2009

Announcements: Upcoming SHAKSPER Changes

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0324  Monday, 22 June 2009

From:       Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, June 22, 2009
Subject:    Announcements: Upcoming SHAKSPER Changes

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

During the next few months, several significant changes in SHAKSPER will 
occur.

First, the SHAKSPER list and Web site will be migrating from commercial 
DSL running at 756 Mbps (upload and download) to commercial fiber optics 
running at 20 Gbps (up and down) --

1. Translation: Wow, that Internet connection speed is appreciably 
faster [Most recent Speakeasy Speed Test = Download Speed: 19557 kbps 
(2444.6 KB/sec transfer rate), Upload Speed: 20283 kbps (2535.4 KB/sec 
transfer rate) -- Oh, sorry, again, WOOOH, that is fast].

2. I have to purchase business service to operate the SHAKSPER server; 
calling the provider about a billing or technical matter often results 
in interesting conversations -- "Name of the business, sir." "Well, I'm 
not actually a business . . ." --

Back to the matter at hand, what this change in my ISP principally means 
is that depending upon your connection speed and transfer rate downloads 
from the SHAKSPER server will be noticeably faster. Further, the 
considerably faster connection will enable the possibility of providing 
different types of content. Since the improvement is a result of mine 
changing Internet Service Providers (ISPs), SHAKSPER will also have a 
different static IP address, a change that will be transparent to all 
but the most technically minded members and Web site visitors. I am 
hoping the IP address change will cut reduce the amount of non list 
related mail that clutters my SHAKSPER Inbox and that, at times, has 
caused me unintentionally to overlook some legitimate list mail. I am 
also hopeful that the address change will result in SHAKSPER's not being 
"blacklisted" so often with all the subsequent benefits.

Second, Eric is undertaking a redesign of the Web site, a redesign that 
will enable me to add and remove content without having to go through 
him. The benefits of this change are enormous and I will enumerate them 
in the future.

I am contemplating other changes, but it is too precipitous for me to 
announce them now. I will report, however, that the SHAKSPER Book Review 
Panel (SBRP) continues to work behind the scenes; list members can 
anticipate further reviews in the upcoming quarters. Members should feel 
free to send suggestions for the Panel to consider, but be sure to 
identify the message by including "SHAKSPER Book Review Panel" 
(SBRPanel) or "SBReviews" in the Subject line so I can easily recognize it.

I am optimistic about SHAKSPER's future and welcome suggestions or 
critiques; but again be sure these are clearly labeled.

To make my job as editor easier, I am requesting members follow the 
formatting suggestions I discuss in my next message.


Hardy M. Cook
Editor of SHAKSPER

_______________________________________________________________
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 20.0323  Wednesday, 17 June 2009

[1] From:   John N. Wall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Monday, 15 Jun 2009 16:56:07 -0400 (EDT)
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0318 What ho, Horatio

[2] From:   Aaron Azlant <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Monday, 15 Jun 2009 18:00:03 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0318 What ho, Horatio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John N. Wall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 15 Jun 2009 16:56:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 20.0318 What ho, Horatio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0318 What ho, Horatio

Thanks, I'll give it a try one day and report back to the list. JNW

Anthony Burton wrote:

 >3. The ghost does not reveal the secrets of his prison house, his
 >"partial" revelation being nothing more than the vaguest reference to
 >details that everyone believes already. If you want the real skinny, die
 >unshriven and find out first hand.

John N. Wall
Professor of English
NC State University
Raleigh, NC

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Aaron Azlant <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 15 Jun 2009 18:00:03 -0400
Subject: 20.0318 What ho, Horatio
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0318 What ho, Horatio

First of all, thanks to those who responded for making me reexamine some 
of my listed items. I should probably note that my list was absolutely 
not meant as a series of adverse "gotchas"  --  one argument about 
Hamlet would actually be (cf. Booth) that any inconsistencies present in 
the play are more likely to enrich the experience of watching it, not to 
diminish it.

