The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Call for New Trustees

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.346  Tuesday, 28 July 2015

 

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

Date:         July 27, 2015 at 3:31:22 PM EDT

Subject:    The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust - Call for New Trustees

 

The British Shakespeare Association

Message from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust inviting applications for new Trustees.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

 

Would you like to play a major part in Shakespearian history?

 

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust based in Stratford-upon-Avon was formed in 1847 following the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as a national memorial. We are currently looking to appoint new Trustees to our Board. 

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity which promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times, is recruiting Trustees to join a new Board to lead and guide ambitious plans to develop new audiences at home and worldwide. We are looking for volunteers to join the Board which will be appointed later this year ahead of the formal change to governance arrangements, which is expected to be completed in summer 2016. 

Governed by an Act of Parliament, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is a registered charity which came into existence as a result of the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and later the other Shakespeare family homes. Today is cares for world-class collections for the benefit of all and welcomes almost a million visitors a year to its sites and educational programmes including the Shakespeare Week campaign which in 2015 attracted over 7,300 primary schools. At the heart of the world of Shakespeare, the Trust connects people of all ages and backgrounds with the world’s greatest playwright. 

In 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Trust will re-open the site of New Place (Shakespeare’s final home) as a landmark heritage attraction. 

We are currently looking to appoint new Trustees with the following qualifications, skills and experience: 

• Shakespeare Scholarship
• Collections, Conservation and Museums
• Learning and Education
• Fundraising and Development
• Volunteers, People and Human Resources
• Digital Media and IT
• Property Asset Management
• Visitor Attractions 

We need strategic thinkers who can apply independent judgement, speak their minds and work effectively on a Board with other Trustees. 

The commitment is approximately one day per month and allowable expenses will be met. 

To find out more about the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust please visit www . shakespeare . org . uk 

To find out more about the role please visit http ://www . hays . co . uk/jobs/sbt/index . htm 

 

Please apply by sending your CV and a covering letter to explain your interest in joining the Trust to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

However, if you would prefer a confidential conversation before applying please call John Lavictoire on 01212368982. 

CFP: The Early Modern Line: A Symposium

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.345  Tuesday, 28 July 2015

 

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

Date:         July 27, 2015 at 12:38:36 PM EDT

Subject:    CFP: The Early Modern Line: A Symposium

 

https://earlymodernlines.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/cfp-the-early-modern-line-a-symposium/

 

CFP: The Early Modern Line: A Symposium

 

The Early Modern Line: A Symposium

Friday 18th September 2015 – Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

 

The Early Modern Lines Research Network is hosting a discursive symposium with keynote presentations from Dr Matthew Eddy (Durham University), Matthias Garn, Master Mason, and carver Kibby Schaefer, alongside an exhibition of items from the Library’s Special Collections.

 

We invite proposals for 10-minute lightning papers on any topic considering the ‘early modern line’, conceived of in the broadest possible sense. Papers should be designed to provoke discussion, raise problems, puzzle out ideas and ask questions rather than provide answers, and should present work in progress rather than polished research.

 

Abstracts should be 150–200 words, outlining some of the main points you wish to discuss. Please email them – or any queries you might have – to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday 10th August 2015. Travel bursaries, generously provided by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities, are available to all postgraduate students attending the symposium. Please indicate in your email if you would like to be considered for a bursary.

 

Topics for papers might include, but are not limited to: 

  • Lines as organisational technologies; e.g. tables, diagrams and brackets
  • The importance of the line in scientific, philosophical and mathematical disciplines
  • Architectural and artistic lines
  • Poetic lines
  • Framing devices in early modern books
  • Conceptual, metaphorical or figural lines
  • Genealogical lines
  • The line in three dimensions
  • Cartography, trade and travel routes
  • The line in military strategy
  • Chronological lines and histories
  • Decorative lines and pattern
  • Folds, cuts, tears and creases
  • Typography
  • Plotlines
  • Weaving, stitching and knitting
  • Lines of influence
  • Applying modern theories to early modern lines

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.344  Monday, 27 July 2015

 

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

     Date:         July 26, 2015 at 4:56:10 PM EDT

     Subject:    MV Dialog

 

