Book Announcement: Queering the Shakespeare Film

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.407  Friday, 2 December 2016

 

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

Date:         December 1, 2016 at 4:08:40 PM EST

Subject:    Book Announcement: Queering the Shakespeare Film

 

November 17, 2016, was the official publication date of my book, Queering the Shakespeare Film: Gender Trouble, Gay Spectatorship and Male Homoeroticism (London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2017). 

 

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/queering-the-shakespeare-film-9781474237031/

 

If anyone is interested in purchasing an individual (as opposed to an institutional) copy at a 35% discount, please get in touch with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I will forward a flyer from Bloomsbury with the discount ordering information to those folks.

 

A preview from the Introduction to Queering the Shakespeare Film is available here: http://bloomsburycp3.codemantra.com/Widget_Marketing.aspx?ID=QSF&ISBN=9781474237055&sts=r

 

Best regards,

 

Tony

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.406  Thursday, 1 December 2016

 

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

     Date:         November 30, 2016 at 3:14:21 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: MV

 

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

     Date:         November 30, 2016 at 3:23:53 PM EST

     Subj:         Merchant of Venice Thread

 

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

     Date:         November 30, 2016 at 3:27:11 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: MV

 

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

     Date:         November 30, 2016 at 5:05:28 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: MV

 

 

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

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

Date:         November 30, 2016 at 3:14:21 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV

 

Bill Blanton’s speculation about Shylock’s reference to Jacob’s staff won’t work. Yes, it could refer to something used for measuring the altitude of the sun (OED 2.a) but it could also refer to a staff with a dagger concealed in it (OED 3) and also a pilgrim’s staff (OED 1). But the primary reference is back to Genesis 32.10 “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercyes and trueth whiche thou hast shewed vnto thy seruaunt: for with my staffe came I ouer this Iordane” (Bishops Bible) - and there is nothing odd about a Jew referring to that. That the phrase might have meanings which Shylock would not have wished to refer to increases the resonances of the phrase but cannot remove its primary and entirely appropriate source. 

 

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

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

Date:         November 30, 2016 at 3:23:53 PM EST

Subject:    Merchant of Venice Thread

 

I have enjoyed the MV thread, except for one problem:  it has gone on for a good two years, and I have forgotten what the purpose originally was.  I would love it if William Blanton would give a recap of this fascinating thread, perhaps with some of the demurrals.

 

Michael Luskin

 

[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         November 30, 2016 at 3:27:11 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV

 

I feel I’m going to regret this, but still ...

 

Mr. Blanton, I can’t see that Shylock is the devil, or that the play would be improved if he were. Think about Othello here. Othello refers to his wife as a “fair devil”; that doesn’t make her one. Of course, he is wrong in what he thinks he knows; but when he looks down at Iago’s feet, he doesn’t see anything but human ones even there.

 

Characters don’t need to be metaphysical principles in order to be evil.  And if Shylock were actually the devil, it wouldn’t save Shakespeare from a charge of anti-semitism since he’d have chosen to present Old Nick that way.

 

Julia Griffin

 

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

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

Date:         November 30, 2016 at 5:05:28 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV

 

I am immodest enough to pit my legal training and skill against Mr. Blanton’s, who, while claiming legal acumen, acknowledges his unfamiliarity with the principles of literary criticism.  I do not make the same admission.  That is the context in which I present this comment on Blanton’s outre contention that Shakespeare intended Shylock to be understood as being literally—pace Rob Lowe; in this case I mean “literally” literally—the devil (not a devil, but the one and only).

 

Mr. Blanton is certainly correct that lawyers and judges attempt to discern the intentions of contracts and statutes by resort to their entirety and, initially, the plain meaning of the words.  But that is often not the end of the inquiry.  When there is an ambiguity, other interpretive tools and maxims come into play.  In this case, it would be impossible to say that the plain meaning of M/V is that Shylock is literally the devil; if that were so, sixteen generations could not have passed since 1596 without some scholar making the same observation.  Since the plain meaning cannot govern where the text is ambiguous, resort must be had to the other tools and maxims; but Mr. Blanton does not invoke any of them.  Indeed, he does not correctly apply the very precepts he relies on. Thus, to support a plain meaning interpretation, Blanton resorts to metaphor (strained at that), speculation, and his own “impressions.”

 

I too have found that my lawyer’s hermeneutic skills can be helpful in construing a confusing passage.  See, e.g., L. Weiss, A Solution to the stubborn crux in The Comedy of Errors, 12 Shakespeare 148-160 (BSA, Taylor & Francis, 2016), online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17450918.2014.963658 (2014).  But there are distinct limits to this.  Literature has its own conventions which vary enormously from the precepts of contract and statute drafting.  The pleasure of reading literary works or seeing them performed depends in large measure on the artfulness of the language; it frequently employs metaphor, simile and other tropes to make points dramatically.  The departure from plain meaning is inherent in much literature, especially Shakespeare.  On the other hand, the main precept of legal drafting is to say only what is meant in as precise language as possible.  A lawyer would not try to make a contract more interesting by substituting a metaphor for the things or acts he intends to describe.  For example, a contract clause prohibiting one of the parties from disparaging the other would say so explicitly, it would not say that “during the term of this Agreement and perpetually thereafter Party A must not fling mud or hurl stones in the direction of Party B.”

 

 

 

 

Romeo and Juliet: Two Questions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.405  Thursday, 1 December 2016

 

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

Date:         November 30, 2016 at 4:00:46 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Rom. Questions

 

Romeo’s “by the book” kissing seems to convey the same idea as Mercutio’s comment that Tybalt “fights by the book of arithmetic.”  It is common for Shakespeare to employ similar images in the same play, as if they are stuck in his mind like a tune.

 

 

 

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