2010

Q: Academic Response to Anonymous

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0412  Friday, 29 October 2010

From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:        Friday, October 29, 2010               
Subject:     Q: Academic Response to Anonymous    

As many of you may know, the film Anonymous <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1521197/> 
is scheduled to be released on September 23, 2011. Anonymous is a large-budget film 
for popular consumption from Sony Pictures with many established and up-and-coming 
stars: Derek Jacobi as the Prologue, Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I, Mark 
Rylance as Gloucester, Rhys Ifans as de Vere, and Rafe Spall as Shakespeare to name 
a few. The film was directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed Independence Day, 
2012, The Day after Tomorrow, and Godzilla. Clearly, this "highly fictionalized" 
production would like to be the Shakespeare in Love of the early 21st century. 

I could see Orson Welles (you don't REALLY think he died in 1985) playing 
Nostradamus and predicting that the TRUTH about Shakespeare, an alien robot, will be 
revealed in the 21st century. Flash-forward, the truth seekers enlist the Will Smith 
character, who steals an alien aircraft from the Roswell Air Force Base to nuke the 
rough beast (Godzilla) slouching its way toward London to destroy the only remaining 
documentary evidence that the Earl of Alpha Centauri actually wrote the works of the 
robot from Stratford. Meanwhile, the Dennis Quaid character searches for additional 
evidence in Venice, which is sinking into the sea from global warming, as the John 
Cusack character escapes from London with the surviving evidence on the rising sea 
in the replica of the Golden Hind, renamed the Ark of Truth, which is torn from its 
moorings only a few hundred feet from that monument erected to the pretender, 
Shakespeare's Globe, as Godzilla crushes the theater to the cheers of the film's 
audience. 

Clearly, my imagined plot strains credibility, but so do some of the statements 
being made in the current midterm election in the US. 

As many long-time subscribers know, I banned discussion of the "authorship question" 
in December 1994, wearied from the acrimonious debate that began after an April 1994 
posting of an anti-Oxford limerick cycle. I recount the history of this discussion 
in my recently published essay, "Behind the Scenes with SHAKSPER: The Global 
Electronic Shakespeare Conference" (College Literature 36.1 (2009): 105-20). I 
observe in that essay that before April 1994, there was little mention of this topic 
in SHAKSPER postings:

In the SHAKSPER archives, I cannot find an authorship-related posting before 
February 27, 1991: an announcement by Mike Ellwood of a BBC radio program that 
claimed that the scroll the Shakespeare figure on the statue in Westminster Abbey is 
holding contains a cipher that Francis Bacon was the author. September 20, 1991, 
witnessed an announcement of the competing articles in the Atlantic Monthly one by 
Tom Bethell, advocating that the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's plays, and 
another by Irvin Matus, defending the traditional attribution to William Shakespeare 
of Stratford-upon-Avon. More than a year later, Peter Scott announced the Frontline 
program that examined the possibility that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford 
wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare. A year after this, Anthony Hatch 
asked if anyone had attended that mock trial in Boston in which Shakespeare's 
identity was debated. 

On May 25, 1994, I wrote that I was weary of continuing the authorship discussion 
that began with the limerick posting. But the discussion continued, and on December 
17, after compiling one of the longest digests in SHAKSPER's history, I admitted 
that "I shall NEVER be convinced by any anti-Stratfordian argument -- I am too 
reasonable a person to fall for another conspiracy theory. Similarly, I assume that 
the arguments of Dave Kathman and others will never convince an Oxfordian to become 
a Stratfordian. Thus, I see no point in continuing this discussion. To cut it off 
would not be censorship; it would instead be blow for reason and would return a 
semblance of respectability to this academic conference." Shortly, after this 
posting, I banned discussion of the topic.   

In my essay "Shakespeare on the Internet" 
<http://www.shaksper.net/archives/files/Shakespeare-on-the-Internet.pdf>, a complete 
revision of the one published in Sh@kespeare in the Media: From the Globe Theatre to 
the World Wide Web. (Eds. Stefani Brusberg-Kiermeier and Jorg Helbig. Berlin; Bern; 
Bruxelles; New York; Oxford; Wien: Peter Lang, 2004. 213-241), I write, "as a 
responsible scholar and academic, cannot leave the subject of Shakespeare's life 
without calling attention to one more site: The Shakespeare Authorship Page: 
Dedicated to the Proposition that Shakespeare Wrote Shakespeare 
<http://shakespeareauthorship.com/>. That William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon 
wrote the works associated with him is _not an issue_ among the academically 
informed." I find the information on this site to have the final word on the 
subject.

At this time, I have no desire to reopen up the authorship discussion, but the 
impending release of Anonymous raises an important question: how will we as 
responsible scholars and academics respond to and address the issues that will arise 
from the premier of this film. 

