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Shakespeare is to Otway as Window is to Balcony

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.498  Thursday, 11 December 2014


From:        Lois Leveen < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 9, 2014 at 5:05:58 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare is to Otway as Window is to Balcony


Dear SHAKESPER colleagues,


Early in 2014, I posted a query to this list about the origins of the association of “the balcony” with Romeo and Juliet.  With thanks again to the various folks who gave me leads, on- and off-list, I’m delighted to say that The Atlantic published my piece tracing the linguistic and theater history around the balcony.  You can read it here:  (The Daily Mail just cited it in a round-up of articles online, although I leave you to decide whether that is a compliment to a scholar . . .)


This was not the first time I wrote a piece for The Atlantic, as part of an effort to share scholarly research with a broader audience.  This time, alas, the response involved many comments that indicated the people posting couldn’t grasp the basic argument of the article:  that even the most canonical authors were not ever popular (e.g. there were decades when Otway’s “Wherefore art thou Marius?” was far more commonly known than Shakespeare’s “Wherefore art though Romeo?”), and that our perceptions of canonical texts are shaped by many subsequent cultural factors.  I don’t mind people disagreeing with any argument I put forth if they engage the evidence, but that wasn’t what was happening.  Chalk this up to the fact that we live in an age that increasingly confuses opinion with expertise, and anything you can read on the Wikipedia with historical fact.  


Perhaps some of you will find the article and the comments a “teachable moment” to share with your students.  In the very least, it taught me that even the editor at The Atlantic didn’t know what “wherefore” means, as she used it incorrectly in the original title of the piece, which was posted without my involvement.


-Lois Leveen

Ethan McSweeny’s “Tempest”

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.497  Thursday, 11 December 2014


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

Date:         December 10, 2014 at 8:09:53 AM EST

Subject:    Ethan McSweeny’s “Tempest” 


From The Washington Post


Ethan McSweeny’s “Tempest” casts a bright, uplifting spell


Ethan McSweeny’s “Tempest” casts a bright, uplifting spell

By Peter Marks


Sleekly assembled and easy on the eyes, Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new “The Tempest” is a highly enjoyable rendering of Shakespeare’s late romance and one of the warmer productions to brighten the confines of Sidney Harman Hall.


Director Ethan McSweeny, whose strength as a classical imagist has been on display in the past in works such as Aeschylus’s “The Persians,” here offers a wise and alluring take on Shakespeare, a “Tempest” of white-sand beaches under a haze-shrouded sun, of gods as monumental puppets manipulated by billowy sprites.


The sprite-in-chief, Ariel (Sofia Jean Gomez), on this occasion is an airborne spirit whose flight time proves far more exhilarating than the puddle-jumping executed on NBC’s recent live “Peter Pan.” The engaging Gomez’s liftoffs occur courtesy of ZFX’s flying ­effects. They send her up into the rafters and clear across the stage on an amusingly thick rope — the purposefully visible tether binding her inexorably to Prospero (Geraint Wyn Davies), lord of the magic-infused isle.


It’s Davies’s spirit, however, that sets the benevolent tone of this “Tempest,” which begins with an impressive storm, washing Prospero’s enemies onto his shores, and moves with considerable grace and speed toward a climax of comeuppance and reconciliation. Through Davies’s ­assured and beautifully declaimed performance, an audience understands fully that Prospero receives an education here, too, in compassion and restraint. For just as his overreaching brother Antonio (Gregory Linington) stole Prospero’s Milan dukedom, so has Prospero in exile turned usurper, subjugating the island’s ethereal Ariel and brawny ­Caliban (Clifton Duncan).


