MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.268  Thursday, 11 August 2016

 

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

Date:         August 10, 2016 at 12:58:39 PM EDT

Subject:    Re:  MV Dialog

 

Ever since Shakespeare became respectable, appreciative readers have discovered that his plays resonated with their individual interests, world views, national characters, that they provided insights into individual psychological and political relations and behavior.  His works are invoked as virtual handbooks for athletic coaches, corporate leaders and more.  Why then is it even worth noting — much less debating — that certain political details can be mapped onto certain events and personalities of his own day?  

 

And the exercise is not even new.  Celebrations, ambassadorial visits, formal diplomatic reports, casual correspondence and diary entries have been mined for years because of their arguable analogies and apparent relevance to this or that play.  

 

As Tip O’Neill once said, “all politics is local.”  So Shakespeare’s politics is plausibly and just as inevitably, Elizabethan.  Know ye not that?  The miracle is that his politics and his just about everything else apply just about everywhere.  And that’s why SHAKSPER exists.

 

Tony

 

 

 

 

The Division of the Atlas

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.267  Thursday, 11 August 2016

 

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

Date:         August 10, 2016 at 11:48:27 AM EDT

Subject:    The Division of the Atlas

 

Textually-minded types might find this interesting:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/10/cloud-atlas-astonishingly-different-in-us-and-uk-editions-study-finds

 

Cloud Atlas 'astonishingly different' in US and UK editions, study finds Academic discovers dramatically altered stretches of narrative while researching a paper on David Mitchell’s bestselling novel

 

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is a popular choice for book groups around the world. But it turns out that American readers may be enjoying a rather different experience to those in Britain, after an academic uncovered “astonishing” differences between the US and UK editions of the award-winning novel.

 

Professor Martin Paul Eve of Birkbeck, University of London was writing a paper on Cloud Atlas, working from the UK paperback published by Sceptre, and from a Kindle edition of the novel, when he realised he was unable to find phrases in the ebook that he could distinctly remember from the paperback. He compared the US and UK editions of the book, and realised they were “quite different to one another”.

 

Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2004, Cloud Atlas is already complicated enough: telling the story of six interlocking lives and hopping back and forth across centuries and genres. But differences between the US and UK editions highlighted by Eve in a journal article published on Wednesday on the Open Library of Humanities run to 30 pages of examples.

 

In the UK text, for example, Mitchell writes at one point that: “Historians still unborn will appreciate your cooperation in the future, Sonmi ~451. We archivists thank you in the present. […] Once we’re finished, the orison will be archived at the Ministry of Testaments. […] Your version of the truth is what matters.”

 

In the US edition, the lines are: “On behalf of my ministry, thank you for agreeing to this final interview. Please remember, this isn’t an interrogation, or a trial. Your version of the truth is the only one that matters.”

 

“As well as exhibiting many minor linguistic variations and copy-edits throughout (accidentals), these different editions also contain sections of narrative unique to each version that must change any close reading of the text,” writes Eve in the paper, You Have to Keep Track of Your Changes: The Version Variants and Publishing History of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. “Given that so much literary criticism has now been produced on the subject of Mitchell’s novel, 12 years after its publication, these version variants are potentially problematic as they have not previously been noted.”

 

Eve told the Guardian that he was “extremely surprised” to discover what he calls “an astonishing degree” of variance in the editions of Cloud Atlas. “We’ve become accustomed to thinking that, in worldwide simultaneous releases of contemporary fiction, editions are the same, perhaps with only minor US spelling differences (“color/colour”, etc) There’s this sort of belief that because the technologies of publishing have improved, texts are less corrupted. So when I found that one of the chapters here was almost entirely rewritten, it was very interesting and I decided to look further into what had happened and why,” he said.

 

Mitchell himself explains the reasons for the discrepancies in an interview quoted in Eve’s paper: they occurred because the manuscript of Cloud Atlas sat unedited for around three months in the US, after an editor there left Random House. Meanwhile in the UK, Mitchell and his editor and copy editor worked on the manuscript, but the changes were not passed on to the US.

 

When his new US editor David Ebershoff took over, Mitchell was presented with a substantial list of changes for the US edition, and “due to my inexperience at that stage in my three-book ‘career’, it hadn’t occurred to me that having two versions of the same novel appearing on either side of the Atlantic raises thorny questions over which is definitive, so I didn’t go to the trouble of making sure that the American changes were applied to the British version (which was entering production by that point probably) and vice versa”.

 

[ . . . ]

 

How nice to have an interview with WS in which he concedes that he knew there were 2 rather different versions of Lear hanging about in printers' shops, but thought it was all "a lot of faff .."

