“Cultural Translations: Medieval / Early Modern / Postmodern”



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.048  Monday, 6 February 2012


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

Date:         February 5, 2012 2:56:01 PM EST

Subject:     “Cultural Translations: Medieval / Early Modern / Postmodern” 


Going to the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (Mar 22-24)? You are cordially invited to stay one more day to catch the one-day symposium “Cultural Translations: Medieval / Early Modern / Postmodern” to be held at George Washington University in D.C., 9:30 am - 4:00 pm, Sunday, March 25, 2012. 


Free and open to the public. Please stay tuned for updates on the venue and lunch. 


Website: http://www.gwu.edu/~acyhuang/culturaltranslations.html




Empires are lost and won, and stories are marred and rediscovered through cultural translations—the transformation of genres, manipulation of ideas, and linguistic translation. Cultural translation is one of the most significant modes of textual and cultural transmission from medieval to modern times. Estrangement and transnational cultural flows continue to define the afterlife of narratives. Translation, or translatio, signifying “the figure of transport,” was a common rhetorical trope in early modern Europe that referred to the conveyance of ideas from one geo-cultural location to another, from one historical period to another, and from one artistic form to another.


Over the past decade “translation” as an expansive critical concept has greatly enriched literary and cultural studies. In response to these exciting new developments, this one-day symposium brings together leading scholars from the fields of medieval and early modern studies, history, film, English, Spanish and Portuguese, Arabic and comparative literary studies to engage in transhistorical and interdisciplinary explorations of post/colonial travel, globalization, and the transformation of texts, ideas, and genres.


The presentations are designed with both general and specialist audiences in mind. Following in the wake of several recent events in town, namely the Folger’s exhibitions on “Imagining China: The View from Europe, 1550-1700” and “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible” and conferences on “Contact and Exchange: China and the West” and “Early Modern Translation: Theory, History, Practice,” and the 58th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) in Washington, DC, 22–24 March, 2012, the Symposium at GW continues and expands these thought-provoking dialogues. 







Suzanne Conklin Akbari (Toronto, English and Medieval Studies): Translating the Past: World Literature in the Medieval Mediterranean


Marcia Norton (GW, History): topic to be announced



Early Modern


Barbara Fuchs (UCLA, English and Spanish & Portuguese): Return to Sender: "Hispanicizing" Cardenio


Christina Lee (Princeton, Spanish & Portuguese): Imagining China in a Golden Age Spanish Epic





Peter Donaldson (MIT, Literature): The King’s Speech: Shakespeare, Empire and Global Media


Margaret Litvin (Boston, Arabic and Comparative Literature): topic to be announced


The event is co-sponsored by the George Washington University Department of English and Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (MEMSI), and co-organized by Alexander Huang, Jonathan Hsy, and Lowell Duckert. 

Rare Words in Shakespeare


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.047  Friday, 3 February 2012


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

Date:         February 3, 2012 8:48:05 AM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: O Rare


Marie Merkel asks


> Does anyone know of an online resource for discovering

> all the "rare" words . . . within a given play?


About 10 years ago SHAKSPERian Steve Roth did some refinements to a project I started called SHAXICAN.  (The name was a gibe at Donald Foster’s supposed SHAXICON database, which was the subject of several articles but never appeared.) The idea was to count rare words in Shakespeare by play and by actor’s part, looking for correlations. Specifically, we wanted to test the hypothesis that the rare words in a particular part acted by Shakespeare himself would appear disproportionately often in the next play he wrote, since those rare words he’d recently spoken on stage would be at the forefront of his mind. That was Foster’s claim but SHAXICAN was unable to verify it.


The files from SHAXICAN are still available at




and the one you want is “correlations.txt” in the “Roth’s refinements” section.


Save it to your own computer, then open it in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel. (Excel will take you through a ‘Text import wizard’ for handling ‘Delimited data’ files: just accept all the defaults.)


Sort the whole table on the second column, which contains the play names. That’ll give you a table with plays listed alphabetically from 1H4 (=1 Henry 4) to WT (=The Winter’s Tale) in the second column and the rare words in the first column.  The third column identifies an actor’s part in another play, which part also contains this row’s rare word. The fourth column gives the number of times this row’s rare word appears in the play identified in the second column and the fifth column gives the number of times this rare word appears in the part identified in the third column. (I’m making it sound more complicated than it is: Roth explains the table with an extract on the website.)


