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Gobbo Name

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.186  Wednesday, 14 April 2015


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

     Date:         April 14, 2015 at 6:29:56 PM EDT

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Gobbo 


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

     Date:         April 14, 2015 at 6:59:19 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER:  Gobbo 




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

Date:         April 14, 2015 at 6:29:56 PM EDT

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Gobbo


I suspect I may have missed something in the former exchanges in this thread, as I’m not altogether sure why William Blanton’s three criteria are necessary – that is, studies “(1) by experienced trial attorneys who have (2) familiarized themselves with sixteenth century English law and trial procedure and (3) who have analyzed the Trial Scene as though it were a trial.”


Maxine Mackay’s 1964 SQ article, “The Merchant of Venice: A Reflection of the Early Conflict Between Courts of Law and Courts of Equity” fulfils the second and third criteria, but must it be dismissed for failure to meet the first?


And from within the field of legal scholarship, I can’t be sure if Professor of Law John Denvir met the first criterion before he published “William Shakespeare and the Jurisprudence of Comedy” in the Stanford Law Review, 1987, but his description of Portia’s strategies in the trial scene look to me like they at least speak to some knowledge of the first criterion, if not direct experience. Similarly, Professor of Law Carrie Menkel-Meadow’s article, “Portia Redux” from the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, 1994-95, addresses questions of Portia’s behaviour in the context of broader discussions about “woman’s lawyering” and trial conduct historically and in the modern era.


Of more contemporary vintage, and which should surely not be disregarded in the present discussion, are at least three studies by Professor Tim Stretton, who may or may not fulfil the first criteria, but who has certainly more than met the second and third criteria (his bio and selected publications can be found here: – I think it may be helpful here if William Blanton could explain why failure to meet the first criterion would disqualify Stretton’s studies (or any others that meet the second and third criteria – and of these there are many) from consideration in these discussions? I’m afraid that if it is simply a matter of claiming to be the first to meet all three criteria, it’s hard for me to see the point -- I’m sure all of us could find a similar set of three criteria for any of our publications, allowing us to stamp a pioneering claim on the territory in question. 





Associate Professor Laurie Johnson

(English and Cultural Studies)

University of Southern Queensland


Vice-President of ANZSA (Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association)



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

Date:         April 14, 2015 at 6:59:19 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER:  Gobbo


[Picture, at your preference, James Mason or Tony Hancock clearing his throat, straightening his wig, and bringing a hand to each lapel, thumbs tucked behind. Slowly, he begins to speak.]


“M’lud, gentlemen and ladies of the jury, my learned opponent Mr Blanton is, by his own account, a JD with honors from the University of Texas School of Law and was a litigator in Houston for 20 years.

This much he has told us, and this much we must, in all courtesy, grant him.


He stands before you today with a theory about the spellings in the quarto and Folio editions of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. He wants you to believe that Shakespeare was able to control just how his words were spelt in the editions of his plays.


He claims no expertise [shaking head] in how books were printed, but he has an opinion on it. “I do not believe”, he tells us, “that some unknown compositor, tasked with using a perfectly legible copy of Q1 with a few mark-ups, would bother to change the spelling from Q1 unless it was one of those few mark-ups”.


My learned opponent has told you, the jury, nothing about the reasons compositors might have had for changing spelling. He has not troubled you with stories of a compositor’s spelling habits being traced across the Folio. He has not laboured to acquaint you with the evidence for how this particular compositor spelt a word here, or there, in other plays in the Folio.


He need not trouble you with the details of hand-press printing or labour to acquaint you with the evidence that has been so painstakingly acquired by the diligence of others. He need take no pains because, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Blanton has something much more potent than evidence or logic or reason.


He has, it must be acknowledged, that most puissant of all weapons: belief. And when belief rears its mighty form no puny combatants dressed in the frail armaments of fact and logic can withstand its force. [Long pause for this inescapable truth to settle in the jury-members’ minds.]


“Anyway, that’s what I believe”, thunders Mr Blanton.  To the pedants and nay-sayers he casts his dismissive “You and other professionals may well disagree”.  In the name of all that you hold dear, ladies and gentlemen, do not trouble Mr Blanton with the complications that would stand between him and his beliefs. He has formed ‘em. [Slowing now.] He has put ‘em into a presentable habit. And now he must air ‘em.  No power in the land can deny him that right, nor should it seek to.


But you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what do YOU believe?”


Gabriel Egan

Criticism of Erne

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.186  Wednesday, 14 April 2015


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

Date:         April 15, 2015 at 7:43:26 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Erne


Gerald E. Downs wrote:


>Jim Carroll further observes:


>>. . . this idea that Shakespeare did not have interest in

>>having his plays published has never made any sense to me.


