MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.341  Thursday, 23 July 2015

 

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

     Date:         July 22, 2015 at 5:54:30 PM EDT

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

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

     Date:         July 22, 2015 at 10:49:20 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: MV Dialog 

 

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

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 5:55:45 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

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

     Date:         July 23, 2015 at 7:46:21 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 22, 2015 at 5:54:30 PM EDT

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

I hope not to carry this on interminably, but I am willing to go one more round.  I believe that Professor 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.  The “no jot of blood” thing is a ridiculous quibble masquerading as a matter of strict enforcement.  But no contract can specify all the means necessary for its enforcement; the obviously necessary means are taken for granted.  The crucial point is that the great spokesperson for mercy is winning by a very legally dubious quibble, a supposed hyper-legalism that actually undermines the efficacy of contracts.  I suppose one is supposed to take pleasure in Portia supposedly beating Shylock at his own game (literalism), but this is a pretty cheap thrill, and doesn’t withstand much legal or ethical scrutiny.  And what happened to the quality of mercy?  In all of the variants of the story that I know, the Jew is prevented from getting his pound of flesh, and also doesn’t get his principal back.  But nothing further is threatened him, taken from, him or demanded of him.  Going home with nothing is a lot better than Shylock does.  Mercy me!

 

Richard Strier

Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus

Editor, Modern Philology

Department of English

University of Chicago

 

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

Date:         July 22, 2015 at 10:49:20 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: MV Dialog

 

>Based on the evidence he gives I think he is seeing significance

>where there is none. There are 109,220 through lines in the Folio.

>By my count 41,671 of them contain a word beginning with ‘m’ 

>(other than Mantua itself).

 

Some instances of “m” words, such as “my”, could be considered coincidences because they occur so often everywhere. In Shakespeare’s case, “my” also appears frequently with other “mi” words like “mine” and “mind” (see the examples below). However, 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. “Mantua” triggers “m” substantives (“man”, “gentleman”, “countryman”, “mood”, “mountain”, etc.) more often than a word like “Padua”, and if you exclude commonplace words like “my”, “me” and “mine”, “must”, “meet”, etc., I think you will find distinct associations between not only words in Shakespeare’s mind, but also syllabic sounds.

 

Compare his associations with “Padua”, for example. Many instances have no “m” words at all, many instead have “p” words close by, and some have both. When both are present, it is usually a commonplace word as listed above. There is one instance already cited where “Mantua” and  “Padua” appear together with “m” words and a “p” word. Below are all the instances of “Padua” in Shakespeare, and of the 24 passages, only 5 have only “m” words associated with “Padua”. One of the passages in the first group below is 7 lines long with no “m” words.

 

The “p” words are highlighted in the text, I’ve indicated the instances of with “m” words by placing the “m” words in the margin, Examples with no “m” words and echoes with “p” words:

 

Not POSSIBLE; for who shall bear your part,

And be in Padua here Vincentio's son,

Keep house and PLY his book, welcome his friends,        Shrew I-i:194–196

 

Within rich PISA walls, as any one

Old Signior Gremio has in Padua,

Besides two thousand ducats by the year                        Shrew II-i:367–369)

 

Nay, I told you your son was well belov'd

in Padua. Do you hear, sir? — to leave frivolous

circumstances, I PRAY you tell Signior Lucentio that

his father is come from PISA, and is here at the door

to speak with him.

Ped. Thou liest, his father is come from Padua

and here looking out at the window.

Vin. Art thou his father?                                                  Shrew V-i:25–32

 

Nothing but sit and sit, and eat and eat!

Bap. Padua affords this kindness, son PETRUCHIO.

Pet. Padua affords nothing but what is kind.

Hor. For both our sakes, I would that word were true.         Shrew V-ii:12–15

 

Here is a letter, read it at your leisure.

It comes from Padua, from Bellario.

There you shall find that PORTIA was the doctor,              Merchant V-i:267–269

 

Examples with both “m” and “p” words:

 

Tell me thy mind, for I have PISA left                      ME MIND

And am to Padua come, as he that leaves

A shallow PLASH to PLUNGE him in the deep,                Shrew I-i:21–23

 

And he shall be Vincentio of PISA,                        MAKE

And make assurance here in Padua

Of greater sums than I have PROMISED.                         Shrew III-ii:133–135

 

I'll bring mine action on the PROUDEST he            MY MINE

That stops my way in Padua. Grumio,

Draw forth thy weapon, we are beset with thieves;             Shrew III-ii:234–236

 

Tra. Of Mantua, sir? marry, God forbid!                  MANTUA MARRY MY

And come to Padua, careless of your life?

