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The Sonnets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.173  Friday, 4 April 2014

 

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

     Date:         April 3, 2014 at 6:40:43 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Sonnets 

 

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

     Date:         April 4, 2014 at 4:04:45 AM EDT

     Subject:    Sonnets 

 

 

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

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

Date:         April 3, 2014 at 6:40:43 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: The Sonnets

 

Dear David, 

 

I am sure you did not consult Eric Partridge’s Dictionary. “Hell” is an Elizabethan slang term for “vagina”. What this sonnet is saying is that one of the speaker’s (you should never say “the poet’s”!) friends is having some relatively indecent fun with the other!

 

Markus Marti

 

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

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

Date:         April 4, 2014 at 4:04:45 AM EDT

Subject:    Sonnets

 

Conscious that the detail of our exchange is probably of little interest to others, I will comment only briefly in response to David Basch’s interpretation of Sonnet 144.

 

Perhaps David is unaware of the poem’s bawdy, far-from-spiritual, connotations—though these would have been apparent to Shakespeare, given the mastery of the genre demonstrated rather widely in his works. If he had not meant these connotations to be recognized by his intended audience, he would have used different wording in the sonnet (and several others) to preclude unwanted misinterpretation.

 

David, I will respond to you no further in this thread - unless you introduce evidence which is both relevant and objective. Peace be with you.

 

 
Lukas Erne's Book Trade

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.172  Friday, 4 April 2014

 

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

Date:         April 3, 2014 at 7:56:18 PM EDT

Subject:    Lukas Erne's Book Trade

 

Steve Roth replied to my posting on Lukas Erne’s book but I’m not sure how we agree or disagree:

 

> While Shakespeare quite possibly, even certainly, was not

> “complicit” in publication of his plays, I think Gerald would

> agree that he must have been quite cognizant of it. His works

> were being published.

 

That’s the presumption for plays not yet written when the stream of publications began. I alluded to this standing observation (Greg, etc.) in my post and in my 2005 Review Essay of Erne’s Literary Dramatist. Knowing one’s work may be published (probably corruptly) and taking steps to publish (& profit) aren’t the same. For example, Heywood lamented the mangling of his plays as reason to forestall thieves by publishing them himself; as did Chapman. Apparently Shakespeare took no such steps; further, he died with no assurance that all his works would be published (authorized or not). “Cognizance” isn’t a good way to claim intentions; it just introduces intentions when evidence doesn’t exist.

 

> They were being purchased in considerable numbers, read,

> quoted, and commented upon . . . . 2. Significantly—given

> Shakespeare’s positioning as actor, playwright, and company

> and theater sharer amidst the whole poetomachia business—by

> his competitor and compatriot playwrights, and other sniping

> and snippeting literati.

 

One may suppose. Ben Jonson and H & C took special note of the corruption. Contemporaries probably didn’t enjoy the mangling as much as we do.

 

> 3. By arguably his most prized audience, Elizabeth and James’

> courtiers. These were also the most educated, attentive, and

> perspicacious of his customers, those who (Shakespeare could

> hope) would plumb the density, complexity, allusions, and

> multilevel ironies he offered up.

 

Prizes, customers, hope, and levels notwithstanding, Shakespeare didn’t offer up anything, apparently. It’s plumb ironic.

 

> I’ll just assert baldly: writers want their readers/auditors to

> get their jokes.

 

All of them? Fortunately, I delete most of mine. I’ve been thinking of showing how Q1 Hamlet players themselves didn’t get the jokes. For example, In Q1 and Q2 the Prince replies to the King’s greeting,

 

King  How now son Hamlet, how fare you, shall we have a play?     Q1

Ham. Yfaith the Camelions dish, not capon cramm’d, / feede a the ayre.

 

King. How fares our cosin Hamlet?                   Q2

Ham. Excellent yfaith, / Of the Camelions dish, I eate the ayre,

Promiscram’d, you cannot feede Capons so.

 

Q1’s senseless ‘capon crammed’ is a corrupt transposition of terms (funny, but probably not authorial). An explanation is in order, which might have less to do with perspicacity than density. I guess Q1 buyers felt a bit ripped off. And surely, the player represented in Q1 (Hamlet!) didn’t get the wordplay. Yet Q1, called (obviously) a reader’s text, is light years from Shakespeare. Although Steve has observed that the writer behind Q1 had worked with Shakespeare, in this instance someone tried to memorize lines that were meaningless to him.

