2009

MRDS Announces the NEW Barbara D. Palmer Award

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0272  Sunday, 31 May 2009

From:       Gloria Betcher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Saturday, 30 May 2009 15:33:12 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:    MRDS Announces the NEW Barbara D. Palmer Award

ANNOUNCEMENT OF
THE BARBARA D. PALMER AWARD
FOR THE BEST NEW ESSAY IN EARLY DRAMA ARCHIVES RESEARCH

The Executive Committee of the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society 
(MRDS) has established an annual Barbara D. Palmer Award to honour our 
friend and colleague Barbara Palmer, retired Professor of English at the 
University of Mary Washington, and Scholar-in-Residence, Mary Baldwin 
College, MLitt/MFA Program.

Prof. Palmer is the author of _The Early Art of the West Riding of 
Yorkshire_ in the EDAM series (1990) and is currently editing the 
Records of Early English Drama collections for Yorkshire West Riding and 
Derbyshire. She has written a series of influential articles on medieval 
and Renaissance drama; one of her most recent, 'Early Modern Mobility: 
Players, Payments, and Patrons', _Shakespeare Quarterly_ 56.3 (2005), 
259-305, won MRDS's Martin Stevens Award for the Best New Essay in Early 
Drama Studies in 2006. Her research on the unique manuscript of the 
Towneley plays and their associated documents ('Recycling "The Wakefield 
Cycle": The Records', _Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama_ 61 
[2002], 88-130) has changed forever the way we view that collection of 
plays.

Barbara has been an outstanding contributor to Early Drama studies as a 
scholar, teacher, mentor, and administrator. She brings meticulous 
standards to her research and astute intelligence and generous 
commitment to any organization she belongs to. She played a foundational 
role in the early years of the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society 
and continues to participate actively and annually in its sponsored 
sessions at Kalamazoo. At REED she has been instrumental in reactivating 
the Executive Board and has served as its Secretary since 2002. 
Previously she selflessly spent weeks of detailed preparation as the 
applicant for several major NEH grants for REED's broader purposes and 
for the collections of other editors. She continues to contribute to and 
delight in original practice productions mounted by the American 
Shakespeare Center at the Blackfriars Theatre, Staunton, VA, and by 
Poculi Ludique Societas at the University of Toronto.

To honour Prof. Palmer's deep commitment to archival research and its 
power to transform interpretation of early modern drama in its 
historical context, the Executive Committee of the Medieval and 
Renaissance Drama Society has established a prize for the best new essay 
in early drama studies based on original research using published or 
unpublished records: The Barbara D. Palmer Award for the Best New Essay 
in Early Drama Archives Research.

HOW TO DONATE TO THE PALMER AWARD FUND

We are currently accepting pledges and donations to the Palmer Award 
Fund. If you would like to recognize achievement in early drama archives 
research by sending a tax-deductible donation to the fund, please visit 
the MRDS website <mrds.eserver.org>, where you will find a downloadable 
pledge form at

<http://mrds.eserver.org/awards/palmer-award-pledge-donation-form.pdf/view>.

Questions regarding the Barbara D. Palmer Award Fund may be directed to 
Prof. Alexandra Johnston, Records of Early English Drama 
<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.

Closing One Door, and Opening . . . ?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0271  Wednesday, 27 May 2009

From:       Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Subject:    Closing One Door, and Opening . . . ?

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

On Monday, May 25, I cleaned out my office at Bowie State University; on 
June 1, 2009, my retirement after thirty-two years is official.

I, however, have a doctor who believes that I should teach a course of 
two so that I can stay on a regular schedule and so that I can have a 
live audience. These are only two of the many reasons he believes I 
should continue to share what I have gained from my more than forty 
years of teaching in higher education.

In addition to my teaching, I am an active scholar with various 
publications in subjects ranging from Shakespeare on television to the 
editing of electronic texts; I am co-editor, with Ian Lancashire, of 
_Shakes-peares Sonnets and Louers Complaint, 1609_ and editor of an 
electronic edition of _Venus and Adonis_ and _Lucrece_, part of the 
edition of Shakespeare's _Poems_ I am preparing for the Internet 
Shakespeare Editions.  I was a founding member of SHAKSPER: The Global 
Electronic Shakespeare Conference, one of the Internet's oldest and most 
highly respected academic listservs. I have edited SHAKSPER since 1992; 
for my work with it and my other scholarly activities, I was awarded the 
University System of Maryland's Board of Regents Award for Excellence in 
Scholarship in 1999.

