2009

Shakespeare by Heart

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0088  Monday, 2 March 2009

From:      Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:      Wednesday, 25 Feb 2009 18:44:05 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart
Comment:   Re: SHK 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart

Marlon Brando, shockingly, in one of his last appearances on Larry King, 
recited Richard II's speech on the death of kings by heart. He never 
played it, nor would he have any reason to know that speech other than a 
personal devotion, and familiarity with, Shakespeare's works. It was a 
jaw-dropping moment.

Will Sutton is also jaw-dropping. He has completely ingested the 
Sonnets, literally backwards and forwards, i.e. he can recite them in 
any way that you can challenge him on them.

Brian Willis

[Editor's Note: Apologies for overlooking Brian's contribution to this 
thread. I should not be editing digests late at night after a long, 
after . . . -Hardy]

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Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Shakespeare by Heart

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0087  Monday, 2 March 2009

[1]  From:   William Sutton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
      Date:   Thursday, 26 Feb 2009 03:02:06 -0800 (PST)
      Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart

[2]  From:   Stanley Wells <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
      Date:   Friday, 27 Feb 2009 16:20:44 +0000
      Subj:   RE: SHK 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:      William Sutton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:      Thursday, 26 Feb 2009 03:02:06 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart
Comment:   Re: SHK 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart

I blush. Thank you for your kind words Ellen and Hardy!

I have mailed Brian off-list, but to answer the question of whether a 16 
year old can memorise all the works, I highly doubt it. First of all, 
how would you test such a person's claim?

I also doubt there are enough hours in a day in such a short lifetime, 
but then again I've seen Oprah where a 3 year olds recite The Constitution.

Lastly, there is the question of recall. Is it random? Any line any 
play? And which plays? Folio only?

I find with the memorisation of the sonnets, it's hard enough to test 
the complete knowledge. There will always be mistakes.

I've done several marathons (usually in 3 blocks with 15 min breaks: 
1-51, 52-103, 104-154) and made some horrendous jumps from 2nd quatrain 
to a 3rd quatrain some 30 sonnets further, for example.

Or dropping quatrains, not to mention lines or phrases, and you would 
swear you did it right. On the same note, I've seen many acknowledged 
Shakespearean actors recite single or double sonnets and not achieve a 
100% success rate.

I still have difficulty accepting the fact that Elizabethan actors had 
to do 3 or 4 different plays a week with little or no rehearsal and only 
their parts with cues-lines (2-5 words)!

Perhaps, it had to do with the type of characters one played, plus 
familiarity with the rhetoric of the age and stage.

Let's also not forget they had a prompter, who I'm sure was a busy and 
attentive man. Has Shakespeare ever been proposed as a prompt? Do we 
know anything about these people?

For those who are in Stratford on June 5th, there will be a Sonnet show 
at Hall's Croft. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has more details, and 
I'll post again closer to the date.

Slowly I'm working off as an unknown Shakespearean the places that 
Shakespeare trod. I've done the Rose, the piazza at the Globe, (the 
stage during a workshop I gave there) the Old Vic (not valid for Will 
Himself but a temple), the street outside the birthplace, and now the 
son-in law's house. Can't wait!

Yours,
William Sutton
http://blog.iloveshakespeare.com

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:      Stanley Wells <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:      Friday, 27 Feb 2009 16:20:44 +0000
Subject: 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart
Comment:   RE: SHK 20.0078 Shakespeare by Heart

Members intrigued by feats of memory in our time might like to recall 
that the Elizabethan diarist John Manningham, who recorded seeing 
_Twelfth Night_ performed in the Middle Temple in 1602, and who also 
told a scurrilous (but possibly true) anecdote about Shakespeare, noted 
on 1 March 1602 that his 'cousin' had repeated from memory almost the 
whole of the first book -- over 600 lines of Latin verse -- of Virgil's 
_Aeneid_, and that two days later 'he rehearsed this day without book 
very near the whole second book of the _Aeneid_, viz 630 verses without 
missing one word. A singular memory in a man his age: 62.' This is the 
sort of thing that makes me feel that we should never patronize the 
Elizabethan educational system and its products.