 

> To suggest that Shakespeare cared nothing for those readers

> when writing, that he exerted no effort to cater or deliver unto

> them (especially given his obsession with literary immortality,

> expressed especially and resoundingly in the sonnets), to me

> beggars belief.

 

All you have to do is believe Erne; as a bonus you get a Biography Decoder Ring: Be-sure-to-drink-your-Ovaltine. No one suggests Shakespeare wouldn’t have liked to be read. I’d like to see his unadulterated work myself. But there’s no use pretending that “what he left us” is what he would have left us, given the extant texts and their histories.

 

> Like others, I remain befuddled by the evidence (and

> notable lack of same) suggesting that Shakespeare was

> uninvolved in publication. But still: “Shakespeare didn’t

> care about publication” does not suggest, to me, that

> “Shakespeare didn’t care about his readers.”

 

It’s a mistake for Shakespearians to trust presuppositions (feelings: theirs or his) more than evidence, which indicates no authorial publishing presence. Fuddling arrives with the baggage.

 

> On the befuddlement, one possible, unprovable, surmise,

> that would explain things rather simply: Maybe Shakespeare

> just hated paying attention to previous works, was always

> moving on to the next: Not at all unheard of, among authors.

 

Careful, Gary Taylor spank! I’m sure Shakespeare didn’t revise Q1 Lear to F Lear. The thing to remember is that Shakespeare’s return to his texts, however he may have done so, is probably not reflected in the extant texts. In the historical aftermath, we see Q1 Lear as great literature; from Shakespeare’s point of view, Q1 would have been a piece of crap. Heywood’s If You Know Not Me went through seven editions before the author spoke of its crippling reproduction:

 

And in that lamenesse it hath limp’t so long,

The Author now to vindicate that wrong

Hath tooke the paines, upright upon its feete

To teache it walke,

 

Heywood was mighty mad about his play of Elizabeth, but he took thirty years to take the pains to fix it. And in the end he invited playgoers to see it, not to read it.

 

Literary Dramatist treats Q1 Lear by chapterly need: copy “may have been a private transcript, or even a transcript of a private transcript at more than one remove from Shakespeare” (107). Later Erne asserts that “Blayney . . . Warren . . . Urkowitz, and Gary Taylor have made a strong case for the authority of [Q1], thereby disposing of earlier theories that had little to recommend themselves” (185). Well, page 107 is earlier than 185, but I like to note that Blayney has made no case in the 32 years following his suggestion that Q1 copy was Shakespeare’s foul papers. And in 1983 Taylor accepted Blayney’s opinion while asserting that making a new case would be a waste of time. Authority, my eye. In Book Trade Erne plumps for Shakespearian authority, not by argument (why start now?), but by appeal to the notion that Shakespeare “cared about publication.”

 

> Or maybe he was just a hard-headed and clear-eyed man of

> business when it came to his work: he knew the money was

> in the playhouse, not on publishers row.

 

I’ve read somewhere that that beggars belief.

 

> Or both. Two perfectly plausible explanations, neither of which

> implies that Shakespeare didn’t care about readers when writing.

 

Plausibility is at some point a necessary criterion; but like simplicity it has to mesh with the evidence. In this case, the old view, that Shakespeare had nothing to do with publishing his plays, has sound backing. The old view that his rough drafts and his personally supervised promptbooks supplied the printers isn’t plausible because the evidence doesn’t agree.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 
 
Classless

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.171  Friday, 4 April 2014

 

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

     Date:         April 3, 2014 at 2:05:14 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Classless Coriolanus 

 

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

     Date:         April 4, 2014 at 3:55:06 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER:  Classless Coriolanus 

 

 

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

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

Date:         April 3, 2014 at 2:05:14 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Classless Coriolanus

 

Thank you, Charles Weinstein, for that brilliant excoriation of a review. I feel as if I’d watched every moment of the performance, without the pain. “[L]ow, menacing tones suggestive of a simmering charisma that he does not possess.” Superb.

 

Julia Griffin

 

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

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

Date:         April 4, 2014 at 3:55:06 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER:  Classless Coriolanus

 

Fantastic review by Charles Weinstein.

 

I couldn’t agree more.