If anyone knows of adjunct teaching opportunities in the Baltimore, 
Annapolis, Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia area, please let me 
know at my private e-mail address -- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I am available to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in the 
following areas: Shakespeare (especially Shakespeare in performance in 
the theater and on film and television), British Literature, drama, and 
research methods and humanities computing and others.

I will gladly supply my CV, references, and previous syllabi upon request.

Hardy M. Cook, Ph.D.
Retired Professor of English
Editor of SHAKSPER
Independent Scholar

_______________________________________________________________
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.

What ho, Horatio

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0269  Wednesday, 27 May 2009

[1] From:   Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 21 May 2009 04:30:41 +0000 (GMT)
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

[2] From:   Arthur Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 21 May 2009 08:09:27 +0100
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

[3] From:   David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 21 May 2009 13:34:29 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

[4] From:   Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 21 May 2009 16:40:58 -0700 (PDT)
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

[5] From:   Anthony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Tuesday, 26 May 2009 11:46:15 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 21 May 2009 04:30:41 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 20.0249 What ho, Horatio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

"Horatio is like tofu."

Can we have that put on a T-shirt?

Regards,
Anna Kamaralli

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Arthur Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 21 May 2009 08:09:27 +0100
Subject: 20.0249 What ho, Horatio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

A counter question: why should anyone who has not been talking to the 
Ghost believe that the Mousetrap has proved Claudius' guilt? The court 
has just seen a play in which a nephew kills his uncle accompanied by 
Hamlet's mocking of his uncle. What would you conclude? Horatio, who 
knows about the Ghost's existence but not the Ghost's story, gives the 
appropriate, cautious, press-conference sort of answer.

Arthur

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 21 May 2009 13:34:29 -0400
Subject: 20.0249 What ho, Horatio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

I think Lynn Brenner is right that Horatio's "hedging" if it could be 
put across, would only bewilder us -- and I would add, bewilder us in 
the wrong way. This is not an example of good, or deepening, ambiguity, 
but just a misunderstanding.

For one thing Horatio does not invite psychological investigation the 
way Hamlet does. But the main argument, which goes back a long way, 
turns first on the pointlessness -- cf. Jenkins -- of this "ambiguity". 
We can hardly help believing the ghost, but just in case, Claudius tells 
us he's guilty in his "painted word" speech before the play. Then we get 
more confession in the prayer scene. The problem here is not that the 
audience would doubt his guilt. The first question is why Hamlet would. 
A ghost might be generically questionable so we can allow for the play 
to delay revenge, just barely. But the difficulty of revenge is the real 
problem. Horatio's "note" gives Hamlet a pun to take off on, indicating 
his agitation -- and pointing to his susceptibility to madness. The 
argument finally turns on a recognition of dramatic convention. The 
"ambiguity" crowd is saying that plays work the way plays don't work.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 21 May 2009 16:40:58 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 20.0249 What ho, Horatio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

Surely, Horatio's repetition of the words "very well" settles the 
matter. Not only that, it seem to me a texturing of the script that 
indicates to the actors playing Claudius and Horatio how to react to The 
Murder of Gonzago. An argument for prevarication on Horatio's part seems 
paratextual to me and countertextual to everything we can glean about 
Horatio from the rest of the script.

Brian Willis

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Anthony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Tuesday, 26 May 2009 11:46:15 -0400
Subject: 20.0249 What ho, Horatio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0249 What ho, Horatio

Let me add my voice to those who agree with Cheryl's professor friend, 
but with a somewhat different reason from others. To be sure, the 
studied neutrality of Horatio's response is distinctly unenthusiastic, 
and far from a statement of agreement that Claudius has just betrayed 
his own guilt for murdering the old king. But there is another feature: 
Hamlet has misdescribed the situation -- and is leading us all astray -- 
in saying the king rose "upon the talk of poisoning."

The text reads:

Ham. A poisons him i' th' garden for his estate. His name's/
Gonzago. The story is extant, and written in very/
choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer/
gets the love of Gonzago's wife.

Oph. The king rises.