One possible way to look at it is by way of analogy: Like /Hamlet/, 
/King Lear/ is a soup of many potentially contradictory sources: 
England's pagan history and earlier plays about Lear (Leir), The Faerie 
Queen, the Book of Job, Arcadia, Gorboduc, Cicero (as Mr.  Cantrell has 
pointed out), etc. I submit that it is not possible to locate a 
consistent point of view throughout Shakespeare's play on the concept of 
godliness, for instance; the play variously refers to Greek or Roman 
gods, the Christian god, "thou nature art my goddess," a pagan lack of 
godliness, and so forth. Yet this inconsistency is perhaps not a source 
of weakness for the play, but rather one of its strengths, more akin to 
a refusal to settle on singular meanings.

Similarly, this is Booth on the similarly slippery conception of suicide 
in /Hamlet/ (apologies for the length of the passage, though I felt that 
it was all germane):

"Most of the time contradictory values do not collide in the audience's 
consciousness, but the topic of revenge [vice Christian commandment] is 
far from the only instance in which they live anxiously close to one 
another, so close t one another that, although the audience is not 
shaken in its faith in either of a pair of conflicting values, its mind 
remains in the uneasy state common in nonartistic experience but unusual 
for audiences of plays. The best example is the audience's thinking 
about suicide during /Hamlet/. The first mention of suicide comes 
already set into a Christian frame of reference by the clause in which 
self-slaughter is mentioned: "Or that the Everlasting had not fixed/ His 
canon 'gainst self-slaughter (I.ii.131-32). In the course of the play, 
however, an audience evaluates suicide in all the different systems 
available to minds outside the comfortable limitations of art; from time 
to time in the play the audience thinks of suicide variously as (1) 
cause for damnation, (2) a heroic and generous action, (3) a cowardly 
action, and (4) a last sure way to peace. The audience moves from one to 
another system of values with a rapidity that human faith in the 
rational constancy of the human mind makes seem impossible. Look, for 
example, at the travels of the mind that listens to and understands what 
goes on between the specifically Christian death of Laertes (Laertes: 
"...Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,/ Nor thine on 
me."-Hamlet: "Heaven make thee free of it" (V.ii.319-21) and the 
specifically Christian death of Hamlet (Horatio: "...Good night sweet 
prince,/ And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest..." (V.ii.348-48). 
During the intervening thirty lines the audience and the characters move 
from the christian context in which Laertes' soul departs, into the 
familiar literary context where they can take Horatio's attempted 
suicide as the generous and heroic act that it is (V.ii.324-31). 
Audience and characters have likewise no difficulty at all in 
understanding and accepting the label "felicity" for the destination of 
the suicide-even though Hamlet, the speaker of "Absent thee from 
felicity awhile" (V.ii.336), prefaces the statement with an incidental 
"By heaven" (V.ii.32) and even though Hamlet and the audience have spent 
a lot of time during the preceding three hours actively considering the 
extent to which a suicide's journey to the "undiscovered country" can be 
called "felicity" or predicted at all.  When "Good night, sweet prince" 
is spoken by the antique Roman of twenty lines before, both he and the 
audience return to thinking in a Christian frame of reference, as if 
they had never been away." ("On The Value of Hamlet," Reinterpretations 
of Elizabethan Drama, 154-156)

I have nothing to add to this except to submit that, if the saying is 
correct that the mark of a first-class mind is a Whitmanesque ability to 
contain contradictions simultaneously, then Shakespeare plays are 
perhaps the most perfect literary vehicles for the creation of such 
minds -- however temporarily.

And while I agree that not all of the items that I have listed as 
contradictions are necessarily correct, I figured that I would note the 
following:

1. Although Laertes certainly does lead a rebellion against the Danish 
monarchy, and although the line cited by Mr. Weiss may suggest a prior 
election (though the line cited may suggest a *lack* of an election 
instead), the report of Laertes insurrection does explicitly suggest a 
popular mandate:

Messenger "...They cry 'Choose we! Laertes shall be king.'/ Caps, hands 
and tongues applaud it to the clouds,/ 'Laertes should be king, Laertes 
king!" (IV.5.106-109.)

