2009

The Ending of the Winter's Tale

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0469  Monday, 31 August 2009

[1] From:   Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Friday, 28 Aug 2009 13:51:35 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

[2] From:   Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Friday, 28 Aug 2009 12:59:13 -0600
     Subj:   RE: SHK 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

[3] From:   Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Saturday, 29 Aug 2009 01:34:27 +0000 (GMT)
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0459 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

[4] From:   Alan Dessen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Friday, 28 Aug 2009 16:20:35 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

[5] From:   Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Sunday, 30 Aug 2009 14:39:30 -0700 (PDT)
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0459 The Ending of the Winter's Tale


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Martin Mueller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Friday, 28 Aug 2009 13:51:35 -0500
Subject: 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

I have always thought of the ending of the _Winter's Tale_ as an 
extravagant experiment that makes up for the equally extravagant 
experiment in _King Lear_. In the latter play, Shakespeare went against 
all the authorities of his sources and killed off Cordelia. In the 
former, he brought Hermione back to Life, against the explicit authority 
of Greene's _Pandosto_, his major source for the play.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Friday, 28 Aug 2009 12:59:13 -0600
Subject: 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale
Comment:    RE: SHK 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

Resurrection, the "miraculous restoration of life": yes, a universal 
longing. But aren't cynicism and hard-nosed "rationalism" in fact ways 
of dealing with the nagging worry that our deepest longings are only 
fantasies?

I think Shakespeare is playing with that when he has Paulina say:

Is't not the tenor of his oracle,
That King Leontes shall not have an heir
Till his lost child be found? which that it shall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason
As my Antigonus to break his grave
And come again to me.

Of course, within a few minutes, Perdita returns -- but Antigonus 
doesn't. Even Hermione's return isn't a resurrection in the fullest and 
most literal sense. The New Testament reminds us that the doctrine of 
resurrection was considered "foolishness" by the Greeks; even the 
apostles themselves called the women's first report of Jesus' 
resurrection "idle tales" (Luke 24:11) -- a phrase I suspect Shakespeare 
had in mind in the play's references to "old tales."

The play thus allows us the possibility of taking a dismissive attitude. 
Still, in part with a happy ending that seems unlikely but that 
surprises us into belief, the play suggests that just because something 
is "monstrous to our human reason" doesn't mean it is impossible.

Bruce Young

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Saturday, 29 Aug 2009 01:34:27 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 20.0459 The Ending of the Winter's Tale
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0459 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

David has identified my favourite theatrical moment to use as a lens 
through which to examine our attitudes to a few perrenials (endings, 
happiness/sorrow, parent/child relationships, husband/wife 
relationships, regret, forgiveness, death, hope).

There has been a trend in performance in recent years for the closing 
scene to be melancholic in tone, and there has been an accompanying 
tendency to increase the role or presence of Mamillius (Hytner in 2001 
and Donnellan in 1999, for example, as well as the Hall production Lynn 
describes). I think this is simply a manifestation of our current 
enamouredness with ambiguity, ambivalence, and the dark side of the 
human journey. We think it's cooler these days to not be too hopeful, or 
too obviously into happy endings.

I don't think Adrian's assessment precludes a moving scene in the 
theatre, but I have an objection that lies elsewhere. Calling it a "male 
heterosexual fantasy", even as a criticism, makes the scene all about 
Leontes (as does Harold Bloom in his odious _Invention of the Human_, as 
did Hall's production, as did Declan Donnellan in his Russian 
production), when there are other people present who are just as 
important. It seems a perversion of the exquisite centering of that most 
rare thing, a mother-daughter relationship in Shakespeare, to speak of 
the scene as if it is there to serve Leontes, or to stage it thus.