Ped. My life, sir? How, I PRAY? for that goes hard.

Tra.  'Tis death for any one in Mantua

To come to Padua. Know you not the cause?

Your ships are stay'd at Venice, and the Duke                   Shrew IV-ii:78–83

 

Give me Bianca for my PATRIMONY.                     MY

Ped. Soft, son!

Sir, by your leave, having come to Padua

To gather in some debts, my son Lucentio                        Shrew IV-iv:22–25

 

My name is call'd Vincentio, my dwelling PISA,     MY MINE

And bound I am to Padua, there to visit

A son of mine, which long I have not seen.                        Shrew IV-v:55–57

 

I humbly do desire your Grace of PARDON,           MUST MEET

I must away this night toward Padua,

And it is meet I PRESENTLY set forth.                             Merchant IV-i:402–404

 

 

What is he that you ask for, niece?                       MY

Hero. My cousin means Signior Benedick of

Padua.

Mess. O, he's return'd, and as PLEASANT as ever

he was.                                                                         Much Ado I-i:34–38

 

Examples with neither “m” nor “p” words:

 

Tranio, since for the great desire I had

To see fair Padua, nursery of arts,

I am arriv'd for fruitful Lombardy,                                       Shrew I-i:1–3

 

And take a lodging fit to entertain

Such friends as time in Padua shall beget.

But stay a while, what company is this?                          Shrew I-i:44–46

 

I am agreed, and would I had given him the

best horse in Padua to begin his wooing that would

thoroughly woo her, wed her, and bed her, and rid

the house of her! Come on.                                             Shrew I-i:142–145

 

As are the swelling Adriatic seas,

I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;

If wealthily, then happily in Padua.                                   Shrew I-ii:74–76

 

I told him that your father was at Venice,

And that you look'd for him this day in Padua.

Tra. Th' art a tall fellow; hold thee that to drink.                 Shrew IV-iv:15–17

 

And if you will, tell what hath happened:

Lucentio's father is arriv'd in Padua,

And how she's like to be Lucentio's wife.                          Shrew IV-iv:64–66

 

Examples with only “m” words:

 

Verona, for a while I take my leave                         MY

To see my friends in Padua, but of all

My best beloved and approved friend,                               Shrew I-ii:1–3

 

And tell me now, sweet friend, what happy gale      MEN

Blows you to Padua here from old Verona?

Pet. Such wind as scatters young men through the world     Shrew I-ii:48–50

 

Her name is Katherina Minola,                              MINOLA

Renown'd in Padua for her scolding tongue.

Pet. I know her father, though I know not her,                    Shrew I-ii:99–101

 

 

A messenger with letters from the doctor,              MESSENGER

New come from Padua.

Duke. Bring us the letters; call the messenger.                 Merchant IV-i:108–110

 

Than to live still and write mine epitaph.                MY MINE

Duke. Came you from Padua, from Bellario?

Ner. From both, my lord.  Bellario greets your Grace.        Merchant IV-i:118–120

 

Jim Carroll

 

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 5:55:45 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

Larry Weiss thinks that I am missing the point concerning Portia’s alleged legal contradiction. Surely the issue is clear in the play. She says that “there is no power in Venice / Can alter a decree established.” BUT she goes on to say that if such an abuse of power does occur (as indeed, abuses of power are not unthinkable) then it will “be recorded for a precedent” and therefore lead to further abuses. The lines are condensed certainly, but the meaning here seems to be fairly clear, and does not require a complex negotiation of two legal systems to explain it. To violate the law will introduce ‘error’ “And many an error by the same example / Will rush into the state.” Of course, what the play MAY be offering is an ‘English’ gloss on Venetian law where the latter claims to be egalitarian but that this would not prevent practice from challenging its claimed fairness. This would have more to do with an ‘English’ view of the workings of Venice as a ‘republic’ would it not?  Portia offers in these lines two statements that are not incompatible with each other: if the one statement is violated then error of a potentially tyrannical sort enters into the legal system. The question might be that the law of ‘precedent’ that was creeping into English juridical practice is now transposed as a potentially subversive possibility when applied to Venice. This is not quite the same thing as conflating two different legal systems I think.

