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Shylock and the Greek Debt Crisis

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.141  Wednesday, 18 March 2015


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

Date:         March 17, 2015 at 5:46:31 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Shylock/Greece


Many thanks to Dr Appelbaum for his provocative comparison of the Greek debt crisis to the contest in TMOV:


But, Dr A., doesn’t maturation demand a measure of fair and just discipline to counter the infantilizing indulgence of years past?


And isn’t that wastrel fortune hunter Bassanio a better fit than Anthonio for Greece, forever wooing its ‘richly left’ EU for her Golden Fleece? Shouldn’t Greece return the EU’s pound of fiscal flesh back to the EU? 


Also, I wonder at Dr A.’s faith in “democratic process” to override Greek debt. Does Dr A. truly believe a majority of all EU citizens would stand with Greece rather than with German minister Schaeuble and his nasty unforgiving money men?



Joe Egert


SHY: “and thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.” (1.3.86) 

Shakespeare at Harvard, or Things Rank and Gross

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.140  Wednesday, 18 March 2015


[1] From:        Hugh Grady < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         March 16, 2015 at 3:02:19 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Harvard 


[2] From:        George Angell < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         March 18, 2015 at 8:09:32 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Harvard Rank and Gross 




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

Date:         March 16, 2015 at 3:02:19 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Harvard


In re Charles Weinstein’s ungenerous comments on the distinguished Marjorie Garber’s judgments about what Shakespeare films might stimulate her students, I am amazed to see that absolute canons of taste still survive, at least in the mind of Weinstein. Those of us who left them behind sometime after the death of T. S. Eliot might well be spared them in the future, however. Or perhaps by continuing in the class, he might actually learn something, listen more, and speak less.


All best,

Hugh Grady



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

Date:         March 18, 2015 at 8:09:32 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Harvard Rank and Gross


Oh, dear!  I do hope that Charles Weinstein does not expect fellow readers of this list, simply because they share his love of Shakespeare’s wonderful plays, to agree with his poisonous, small-minded, pedantic, vicious and frankly stupid polemic having to do with Shakespeare on Film and in the Academy.  He is the type of audience member with whom Shakespeare himself did not have to contend, since no one in Shakespeare’s audience had seen any of his plays before and therefore did not know that there is only one “right” way to do them. Mr. Weinstein is that audience member absolutely convinced of the correctness of his own view of the text, and the consequent impossibility of a sensible differing opinion.  I have seen his ilk sitting in productions of the plays with penlight blazing and head bobbing over a copy of the first folio, never once looking at the stage while shaking his head and muttering in distressed tones whenever an actor transposes a word or a director cuts a line. Mr. Weinstein's arguments are so full of holes they are barely worth addressing specifically, but just to take a couple of examples:  


 What, pray tell, is this mystical “test of time?”   Has some work of art passed this test at a specific remove in time from the date of its creation?  What is that specific time – I’d really like to know? 5 years? 25? 125?  Oh, wait a second, that leaves theatre productions out of the mix entirely.  It is impossible for them to “meet the test of time.”  Unlike scripts or films they are not artifacts, but must be experienced in the moment of creation and for a very fleeting moment indeed - in the case of a Shakespeare production a test of time that can be measured in months at the absolute longest of runs.


 Literary scripts, theatrical productions of scripts and films of scripts are entirely different forms with entirely different demands from their creators, from their producers and from their readers/viewers.  To say that a particular film provides a bad version of the script is not the same as saying it is a bad film.  Films are not commonly judged solely on the basis of the literary quality of their scripts, but on a host of other elements like cinematography, direction, editing, and a thousand other qualities that do not apply only to the text. It is a simple matter to find respected film critics writing at length in respected film journals extolling the particular virtues of all the films Mr. Weinstein denigrates and dismisses.  And whatever a film might do to Shakespeare’s language, it cannot be judged in the same way as a production in a theatre.  The simple fact, “to belabor the obvious,” as Mr. Weinstein would have it, that he suggests that productions on film and productions on the stage are the same (how else to read his line, “. . .each of these movies is merely another production of a Shakespeare play”) is absolute proof of his abysmal ignorance of both forms. 


 It is particularly remarkable to me that Mr. Weinstein accuses his “insecure academics” as lacking in humility, when he is the one whose entire diatribe, from start to finish, is a model of pernicious arrogance.  His ad hominem dismissal of Baz Luhrman as an “ignoramus and vulgarian,” must, perforce be the correct view to take even though Mr. Luhrman's films are loved and admired by literally millions of people.  Not one of those sycophants, of course, is capable of coherent thought, as the humble Mr. Weinstein has so helpfully informed us.


