Polonius

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0292  Tuesday, 10 July 2012

 

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

Date:         July 7, 2012 8:10:38 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Justin Alexander’s Reliance on Hibbard’s Hypothesis

 

I have long made the point that “Polonius” should be regarded as an agnomen, like “Coriolanus,” awarded to the young Corambis for his contributions as a warrior or statesman (more likely the latter) in the conquest of Poland. The play suggests that Poland was a traditional enemy of Denmark. 

 

This view explains why Polonius is held in esteem by Claudius, why he still has some political skill. 

 

Shakespeare and James I

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0291  Tuesday, 10 July 2012

 

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

     Date:         July 9, 2012 6:33:17 AM EDT

     Subject:     RE: Shakespeare and James I 

 

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

     Date:         July 9, 2012 6:33:17 AM EDT

     Subject:     RE: Shakespeare and James I 

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 8, 2012 3:37:44 PM EDT

Subject:     RE: Shakespeare and James I

 

>I was recently watching Simon Schama’s recent Shakespeare

>documentary, and he essentially makes a point that, during an early

>production of Hamlet, you would have a staging of the dumb show

>prefacing The Mousetrap, within Hamlet, all watched by King James I,

>whose recent familial history would have given the scenes telescoping

>in front of him additional personal significance. 

>

>It got me wondering more about Shakespeare’s relationship to James,

>and I thought that I might ask if anybody had any good recommendations

>for books that discuss this relationship, or just good books about the life

>of James.

 

Reply to Aaron Azlant: I enjoyed Alvin B Kernan’s Shakespeare, The King’s Playwright

 

http://yalebooks.co.uk/display.asp?K=9780300072587

 

Sylvia Morris

www.theshakespeareblog.com

 

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

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

Date:         July 9, 2012 6:33:17 AM EDT

Subject:     RE: Shakespeare and James I

 

The first full exploration of the connections between Hamlet and James I was Lilian Winstanley’s book Hamlet and the Scottish Succession (CUP, 1921).  Although her thesis was apparently scorned and dismissed at the time, it contains numerous interesting observations, some of which have recently been revived (without crediting Winstanley) by Howard Erskine-Hill and Andrew Hadfield.

 

You can find the full text of Winstanley’s book here:   http://archive.org/details/hamletandscottis00winsuoft

 

Andrew Hadfield’s brief exploration of Hamlet/James I links can be found in “Shakespeare and Renaissance Politics” (Arden Shakespeare, 2004, pp.87-88)

 

See also 

 

Erskine-Hill, Poetry and the Realm of Politics (OUP 1996, pp.99-111)

 

Stuart M. Kurland, ‘Hamlet and the Scottish succession’, SEL 34 (1994), 279-300.

 

Rosalind Barber

 

Early Modern Culture: Debate on Materialism in Literary Theory

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0290  Tuesday, 10 July 2012

 

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

Date:         July 9, 2012 2:04:09 PM EDT

Subject:     Early Modern Culture: Debate on Materialism in Literary Theory

 

The new issue of Early Modern Culture (<http://emc.eserver.org>) contains a lively discussion of an article by David Hawkes entitled “Against Materialism in Literary Theory.”  (This article appeared last year in a collection entitled The Return of Theory in Early Modern English Studies, eds. Paul Cefalu and Bryan Reynolds, as is reprinted in EMC with permission of the publishers.) Participants include Michael Booth, Adam Bryx & Bryan Reynolds, William Flesch, Christopher Kendrick, and John Sutton & Evelyn B. Tribble.  There is also a response by Hawkes and there are counter-responses by several of the participants.

 

Early Modern Culture is edited by Crystal Bartolovich and David Siar and is published by the English Server at Iowa State University.

CFP: “Shakespeare in/and Manuscript” (SAA 2013)

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0289  Tuesday, 10 July 2012

 

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

Date:         July 8, 2012 5:38:51 AM EDT

Subject:     CFP: “Shakespeare in/and Manuscript” (SAA 2013)

 

Dear SHAKSPER List Members,

 

This is a call for papers for a seminar entitled “Shakespeare in/and Manuscript”, which we will be organising at the next Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) meeting in Toronto, Canada, 28-30 March 2013. 

 

While the only extant Shakespearean holograph manuscript is notoriously limited to a short scene in a collaborative play (Sir Thomas More), there is a wealth of other Shakespearean manuscripts. Traditionally, the value of these manuscripts was seen to reside in the fact that their texts could provide potentially useful variants for editors in pursuit of a so-called authentic Shakespearean text. Today, although these views have evolved, our understanding of the social and historical dissemination of Shakespeare’s text tends to be informed mainly by the rise of Shakespeare in print.

 

Participants in this seminar will be invited to consider such phenomena as the cultural mobility of Shakespeare in manuscript, textual bricolage, or indeed the elaboration of a parallel cultural economy—separate but also intimately tied the world of print. Contributors will delve into the archive to explore these other manuscripts, including promptbooks, miscellanies, commonplace books, and manuscript marginalia in printed books. Beyond literary manuscripts that contain Shakespearean text, this seminar encourages participants to consider alternative sources such as account books, songbooks, and diaries, which may also offer insight into particular productions. This investigation of primary materials will highlight the varied and contingent responses to Shakespeare’s plays and poems from the early modern period to the present.

 

The goal of this seminar is to encourage participants to consider the wide range of Shakespearean manuscripts, to showcase a variety of critical approaches to these primary texts, and to explore some of the new (and often digital) ways to access these sources. Participants will share their expertise(s) in bibliography and textual studies while also providing historical and cultural contexts in which to understand these materials. If possible, the members of this seminar will visit the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library or the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (University of Toronto).