Remember, Hermione's only words are to her daughter, expressly stating 
that it was in the hope of seeing Perdita that she "preserved myself", 
and including an injunction for her to speak with her own voice. I came 
to similar conclusions to Lynn about Hall's production, though for 
slightly different reasons: I hated seeing Perdita obliterated from the 
concluding image. This play shows men trying and failing to silence 
women or control their voices. In this last scene Shakespeare not only 
shows their goal to be futile, he shows the men in question growing to 
the point where it is no longer what they want. The men are offered the 
perfect woman, the silent, pedestal-enthroned object of worship, and 
they actively reject this as an option, making clear their preference 
for a real woman who moves and is warm -- and who speaks. "Let her speak 
too." It seems to me the only way to do this theatrical justice is to 
ensure that in the final moments the men and women share the stage together.

Regards,
Anna Kamaralli

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Alan Dessen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Friday, 28 Aug 2009 16:20:35 -0400
Subject: 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0463 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

One question has not emerged in this discussion: to whom does Paulina 
address "It is requir'd / You do awake your faith"?  To Leontes alone? 
To all onstage? To the playgoer (or reader or critic of the last twenty 
years)?

And why the verb "awake"?

Alan Dessen

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Sunday, 30 Aug 2009 14:39:30 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 20.0459 The Ending of the Winter's Tale
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0459 The Ending of the Winter's Tale

Lynn Brenner writes:

 >The Winter's Tale is a play about redemption. (As Paulina
 >says, "First, you must have faith.")

Is Shakespeare here making a theological point, after Marlowe, that Paul 
was a juggler, and his Saviour's resurrection a sham?

Curious,
Joe Egert

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Frame Story for _Taming of the Shrew_?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0468  Monday, 31 August 2009

From:       Michele Marrapodi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Saturday, 29 Aug 2009 01:37:20 +0100
Subject: 20.0458 Frame Story for _Taming of the Shrew_?
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0458 Frame Story for _Taming of the Shrew_?

(...)
"What's the purpose of the frame story?"

It is the interpretive key to the whole play. A complex interplay of 
correspondences and parallelisms between characters and dramatic 
situations, iterative imagery, and linguistic and rhetorical strategies 
provide the necessary connections to the play proper, guiding us towards 
the right reading of Katherina's innovative role and of her 
unconventional marriage, which disrupts the traditional New Comedic 
solution. A few years ago, I traced in the commonest intertexts with 
Italian prose and drama the dramatic unity of this extraordinary 
three-part play (induction, main plot, and subplot), which assimilates 
and reinvents Italian theatregrams and narremes specifically deriving, 
among other direct and indirect allusions, from Aretino's _Marescalco_, 
Boccaccio's _Decameron_, and Ariosto's _Suppositi_.  It is especially 
the unconventional, subversive, and anti-Petrarchan theatre of Aretino 
that provides the kind of pretence, playacting, and make-believe that 
link the induction scenes and the beffa-motif to the metatheatrical 
quality of both main and subplot and to the fictitious and "sly" 
character of Katherina.

(See my contribution to Shakespeare Yearbook, 10, 1999).

Cheers,
Michele Marrapodi,
University of Palermo

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Shakespeare Studies Position

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0466  Monday, 31 August 2009

From:       Martin Orkin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Sunday, 30 Aug 2009 08:43:11 +0300
Subject:    Shakespeare Studies Position

Open-Rank Position in Shakespeare and/or Early Modern English Literature

The University of Haifa announces a tenured or tenure-track position in 
Shakespeare and/or Early Modern English literature beginning Fall 2010. 
The position is open to any rank and is pending budgetary approval. 
Applicants must have a PhD and a demonstrated commitment to both 
teaching and scholarship. The successful candidate will be expected to 
teach four courses per year  The language of instruction is English. 
Please send letter of application and dossier and a writing sample of no 
more than 8000 words to Professor Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan, Chair of the 
Search Committee, Department of English Literature, The University of 
Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel. Preference will be given to 
applications received by November  20, 2009. Interviews at the 
forthcoming MLA convention in Philadelphia.

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Thomas Middleton -- The Collected Works and Companion

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0467  Monday, 31 August 2009

From:       Ian Stevens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 31 Aug 2009 15:00:38 -0400
Subject:    Thomas Middleton -- The Collected Works and Companion

My company has acquired some copies of Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino's 
"Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works and Companion" from Oxford 
University Press. These were sold off by Oxford as overstocks and are 
brand new, still in their boxes. As a result, we are able to offer them 
at $69.98 (rather than their $350.00 published price).

