iPad Apps


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0436  Monday, 29 October 2012


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

     Date:         October 28, 2012 2:15:07 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: iPad Apps 


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

     Date:         October 29, 2012 12:50:02 AM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: iPad Apps 




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

Date:         October 28, 2012 2:15:07 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: iPad Apps


>There’s an ongoing struggle between those promoting the free 

>(in both senses) dissemination of knowledge about Shakespeare 

>and those trying to commercialize that knowledge. For the most 

>part, smartphone/tablet apps help the latter group.


For my part, I am not fond of apps; I find them difficult to manipulate on a smartphone and I like to print things out.  But that is my own preference, because I am old and crusty.  Users who value the portability and flexibility of apps may well choose to purchase them.  Naturally, the producers who apply their ingenuity and incur costs and effort to provide the apps are entitled to be compensated.  I can’t understand why anyone would have a problem with that.



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

Date:         October 29, 2012 12:50:02 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: iPad Apps


While I agree entirely with Gabriel’s points—particularly his concerns about hardware/software dependencies and the additional programming work required to meet an increasingly fragmented market of platform-specific devices—I’m more optimistic about their potential long-term benefits.


As a number of colleagues have noted (e.g. Lukas Erne, John Jowett, Eugene Giddens, and Gabriel himself), the critical (and, more importantly, the pedagogical) reception of electronic editions of Shakespeare and his contemporaries has not matched the enthusiasm with which they were initially lauded. Among the many reasons for this, I believe, is a continued unfamiliarity on the part of users—i.e. even in an age of ubiquitous computing, students and scholars are still not used to reading and studying Shakespeare electronically.  Printed editions remain the mainstay for our work as scholars and educators. If this is to change, we need not only to change minds and comfort zones, but habits of mind.


Minds are already changing. The iPad is fast becoming the first electronic device through which a new generation accesses electronic content. Consequently, apps represent a learned behaviour for this generation as the primary platform for accessing documents or information. The increasing number of videos on YouTube of infants unsuccessfully trying to turn the pages of printed books using the “swipe” action learned from the iPad and other electronic devices are (however disconcerting) cases in point.


For generations less familiar with such technologies, the increasing popularity of Shakespeare apps will, I hope, work to naturalize the idea that Shakespeare can be read, studied, taught, and enjoyed as successfully on-screen as on the page. Users frustrated with the technical and critical limitations of these commercial apps will then, I hope, turn to the open-access, web-based scholarly alternatives offered by projects like the Internet Shakespeare Editions, Richard Brome Online, the Queen’s Men Editions, and, once it has been launched next year, the Digital Renaissance Editions. Gabriel has already covered the reasons why efforts such as these, working with open standards to deliver their content to multiple platforms over the Internet, are worthy of our continued support.


These apps (and other electronic editions) also force us to reconsider what constitutes an edition, to rethink some of the conventions and assumptions about texts and editions we have inherited from print, and encourage us to experiment with how such early modern dramatic texts are, could be, or should be presented to the reader. This is, I believe, where the most exciting and innovative work on electronic editions is taking place—at the interface level—and the production of apps contributes to this ongoing discussion.


Finally, important arguments about the inequalities of access to devices/services and the commercialization of intellectual content aside, isn’t anything that encourages a wider readership and appreciation of Shakespeare a good thing?


Brett D. Hirsch


[Editor’s Note: Brett Hirsch, for those that might not know, is the inspiration behind the Digital Renaissance Editions: http://digitalrenaissance.uvic.ca If your are not familiar with the project, I encourage you to visit it. In the interests of full disclosure, I am on the Advisory Board. –Hardy] 


iPad Apps

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0435  Saturday, 27 October 2012

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

Date:         October 27, 2012 8:07:10 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: iPad Apps


Hardy wrote about the Cambridge University Press Shakespeare history plays app:


> I welcome reactions, reviews, and so on about this

> increasingly numerous group of iPad apps.


Here’s a reaction: for the most part, the growth of apps is a backward step for the users of computers. The Shakespeare content that readers want—texts, sounds, pictures (still and moving)—can be delivered perfectly satisfactorily via websites.  There are internationally agreed open standards for website authoring so that websites are platform-independent. Before the rise of apps, if there was something that REALLY needed programming that couldn’t be delivered by website scripting, then a programmer could reach over 90% of all users by compiling the software to run under Microsoft Windows and could reach the final 10% by recompiling it to run under Mac OS and Linux.