>That’s OK, because no one says that. The question is whether the

>evidence (the early editions) indicates Shakespeare’s participation 

>in the process that actually occurred. The answer’s ‘No.’


Actually, I’m prepared to say that: I’m almost certain that I’ve said it before. The idea is anachronistic: poems were regarded as ‘literature’ (especially by Shakespeare), but plays weren’t. There was certainly a demand for published playscripts, but they were probably regarded as ‘novelisations’ - and the Bad Quartos are certainly of that quality. Just about the first person to wish to publish his plays was Ben Jonson - and he was mocked for including his plays in his folio ‘Works’. One contemporary wag said that Jonson had forgotten the difference between Work and Play. Jonson would likely have taken a copy of his Works to Stratford as a present for Shakespeare. I have no idea if Jonson’s Works killed Shakespeare or if he simply drank too much at the launch party... Had he lived, Shakespeare could well have changed his mind and wished to publish his plays - his former colleagues certainly did, hence the Pavier Quartos and the First Folio.


John Briggs

R.I.P. Bill Godshalk

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.185  Wednesday, 14 April 2015


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

     Date:         April 15, 2015 at 7:18:35 AM EDT

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Bill Godshalk 


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

     Date:         April 15, 2015 at 9:12:38 AM EDT

     Subject:    Bill Godshalk 




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

Date:         April 15, 2015 at 7:18:35 AM EDT

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Bill Godshalk


It is with great sadness that I received the news of Bill Godshalk's death. We met once at an SAA conference, but he was a lively, and witty correspondent in the early years of SHAKSPER, and the many bouts of sparring in which we engaged never sunk to the level of gratuitous insult to which the list has been recently subjected. Some of the funniest exchanges also involved the late Terry Hawkes. Bill holds a memorable place in the history of SHAKSPER.


My deepest sympathies to his family


John Drakakis



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

Date:         April 15, 2015 at 9:12:38 AM EDT

Subject:    Bill Godshalk


Very sad to hear the news about Bill Godshalk.   He was a long-standing friend to the electronic journal EMLS, and served on our Editorial Board from the very first issue in 1995.


He was also way ahead of his time, in that even earlier than that he was one of the first Shakespeare scholars to make his work publically available in electronic form.  In May 1993 he posted the typically excellent essay on the SHAKSPER mailserver.  This was before graphical browsers for the internet.  To get the essay, you had to type an instruction to your computer to TELL LISTSERV AT UTORONTO GET 12NIGHT ALLONOTH SHAKSPER.  It seemed very bizarre, back then, that you could type commands like that into a machine and get back in exchange high-quality Shakespeare criticism, but Bill saw its potential sooner than most.  



Professor of English

Sheffield Hallam University

‘Cry, Trojans!’: Wooster Group’s Take on ‘Troilus and Cressida’

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.184  Wednesday, 14 April 2015


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

Date:         April 15, 2015 at 10:51:15 AM EDT

Subject:    ‘Cry, Trojans!’: Wooster Group’s Take on ‘Troilus and Cressida’


Review: ‘Cry, Trojans!’ Is the Wooster Group’s Take on ‘Troilus and Cressida’

By Ben Brantley

April 7, 2015


There’s smoke rising from the tepee that occupies upstage-center at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. But as hard as you may look, you won’t find the fire — dramatic, emotional or intellectual — in “Cry, Trojans!,” the befuddled and befuddling work in which the mighty Wooster Group lays siege to Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida.”

This being a production of an iconoclastic company that likes to occupy several dimensions at the same time, that smoke is only virtual, a rising wisp on a screen. Such is the classic stuff that the Wooster Group’s mind-bending dreams are made on. And there are plenty of the sort of witty, senses-melding touches here that have become Wooster signatures.


Staged by Elizabeth LeCompte, one of the troupe’s founders and its artistic director, this Native American-themed production features artful layering of voices artificial and real, and eye-popping costumes that might have been culled from an epochs-spanning cultural compost heap. There is also exactingly choreographed movement, often synced to replicate scenes from movies on video monitors.


But to what purpose? Since its founding in the mid-1970s, the Wooster Group has been performing acts of blessed profanation on sacred texts, including Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” Eugene O’Neill’s “The Emperor Jones” and Racine’s “Phèdre.” As a rule, the company’s text-scrambling, anachronism-flaunting productions confuse only to clarify, and usually wind up commenting astutely not only on their source materials but also on our changing perspectives in interpreting them.


