Himself

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0262  Thursday, 21 June 2012

 

[Editor’s Note: There are some submissions that I receive that cause me to take three or more long cleansing breaths before I decide whether to post or not. I did so with the submission that prompted these replies. When David Basch first started peddling his “pet’ theories on SHAKSPER, I myself tried to argue with logic and facts that his major suppositions did not stand up to the received conventions of scholarly evidence. I posted his recent submission to the list, with a private warning to him that such was not a justification for renewed discussion of the theory, hoping that others might point out the problems with it. Respondents for this and any possible future posts should direct replies to the content of the post and not to wider implications.

 

Anecdote Warning: My younger daughter after her first year of college has decided to major in sociology and political science, not literature to my chagrin. Since I am in the process of divesting myself of many of my possessions, I went to my bookshelves in my study and picked up my copy of Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, a book that I read at about her age and that has had a lasting influence on me. I gave it to her, describing it as a classic in sociology (well, among other things). True believers simply will not be swayed by any arguments—I could here mention American politics but that too is a topic to be avoid on SHAKSPER. –Hardy]

 

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

     Date:         June 20, 2012 4:48:44 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Himself 

 

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

     Date:         June 21, 2012 12:02:22 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Himself

 

 

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

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

Date:         June 20, 2012 4:48:44 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Himself

 

David Basch writes:

 

>Concerning the name Falstaff, I would in the end refer to the 

>surprise that Peter Levi mentioned in his book, The Life and 

>Times of William Shakespeare. He noted that in an English 

>court record of an inheritance given to John Shakespeare 

>from his father, Richard, John was referred to as 

>“Johannem Shakere.” (Levi was at a loss to explain it.) 

 

David, were you able to personally confirm the spelling of John’s last name in the Worcester record, as reported by Levi?

 

Curious,

Joe Egert 

 

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

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

Date:         June 21, 2012 12:02:22 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Himself

 

David Basch is once again regaling us with his imaginative creation of fanciful links, leading him now to conclude that Sir John Falstaff was intended as a representation not of Sir John Oldcastle, as the Q text of 1HenIV expressly indicates and as is explicitly confirmed by the epilogue to 2HenIV, but of Shakespeare’s own father. His analysis depends on an assumption that WS was fluent in ancient Hebrew, for which no support is cited and that the Shakespeare coat of arms has a falcon displayed in the crest. This strikes me as not too different from Basch’s earlier attempts to persuade us that WS subtly weaved the Hebrew tetragrammaton into his texts by occasionally using the letters J, V and H.

 

Please, enough already!

 

As I tried to convey in footnote 73 to my opinion in Egan v. Elliott, obtainable in the archives: 

 

Where a theory is based on perceived patterns, we may . . . question whether the patterns are misconceived or even the result of malfunction of the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain. See M. Shermer, The Believing Brain (Times Books 2011) at 124-27; see, also, e.g., D.H. Mathalon, et al., Error Detection Failures in Schizophrenia, 73 Int’l J. of Psychopathology, no. 2 at 109-17 (2009); M.I. Posner & G.J. DiGirolamo, Executive Attention: Conflict, Target Detection, and Cognitive Control, in R. Parasuraman, ed., The Attentive Brain (MIT P. 1998). 

 

Shorthand Example (Egan, Davidson)

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0261  Thursday, 21 June 2012

 

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

Date:         Sunday, Jun 17, 2012 10:15 pm

Subject:     Shorthand Again

 

Gerald Downs offers an instance from HAMLET Q1 that he and van Dam would like us to consider as strong evidence demonstrating that that text is some kind a report assembled from a performance by stenography. But how about a different narrative: I’d have us imagine that a certain playwright had in his writer’s toolbox the rhetorical device “aposiopesis”—a sentence which for specific rhetorical purposes such as showing intense emotion or energetic interruption reads as if it is incomplete. And I’d have us imagine that he disported this device at the occasional moment when he wanted to create a heightened dramatic tension, to show that the dramatic character speaking AFTER the aposiopesis energetically cuts off or interrupts the “aposiopeseur.” (I illustrate a bunch of instances in Q1 and F LEAR in my Shakespeare’s Revision of King Lear volume.) So, in the instance cited below in a cut-and-paste from Gerald Downs’ post, I offer as a possible generative narrative that Shakespeare (himself, why not?) desired to show Laertes winding up into a spasm of oath-making, swearing “[By] My will, Not all the world [shall let my revenge].” with the “By” and the “shall let my revenge” being explained as implied, such an explanation plausibly delivered to the players of the King and Laertes roles by that same author. And then “Nay but Laertes . . . ” is the King’s energetic stopping of Laertes’ oath-making to move on to the business of assassinating Hamlet.

