Re: New Romeo and Juliet Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1355  Thursday, 31 December 1998.

From:           Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 31 Dec 1998 12:25:09 EST
Subject: 9.1340 New Romeo and Juliet Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1340 New Romeo and Juliet Question

Marilyn Bonomi asks about Brian Gibbons' jerking around of the "grey
eyed morn" duplication in R&J.  As with many of us condemned to
editorial servitude, Brian seems to have slipped into the giddy delights
of playwriting-without-a-license.  When one sits bleary in front of
textual variants for long enough, wonderful "patterns"  and
"explanations" and "new readings" appear in the mind.  They are related
more to the observer than the objects being observed.  And often no one
else can explain or follow the logic of the editor's invention.

One of the reasons it is so refreshing to work with the available
facsimile texts, especially with students and actors, is that these
readers often discover and invent practical and interesting new
readings, too.  "Let's try this one out loud."  " . . . on ourt feet."
The alternative possibilities are fun to test, and the testing process
refines our taste.  Scholars and editors most often bounce their
readings without all that much testing.  Ah, well. is one
location where you can get to electronic versions of the earliest texts
of the multiple-text plays. (This is one that I could copy out easily.
There are many others.)

As an exercise, roll your class through the two early versions of R&J
2.3, and then have them look at and talk about the ways modern editors
muck up a delicately drawn revision by inserting embraces called for in
(and appropriate to) only the earliest text.

Back to reading those final exams,

Steve Ur-quarto-witz


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1354  Thursday, 31 December 1998.

From:           Syd Kasten <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 31 Dec 1998 07:19:12 +0200 (IST)
Subject:        KJV

Pardon the delay in posting this.  A good deal of internal wrestling
went on before I decided submit it.

Friday 13 November  Karen E Peterson-Kranz commented:

"As far as Shakespeare working on the King James translation...Hmm.
People have speculated on this, but I am unaware of any recent
scholarship which seriously propounds this idea.  Just from style,
syntax, and vocabulary (especially the latter), it seems farfetched.
The King James version uses a relatively small vocabulary; style and
syntax are much simpler, too.  Shakespeare's Latinate vocabulary and
frequent inverted sentence structures, figures and puns are not
characteristic of the King James version."

The following probably doesn't qualify as scholarship, but I am offering
it in all seriousness.

Style, Syntax and vocabulary: If I were a scholar I would have to offer
sources and examples to substantiate my impression that one of
Shakespeare's charms was to use simple vocabulary to carry complex ideas
(no verbal sawing of the air).  In any case the translators of the Bible
worked under certain constraints.  An honest translation couldn't insert
a figure or a pun or figure that wasn't in the text.  Moreover, I
suspect that the adherence to the original extended to an economy of
words. Occasionally the translation follows the word count at the
expense of the meaning, an example being "Thou shalt not kill" rather
than the true meaning, "Thou shalt not commit murder".  To this day the
standard books of the Pentateuch used in orthodox Jewish schools
includes the number of words and the number of verses in each section.
If there were such constraints on the translators, it would take a
skilled word smith to come up with something readable, let alone

Shakespeare was indeed a skilled and subtle punster.  I recall the
opening lines of Gloucester in the recent movie, Richard III:

"Now is the winter of our discontent
 Made glorious summer by this sun of York."

The camera carries our gaze along with Richard's to his enthroned older
brother, melding the idea of the zodiacal mover of seasons with that of

It isn't true, though, that the Bible is free of puns.  It's just that
they resist translation.  An example that comes to mind are the first
lines of the eighth chapter of Amos.

1: Thus the Lord God showed me a basket of *summer* fruit.

2: And He said, 'Amos, what seest thou?' ........Then said the Lord unto
   'The *end* is come upon My people Israel; I will not again pardon
them any more'.  The italics are mine.

The Hebrew for *summer* is *kayitz*; *ketz* means the *end*.  The best
of punsters wouldn't find a way of translating this figure to

Hold on! "Made glorious *summer*"!?  Could Shakespeare have injected a
bit of irony here, for the benefit of those Englishmen who knew their
Bible?  Think of it - a double spin on one verse.

Get a grip on yourself, Syd!

But it gets worse: My compulsiveness got me to count the number of the
plays in the Wars of the Roses cycle. It turns out that the first line
of the eighth play has intimations of the first verse of the eighth
chapter of Amos.  Talk about coincidence!!  Or did Shakespeare leave his
signature in Psalm 46, and a footprint in Richard III??

Has anyone researched the provenance of the Psalm 46 thing?  Were I a
scholar I would make it my business to look for the earliest mention, or
for who claimed to be the originator, but I'm not, so I take the liberty
of asking the question rather than bringing the answer.

Best wishes and Season's Greetings from Jerusalem.

Syd Kasten

Re: Titus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1352  Thursday, 31 December 1998.

From:           Jason Mical <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 27 Dec 1998 20:35:26 PST
Subject: 9.1335 Re: Titus and the Value of
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1335 Re: Titus and the Value of

>Finally: As an Eliot scholar, I find the poems in INVENTIONS OF A MARCH HARE highly intriguing because the majority of them were interludes excised from THE WASTE LAND by Eliot and Pound.  When you think about what the poem COULD have been and compare it to what it has become.  Considering the refusal of Eliot's estate to release other documents which would be helpful to Eliot scholarship, we take what we can get.

Then I believe you see my point regarding my previous arguement to
_Titus_.  MARCH HARE not only shows what TWL could have been, but shows
a poet struggling through the early stages of his career, tweaking this
and that, getting it "just so."  To fully examine TWL as what it could
have been, the definitive addition is available on for a
reasonable price, and Santa managed to squeeze it into my stocking a
couple of days ago.  I prefer to read MARCH HARE as a character study
into a budding genius-the struggles with Viv, etc.  And just like
_Titus_ is a good stage play (as so many have pointed out,) it is also a
good character study into a genius trying to get his work "just so."

Jason Mical
Drury College

Restored Globe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1353  Thursday, 31 December 1998.

From:           David Schalkwyk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 31 Dec 1998 12:36:02 SAST-2
Subject: 9.1330 Restored Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1330 Restored Globe

In answer to  Cary Mazer's question about the Globe Restored I would
endorse John Drakakis' recommendation of Holderness' _The Shakespeare
Myth_.  I have an essay forthcoming which compares the New Globe and
Disneyland in the South African journal, the _Journal of Literary
Studies_.  The article is called "From the Globe to Globalization:
Shakespeare and Disney in a Postmodern World" and deals with the
question of historical reconstruction and the entertainment industry.  I
have ms. copies available.

Best wishes to everyone for 1999!

David Schalkwyk

Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1351  Thursday, 31 December 1998.

From:           Robert Neblett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Dec 1998 11:36:21 -0600
Subject:        Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love

Has anyone else noted that the casts of ELIZABETH and SHAKESPEARE IN
LOVE share many of the same actors (most notably Joseph Fiennes and
Geoffrey Rush)?  Does anyone know if this was an intentional plan by
motion picture studios to allow each film's success to impact the other
(not necessarily a proven tactic)?  The reason these questions popped
into my head is that I was watching a preview on TV for ELIZABETH (which
I am planning to see this afternoon), and I kept seeing actors that I
knew from SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE in the clips.  At first, I thought it was
a publicity stunt by the SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE camp, in which they were
inserting scenes into ELIZABETH's preview just for fun.  It turns out
that is not the case.  Nevertheless, I am very excited to see such
wonderfully talented actors bringing the Renaissance to life on the
silver screen, and in such vastly different ways.

Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.