 

Kind regards,

Eve-Marie Oesterlen

Project Manager

British Universities Film & Video Council

www.bufvc.ac.uk

 
 
Martin Freeman to Play Shakespeare’s Richard III

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.170  Friday, 4 April 2014

 

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

Date:         April 4, 2014 at 8:24:22 AM EDT

Subject:    Martin Freeman to Play Shakespeare’s Richard III

 

[Editor’s Note: This article appeared on The Telegraph Facebook page. – Hardy]

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-news/10743968/Martin-Freeman-to-play-Shakespeares-Richard-III.html?fb

 

Martin Freeman to play Shakespeare’s Richard III

Martin Freeman joins fellow Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Gatiss in tackling Shakespeare on stage

 

By Charlotte Runcie

10:44AM BST 04 Apr 2014

 

Martin Freeman, star of Sherlock and The Hobbit, will play Richard III in “a provocative production” on the London stage this summer.

 

Freeman will play the title role in Richard III at the Trafalgar Studios in London, a year before his co-star Benedict Cumberbatch will play Hamlet at the Barbican.

 

Freeman joins a roster of stars taking on Shakespearean roles on stage in London, with David Tennant playing Richard II, Jude Law as Henry V and Tom Hiddleston as Coriolanus all receiving positive reviews for their performances in recent months.

 

Mark Gatiss, who co-writes Sherlock and stars as Mycroft, also recently appeared in the Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus. The stars of Sherlock are making a habit of taking similar career directions, with Freeman and Cumberbatch co-starring in The Hobbit (as Bilbo Baggins and Smaug the dragon, respectively).

 

Freeman, who made his name playing Tim in The Office with Ricky Gervais, has a stage career including performances at the Royal Court in London and the National Theatre. Richard III will run from the 1 July to 27 September 2014.

 

Jamie Lloyd, artistic director of Trafalgar Transformed, said: “I am confident that, with the brilliant and hugely popular Martin Freeman playing the title role in a provocative production, we will continue to attract a generational mix of theatregoers to our corner of the West End. I have wanted to work with Martin for many years and am sure he will bring something unexpected and unique to this iconic role”.

 

[ . . . ]

 
 
CFP: Rome and Home: The Cultural Uses of Rome in Early Modern English Literature (EMLS Special Issue)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.169  Friday, 4 April 2014

 

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

Date:         April 4, 2014 at 4:54:11 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Rome and Home: The Cultural Uses of Rome in Early Modern English Literature (EMLS Special Issue)

 

Rome and Home: The Cultural Uses of Rome in Early Modern English Literature

 

Ancient Rome had a pervasive hold over the early modern imagination and its influence can be discerned in a variety of sources, discourses, and practices during the period. Episodes from Roman history provided the inspiration for numerous plays and narrative poems, as well as offering an effective means of interrogating such political and philosophical positions as republicanism, absolutism and stoicism. Roman history also provided a host of good and bad exemplary figures, as well as highlighting the dangers of civil war and political factionalism. Roman authors like Seneca, Juvenal, Horace, and Terence also had a considerable influence on the development of various literary genres during the period and many historical and political works were influenced by both the style and content of such commentators as Cicero and Tacitus. The influence of ancient Rome also had a bearing upon English national identity. The myth of the translatio imperii, as promulgated in the histories of Geoffrey of Monmouth, was often appropriated in propaganda as a means of legitimising England’s imperial ambitions. James I also set out to refashion himself as an Augustan ruler whose iconography owed much to the resonance of imperial Rome.

 

This special issue will explore the influence of ancient Rome upon the literature and culture of early modern England and the related issues it provoked. We therefore welcome proposals for articles that consider any aspect of this subject; topics for discussion may include (but are not restricted to):

 

· Roman history as a narrative source in early modern drama, satire, and narrative poetry.

· Translation, rhetoric, and the influence of Latin.

· The influence of republicanism and stoicism and the bearings of Roman political ideas upon debates relating to sovereignty, citizenship, and absolutism.

· The relationship between ancient Rome and English (or British) national identity.

· The use of imagery associated with the Roman Empire in royal propaganda and iconography.

· The influence of Roman sources in debates relating to political factionalism and civil war.

· The resonance of Roman culture compared with the influence of ancient Greece.

· The links between Rome and Catholicism.

 

Please send abstracts (250-300 words) to Professor Lisa Hopkins ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), Dr Daniel Cadman ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), or Dr Andrew Duxfield ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) by Friday 2 May 2014.

 
 
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