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Adventures in Original Punctuation

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.124  Wednesday, 11 March 2015


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

Date:         March 10, 2015 at 5:06:37 PM EDT

Subject:    OP


William Blanton seems to object to being corrected:


> Whatever happened to 'gladly would he learn and

> gladly teach?' . . . You all could learn some

> things about The Merchant of Venice from me,

> and could no doubt teach me things that I do

> not know.


No rudeness is intended on my part, but I think, William, that you’re overlooking a key part of that process, which is the acknowledgement of error. Regarding the relationship between Q1 and Folio The Merchant of Venice you wrote:


> Professor Bate and other Shakespearean scholars have

> determined that Shakespeare marked up a copy of Q1

> when he wrote the version of the play that Hemings

> and Condell included in F1.


This is a surprising claim to make about Bate. I believe it is untrue and that he wouldn’t make such a claim about Shakespeare writing on a copy of Q1.  You quote Bate’s RSC edition saying for this play that “the Folio text was printed from a marked-up copy of the First Quarto” as though this is the same as what you claimed about Bate’s view, but it really isn’t. The difference is just who did the marking up, and that’s crucial for your argument.


It’s really quite okay to say “Oh, I see, thanks for the correction—I was misreading Bate”. If you don’t do this and instead persist in acting as if you were right all along, people will get tetchy with you.

If you think I’m wrong and that your representation of Bate’s view is accurate, show me where I’m wrong and I promise I’ll retract what I’ve said and thank you for the correction. That’s how we make progress and learn from one another.


Gerald E. Downs doesn’t find convincing the explanation I suggested for the press variant near the top of page G4r in Q:


> But the variant shorter lines cannot have resulted

> strictly by accident. If accident began the sequence

> . . .


Just to be clear, my suggestion was not of mere accident to the type but of miscorrection. But, no, I don’t find this explanation terribly convincing either, which is why I added the qualifier that it “might, I suppose” have happened. The trouble is that the usual explanation isn’t terribly convincing either:


> This doesn't conform to the 'general agreement'

> that the longer lines represent the corrected

> state. I wonder if Gabriel accepts the general

> agreement . . .


Well, no, I’m expressing dissatisfaction with the usual explanation because it requires that after consulting copy to insert the missing words the compositor nonetheless failed to correct the work “bleak[e]” in the same line. We can make sense of “bleake” as a good reading based on a Somerset dialect form of “bleat[e]” but it’s a bit strained, don’t you think?


A good reason to question the “general agreement” about which is the uncorrected and which the corrected state of the type is the absence of other press variants on the same forme that might help us decide the ‘before’ and ‘after’ state of the type. That is, the general agreement is about just this variant and is not based on something else outside of it.


If Downs thinks that the general agreement is right, could he give his explanation for the corrected state nonetheless requiring a ewe to “bleake”?


Gabriel Egan

The Secret Code Word Shakespeare Devilishly Hid in Plain Sight in Romeo & Juliet that Shakespeare Uncovered DIDN’T Uncover—but John Milton (and then I) did!

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.123  Wednesday, 11 March 2015


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

     Date:         March 9, 2015 at 1:55:34 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Secret Code 


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

     Date:         March 9, 2015 at 2:46:35 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Secret Code 




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

Date:         March 9, 2015 at 1:55:34 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Secret Code


Re Arnie Perlstein’s SECRET SATAN...


It occurs to me that since Brooke, Shakespeare, and Milton published their SATAN acrostics in 1562, 1597 and 1667 that there must have been one published in 1632, so that they would all appear a uniform 35 years apart. Maybe the 1632 Second Folio of Shakespeare counts, though that hardly seems fair.  Perhaps Lyly’s ‘Six Court Comedies’?


And what was published in 1527 and 1702? We have some SATAN scouting to do.


Need I point out that the 35-year gaps are not without significance? 35 is 5 x 7; and 5 + 7 =12. So there you have the 12 tribes of Israel, the Seven Deadly Sinnes and the Five, uh.... hmmm I’ll have to get back to you on that...