What Horatio very well did note is that the king rose as soon as Hamlet 
declared that he would show how the murderer would get the love of the 
king's wife, in fulfillment of his purpose to obtain his victim's 
estate. I discussed this topic at length, showing how Claudius's 
marriage to Gertrude disinherited Hamlet and put the old king's estate 
into Claudius' hands, in a series of articles published in The 
Shakespeare Newsletter, and now available online at hamletworks.org at 
the "Hamlet criticism" tab.

The point to note here is that Claudius did not rise during the dumbshow 
enactment of poisoning, nor Hamlet's provocative statement to that 
effect. Nor does he rise when Hamlet declares the motive for murder -- 
obtaining the king's estate. He knows that the murder itself and his 
personal motive are safely unprovable against him. However, he rises to 
interrupt the entertainment the moment Hamlet announces that the next 
scene will show how he won the king's widow -- the essential last step 
in obtaining the dead king's estate -- because that is something 
Gertrude (his "jointress") and the court know all about; the hasty 
wooing, the existence of a (presumably) negotiated jointure agreement, 
the importance of the timing ("within a month") of the marriage, were 
all public knowledge. Gertrude and the court might find the presentation 
-- and the linkage of the murder with the marriage -- all too convincing 
a revelation of Claudius's cynical duplicity for him to tolerate. There 
is no reason to believe he lost his composure, only that he terminated 
the festivities. Kozintsev's Russian film Hamlet brilliantly captures a 
display of autocratic self-control (applauding as he leaves) which works 
well in this context.

So Hamlet has construed as proof of guilt for murder, an action that 
proved only Claudius's unwillingness to tolerate an enactment of how he 
got the "love" of Gertrude.  The playgoers have already seen for 
themselves that Hamlet is mistaken, so there is no need for Horatio to 
make the point. In fact, his noncommittal, nonjudgmental, and supportive 
  attentiveness is entirely in keeping with the character who was so 
easily accepted as a confidante by Marcellus, Francisco and Barnardo; 
then Hamlet; then Claudius and Gertrude; and then the pirates. I do not 
take his Fifth act "'Twere to consider too curiously to consider so" as 
a reproof to Hamlet, any more than his expressions of disbelief before 
the first appearance of the ghost. All are simply statements of his own 
thinking at the moment, marked by his characteristic unwillingness to 
speculate but subject to correction as further evidence may require.

Tony

_______________________________________________________________
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.

New Portrait of Shakespeare?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0270  Wednesday, 27 May 2009

[1] From:   Louis W. Thompson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Wednesday, 20 May 2009 23:19:45 -0700
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

[2] From:   Jess Winfield <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 21 May 2009 12:56:10 -0700
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

[3] From:   Stanley Wells <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Friday, 22 May 2009 15:17:01 +0100
     Subj:   RE: SHK 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Louis W. Thompson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 20 May 2009 23:19:45 -0700
Subject: 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

On May 8, 2009 I posted the question:

"Does anybody on the list believe the new portrait is Shakespeare - 
wholeheartedly and without reservations?"

On May 18, 2009, Hardy wrote: "On the surface this question would appear 
to be an innocent one, but now I am beginning to regret that I posted it."

The problem: the introduction of "belief" into what Hardy hopes will be 
a responsible academic discussion. Hardy quoted the OED on the word 
"believe" and focused on that sense of the word that is "faith" -- an 
acceptance of something for which there is no proof.

"Looking at these definitions," Hardy wrote, "I have begun to wonder if 
I should have permitted a question of faith in the first place, but I 
did and will try to see if scholarly exchange is still possible."

When I posted the question, I too was hoping for a scholarly exchange. I 
  hoped to find someone outside the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust who had 
come to accept the Cobbe portrait as Shakespeare - someone who had 
scholarly reasons for his beliefs and who could explain them in precise 
language.

No one of the sort has appeared.

I received several off-list responses to my question from persons who -- 
for one reason or another -- didn't believe the sitter was Shakespeare.

On list, Lynn Brenner dismissed the Cobbe with a couple of sentences: 
"Given the paucity of evidence, one must be an ardent wishful thinker to 
believe it 'wholeheartedly and without reservations.' (And as you can 
probably guess, my own view is Bah, humbug.)"

