2011

More MV

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0210  Tuesday, 30 August 2011

 

From:         John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 26, 2011 7:03:46 PM EDT

Subject:      Re: More MV

 

Philip Weller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote, 

 

>Another case in point is another AYLI line “Atalanta's better part”

>(http://www.shakespeare-navigators.com/as_you_like_it/As_You_Like_It_Act_3_Scene_2.html#147). 

>David Bevington and Anne Barton (Riverside) agree that Atalanta's 

>better part is her “fleetness of foot” (I’m quoting both editors at 

>once), but to me, that hardly seems likely, as the line is bracketed 

>between “Cleopatra's majesty” and “Sad Lucretia's modesty.” If 

>“fleetness of foot” is really “Atalanta's better part” then the 

>passage seems comic, as in the following paraphrase: Rosalind 

>has the awe-inspiring majesty of Cleopatra, the world-shaking 

>virtue of Lucretia, and she can run really fast. Maybe it is 

>supposed to be comic, but I think it’s very possible that both 

>Shakespeare and his audiences had an understanding of  

>“Atalanta's better part” which has been long lost.

 

Chastity seems the most obvious. (Note that modesty and chastity are not the same thing.)

 

_______________________________________________________________

SHAKSPER: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List

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

The SHAKSPER Web Site <http://shaksper.net>

 

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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 of Woodstock

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0209  Tuesday, 30 August 2011

From:         Lawrence Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 30, 2011 6:54:10 PM EDT

Subject:      Thomas of Woodstock

 

In 2005, SHAKSPER hosted a debate between Prof. Michael Egan, who asserted that the untitled and otherwise unattributed Renaissance play most commonly known as “Thomas of Woodstock,” which Egan calls “Richard II, Part 1,” was written by William Shakespeare, and Prof. Ward Elliott, who contended that stylometric evidence conclusively ruled out Shakespeare as the author of that play.  Elliott and his colleague, Robert J. Valenza, had offered £1,000 to anyone who could show that any previously untested non-Shakespeare play was stylistically as similar to twenty-nine “core” canonical plays as those plays are to each other.  Egan purported to accept that wager on the SHAKSPER site. Technically, however, the wager could not apply to Woodstock, as Elliott & Valenza had already tested that play, and rejected it.  Egan then offered a proposal of his own, but no agreement could be reached at the time as to how to resolve the issue.  As a result of private discussions between Egan and Elliott in 2010, they ultimately agreed to a formal proceeding in which the issue was presented to a panel consisting of myself, as “Convener,” and two other SHAKSPERIANS, Dale Johnson and Will Sharpe.  (All members of the panel had scored as “golden ears” in the test previously administered by Elliott.)  The submission agreement provided that Egan would pay Elliott and Valenza £1000 if he failed to present “clear, convincing, and irrefutable evidence that the anonymous Elizabethan play known variously as Richard II, Part One, Woodstock and/or Thomas of Woodstock is by Shakespeare,” a very high burden of proof.  The parties agreed that the decision of the panel would be announced on SHAKSPER.

            

The panel were presented with extensive submissions by both sides, including Egan’s four book treatise which attempts to establish his theory.  After reviewing these materials and consulting with each other, we reached a unanimous decision, reflected by a 44-page opinion, which is available at pdf  Egan v Elliott on the SHAKSPER website (shaksper.net).  I suggest that anyone interested in the issue consult the entire opinion, which thoroughly reviews the arguments presented by the parties, as well as other sources we consulted, and expresses our opinion as to whether Shakespeare wrote Woodstock without being confined to the extraordinarily high burden of proof undertaken by Egan.  For brevity’s sake, however, I include below an abridged version of the conclusion in the opinion and a brief “afterword” containing our discussion of the utility of proceedings of this nature:

 

The differences, stylistic and otherwise, between Woodstock and Shakespeare’s undoubted plays, even his early ones, so vastly outweigh the perceived similarities as to compel the conclusion that Shakespeare did not write Woodstock.  A few passages of superior poetry (e.g., I.iii.36-50), a couple of clever comic turns containing parallels to Osric and Dogberry (III.ii.115ff and III.iii)  and one or two arguable hendiadys of questionable Shakespearean quality cannot overcome the bulk of the evidence.  Parallels between Woodstock and Richard II which are most suggestive – the “landlord of England” echo, the “pelting farm” metaphor and Gaunt’s reference in Richard II to Thomas as a “plain well-meaning soul” – can easily be explained as either (1) echoes by the author of Woodstock of Shakespeare’s work or (2) copying by Shakespeare.  Egan’s arguments, thus, have more probable explanations than the unlikely one that Shakespeare wrote this mediocre play, a play which almost no one else has attributed to him and which every generally respected scholar who considered the issue concluded was surely not by Shakespeare. Therefore, Egan has not made his case.  When we go further and consider the stylometric evidence presented by Elliott & Valenza, we conclude that there is no case to be made.   Therefore, we find that Shakespeare did not write WoodstockÁ fortiori, Egan did not sustain his burden of proof, and he owes £1,000 to Elliott and Valenza.

 

We have no illusions that Michael Egan’s position on the issue will alter in the slightest as a result of our opinion.  He has invested too much time, effort and reputation to waver as a result of our views.  By the same token, Ward Elliott and Robert Valenza do not need us to confirm their research.  Our opinion serves at best an educational function.  That is crucially different from the judgment of an ultimate appellate court, which may be criticized or questioned but must be followed.

            

Given these limitations, we can ask if there is anything to gain from proceedings like this.  We think there is, if (1) the issue is carefully confined to a more-or-less esoteric point and (2) the assessors are sophisticated students of the subject. We don’t believe, though, that wagers add a useful element to the proceeding, as they tend to cast it in a sporting rather than academic mode. 