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

Date:         March 9, 2015 at 2:46:35 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Secret Code


In his lengthy post on the possible SATAN acrostic which he finds in R&J, Arnie Perlstein observes that a “passage from Brooke’s poem could never in a million million million years occur by coincidence ...”.  A “million million million” is of course 10 to the power of six raised to the power of six and all of which is once more raised to the sixth power.  Those successive exponents strongly evoke the number of the beast in Revelation.  Surely that could not have been a coincidence; or was it? 

Fans of Macbeth Might Appreciate This

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.121  Wednesday, 11 March 2015


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

Date:         March 10, 2015 at 2:40:46 PM EDT

Subject:    Fans of Macbeth Might Appreciate This


From the Poetry Foundation: I’ve never seen it before, myself, but I like it!


Poem of the Day:


By Ina Coolbrith


O melody, what children strange are these 

   From thy most vast, illimitable realm? 

   These sounds that seize upon and overwhelm 

   The soul with shuddering ecstasy! Lo! here 

   The night is, and the deeds that make night fear; 

Wild winds and waters, and the sough of trees 

   Tossed in the tempest; wail of spirits banned, 

   Wandering, unhoused of clay, in the dim land; 

The incantation of the Sisters Three, 

   Nameless of deed and name – the mystic chords 

   Weird repetitions of the mystic words; 

   The mad, remorseful terrors of the Thane, 

   And bloody hands – which bloody must remain. 

   Last, the wild march; the battle hand to hand 

Of clashing arms, in awful harmony, 

   Sublimely grand, and terrible as grand! 

The clan-cries; the barbaric trumpetry; 

   And the one fateful note, that, throughout all, 

   Leads, follows, calls, compels, and holds in thrall.


Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

Michael Almereyda's Cymbeline Film

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.120  Wednesday, 11 March 2015


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

Date:         11 March 2015 05:17

Subject:    Michael Almereyda's Cymbeline Film


Michael Almereyda’s Cymbeline will finally get a limited US release next week. I imagine it is now rolling out, or about to, overseas, as well.


“Cymbeline”: Ethan Hawke, Dakota Johnson and Ed Harris highlight a weird Shakespeare update


Ignore the haters: One of the Bard’s least-loved plays becomes a bloody, no-budget biker movie—and it's awesome


By Andrew O’Hehir


“Every good servant does not all commands,” muses Posthumus, the tormented young British warrior in Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline,” played by Penn Badgley in Michael Almereyda’s eccentric but addictive zero-budget, gang-war adaptation. He means that the best way to follow the orders of a lord or king is to follow your own conscience instead – “No bond but to do just ones” – which gets at the heart of what this tangled and unloved play is about. These are core Shakespearean questions, to be sure: How do we decide what is true morality, and what is social convention? Whom do we trust? And how do we make amends when we have done wrong? I don’t know if I’m supposed to issue a spoiler alert for a play first performed in 1611, but Posthumus – who thinks he is a cuckold, a wife-killer and a traitor, and is going into battle in search of death — doesn’t know yet that his loyal servant Pisanio (John Leguizamo) has followed this advice to the letter.


It’s easy to beat up on Almereyda’s restaging of “Cymbeline,” a work nominally set in Roman Britain around the time of Christ, as a cheaply made gangland drama with motorcycle jackets, pickup trucks, iPads and automatic weapons. There’s no question it demands considerable suspension of disbelief. There was an unfortunate critical pile-on after the film’s premiere at Venice last fall, and even with a crackling cast that also includes Ed Harris as the hotheaded King Cymbeline, Ethan Hawke as the duplicitous Iachimo, Dakota Johnson as the wronged princess Imogen and Milla Jovovich as her diabolical stepmother, this is a tiny release with minimal box-office prospects. But there’s a certain conceptual purity to this film – the purity of exploitation cinema and community theater, swirled into a strange combo – that leaves me indisposed to mockery. If John Carpenter had ever done a Shakespeare film, this might be it. Almereyda, a veteran indie warrior who has never chosen the easy road, made me feel the moral passion and emotional risk beneath the surface of a play that is often considered a failure.