 

Cheers

 

John D

 

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

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

Date:         July 23, 2015 at 7:46:21 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

I’m sorry that Professor Strier thinks that I am being bland or dismissive of the MV ‘contradictions. That wasn’t my intention. I have difficulty sometimes (as I am sure he has) in trying to figure out what was Shakespeare’s understanding of Venetian legal issues, and of economic matters, and what was Elizabethan culture’s understanding of these matters. There is also the question of when we should be ‘literal’ in our reading of a particular detail, and whether we need to see it in its larger immediate (and sometimes, not so immediate) context. 

 

To take one perplexing detail, the reference in 3.5.35-6 by Lorenzo to ‘thre getting up of the negro’s belly’. Last night I saw a filmed live performance of the RSC’s current MV production in which a female servant was invented in order to make sense of this puzzling detail. The solution is plausible, but it is a directorial tidying up of something that in the text we have remains a problem.

 

On the matter of ‘contradiction’ generally there is, I think, a larger problem. I agree that close reading can and does throw up textual difficulties, BUT in a play that seems to be as untidy as this one, I think that ‘contradiction’ might not always be the term to describe these inconsistencies.  For example, if we take Antonio’s ‘melancholy’, he says he doesn’t know why he is so sad. In Act 1. scene 2 Portia is also sad, and melancholy, though we have a more immediate cause for it: her dead father’s control over her. Much later in the play, the bested Shylock asks to leave the court saying that he ‘is not well’.  Productions seem to opt in Antonio’s case (as indeed does the current RSC production) for an explanation that he is a (not so) suppressed homosexual.  Last night’s production actually cut the ending of the play in which Portia gives Antonio the letter telling him that his argosies are safe. He is then left onstage sobbing at the end, and we are expected to conclude that this is because he has lost his lover Bassanio to Portia. Alan Sinfield’s analysis of the play cautions us against an unproblematic ‘heterosexist’ reading, and there is a clear tension in the play between heterosexual marriage and male friendship, but Antonio IS paired up at the end of the play: with his investments, and his response is welcome astonishment: “I am dumb!” he only subsequently breaks his silence with what seems to me NOT an anxious statement: “Sweet lady, you have given me life and living..”  Antonio’s initial anxiety may have an obvious cause in that he is not unaware of the business risks he takes as a merchant.  Why should his denial of this cause be of less significance than his response to Salanio’s suggestion that he is ‘in love’?  It is at moments like this that we augment the text with speculative explanations, or that we try to account for what to us appear to be opposing statements. 

 

I don’t want to dismiss these difficulties, but are they not substantially the products of a particular literary form of close reading?  This is a play that is threaded through with a series of motifs, not all of them clearly formulated or explained, and, of course, we are not used to thinking of Shakespeare as an untidy writer. Some of thee details are irrecoverable, but, to take one example that has been raised in discussion, Bill Blanton asks what has the play to do with ‘miscegenation’? The Jew-Christian opposition (Jessica-Lorenzo, that in Othello becomes Othello-Desdemona when it is later linked ‘intra-textually’ with the Morocco-Portia possibility that MV rejects), and, of course, Lorenzo’s remark about ‘the negro’s belly are all to do with miscegenation aren’t they? 

 

Cheers

 

John D

 

 

Joan La Pucelle & Her Shakespearean “Sisters”

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.340  Thursday, 23 July 2015

 

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

Date:         July 22, 2015 at 4:51:20 PM EDT

Subject:    Joan La Pucelle & Her Shakespearean “Sisters”

 

Anna Kamarilla responded to my initial post as follows: 

 

“I think what you have observed is less a specific parallel between Joan and Rosalind than one of Shakespeare’s recurring go-to character/situation favourites, namely, a smart woman claiming nominally male space. It is a scenario he returns to over and over throughout his writing career.”

 

Thank you for your very interesting reply, Anna. While I still think there is an extra dimension to the Joan/Rosalind parallel regarding a woman presenting a strongly masculine persona, that goes beyond the more general pattern you have identified, I do agree that the pattern you describe is as you say and is also significant. Powerful women provoke anxious, sexist responses from men, especially those in the military or at a court. I did some quick Googling, and found two earlier scholarly tidbits that address the pattern you mentioned in insightful ways:

 

First, Russell Fraser, in his 1985 edition of AWTEW, at xvi-xvii, connects Rosalind, Helena, and Cressida:  

 

All’s Well…shares a skeptical view of war (and a character called Helen) with Troilus and Cressida. Rosalind in As You Like It has, like Helena, lost a father at the beginning of the play, though while Helena's father is dead Rosalind's is in exile and recoverable. Both women find themselves turning to new male interests. Helena says of her father: ‘What was he like? I have forgot him. My imagination Carries no favour in’t but Bertram’s.’