With the rise of apps, the market for software has fragmented so that a programmer has to write for Windows, Mac OS, Mac iOS and Google Android to reach all users. In almost all cases, this extra effort produces no extra value for the user but makes software expensive to write.


There are exceptions, of course. Smartphones/tablets are mobile general-purpose computers fitted with two accessories not normally included in computers: a compass and GPS. If software takes advantage of the compass and the GPS, then a case can be made for the software being customized just for smartphones/tablets (so, for making an app), but only until conventions for using compass and GPS data are internationally agreed upon and built into existing open standards. If any of the Shakespeare apps being launched at the moment uses the compass and the GPS services in the smartphone/tablet, I’d be very grateful to hear about this. (In the next 6 months a project I lead will release a Shakespearian theatre history app that does use the compass and GPS data, and I’d very much like to know what others are doing in this area.)


Publishers are very excited about smartphone/tablet apps. The reason is that they see them as a new way to resell old content, and this opportunity has arrived in the nick of time. Governments have realized that the results of publicly funded research (books and articles) are usually given for free by universities to publishers, who repackage them and sell them back to the same publicly funded universities. When the only means of knowledge dissemination was on paper, this seemed reasonable since the publishers had invested in the necessary infrastructure of presses, warehouses, and distribution chains. With electronic distribution, the publishers’ raison d’etre disappears. Apps throw them a temporary lifeline.


There’s an ongoing struggle between those promoting the free (in both senses) dissemination of knowledge about Shakespeare and those trying to commercialize that knowledge. For the most part, smartphone/tablet apps help the latter group.


Gabriel Egan

Lear 5.3


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0434  Friday, 26 October 2012


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

Date:         October 24, 2012 8:10:45 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Lear 5.3


Steven Urkowitz continues:


> We were disputing around the last scene in LEAR where

> the line “Save him, save him” happens immediately after

> Edgar has mortally wounded Edmund. The Oxford/Norton

> texts . . . take the speech from Albany and give it instead

> to ALL, like, say, Albany and Goneril and the Herald and

> the soldier(s) . . . and who else?


As I’ve noted, STM has “all” twice in a row (after the eyeskip omission was interpolated), which prefixes reasonably mean (Melchiori) “some” and “others.” It would be up to the players to assign the speeches and to vary the exclamations. All though my hero van Dam suggested “All” in 1935, which suggests itself as a misreading to the unlikely “Alb”, both prefixes are probably mistaken (as I’ve argued).


> I was . . . surprised when I saw this ALL speech prefix,

> since Q and F both read, clear as clear can be, “Alb.”


Q1 gets lots of speeches wrong, many of which are followed by or mishandled in the derivative F. Agreement being neither here nor there, it comes down to textual criticism. The received speech headings of the corrupt texts have no more authority than the sense they make. It won’t do to tease a “Shakespeare moment” out of the text when another s.p. is more sensible; As Marion Trousdale observed years ago, just about anything can be tortured to a meaning (or spoken as if one cared). The evidence begins with the more clear examples of corruption, which in their numbers should encourage students (College students? Of course not!) to analyze more texts than the obviously erroneous.


> the Textual Companion sends one to Blayney, and then

> one finds that the cited Blayney work must be The Texts

> of King Lear and their Origins. So through Interlibrary Loan

> I got hold of Peter’s magnificent book. And then I spent quite

> a while with his index, trying to find where he discussed his

> bold choice of ALL over ALB.


I was going to suggest earlier that the answer wasn’t in Volume 1, but it’s always worthwhile to look into Blayney’s exceptional book. Blayney reserved almost all textual analysis for Volume 2, as it were(n’t). Stone doesn’t have an index, so watch out.


> [Blayney's] literary interpretation of Albany’s role, quite

> other than my own, led him to figure that of all the people

> on stage at that moment, Albany was the least likely to

> say about Edmund, “Save him.”


I agree with Blayney, as explained in another post, but I doubt he asks who was the most likely speaker, since he assumes, with Steven, foul-papers copy (a big mistake). Blayney follows van Dam in assuming a misreading.