Any discussion resulting from my question will be limited to it. I will summarily 
ignore any off-topic submissions.

Hardy Cook
Editor of SHAKSPER

[Editor's Note: I have two other things I wish to mention in this Editor's Note. 

First, I thought of proposing this topic after receiving a submission from a 
subscriber pointing to a proposed feature-length documentary from an independent 
filmmaker: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2027553076/shakespeare-in-venice-
nothing-is-truer-than-truth. Within the next month, the filmmaker is seeking $12,000 
in pledges to finance her project. To date, she has raised $1,765. 

Second, my apologies to subscribers for the long interruption in service on 
SHAKSPER. I have been trying to stay ahead of my failing body parts in an effort to 
be transformed into bionic Hardy. I look forward to another surgery in the future, 
but for the present I am in a position to continue my work of editing and 
distributing SHAKSPER digests on a more regular basis. I also hope to resume work on 
some of my other long-neglected projects. I have, however, many postponed e-mails 
and other life duties to catch up with first.

Thank you for your patience, 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.

SQ 61.3 (2010): New Media

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0411  Friday, 29 October 2010

From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:        Friday, October 29, 2010        
Subject:     SQ 61.3 (2010): New Media

I was delighted to find that the most recent SQ is a Special Issue devoted to 
Shakespeare and New Media. 

The Table of Contents is as follows:

From the Editor                    
Katherine Rowe

Networks of Deep Impression: Shakespeare and the History of Information
Alan Galey

From "Access" to "Creativity": Shakespeare Institutions, New Media, and the 
Language of Cultural Value	
Kate Rumbold

Unmooring the Moor: Researching and Teaching on YouTube	
Ayanna Thompson

The Hundredth Psalm to the Tune of "Green Sleeves": Digital Approaches to 
Shakespeare's Language of Genre
Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore

REVIEWS
Disciplining Digital Humanities, 2010: Shakespeare's Staging, XMAS, Shakespeare 
Performance in Asia, Shakespeare Quartos Archive, and BardBox
Whitney Anne Trettien

Shakespeare Goes Digital: Three Open Internet Editions
Andrew Murphy

SHAKESPEARE PERFORMED
The Roman Tragedies
Christian M. Billing

I have written about or announced many of the sites mentioned in these essays 
(e.g., http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2009/0080.html); to locate these use the 
SEARCH tool at http://www.shaksper.net/search.html 

Do SHAKSPER subscribers have any reactions to these essays? 

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Gnomeo and Juliet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0409  Friday, 29 October 2010

From:         Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         October 12, 2010 8:52:02 AM EDT
Subject: 21.0398 Gnomeo and Juliet
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0398 Gnomeo and Juliet

I have communicated poorly. My comment, "After you watch it and respond in 
outrage, consider this: It might be better than some of the productions of the 
play that you've seen," was not intended to say that outrage would be the 
appropriate response. Rather, since we do have purists among us, I intended to 
suggest that the movie might be better than any number of dismal but "pure" 
productions of R&J that I've seen. I expect I'll be highly entertained by this 
movie. I've had another reminder that the "tone" I was thinking in as I wrote 
that comment was not transferred in the words I used. Sorry about that.

Jack Heller

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Allusion to Shakespeare in Poe's The Tell Tale Heart

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0410  Friday, 29 October 2010

From:         Arnie Perlstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Tuesday, October 19, 2010 2:59 PM
Subject:      Allusion to Shakespeare in Poe's The Tell Tale Heart
 
I have recently updated some research I did last year which led me to discover a 
significant allusion to Shakespeare in Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart," which I believe 
has not previously been noted by any scholar. For fun, I will unfold the tale of my 
discovery for you in stages, so as to maximize the chances of causing each 
particular hair on your head to stand on end....

Poe's title hints toward the answer. The word "tell-tale" points to the following line 
spoken by Scroop, the Archbishop of York, about the dying King Henry IV in Part 2 
of Henry IV (the play):

"For he hath found to end one doubt by death Revives two greater in the heirs of 
life, And therefore will he WIPE his TABLES clean And keep no TELL-TALE to his 
MEMORY That may repeat and history his loss To new remembrance..."

This allusion to Part 2 of Henry IV, while I believe it to have been intentional on 
Poe's part, is not, I assert, the end point of Poe' Shakespearean allusion in "The 
Tell-Tale Heart." Yes, there are parallels between the King's paranoia about Prince 
Hal being eager for him to die so that he might replace his father on the throne, on 
the one hand, and Poe's narrator who murdered the old man who might be his 
father, on the other.

But otherwise, I do not particularly perceive any strong parallels between the two 
stories. Rather, I claim that Poe's allusion to that passage in Part 2 of Henry IV is 
primarily a literary way station, the first stop in a two-stage allusive "flight" to 
Poe's ultimate Shakespearean destination.