             

If the assessors are not adept at considering textual issues, little faith can be put in their judgments.  The broader the question and the more it carries political or emotional freight, such as the so-called “authorship question,” the less useful would be a decision like this, as we would not expect that it would persuade those who have made psychological investments in the contrary answer.  Individuals trained in non-literary pursuits, such as lawyers, are not disqualified from taking part in such panels, if they also have at least a working knowledge of the skills involved in literary criticism and textual analysis.  The reasoning skills they use in their professions are helpful in organizing and analyzing the literary data, but the latter must be the groundwork and most assuredly cannot be disregarded.  The “Golden Ear” test and any more sophisticated surveys that might be designed are useful to sift candidates for panels such as this one.

             

[Editor’s Note: The long document/report is available at the link above. Michael Egan has voiced objections to the report, and I have agreed to post his statement when he gets it to me. This report and Prof. Egan’s impending reaction to it are the basis for a discussion of the authorship of Woodstock/Richard II Part 1 (and perhaps associated issues of stylometrics) and do NOT constitute an open invitation to discuss the so-called “authorship question.”  Hardy M. Cook]

 

_______________________________________________________________

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

The SHAKSPER Web Site <http://shaksper.net>

 

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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the editor assumes no responsibility for them.

 

CFP for Early Theatre: Special Topic: Women and Performance

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0207  Tuesday, 30 August 2011

 

From:         Peter A. Parolin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:          August 29, 2011 1:04:17 PM EDT

Subject:      CFP for Early Theatre: Special Topic: Women and Performance

 

Early Theatre: Special Issue on Women and Performance 

Publication Date: Summer 2012

 

Papers are solicited for a special issue of Early Theatre on women and performance, to be published in Summer 2012. The deadline for submission is November 30, with acceptances indicated by February.

 

From REED and the growing body of work by comparatists and theater historians, we now know that early modern women, including Englishwomen and foreign players, performed at all social levels and in all performance spaces except the all-male stage. More work needs to be done: first in collecting evidence of female performance in England and second in assessing how new research changes our reading of early modern theater and drama.

 

The rubric of female performance includes all forms of performance and entertainment, not just scripted drama. Work exploring other theatrical traditions and innovations is also welcome, as are essays addressing methodological questions. For example, what do we mean when we speak of a "performance record," and how do we make sure to interpret all the levels of evidence within such records? How do the categories we use to discuss performance shape our reading of the evidence and our understanding of women’s roles?

 

Editors for this issue are Peter Parolin (University of Wyoming) and James Stokes (University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point); submissions will be peer reviewed.

 

Guidelines for contributors:

 

Papers should be submitted to the website of Early Theatre. The link is: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/earlytheatre/submissions.html. It is important to follow the submission procedures and the house style outlined on this page.

 

On the webpage, contributors are asked to type author and abstract information. In the drop-down bar, please identify your submission as “Special Issue.”

Finally, contributors should submit file names that start with 15.1 and continue with a short title for the paper.

 

Consideration of manuscripts will begin upon receipt of submissions. Questions are welcome to Peter Parolin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

_______________________________________________________________

SHAKSPER: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List

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

The SHAKSPER Web Site <http://shaksper.net>

 

DONATION: Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER: 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 in Papers for Comment: Shakespeare and Chess Again

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0208  Tuesday, 30 August 2011

 

From:         Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Subject:      New in Papers for Comment: Shakespeare and Chess Again 

 

“Shakespeare and Chess Again: A proposal for an alternative reading of pawn(s) in King Lear, King John, and The Winter’s Tale by José Luis Oncins (Universidad de Extremadura) is now available in the Papers for Comment section of the SHAKSPER web site: http://shaksper.net/scholarly-resources/scholarly-papers-for-comments

 

This essay is shortly to be published in the Journal SEDERI (of the Spanish and Portuguese Society of English Renaissance Studies), and José Luis Oncins would like to receive comments or suggestions before it comes out in Autumn.

 

ABSTRACT: 

For the last three centuries, Shakespeare’s plays have been continuously glossed, commented on and annotated. However, there still remain quite a few obscure passages and complex words which continue to puzzle and cause debate as to their precise meanings. One such word is pawn, glossed as a pun in some editions of King Lear, and passed over in silence in other plays where it appears in similar contexts.  This essay proposes an alternative reading of the word in King Lear, King John, and The Winter’s Tale. The hypothesis put forward is that Shakespeare was indeed hinting at the various senses of this word and exploiting its punning potential in these three plays. This suggestion is supported by a series of examples of similar rhetorical exploitation of this polysemic word as found in several contemporary authors. These examples will demonstrate that the various senses of the word were indeed very much alive in Elizabethan England–and quite probably in Shakespeare’s mind. 

 

You should your comments directly to the author José Luis Oncins at <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>; or if you wish, you may start a thread through the normal SHAKSPER channels by sending it to the list at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

_______________________________________________________________

SHAKSPER: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List

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

The SHAKSPER Web Site <http://shaksper.net>

 

DONATION: Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER: 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.

 

 

 

That Was the Week that Was

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0206  Tuesday, 30 August 2011

 

From:         Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Subject:      That Was the Week that Was

 

Folks,

 

Some week, first the earthquake and then the hurricane that took out my power for two days.

 

I’m back and postings to follow.

 

Best wishes, Hardy M. Cook

Editor of SHAKSPER <shaksper.net>   

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (SHAKSPER)  

 

_______________________________________________________________

SHAKSPER: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List

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

The SHAKSPER Web Site <http://shaksper.net>

 

DONATION: Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER: 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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