


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:      Virginia Byrne <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 21:45:35 EDT
Subject: 19.0463  Iago and the Joker
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0463  Iago and the Joker

Except, the Joker gave us some pretty clear motives for his aberrations. . . . 
Namely his father who cut his mouth into an eternal smile. . . . now nowhere do 
I get ANY reason for Iago's issues. . . . or am I missing something? . . . 
wasn't or isn't . . . that what is so intriguing about Iago?

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Murray Schwartz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thu, 14 Aug 2008 10:00:03 -0400
Subject: 19.0463 Iago and the Joker
Comment:    RE: SHK 19.0463 Iago and the Joker

When I saw the Batman movie, I immediately thought of the Joker as a Vice 
figure, even more "motivelessly" malign than Iago.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Conrad Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 14 Aug 2008 11:02:24 -0400
Subject: 19.0450 Iagogo
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0450 Iagogo

Aaron Azlant <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

 >Speaking of Iago, and risking a hefty tangent, does anybody know if there's been
 >any discussion about his echoes in the character of the Joker in the new Batman
 >movie?
 >
 >Now that you're done laughing, I'll just offer this:

No, it's very interesting.

 >the writers behind this
 >Joker seem to be both familiar with Auden's essay and to have designed the
 >character as an over determined, ultimately motiveless malignity.

One criticism I think you'll have to address in order to maintain this is that 
Iago is out to ruin Othello, whereas the Joker seems far more focused on doing 
harm to Gotham than to Batman. He has the speech where he's hanging upside-down, 
Antichrist-wise, in which he speaks of Batman almost like a lover; I don't 
recall the details, but you may find some material there to address this objection.

Both the Joker and Iago as villains who maneuver the heroes into betraying their 
women -- well, the women's relationships with the heroes' rivals don't 
correspond, but that's not necessarily a deal breaker.

As I see it, though, the primary difficulty you'll have in maintaining this is 
that the Joker *does* state his motivation:  "Nobody panics when everything is 
going according to plan." As I understand it, there is a moral quality to the 
Joker's ubermenschesque objection to, and disruption of, the status quo:  that 
is, he is saying that the status quo, which depends for its maintenance on only 
the right people being killed, is inherently evil, and he sees his task as 
exposing that evil to the light of day. Thus the ferry scene, which doesn't work 
because (the movie claims) people are inherently good; or good enough.

Conversely, Batman must be duped into thinking that his girl stood by him until 
the end (an interesting reversal of Othello), while the (American) public must 
be duped into thinking Batman is a villian for violating the rule of 
civilizations, whereas in fact he is what makes civilization impossible. That 
is, I'd say the Joker is more of a Roscharch (if you've read _Watchmen_) or a V 
(if you've read _V for Vendetta_) than an Iago; but the possibility that there's 
a repurposing of Iago is very thought-provoking.

As I see it, _Batman_ develops the notion that civilization is based on evil -- 
because the plan is that the right people die -- but that this evil must remain 
hidden, because civilization is necessary for the inherently good people. The 
fact that people are inherently good redeems the visciousness of the plan, and 
paradoxically civilization redeems Batman by, at the end, hunting him.

Conversely, in _Othello_ we have a society which is disrupted by a lie -- not 
preserved -- and by Iago's successful representation to many people of the 
motives of many others. Iago is more like an evil version of someone you'd find 
in the old _Mission: Impossible_ series -- he doesn't much get his hands dirty. 
Also, it's thought-provoking to my mind that in _Othello_ the evidence is not so 
much planted as removed -- and therefore the lie is proven by an absence of 
evidence -- while on the other hand the lie in _Batman_ is maintained by the 
removal of the letter=allowing Gotham to believe they must hunt down Batman.

Frankly, I don't know right now whether I can buy into your thesis; but I think 
that makes it a really excellent thesis. All the best with it & I hope you'll 
let us know what you end up with.

Conrad.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Saturday, 16 Aug 2008 08:32:01 +1000
Subject: 19.0463 Iago and the Joker
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0463 Iago and the Joker

An interesting point. It's true that both characters share that seemingly 
motiveless malignity -- which is actually a diabolical sort of purpose, isn't 
it, the Devil as malign joker/trickster whose desire is to see the world burn 
and the good lured into evil. As well, they both share that maniac, yet oddly 
light-touched sort of comedy . . . a horrible perceptiveness about human nature 
and a deadly sort of nerve. As well, we never feel pity for them -- they are so 
far removed from the normal that they appear almost soulless.

It would be a nice idea to think that the writers did have Iago in mind!

Sophie Masson

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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the opinions 
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(An)imadversions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0472  Friday, 15 August 2008

From:       John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 13 Aug 2008 22:35:32 +0100
Subject:    (An)imadversions

I am becoming increasingly irritated (and I have probably said this before) by 
the presence in modernised texts of Shakespeare's plays of the non-existent and 
wholly invented pseudo-Shakespearean word "an" (meaning 'if'). This word was 
invented by editors to represent a no longer current sense of the word "and." 
This use of "an" had previously been banished from at least the later volumes of 
the Arden 2 series, only to return with a vengeance in the Arden 3 volumes - but 
the pass had already been sold by that arch-moderniser Stanley Wells in the 
Oxford Shakespeare. Was a coherent explanation ever given?

John Briggs

_______________________________________________________________
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 
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