Pale Fire

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0022  Friday, 18 January 2013

 

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

     Date:         January 17, 2013 1:24:35 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

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

     Date:         January 17, 2013 6:37:16 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

[3] From:        Duncan Salkeld <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 17, 2013 7:02:49 PM EST

     Subject:     RE: Pale Fire 

 

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

     Date:         January 17, 2013 7:21:51 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

[5] From:        Arthur Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         January 18, 2013 6:53:54 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

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

     Date:         January 18, 2013 9:22:30 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: Pale Fire

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 1:24:35 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

I’m not interested in this occasionally nasty back-and-forth. I just want to say that I thought Charles Weinstein’s review was outstanding. It taught me a lot about the play.

 

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

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 6:37:16 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

Regarding the passage quoted by David Bishop:

 

“In contrast with previous studies, often characterized by a positivistic-deterministic hermeneutics and, consequently, by a largely passive analysis of source material or literary topoi, the new critical perspective pursued in this volume will take into account a wider European intertextual dimension and, above all, an ideological interpretation of the ‘aesthetics’ or ‘politics’ of intertextuality which will allow the analysis of the presence of the Italian world in early modern England not as a traditional treasure trove of influence and imitation but as a potential cultural force, generating complex processes of appropriation, transformation, and ideological opposition throughout a continuous dialectical interchange of compliance and subversion.”

 

Is there an English translation available for us illiterate teachers of Shakespeare?

 

Harry Rusche

Emory University

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 7:02:49 PM EST

Subject:     RE: Pale Fire

 

I had the pleasure of seeing this gripping production. Charles Weinstein uselessly laments its topicality, set against a backdrop of creditors, lenders and protesters. Its director, Nicholas Hytner thoughtfully and deliberately elected to go with a play for our times. Any other option, he knew (as he signals in an interview), would have been blinkered. The real problem with CW’s account (as others have noted) is that he allows personal dislike to contaminate his judgment of the production. Timon, as Simon Russell Beale plays him, is all charm, suavity and excessive generosity at first, but we also see hints of social awkwardness with apparent ‘friends’, and those hints spawn into monsters in the second half of the play. 

 

Weinstein feels cheated that ‘Phrynia and Timandra are no longer prostitutes, but card-carrying members of the rebellious underclass’. He didn’t find anything erotic at all in their very sexy club-dancing. I’m sorry to hear that, and suggest he ask for his money back. Those dancers morphed into clever, sassy women, but perhaps that was the problem. CW demurs. Plays ‘pander[ing] to a modern audience . . . are flatly offensive’. Offensive? Really? Good gracious, Shakespeare would never have done such a thing.

 

Weinstein grumbles at Timon’s ‘charmlessness’, attributing it to Beale rather than his role. Back to his favourite target, CW grumbles at Shakespeare’s ‘second-rate’ play too. Reading CW, one cannot avoid the thought that he himself (and I quote him verbatim) ‘is finally in his element, able to avoid all human contact that does not reek of defensive scorn.’ I will not quote him on ‘repetitive rants’, ‘rhetorical mediocrity and emotional constipation’, for that would be a characterization far too unfair.

 

Duncan Salkeld 

Reader in Shakespeare Studies

Department of English and Creative Writing

University of Chichester

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 7:21:51 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

David Bishop objects to the following description of a collection

of essays:

 

<< In contrast with previous studies, often characterized by a positivistic-deterministic hermeneutics and, consequently, by a largely passive analysis of source material or literary topoi, the new critical perspective pursued in this volume will take into account a wider European intertextual dimension and, above all, an ideological interpretation of the ‘aesthetics’ or ‘politics’ of intertextuality which will allow the analysis of the presence of the Italian world in early modern England not as a traditional treasure trove of influence and imitation but as a potential cultural force, generating complex processes of appropriation, transformation, and ideological opposition throughout a continuous dialectical interchange of compliance and subversion. >>

 

Granted, at 104 words it’s a bit long to be one sentence. But it’s pretty clear in its meaning, surely. I understand it to say that previous studies have been dull collections of facts and phenomena, while this one is informed by high French theory of the late 1960s, specifically Kristevan notions about intertextuality that go beyond simple source spotting and engage the concept of a dialectic interaction rather than merely observing that ‘A is found in B’.  The only bit of jargon it uses that perhaps falls outside what any English Literature graduate should be expected to know is “positivistic-deterministic hermeneutics”, and it’s not unreasonable to use a dash of undergraduate-level epistemology in this context.