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

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 12:50:24 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

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

     Date:         July 24, 2015 at 11:58:15 PM EDT

     Subject:    Shakespeare Alliteration 

 

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

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 1:58:31 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

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

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 1:53:59 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

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

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 2:42:26 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

[7] From:        Mari Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 3:34:56 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

[8] From:        Pervez Rizvi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 26, 2015 at 9:22:17 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: MV Dialog

 

[9] From:        Pervez Rizvi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 4:31:51 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: MV Dialog

 

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

     Date:         July 26, 2015 at 4:56:10 PM EDT

     Subject:    MV Dialog 

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 12:05:24 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

To Distinguished Professors Strier and Drakakis:

 

I intend to discuss these issues substantively later. I raised them now because I wondered if anyone had any explanations as to why Shakespeare wrote what I perceived as contradictions. I had in mind something simple, perhaps like a device to unsettle the audience. But let’s just forget it and move on.

 

Bill

 

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

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 12:50:24 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

In support of Richard Strier’s interpretation of Portia’s strategy in the Trial scene, one might also cite her behavior earlier, in the casket trial. As many critics have noted, although she is supposed to follow her father’s instructions and let her suitors make their choices freely, she gives Bassanio clues in both the subject matter and the emphatic rhyme scheme of the song she orders sung. In both scenes, then, she cheats. And in both scenes, the Venetians are happy with her cheating. Bassanio wins his prize, of course, and Shylock is defeated. Who cares about the law? It’s always puzzled me that Portia is celebrated as such a noble woman. (Her comment on the Prince of Morocco also shows her to be a racist, but then her comments on other suitors show her to be more universally xenophobic.)

 

Hannibal

 

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

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

Date:         July 24, 2015 at 11:58:15 PM EDT

Subject:    Shakespeare Alliteration

 

Pervez Rizvi questions this Jim Carroll assertion (MV Dialogue):

 

Shakespeare habitually echoed certain consonants in association

>with certain words, including “Mantua”, which appears repeatedly in

>some plays, a total of 19 times by my count, not including the 

>emendation in Merchant.

 

I’ve long thought Shakespeare’s commitment to alliteration and assonance may help to account for our recognition and appreciation of “Shakespearian” lines without knowing exactly why. An obvious “initial letter” repetition seems often to be de-emphasized by what I would call a “rolling alliteration” utilizing related but transitional sounds in pretty ways.

 

The trouble with my idea is that on the few occasions I’ve attempted to describe it (to myself) the evidence seems to melt away. The Sonnets are the proving ground, of course. I’ve noticed (or thought so) that such sounds as ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘th ‘t’, ‘st’, etc., progressively enhance lines beyond what might be expected of other tools, even to begin new sequences or to make more usual alliteration more palatable.

 

Some letters don’t lend themselves well to treatment. ‘M’ is a good example; but interspersed milder sounds and medial m’s can tone it down. Other letters, sounds, and sights participate. Rather than outright cherry-pick (good or bad) I’ll look at the promising (but unfamiliar to me) Sonnet 59:

 

If there bee nothing new, but that which is,     1

Hath beene before, how are our braines beguild, 2

Which laboring for inuention beare amisse 3

The second burthen of a former child?                 4

Oh that record could with a back-ward looke,       5

Euen of fiue hundreth courses of the Sunne,       6

Show me your image in some antique booke,     7

Since minde at first in carrecter was done.         8

That I might see what the old world could say, 9

To this composed wonder of your frame, 10

Whether we are mended, or where better they, 11

Or whether reuolution be the same. 12

    Oh sure I am the wits of former daies, 13

    To subjects worse haue giuen admiring praise. 14

 

There are only so many letters; their deliberate combination has to be limited. But that’s a lot of b’s up front, ten in five lines. And then there are eight of ‘th’ and four of ‘ch’. Although these combos and their sounds abound I can’t quite believe their existence in the sonnet is by chance—or on purpose,

 

For Shakespeare, one thing led to another: there were many things; so there. ‘Euen of fiue’ has three ‘v’ sounds and two f’s. Not bad for four letters. ‘Hundreth’ introduces courses of the sunne better than ‘hundred’ [Hundreth good pointes of husbandry (I wasn’t counting), Hundreth Sundrie Flowres]; sunne has an ‘m’, damned if it don’t; ‘Show me . . . some . . . image . . . since minde . . .’ and on and on in Shakespeare’s carrecter. We get m’s up the gazoo, not because they’re intended; they just came out. And look at the rest of the mess: it’s a good tale and truly beautiful. Without the undulating repetition it wouldn’t have the same effect.

