World Shakespeare Congress Reports

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.283  Thursday, 25 August 2016

 

[1] From:        Peter Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 24, 2016 at 3:19:57 PM EDT

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: WSC Reports

 

[2] From:        Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 25, 2016 at 6:59:55 AM EDT

     Subj:         WSC Reports

 

 

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

Date:         August 24, 2016 at 3:19:57 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: WSC Reports

 

Larry Weiss is pardonably confused about the memorial service, conflating two different events into one. The one for Russ McDonald to which Mike Jensen was referring was held at Senate House in London on the Saturday immediately prior to the Congress. There was then a second event, originally planned for Tom Berger and then revised to include Russ, held on the following Friday at King’s College, London. Both were, rightly, deeply moving occasions at which we gathered to share the act of remembering two great Shakespeare scholars.

 

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

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

Date:         August 25, 2016 at 6:59:55 AM EDT

Subject:    WSC Reports

 

Larry Weiss wrote about the beginning of 'Hamlet':

 

> The significance of "Who's there?" is, of course

> that it is spoken by the new guard, while it would

> be expected to be the call of the old guard; in

> this production the old guard spoke the line, thus

> losing the effect.

 

I’ve heard this claim—that the opening challenge of the play is militarily wrong—repeated many times but I have not seen evidence for it. I asked Charles Edelman (author of ‘Shakespeare’s Military Language’) about it and he was perplexed that anyone would think it militarily wrong. According to Edelman, a guard taking up his post would naturally challenge an unidentified figure he came across: it’s just a matter of who happens to see whom first.

 

Anyone got some firm historical evidence on this point?

 

Regards

Gabriel

 

 

 

Romeo and Juliet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.282  Thursday, 25 August 2016

 

[1] From:        Evelyn Gajowski <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 24, 2016 at 3:20:37 PM EDT

     Subj:         RE: SHAKSPER: Rom. Query

 

[2] From:        Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 24, 2016 at 4:38:17 PM EDT

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: Rom. Query

 

 

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

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

Date:         August 24, 2016 at 3:20:37 PM EDT

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Rom. Query

 

For Brian Bixley – 

 

I recommend the following text: 

 

Shakespeare, William.  Romeo and Juliet: Texts and Contexts.  Ed. Dympna Callaghan.  Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.  It relies on David Bevington’s edition of the dramatic text and includes a contemporary introductory essay, as well as lots of early modern documents on relevant subjects (“Italy,” “Between Men,” “Loving and Marrying,” etc.).  It’s the edition I use in the classroom. 

 

All the best,

Evelyn Gajowski 

 

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

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

Date:         August 24, 2016 at 4:38:17 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Rom. Query

 

Re: Romeo and Juliet

 

Norton Critical Editions rock.

 

 

 

World Shakespeare Congress Reports

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.281  Wednesday, 24 August 2016

 

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

Date:         August 23, 2016 at 2:12:44 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: WSC Reports

 

I confess to being surprisingly pleased with the RSC Hamlet.  I missed some of my favorite lines, but that is inevitable.  The acting was remarkably naturalistic and effective.  I expected to be turned off by the idiosyncratic casting and setting, which usually comes across as gimmicky, but not this time.  One or two quibbles: Shakespeare’s opening scene was preceded by a thoroughly unnecessary scene at a commencement ceremony in Wittenberg.  And the actual Scene 1 reversed the sentries: The significance of “Who’s there?” is, of course that it is spoken by the new guard, while it would be expected to be the call of the old guard; in this production the old guard spoke the line, thus losing the effect.

 

I completely concur with Mike Jensen’s sentiments about the memorial to Russ McDonald.  I would add that Tom Berger was also commemorated.  In fact, the program was originally intended for him and Russ’ sudden passing forced a change.

 

 

 

Comments on Editor’s Note

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.280  Wednesday, 24 August 2016

 

[1] From:        William Blanton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 24, 2016 at 2:00:36 AM EDT

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: Comment Editor's Note

 

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

     Date:         Wednesday, August 24, 2016

     Subj:         Comments on Editor’s Note

 

 

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

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

Date:         August 24, 2016 at 2:00:36 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Comment Editor's Note

 

1. “Own personal observations”. If mine grammar offends thee, pluck it. [insert laughing emoji indicating that I am only joking.]😄

 

 

2. Fox News Point. Do not associate me with The Donald. Them’s fightin’ words. I did not say that my opinion was a fact. I was referring to my own observations and conclusions. I can claim that some of my observations are factual. My conclusions may or may not be factual; I believe them to be correct, but others may prove me wrong. Professor Berger is more than welcome to give it a go.