 

Given that the writer appears to be a non-native speaker (if I’ve got the source right), as an editor I’d commend the quoted paragraph and simply suggest starting a new sentence after “dimension”. It seems to me mean-spirited for Bishop to criticize the above as if it were one of those impenetrable bits of theoretical writing one does occasional encounter. To compare unfavourably the above to the writing of Charles Weinstein, who maintains the curious conviction that “Timon of Athens is not about recession, class struggle or even income inequality” is most unfair.

 

The writer of the above does not, as far as I can see, misuse simple terms in the way Weinstein does. For example, “sybaritic” invokes the idea of effeminate luxury and so is misused in Weinstein’s “their sybaritic lifestyles: selling junk bonds, snorting coke, hitting on nubile women”. “Co-optation” is when a body of existing members of a group elects someone to join them, but Weinstein seems to think it means selling out to the man or otherwise going legit and hence Alcibiades starts out as a rebel but “In a final scene meant to suggest co-optation, we see him spruced up and wearing a suit, sitting at a dais while smoothly addressing the nation through a microphone”. Weinstein’s image of a “free-floating veneer” is particularly clumsy, since that’s the last thing a veneer is meant to do. I see no such errors of expression in the sentence Bishop objects to.

 

Gabriel Egan

 

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 18, 2013 6:53:54 AM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

I assume Larry Weiss, David Bishop and Bruce Young are aware that the production of Timon that Charles is reviewing with his usual hauteur has been running since last July and has been extensively reviewed in the British press, not to mention the NYT and the New Yorker. Numerous descriptions are thus available online. To Charles’s customary distress, virtually all reviewers have praised Beale’s performance.

 

Arthur

 

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 18, 2013 9:22:30 AM EST

Subject:     Re: Pale Fire

 

Bruce Young says ‘Not having seen this production of Timon, I’d be interested to read a detailed response to the actual content of Weinstein’s review’.

 

I saw this production and see no necessity for a detailed response. Charles Weinstein’s review was brilliantly written and spot-on. 

 

I also concur with David Bishop.

 

Ros Barber

 

Size of Touring Troupe in Gdansk, 1654

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0021  Friday, 18 January 2013

 

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 8:24:51 PM EST

Subject:     Size of Touring Troupe in Gdansk, 1654

 

Not always up on my Continental touring data, I was surprised to read, in a handsomely produced pamphlet from the Gdanski Teatr Szekspirowski , a troupe’s 1654 petition for permission to play in the purpose-built playhouse designed to accommodate touring English actors, a building known as the Gdansk Fencing School. 

 

In translation it reads:

 

“Herr Bergomaster // High, Honourable, Stern, Noble, Praiseworthy, Most Wise and Especially Respected Lords, // Since the time approaches when the St Dominic’s Fair will be held again, of which time all manner of amusements are permitted, we have come here in a rather large company of 24 persons in the hope that it may be permitted us to present sundry religious and secular plays to be watched and listened to, both comedies and tragedies, most of which are new and ingenious and yet noble at the same time. This is what we have humbly and appropriately seen fit to beg Your Magnificences, namely to show us grace not only by granting us permission to play, but by assigning the Fencing School to us, as being a very suitable place. We for our part will gladly make an appropriate payment. Besides this, we will behave in such a way that everyone will take pleasure in watching us.  In expectation of your gracious and favorable response, we remain // Your True Humble // I, William Roe in the name of // the whole company.”