 

When pondering such things I’m often reminded of The Neurolinguistics of Bilingualism (believe it or not), (Franco Fabbro, University of Trieste), a page of which turns up in the strangest places when I’m not reminded:

 

“When the surgeon started manipulating the tumor, the patient who was conscious . . . began to quote passages in Latin, classical Greek, and Hebrew. Furthermore, he produced typical phonemic associations with the word uttered by the surgeon. . . . When he heard the word Messer (knife, scalpel) he immediately said: ‘Messer, Messer, Metzer, Sie sind ein Metzel, das ist ja ein Gemetzel, metzeln Sie doch nicht so messen . . ‘ . . On the one hand, the patient uncontrollably produced sequences of words that were linked by assonance and/or alliteration, yet without syntactic cohesion; on the other hand, he seemingly wanted to convey an important message to the surgeon, namely his fear of being butchered . . . . The . . . pathological compulsion to speak probably depended on the stimulation of the ventral anterior nucleus of the thalamus . . .”

 

As Nervous Norvus says, “We haven’t changed a bit, have we, Cats?!” But I hate to argue that that’s just how Shakespeare was when Pervez suggests I’m seeing and hearing things; he may be right.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 1:58:31 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

John Drakakis says,

 

Larry Weiss thinks that I am missing the point concerning Portia’s alleged legal contradiction.

 

It was Mr. Blanton who made the argument which Prof. Drakakis refutes here.  I actually agree with Drakakis, as I thought my posts made clear.

 

PLEASE do not confuse me with Mr. Blanton.

 

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

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 1:53:59 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

Prof Strier says,

 

I believe that Professor [sic] Weiss is wrong legally and is also missing a crucial point.  The notion that Portia is simply enforcing the contract in a rational way is absurd.  Putting aside the fact that no judge, then or now, would have allowed the contract at face value—a legal face value that is stipulated in the play, and never questioned—a judge who did allow the contract would also allow the means necessary for its enforcement.

 

I am not quite sure what the point is.  Is Prof. Strier saying that the courts of the 16th Century would have refused to enforce the specialty because the contract was illegal or unconscionable, a concept in contract law that has a much more modern pedigree?  If so, I would be interested in studying his authorities.  I hope he sees fit to cite them.

 

But no matter, Prof. Strier seems not to have brought his acute legal analysis to bear on what I said.  I did not assert that Portia’s argument was “rational” or that it accords with law (modern or 16th Century).  My point was that it served to  allow Antonio to remain whole without having to abandon the law per vi.  It is sophistry, I concede—look again at what I said and see if I defended Portia’s argument on its merits—but that is not the point.  

 

Moreover, I am not persuaded that courts of the 16th Century might not have adopted some such reasoning to avoid a judgment for the plaintiff.   The doctrine of stare decisis was taken more seriously then than now, and techniques of constructing exceptions and drawing distinctions were not as sophisticated.  As Portia said (in substance), hard cases make bad law.  The early modern courts were adept at the kind of chopped logic Portia employed.  For example, in the law of slander there was a doctrine that the words alleged to be defamatory were required to be given the most innocent construction possible in order to avoid imposing liability on the speaker.  That rule resulted in some odd results; for example, I recall reading in the first year course on torts that there was a case in which the defendant had asserted that the plaintiff had cleaved a man’s head with a hatchet, causing one half to fall on one shoulder and the other half to fall on the other: The court exonerated the plaintiff because he had not said that this was murder, as he had not asserted that the victim died.

 

In any event, please let us all remember that Merchant of Venice is a work of dramatic fiction, not a legal treatise or a how-to manual for lawyers.