Most of the narrative thrust of “The Tempest” is comic: In the love story of Prospero’s daughter Miranda (Rachel Mewbron) and Ferdinand (Avery Glymph), one of the shipwrecked party, resides a tender romantic comedy; in the tale of Caliban, enlisting the silly Trinculo (Liam Craig) and inebriate Stephano (Dave Quay) in a plot to overthrow Prospero, the clowning escalates to broad ­oafishness. It’s only in the subplot of the retinue of Antonio and the King of Naples (C. David Johnson), on whom all-powerful Prospero seems bent on revenge, that Shakespeare charts a potentially destructive course. But even that thread feels only a halfhearted stab at darker intent; the playwright’s own magic is marshaled for a more magnanimous end.


In his judiciously trimmed version, McSweeny treats this gentle leitmotif as his inspiration, one that’s shared by the entire design team. Set designer Lee Savage spreads across the Harman stage a hillock of sand as pristine as one would find on the Caribbean beach of one’s fantasies (the accent of Duncan’s excellent Caliban suggesting as much). Jennifer Moeller’s voluminous oyster-colored robe for Prospero wittily establishes him as a majestic beachcomber, and Christopher Akerlind’s subtle lighting scheme gives off a series of softly becoming, occasionally multi-hued, glows.


[ . . . ]

New Shakespeare Blog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.496  Thursday, 11 December 2014


From:        Jon Ciccarelli < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 9, 2014 at 2:31:21 PM EST

Subject:    New Shakespeare Blog


I am currently writing a Shakespeare in Theatre related blog for a site called that’s recently spun off from another blog site. I write about both interesting tidbits of Shakespeare along with issues that a theatre or actors encounter in presenting Shakespeare. 


Jon Ciccarelli 

The Shakespeare Herald--ISE

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.495  Thursday, 11 December 2014


From:        Internet Shakespeare Editions < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Subject:    The Shakespeare Herald--ISE



The Shakespeare Herald

December 2014


Looking backward, and ahead


The close of the year is traditionally the time for looking back, and the new year for looking forward. Indeed, January is named after the god Janus, who was traditionally figured with two heads, one looking to the past, one to the future.


This issue of The Shakespeare Herald focuses mainly on the future but it also discusses the importance of the past by exploring  some challenges that face the creators of digital content, in ensuring that it is stable and effectively archived. The past is also well represented in the news, as we learn of the discovery of an especially interesting copy of that foundational publication for Shakespeareans, the First Folio (1623).


The future looks rosy indeed, as we welcome four distinguished scholars to our team of editors. Drs. Kate McPherson and Kate Moncrief will be spearheading the creation of a new version of our much-visited section of the site on Shakespeare’s Life and Times, and Dr. Kevin Quarmby will assume editorship of the ISE Chronicle—a hub for reviews of current productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Music was a popular component of early drama; we are recognizing its importance in the appointment of Dr. Paul Faber as our first Music Editor. You will also find some entertaining pieces on the omnipresence of Shakespeare in our culture, as we highlight some moments when he, and his works, made news.


The future of the ISE as a scholarly, open-access website depends on our Friends of the ISE — those libraries that are contributing to the development of an enduring endowment to ensure continued funding for the development and maintenance of our site. If you are already among our growing list of Friends, we thank you deeply. If you have not yet supported the site, please take a moment to follow some of the links below, and to visit the section of the site that explains the added research tools that our Friends can employ as they visit the site.


Check out all this, and more, on our website.


• Ruminating on time and the need for archives: a word from the Coordinating Editor


• Top scholars to revise the Life and Times section of the site


• Kevin Quarmby takes the helm at the ISE Chronicle


• Welcome to our regional editors


• Introducing Paul Faber, ISE Music Editor



• Shakespeare in the news:

• The discovery of a copy of the 1623 First Folio


• Shakespeare sparks flash mob


• An online Magna Carta?


