Antony and Cleopatra Passage?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0262  Wednesday, 5 October 2011

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

     Date:         October 3, 2011 2:08:28 PM EDT

     Subject:      Antony and Cleopatra Passage 

 

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

     Date:         October 3, 2011 2:51:41 PM EDT

     Subject:      Re: SHAKSPER:  ..what they undid did.

 

 

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

Date:         October 3, 2011 2:08:28 PM EDT

Subject:      Antony and Cleopatra Passage

 

In reply to the speculation about the meaning of "did and "undid" in Enobarbus's description of Cleopatra: Many years ago I published an essay in Shakespeare Quarterly on the subject. 

 

Doing and Undoing: The Value of Action in Antony and Cleopatra .” By: Berek, Peter; Shakespeare Quarterly, 1981 Fall; 32 (3): 295-304.

 

Peter Berek

 

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

Date:         October 3, 2011 2:51:41 PM EDT

Subject:      Re: SHAKSPER:  ..what they undid did.

 

I thank all who commented on my query re: ..’what they undid did’.

 

They all demonstrated how interesting deep scholarship can be.

 

Jack Kamen

 

Henry V Finding

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0261  Wednesday, 5 October 2011

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

     Date:         October 4, 2011 11:13:08 PM EDT

     Subject:      Re: H5: Falstaff and the Table 

 

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

     Date:         October 4, 2011 9:44:27 AM EDT

     Subject:      Henry V Cut Loose ...

 

 

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

Date:         October 4, 2011 11:13:08 PM EDT

Subject:      Re: H5: Falstaff and the Table

 

I feel constrained to point out that describing the Winchester Table as "a table of green fields", apart from being bad stagecraft in its obscurity, is stretching the EMnE word "fields" to, and likely beyond, the breaking point. The nearest sense of "field" available is the heraldic, and the OED cites it as potentially plural only once, in the anonymous 14th-century "Sir Torrent of Portyngale". And even if that be the sense in use, it would properly be a "table of green and white fields".

 

It also demands that "Arthur's bosom" be taken seriously, when it seems far more likely to be a malapropism for "Abraham's bosom".

 

Of course, I might be accused of prejudice in Theobald's favor.

 

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

Date:         October 4, 2011 9:44:27 AM EDT

Subject:      Henry V Cut Loose ...

 

It's clear my attempts to promote some enthusiasm for an oblique and subtle reading of Henry V hasn't solicited any significant interest thus far. That's understandable, so please allow me to table the Falstaff's death thread with Samuel Johnson's gloss,

 

Cold as any stone.  Such is the end of Falstaff.

 

And instead bring to view something more obvious and hopefully intriguing to consider.

 

As best we can tell, the Henry V Quarto was published three times, 1600, 1602, and (after Shakespeare's recorded death), in 1619.  It's about half as long as the 1623 First Folio version which all subsequent editions are based on.  The Quarto doesn’t include any of the Choruses, Scenes 1.1, 3.1, or 4.2, and many speeches are cut significantly.

 

Here is one speech from the Quarto, [Scene 12 'Touch of Harry in the night' campfire debate] :

 

2nd Soldier: I he may be, for he hath no such cause as we

 

King: Nay say not so, he is a man as we are.

The Violet smels to him as to vs:

Therefore if he see reasons, he feares as we do.

 

2nd Soldier: But the king hath a heauy reckoning to make,

If his cause be not good: [etcetera]

 

Here is the same dialogue from the First Folio [Scene 4.1] :

 

Bates: He hath not told his thought to the King? 

 

King: No: nor it is not meet he should: for though I 

speake it to you, I thinke the King is but a man, as I am: 

the Violet smells to him, as it doth to me; the Element 

shewes to him, as it doth to me; all his Sences haue but 

humane Conditions: his Ceremonies layd by, in his

Nakednesse he appeares but a man; and though his 

affections are higher mounted then ours, yet when they 

stoupe, they stoupe with the like wing: therefore, when he 

sees reason of feares, as we doe; his feares, out of doubt, be 

of the same rellish as ours are: yet in reason, no man should 

possesse him with any appearance of feare; least hee, by 

shewing it, should dishearten his Army. 

 

Bates: He may shew what outward courage he will: [etcetera]

 

Focusing on the King's Speech, everything looks copacetic.  The King is given a 'sympathetic' speech: he looks witty and sounds humble: 

 

… for though I 

speake it to you, I thinke the King is but a man ...

 

But allow me just the slightest employ of wordplay, in Bold :

 

… for though I 

speake it to you, I thinke the King is butt a man, ass I am: 

the Violent smells to him, as it doth to me; the Element 

shewes to him, as it doth to me; all his Sences haue butt 

humane Conditions: his Ceremonies layd by, in his Nakednesse

he appeares butt a man; and though his affections

are higher mounted then ours, yet when they stoupe, 

they stoupe with the like wing: therefore, when he sees 

reason of feares, as we doe; his feares, out of doubt, be of 

the same rellish as ours are:  [etcetera]  [my italics for emphasis]

 

Evidently, some cliche bodily responses to fear have stood the test of time.