Stanley Wells sternly replied: "Lyn Brenner's offensively dismissive 
comment might be justified if she gave any sign of having considered the 
evidence that has been adduced." Wells went on to refer readers to the 
"Shakespeare Found" section of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website 
and also to the new book, Shakespeare Found! A Life Portrait at 
Last...." published jointly  by the Cobbe Foundation, The Shakespeare 
Birthplace Trust, and edited by Stanley Wells.

Belief? Faith? Scholarly discussion?

We all have well-grounded beliefs which have little to do with faith. I 
believe  the planets move around the sun in elliptical patterns because 
of the work of Johannes Kepler and later scientists, though quite 
honestly, I would be unable to check their calculations.

So when I asked for believers in the Cobbe portrait on this list, I was 
looking for well-grounded believers. I didn't ask the question in a chat 
room. I asked in this scholarly forum.

Hardy wondered whether a scholarly discussion would still be possible 
regarding the Cobbe.

Earlier today, May 20, Hardy was able to post an excellent and academic 
discussion of the painting. Hopefully his fears have abated

I submit though, that if the discussion occasionally runs to 
irreverence, it is due to the grand and certain presentation of the 
Cobbe by the Trust, combined with, as Lynn Brenner deftly put it, a 
"paucity of evidence" to support it.

  "Shakespeare Found! A Life Portrait at Last" they announced.

Did a microscopic examination reveal "W. Shaksp" embroidered on the 
sitter's clothes? Did the artist write "This is the poet W. Shakespeare" 
somewhere on the frame? Perhaps they found a diary entry: "Went to 
Southampton's house and saw a portrait of William Shakespeare" along 
with a description of the Cobbe portrait.

Nothing of the sort. The Wells and the Trust present a list of tenuous 
associations: the painting almost certainly hung in Wriothesley's house 
- (unless it wasn't Shakespeare and it didn't hang in Wriothesley's 
house). The Wriothesley and Cobbe families are distantly related. 
Someone within living memory of the poet thought the painting was 
Shakespeare.

This is Shakespeare by association. It doesn't put the poet on the canvas.

The problems are obvious. Wells and the Trust assert that the Cobbe 
portrait was the model for the Droeshout engraving, but the painting 
hung for nearly 400 years without anyone noting a similarity. In fact, 
someone believed the painting was Sir Walter Ralegh and wrote his name 
on the back.

If the Cobbe portrait was Shakespeare, why not simply reproduce it for 
the First Folio? Would the designers of the volume have told Droeshout 
to use the Cobbe portrait as a model, but give Shakespeare less hair? 
What could be wrong with remembering Shakespeare with a full head of hair?

Then there is the date, 1610, or "about 1610" derived by scientific 
testing of the wood. Is it really possible to date a painting to the 
precise year it was painted? Might other scientists looking at the 
painting come up with a different year?

And, how big is "about"? Could the painting have been done in 1600? Or 1630?

We need to hear from the scientists who analyzed the paining, as well as 
others in the same field who might agree or disagree. But that may be 
outside the range of this forum.

Another line of investigation involves the unidentified painter. He was 
obviously a person of great ability, noted in his time. Perhaps he can 
be identified by art historians studying his paints and his brush 
strokes. Might there be some written record of his commissions and his 
portrait subjects?

Wells and the Shakespeare Trust have proved that the Cobbe portrait 
might be Shakespeare.

Is it really the poet? That would take a leap of faith.

Louis W. Thompson

[Editor's Note: Above Louis W. Thompson wrote, "Earlier today, May 20, 
Hardy was able to post an excellent and academic discussion of the 
painting. Hopefully his fears have abated." HMC: Louis, yes, they have. 
The discussions since my post has been excellent. -HMC]

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Jess Winfield <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 21 May 2009 12:56:10 -0700
Subject: 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

Bob Grunman says, "the man in the portrait could easily be 46. Some 
people stay young, especially if slightly idealized by a painter."

The grasping at straws "idealization" issue aside  --

Some people may stay young, but unless we are to cast aside Droeshout 
and the monument entirely, we can see that Shakespeare did not. As men 
do, he got bald, then balder and paunchy, then died.  Cobbe man 
transforming to Monument man in just six years seems inconceivable to 
me. The argument that Cobbe could itself be a copy of an earlier 
painting, well, there's a can of worms. It's possible, but highly 
speculative, and obviates any claim that it was painted "from life."

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Stanley Wells <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Friday, 22 May 2009 15:17:01 +0100
Subject: 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?
Comment:    RE: SHK 20.0255 New Portrait of Shakespeare?

