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The Sonnets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.202  Tuesday, 22 April 2014

 

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

     Date:         April 22, 2014 at 6:13:19 AM EDT

     Subject:    The Sonnets

 

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

     Date:         April 22, 2014 at 8:56:01 AM EDT

     Subject:    Sonnets 

 

 

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

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

Date:         April 22, 2014 at 6:13:19 AM EDT

Subject:    The Sonnets

 

My dialogue with John Drakakis started with his opinion that the Sonnets present “a collection that is, in terms of a story, incoherent”. In response, I outlined a story which emerges both naturally and coherently (from the platform of some objective, external evidence).

 

John chose neither to accept, nor to test this development—thereby establishing an approach to our debate which he has maintained steadfastly.

 

Now he says I am confusing ‘probability’ and ‘possibility’—though he has ignored the evidence on which I base my assessments. He is concerned that I (or others) may “see some of the later sonnets in the sequence as evidence that Shakespeare had contracted a sexually transmitted disease”.

 

Well, I have never presented the Sonnets as evidence that Shakespeare had an STD—nor have I relied on speculations on “life in Elizabethan and Jacobean England”. I prefer interpretations which are in line with objective, external evidence.

 

John, I have two challenges for you. I am afraid they are repetitious, because you have ignored earlier invitations to comment thereon.

 

First, (so that we may assess your personal settings for assessment of  ‘probability’ and ‘possibility’) do you consider it “probable” or merely “possible” that young William attended the grammar school in Stratford?

 

Second, I have summarized my argument (for the high probability that the Sonnets represent private correspondence from Shakespeare to Wriothesley, subsequently published without their consent). It is divided into seven, easily understood steps (as re-presented in my last post, responding to Julia Crockett). Will you now assess each step, so that we may understand precisely where, and why, you disagree with the elements of the argument? 

 

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

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

Date:         April 22, 2014 at 8:56:01 AM EDT

Subject:    Sonnets

 

Did not intend to be offensive to Ian. I read this from Barbara Everett years ago and it always (largely) struck me as a great piece. I do not know if you have access to it. London Review of Books, Vol.30 No.9*8 May 2008 ‘Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Sonnet.’ Where she is so clever is that she trashes the autobiographical. At the same time in attempting to clarify the ex tempore exploration of the passions (to her beyond the arid Sidney) she leaves the personal speculative.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-MpE_nTvOfjq0YRAd5Xq5ncWhDgqEc43s1sUXwV0Td4/edit

 
 
Universalism and Essentialism

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.201  Tuesday, 22 April 2014

 

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

Date:         April 22, 2014 at 11:12:33 AM EDT

Subject:    Q: Universalism and Essentialism

 

At a recent conference, the claim was made that one should not advise graduate students to read older scholarship because almost all of it is “tainted by universalism and essentialism.”  

 

Any thoughts?

 

Dennis Taylor

Emeritus Professor of English

Editor Emeritus, Religion and the Arts

Boston College

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The Battle to Build Shakespeare’s Globe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.200  Tuesday, 22 April 2014

 

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

Date:         April 21, 2014 at 3:51:50 PM EDT

Subject:    The Battle to Build Shakespeare’s Globe

 

Interesting article in The Financial Times

 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/a0acf326-c4a3-11e3-b2fb-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2zK25Kg3j

 

Julia Crockett

 

******************

The battle to build Shakespeare’s Globe

By Chris Laoutaris

 

The revealing story of the battle behind the creation of Shakespeare’s Globe

 

This week marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Yet the way we remember history’s most renowned playwright might have been very different had it not been for a formidable foe.

 

In November 1596 a woman named Elizabeth Russell declared war on Shakespeare and his theatrical troupe, in the process nearly destroying the dramatist’s career. Russell rarely features in accounts of Shakespeare’s life, yet her actions determined how we think of him today: as the Shakespeare of the Globe Theatre.

 

In the National Archives in Kew there is a bundle of curious papers, identified by the prosaic reference number SP 12/260. The documents include two petitions to Queen Elizabeth I’s Privy Council. The first is headed by Lady Russell and records her endeavour to block the opening of a spectacular new theatre which Shakespeare was about to occupy less than a two-minute walk south of her home in Blackfriars, London. This unassuming manuscript discloses a scarcely believable act of betrayal, for among its 31 signatories are Shakespeare’s publisher, Richard Field, and his patron, George Carey, the Lord Hunsdon.