2. This is Horatio's description of Fortinbras in the first scene:

Horatio. ...Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't; (I.1.95-100).

There is indeed report in II.2 of Fortinbras' plans receiving the kabosh 
from his uncle in returns for an allowance and a promise to attack 
Poland instead (in this, his diverted plans are like Hamlet's request to 
return to Wittenberg, also denied by a regal uncle). Yet nothing in the 
earlier descriptions of Fortinbras describe him as he is when an 
audience encounters him in the fourth and especially the fifth act, a 
model of discipline.

It is also worth noting that the initial political background of Denmark 
in /Hamlet/ is one of concern over Fortinbras' possible attack; this is 
why the guards are out in in the first scene (see I.1.108-11), what 
Claudius is defying when he tears up Fortinbras' letter ("So much for 
him") in the next act, and why Claudius is happy to learn in II.2 of 
Fortinbras' reining in by his uncle. Yet, in the last act of the play, 
Fortinbras  --  who is presumably busily moving in on Denmark, in 
violation of the terms of his allowance -- is nonetheless essentially 
greeted as a savior by Hamlet, who has meantime discovered an admiration 
for Fortinbras as a man of action in IV.4 ("How stand I then...").

3. The fact that the ghost twice and ambiguously refers to "fires" -- 
this in an Elizabethan religious milieu where the denial of Purgatory 
was a still-fresh question (cf. Greenblatt)  --  argues against the idea 
that he was merely reciting common knowledge (and here the fact that the 
ghost is "forbid" to reveal his secrets may have had a contemporary 
political thrust). We are likely to take the fires as a reference to 
Purgatory (hence "partially revealing them"), but this is complicated by 
the Elizabethan religious context, by the facts that Hamlet previously 
refers to the ghost's "questionable shape" -- i.e.  coming to question 
young Hamlet but with an additional, darker connotation -- and has, 
along with Horatio, explicitly opened the idea that he may be a "goblin 
damned," and finally by the fact that the ghost's dual references to 
fire could describe hell just as well as purgatory.

4. If the ghost's visit is only with regard to his prior commandment not 
to turn his command for revenge against the queen, why refer to the need 
to "whet" a "blunted" purpose, in language that (as Booth notes) also 
references the weapon that Hamlet has just used to dispatch Polonius?

5. Hamlet does indeed refer in the "to be or not to be" speech to the 
fact that the "dread of something after death" is enough to prevent 
suicides; this supports Mr. Burton's reading. Nonetheless, Hamlet also 
asserts that "no traveler" has returned from the "undiscovered country," 
which is true enough in real life but not in the world of the play.

Additionally, it is worth noting a contradiction that I missed the first 
time around and rediscovered in my rereading of Booth: it is interesting 
Hamlet, who famously "knows not seems," also prides himself on his 
subterfuge over the next several scenes and also gives advice on acting 
-- on "seems" -- to the players who he meets several scenes later.

  -- Aaron

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Current at New Globe and Courtyard

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0321  Wednesday, 17 June 2009

From:       Stefanie Peters <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Wednesday, 17 Jun 2009 12:08:04 +0100
Subject: 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0285 Current at New Globe and Courtyard

I'd like to respectively disagree with Louis Swilley that the RSC Julius 
Caesar must be avoided. It isn't the best production of the season, but 
there are things to recommend it. The director, Lucy Bailey, was also 
behind last year's Timon at the Globe and a  particularly bloody Titus 
from a few year's back -- the opening wrestling match in her Julius 
shows that she is giving a Titus-style Julius, complete with severed 
heads: not to everyone's taste, but not necessarily bad in itself. 
However, I wouldn't recommend buying the L40 seats.