 

If you are interested, please kindly register for the seminar by 15 September 2012 on the website of the Shakespeare Association of America: <http://www.shakespeareassociation.org/>. Feel free to contact us also if you have any questions. 

 

Best wishes,

Laura Estill

University of Victoria, Canada

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

 

Jean-Christophe Mayer

French National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS)

and University of Montpellier

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

 

Shorthand

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0288  Friday, 7 July 2012

 

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

     Date:         July 6, 2012 7:15:07 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Shorthand 

 

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

     Date:         July 6, 2012 1:14:03 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Shorthand 

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 6, 2012 7:15:07 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Shorthand

 

Gerald Downs presents mountains of evidence and interpretation in his postings, and I for one would rather deal with such claims in the form of a journal article that has first been through peer review, which tends to sort the strong from the weak claims.

 

But if he’s prepared to confine himself to just one bit of the argument, I’d be interested to hear Downs defend this claim:

 

> . . .  Q1(c) at 3.6 has 'take vp thy master . . . Take

> vp the King . . . '. F at line 102 has 'Take vp, take

> vp . . .'; which Urkowitz describes as "unrelievedly urgent,

> compelling, and threatening". That is, a Shakespearean revision;

> who else could be so quick on the vp-take? Well, Q1(uncorrected)

> has 'Take vp to keepe', an obvious misreading (the compositor

> elsewhere proves to be unconcerned with nonsense). F's reviser,

> without recourse to the correction, sophisticated with a second

> 'take up'; nothing to do with the author, compelling or not.

 

It’s not clear to me why F’s second “take vp” is attributed to the compositor by Downs.

 

Suppose we grant Gary Taylor’s claim that Shakespeare revised King Lear by annotating a copy of Q1(uncorrected) and that F reflects the revised version. In Q1(u) Shakespeare would have found the words “Take vp to keepe”. Not remembering what he had originally written (“Take up the king”)—why should he remember it 5-6 years later when doing the revision?—Shakespeare might easily have deleted the meaningless “to keepe” and written above/near it “take up”, producing the F reading with the merits that Urkowitz identifies.

 

Gabriel Egan

 

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

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

Date:         July 6, 2012 1:14:03 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Shorthand

 

Gerald Downs REALLY doesn’t like my KING LEAR book, nor much else that I have to say elsewhere. Duhhhh. He can join the committee of Richard Knowles (at least until his most recent fumings about LEAR texts where he does come around to admitting Shakespeare may have done some revising) and Richard Proudfoot (heavily into sneering at my enthusiasm and my commitment to seeing dramatic scripts as offering less-than-Socratic forms of ratiocination and grammar).

 

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this lovely summer day grumping about Downs and his dismal ways of reading the texts of Shakespeare and my own analyses of them. But my motives continue to be the same: I want to help people see the theatrical craftsmanship embedded in the alternative printed versions of Shakespeare’s multiple-text plays. I started this long project because I saw that editors regularly looked at crafty script-writers’ moves as if they were dumb blunders. Downs continues in that august though flawed tradition. I suggest that people look at my own published work not only for its conclusions but also for the techniques I show as being used repeatedly in Shakespeare’s plays to make them the stage-worthy wonders that we so admire.

 

Rather than nit-pick on such a pretty day (and it’s getting on to lunchtime) I’ll make two points and retire to other joys. First, Downs accuses me of using (yegads!) RHETORIC as if it represented some kind of four-letter abomination: “it isn’t practical to counter the heavily rhetorical whole of his book.” Yes, Gerald, I confess. I do use rhetoric. Also, I admit that I use a spell checker, and a keyboard, and those wicked electrons rather than good old trustworthy quills and ink. Rhetoric, last time I checked, ain’t all bad, even though good rhetoric can disguise bad thinking.

 

Second, about the bad thinking that Downs finds in my LEAR book: The numbered list he laboriously refutes (found on p. 130 of SHAKESPEARE’S REVISION OF KING LEAR) has six categories of “error” that I show aren’t quite so erroneous as the pre-1980 tribe of editors had convinced themselves they were. I’ll cite the example of spelling that seems so important to the various shorthand AND memorial reconstruction arguments: Alice Walker lists among the ignorant orthographies found in the Quarto of LEAR, “unlikely to have been of Shakespearean origin,” the word “cushings” supposedly a semi-literate’s error for “cushions,” the spelling found in F. So how is one to determine that a spelling is erroneous? “Look it up in the OED?” Why not? And there we do indeed find, in a passage from an ecclesiastical argument of 1576, in definition 10 b, the spelling “cushing.” That’s how even very skilled writers did things with spelling for quite a while, winging it for sounds and senses unfamiliar to our more regimented eyes. There are alas other instances on that list on p. 130 where I relied on other scholars’ work rather than doing a full analysis on my own. My bad, especially trusting the work of WW Greg when I was trying to undermine his conclusions elsewhere. But it was early in the Bibliographic Revolution, and Greg and God were equally potent monosyllables, tough to reject out-of-hand.

 

So, dear Gerald, I will again rhetorically ask the wise readers of our correspondence, “Please read my book (rather than the snippets savaged by Gerald Downs) and evaluate it for yourselves.” Unlike Stone’s, it’s only 150 pages long. And the rhetoric makes it all the more tasty.

 

Ever,

Steve Urquartowitz

 

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.