Here, a word is rare if it occurs 1-12 times in the Shakespeare canon. Sorry if that’s too broad a filter for your purposes.  For each rare word you can see what part in another play it also occurs in, so the word ‘abundance’ that appears once in 1H4 is listed 9 times at that point in the table, once each for its appearances in 2H4 (twice), AWW (once), COR (twice), JN (once), MV (once), PER (once), and TMP (once).  Of course ‘abundance’ appears later in the table too, for each of its occurences in those other plays.


If you want to find words that appear fewer times than 12 in the canon, look for words that appear fewer times overall in the table. You can do this by eye (as you would a printed concordance) or better still someone good at Excel might write you a formula that finds words appearing only once (or any arbitrary number of times) in the table. If there’s a SHAKSPERian who can do that, I’d be interested to share the formula. I teach an undergraduate course on this sort of thing (“The Art of Distant Reading”*) and am somewhat hampered by the fact that good students are better than me at Excel but entirely unfamiliar with real programming.  (There is a vigorous debate in the UK about whether the teaching of computers in schools fails to encourage real programming and instead promotes clever uses of Microsoft Office; in my experience it does.)


Gabriel Egan


* My proposed title for the course was “The Art of Not Reading” but this was rejected by my university as likely to bring a department of literature into disrepute.  The course titles are indebted to Franco Moretti and Martin Mueller, respectively.


Factory Hamlet


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.046  Friday, 3 February 2012


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

Date:         February 3, 2012 8:13:11 AM EST

Subject:     The Factory Collaborate With Creation Theatre This Spring.....


The Factory is delighted to invite you to our collaboration with Creation Theatre. This Spring, in collaboration with Creation Theatre, we bring our critically acclaimed production of Hamlet to the world-famous Norrington Room of Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford.


Hamlet, 5 - 24 March

A Factory production

Directed by Tim Carroll


The King is dead. What happens next will be different every night.


So far almost 15,000 audience members have helped The Factory create one-night-only, accidental interpretations of one of the great icons of world literature. 


A rigorous exploration of Shakespeare’s verse combined with The Factory’s spirit of mischief and spontaneous play allow the company to delve into the endless possibilities within Shakespeare’s greatest work.


Tickets /// More information 




The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.045  Thursday, 2 February 2012


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

Date:         February 1, 2012 9:14:23 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: PIPA/SOPA


Gabriel Egan says:


>Larry Weiss thinks that the judgement in “Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel

>Corp” (1999) only confirmed the existing doctrine about photography

>rather than changing anything. If that were true, all those libraries (like

>the Huntington) that asserted copyright on their microfilms of old books

>were mistaken or were knowingly lying. I suggest that in fact “Bridgeman

>Art Library v. Corel Corp” came as much as a surprise to them as to

>everyone else. 


At the time of the Bridgeman decision, I represented a photographic stock house that specialized in images of art works, so I had already studied the issue in detail well before the decision.  I can assure you that Kaplan’s decision came as no surprise to me.   Anyone in the U.S. who was shocked did not have very astute counseling.  In the U.K., on the other hand, the rule was to the contrary, and the plaintiff in Bridgeman placed its main reliance on an argument that the U.K. law applied to the transaction in question.  


>Because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act separates the

>circumvention of digital locks from infringement of the copyright of the

>material protected by the locks, makers of digital products have been

>able to lock away public domain materials, using the threat of

>prosecution under the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions rather than

>threat of prosecution for copyright infringement.


You can threaten anything, with or without justification; but that does not expand the scope of what the statute actually protects.  The act prohibits only circumventing locks that deny access to material that is not in the public domain, which I showed yesterday by quoting the pertinent language.


Rare Words in Shakespeare


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.044  Thursday, 2 February 2012


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

Date:         February 1, 2012 7:51:13 PM EST

Subject:     Rare Words in Shakespeare


Does anyone know of an online resource for discovering all the “rare” words (by which I mean words Shakespeare used only once in all his works, such as “palliament” in Titus Andronicus and “aspersion” in The Tempest ) within a given play? My favorite site for checking on Shakespeare’s usage is Open Source, but those nifty programs will only tell me how often the particular word I’m searching was used within the canon.  As far as I know, none of the options will give you a list of all the rare words in any given play. 




Marie Merkel


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