To say that “Cymbeline” is unusual among Shakespeare’s plays is putting it mildly. A tangled tale of war and family intrigue loosely based on legends about the real-life Celtic king known as Cunobeline or Cynfelyn, it bears even less relationship to actual history than most of the Bard’s so-called history plays. It was originally classified as a tragedy and now usually considered one of Shakespeare’s “late romances,” but “Cymbeline” borrows so many devices from the earlier comedies that Harold Bloom floated the thesis that it should be read as self-parody. There’s a woman who conceals herself by dressing as a boy, a woman whose virtue is cast into doubt (unjustly, of course) and a woman considered dead who isn’t – and all the same woman, at that. A pair of rustic teenagers turn out to be lost princes, a father’s ghost shows up with timely advice and there’s a magic poison that simulates death and an entirely literal deus ex machina, when the god Jupiter shows up in person. (Thankfully, Almereyda has cut that out.)


[ . . . ]


All the best,
Mike Jensen 

CFP: Appropriation in an Age of Global Shakespeare (11/12-14, 2015, UGA)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.119  Wednesday, 11 March 2015


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

Date:         March 10, 2015 at 10:03:11 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP: Appropriation in an Age of Global Shakespeare (11/12-14, 2015, UGA)


February 20, 2015


Call for Papers: “Appropriation in an Age of Global Shakespeare”


University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA, November 12, 13, and 14, 2015


A conference to be held on November 13-15, 2015, at the University of Georgia (UGA) and sponsored by the University Libraries, the Willson Center for Arts and Humanities, the Department of English, the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, the Office of Service Learning, and the University of Georgia Symposium on the Book.




2015 marks the tenth anniversary of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. The journal, founded and co-edited by Christy Desmet and Sujata Iyengar, is internationally recognized as the leading venue for publications on the topic of Shakespearean Appropriation: prequels, sequels, recyclings, and rewritings of all kinds from across the globe. The journal, which won the Best New Journal Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals in 2007, publishes original criticism from leading scholars around the world and from emerging scholars in this always-changing field.


To mark this anniversary, we are joining forces with the UGA Symposium on the Book to hold a three-day intensive conference on the topic of “Appropriation in the Age of Global Shakespeare.” As the world gathered in London for the 2012 Olympics, viewers and participants also experienced Shakespeare productions in dozens of world languages from every continent except Antarctica. The Cultural Olympiad, which ran the entire year, showcased Shakespeare through the Globe to Globe Festival, which brought theatrical companies from all over the world to perform Shakespeare in London. Currently, a small traveling company from Shakespeare's Globe in London has embarked on a two-year odyssey, with the intent of performing Hamlet in every nation in the world. Closer to home, Emory University's World Shakespeare Project connects U.S. university students with the counterparts in U.S. tribal colleges and other nations ranging from India to Morocco. The intercultural conversation produced from these and similar enterprises creates a new Shakespeare, one for our global digital age that necessarily incorporates many forms of appropriation, including changing media forms that encompass, transcend, and remediate traditional modes of experiencing Shakespeare such as the printed book and the stage performance.


Invited plenary speakers include Eric Rasmussen, Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, who recently authenticated a long-lost Shakespeare folio in an eighteenth-century French archive; Alexa Huang of George Washington University, whose book Chinese Shakespeares won the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association in 2011 and who is currently a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Global Shakespeare at Queen Mary University of London and University of Warwick; Sheila Cavanagh, Professor of English at Emory University and Director of the World Shakespeare Project; and Sharon O'Dair, Hudson Strode Professor of English and Director of the Strode Program at the University of Alabama.




At this stage we call for 15-20 minute papers broadly addressing the conference topic. Potential subjects include Shakespearean Media Old and New; Victorian and Edwardian Shakespeares Worldwide; Shakespeare and World-making; Shakespearean Polities; International Shakespeare Texts and Translations; Global Performance and Intermediality; Intercultural Theories of Shakespearean Adaptation; and so on.


Send 150-word abstracts and a three-sentence biographical statement to Professor Sujata Iyengar <iyengar at> and Professor Miriam Jacobson <jacobson at> no later than April 10, 2015.


Decisions will be made by the conference steering committee.


Dr. Sujata Iyengar, Professor of English

Co-general editor of Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation

Department of English

University of Georgia

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

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

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