 

Julia Griffin

 

 

 

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.266  Wednesday, 10 August 2016

 

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

     Date:         August 9, 2016 at 2:25:19 PM EDT

     Subj:         MV Dialog 

 

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

     Date:         August 9, 2016 at 4:22:03 PM EDT

     Subj:         MV Dialog 

 

 

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

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

Date:         August 9, 2016 at 2:25:19 PM EDT

Subject:    MV Dialog

 

Bill Blanton, I admire your explorative mind. I am trying to add to your search. You wrote in answer to John Drakakis the following.:

 

My reasoning did not begin with any speculation concerning Elizabethan court politics. It began with the realization that Shylock was really the Devil disguised as a Jew. As I researched that aspect, I moved on to the Court Scene. I then realized that Shakespeare wrote the scene in such a ridiculous way that almost everybody in his audiences would have known that it could not have been a serious, semi-realistic trial. Something Else had to be going on.

 

Given that no scholars have accepted my invitation to explore this matter, I am doing the best I can. We will discuss what I think the Something Else might be and what the “causal connections” might be quite a bit later. But first we have to understand just who the characters are.

 

Shylock could have come from the name CHAE LOK, out of the name MICHAEL LOK  Check him out, Bill.

 

https://www.geni.com/people/Michael-Lok/308598315100003804

 

Sid Lubow

 

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

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

Date:         August 9, 2016 at 4:22:03 PM EDT

Subject:    MV Dialog

 

Bill Blanton, this might help your search as well.

 

http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/cr9811.htm

 

 

 

Call for Papers: The International Sidney Society

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.265  Wednesday, 10 August 2016

 

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

Date:         August 9, 2016 at 2:00:18 PM EDT

Subject:    Call for Papers: The International Sidney Society

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

The International Sidney Society is sponsoring two sessions at Kalamazoo in 2017, as described below. Please send abstracts of 250 words along with the participant information form required by the Congress to Nandra Perry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

This Way Out: Sidneian Endings and Exits

This session invites attention to techniques and problems of closure in writings produced or inspired by the authors of the Sidney Circle, broadly construed.  In addition to the obvious exit of death, we welcome papers that consider the Sidneian sense (or nonsense) of an ending as it relates to poetics, narrative, biography, correspondence, and editorial practice.

 

The Sidneys and the Sister Arts

 This session seeks to recover the relationship of Sidneian texts to the visual and musical cultures within which they originated and circulated.  How did emergent discourses of visual and musical “making” influence Sidneian poetics?  What is the role of art and music within the works themselves? What is the Sidney legacy to art, book illustration, music, and musical theater?  We invite papers on all authors and texts inspired by the literary legacy of Philip and Mary Sidney and welcome a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives,     

 

Submission deadline: September 15, 2016

Participant Information Form (due by September 15)https://wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u434/2016/medieval-pif-2017.pdf

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.264  Monday, 8 August 2016

 

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

Date:         August 7, 2016 at 5:20:11 PM EDT

Subject:    MV Dialog

 

To John Drakakis: 

 

Thank you very much for the more specific response. This is more like the dialog that I wanted.

 

I do not assume that Shakespeare had an “intimate knowledge of Elizabethan court politics,” whatever that means. Shakespeare did have better access to details about Elizabethan court politics than most. After all, he had an intimate relationship with the Earl of Southampton. At the time Shakespeare was writing The Merchant of Venice, Southampton was having an affair with Elizabeth Vernon, who was a Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen and a cousin of the Earl of Essex. Southampton was also a devotee of the Earl, who was himself a member of the Privy Council. Essex’s wife was the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham and the widow of Sir Philip Sydney.

 

Southampton and Essex were both frequent playgoers. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that some or all of these individuals who did have such “intimate knowledge” might have shared some interesting tidbits with Shakespeare. Of course no direct evidence exists concerning any such conversations.

 

In any event, most of the examples I have provided — and those to come — would have been known to most alert, well-educated Londoners. “Intimate knowledge of Elizabethan court politics” would not be required in order to connect the Portia of the play with the Queen.

 

I gather that by “aristocratic history” you mean history focused on aristocrats. I do not claim that my analysis is “objective.” I have admitted from the outset that speculation is involved. There’s just no getting around it, given the complete lack of contemporary evidence concerning the play.

 

My reasoning did not begin with any speculation concerning Elizabethan court politics. It began with the realization that Shylock was really the Devil disguised as a Jew. As I researched that aspect, I moved on to the Court Scene. I then realized that Shakespeare wrote the scene in such a ridiculous way that almost everybody in his audiences would have known that it could not have been a serious, semi-realistic trial. Something Else had to be going on.

 

Given that no scholars have accepted my invitation to explore this matter, I am doing the best I can. We will discuss what I think the Something Else might be and what the “causal connections” might be quite a bit later. But first we have to understand just who the characters are.

 

Please be patient. It is premature to draw conclusions about my analysis at this early stage of our dialog. I hope you will take my suggestion to have some knowledgeable legal scholar in your law school read my article (http://www.shylocke.org) and give you their opinion.

