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The Sonnets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.189  Wednesday, 16 April 2014

 

[1] From:        Anthony Burton < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 15, 2014 at 7:09:59 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Sonnets 

 

[2] From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 16, 2014 at 6:02:07 AM EDT

     Subject:    The Sonnets 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Anthony Burton < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 15, 2014 at 7:09:59 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Sonnets

 

My misquotation of Gabriel Harvey was a blunder, to which I own up and apologize. I would however have said the same things and to the very same effect had I correctly cited his reference as being to Venus and Adonis rather than Romeo and Juliet.

 

I thank Mr. Downs for the correction, reaffirm my call for greater open-mindedness and civility on this website, and renounce any desire or hope to exceed his performance in, as he says, submitting the worst posts to it.  

 

Tony Burton

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 16, 2014 at 6:02:07 AM EDT

Subject:    The Sonnets

 

I appreciate the elaboration of John Drakakis (as to why he will refuse to countenance the prospect of autobiography in the Sonnets).

 

I accept that all art involves the imagination of the artist - leading to elements of fiction in the art. I also accept that most, if not all, art includes elements of reality. The proportion of fiction to non-fiction is, I suggest, infinitely variable within extremes. In the absence of the artist’s confirmation, we either remain in the dark as to this proportion or we are able to draw reasonable conclusions from other evidence.

 

By contrast, it seems to me that John’s position may be summarized thus: all poetry must be regarded wholly as fiction, because we should reject any inference of non-fiction which carries less than a 100% probability of truth. Consequently, it is pointless to address any evidence for the probability of biography in the Sonnets.

 

By extension - though he, of course, did not say this - we should not try to seek explanations for anything (since all our perceptions of truth are subject to some degree of uncertainty, be it ever so small). On this basis, John will also reject any inference of the high probabilities that William Shakspere attended the local grammar school in Stratford and that he subsequently wrote most of the works credited to Shakespeare. 

 

If he wishes to dispel these impressions, all he need do is address the evidence and the probabilities summarized and pointed to in this thread. If not, I wish him well and thank him for the insights which he has provided.

 
 
Shakespeare @LibertasU

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.188  Wednesday, 16 April 2014

 

From:        Robert Appelbaum < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 15, 2014 at 8:31:19 PM EDT

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Online Course

 

Re: Why is Shakespeare the greatest dramatist?

 

It seems to me that questions of this sort are pseudo-questions. If you don’t know the answer yet, surely in a moment you will.

 

It seems to me too that the idea of ‘great men’ is gratuitous. I do not doubt that Shakespeare believed in the Great Man theory of history, but why should we? Maybe we should find ourselves well beyond that idea . . . 

 

And in any case ‘University of Dallas’ sends up a warning signal. In a city of guns, abortion restrictions, and cowboy hats, the idea that Shakespeare confronts his great men (why not his great women, or his terrible men like Shylock) with ‘fateful choices’ seems more like a licence to dominance than an explanation of what continues to appeal to us in Shakespeare.

 

Robert Appelbaum

Professor of English Literature

Engelska Institutionen

Uppsala Universitet

 
 
The Sonnets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.187  Tuesday, 15 April 2014

 

[1] From:        John Drakakis < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 10, 2014 at 5:18:23 PM EDT

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Sonnets 

 

[2] From:        Gerald E. Downs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 13, 2014 at 1:59:36 PM EDT

     Subject:    Gabriel Harvey 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        John Drakakis < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 10, 2014 at 5:18:23 PM EDT

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Sonnets

 

Ian Steere’s courtesy requires an equally courteous response.

