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Tales of Woo and Woe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.044  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 3, 2015 at 4:54:07 PM EST

Subject:    Tales of Woo and Woe

 

Tales of Woo and Woe: a journey of the heart opens Friday for a 2-weekend run at Center Stage Theater, upstairs at Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara. Please join us! 

 

February 6,7, 13 and 14 at 8 p.m.; matinees at 2 p.m. Sunday February 8 and Saturday Feb 14. The show runs about an hour and fifteen minutes without intermission. 

 

General admission $23; students and seniors $18 from the Center Stage box office. www.centerstagetheater.org; 963-8198

 

Here’s the playwright's note I wrote for the program:

 

How dare I collaborate with the bard, dead for 399 years? I’m grateful to DramaDogs for offering me this challenge. Shakespeare has much to say about how “the course of true love never did run smooth.” The five-part structure of Tales of Woo and Woe draws on his plays, poems and songs to create a new arc: the journey of the heart. There’s the thrill of love at first sight, then follies committed in the name of love, and then the exchange of vows. Alas, promises can fail, tormenting the heart with grief, loss, and jealousy. Valentine’s month requires a happy ending: the enduring power of love. Tales of Woo and Woe, a journey of the heart, requires little knowledge of Shakespeare’s works: its focus is on the universal challenges and delights of love that we experience in our own lives. As Romeo says, Love ‘is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like a thorn,’ and yet—it offers transcendent joy.

 

[A blogpost on writing in collaboration with William Shakespeare may be viewed at www.jinnywebber.com, Sex and Gender in Shakespeare's England Blog]

 

See you at the theater!

Jinny Webber

 
 
Has the Mystery of Shakespeare’s Sonnets Finally Been Solved?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.043  Monday, 2 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 1, 2015 at 10:18:47 AM EST

Subject:    Has the Mystery of Shakespeare’s Sonnets Finally Been Solved? 

 

[Editor’s Note: The following is from The Guardian. -Hardy

 

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/jan/31/shakespeare-sonnets-mr-wh-dedication-mystery

 

Has the mystery of Shakespeare’s Sonnets finally been solved?

Dalya Alberge

Saturday 31 January 2015

 

Some of the finest, most quoted verses in the English language were dedicated to him, and for centuries literary scholars have tried to establish his identity.

 

Now fresh research suggests that the mysterious Mr WH, to whom Shakespeare’s sonnets were dedicated, was not, as had been thought, a contemporary English nobleman, but a recently deceased associate of the Sonnets’ publisher, Thomas Thorpe, which would explain the dedication’s strangely funereal form.

 

Geoffrey Caveney, an American researcher, has unearthed possible evidence to link the initials with William Holme, who had both personal and professional connections to Thorpe. Both came from prominent Chester families, were publishing apprentices in 1580s London and had strong connections with theatres through publishing major playwrights such as Ben Jonson and George Chapman.

 

The Sonnets’ dedication reads: “To the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets Mr WH. All happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet wisheth the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth. TT [Thorpe].”

 

Some argue that WH was also the “fair youth” to whom many of the 154 sonnets are addressed, or that he was someone thanked for bringing the manuscript to Thorpe. Candidates have included Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, a noted patron, and William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, with whom Shakespeare is believed to have had some link.

 

But as aristocrats they would never have been addressed as “Mr”, Caveney said. “It would be an insult. Some people have even said that WH is just a misprint for William Shakespeare and it should have been a WSH.”

 

He now believes the dedication’s printed page was designed to resemble an inscription on a Roman funerary monument – a memorial tribute to Holme. Caveney discovered that Holme died in 1607, two years before the Sonnets were published. He concludes that Holme had previously been overlooked because he was confused with a stationer, William Holmes, who was known to be publishing up to 1615.

 

“Nobody was aware that there was [also] a publisher of that name who had died in 1607,” said Caveney. “Seeing the dedication as a memorial makes a lot of sense.” His research will be published this month by Oxford University Press in its academic journal, Notes & Queries.

 

Professor Stanley Wells, the leading British Shakespeare scholar, said: “If it were agreed by scholars, this would be pretty momentous. People have spilled an enormous quantity of ink trying to identify this figure.”

 

[ . . . ]

 

Caveney also finds Holme interesting because he published major playwrights of the day, including Jonson’s Every Man out of His Humour in 1600, and Chapman’s Monsieur D’Olive in 1606. Caveney’s research shows that Holme had a London bookshop and was a close colleague of the printer Adam Islip, who printed Every Man out of His Humour and worked with George Eld, who printed the Sonnets for Thorpe.

 

Thorpe and Holme both had close relatives who were sheriffs and mayors of Chester. Caveney has discovered evidence that both seem to have had links with prominent Catholic sympathisers of the period and were further connected with supporters of the Earl of Essex’s rebellion in 1601. He said that following the rebellion, and the gunpowder plot four years later, “it was a controversial time for people to be associated with such circles”.