 

========

“One influential to my thinking was described by van Dam, yet I haven’t seen reference to it other than my own noting, here and elsewhere; the text is from Q1 Hamlet:

 

 Lear. O he is welcome, . . .

 king   Leartes, content your selfe, be rulde by me,

          And you shall haue no let for your reuenge.

 Lear. My will, not all the world.

 King  Nay but Leartes, marke the plot I haue layde,

 

Van Dam astutely observes that “Line 1790 lacks any logical connection with the context . . . . The player who acts the part of Laertes hears the last words of line 1789 “no let for your revenge”, which remind him of the first half of [Q2 4.5.137]: “King. Who shall stay you?” upon which he . . . answers . . .”

======

 

Van Dam and Downs may be right and I just blowing smoke, but we DO have many examples of such aposiopesis in Shakespeare, many of which leave ungrammatical or illogical bits where the termination of a sentence is aposiopated. (“aposiopissed”?  “aposiopossibled”? )

 

My point is that just because something illogical or ungrammatical appears in a text, we can’t just declare that an odd form of transmissional skullduggery is afoot ‘cause we are dealing with an author (or rather a whole community of authors) who are quite a bit more willing to cast English grammar roughly about, more willing at least than are van Dam and Downs. So the major premise, that the Q1 text evolved through transcription of an actors’ solution to an author’s mishmash just ain’t necessarily so. It could be the case, though I still send to my spam box all the Nigerian Oil Well offers that come my way. (Sorry for the disrespect here; as I’ve apologized before, I’m from the Bronx and learned to love irreverence at an early age.)

 

I’ll not address the tangles of Q2. Consider THAT argument interrupted until some further date, or just stopped because I also learned a long time ago that some games are not worth the candle.

 

Steven Urk-aposiopated-owitz

Back from his 180-mile three day Bike Trek Across Maine

 

Stratford Lodgings

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0260  Wednesday, 20 June 2012

 

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

Date:         June 18, 2012 7:29:57 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Stratford

 

>It is good to read about Ambleside where we started staying in 

>1968 when I gave my first talk at the conference. Pam Barnacle 

>ran a superb B&B—and would take nothing, except presents for 

>her children, for watching ours who were 5 and 1.  Her quality 

>was not followed by her immediate successor. All of the B&Bs 

>we stayed in after she retired have either been sold or have 

>stopped taking guests. In 1910, the Falcon matched B&B 

>prices and offered a good lounge in which to read and write.

 

Correction:

 

The reference in my last line to the Falcon should of course be for the 2010 conference.

 

Cheers,

Herb

 

Himself

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0259  Wednesday, 20 June 2012

 

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

     Date:         June 19, 2012 12:27:54 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Himself 

 

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

     Date:         June 19, 2012 12:48:36 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re:  Himself 

 

 

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

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

Date:         June 19, 2012 12:27:54 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Himself

 

While I have no opinion on John Briggs suggestion of roles which Shakespeare may or may not have taken in his plays, (HIMSELF), I am open to his suggestions. However, I do have a comment on the name Falstaff, which emerged as the poet’s final choice as the name of this character that followed all evidence of preceding selections proposed.

 

Concerning the name Falstaff, I would in the end refer to the surprise that Peter Levi mentioned in his book, The Life and Times of William Shakespeare. He noted that in an English court record of an inheritance given to John Shakespeare from his father, Richard, John was referred to as “Johannem Shakere.” (Levi was at a loss to explain it.) The relevance of this to the name Falstaff could lie in that the word, “shakere,” which in Hebrew means “false”—the word occurring exactly as “shakere” in the Hebrew of the Ninth Commandment against bearing “false witness” (“eyde shakere”).

 

Thus, the name Falstaff with the prefix, “Fals,” could be an allusion to the name “Shakere” and, coupled with “staff,” to the name, Shakespeare (Shak-staff or Shak-shaft). It could be telling that the character of John Falstaff may have very well been built on that of the poet’s father, John.  In life, John may have had many of the engaging traits of the literary representation of John Falstaff in the plays.