 

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

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 2:42:26 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

Just to add to John Drakakis’s mention of the reference in 3.5.35-6 by Lorenzo to ‘the getting up of the negro’s belly’. 

 

The Clown’s reply at this point is: ‘It is much that the Moor should be more than reason: but if she be less than an honest woman, she is indeed more than I took her for’.

 

As Imtiaz Habib has pointed out, John Reason or Reasonable was a black silkweaver who lived in Southwark in the early 1590s, possibly serving the theatres there. He appears in the Southwark Token Books for 1579 as ‘Resonablakmore’: see http://tokenbookslma.cityoflondon.gov.uk/jpgs/P92-SAV-183-07.JPG. In 1595, A woman, possibly his wife, is named in the Token Books as ‘Wydow Blakemore’: see http://tokenbookslma.cityoflondon.gov.uk/jpgs/P92-SAV-191-12.JPG. Will Kemp, who probably played Lancelet the Clown, lived just a few doors away in Samson’s Rents.

 

Imtiaz Habib and I published two related articles side-by-side on these details in the BSA journal Shakespeare. Here’s the reference: Habib, Imtiaz and Salkeld, Duncan (2013) The Resonables of Boroughside, Southwark: an Elizabethan black family near the Rose Theatre/Alienating laughter in The Merchant of Venice: a reply to Imtiaz Habib. Shakespeare. pp. 1-22. ISSN 1745-091. Habib discussed historical details and traces regarding the family. I argued that the Clown’s line in MoV looks very much like a topical quip on the Southwark black family, and adds further unsettling tones to this already racially charged play.

 

Without Habib’s work, and a brief conversation with Leslie C. Dunn of Vassar College who crucially asked me ‘What about that moment in the Merchant of Venice when ...?’, I would never have written my contribution. So this is an opportunity for me to thank them both. Plus it allows me to advertise the monumental work of William Ingram and Alan Nelson on Southwark and the Token Books.

 

Incidentally, Sir Thurio in Two Gentleman tells Proteus, ‘My face is black’ (5.2.10). Another Shakespearean black character?

 

Duncan Salkeld

 

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 3:34:56 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

Perhaps I am misunderstanding Richard A. Strier who says of Shylock, “But nothing further is threatened him, taken from, him or demanded of him”

 

In fact, something more than his principal, and his default bond, are taken from him.  His very identity is stripped. “The Jew” is forced to become a Christian.

 

I admit to a lack of knowledge of how much of a blow this would seem to an Elizabethan audience, in terms of Jews.

 

But certainly the forced conversions from Catholic to Protestant to Catholic and again back to Protestant that marked the preceding decades would resonate with them.

 

In fact, it may be, to both Shylock and to many in the audience, a far worse blow than the loss of his bond and his principal.

 

Mari Bonomi

 

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         July 26, 2015 at 9:22:17 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: MV Dialog

 

In discussing the trial scene as if it were real we are of course going deep into “How many children did Lady Macbeth have?” territory. But as the topic seems to be of some interest, I’d like to offer a response too.

 

Portia’s “no power in Venice / Can alter a decree established. / ‘Twill be recorded for a precedent” can be interpreted so as not to be self-contradictory. In English law the rule used to be that all courts were bound by their own precedents and the ones set by higher courts. This meant that a precedent set by the highest court was set for eternity, since there was no higher court to overturn it. It was not until 1966 that our highest court (now called the Supreme Court, then known commonly as the ‘law lords’) was given permission by the Lord Chancellor to depart from its own precedents. We can suppose that Portia is warning the Duke that if he chooses to grant his court the power to overrule its precedents, then that will open the floodgates. 

 

I agree with Richard Strier’s rejection of John Drakakis’ and Larry Weiss’ argument that Portia is simply applying a literal reading of the bond when she says that Shylock can have the pound of flesh but no blood. Portia’s point is of course extreme sophistry but in contract law it is also a poor legal argument. The bond is silent about whether Shylock can draw Antonio’s blood when cutting his flesh, so the court has to construe the contract to decide the issue. Where there is a choice, a court will not choose a construction which makes the contract impossible to perform. So Portia's construction of the contract would be rejected.