 

Two folios on from this, another document, apparently in answer to the first, bears the name “Will[ia]m Shakespeare” and is a counter-plea by the playwright and his fellow actors to allow the theatre to open, complaining that the Blackfriars inhabitants’ mission to “shut up” the playhouse has left them with “no other means whereby to maintain their wives and families”. This counter-petition caused a sensation when it was revealed in 1860 to be an elaborate hoax, fabricated some 30 years previously by the notorious forger John Payne Collier. Touched with infamy by association, Russell’s influential petition dropped out of public consciousness, along with her extraordinary story.

 

[ . . . ]

 
 
Review of R&J and Taming Shrew at Bryn Mawr

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.199  Tuesday, 22 April 2014

 

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

Date:         April 21, 2014 at 11:47:48 PM EDT

Subject:    Review of R&J and Taming Shrew at Bryn Mawr

 

The Bryn Mawr College Shakespeare Performance Troupe presents two plays each fall and two more each spring. The players are Bryn Mawr students, as are the overwhelming majority of the audience—in fact, they are good friends of the players. The SPT chooses the plays, auditions and selects the actors, and sets direction; the school is not involved.

 

This spring, the SPT presented Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. They were both fairly well done. The directors chose to explore sexual issues and make the plays more modern and relevant The Taming of the Shrew was far more successful.

 

The Romeo and Juliet director tried to make the play a parable of a modernity with strong military overtones. Or so the playbill said. Montague wore mismatched pieces of an American army officer’s uniform, and that was the extent of military symbolism. The director removed most of the best poetry from the play. The best performance was by the actress who played Friar Lawrence. The nurse’s role was badly cut, no military significance there, and she mugged and emoted to make up for it.

 

The Taming of the Shrew was a different story. It is amazing that so strongly feminist school as Bryn Mawr would bother to try to refocus the play in terms of modern women’s issues, but that is exactly what Bryn Mawr did. And did so very well. The problem presented was not that Petruchio was an unthinking oppressor, it was that Kate was a strong woman, with quality and value of her own, being forced to conform to the world around her, not just to Petruchio and the other males in her life. The word, “genderfluid,” was used to describe a woman NOT a shrew, but who has qualities associated with being a strong male. Somehow they pulled this off and kept a great deal  of the play’s humor besides.

 

The Taming of the Shrew had outstanding direction. Both Kate and Bianca were excellent—and VERY funny. Even the less important characters had their moments, there was almost no hamming, and I hope that this director does several more plays while at Bryn Mawr. The audience loved the performance, every joke, and every pratfall.

 

The plays were performed in the great hall of Rhoads Dormitory. The room is narrow and high with the worst acoustics imaginable. There is a sweet spot in the center, about two thirds of the way back, where the sound is crystal clear. The students knew that and concentrated in that area, leaving the “good” seats up front to the visitors. There was no scenery to speak of and the play was performed in front of a twenty-foot high window, facing west, so the audience was treated to a blinding display of the setting sun for the first twenty minutes or so. The hall is just above a pond and a flock of ducks and geese made an amazing racket until well after sundown. Finally, in the second act, a fire alarm went off nearby and many fire trucks quickly responded, contributing to the hubbub—and the play. Somehow it added to the spirit, everybody loved the entire show, which was serious, funny and very well done. If the Marx Brothers ever did Shakespeare with Betty Friedan, you would have gotten something like this.

 
 
CFP: Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Conference

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.198  Tuesday, 22 April 2014

 

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

Date:         April 21, 2014 at 3:36:14 PM EDT

Subject:    MAPACA CFP

 

Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Conference 2014

 

Call for Papers MAPACA 2014

November 6-8, 2014

Baltimore, MD

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Conference

 

The wealth of material found in the Middle Ages and Renaissance continues to attract modern audiences with new creative works in areas such as fiction, film, and computer games, which make use of medieval and/or early modern themes, characters, or plots. This is a call for papers or panels dealing with any aspect of medieval or Renaissance representation in popular culture. In particular, we would be interested in papers focusing on themes related to the notion of an anniversary, as this conference marks MAPACA’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Additional topics for this area include, but are not limited to the following:

-Modern portrayals of any aspect of Arthurian legends or Shakespeare

-Modern versions or adaptations of any other Medieval or Renaissance writer

-Modern investigations of historical figures such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Richards, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scotts

-Teaching medieval and Renaissance texts to modern students

-Medieval or Renaissance links to fantasy fiction, gaming, comics, video games, etc.

 

-Medieval or Renaissance Dramas

-The Middle Ages or Renaissance on the Internet

-Renaissance fairs

 

Panel and Workshop proposals are also welcome.

Submit a 250-word proposal including A/V requests along with a CV or brief bio by June 30, 2014to our online submissions form at www.mapaca.net

For further information, please contact:
Diana Vecchio
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and

Mary Behrman

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Co-Chairs Beowulf to Shakespeare

 
 
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