 

That the name Shakere has some significance for the Shakespeares is further suggested by the family’s Coat of Arms, originally sought by John Shakespeare. In this is represented a FALcon, which could account for the prefix of FALstaff. But another name for the falcon used in falconry was “saker”—check on it in a dictionary—the latter a name too close to “Shakere” to be dismissed as irrelevant.

 

In this fashion, we find a double allusion that the letters “FALS,” one to the prefix in “FALcon” and the other to “false” carried by “shak” as an abbreviation of “Shakere” with its Hebrew meaning as “false.”

 

So if factual allusions are being sought to the historic Shakespeare—which is being sought by attempting to couple the poet with roles he may have taken on in his plays—it seems that the name Falstaff itself could be conveying direct historical information, some concerning the poet’s father and some telling how the poet uses the character of those around him as prototypes for representations in his plays.

 

What is more, imagine the delight that the poet would have had in playing a character that conveyed aspects of the character of his own father.

 

David Basch

 

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

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

Date:         June 19, 2012 12:48:36 PM EDT

Subject:     Re:  Himself

 

The reasons John Briggs supplies are interesting, all right, but also troubling. It seems that Sir Toby is a large role, and is like the role of Falstaff: and we are to credit Shakespeare himself not only with writing but also with playing those roles. Why, exactly? Shakespeare is “large,” to us, but we don’t know who else may have been on the scene.

 

Then there’s a possible pun in Falstaff’s name: but must we believe that if a playwright puns on his own name, the pun itself can’t be the end of the matter? What bridge of necessity leads Shakespeare to play a role just because he punned?

 

Is there anything at all to back up the “suggestions that Shakespeare played clown-ish roles”?

 

I’m more troubled to see Shakespeare credited with playing such a great number of roles in his plays. I can allow him the Player King in Hamlet; but then must he also take Polonius, the Ghost, and the Gravedigger too? Tradition holds that he was loved by the players of his day: not if he single-handedly kept so many of them out of employment!

 

CFP: Shakespeare Jahrbuch

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0258  Wednesday, 20 June 2012

 

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

Date:         June 20, 2012 5:01:56 AM EDT

Subject:     CFP: Shakespeare Jahrbuch

 

Call for Papers – Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2014

 

The 2014 volume of Shakespeare Jahrbuch will be a special issue devoted to “Money and Power”.

 

Karl Marx thought that “Shakespeare excellently depicted the real nature of money”. Indeed, money plays a central role in Shakespeare’s works: monetary transactions and the exchange of goods, bonds and loans, greed and expenditure, wealth and debt are themes of his plays and poems and provide the sources for their imagery. The language of money permeates the language of love; purses and coins circulate and merchants and moneylenders shape the plot: “To be or not to be” is determined by assets and economic transactions. The shepherd Corin in As You Like It is well aware that “he that wants money, means and content is without three good friends”, and yet wealth is not always a blessing in Shakespeare. His plays react to the economic upheavals in early modern times and they interrogate the inherent moral, religious and political implications. Early modern poetry and drama are simultaneously bound up in economic networks and the underlying power relations of patronage and the corporate structure of London’s theaters.

 

Analyzing the relationship between “money and power” in Shakespeare is particularly pertinent at a time when debt crises, the influence of financial markets and the divide between rich and poor dominate world politics.

The editorial board of Shakespeare Jahrbuch invites essays on the following topics:

 

  • Money and power in Shakespeare’s plays
  • Representations of poverty and wealth
  • The circulation of money and goods on the early modern stage
  • Shakespeare and the debate on usury
  • Money and love – monetary and affective economies
  • Shakespeare’s negotiation of early modern economic discourses
  • Shakespeare’s theatre as big business
  • Shakespeare in Political Economy
  • Shakespeare and the debt crisis
  • . . . 

Shakespeare Jahrbuch, the Yearbook of the German Shakespeare Society, is a peer-reviewed journal. It offers contributions in German and English, scholarly articles, an extensive section of book reviews, and reports on Shakespeare productions in the German-speaking world. It also documents the activities of the Shakespeare Society.

 

Papers to be published in the Shakespeare Jahrbuch should be formatted according to our style sheet.

 

Please send your manuscripts (of about 6,000 words) to the editor of Shakespeare Jahrbuch, Prof. Dr. Sabine Schülting (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), by 31 March 2013.

 

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