 

What Portia actually does is to go beyond contract law. In shedding Antonio’s blood, Shylock would of course be committing a criminal offence. The fact that he has a bond to permit what he is doing is not enough, since a private contract cannot override the public law. So although he has a winning case in contract law, if he insists on his contractual rights he will be committing an offence. Moreover, no court has the power to order the commission of a criminal offence, so the Duke could not in any case order Antonio to submit to Shylock’s knife. 

 

Had Shakespeare been writing a legal case rather than a drama, he could have given Portia a number of other strong legal arguments. (a) English courts do not order people to perform their contractual obligations if the performance would involve too much interference with their personal autonomy; for example, if an employee walks out on a job without giving notice, a court will not order him to go back. In this case, having a pound of flesh cut off would qualify under this rule. In such cases, courts always award monetary compensation instead, here the value of the bond. (b) English law does not enforce contractual conditions that act to punish a party for a breach; it awards full compensation but no more than that. In this case the cutting off of the flesh is obviously a punishment and is therefore unenforceable. (c) Portia could ask the court to refuse to enforce the contract on the ground of public policy. For example, until Parliament changed the law ten years ago, English courts could refuse to enforce gambling contracts as a matter of policy. Portia could argue that bonds like the one in front of the court are repugnant to public morals and ought not to be enforced.

 

Of course we know that Portia’s court is in Venice, not London. But Shakespeare and his audiences would have had English law in mind. Just as Shakespeare had English workmen in mind when he wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in Athens, but created characters with names like Nick Bottom, who talk about getting sixpence a day.

 

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 4:31:51 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: MV Dialog

 

I think Jim Carroll and I will have to agree to disagree.....

 

Jim says that ‘the frequency of “m” words cited by Pervez does not reflect the actual clustering of “m” words, and there are many instances of multiple consecutive lines with no “m” words at all.’ But this is exactly what we should expect. In real life, data is never evenly spread according to the theoretical probability. We always get clusters which are easy to mistake for something significant if you are not familiar with how randomness operates. If you tossed a coin a thousand times, you would get several clusters of successive heads and successive tails. It doesn’t mean anything - it’s just randomness. One of the ways in which researchers detect fabricated data is by showing that it’s more neatly balanced and orderly than would be the case for real data.

 

For the same reason, it’s completely unsurprising that, as Jim demonstrates, near ‘Padua’ we sometimes get both ‘m’ and ‘p’ words, sometimes just one and sometimes none. 

 

I am not insisting that there is no pattern of any kind. Shakespeare was not generating words at random. He was writing for meaning and everyone has some word associations in their mind, so in principle it’s possible that there’s something along the lines Jim suggests. But the examples he gives don’t qualify as evidence, at least not without a supporting statistical analysis.

 

If you want to play around and see the effects that randomness produces, there is a wonderful website called www.random.org where you can generate your own random numbers. I just used it to simulate the tossing of a coin 1000 times and on the first attempt saw a cluster of 11 successive heads near the top of the list. That’s randomness for you.

 

[10]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         July 26, 2015 at 4:56:10 PM EDT

Subject:    MV Dialog

 

Many thanks to all who have responded to my post regarding contradictions in the play. I did not intend to trigger any controversy, although I am glad to read these diverse opinions. This is just the sort of dialog I had hoped for. 

 

Will someone please explain to me why the song with the verse lines that rhyme with lead is not a hint to Bassanio. I gather that “old chestnut” signifies that scholars have debunked this possibility. However, John’s footnote number 65 on page 296 indicates that the song is a hint. I’m confused.

 

Clearly I will have to address the Mantua/Padua issue sooner than anticipated.

 

Shakespeare has Portia send Balthaser (F1 spelling) to Bellario in Mantua. (3.4.49) Perhaps a sizable number of those in Shakespeare’s audiences would have remembered when a Balthazar was sent to Mantua in RJ. This self-reference helps to date the first performance of RJ to some time before late 1596.

 

Portia and Nerissa are to wait at the traject for Balthaser to return with notes and garments. (3.4.51-55) She and Nerissa then take the “common Ferry” to Venice. 