Finally, Mr. Weinstein sells both the instructor and the students associated with the class in question very short indeed. His position is quintessentially Neo-Classical - any bad example shown equates to supporting that example.  It’s the Puritan stance against Shakespeare, “vice is made a show.” Students are smarter than that, and many of them actually have working, searching, questioning minds.  To have them study a text and then view a film, especially when the large preponderance of time and energy is put on the text, is not to unquestioningly elevate the film to equal status with the script, but to ask a question - "What do these two things have to do with each other?" I venture to suggest that even Mr. Weinstein might be humbled to discover how many students would find serious and significantly meaningful discrepancies between the script and the film, and take the film version to task for those discrepancies.   If I were to fault the syllabus for anything it would be that the students are sent to watch films instead of (or in addition to) going to see the scripts produced in the theatre.  I assume (though I don’t know) that this is a function of the size of the class and the simple logistics of getting a large lecture class to the theatre and then monitoring their attendance.  However, it makes me thankful to be teaching at an institution that prizes small class sizes, where I can challenge my students as individuals to argue for their perceptions, discuss scripts, productions and films in relation and opposition to one another and where, every year, I can take them with me to Stratford, Ontario to see all the productions of Shakespeare’s plays in their rep, every year.  Finally, I am most thankful that my students are not subjected on a daily basis to this type  arrogant and despicable intellectual bullying.


Golden lads and girls all must,

as chimney sweepers,

come to dust.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hamlet Spoof

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.139  Wednesday, 18 March 2015


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

Date:         March 17, 2015 at 9:10:53 PM EDT

Subject:    Hamlet Spoof


This spoof appeared in eLife, an online scientific journal devoted to research in the biological sciences.


Living science: Triaging Shakespeare

Indira M Raman

March 17, 2015



What if every creative endeavor had to go through Peer Review? Indira M Raman considers the possibility. - See more at:


To: Ben Jonson This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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

Subject: Triaged!

Date: February 4, 1599 8:03:03 AM GMT


Dear Ben,


I just got the reviews back on my grant proposal for Hamlet, the new play I was telling you about. I applied to the National Institutes of Health in America this time—the RFA said they’re interested in creative new ideas and all that rot but they’re just as conservative as here in England. It wasn’t even discussed! I’ll wager it was those scoundrels Beaumont and Fletcher that sank it. I could self-publish again, but, ’zounds, I could use some cash for a couple of new swords for the final scene. Of course, if I were a swashbuckler like Raleigh, I’d just get funded by the Queen. Can’t anyone see that it’s not globetrotting, but the Globe, that teaches people how to think? Anyway, I’d appreciate your input on what to do next. (Do you think Cervantes would be up for an HFSP?) I’m attaching the Significance and Innovation sections of the proposal, so you can get a feel for the idea, followed by the critique.


Very truly yours,



P.S. I’m not as glum as I sound. I’ll get this thing written or my name isn’t William Shakespeare.


P.P.S. Glad you’ll be out soon.


Project Title: “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”




Understanding the human condition is arguably one of the most pressing issues facing mankind. Specifically, elucidating the sensory experience, internal integration, and motor consequences of joy, sorrow, rage, and despair is critical for knowing what it means to be alive, conscious, and self-aware. Previous studies in these areas have given rise to multiple great works of literature, both tragic (cf. Aeschylus 472 BCE, Sophocles 442 BCE, Euripides 438 BCE) and comic (Aristophanes 425 BCE). Nevertheless, the human condition is still poorly understood. The present proposal will make use of tragedy to explore this phenomenon, focusing on betrayal and vengeance. Both factors will be examined through a protagonist, ‘Hamlet,’ whose hesitation to act is predicted to influence the behavior, and ultimately cause the death, of multiple characters. The work therefore has the potential to unify disease states as diverse as madness, sword wounds, and poisonings as deriving from a single underlying mechanism, indecision.




In Act III of Hamlet, I will implement the novel technique of a play-within-a-play. This new device will shift current paradigms of playwriting, in which player and spectator have (to my knowledge) never before been one and the same man. Moreover, by distinguishing the reflective Hamlet from the emotional performer, I will provide the spectators with new insights into the nature of Hamlet's problem. As such, this method has advantages over current practices, which require the spectator to make indirect inferences about character motivations from the complete performance, which can often require two or more hours. An additional advantage is that the utility of this method will likely motivate other playwrights to adopt the same approach. Most importantly, it will offer a topic of analysis for literary critics, i.e., those who generate no creative arts but simply evaluate the creativity of others, that will likely keep them busy for at least four centuries.