As I have been closely involved in claims for the Cobbe portrait I have 
tried not to participate excessively in the internet discussion, but 
since Professor Katherine Duncan-Jones's TLS article has been invoked by 
several readers, it seems only fair to make available a published reply 
to it written by Mark Broch, Dr Paul Edmondson, and me, along with a 
letter which the TLS chose not to publish from the curator of pictures 
of the National Trust.

+++++++
Sir,

Katherine Duncan-Jones attempts to revive David Piper's ill-founded 
suggestion of 1964 and 1982 that the Cobbe portrait portrays not William 
Shakespeare but Sir Thomas Overbury. Piper claimed that an 'early 
inventory' of the Ellenborough collection, sold in 1947, 'lists a 
portrait of Overbury'; but his reference leads to a list of pictures 
belonging to the Delabere family. No portrait of Overbury is recorded in 
the Ellenborough collection, and Piper merely footnoted the fact that 
their portrait was sold with a traditional identification as Shakespeare.

Duncan-Jones, noting resemblance, suggests that the Cobbe copies the 
Bodleian portrait. No art historian has made this claim; the different 
compositions make it extremely unlikely. The doublets are completely 
different, and direct examination reveals a cloak over Overbury's left 
shoulder. Unlike engravers, painters normally copied faithfully. In any 
case, perceived resemblance unsupported by documentary evidence is a 
naive (though natural) basis for identification. Different people can 
look alike. De Critz's portrait of Sir Walter Cope, for example, bears 
an uncanny resemblance to Van Somer's of James I. Anyhow Overbury's nose 
is more beaky, his chin jutting, and his neck thicker. Overbury was 
notorious; it would be astonishing if none of the numerous versions had 
come down without his name.

We do not merely 'claim' the Cobbe as the original of four surviving 
copies; this has been conclusively demonstrated through independent 
scientific investigation. It is not true that we provide 'no dates or 
sources' for the 'long traditions' that the portrait represents 
Shakespeare; they are discussed at length in the exhibition guide, which 
Duncan-Jones saw. The major source of the tradition is the Janssen (or 
Folger) portrait, altered early to reduce the hair, as recorded in a 
copy of around 1630 which belonged to the 1st Marquess of Dorchester 
(1606 -- 1680).

The Folger portrait has been 'altered' not 'at various times', only 
once. When this alteration -- removed in 1988 - was discovered in the 
1940s, it was assumed to have been made to enhance a likeness to the 
Droeshout engraving. Our discovery that the alteration was early 
re-authenticates the Folger as a genuine portrait of Shakespeare, 
updated within living memory of him.

The inscription includes an exclamation mark, according to Duncan-Jones 
'highly unusual'. But there is one in, for instance, an inscription on 
Thomas Jenner's 1622 engraving of the family of James I. Duncan-Jones 
claims that 'the man portrayed . . . appears far too grand and 
courtier-like to be Shakespeare.' But 'Master William Shakespeare's' 
family had a coat of arms, displayed on his monument and his daughter 
Susanna's seal. From the age of 33 he owned a grand house in Stratford, 
where he bought 107 of acres of land for ?320 in 1602, two years later 
paying ?440 for an interest in the tithes and in 1613 ?140 for the 
Blackfriars Gatehouse . His will is that of a wealthy man, his memorial 
elaborate. His colleague and collaborator, John Fletcher, was no less 
splendidly portrayed in 1620 .

Duncan-Jones thinks the man in the picture looks younger than 46. But 
inscribed ages frequently differ from what appearance might suggest: 
another fresh-faced 46-year-old is William Sheldon, painted by 
Hieronymus Custodis in 1590. Portrait painters flattered. Attempting to 
deny the portrait's wide dissemination she says 'A single 1770 mezzotint 
of "Shakespeare" derives from the "Folger" portrait  . . . but that 
seems to be all.' It is not. The Folger Shakespeare Library owns a copy 
of c. 1770, the Staunton portrait, and an early 19th-century copy after 
the mezzotint; a copy on canvas was engraved in 1824; another of about 
1763-64 belonged to the Duke of Anhalt; M. H. Spielmann discussed 
others, most now untraced, in articles for The Connoisseur in 1910 and 
1912. The composition spawned many engravings during the later 18th and 
19th centuries. Even the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare in the National 
Portrait Gallery seems to have generated fewer early copies.