(Etymological-wordplay-wise, you can't quite play stoup and poop together, but image-wise, it clearly fits.)

 

IF this were the Blazing Saddles campfire scene, it'd be in character, yet while Classic bawdy Shakespeare, it is transparently and unobtrusively tucked into the speech with just the slightest of wordplays.  And rather than show the King in a sympathetic light, the speech now begs us to feel sympathy for him, given he's clearly unconscious of the abuse he's been subjected to at the hand of his Playwright.  And once more, I honestly don't think the Elizabethan upper crust would guffaw much at this image of the highly esteemed Henry V airing his underwear for Public display.

 

... And while Samuel Johnson complained of Shakespeare’s self-indulging penchant for wordplay, I’d nominate this as an example of Shakespeare at his ‘Luminous Vapours’ Best, (possibly unpleasant as it may sometimes be to actually follow him, though).

 

IF I had tried this same wordplay on the Quarto speech, the feedback would probably (rightfully) be for me to 'grow up'.  But the lengthy coherence of the image in the Folio text, to my mind, means it had to have been an Authorial Intention.  At this point, you may just think this King's faux pas is harmless Will and without significance, or maybe it's just was a touch of sneaky sniper fire from Shakespeare without substantive damage to the play's reputation, despite the common belief the play is a panegyric pageant celebrating the King and his war.  Admittedly I've presented insufficient evidence at this juncture to reasonably jump to the conclusion that Shakespeare turns the Table on the Powers-that-Be in this play, but I hope the wheels are turning that, as I've asserted, there may be more going on in the play than is commonly appreciated.  And eventually I believe the evidence in toto will bring people back to a better appreciation of the memento mori sentiment I highlighted in my earlier post … particularly in the sense that, in the First Folio Henry V, Shakespeare undoubtedly gets the last laugh.

 

Kendall earlier responded to my post that Shakespeare's play 'fans the reputation of Henry V to a fire that far exceeds the enduring reputation of the man'.  What I'll show, however, is Shakespeare actually playing pyromaniac wit the King.  And coincidently, it’s my intent to convince readers that the Muse of Fire Shakespeare appeals to for inspiration in the opening line was actually not Mars as every editor asserts, but Hephaestus, the cuckolded husband of Venus via her love affair with Mars.  The KEY, which Shakespeare relentlessly re-minds us of, is to engage your Imaginary Forces and Think … (for tis your thoughts that now must deck our Kings …).

 

...  But now behold, 

In the quick Forge and working-house of Thought ...

 

(Minding true things, by what their Mock'ries bee.)

 

Thank you,

Mark Alcamo

 

Queen Undaunted

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0260  Wednesday, 5 October 2011

From:         Emily Sloan-Pace <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 3, 2011 5:03:42 PM EDT

Subject:      Re: Queen Undaunted

 

Mistress Quickly should also be counted among the characters to appear in 4 plays (1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Henry V and Merry Wives).

 

Cheers,

Emily Sloan-Pace

 

Inquiry about Indian Films of/on Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0259  Wednesday, 5 October 2011

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

Date:         Tuesday, 4 Oct 2011 12:25:24 -0600

Subject:      Inquiry about Indian Films of/on Shakespeare

 

An inquiry most "passing strange"  -- Does anyone know of an Indian film on, or about, Shakespeare that has a jazzy trailer or two-plus minute film segment?  

 

We're looking for an eye-popping -- at least, dramatic -- way to open a talk on Shakespeare before a large audience in India. 

 

Many thanks for any steers, 

Ken Adelman        

 

Thomas of Woodstock

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0258  Monday, 3 October 2011

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

Date:         September 30, 2011 4:05:46 PM EDT

Subject:      Woodstock

 

Gerald Downs’ comments about my case for Shakespeare’s authorship of 1 Richard II are wrong at almost every turn. But then he admits he hasn’t actually read my book, though this apparently is no bar to disagreeing with it. He knows my case is wrong before he reads it—that’s why he doesn’t have to read it. Nor (as he unashamedly admits) has he read the articles by Mac Jackson and myself battling over the MSS’s details—he is still willing to declare me wrong and Mr Jackson right, sight unseen. Bravo!

 

Downs’ 9/29 email is a classic example of how the case against The Tragedy of Richard II Part One (Woodstock) is being mounted—dishonestly, unfairly, and above all ignorantly. I do not expect Mr Downs to respond with any kind of apology or correction to what follows.

 

That is not in the way of this listserv. I’m still waiting for Gabriel Egan (primus inter pares) to apologize for his straight-out lie that my case includes the claim that “dede as a dore nayle” is  “a marker of authorship, as Egan believes."

 

I pointed out in reply that if readers look at what I actually say they’ll see that I SPECIFICALLY DO NOT ARGUE that the use of the simile proves Shakespeare's hand. What matters is the actual form in which it appears:

 

La Poole: What, is he dead?
Murderer As a door-nail, my lord. 1 Richard II, V.i.242-3

 

Falstaff: What, is the old king dead?
Pistol: As nail in door. 2 Henry IV, V.iii.120-1

 

This is quite significant—a whole snatch of dialogue, but not exact in interesting ways. Note too that both moments communicate critical information, though the contexts are quite distinct. Nor are these disconcerting overlaps unique among the parallels between 1 R 2 and the rest of Shakespeare. There’s a whole bunch of them—hundreds. Let’s say I’m wrong about HALF the 1500-1600 I have identified. That still leaves 700-800—much too high a number to be lightly dismissed.