 

Shakespeare does not send anyone to Padua. Portia and Nerissa never meet with Bellario. Balthaser does not travel with them to Venice.

 

Salerio announces that a messenger with letters from Doctor Bellario is “New come from Padua!” (4.1.107-08) When Nerissa, disguised as a lawyer’s clerk, enters carrying a letter, the Duke asks (unnecessarily): “Came you from Padua from Bellario?” Nerissa then lies through her teeth: “From both! My lord, Bellario greets your grace.” Nerissa then hands the Duke the very important — although seemingly commonplace — letter.

 

Shakespeare’s audiences would have heard just moments ago the matters related in Act 3 Scene 4. They would have thought to themselves, “Hey! Wait a minute. I thought Bellario was in Mantua, not Padua, and I distinctly remember that Nerissa did not go to Bellario at either place but rather waited at the traject. WTF is going on here?”

 

Shakespeare got their attention. What’s going on is Shakespeare’s effort to highlight what appears to be nothing more than a simple letter of introduction. 

 

Consider closely what happens next.

 

While the Duke reads the letter to himself, Bassanio and Shylock engage in another slanging match (which no real court would tolerate).

 

The Duke then says, “This letter from Bellario doth commend/ A young and learned doctor to our court./ Where is he?” (4.1.142-43)

 

Nerissa replies: “He attendeth here hard by/ To know your answer whether you’ll admit him.” (4.1.144-45)

 

While awaiting the arrival of the young and learned doctor, the Duke reads the letter a second time, this time out loud and to the entire court (and to the audience). (4.1.149-62)

 

When he finishes reading the letter, the Duke says: “You hear the learned Bellario, what he writes.” Yet another reference to the letter, highlighting its significance.

 

When Portia enters (as Balthazar), the Duke says: “And here, I take it, is the doctor come./ Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?”

 

Portia replies: “I did, my lord.” Note that she does not correct the Duke’s impression of her identity as “the doctor,” and she (“of wondrous virtues” [1.1.163]) lies to the Duke’s face. She was not the Balthasar (F1 spelling) whom Bellario described in his letter, and she certainly did not come from old Bellario.

 

With all that focus on Bellario’s letter, just who is that Balthasar, what does Bellario really mean, and where did Balthasar go?

 

It is unfortunate that editors do not use the F1 spellings of Balthaser (he to Mantua), Balthasar (he who met with Bellario), and Balthazar (she who appeared in court). Many readers believe that Portia did meet with Bellario, and that is how she came to know so much legal business. I know I did the first time I read the play (Norton, Greenblatt). No one on stage addresses her as Balthazar, but only as Doctor or Judge. That name Balthazar appears only once, in the stage direction for her entrance.

 

Again, many thanks.

 

Bill

 

 

A Winter’s Tale at the DC Capitol Fringe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.343  Monday, 27 July 2015

 

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

Date:         July 26, 2015 at 1:28:36 PM EDT

Subject:    A Winter’s Tale at the DC Capitol Fringe

 

Perhaps the Happy Few production might be of interest: I link in reviews of a production of The Life and Death of King John, and an adaptation of a Middleton play:

 

https://ellenandjim.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/capitol-fringe-festival-shakespeares-winters-tale-we-happy-few/#comment-15001

 

Ellen Moody

 

The International Christopher Marlowe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.342  Monday, 27 July 2015

 

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

Date:         July 24, 2015 at 6:08:06 PM EDT

Subject:    The International Christopher Marlowe

 

http://christophermarlowe.exeter.ac.uk/conference/conference-programme/

 

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

 

We are very excited to announce our provisional conference programme. All speakers, panels, and paper titles are still subject to change. Registration for the event is now open; click here for more details.