(Privileged Communication)

Release Date: 2/1/1599

Application Number: 1 R01 NS00002

Principal Investigator


Project Title: “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”

SRG Action: Impact/Priority Score: 52 Percentile: UN


Critique 1


Significance      5



  • Understanding the human condition is potentially of high impact. It should be pointed out, however, that previous investigators have tried and failed, so this should be seen as a high-risk-high-gain endeavor.
  • Relating indecision to pathologies may help identify novel therapeutic targets.



  • The proposal is essentially descriptive. Significance would be enhanced if the applicant cloned the gene for indecision. The play could then be repeated with an indecision-knockout Hamlet and the relevance of indecision to madness, etc could be more directly assessed.
  • While betrayal and vengeance are undoubtedly important elements of the human experience, the applicant neglects love and suffering.

Approach      6



  • Excellent consideration of null and alternative hypotheses in proposed soliloquy of Act III.


  • Preliminary data are not compelling, esp. regarding evidence for the applicant's contention that King Hamlet is really dead. Two issues are problematic. (1) Death of Hamlet, Sr., is assumed because poison was poured in his ear. This is a non-standard approach and is not sufficiently justified. What kind of poison was it and at what concentration was it used? Does this poison cross the blood brain barrier? What is its mode of pharmacological action? Why was poison excluded from the contralateral ear? Without further information about mechanism, death cannot be assumed. Note also that the poison was apparently not followed by thoracic puncture, although this issue is admittedly handled more effectively in Act V. (See also comments under ‘Protections for Human Subjects’). (2) The appearance of the King at the beginning of Act I to tell of his death is not consistent with his actual death before the play begins. The (likely) possibility of a flawed premise therefore raises concerns about the remaining Acts.
  • Outcomes are not adequately discussed. For instance, in Act III, when Hamlet stabs the curtain in Gertrude’s closet, it is assumed that Polonius will be killed. A plausible alternative, however, is that Hamlet will kill a rat, as he himself hypothesizes. This possibility should be considered explicitly. If it indeed turns out to be a rat, the Vertebrate Animals section should be completed.
  • Likewise, in Act V, if Laertes recovers from his poisoned wound, will Fortinbras still be appointed King? Some discussion is necessary.
  • Biohazards are not explicitly considered, e.g., in Act V, will surgical gloves (latex or nitrile) be used to handle Yorick's skull; how will carcasses be disposed of, etc. (N.B. The proposed concealment of Polonius’ body in Act IV is unacceptable).


Innovation      5



  • The use of terminology is innovative, e.g., naming a Dane Hamlet.
  • The work contains cutting-edge techniques.


  • The technique of a play-within-a-play is not novel. A brief literature search indicates that it was originally used more than a decade ago, by Thomas Kyd in 1587. The author himself has used it twice before, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labours Lost, only a few years ago. Thus, use of this method is likely to be of only incremental value.


Investigator      4



  • The applicant has a fairly good track record, with 21 plays performed in the last ten years (11 in the last project period).
  • The applicant is well-versed in iambic pentameter.



  • There is no evidence that the applicant has previous experience writing about 13th century Denmark (or even general familiarity with the subject). Enthusiasm is dampened by the absence of supporting letters from colleagues with expertise in this area.
  • Despite the applicant's high productivity, it is not clear that such an ambitious project will be completed within the project period without recruitment of additional collaborators (e.g., Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford).


Environment      2



  • The Globe Theatre is an outstanding environment.
  • Elizabethan England is rapidly becoming a significant world power.




- See more at:

STC: Mock Trial: Man of La Mancha

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.138  Wednesday, 18 March 2015


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

Date:         Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Subject:    STC: Mock Trial: Man of La Mancha



Man of La Mancha

2015 Annual Mock Trial & Dinner


We are pleased to announce the 2015 Mock Trial and Dinner will take place on May 11, 2015, an argument inspired by Dale Wasserman’s musical, Man of La Mancha. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will preside, and Justice Stephen Breyer, Chief Judge Merrick Garland, Judge Amy Berman Jackson and Judge Patricia Millett will join her on the bench. Arguments will be presented by advocates Thomas C. Goldstein of Goldstein & Russell, P.C. and Carter G. Phillips of Sidley Austin LLP.