> Now, yes, Peter Blayney knows more about Early

> Modern printing than anyone in the bibliographical forest,

> but his opinions about Albany’s characteristics and

> whether or not Shakespeare might have given that line to

> Albany or to ALL are based solely on his taste, not his

> immense bibliographical acumen.


That’s not quite true. Misreading is often judged by such acumen. And “taste” is not a very good substitute for “textual analysis.” Nevertheless, Urkowitz is right to observe that bibliographical expertise doesn’t confer bibliographical certainty on textual judgments.


> In citing Blayney’s . . . speculation without his own

> clear explanation that the idea is . . . speculation, the

> . . .  Oxford/Norton editions throw lit-crit dust as if it were

> (like so much of Peter Blayney’s published bibliographic

> analysis) textual gold.  (I don’t mean to disparage literary

> critical ideas, but we really should separate them from

> verifiable textual fact. ALL in this case is a neat idea; ALB

> is a fact, or rather several facts in Q and F.)


Actually, Blayney’s pronouncement of foul-papers is a literary judgment, though Wells and Taylor treat it as bibliographically founded. Steven took that misstep himself in this case, but he’s right that an incomplete citation is misleading. They may have got it from Halio. But in lieu of an explanation the citation belongs, apparently, to van Dam.


> Does Alb. / All matter all that much? As a director I say

> “yes.” It can, if you want to give the actor playing Albany

> yet another chance to demonstrate that Shakespeare is

> “working” this character richly, densely.


If you want to inform the actor you can tell him about the corruptions in Q1 and F that suggest the mis-ascriptions may not be Shakespeare’s work at all, dense or not.


> “Okay, Albany wants Edmund defeated but still alive . . .


Goneril has just murdered her own sister to get Edmund for herself. She’s the Queen of all the land. It’s far more likely that she stops the fight to preserve her hopes.


> Teach your students how to distinguish theory and evidence.

> Teach them to verify data.


OK. I’ve repeated some of Stone’s analyses of speech-prefix error in Q1. What is Steven’s take on them? Teach students to examine all the evidence and to consider opposing opinions as fairly as possible.


I’ll examine another Goneril/Edmund exchange corrupted in all the texts and suggest that it leads to another mistaken speech heading. Stone is the best place to start on that one, as usual.


Gerald E. Downs

Change in U.S. distributor for Shakespeare’s Globe & National Theatre


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0433  Friday, 26 October 2012


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

Date:         October 24, 2012 5:36:35 PM EDT

Subject:     Change in U.S. distributor for Shakespeare’s Globe & National Theatre


Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre have both recently changed U.S. distributors for their cinema broadcasts. If, like me, you have lost access to one or both film series because of those changes, please keep reading . . . .


The National Theatre has a cinecast of “Timon of Athens” coming up next week (Nov. 1). Those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area who want to see it will have to drive to SF or Berkeley. Previously, there were also theaters in all the other Bay Area counties that carried NT Live.


The situation is even worse for Shakespeare’s Globe: the nearest screenings to us now are in Southern California. So much for this year’s films of “All’s Well,” “Much Ado,” and “Doctor Faustus” . . . .


If you have been negatively affected by these changes, here are the relevant websites to view more information and contact the companies involved:







(venue list)




http://www.screenvision.com/cinema-events/much-ado/ (venue list)


Please pass this information along to anyone else you know who might want to express their feelings about the situation.



Two More Titles at the Blackfriars Playhouse this Fall


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0432  Friday, 26 October 2012


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

Date:         Oct 24, 2012 1:22 PM

Subject:     Two More Titles at the Blackfriars Playhouse this Fall


Two More Titles at the Blackfriars Playhouse this Fall


Five shows just aren’t enough this Fall, so ASC Education’s Staged Reading Series brings two more Early Modern plays to the Blackfriars Playhouse. Regional actors come together, scripts in hand, to perform lesser known works.


Edmund Ironside by Anonymous

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Directed by Dane Leasure


King Edmund II liberates the English from foreign rule in this exhilarating ride full of violent energy and inventive language. 


An Humorous Day’s Mirth by George Chapman

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Presented by the 2012/13 MBC MFA Company, Roving Shakespeare


Jealous husbands, absurd courtiers, failing Puritans, and lustful monarchs collide in this pun-filled comedy of manners.


These staged readings begin at 7:30 p.m., with pre-show workshops beginning at 7:00 p.m. 


Pay What You Will, suggested donation $5.  

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