 

Caveney revealed that Holme had crucial connections to royal circles through his brother, Randle, an antiquarian and authority on heraldry, who was in the service of Prince Henry, giving him close connections with “the elite circles in which Shakespeare’s sonnets would have circulated”.

 

In Caveney’s essay, he speculates on why Thorpe referred to Holme as the sonnets’ “begetter”. “As a colleague and friend of Holme, Thorpe could have found the manuscript of the Sonnets among Holme’s belongings after his death … Thorpe and his printer, Eld, registered a flurry of plays just nine days after Holme’s burial … How Holme had obtained a copy of the Sonnets cannot be precisely determined, but he had the connections to literary figures.”

 

Whether supporters of other explanations will be silenced remains to be seen.

 
 
'Ideas of Order,' by Neil L. Rudenstine

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.042  Monday, 2 February 2015

 

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

     Date:         January 30, 2015 at 2:22:19 PM EST

     Subject:    'Ideas of Order,' by Neil L. Rudenstine 

 

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

     Date:         February 1, 2015 at 10:45:11 AM EST

     Subject:    reviews of "Ideas of Order"

 

 

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

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

Date:         January 30, 2015 at 2:22:19 PM EST

Subject:    'Ideas of Order,' by Neil L. Rudenstine 

 

[Editor’s Note: This appeared in the New York Times. –Hardy]

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/books/review/ideas-of-order-by-neil-l-rudenstine.html?emc=edit_bk_20150130&nl=books&nlid=65968291

 

‘Ideas of Order,’ by Neil L. Rudenstine

By Glyn Maxwell

Jan. 30, 2015

 

Time has formed its judgment on the 154 poems that make up what we call “Shakespeare’s sonnets.” Most are known to some and some are known to all. Eight or 10 are probably here for as long as we are, two or three perhaps longer, lighting out for deep space in binary code, beyond praise or burial. Any critical word a living poet might say about them now would necessitate the wearing of a jester’s motley — with first-person “I” as one’s little stick to shake — so excuse me while I don this costume, leaf haplessly hither and thither through all 154 and cry that I would take the least of the plays over the whole blooming thing.

 

“Shakespeare’s sonnets” are a series of poems put in order almost certainly not by “William Shakespeare” but by a consensus that evolved over time. They concern a poet’s fraught relationship with three individuals we have come to know as “the Youth,” “the Rival Poet” and “the Dark Lady,” the historical identities of whom are moving away from us as rapidly as that space capsule. None of these figures were necessarily anyone ever, but their actions or inactions provoke the poet into a series of meditations on love and time and all that ripens or festers where they meet. The Youth is loved and hated, then the Lady is loved and hated, while we hear nothing from either of them and the poet gets on with his craft.

 

In the course of this series are hundreds of memorable lines, a small core of diamond-hard ideas and a handful — two handfuls — of indestructible poems. But here’s a clue: In “Ideas of Order,” the former Harvard president Neil L. Rudenstine (who makes for a dignified, engaging guide through the “black ink”) asserts that in Sonnet 116 the poet’s declarations about love “seem strained from the very beginning.” Yet these declarations include “love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds,” “it is an ever-fixed mark” and “Love’s not Time’s fool,” sentiments that have held fast over centuries for very many, beliefs that do appear to stand up to time’s scrutiny. Love doesn’t alter, for if it alters it’s not love. Iron logic. The idea seems “strained” only if read in the context of the poet’s wrangling with the capricious affections of young master X over several inferior sonnets before and after 116, which is not, thankfully, how we tend to meet it.

 

Even the most magnificent of these poems can be diminished by forcing them into the inferred narrative. “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” gains nothing from context, from who this is and what she thinks and what a mess their relationship is. Its 14 lines house perfectly one sweet, universal, unanswerable feeling: Love transcends the physical. Any event that provoked this sonnet or arises from it serves only to localize and diminish its power.

 

Rudenstine, a scholar of Renaissance literature before he became an administrator, does well to leave the identity issues reeking idly in their box: Why do we presume that the capacity for making people up deserted the master storyteller only in these sonnets? But the books keep coming, the trees keep falling for the Dark Lady. Rudenstine finds Auden’s speculation that the sonnets were a kind of diary Shakespeare kept “for himself alone” odd, but as a poet I don’t. For the sequence of the sonnets he goes with R. P. Blackmur’s reasonable guess, but Blackmur’s words (plus my italics) don’t exactly close the case: “The sequence we have seems sensible with respect to their sentiments, and almost a ‘desirable’ sequence with respect to the notion of development.” I and my shaking stick rule the sequence out of court.

 

[ . . . ]

 

IDEAS OF ORDER

A Close Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets

By Neil L. Rudenstine

243 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $26.

