Whipping a gig

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.094  Wednesday, 7 March 2012

 

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

     Date:         March 6, 2012 6:08:37 PM EST

     Subject:     gig 

 

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

     Date:         March 7, 2012 2:53:43 PM EST

     Subject:     a gig; whipping a gig 

 

 

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

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

Date:         March 6, 2012 6:08:37 PM EST

Subject:     gig

 

Whipping gigs—okay.  In Breughel’s “Children’s Games” (1560) you can see images of kids spinning tops—whirligigs—by cleverly lashing them with whips to keep them going round.  

 

Edward Snow has a delightful book, Inside Breughel: the Play of Images in Children’s Games. (1997).  His Figure 4 on page 7 shows five boys spinning tops, arranged on either side of a column.  The detail is analyzed further on 114-18.   . . .  the top spinners on the right are caught at the peak of their gestures by the instant of representation; but the hand of the boy on the left seems to pause of its own accord.  He appears to eye his top from a greater distance than the strictly pragmatic arm’s length that separates the boys on the right from theirs.  The net effect is a space of measured reflection in which the boy ‘administers’ the lashing of his top and at the same time stands back and observes the effect of his blows. We can read his attitude as either brutality or detached curiosity—indeed, it is the strange affectless combination of the two that makes the image so unsettling” (115).  Breughel lays out a proto-Angelo four decades prior to Shakespeare’s. 

 

Snow’s book is a real treasure, a dramatic reading of the ways that Breughel lays dynamic meanings into his picture.  After reading it, I’ve learned to look more closely at those packed images Breughel leads us into.

 

Ever,

Steve Urtopowitz

 

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

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

Date:         March 7, 2012 2:53:43 PM EST

Subject:     a gig; whipping a gig

 

No obscurity, surely? I think Shakespeare would have called it an “equivocation” to follow up on “whipping hypocrisy” (to punish it) with “whipping a gig” (to make it go). Abigail Quart easily found the meaning of “gig” as a child’s toy, a spinning top. This is gig’s first meaning in the Oxford English Dictionary: “I. Something that spins. 1. A whipping-top. (Obs.)”

 

S.v. “whipping-top” the OED gives: “A toy of various shapes (cylindrical, obconic, etc.), but always of circular section, with a point on which it is made to spin, usually by the sudden pulling of a string wound round it; the common whip-[top] or whipping-top is kept spinning by lashing it with a whip.”

 

The cylindrical section and the point at one end, together make its resemblance to a [cuckold’s]-horn: so the comment that someone foolishly unconcerned about having such a horn might take it off and play with it as a toy.

 

Here’s a video of various tops in action, starting with a whipping-top:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ-VFMymEiE

 

Laertes, the Superior Fencer?

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.093  Wednesday, 7 March 2012

 

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

     Date:         March 6, 2012 2:08:09 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: Laertes, the Superior Fencer?

 

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

     Date:         March 6, 2012 8:00:31 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

 

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

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

Date:         March 6, 2012 2:08:09 PM EST

Subject:     Re: Laertes, the Superior Fencer? 

 

Andrew Wilson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> writes,

 

>Has anyone here seen a production or read an interpretation of 

>Hamlet that depicts Laertes as the clearly superior swordsman 

>in the final scene, with the reason for Hamlet’s success in the 

>first three bouts being that Laertes, knowing his sword is 

>unbated and envenomed, can’t quite bring himself to stab 

>Hamlet?

 

Issac Asimov.  He wrote that Laertes, playing against his conscience during the match, couldn’t hit Hamlet and had to cheat. When Hamlet gets the unbated weapon, Laertes knows the weapon is poisoned and therefore is fighting for his life.

 

I’m going from memory, and it has been some time.  It’s worth a read. Find this in Asimov’s book on Shakespeare, in the chapter on Hamlet.

 

Conrad

 

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

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

Date:         March 6, 2012 8:00:31 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Laertes

 

Andrew: we know that Laertes is considered the superior swordsman by the odds laid on him (5.2.126-127 Oxf. text) 12 to 9; and by Hamlet’s own acknowledgement: “I shall win at the odds (157).” And was the foil unbated from the start—or did Laertes slip it off after a pass or two? We cannot have the duel end too quickly either, can we? so any kind of stage business is invited by the openness of the text here, I think. As it might have been in the very earliest productions in whatever milieu the company performed.  

 

Nick Ranson.

 

The Delights of Rare Titles

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.092  Wednesday, 7 March 2012

 

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

Date:        Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012 13:21:13 -0500 (EST)

Subject:    The Delights of Rare Titles

 

Rare Titles Surprise and Delight

 

The titles may be rare and the plots less familiar, but the 2012 Actors’ Renaissance Season productions of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher’s Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding; Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World, My Masters; and Christopher Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage reveal just how fun a trip into the unknown can be.

 

The Actors’ Renaissance Season closes April 8th.

 

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, at 7:30 pm, students from Staunton’s own Stuart Hall School present a staged reading of John Lyly’s Mother Bombie:

 

On one side of town, two fathers seek a financially advantageous marriage between their simple-minded offspring; while on the other side of town, two fathers oppose the marriage of their romantically star-crossed teens. John Lyly, one of Shakespeare’s most important influences, cooks up hilarious chaos by mixing in four plotting pages, several disguises, and a nurse who has exchanged a few infants here and there.

 

American Shakespeare Center 

10 S. Market St

Staunton, Virginia 24401 

 

Whipping a gig

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.091  Tuesday, 6 March 2012

 

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

Date:         March 5, 2012 10:58:34 PM EST

Subject:     Re: the word “gig.”

 

Abigail Quart asks an interesting question: what does it mean?

 

The only logical progression I can find involves a sense of lightness, something not that serious, something less than heavy.

 

“Gig” may be a contraction of “whirligig.”

 

The word was adopted by jazz musicians decades ago to indicate an engagement to play that is not permanent. If the engagement was the same night every week, the musician would describe it as a “regular gig.” It wouldn’t be used to describe employment with a symphony orchestra. 

 

One of the earlier definitions of the word is a “light carriage pulled by one horse.”  A “gig” is also a top which, of course, balances delicately as it spins. 

 

I doubt there is much logic in the evolution of the word. Jazz musicians adopted language meant to be incomprehensible to outsiders. Shakespeare may have bent the word for his own use. 

 

Best,

Louis W. Thompson

Shall I Die Again?

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.090  Tuesday, 6 March 2012

 

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

Date:         March 5, 2012 8:16:26 PM EST

Subject:     Re: Shall I Die Again?

 

It’s been a while since I read “Shall I Die” or the arguments about it, but I remember that it always struck me as seeming more like a song lyric than a ‘poem’ proper—something along the lines of ‘On a day, alack the day’ from Love’s Labour’s Lost.  Is Gerald Downs making this implicit suggestion by larding his post with popular music snatches?

 

Bill Lloyd

 

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