 

Sure, we can argue about this one and that one, but overwhelmingly the parallels with Shakespeare are established. You cannot not do this between 1 Richard II and any other Elizabethan author, Marlowe included. Despite these facts, not only does Gabriel Egan not apologize, not a single reader wrote in to say “Gosh, that’s really very close! There’s obviously something going on here!”

 


Here are some factual corrections to Mr Downs’ letter:

 

1. The Tragedy of Richard II, Part One is not self-published. Edwin Mellen Press is a distinguished and long-established book company with a fine catalog of beautifully produced scholarly works, sold mostly to libraries. Its Shakespeare list is especially excellent. Nor is it a vanity press. Nor is it true that peer reviewers of submitted MSS are nominated by their authors. I know this because I have personally peer-reviewed several MSS for EMP and in no case did I know the authors, nor even know of them.

However, the intent of these slurs is it to deligitimize my argument by impugning my publishers and/or to literally shut me up (“put a lid on it”).  So simply correcting these canards will not make them go away,

 

2. Because Mr Downs is ignorant he completely mistakes the textual argument between Jackson and myself: He writes: “If Egan reports aright, Mac Jackson accepts the ms. as holograph . . . ” So Downs is taking sides without even checking Jackson’s own essay and—amazingly enough—agreeing with what he hasn’t seen.

 

However, this is what he hasn’t seen: Jackson completely contradicts himself on the matter of whether the MS of 1 Richard II is in the author’s own hand or that of scribe/copyist. At one point he says it’s a scribal copy. At another he claims the MS hand is Samuel Rowley’s. The details may be found in my essay in The Oxfordian 2010.

 

So it’s impossible to know what Jackson really thinks about this important matter. Unfortunately, Jackson hasn’t examined the actual manuscript, and is completely dependent on Frijlinck’s transcript. Her work, however, is flawed and I have often had to correct her readings. My corrections are listed under Frijlinck in “A Short History of the Text,” (Vol III) which Mr Downs also hasn’t read, though once again this proves no hindrance to his expressing an opinion about it.

 

Thus concerning the critical editing out in the 1 Richard II MS of the word “pelting” in “pelting farm,”  Downs blandly says “Unless the MSR editor [i.e., Frijlinck) is mistaken, it seems the correction to the word (originally peltry, she thinks) is in the same ink as the text...” etc. But Frijlinck is mistaken and I’m frankly in a position to say so since I am the only participant in this whole debate who has actually examined the original MS, and in great detail too aided by computer softwares.

 

Jackson hasn’t and Downs doubly hasn’t. My examination leads me to a quite different conclusion: that the original phrase was “pelting farm,” and that someone tried various alternatives to “pelting,” e.g., “petty” and “peltry” and then decided to delete the whole passage. My hypothesis is that Shakespeare decided to keep the phrase for 2 Richard II, which he had of course already written by the time he came to edit 1 Richard II, ca. 1605. 

 

By the way—another point about which Downs is uncertainly certain—we can also say with complete confidence that the MS is an early 17th century copy of a late 16th century play—the evidence is in the work of A. C. Partridge whose unanswerable analysis has still to be confronted by Mac Jackson.

 

Finally, Downs supports Jackson’s strained effort to make 1 Richard II fit stylistically with Ants Oras’ fake patterns in Pause Patterns in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama. However, he hasn’t even considered Jackson’s unfounded assertion that certain multisyllabic words were intended by their author to be “slurred” so as to make up a decasyllabic line. There’s just no evidence for the claim that the word apparel below should be contracted in to two syllables, as Mac Jackson asserts:

 

Woodstock:  In my apparel, you’ll say.

Lancaster: Good faith, in all. —1 Richard II, I.i.160-1. 

 

just so that Jackson can claim the two lines make up an iambic pentameter. I pointed out that slurring apparel is likely to make it sound ridiculously like apple, when some perfectly serviceable di-syllabic words for clothing were on hand: raiment, garment, clothing etc. Downs nonetheless mocks me and tries to pretend that phonically there’s a noticeable difference between apple and apparl. Well, unfortunately that’s the level of debate here.

 

Likewise

 

Scroop: Excellent Tresilian!
Bushy: Noble Lord Chief Justice!

 

is slurred by Jackson into an iambic pentameter, and then defended by the ignorant Downs: “Exint Tresin noble Lord Chief Justice!” This claim is advanced even tho the stresses are all wrong (noBILL lord CHIEF jusTICE). It makes no sense except in the context of a starined analysis bent on making the play into what it is not.

 

And so on. The rest of Downs’ comments are equally unreliable and inaccurate.

 

Kierkegaard says somewhere that all truths go through three stages: first they’re mocked, then they’re violently opposed and finally they’re recognized as self-evident. Clearly, we’re still in the violent opposition phase.

 

Michael Egan

 

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