 

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

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

Date:         February 1, 2015 at 10:45:11 AM EST

Subject:    reviews of "Ideas of Order"

 

Just as one thread on the sonnets has ended here comes an opportunity for another one.

 

Appearing in the NYTimes Book Review is the attached review of Neil Rudenstine’s book “Ideas of Order,” that makes the case for a story behind the sonnets, though the reviewer doesn’t buy it.

 

While downloading the article I also came across a Wall Street Journal review, and am attaching that as well.  He is glad that Rudenstine had made the poems accessible to modern readers.

 

Rudenstine, a former President of Harvard, takes the obvious and dubious interpretation that the sonnets are autobiographical; however he does argue that many sonnets only make sense when understood as being part of a sequence.  The Wall Street reviewer finds the biographical angle dubious, as he points out Shakespeare’s sense of social propriety evident in his work and part of doing business (this is the Wall Street Journal!).  I would add that the readily available interpretation that a playwright easily imagines the psychological workings of an imaginary speaker is also key for someone in the theater business.  

 

So, with trepidation, I offer these articles to SHAKSPER.

 

Greg Woodruff

 

New York Times Review: icon Ideas of Order NYTimes

 

Wall Street Journal Review: icon Ideas of Order WSJ

 
 
Sam Waterston to Star in 'The Tempest' in Central Park

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.041  Monday, 2 February 2015

 

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

Date:         January 30, 2015 at 10:29:01 AM EST

Subject:    Sam Waterston to Star in 'The Tempest' in Central Park 

 

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/sam-waterston-to-star-in-the-tempest-in-central-park/?_r=0

 

Sam Waterston to Star in ‘The Tempest’ in Central Park

By Patrick Healy 

January 29, 2015 

 

The Public Theater on Thursday announced the lineup for its free Shakespeare in the Park program this summer: Sam Waterston will star as Prospero in “The Tempest” at the Delacorte Theater, followed by the Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan’s staging of “Cymbeline.”

 

“The Tempest,” Shakespeare’s classic about a father and daughter grappling with age, love and magic as their island is overrun with visitors, will be directed by the Tony nominee Michael Greif, who last worked at the Delacorte, in Central Park, in 2010, mounting “The Winter’s Tale.” The play will run May 27-July 5. Mr. Waterston made his debut at the Delacorte in 1963 in “As You Like It,” and most recently performed Shakespeare at the Public in the title role in “King Lear.”

 

Mr. Sullivan directed at the Delacorte last summer with his own “Lear,” starring John Lithgow. “Cymbeline,” a Shakespearean romance about the fallout from a secret marriage, kidnapped princes and royal scheming, will run July 27-Aug. 23.

 

Full casting for both plays will be announced later.

 
 
Registration for Making Links Conference Now Open

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.040  Monday, 2 February 2015

 

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

Date:         Friday, January 30, 2015 at 1:22 PM

Subject:    Registration for Making Links Conference Now Open

 

Registration is now open for the conference, ”Making Links,” at the University of Victoria on 7th-8th April, following the SAA meeting in Vancouver:

 

http://conferences.uvic.ca./index.php/ise/makinglinks/index

 

The cost of registration is CAD55 before 1 March, CAD75 thereafter. Lunch for both days is included in the registration fee.

 

The conference venue is on the campus at the University of Victoria; the conference hotel is the Laurel Point Inn right on Victoria’s inner harbor and a short walk from downtown. Transportation will be provided from the hotel to the University. The section of the website that offers advice on accommodation and travel has a link to the hotel, where you can book at the conference rate of CAD99.00 per night. This rate will apply both before and after the conference if you have time to make a holiday of your trip. You will also find information about traveling from Vancouver to Victoria in the section of the site on accommodation.

 

As you will see from the program the conference features a range of papers looking at the opportunities presented by the digital medium in developing and publishing editions of Early Modern drama. Our plenary speaker will be James Mardock, whose paper is titled  "Cyborgs are the New Codex: Reading Machines and the Editing of Early Modern Texts.” 

 

The afternoons will each offer a choice between two workshops, one targeted at those working with texts specifically being created for the ISE (and its sibling sites, the Queen’s Men Editions and Digital Renaissance Editions), the other at more general issues in the creation of digital editions. When you register, you will have an opportunity to sign up for the workshops that interest you — it would be wise to make your choice early.

 

The conference banquet will be held at Il Covo, a short walk from the hotel, and will cost CAD55 per person. You can sign up for the banquet (and include a guest) when you register.

 

We very much look forward to seeing you in Victoria.

 

All good wishes,

Michael, Janelle, and Erin

 

Michael Best

Coordinating Editor, Internet Shakespeare Editions

<http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/>

Department of English, University of Victoria

Victoria B.C. V8W 3W1, Canada. 

 
 
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