July

Shakespeare and Indianapolis Sinking

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1663  Friday, 19 July 2002

From:           Richard Burt <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 14:44:46 -0400
Subject:        Shakespeare and Indianapolis Sinking

July 16, 2002

By Yonder Blessed Moon, Sleuths Decode Life and Art
By LEON JAROFF

On its way back from the Pacific island of Tinian, where it had
delivered the uranium core for the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima,
the heavy cruiser Indianapolis was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine
I-58 and sent to the bottom of the Philippine Sea. It was one of the
worst disasters in American naval history; only 317 of its nearly 1,200
crew members survived.

Now experts at Southwest Texas State University have given that tragic
story a startling new twist. it was the moon, they say, that sank the
Indianapolis. Or anyway, they write in the July issue of Sky &
Telescope, it was the moon that made the sinking possible.

Using astronomical computer programs, records and weather reports, as
well as the known coordinates and running speeds of the ship and the
submarine that sank it, the authors determined that when the I-58
surfaced, it was perfectly aligned, west to east, with the cruiser. And,
they said, a three-quarter moon had just emerged from behind the clouds.

Looking across the moonlit water, an I-58 crewman spotted the ship
silhouetted against the sky, 10.3 miles away. Half an hour later, six
torpedoes sent it to the bottom.

"It was sheer chance," said Dr. Donald Olson, an astronomer. "Without
that alignment with the moon, the lookouts would not have spotted the
cruiser, especially at that distance."

With Russell Doescher, a physics lecturer, Dr. Olson conducts a
university honors course called "Astronomy in Art, History and
Literature." In the last 15 years, he has pinpointed the time and place
of the rendering of art masterpieces, given new interpretations of
astronomical references in Chaucer and revealed the decisive role of the
moon in military and other encounters.

Two years ago, for example, Dr. Olson turned his attention to the bright
star in van Gogh's "White House at Night." He and some students went to
Auvers, France, where van Gogh created his final works, and searched
until they found the house, largely unchanged. Sifting through letters
from van Gogh to his brother, Dr. Olson found that the painting was
completed in June 1890.

Noting the orientation of the house in the painting, he determined where
van Gogh had set his easel and what section of the sky he had portrayed,
and from the lighting and shadows, he established that the house had
been illuminated by the setting sun. His computer analysis then
identified the "star." It was Venus, which in early evening in mid-June
had occupied that part of the sky.

A final check of local weather records pinpointed the actual date van
Gogh had composed the painting, June 16, the only clear day in the
middle of the month that year.

Dr. Olson has also turned his attention to Shakespeare, intrigued by the
opening of "Hamlet," when guards on the ramparts of Elsinor refer to the
"star that's westward from the pole had made his course to illume that
part of heaven where now it burns." From the guards' description, the
season and the time, other astronomers had suggested several bright
stars as possibilities, but Dr. Olson's calculations placed it in the
constellation Cassiopeia, which lacks any notably luminous stars.

Pondering this problem on a trip with his wife, Dr. Olson was suddenly
inspired. He was aware that in 1572, a supernova, called Tycho's star,
for the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, suddenly flamed in Cassiopeia,
creating a worldwide sensation. Shakespeare, 8 at the time, would
certainly have recalled the event, and his memory was probably refreshed
by the description of the supernova in a history book that was the
source of some of his best-known plays.

Dr. Olson has no doubt that the star that glared above Elsinor that
night was Tycho's, and he has an impressive record of other
astronomy-based sleuthing.

Aware that the photographer Ansel Adams often neglected to date his
negatives, Dr. Olson set out to find when Adams had shot his classic
"Moon and Half Dome." At Yosemite, Dr. Olson and his students found
Adams's vantage point, studied the location, phase and features of the
moon in the photograph, plus the shadows on the Dome, snow on the peak
and other clues, and then announced that the picture had been taken at
4:14 p.m., Dec. 28, 1960.

Then, Dr. Olson calculated that the setting would be virtually identical
at 4:05 p.m. on Dec. 13, 1994. On that day Adams's daughter-in-law
visited Yosemite and was photographed holding a print of "Moon and the
Half Dome" in the foreground of an eerily similar view of the actual
moon and the Half Dome.

Analyzing Chaucer's works, Dr. Olson has confirmed that a particularly
rapid movement of the moon described in "The Merchant's Tale" occurred
in April 1389. And in "The Franklin's Tale,


Re: Arthur of Brittany

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1662  Thursday, 18 July 2002

From:           Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Jul 2002 10:23 +0000
Subject:        Re: Arthur of Brittany

Following is some interesting information gained when I posted a query
re Arthur of Brittany to the Arthurnet list, of which I am a member too,
and which as Al Magary pointed out, has discussed these things before. I
thought SHAKSPER members might be interested.
Sophie Masson

    From: Karen Jankulak <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On Sophie's query about Arthur of Brittany:

The name has been taken as evidence not only of interest in the Matter
of Britain but as evidence of a deliberate political statement on the
part of a Brittany newly under Angevin control (with the marriage of the
Breton ducal heiress Constance to the Angevin Geoffrey, son of Henry
II). Caroline Brett commented in passing in her article on Breton Latin
literature that the name might have been deliberately referring to
Arthur's return as an opponent of the Angevins; Etienne of Rouen's Draco
Normannicus has Roland de Dinan write to King Arthur (!) to ask for his
help in his rebellion against Henry II.  In my opinion, whether the name
was merely literary fancy or political symbolism is arguable (see
Michael Jones in the excellent The Bretons, co-written with P. Galliou,
as well as Yannick Hillion), and if it were the latter, what precisely
it was intended to symbolise, and how strongly, also arguable.