 

You ask about my methodology. If you mean some formal construct, I have none. My entire focus is on Shakespeare’s words in the text; specifically, the text in the First Folio. I honor Shakespeare’s words, believing that he meant every one of them as he wrote them down. I further believe it is a serious mistake to change any of Shakespeare’s words. It’s not Shakespeare’s fault if someone cannot figure out what he was getting at. 

 

Once I bump into a word or phrase or action that strikes me as odd, I do some more research, read the text several more times, and do more thinking until I have arrived at a satisfactory explanation, or until I give up on it.

 

 

 

By “English Reformation” I mean that period between the time Henry VIII declared himself the Supreme Head of the Anglican Church to the year 1598, when the play was probably first produced. Specifically, the wrenches in English society from the changes in the state religion: from Catholic to crypto-Catholic to Protestant back to Catholic and back again to Protestant. 

 

I mean more particularly the persecution of the English Catholics by Elizabeth and her administration, with a nod to the previous persecution of the English Protestants by Bloody Mary. The torture and brutal executions of the Jesuits. Stiff fines for recusancy. Closing off most positions from Catholics. That sort of thing.

 

I hope to show by my analysis that Shakespeare was involved at least to the extent of “opening men’s eyes” to what was going on, with a view to a reconciliation between the two faiths. He was also involved in the Essex Rebellion when he and his acting company put on a performance of Richard the Second just before that doomed effort. I cannot speak to his other plays, which may or may not include matters similar to what I have found in MV.

 

 

 

Shakespeare used the name “Portia” in JC because that was in fact the name of Brutus’s wife. I have not analyzed that play and cannot say what other meanings it may have. His use of that name in MV refers to that historical fact. I do not believe it was coincidental.

 

I hope it is clear that I do not contend that the Belmont Portia is the Roman Portia. The relationship is associative, not factual. 

 

Why do you suppose Shakespeare used that name?

 

I have no idea exactly why Shakespeare would do something as risky as “imagine the death of the monarch,” an offense which was punishable by death. I suspect that Shakespeare was angry with Elizabeth and her administration, which had engineered the death of Christopher Marlowe.

 

The “select few” for which this reference would have had such a meaning might have been only Essex and Southampton. This might be something akin to the Sonnets. Only a “select few” would fully understand to whom and about what Shakespeare was writing. 

 

To answer your question. Shakespeare would have been interested in “regime change” for at least two reasons. First, Elizabeth and her administration were continuing their persecutions of English Catholics with no mercy in sight. Second, Southampton and Essex were soon to be cut off from all patronage, and from the income generated by Essex’s farm on sweet wines. A “regime change” that vested control of the government in Essex’s hands would solve both problems.

 

We will discuss this later when I try to put things together in some intelligible way.

 

 

 

I do not contend that Elizabeth was the only woman to use make-up. I do contend that she was the only well-known woman who was so public with her whiteface make-up.

 

 

It’s not my “might.” It’s yours. A = B. B = C. Therefore, A = C. Portia connects to Diana. Diana connects to Elizabeth. Therefore, Portia connects to Elizabeth. 2 + 2 = 4.

 

 

I do not contend that Shakespeare was “in cahoots” with the Master of Revels. I very plainly said that the acting companies and the Master of Revels had worked out an understanding so that the acting companies and the playwrights would know what was acceptable and what was not acceptable. That way the acting companies would not waste their time with plays that would not be allowed to be produced.

 

I mentioned the relationship of the Master of Revels to the Lord Chamberlain, and the Lord Chamberlain’s relationship to the queen, as a suggestion that perhaps the Master of Revels may have cut Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men some slack when it came to approving plays for performance. Just a suggestion.

 

 

 

I do contend that much of what I have discovered about Elizabeth was available to those members of the audience who understood that there was a Political/Religious/Current Events dimension of meaning in the play. Unfortunately, we have no record of any of the aspects of performance, such as costumes, make-up, mimicry, and the like, which might well have indicated such a dimension to the audiences. 

 

I definitely do not want to narrow my analysis down to Elizabeth and Essex. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Lewekenor’s translation did not appear until at least a year after Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice. Money had at least as much to do with London as with Venice. In fact, the Puritans in London were often called “Christian Jews.”

 

Are you saying that the English felt threatened by Venice’s supposed republican nature? We will have to agree to disagree for the nonce on Venice’s identity with London on the Political/Religious/Current Events Dimension of Meaning.

 

I am indeed trying to demonstrate that Shakespeare wrote MV in a particular cultural context, and made many specific references to that context in the text of the play. And the play is all the richer for it.

 

 

 

To Sidney Lubow:

Very droll. Wouldn’t put it past him.

Thanks for the chuckle.

 

 

Thanks to all

Bill

 

 

 

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