Because although most Bardolaters would not, I think, recognize the above passage 
I just quoted from Part 2 of Henry IV, they WOULD recognize the FOLLOWING very 
famous passage in ANOTHER one of Shakespeare's plays:

"Remember thee! Yea, from the TABLE of my MEMORY I'll WIPE away all trivial fond 
records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past, That youth and 
observation copied there..."

Of course that is HAMLET speaking to the Ghost of his dead father, and isn't it 
obvious that these two passages in two separate plays of Shakespeare are so 
closely connected? -- so obvious, that the connection was seen and footnoted 
hundreds of years ago by Shakespearean editors.

But what is not obvious, unless you think about it -- and this is where it gets 
interesting -- is the powerful resonance between the situation and attitude of 
Poe's paranoid crazy murderer in The Tell-Tale Heart, and Hamlet. Both involve the 
protagonist being in the presence of the "ghost" (whether actual or imagined) of 
his "father" -- a protagonist tormented by overpowering Freudian guilt over the 
death of that "father".

That resonance is what I sensed initially, that caused me to begin a course of 
literary sleuthing into the text of "The Tell-Tale Heart" verify my intuitions of that 
resonance. And boy, did it pay off quickly!

That is when I actually read the text of "The Tell-Tale Heart" and found the 
following textual "bread crumbs" which sealed the deal, in terms of proving an 
intentional allusion on Poe's part:

["The Tell-Tale Heart"]

True! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you 
say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not 
dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard ALL THINGS IN THE 
HEAVEN AND IN THE EARTH. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? 
Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.

[Hamlet]

There are more THINGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your 
philosophy.


[The Tell-Tale Heart]

So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that 
every night, JUST AT TWELVE, I looked in upon him while he slept.

[Hamlet]

Hamlet, Horatio, and the guards all see the ghost at midnight


[The Tell-Tale Heart]

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon 
the tin fastening , and the old man sprang up in the bed, crying out, "WHO'S 
THERE?"

[Hamlet]

The very famous first line of Hamlet, maybe the most famous first line of any play 
ever written, is "Who's there?"


[The Tell-Tale Heart]

I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise when he had 
turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been 
trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself, "It is 
nothing but the wind in the chimney, it is only A MOUSE CROSSING the floor,"


[Hamlet]

And, of course, you know that Hamlet refers to the play within a play as the 
MOUSEtrap which he uses to try to trap Claudius into an admission of GUILT when 
he watches a murder of a king in the play. But also in the beginning of the play, the 
part with the Ghost, one of the guards responds to a nervous question as to how 
his guard has gone with the line:

"Not a MOUSE STIRRING"


[The Tell-Tale Heart]

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise 
precautions I took for THE CONCEALMENT OF THE BODY. The night waned, and I 
worked hastily, but in silence.

[Hamlet]

Of course, after Hamlet kills Polonius (thinking he's really Claudius) by stabbing him 
through the curtain in Gertrude's boudoir, Hamlet chops up Polonius's body and 
hides the pieces for a while, to conceal what he has done.


And there are more less distinct echoes, which I think are not necessary to prove 
that Poe intentionally alluded to Hamlet in The Tell Tale Heart.

And inspired by the above findings, I subsequently found a great deal of evidence 
outside the text of The Tell Tale Heart, to corroborate my interpretation of this 
allusion by Poe. ```` And I consider this discovery even more significant, in terms 
of interpretation of HAMLET. What I see in Poe's allusion is a veiled interpretation 
by Poe of Hamlet, in which Poe is, implicitly, suggesting that Hamlet HALLUCINATES 
the ghost!

Poe was not the first to espouse that idea, and the idea really only caught the ear 
of the Shakespeare public when Walter Greg wrote his famous article on this 
subject just before Joyce published Ulysses nearly a century ago, but it still is big 
news that Poe was ONE of the earliest---and how interesting that Poe, who wrote 
an essay on Hamlet, did not mention this point at all.

There are indeed more things in literature than are dreamt of in the philosophy of 
most literary scholars, if an amateur like myself is the first person to see this 
profound connection between the famous writings of two great and renowned 
authors!

Cheers, 
ARNIE
sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Tickets for Folger *Henry VIII*

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0408  Friday, 29 October 2010

From:         Stephen M. Buhler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         October 27, 2010 11:47:38 PM EDT
Subject:      Tickets for Folger *Henry VIII*

My friend and associate Bob Hall, Artistic Director of the Flatwater Shakespeare 
Company, finds himself with two extra tickets for this Saturday's performance, 
October 30, 8 p.m., of *Henry VIII* at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre. Anyone 
interested in purchasing the tickets, at cost, may reach Bob directly (who will 
be in attendance) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or can send me contact information to 
forward to him.

With many thanks,
Stephen M. Buhler
Aaron Douglas Professor of English
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
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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