 

Though many theories have been offered concerning the size of troupes of traveling players, my admittedly partial memory of those arguments does not recall any hard evidence for just how many players, boys, assistants, wranglers, teamsters or porters may have been on the road together. The “rather large company of 24 persons” seems not have been customary at any time. And it may well have been especially large in 1654, after the closing of the theaters in London. Nevertheless 24 is at least a pretty definite and pretty big number. One ought not generalize from a sample of one, but this one documented touring troupe had lots of players available. And it seems to go against this one hard nugget of evidence just to assume that a script like Romeo and Juliet Q1 (1597) Or Henry V Q1 (1600) must have been cut down for a touring troupe. Or that touring companies before the closings would have been accustomed to playing scripts reduced to be managed by small groups of only ten or a dozen. 

 

Time for me to get back to reading more of Susan Cerasano, Roslyn Knutson, and others who have written about acting companies on the roads.

 

Steven On-the-road-owitz

Book Announcements: Shakespeare’s Sense of Character-On the Page and From the Stage

 The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0020  Friday, 18 January 2013

 

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 3:02:04 PM EST

Subject:     Shakespeare’s Sense of Character-On the Page and From the Stage

 

Dear Editor,

 

We have recently published a book which may be of interest to your readers-

 

Shakespeare’s Sense of Character-On the Page and From the Stage

Edited by Yu Jin Ko, Wellesley College, USA and Michael W. Shurgot, South Puget Sound Community College

Series: Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama

ISBN: 978-1-4094-4066-6

Published December 2012

 

Making a unique intervention in an incipient but powerful resurgence of academic interest in character-based approaches to Shakespeare, this book brings scholars and theatre practitioners together to rethink why and how character continues to matter. Contributors seek in particular to expand our notions of what Shakespearean character is, and to extend the range of critical vocabularies in which character criticism can work. The return to character thus involves incorporating as well as contesting postmodern ideas that have radically revised our conceptions of subjectivity and selfhood.  At the same time, by engaging theatre practitioners, this book promotes the kind of comprehensive dialogue that is necessary for the common endeavor of sustaining the vitality of Shakespeare’s characters.

 

Full details and page extracts are available at www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409440666

 

Eleazer D. Durfee 

Ashgate/Lund Humphries Publishing Company

www.ashgate.com

www.lundhumphries.com

Pale Fire

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0019  Thursday, 17 January 2013

 

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

     Date:         January 17, 2013 12:14:55 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

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

     Date:         January 17, 2013 9:08:09 AM EST

     Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

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

     Date:         January 17, 2013 12:55:48 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire 

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 12:14:55 AM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

>Oh dear. I had thought Charles Weinstein had gone into hiding, but 

>here he is again, again pissing on Simon Russell Beale. Has he ever 

>liked anything? He has, of course, a perfect right to dislike things, but 

>it’s unfortunate that he needs to dislike so intensely anything that 

>moves away from his conception of the boundaries of the text. I hope 

>this doesn’t herald a new silly season.

 

If Charles’s well-written review is even half accurate, this is a production most of us would dislike.

 

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

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 9:08:09 AM EST

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

Not having seen this production of Timon, I’d be interested to read a detailed response to the actual content of Weinstein’s review. Whether or not it’s fair, the review certainly gives a vivid impression of the production and argues a case at some length that could be argued against—or for—with similar care.

 

Bruce Young

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         January 17, 2013 12:55:48 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Pale Fire

 

Peter Hyland objects to Charles Weinstein’s negativity, on the apparent ground that it is motivated by a dislike of anything that violates his personal—crankish—idea of “the boundaries of the text”. The usual academic these days is supposed to take a more unbounded—tolerant, pluralistic—view. Responding to Weinstein’s arguments is thus rendered unnecessary.

 

I take it that this sort of standard response is one reason we see Weinstein’s work so seldom these days. For me it’s a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stuffy room. Here’s an example of the kind of prose more often encountered in professional quarters, and on this list:

 

“In contrast with previous studies, often characterized by a positivistic-deterministic hermeneutics and, consequently, by a largely passive analysis of source material or literary topoi, the new critical perspective pursued in this volume will take into account a wider European intertextual dimension and, above all, an ideological interpretation of the ‘aesthetics’ or ‘politics’ of intertextuality which will allow the analysis of the presence of the Italian world in early modern England not as a traditional treasure trove of influence and imitation but as a potential cultural force, generating complex processes of appropriation, transformation, and ideological opposition throughout a continuous dialectical interchange of compliance and subversion.”