 

THE INTERNATIONAL CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE

University of Exeter, 7th – 8th September 2015

 

PROVISIONAL SCHEDULE

 MONDAY, 7TH SEPTEMBER

 

9.15-10.00        Registration, coffee

 

10.00-10.15       Edward Paleit (Exeter), Welcome

 

10.15-12.00     Session 1: Marlowe’s Tamburlaine and the East

 

Simon May (Oxford), ‘Marlowe’s Tamburlaine: Ambiguity and the Near East’

 

Chloe Houston (Reading), ‘Valiant Tamburlaine, the man of fame’: gender, Persia and romance in Tamburlaine

Professor Matthew Dimmock (Sussex), ‘Tamburlaine’s Material Worlds’

 

12.00-12.45     Lunch

 

12.45-14.00     Provocation and Subversion in Marlowe

 

Professor Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam), ‘Marlowe’s Provocative Play Names’

 

Vincenzo Pasquarella, ‘Italian Masks/Italianate Devils: The Metamorphic Deceptions in Marlowe’s Edward II

 

14.00-14.15     Coffee Break

 

14.15-15.45     Session 3: Marlowe’s International Perspectives

 

Chloe Preedy (Exeter), ‘Europe by Air: International Flight in Marlowe’s Drama’

 

Barbara Wooding, ‘‘With twice twelve Phrygian ships I ploughed the deep’: Marlowe and journeys of the imagination.’

 

15.45-16.00     Coffee break

 

16.00-17.30     Session 4: Marlowe and European politics

 

Edward Paleit (Exeter), ‘Whose resistance theory is it anyway? The virtual excommunication of Marlowe’s Edward II’

 

Georgina Lucas (Birmingham/Shakespeare Institute), ‘ “An action bloody and tyrannical”: Tyranny and Resistance in Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris

 

17.45-19.00     Keynote: Professor Alan Stewart (Columbia)

                        (Followed by Q&A)

 

20.00    Conference Dinner: Côte Brasserie, Cathedral Green, Exeter

 

 

TUESDAY, 8th SEPTEMBER

 

9.00-10.45       Session 4: Religious Conflict in Marlowe

 

Professor Catherine Gemelli Martin (Memphis), ‘Marlowe’s Massacre at Paris and the Wars of Religion’

 

Killian Schindler (Fribourg), ‘Predestination and Religious Toleration: New International Contexts for Doctor Faustus

 

Meadhbh O’Halloran (Cork), ‘Marlowe’s Mediterranean’

 

10.45-11.00     Coffee

 

11.00-12.45     Session 5: Giordano Bruno, Philosophy and Religion

Professor Rosanna Camerlingo (Perugia), ‘Brunian Marlowe’

 

Luca Bocchetti (Verona), ‘Benvolio, Christ and Actaeon: the Italian Neoplatonic Legacy of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Giordano Bruno’s Spaccio de la bestia trionfante.

 

Cristiano Ragni (Perugia) ‘ “What irreligious pagans’ parts be these?” Machiavelli, Bruno, Gentili and the idea of religion in Marlowe’s Massacre.’

 

12.45-13.30     Lunch

 

13.45-15.15     Session 5: Marlowe from Marlowe to modernity

Professor Richard Hillman (Tours), ‘Dr. Faustus and contemporary French translations of the Faustbuch

 

George Oppitz-Trotman (UEA), ‘Doctor Faustus and the English Comedians’

 

15.15-15.30     Coffee

 

15.30-16.45     Session 5, continued

 

Conny Loder (LMU Munich), ‘Christopher Marlowe’s influence on literary, dramatic and intellectual trends in Germany in the seventeenth century’

 

Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen (Leiden), ‘Marlowe, Shakespeare & Religion in the Twenty-First Century: Two Dutch Case Studies’

 

17.00-18.00     Drinks reception

 

 

REGISTRATION

 

We are very pleased to announce that registration for The International Christopher Marlowe Conference is now open! Follow the link below to register through University of Exeter’s online store.

 

http://store.exeter.ac.uk/browse/product.asp?compid=1&modid=2&catid=16

 

There are a number of registration options available, some of which include on-campus accommodation. Should you wish to book additional nights in Pennsylvania Court, please use the link below, and choose “Pennsylvania Court” from the dropdown Location menu:

 

http://vmkineticsweb01.ex.ac.uk/kxbnb/

 

If you are a postgraduate student, please note that we have a number of bursaries available. These are in addition to the bursaries previously advertised.

 

 

The deadline to register is 25 August. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. See you in Exeter!

 

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