 

This seems a hard-edged version of Rosalind’s ‘what talk we of fathers, when there is such a man as Orlando?’ (3.4.38-39). Cressida joins the group when her father arranges a prisoner exchange that will take her from Troy and Troilus, and she declares, ‘I have forgot my father’ (4.2.96).”

 

And second, David Bevington, in his 1989 essay “All’s Well That Plays Well”, points out the really striking parallelism between Joan La Pucelle and Helena, including his catch of a whiff of Cressida in Helena: 

 

“...Scene 2 of Act 1 is an entirely male-dominated scene…Perhaps, by overvaluing military prowess as the way to valorize one’s sense of manhood, the male and patriarchal world at the court of France devalues more quiet achievement. ……[Consider] the extraordinary theatrical energy of Helena’s arrival at court. She is the only woman onstage in her first long scene there (2.1) and in the subsequent scene of her choosing a husband (2.3). Helena’s arrival is remarkably like that of Joan of Arc at the court of Charles VII, even in Shakespeare’s disparaging treatment of her in 1 Henry VI. Like Joan, Helena at once convinces her listeners that she has supernatural power; as Lafew insists, she can ‘breathe life into a stone’. Lafew, so ready to detect sham in Parolles, risks the humiliation of being thought gullible by undertaking to bring Helena before the King. The mood of belief quickly infects the King, though he must also protect his self-regard by professing a skeptical stance. All those present are impressed with how quickly all this happens. “This haste hath wings indeed!” 

 

We are thus prepared, in the theater, for an entrance of unusual impact. A repeated pattern in blocking helps to underscore the effect. Lafew, who earlier conducted Bertram before the King, now escorts in a single woman with no conventional credentials for being there. This repetition, coupled with the social irregularity of the second entrance, establishes a visual link between Bertram and Helena in a way that also gives to Helena’s entrance the aura of something miraculous. Moreover, the encounter of Helena is charged, as in the case of Joan of Arc and another French king, with sexual energy. The verbal dueling of Helena and the King is not debased, as it is in 1 Henry VI, but it certainly flirts with erotic suggestion. Old Lafew, saying “Come your ways,”, in the best tradition of the bawd, jests that he will play the role of “Cressid’s uncle”, Pandarus, by daring to “leave the two together’. Even before he escorts her in, Lafew has spoken of this “Doctor She” as one …

 

…whose simple touch,
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand,
And write to her a love-line.

 

Surely it is no coincidence that Lafew’s phrase ‘a pen in ‘s hand,’ reminds us of the word penis, for the whole passage is replete with images of arousal and quickening. 

 

These erotic suggestions need to be balanced, however, against the danger of devaluing Helena’s innocence of purpose. Helena is very much a woman, but to present her as sexually aggressive is to run the risk of heightening those very male anxieties that Bertram has not yet learned to resolve. Helena tells the King she dare venture ‘Tax of impudence’ if she is found guilty of “A strumpet’s boldness’, but this is only if she fails; and to prevent that, she unhesitatingly calls on “The great’st grace lending grace.” The King is attracted to her, but in a fatherly or avuncular way…”

 

As Bevington’s analysis shows, Shakespeare obviously meant to very strongly echo Joan La Pucelle in Helena’s characterization—they are two versions of women perceived as, and also presenting themselves, powerful witches—a dangerous way of being perceived by such men.  

Cheers, ARNIE

 

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.339  Wednesday, 22 July 2015

 

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

     Date:         July 20, 2015 at 4:29:14 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: MV Dialog

 

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

     Date:         July 20, 2015 at 4:41:12 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

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

     Date:         July 21, 2015 at 9:55:36 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog 

 

 

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

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

Date:         July 20, 2015 at 4:29:14 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: MV Dialog

 

The bark/bay association that Jim Carroll points out is interesting. He also says:

 

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. 

 

Based on the evidence he gives I think he is seeing significance where there is none. There are 109,220 through lines in the Folio. By my count 41,671 of them contain a word beginning with ‘m’ (other than Mantua itself). That’s 38%, so more than one in three. Therefore, given any line containing the word Mantua, it is not in the least surprising to find a word beginning with ‘m’ on that line or on the line above it or below it. 

 

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

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

Date:         July 20, 2015 at 4:41:12 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV Dialog

 

the point about “no power can alter a decree” and “’Twill be recorded for a precedent” seems to me a strong one.  The point is not what happens, it is what Portia says here. If no new legal proposition can alter a decree, it can’t become a precedent, good or bad.  Shakespeare here seems to be hesitating between two different legal systems (perhaps one Venetian, one English), or trying to conflate them through quick juxtaposition.  Again, Drakakis is missing the point.