 

 

3. Beliefs Point. I have said from the very outset that the only substantive evidence concerning MV are Shakespeare’s own words in the text; specifically in the version included in the First Folio. I have used and highly recommend Professor Neil Freeman’s First Folio in Modern Type. You can obtain a paperback version of MV for $12.95 at this site: http://www.halleonardbooks.com/search/search.action?subsiteid=166&keywords=merchant+venice&menuid=10263 

 

Freeman gives us the play exactly as Shakespeare wrote it, and does not tell anyone what to think of the play.

 

I have also said that everything else is, to one degree or another, speculation. I have never claimed to be entitled to my own facts. 

 

Perhaps people are confused because I choose not to hedge about everything I say with namby-pamby academic qualifications. Let what I have just said in points 2 and 3 serve as a blanket qualification.

 

 

4. I have constantly acknowledged that John is the authority on the Literature level. I defer completely to him on all things Literary.

 

Maybe I have not been clear enough about what I am doing and why. Let me say a few words about EVIDENCE.

 

I consider Shakespeare’s own words to be the primary source of evidence. Ever since I began this extended re-examination of the play, I have looked at every single word in the text as closely and as carefully as I know how. My goal is to understand and to communicate what those words would have meant to an Elizabethan audience which was listening to them closely.

 

I have learned a great deal about the religious and political issues in Shakespeare’s time and about Shakespeare. I took two upper level Shakespeare courses at Rice, and was completely unaware of many crucial aspects. MV was one of the plays that we studied, and neither the Introduction to the play nor the discussion by the Professor Emeritus properly prepared me. My hope is that appropriate scholars will use my analysis as a starting point for a re-examination of this great and under-appreciated play so that future students will be better prepared.

 

Of course, words are a slippery sort of evidence, particularly with respect to a genius-level wordsmith like Shakespeare. So here’s my basic approach:

 

1. As a preliminary matter I take each word at face value. Shakespeare wrote it that way and must have meant it that way.

2. Unless his character did not mean it that way. For example, being sarcastic. Telling a lie.

3. In addition, Shakespeare may have used the word in more than one sense. In fact, he probably did. Many double-entendres, so I had to consult my Shakespeare dirty language reference books. Words with normal meanings that also have religious meanings or connotations. Words that also relate to mythology, Roman history, the Bible, other plays, or English history.

4. Sometimes Shakespeare may have used the word one way at one point in the text, and then contradicted it in another part. For example: Shylock is a Jew at one point and Shylock is the Devil at another. I try to reconcile any apparent contradictions, and I believe I have done so in the case of Shylock. But that discussion comes later.

5. I pay particular attention to words that Shakespeare used several times within a short space of time. I have observed that Shakespeare used this technique to alert his audiences to pay attention to those words. For example: Launcelet Jobbo; Daniel.

6. I then do my best to construct a coherent narrative.

 

We have only just begun to examine the evidence that I have identified from the text. We are on the preliminary task of identifying who the characters are on the several dimensions of meaning. First up has been the main character, Portia. I cited more than a dozen examples from the text that demonstrate that Shakespeare associated Portia with Elizabeth.

 

Bassanio is up next.

 

Stay tuned. 

 

Bill

 

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

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

Date:         Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Subject:    Comments on Editor’s Note

 

Concerning point one, Diction Point:

 

Actually, Larry it is a diction point—redundancy or wordiness. And, Larry and Bill, I did not say it had anything to do with grammar—it is a stylistic, or rhetorical (Larry), issue not a grammatical one.

 

 

Concerning point two, Fox News Point:

 

I did not mention anything about either candidate. I used the label Fox News because it is on Fox News more than any other network news programs that opinions are paraded as if they were facts. I agree with Larry that other commentators use the same rhetorical strategy, but its preponderance appears on Fox News.

 

 

Concerning point three, Beliefs Point:

 

It is true that “the primary source of evidence” for support of an hypothesis are Shakespeare’s words in the text. But they are not the only source. Much evidence, and I am not an authority here, has been gathered in the past few decades about the treatment of Jews in England during Shakespeare’s time, perhaps beginning with the work of James Shapiro. This too is evidence that can be marshalled in constructing an hypothesis. 

 

 

Concerning point four, Evidence Point:

 

Here I defer to Larry’s succinct statement: “Actually, evidence is the basis upon which we find facts; the facts are the building blocks of theories.”

 

 

 

Romeo and Juliet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.279  Wednesday, 24 August 2016

 

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

Date:         August 23, 2016 at 10:25:43 PM EDT

Subject:    Romeo and Juliet

 

I’d be very grateful for recommendations for (1) a good edition of the play (available in paperback) with a useful introduction and good textual notes; (2) essential reading - books, articles, reasonably accessible - about the play.

 

Brian Bixley

 

 

 

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