Yet “Cry, Trojans!,” which opened on Tuesday night, only piles obscurity onto a play that has baffled and divided scholars, critics and audiences for centuries. The most unclassifiable of Shakespeare’s works, probably written shortly after he completed the great existential question mark that is “Hamlet,” “Troilus and Cressida” is a tragicomic, antiheroic history play, steeped in a sticky cynicism that tars everybody and everything in it.


Seldom performed before the 20th century, this portrait of love, betrayal and hypocrisy during the Trojan War seemed well matched to the anti-militaristic mood that swept Britain and the United States during the Vietnam era. It is, after all, a play that pronounces on the legendary conflict at its center: “All the argument is a whore and a cuckold.”


Those words are spoken by the toxic Thersites, “a deformed and scurrilous Greek,” who makes Shakespeare’s other misanthropes (Timon of Athens, Jaques from “As You Like It”) look like Pollyannas. Those words are not spoken (unless I missed them, which is possible) in “Cry, Trojans!,” and Thersites himself sadly makes only a cameo appearance.


That’s because this version concentrates largely on its Trojans, and not the Greeks who invade their land to recapture one of their own, the cursedly beautiful Helen. Such lopsidedness was not always true of “Cry, Trojans!”


The show began in England as a coproduction of the Wooster Group and the Royal Shakespeare Company, with the Britons doing the Greeks (under the direction of Mark Ravenhill) and the Americans embodying their adversaries. It was staged (and widely dismissed) as a binational venture in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2012.


So now the Wooster Group, whose work is always a work in progress, has rethought the play, although conscious thought seems to have had very little to do with it. The Greeks are often missing in action. The overwhelming emphasis is on team Trojan, presented as Native Americans, whose tribal gear wittily includes backpacks that resemble ancient statuary. (Folkert de Jong and Delphine Courtillot are credited with “set elements, props, costumes.”)


I’m pretty sure there’s been at least one Wild West “Troilus” before, which makes sense if you choose to read the play (and, really, you should not) as an account of a colonialist invasion of an indigenous people. Anyway, that doesn’t seem to be an allegory that much interests the Wooster Group.


Instead, Ms. LeCompte and company seem to be searching for — and dissecting — the enduring archetypes within the love story of Shakespeare’s title characters, doomed lovers embodied here by the Wooster stalwarts Scott Shepherd and Kate Valk. These characters are not naturals, though, for the kind of magnificent implosion practiced by the troupe upon the African-American railroad porter in “Emperor Jones” and the love-sickened queen Phèdre.


Both those parts were taken on by Ms. Valk, the group’s longtime leading lady and its most brilliant exponent of acting as a disembodied chain of mechanical mannerisms. But she’s unable to make much sense of the faithless Cressida, whom she portrays as a skipping Pocahontas type, given to flatline flirtation.


It’s a single-note, if impeccably executed, performance that emphasizes what’s least interesting about Cressida. Mr. Shepherd — who dazzled as the inexhaustible narrator of “Gatz,” the Elevator Repair Service’s epic staging of “The Great Gatsby” — is even more unvarying as Troilus, whom he presents as an adenoidal, whiny adolescent.


Suzzy Roche, in a frizzy fright wig, shows up as the doom-saying Cassandra; Greg Mehrten, looking like Bloody Mary from “South Pacific,” is Cressida’s prurient uncle Pandarus; and Ari Fliakos, with a Scottish burr and a welcome light wit, is the martyred Hector. The male cast members put on masks to portray the warring Greeks. But most of the great speeches belonging to those characters have been excised.


So what are we left with? Well, mostly a single high concept that doesn’t take us anywhere beyond its own limited picturesque terms. Variations on Native American customs, accessories, war dances and tribal languages are deployed here, and are no doubt the product of the extensive research and discipline that is the Wooster Group’s hallmark.


But don’t expect much illumination on Shakespeare or indigenous American culture. The production runs a sluggish two and a half hours, but you do have the option of watching the movies projected in the video monitors on either side of the stage.


These include the psychosexual teenage weepie “Splendor in the Grass” (starring Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood) and “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner,” a 2001 tale out of Canada based on Inuit myth. To its credit, “Cry, Trojans!” made me want to revisit “Splendor” and acquaint myself with the intriguing “Atanarjuat.” So I can say that at least I took away something from a Wooster Group production that is largely, and atypically, empty.