And anyone wishing to test Will Sutton's phenomenal memory of the 
Sonnets should attend 'The Great Shakespeare Sonnet Show' at Halls 
Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon on 5 June (cost ?12), when the redoubtable 
Will will both talk about the poems and allow himself to be tested on them.

Chairman, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Shakespeare Centre
Henley St.
Stratford-upon-Avon
Warks.
CV37 6HQ

[Editor's Note: I so wish I lived in the UK or, otherwise, would be able 
to attend this show. William puts on a phenomenal performance, and I 
would love to see how this show differs from the one he did at the 
Fringe Festival six years ago. But, alas, with the collapse of the 
world's financial system, I have my doubts I will even be able to 
continue my biennial trips to Warwickshire, London, and environs. Sigh. 
-Hardy]


_______________________________________________________________
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.

Forms of Early Modern Writing

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0085  Monday, 2 March 2009

From:      Adam G. Hooks <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:      Sunday, 01 Mar 2009 18:48:30 -0500
Subject:   Forms of Early Modern Writing Conference - 3 April 2009

FORMS OF EARLY MODERN WRITING

2nd Annual Conference and Exhibition
"Inside the Archive"

April 3, 2009
Butler Library
Columbia University

http://formsofearlymodernwriting.wikispaces.com/

The Columbia Early Modern Seminar, in conjunction with the Rare Book and 
Manuscript Library at Columbia University, will be hosting the 2nd 
Annual Forms of Early Modern Writing Conference on April 3, 2009. This 
year's conference asks scholars from an array of disciplines two crucial 
questions: What is your archive? And how do you work inside the archive? 
The speakers will present papers that discuss how they use archival 
evidence to foster a productive interdisciplinary dialogue.

In addition, each paper will be accompanied by an exhibit in the Rare 
Book and Manuscript Library, which will be available for viewing the day 
of the conference and beyond.

The conference is free to all who attend.

_______________________________________________________________
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.

OT: Mimetic Reconstruction

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0086  Monday, 2 March 2009

From:      Conrad Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:      Thursday, 26 Feb 2009 16:20:44 -0500
Subject:   OT: Mimetic Reconstruction

This is not directly related to Shakespeare studies, but it might be of 
interest to narrative geeks. One of the original scripts for _Hamlet_ is 
supposed by some to be a reconstruction by memory of a minor actor.

Here we have _Star Wars_, the original trilogy, retold by someone who 
has never watched it. She has seen "bits and pieces" and otherwise 
picked up the story just through those kinds of cultural contagion that 
narratives have.

http://vimeo.com/2809991

--It's a joke video, but I think it's pretty interesting.

Conrad

_______________________________________________________________
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.

CFP RSA 2010 (Venice)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0084  Monday, 2 March 2009

From:      Hannibal Hamlin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:      Sunday, 1 Mar 2009 15:38:18 -0500
Subject:   CFP RSA 2010 (Venice)

[Excuse cross-posting]

The convening of the Renaissance Society of America in Venice offers an 
irresistible opportunity to revisit Shakespeare's most problematic 
Venetian play. This session will reexamine the subject of religion in 
The Merchant of Venice.

Possible topics include:

--the representation of Jews and Judaism in the play, either in the 
context of contemporary attitudes and other representations, or in 
comparison to its representation of Christians and Christianity

--the use of biblical allusion in the play

--the possibly allegorical function of religion (perhaps responding to 
Barbara Lewalski's seminal article)

--the relationship between the play's religious elements and its 
Venetian setting (and/or English performance)

--the complex character of Shylock as representative (or 
non-representative) Jew

--the relationship between religion and other prominent aspects of the 
play: economics, love, gender, class, etc.

--the role of religion in the troubled reception/performance history of 
the play (and in its reception today)

Please send abstracts (250 words max.) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 15. 
Queries welcome.

Hannibal Hamlin
Associate Professor of English
The Ohio State University
Burkhardt Fellow,
The Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./


_______________________________________________________________
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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