 

I accept that the customary way of treating Shakespeare’s sonnets is to assume that when a poet is writing poetry then s/he is writing autobiographically. This, I am sorry to say is a romantic fiction, and derives from Wordsworth’s ‘emotion recollected in tranquility’. Keats’ suggestion that Shakespeare’s writing confirmed a ‘negative capability’ i.e. a capacity to enter imaginatively and vicariously into a wide range of experience. After all, is this what we teach our students: that they can access experience vicariously through reading literature? The Sonnets ‘imagine’ a series of scenarios that are in effect variations on the genre. If we seek an autobiographical strand then we must assert that Shakespeare could not write about an experience that he had not already had. Biographers plunder the writing in search of this ‘original’ experience, and in the process produce fictions, OR, more disturbingly, reveal aspects of their own autobiographies. The process is very complicated and requires us to ask some searching questions about the assumptions and the discourse of biography. This will extend to a revaluation of what have been considered as ‘facts’.  It is because we know so little of the things that we (from a post-Freudian standpoint) would like to know about Shakespeare that we tend to neglect the radical ‘differences’ between life in the late 16th century and our own. 

 

I have no desire to prevent anybody from creating whatever plausible fictions they may wish to concerning Shakespeare’s life. We create these fictions because the life contains a number of glaring contradictions that no attempt at producing a coherent narrative will resolve. It is why we continue to create the narratives, and to invent origins that are beyond verification.

 

Cheers

John Drakakis 

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Gerald E. Downs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 13, 2014 at 1:59:36 PM EDT

Subject:    Gabriel Harvey

 

Anthony Burton observed:

 

> The recent exchanges over meaning in Sonnet 144

> bring tears to my eyes, as the worst possible use of

> SHAKSPER as a vehicle for wider and better

> understanding of the Bard. Way back when,

> Gabriel Harvey noted that Romeo and Juliet delight

> the younger sort and Hamlet has much in it to please

> the wiser sort.

 

And here I thought my posts were the worst; yet matters of opinion are harmless at worst. Facts are something else. My Wayback Machine says Harvey associated the younger sort with Venus and Adonis, not Romeo and Juliet.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 
Shakespeare in Italy

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.186  Tuesday, 15 April 2014

 

From:        Phoebe Ryan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 10, 2014 at 11:33:15 AM EDT

Subject:    Shakespeare in Italy

 

My name is Phoebe Ryan, and I am currently writing an article on ‘Shakespeare in Italy’ for Tuscany Now

 

This piece proposes the leading question – “did Shakespeare visit Italy?” - to get to the grittier authorship debate beneath. With so much rumour abounding and the Oxfordian presuppositions gaining momentum, this piece intends to impartially compare the approaches of Shakespeareans and Non-Shakespeareans, side by side. 

 

Hopefully we can get the debate to carry on in the comment box beneath, so none of the key arguments fall by the wayside.

 

I have given the opportunity for the Oxfordians have their say, where they presuppose all fiction to be based upon biographical experience, and now I would like to have Shakespeare scholars to explain any illogical natures of these assumptions.  

 

The piece can be found here: http://www.tuscanynow.com/blog/?p=49

 

I encourage interested Shakespeareans to respond to any of the content in the COMMENTS section.

 

Phoebe Ryan

Content & Online 

PR Executive

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 
Shakespeare @LibertasU

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.185  Tuesday, 15 April 2014

 

From:        Jake Goldberg < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 15, 2014 at 1:42:02 PM EDT

Subject:    Shakespeare @LibertasU

 

Shakespeare is back at LibertasU. Returning in our third semester will be John Alvis’ course: “Why is Shakespeare the Supreme Dramatist?. This course will examine three plays, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Henry V, and will put to test the hypothesis that Shakespeare seeks to understand human nature by confronting great men with fateful choices. John Alvis, a well-respected Shakespearean scholar and currently Professor of English at The University of Dallas.

 

“Why is Shakespeare the Supreme Dramatist? is a full, 7-week, online course. It starts on May 12th with classes to be held on Mondays from 7:00 pm to 8:50 pm Eastern time, with every class will featuring ample time for discussion. This course is an excellent opportunity for anyone who is interested in delving into Shakespeare but who, for any reason, is not able to attend a regular bricks and mortar institution.

 

Jake Goldberg

 
 
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