Here are details of the book on our website:

http://www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm/ID/69955/Location/DBBC

The David Brown Book Company
Box 511 (28 Main St)
Oakville CT 06779
USA

Tel: (860) 945-9329
Fax: (860) 945-9468

www.oxbowbooks.com

Find us on Facebook by following this link:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakville-Ct/The-David-Brown-Book-Company/128462876498

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Janssen Portrait at the Folger Library

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0465  Monday, 31 August 2009

From:       Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, August 31, 2009
Subject:    Janssen Portrait at the Folger Library

The Sunday, August 30, 2009, _Washington Post Magazine_ had an article 
about the Cobbe Portrait, emphasizing the section of the argument that 
the Janssen portrait at the Folger Library might, in fact, be the 
original of the five portraits associated with the Cobbe -- "Waiting for 
William: After four centuries, we may finally be seeing history's 
greatest writer for the first time," by Sally Jenkins.

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/21/AR2009082101928.html>

Although the arguments are too long to go into detail with this posting, 
they are presented in as straight-forward a manner as I have ever seen 
them in news accounts of the Cobbe Portrait. I encourage anyone who is 
interested to read the piece at the Washington Post website and then if 
further interested to read _Shakespeare found!: A Life Portrait at Last_ 
by Stanley Wells et al. [I intend to review this book within the next 
six months as I work through my other commitments.]. I will here, 
however, attempt to synthesize the arguments in the essay and present as 
concise a summary as I am able to do in the short space of this posting.

The Cobbe Portrait "is a dead ringer for a portrait [the Janssen] held 
by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, a picture that from 
1770 to the 1940s was considered legitimately Shakespeare, until it was 
declared a forgery. Now it's possible that the Folger may not own a sham 
at all, but a scholarly grail, a true likeness of the bard painted 
during his lifetime."

Cobbe and his friend and schoolmate, Alastair Laing, had discovered that 
the portrait Cobbe had bid goodnight to as a child growing up in 
Newbridge House "was actually of a longhaired man, and not just any man. 
He was identified as Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton and the 
"lovely boy" scholars suspect Shakespeare of obsessing on in some of his 
sonnets."

"Just two images of Shakespeare are considered authentic by scholars, 
and both were done after the playwright died. A clumsy funerary bust 
over his tomb in the chancel of Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford 
depicts a portly man in robes with a quill in his hand. It must have 
looked like him at his death because his family approved it. The other 
is the cartoonlike engraving on the cover of the First Folio, the 
authorized collection of his plays published in 1623, seven years after 
he died. The engraving, by a Flemish artisan named Martin Droeshout, 
shows a neckless man with an absurdly domed forehead, pouches under his 
eyes and a hint of flab around his chin."

"Both depictions are so unintelligent-looking that scholars blame them 
for instigating the Author Controversy, which is not really a 
controversy so much as a campaign by conspiracy-minded amateurs to prove 
that someone more visually appealing wrote the plays. . . . The Author 
Controversy persists despite considerable documentary evidence. We have 
the man from Stratford's pay stubs for performing at court, his 
certificate of occupancy for the Globe Theatre, and his will, in which 
he left memorial rings to some London actors. Funny he would do that if 
he was just a country burgher who didn't write the plays."

[ . . . ]

"The hunt for a likeness of the bard in his heyday has turned up various 
candidates over the centuries, almost all of them illegitimate. Up to 
now, the painting with the most credible claim as a life image is the 
Chandos portrait, the star of London's National Portrait Gallery. It 
shows a dusky, writerly-seeming man with receding hair and an earring. 
But its provenance is unclear. The search is complicated by the fact 
that a 1770s mania for Shakespeare souvenirs resulted in a spate of good 
forgeries. The Janssen portrait held by the Folger was thought to be one 
of those. The "Searching for Shakespeare" exhibit was therefore really a 
show about likely and, mostly, unlikely contenders. Cobbe and Laing 
wandered through the viewing, looking at bogus bards, until they arrived 
at a far wall, on which the Janssen portrait hung, on loan from the 
Folger. The oil-on-wood is legitimately dated to 1610, but it was 
discredited in 1937 when new X-ray technology showed the brow had been 
over-painted to make the sitter bald. It fell from grace under the 
supposition that it was altered to look more like the Droeshout. In 
1988, the Folger restored the original hairline and exhibited it as an 
interesting mistake."