If anyone is interested, I posted my reactions to Julius Caesar and to 
The Winter's Tale (very good -- definitely see it) on my website, 
stefaniepeters.com.

Stefanie

_______________________________________________________________
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.

The Hounds of Theseus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0322  Wednesday, 17 June 2009

[1] From:   John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Monday, 15 Jun 2009 21:05:33 +0100
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus

[2] From:   Markus Marti <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Tuesday, 16 Jun 2009 00:26:07 +0200
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus

[3] From:   William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Monday, 15 Jun 2009 19:53:34 -0400
     Subj:   RE: SHK 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 15 Jun 2009 21:05:33 +0100
Subject: 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus

Joe Egert wrote:

 >Judy Prince believes, "MND celebrates love and sensual pleasure."
 >
 >Whether MND celebrates or rather fiercely burlesques sensual love is,
 >like most things Shakespearean, open to debate.
 >
 >Probably both.

As has been pointed out here several times, what MND burlesques is 
"Romeo and Juliet".

"Shakespeare repeats himself: the first time as tragedy, the second as 
farce." [I had to Google that to see who I had taken it from -- and 
found it was myself!]

John Briggs

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Markus Marti <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Tuesday, 16 Jun 2009 00:26:07 +0200
Subject: 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus

 >I think it unlikely that Shakespeare's company would have a cry of hounds
 >conveniently to hand in the middle of London -- a single trained dog or a
 >superannuated toothless bear, perhaps, but not a full pack of tuned curs.

Dear Robin: Finding curs is no problem in today's London: If the RSC 
were asked to perform MND on the occasion of Her Majesty's garden party, 
a beautiful and well-tuned set of beagles would always be ready.

It was even less of a problem in Shakespeare's time: The whole city of 
London with its 150,000 inhabitants was the size of today's York, or 
Gloucester, or Huddersfield, or Slough. The South bank was not "the 
middle of London" but part of the country (belonging to the Bishop of 
Winchester). No problem to find dogs there, as people probably used to 
hunt in the near forests which are now called "Lambeth", "Elephant and 
Castle", or "Brixton". But there was an easier solution: The "Bear 
howse" - only two streets away - could rent out some of its many dogs 
that were needed to hunt down the superannuated toothless bear.

:)
Markus Marti

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       William Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 15 Jun 2009 19:53:34 -0400
Subject: 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus
Comment:    RE: SHK 20.0316 The Hounds of Theseus

It seems to me that Hippolyta's comments on the hounds (4.1.112) should 
be read in the context of her comments on Theseus's sexual hints in 
1.1.7-10, and on Theseus's thoughts on the imagination (5.1.23-27).

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0320  Wednesday, 17 June 2009

[1] From:   John Hudson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Monday, 15 Jun 2009 16:16:50 -0400
     Subj:   SHK 20.0317 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically

[2] From:   Hannibal Hamlin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Monday, 15 Jun 2009 16:33:48 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0317 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John Hudson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 15 Jun 2009 16:16:50 -0400
Subject: Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically
Comment:    SHK 20.0317 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically

Responding to  the correspondence between Conrad Cook and Alan 
Pierpoint,  and the suggestion that Ophelia typologically represents 
Divine Wisdom, I agree that she has a typological identity. However I 
think it is different. Linda Hoff in her fascinating book _Hamlet's 
Choice_, suggested that Ophelia typologically represented the Church. 
That came closer but was still not quite correct. I suggest that Ophelia 
typologically represents the Virgin Mary.