Duncan-Jones waves away our suggestion that the Cobbe portrait was the 
basis for Droeshout's 1623 engraving, where the sitter is only slightly 
less richly dressed. Certainly Droeshout (aged twenty-two) appears to 
have simplified the image, updated the collar, and given Shakespeare 
less hair, possibly reflecting his later appearance. He was keen enough 
to catch the cast in Shakespeare's left eye, not present in the Overbury 
portrait. But engravers commonly simplified and updated; the Droeshout 
was copied for Benson's 1640 Poems with equally drastic changes. 
Compositionally the 1623 engraving and the Cobbe portrait match perfectly.

Duncan-Jones ignores most of the recently unearthed evidence on this 
fascinating portrait. Her recycling of flawed twentieth-century 
arguments does nothing to diminish our case, based on much earlier 
evidence, that the portrait represents Shakespeare.

Mark Broch, Paul Edmondson, Stanley Wells


**********
To:         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From:       Alastair Laing
Date:       17 April 2009 19:17
Subject:    Portraits of Shakespeare

Sir,

Erin Blake's letter (Letters, April 17) once again raises the 
possibility - first proposed only in 1964 by David Piper apropos of the 
Ellenborough copy traditionally identified as a portrait of Shakespeare 
-- that the 'Janssen' portrait in her care in the Folger Shakespeare 
Library -- and so, a fortiori, the newly-revealed original of that in 
the Cobbe collection -- is a portrait of Sir Thomas Overbury. She does 
so on the most treacherous grounds -- in the absence of any other 
evidence -- for the identification of any portrait: those of apparent 
likeness. She goes even further, to suggest that Droeshout might have 
resorted -- but why ever should he have done such a thing ? -- to a 
portrait of Overbury for elements of his posthumous portrait of 
Shakespeare. There are, however, in fact clear difference between the 
features of the sitter in the well-attested portrait of Overbury in the 
Bodleian Library and those of the sitter in the Cobbe portrait. This was 
recently confirmed by laying a tracing of the former over the latter.

What has bedevilled all consideration of the portraiture of Shakespeare 
is that almost everyone has worked backward from the Droeshout engraving 
of 1623, and from the bust on Shakespeare's monument in Holy Trinity, 
Stratford-upon-Avon. Yet each of these is a posthumous image, and so 
must either have been an invented likeness, based on memories of him, or 
have taken his features from some lost original or originals of which we 
have no knowledge. That it is almost certainly the former that is the 
case, is demonstrated by the fact that not only is there neither trace 
nor record of such an original or originals, but that there is also not 
a single surviving copy of it or them. That there was a demand for 
portraits of Shakespeare ever since the beginning of the seventeenth 
century is clear. In the case of the later monument and print, however, 
what was doubtless wanted was what there may well have been no model 
for: a likeness of him as people remembered him, in older age.

A true ad vivum portrait of Shakespeare in earlier life is likely to be 
one of which there are a number of early copies. Not only does the Cobbe 
portrait meet that requirement, it alone has a provenance that plausibly 
connects it, if not with the poet himself, at least with his patron, the 
Earl of Southampton. It is such arguments, not the fragile ones of 
imagined likeness, that should carry most weight when the identification 
of the portrait of any celebrated figure is in question.

Alastair Laing
Curator of Pictures & Sculpture
The National Trust


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A Shakespeare-Related Visual Poem of Mine

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0268  Wednesday, 27 May 2009

From:       Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Saturday, 23 May 2009 16:34:28 -0500
Subject: 20.0252 A Shakespeare-Related Visual Poem of Mine
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0252 A Shakespeare-Related Visual Poem of Mine

Thanks much for the full & thoughtful response to my Sonnet 18 
variation, Bill. As for the Zeitgeist, I tell IT what to do, not the 
other way around!  Seriously, it does seem to have come with the part of 
the zeitgeist that's generating visual poetry -- but also, I hope, for 
Shakespeare's zeitgeist (and against it!)

In due course, I'll give my interpretation of the poem. What I hope for 
from others responding to it is the kind of thing you came up with -- 
best would be many impressions like yours, but each a bit different -- 
all, however, plausible. Yours is close to mine in some ways, not so in 
others.

All best,
Bob

_______________________________________________________________
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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