Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 1. Thursday, 26 Jul 1990.
Date:         Thu, 26 Jul 90 15:05:52 EDT
From:         Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      Initial Message
Dear Fellow SHAKSPEReans;
       Welcome at long last to the Shakespeare Electronic
Conference, SHAKSPER!
       This mailing is Volume 1, Number 1, the official
beginning of what will rapidly become a large and
geographically-widespread electronic community.  Direct
recipients of this message will have already received some of
the test messages from Volume 0, either directly or in the
original logbook.  (The Volume 0 logbook has now been purged
from the SHAKSPER Fileserver -- I will keep a single copy as
a memento.)
       Many of you may have already realized that SHAKSPER
owes its initial conception to HUMANIST, the Humanities
Computing discussion group founded by Willard McCarty several
years ago at the University of Toronto.  If SHAKSPER succeeds
it will be largely due to the model established by HUMANIST,
and to the considerable assistance generously offered me by
Willard himself.
       This welcome is "at long last" from my perspective,
although perhaps not from your own.  SHAKSPER's gestation has
lasted more than a year, from the first twinkle in my eye, to
the proposal made to the Executive of the Shakespeare
Association of America at the 1990 Annual Meeting in
Philadelphia this spring, to the nuts-and-bolts decisions and
configurations made this month on Listserv.  (Note that the
SAA's official decision regarding the extent of its
endorsement of and/or participation in SHAKSPER will not be
made until the 1991 SAA conference in Vancouver.)
       My limited firsthand experience of childbirth leads me
to fear that I might be stretching the analogy somewhat, but
I do indeed feel as though I have been in labour for the past
twenty-four hours: since the public announcement of SHAKSPER
yesterday, subscription requests have been flooding in and I
have barely been able to keep up with the automatic and not-
so-automatic mailings therefore required.  Already the
considerable benefits of a moderated list are apparent: you
would all have received dozens of misdirected subscription
requests otherwise.
       Although official SHAKSPEReans currently number fewer
than twenty, rest assured that this is only the tip of the
proverbial iceberg: thirty Shakespeareans expressed strong
interest in SHAKSPER via private correspondence long before
the public announcement was made, and another thirty-two
subscription requests have arrived today.  The dozen names in
the membership list reflect only the few who have now
submitted their autobiographies and have been given full
membership privileges.  (Incidentally, please inform me if
any errors have been inadvertently introduced into your
       Self-evidently a mid-summer start date entails certain
disadvantages: many potential members are absent from their
e-mail accounts for research and leisure, and announcements
may fail to reach others as well.  (The travel plans of the
editor add yet another layer of complication...).
Nonetheless, a Bitnet discussion group on Shakespeare is long
overdue, and once Steve Younker completed the delicate
configuration of SHAKSPER, I could wait no longer.  A
chimerical Shakespeare conference, appearing on ListServ
indexes worldwide but remaining inactive, would destroy
whatever momentum the project had already achieved.
       As SHAKSPER continues to grow and evolve, it will
doubtless continue to attract new members from the e-mail
community.  I hope that the resources and opportunities for
discussion SHAKSPER offers will also be attractive to
Shakespeareans who are currently reluctant to try e-mail.
I am trying to infect others with my enthusiasm for e-mail
and for this Conference, and I hope you will all find
something here to recommend as well.
       Your notes, queries, announcements, comments, reviews,
or questions are welcome.
                                  Ken Steele
                                  Editor, SHAKSPER
                                  University of Toronto
                                  <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
                                   or <KSTEELE@utorepas>

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