Hassel in his 1998  article on annunciation motifs in Hamlet, shows that 
the two interruptions of Ophelia while sewing and reading both echo the 
depictions of the Annunciation. The references to God kissing carrion 
and the maggots echo late medieval imagery for the conception of Christ 
-- see Gibson, 'Conception is a Blessing' (1949) and Hankins 'God 
Kissing Carrion' (1949). Hamlet's letter to Ophelia addresses her as an 
idol, the celestial, and possibly -- using Theobald's amendment --  as 
'beatified' which would also fit as an allusion to Mary. Her death 
scene, falling off the branch and being suspended between Earth and 
Heaven, while singing lauds, and being crowned with a coronet could be 
seen typologically as a version of the Coronation and Assumption into 
Heaven. Finally her name, meaning 'succour' is also a key attribute of 
Mary. This Fall,  the Dark Lady Players  are doing a production  in NYC 
which will make the Mary typology very obvious, in connection with the 
publication of several new  books on Shakespearean typology.

This also means that Hamlet represents typologically the Holy Ghost, who 
in Renaissance art was sometimes painted as a sunbeam shining 
continuously on Mary. This would explain why Hamlet walks out of the 
closet backwards, maintaining the light of his eyes upon her -- which is 
precisely appropriate since as the son of Hyperion, Hamlet is also 
typologically identified as  Helios.

John Hudson
New York City

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Hannibal Hamlin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Monday, 15 Jun 2009 16:33:48 -0400
Subject: 20.0317 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0317 Hamlet and Ophelia, Typologically

This is really too loose a use of typology to be relevant to early 
modern conceptions of both the term and the concept. For one thing, as 
someone else already argued in an article I can't now recall (but have 
somewhere), typology is a mode of reading the Bible, or a device used by 
biblical writers. The term was not used, I think, for secular literature 
or even for reading secular characters (historical or literary) in terms 
of biblical models. Some critics have inserted the "typological" into 
the standard four-fold system of meaning espoused by Dante in his famous 
letter to Can Grande, but Dante himself doesn't use the term, but 
instead calls it allegory. His example of the "allegorical level," 
however, is reading the biblical Exodus as the redemption of humanity 
through Christ, which does seem typological as it is usually understood. 
But then the fact that Dante's example is biblical encourages this. Does 
this really mean we can apply "typology" to the reading of non-biblical 
works, like Shakespeare's plays? If we do, how can we distinguish 
typology from allegory? I don't think we can. Typology is really a 
special form of allegory that depends upon the peculiar (for Christians) 
relationship between the two testaments of the Bible. Once outside of 
the Bible, it's just allegory again. Even if we accept that a character 
is a Christ-figure (a vexing term in itself), say, the character is 
hardly the fulfillment of Christ, in the way that Christ is of Adam. All 
we're really saying is that in certain respects the character is 
Christ-like. The same goes for Ophelia as Wisdom. This is just reading 
the play as an allegory.

That said, I find the argument for Ophelia as Divine Wisdom entirely 
unconvincing, all the more so since it seems to be positing her as 
Wisdom manque.

Shakespeare's audience was conditioned by both biblical and secular 
reading to think in allegorical, or typological terms, but not 
everything is an allegory. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, or a girl 
is just a girl. If she's not just a girl but "Divine Wisdom," there 
ought to be something specific that suggests this, an allusion perhaps. 
Shakespeare knows how to do this, since he makes it clear in Hamlet that 
Claudius is a kind of Cain (fratricide) as well as a kind of David (a 
king who murders in order to achieve the woman he desires). Both of 
these symbolic-allegorical relationships are established by allusions. 
Furthermore, as I've argued in print (Psalm Culture), Shakespeare 
underscores the distinct difference between his Claudius and David. In 
the so-called "Chapel" scene in Hamlet, Claudius tries to pray, 
unsuccessfully. His speech alludes to the washing white as snow of Psalm 
51, which is the Psalm associated with the penitential King David. David 
was forgiven, because he had a broken and contrite heart; Claudius, as 
even he recognizes, has only a desire to escape his guilt, which is not 
the same thing. So it is possible to allude to a biblical model in such 
a way as to point up contrasts as well as similarities.

Unless there are such allusions, however, or something akin, reading 
characters in terms of one biblical model or another seems too much like 
free association.

My two cents (and a few more).

Hannibal

_______________________________________________________________
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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