[ . . . ]

"O, sweet Master Shakespeare!" he says, "I'll have his picture in my 
study at court." Portraits of Shakespeare, Wells believes, would have 
been in demand. By the mid- to late-1590s, he was so hugely popular that 
his name began appearing on quartos of his plays, the Tudor version of 
paperbacks-the first time audiences ever cared who wrote their 
entertainments. In the early 17th century, portraits of actors were 
coming in vogue, and Shakespeare "was kind of a pinup, shall we say," 
Wells observes.

[ . . . ]

The case for the Cobbe, Wells asserts, is complicated and not easy to 
trace, but after three years of research and evaluations from art 
historians at Cambridge and the Tate Museum, he was persuaded it 
deserved higher consideration than the other impostors parading around 
in wooden frames. The proof for the Cobbe is not definitive, Wells 
acknowledges. "I've never declared myself absolutely finally certain." 
Still, the various strands of evidence add up to "a very strong 
circumstantial case."

Here is the case that has been developed by Wells and the team of 
researchers that includes Paul Edmondson, Mark Broch, Alastair Laing and 
other consultants:

POINT ONE: "The first task was to establish the portrait's period 
*authenticity*. Tree-ring dating, X-rays and infrared reflectography 
showed the wood was felled between 1579 and 1593, and the oils were 
consistent with the era. Curator Rupert Featherstone, former art 
conservator to the queen, affirmed a dating of around 1610, when 
Shakespeare would have been 46.

POINT TWO: Next, they examined the painting's *provenance*. Cobbe traced 
the probable genealogical path of the painting into his hands: 
Southampton's great-granddaughter Elizabeth had married a Cobbe cousin, 
and when the couple died childless, Charles Cobbe, the 
archbishop-builder of Newbridge House, inherited much of their artwork. 
The fact that the painting was stashed away in a country house along 
with the image of the young Southampton-it wasn't peddled by art 
dealers-is in its favor, according to Laing. "There's no evidence of 
pictures having been bought; they really do seem to have been passed 
down through the family," Laing says.

 From there, the case became more tortuous. The Cobbe portrait, it 
developed, was just one of a *cluster of five paintings of similar 
appearance, including the Janssen*. They all depicted an enigmatic 
courtier in silver-blue doublet and close beard. None of them, however, 
had the Cobbe's liveliness of expression. This led the team to believe 
that the Cobbe was the original "prime" portrait, of which the others 
were copies.

HOWEVER:

One of those copies was called the Dorchester, another puzzling 
lookalike -- but the really interesting thing about it was that it was 
bald.

Follow closely: The Dorchester appears to be a work from the mid-1600s. 
If the bald Dorchester is a copy of the Folger's Janssen portrait -- 
which it certainly appears to be -- that means the Janssen was already 
bald when the painter copied it. Which means it was altered in the 
mid-1600s, a lot earlier than previously thought.

The assumption was that the Janssen was made bald as a forgery at the 
height of Shakespeare mania in 1770. But if the revision dates to around 
1660 or earlier, that means the portrait was altered within living 
memory of Shakespeare, when people who knew him were still alive. It was 
not uncommon for portraits to be modified to reflect changes in age or 
appearance. It's possible the picture was innocently updated to reflect 
the sitter -- Shakespeare?  --  at the end of his life.

The next portion of the article involves the attitudes of the Folger 
Library staff regarding the authenticity of the Janssen portrait, which 
is being re-hung from, if I remember correctly since it has been a 
number of years since I last read at the Folger, in the periodicals 
section of the Library addition to the Founders' Room, so the public can 
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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