 

I believe that anyone who could write this way, or approve of this writing, should not be teaching Shakespeare. A rash attitude, perhaps, but mine own.

 

Best wishes,

David Bishop

 

GW Digital Humanities Symposium

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0018  Thursday, 17 January 2013

 

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

Date:         January 16, 2013 8:33:24 PM EST

Subject:     Upcoming GW Digital Humanities Symposium

 

GW Digital Humanities Symposium

Symposium website: http://www.gwu.edu/~acyhuang/DH2013.shtml

 

Thursday January 24 - Saturday January 26, 2013

 

A Symposium at George Washington University

 

Digital humanities is a vibrant field that uses digital technologies to study the interactions between cultural artifacts and the society. In our second decade of the twenty-first century, we face a number of questions about the values, methods, and goals of humanistic inquiries at the intersection of digital media and theory.

 

Panel presentations are designed with a broad audience in mind and address multiple disciplines that range from computer science and media studies to gender and race studies, digital pedagogy, and literary studies.  

 

Topics we will address in this inaugural GW Digital Humanities Symposium (initiated by Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute and Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare Program) include:

 

Digital and “analogue” scholarship: goals, methods, best practices

 

Challenges of working with and against multiple media

 

(In)visible histories of race, gender, and avenues of access

 

Disability, cultural difference, and linguistic diversity

 

Visual and print cultures, embodiment, archiving the ephemeral

 

Canon formation, close and distant reading strategies

 

Resistance to digital humanities and issues of legitimacy

 

Promise, perils, and future trends of digital humanities and pedagogy

 

 

The symposium will feature provocative 15-minute presentations; a Skype session; hands-on proof-of-concept sessions; digital pedagogy sessions; emphasis on live discussion and debates; free Wi-Fi for all - bring your own laptop, tablet, or smart phone; on-site digital humanities book display and sales; videos of the talks may be available online.

 

The symposium will begin on Thursday evening with a screening of the film “Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words” (http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c830.shtml) presented by director Yunah Hong. Lily Wong, an Assistant Professor of Literature at American University, will offer a response after the screening.  This event will be held in the Media and Public Affairs building on The George Washington University Campus, 805 21st St. NW, room 310.  The film will begin at 7:30 and has a run time of about 90 minutes.

 

Friday’s events will begin at 9 am in the Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st NW, with opening remarks by Alex Huang and Vice Provost Paul Berman followed by the keynote presentation, “The Digital Text as Inhabited Object,” delivered by Elaine Treharne, professor of English at Stanford University.  It will be a full day of panels covering a wide range of topics. You can view a schedule of panels and presentation abstracts on the Digital Humanities website. (http://www.gwu.edu/~acyhuang/DH2013.shtml)  The symposium will conclude on Saturday with a half-day of panel presentations focusing on pedagogy and best practices.  Location information for Saturday’s events will be updated shortly.

 

Of special interest to members of SHAKSPER are medievalists and early modernists who will be speaking at the conference, including Elaine Treharne, Katherine Rowe, Sarah Werner, Janelle Jenstad, Sheila Cavanagh, Kevin Quarmby, Christy Desmet, Candace Barrington, Jeffrey Cohen, Jonathan Hsy, Peter Donaldson, Alexander Huang, Will Noel, Josh Eyler, Jyotsna Singh, Brett Hirsch, and others.

 

The Digital Humanities Symposium is a free event and is open to the public but we do ask that you register using the link on the website if you plan to attend. (http://www.gwu.edu/~acyhuang/DH2013.shtml

 

Symposium poster: pdf  GW Digital Humanities Symposium

 

[Editor's Note: I will be attending and hope to meet any SHAKSPER subscribers who will also be present. -Hardy]

 

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