[ . . . ]

Graduate Scholar-in-Residence Program | Newberry

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.183  Wednesday, 14 April 2015


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

Date:         April 12, 2015 at 12:56:05 PM EDT

Subject:    Graduate Scholar-in-Residence Program | Newberry


Graduate Scholar-in-Residence Program


The Newberry Graduate Scholar-in-Residence program encourages PhD candidates in the humanities to conduct research in our collection and to join our community of scholars for a full academic year. We invite graduate students with advanced PhD candidacy to apply for this status, with preference given to those whose dissertation projects are well advanced. Graduate Scholars-in-Residence at the Newberry are expected to be “in residence” at the Newberry at least 10 hours per week from September to May, which will enable them to make good use of the collection and participate in the Newberry’s intellectual community. Like postdoctoral Scholars-in-Residence, Graduate Scholars-in-Residence should be willing to provide a small amount of service to the Newberry. Although the Newberry cannot offer remuneration to Graduate Scholars-in-Residence, we can offer some privileges, including reserve carrel space for paged materials, access to the Newberry during extended hours, and opportunities to present work-in-progress to the Newberry’s scholarly community.


Applications to become a Graduate Scholar-in-Residence are accepted each year in the spring. The applications for the 2015-16 academic year are due on May 1, 2015. We expect to notify applicants about their acceptance in June 2015. New Graduate Scholars-in-Residence are expected to begin their residences in the first week of September so that they can join the new long-term fellows in Fall Orientation activities.


If you have any questions about the webform, application materials, or the Graduate Scholars-in-Residence program, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Apply to be a Newberry Library Graduate Scholar-in-Residence

Please read the following Application Guidelines carefully before submitting your application.



Application Guidelines


Using the Webform

All application materials must be submitted together electronically through the appropriate Newberry Library webform. The webform cannot be submitted partially, nor can it be revised once it has been submitted. Applicants must complete the webform and upload their project description and CV in order for their application to be considered complete.


The Newberry will not accept re-submissions of materials. Once an application has been submitted, the Newberry will not accept any revisions or updates.


The Newberry will not accept application materials through postal or electronic mail.


PDF files are preferred but not required. The server will accept .doc, .docx, or .pdf files.


The Newberry server cannot accept attachments larger than 10 MB.

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation screen. You will also receive an electronically generated email within 24 hours. If you have not received an email within the allotted time, please check your spam folder before contacting us.



Required Materials


The Graduate Scholar-in-Residence application consists of four elements, which will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the Newberry’s Academic Council.


1. The Webform, which asks for contact information, project information, and other details pertaining to being a Graduate Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry. The Graduate Scholar-in-Residence Webform can be found here. Remember: Webforms cannot be saved for submission at a later date, and the Newberry will not accept additional or amended application materials once it has been submitted.


2. A Project Description of no more than 1,000 words. This document should describe the research project, explain its significance, enumerate the Newberry materials to be consulted, and outline a plan of work. Additionally, please describe any other ways that being in residence at the Newberry will help advance your dissertation. When prompted, upload the project description to the webform.


Please note that candidates’ need for and intensive use of the Newberry’s collections is a crucial factor in our consideration of applications. Thus, please be as specific as possible about the Newberry materials you would like to use. For information about the Newberry’s collection, see our Core Collections and consult the Online Catalog.


3. A current Curriculum Vitae (CV) of no more than five pages. Upload your CV to the webform when prompted. Please use the following commonly accepted terms to describe forthcoming publications:

  • “in progress” (not yet completed or submitted)
  • “submitted” (currently under review at a journal or press)
  • “accepted” (contracted for publication; currently under revision)
  • “in press” (in the hands of copy editor, typesetter, or printer)

4. Two Letters of Recommendation. These letters are required by the same deadline as all other application materials. Applicants are responsible for contacting their referees and making sure they submit their letters on time. Letters must be submitted through the Letter of Reference Webform.



Additional Information about Letters of Reference

  • Graduate Scholar-in-Residence applicants must have their dissertation advisor submit one of their letters of reference.
  • Letters must come directly from the letter writer, not from the applicant.
  • The Newberry will not accept letters sent through postal or electronic mail. We strongly prefer letters to be submitted via the Letter of Reference Webform.
  • Each letter should speak to the proposed project, the value to the applicant of a residency at the Newberry as well as to the qualifications of the applicant. Letters that speak of the applicant’s project in specific terms are more effective than general letters from a dossier.
  • The Newberry prefers to receive letters on institutional letterhead, with a signature (either electronic or manual).
  • The letters must be written in English.
  • References can submit their letters before the applicant has submitted their application.

Please Note: The Newberry will not accept applications which include any materials in excess of the Required Materials. Excessive materials include but are not limited to:

  • Images (either embedded or in appendices)
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