• New plays to which Shakespeare may have contributed

• To weep or not to weep


• Shakespeare on film


• Shakespeare tweeteth



The Internet Shakespeare Editions is supported by the University of Victoria, the University of Victoria Libraries, Friends of the ISE, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Shakespeare Studies XLII

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.493  Thursday, 11 December 2014


From:        Harry Keyishian < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 10, 2014 at 4:21:34 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare Studies XLII


Fairleigh Dickinson University Press announces the publication of Shakespeare Studies XLII, edited by James R. Siemon and Diana E. Henderson. The issue contains a Forum on Diet and Identity, three articles, two review-articles, and thirteen book reviews. 


Forum: Diet and Identity in Shakespeare’s England


Introduction, by Kimberly Ann Coles and Gitanjali Shahani


Robert Appelbaum,  “’Lawful as Eating’: Art, Life, and Magic in The Winter’s Tale.” 


Rebecca Laroche and Jennifer Monroe . “On a Bank of Rue: Or Material Ecofeminist Inquiry and the Garden of Richard II. 


Hillary Eklund, “Revolting Diets: Jack Cade’s “Sallet” and the Politics of Hunger in 2 Henry VI. 


Ken Albala . “Shakespeare’s Culinary Metaphors: A practical Approach,” 


Joan Fitzpatrick . “Diet and Identity in Early Modern Diataries and Shakespeare: The Inflections of Nationality, Gender, Social Rank, and Age.” 


Diane Purkiss .  “The Masque of Food: Staging and Banqueting in Shakespeare’s England.” 


Barbara Sebek . “’More natural to the nation’: Situating Shakespeare in the ‘Quarelle de Canary.’” 


Gitanjali Shahani. “The Spicèd Indian Air in Early Modern England,” 





Musa Gurnis, “’Most Ignorant of What He’s Most Assured’: The Hermeneutics of Predestination in Measure for Measure. 


Leah S. Marcus, “Anti-Conquest and As You Like It.” 


Edward Pechter.  “Character Criticism, the Cognitive Turn, and the Problem of Shakespeare Studies.” 



Review Articles


David J. Baker.  “Cash or Credit?”  


Karen L. Edwards. “Playing Their Parts: The Stake and Stakeholding Animals.” 



Book Reviews


Jean E. Feerick, Strangers in Blood: Relocating Race in the Renaissance.  Patricia Akhimie


Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr., Sleep, Romance, and human Embodiment: Vitality from Spenser to Milton.  Joseph Campana


Ronda Arab, Manly Mechanicals on the Early Modern English Stage. Mark Albert Johnston


Joseph M. Ortiz, Broken Harmony: Shakespeare and the Politics of Music. Katherine R. Larson


Christopher Martin, Constituting Old age in Early Modern English Literature from Queen Elizabeth to King Lear.  Naomi Conn Liebler


Katharine Eisaman Maus, Being and Having in Shakespeare. Sandra Logan


Rapael Lyne, Shakespeare, Rhetoric and Cognition. Jenny C. Mann

Amy L. Tigner, literature and the Renaissance Garden from Elizabeth I to Charles II: England’s Paradise. Vin Nardizzi


Roland Green, Five Words: Critical Semantics in the age of Shakespeare and Cervantes. Karen Newman


Sarah Beckwith, Shakespeare and the Grammar of Forgiveness. Matthew J. Smith


Sujata Iyengar, Shakespeare’s Medical Language: A Dictionary. Barbara H. Traister


Gary Waller, The Virgin Mary in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Literature.  Susan Zimmerman


Will Stockton, Playing Dirty: Sexuality and waste in Early Modern Comedy. Adam Zucker.



Shakespeare Studies, Vol XLII is $60.00 + $4.95 shipping in the U.S. It may be purchased through: 


Associated University Presses
10 Schalks Crossing Road
Suite 501-330
Plainsboro, NJ 08536
Phone - 609-269-8094
Fax - 609-269-8096
E-mail -   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


To contact Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, write  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or visit


Harry Keyishian 

Director, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Professor Emeritus

Department of Literature, Language, Writing, and Philosophy 

Fairleigh Dickinson University

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