 

There is no inconsistency here, and no need to postulate two legal systems.  Portia’s objection to altering a “decree established” was in response to Bassanio’s per vi argument “Wrest once the law to your authority: | To do a great right, do a little wrong.” The law referred to, I infer, was the principle that solemn contracts must be adhered to; or else, as Portia says, the mercantile basis of Venice’s wealth would be in danger.  Her solution ingeniously retains and, indeed, applies, the principle:  She awards Shylock all the flesh he was owed (no more, no less) but not a jot of blood, as it is not called for in the contract.  There is a world of difference between overruling a precedent and distinguishing it; and in this case the defense didn’t even have to do that, they just showed that the precedent was inapplicable, indeed, that it required a result contrary to the claim.  I am astounded that Mr. Blanton, who tells us that he is an experienced litigator, missed this point.

 

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

Date:         July 21, 2015 at 9:55:36 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: 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) I emphasize hard because it suggests that the young doctor has a hard-on.

 

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.” 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.

 

Now, with all that focus on Bellario’s letter, just who is that Balthasar, what does Bellario 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 appears only once, in the stage direction for her entrance.

 

Again, many thanks.

 

Bill

 

 

Rosalind and Joan La Pucelle

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.338  Wednesday, 22 July 2015

 

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

Date:         July 21, 2015 at 10:00:42 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Joan

 

Re: Joan

 

Let’s not forget Portia in The Merchant of Venice.

 

 

Bill 

 

CFP: 7th Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference, 8-11 September 2016

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.337  Wednesday, 22 July 2015

 

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

Date:        July 21, 2015 at 11:03:53 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: 7th Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference, 8-11 September 2016

 

7th Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference 

Shakespearean Transformations: Death, Life, and Afterlives

University of Hull, 8-11 September 2016

www.hull.ac.uk/bsa2016

 

Keynote speakers:

 

Susan Bassnett (University of Warwick)

Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex)

Michael Neill (University of Auckland)

Claudia Olk (Free University of Berlin)

Barrie Rutter (Northern Broadsides)

Tiffany Stern (University of Oxford)

Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

 

‘Remember me!’ commands the ghost of Hamlet’s father at a moment in English history when the very purpose of remembrance of the dead was being transformed. How does the past haunt the present in Shakespeare? What do Shakespeare’s works reveal about the processes of mourning and remembrance? Shakespeare breathed new life into ‘old tales’: how do his acts of literary resuscitation transform the material he revived and what it signifies? This major international conference will investigate the ways in which Shakespeare remembered the past and we remember Shakespeare. 

 

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death offers us a timely opportunity to reflect upon the continuation of his life and art diachronically, spatially from the Globe across the globe, and materially on stage, page, canvas, music score, and screen. How does Shakespeare continue to haunt us? The second strand of the conference focuses on Shakespeare’s literary, dramatic, and transcultural afterlives. The conference thus also seeks to explore the various ways in which Shakespeare’s ghost has been invoked, summoned up, or warded off over the past four centuries. 

 

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Shakespearean transformations: borrowing/adaptation/appropriation/intertextuality 
  • Shakespeare and death 
  • Speaking to/of and impersonating the dead in Shakespeare 
  • Shakespeare, religion, and reformations of ritual 
  • Shakespeare and memory/remembrance 
  • Shakespeare and time: temporality/anachronism/archaism 
  • Shakespeare and early modern conceptions of ‘life’ 
  • Emotion and embodiment in Shakespeare 
  • Performing Shakespeare: now and then 
  • Transcultural Shakespeare 
  • Critical and theoretical conceptions of/engagements through Shakespeare 
  • Textual resurrections: editing Shakespeare 
  • Rethinking Shakespearean biography 
  • Enlivening Shakespeare teaching 
  • Shakespeare in a digital age

The conference will be held in the official run-up to Hull’s year as the UK’s City of Culture in 2017. The programme will include plenary lectures, papers, seminars, workshops, and performances at Hull Truck and the Gulbenkian Centre. There will also be special workshops and sessions directed towards pedagogy.

 

We welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes), panels (90 minutes), or seminars/workshops (90 minutes) on any aspect of the conference theme, broadly interpreted. Abstracts (no more than 200 words) should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 15 December 2015.

 

Participants must be members of the British Shakespeare Association at the time of the conference. Details of how to join can be found here: www.britishshakespeare.ws

 

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