Interested in Premium Seating and Dining with the trial participants before the argument? Tickets to the Dinner and Trial ($350) are available NOW! To purchase tickets please call 202.608.6309 or contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The Mock Trial is known for selling out in less than an hour—Take advantage of early tickets by purchasing your Dinner tickets now.


Trial-only tickets for this event are highly sought after and sell out quickly. However, members of STC's Bard Association, contributors and subscribers are able to purchase trial-only tickets in advance of the general public on the following dates:


Bard Association: March 9*

STC Donors and Subscribers: March 18

General Public Sale: March 23

Please note that tickets can only be purchased by contacting the Box Office and NOT through our website.

Trial-only Ticket Prices

A Price: $75

B Price: $50 (limited availability)

Student: $20 (valid student ID required when picking up tickets)

Annual Dinner and Mock Trial

Monday, May 11, 2015

5:30 p.m. Dinner

7:30 p.m. Argument

Sidney Harman Hall

610 F Street NW

Washington, DC 20004

AHRC-Funded Collaborative Doctoral Award

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.137  Wednesday, 18 March 2015


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

Date:         March 18, 2015 at 11:23:23 AM EDT

Subject:    AHRC-Funded Collaborative Doctoral Award


AHRC-Funded Collaborative Doctoral Award

University of Birmingham

Qualification type: Professional Doctorate

Location: Birmingham

Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students

Funding amount: Not specified

Hours: Full Time

Placed on: 11th March 2015

Closes: 17th April 2015


Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral award, to run from October 2015 to October 2018, on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation.’


In 2016, as part of its celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will mount a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which a different set of local amateur actors will impersonate the play’s ‘rude mechanicals’ at every venue it visits. This ambitious and high-profile event, called ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation’ (see…/a-midsummer-nights-dream-a-play-for…), arises from the ‘Open Stages’ outreach project, launched in 2011, during which amateur companies performing Shakespeare all around the United Kingdom have been contacted, assisted and showcased by the RSC. The Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham and the RSC propose to embed a doctoral student with ‘A Play for the Nation’ to research this rich and complex artistic and social event. Granted access to planning meetings, rehearsals, documentation and performances, the student will study the methods and processes of the RSC and its amateur partners and produce a PhD thesis about their interactions: at the same time the student will be trained in academic theatre history and cultural studies by the university.


‘A Play for the Nation,’ as well as being a landmark in theatre history, will be a test-case in cultural policy, and it demands investigation and analysis as both. Over the three years of the studentship, the doctoral research produced by this student will contribute to a fuller understanding of the place of Shakespeare in the workings of national and local communities.


The student will be co-supervised by Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, and by Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC and director of ‘A Play for the Nation.’ The successful candidate will be expected to have training in a relevant discipline (preferably theatre studies), a serious and informed interest in arts policy, and a deep familiarity with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A Masters degree is desirable.


Candidates should submit an application for study via the UoB on-line system:…/calgs/howtoapply/index.aspx

before 12 noon GMT on Friday, 17th April 2015. Applicants MUST also apply directly to Professor Dobson at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by the same date, providing a covering letter, CV, research proposal (1000 words max.) and a writing sample (e.g. MA dissertation), to ensure that their applications are considered for this specific opportunity. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon on 30th April 2015.


AHRC funding provides fees and maintenance for UK students. A bursary may be available for a successful EU or International applicant.


The University Code of Practice on Admission of Students can be found at…/policies-…/codes-practice.aspx.


Informal enquiries: Professor Michael Dobson ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )



A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation


To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 we will partner with theatres, schools and amateur theatre groups across the UK for a national tour of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.


The play contains probably theatre’s most famous amateur company, the Mechanicals, with some of Shakespeare’s best-loved characters, such as Bottom, the group’s enthusiastic leading man, and long-suffering director Peter Quince.


We will work with a local amateur theatre company in each city or town the production visits. From each amateur company six actors (and a director) will play the roles of the Mechanicals when the play is performed in their city or town. They will also be invited to perform at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon at the end of the tour.


The fairy train will be played by local school children in each area, from partner schools in our Learning and Performance Network or local school communities.


The production will be directed by our Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman, and produced in partnership with our 12 Partner Theatres:

Find out about:

Auditions and rehearsals>>

How to take part - FAQ>>


A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play for the Nation is a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and amateur theatre companies. This is an arrangement between the RSC and Equity.


The Learning and Performance Network is generously supported by THE PAUL HAMLYN FOUNDATION


Open Stages is generously supported by ESMÉE FAIRBAIRN FOUNDATION

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