Karen Jankulak
Director, MA in Arthurian Studies
Department of Welsh
University of Wales Lampeter

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Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1660  Thursday, 18 July 2002

[1]     From:   Michael Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 18:01:52 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

[2]     From:   Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 22:36:14 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

[3]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Jul 2002 16:02:22 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 18:01:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

This talk of the hand of god reminds me of British director Richard
Jones' extraordinary production of Alls Well at the Delacorte Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park) in New York in the mid-1990s. Images of
death/resurrection and inevitability/providence were strongly
foregrounded by the staging.

There was an actual golden hand over the stage that shone brightly
(under lights) and moved across the stage at the end of the first
half--leading Helena on her journey from Rousillion.

However, this was only the cap of a strongly insistent movement pattern
throughout. In the first part all entrances were stage left and exits
stage right. This reversed for the second part.

The bed trick was better handled than I have ever seen it. In the first
half, the staging of the kings cure suggested a resurrection and in the
second half Helena's preparation for sex with Bertram recalled the
staging of the cure, but reversed to suggest a sort of death. This
somehow made the denial of her own name and hiding of her face during
sex very sad and moving.

At the start of the play the body of the Count was buried, at the end
the visibly pregnant Helena made her entrance from this same grave. This
entrance was shocking, but made providence, grace, and the cycle of
life/death/birth tangibly present on that stage.

Though this sounds like a very schematic approach, I found this
production tremendously moving. Reflecting the imagery of a play so
strongly in the staging risks redundancy, but in this case it liberated
the play into something more beautiful and haunting than any other
staging of it I have seen.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Swanson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 22:36:14 EDT
Subject: 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

Brian Willis asks of Helena in AWW "Isn't Helena's appearance a sort of
resurrection in Bertram's eyes? And isn't her pregnancy an immaculate
conception, one which Bertram was so sure would never take place that he
wagered his marriage on it? After all, how can she get pregnant by him
if they never have sex (or so he thinks)?"

If I understand him correctly, Brian seems to suggest that when Helena
makes her final entrance of the play, Bertram sees her appearance and
consequential announced pregnancy as a "miracle" of sorts, and that
having witnessed this "miracle" and having been profoundly changed by
it, Bertram is now prepared to accept Helena as his wife. (Brian, please
correct me if I misunderstand your interpretation.)

This is a thought-provoking interpretation, but it also seems to me that
the text does not strongly clarify this. (Of course, the text likely
supports AND undermines most interpretations -- it's the nature of the
play).  All Bertram says after seeing Helena again is "If she, my liege,
can make me know this clearly / I'll love her dearly, ever, ever,
dearly" (5.3.309-310).  Bertram could be sincere, but we can still see
how this remark could be as insincere as his promise to accept her in
Act 2, another forced acquiescence no different than that which he faked
earlier in the play. Bertram does not address Helena at all here; his
comment is directed to the King, not Helena.  This is hardly evidence of
a newly discovered love or affection for her.

I agree with Brian's observation that Helena's behavior, especially when
compared to the other characters of the play, is understandable. There
just aren't too many likable characters in the play, and it could be
that Helena is the least objectionable one of the bunch. I cannot,
however, see that her behavior is morally pure. She has cured the King
-- but with the implicit understanding that she is going to do so and
"get" something for it.  She lies numerous times. She involves Diana in
a conspiracy and facilitates Diana's dishonesty so that she (Helena) can
be with Bertram and improve her social status. In this, we must see her
as a parallel to Parolles, who also uses Bertram in an attempt to climb
the social ladder. Of course, Parolles is revealed to be a cheat and a
fraud -- I'm not certain that Helena would be revealed any differently
if the play was six acts instead of five...

I fully recognize that the ambiguity of this play is what makes it the
"problem play" that it is. But my initial observation about Helena's
alignment with the hand of heaven is, I believe, not duplicated in
Measure for Measure and Troilus and Cressida. Helena is unique among the
characters of the problem plays. Unlike Larry Weiss and perhaps Matthew
Baynham, who notice a connection of Helena with Measure's Duke, I see
some similarities between Helena and Isabella in that each of them seem
to place themselves (or are characterized by others) as being morally
superior to the society in which they live.

I still see a major gap between the Helena's behavior and the
imagery/lines associated with her character.

Paul Swanson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Jul 2002 16:02:22 +1000
Subject: 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1654 Re: Heaven and Christ Images in All's Well

Re:

>I also am not sure what to make of Helena.  She seems to be a weak
>sketch for the Duke in M/M, WS's next play.
>
>As for the heavenly references, I doubt that they were intended to call
>up Christ images.  Rather, they seem to be a feeble attempt to explain
>what to others is an inexplicable ability of Helena to effect a cure.

and also:

>My own feeling is that this is often true of allegorical or typological
>interpretations of Shakespeare's characters: they go so far but are
>ultimately undone by some contradiction.
>
>I think Paul Swanson's post is a good example, too, of an interpretive
>problem which such characters often set for the audience. Because their
>characterisation is distorted by the limitations of the typology, they
>become difficult to like or to believe in. Malcolm in Macbeth and
>Isabella in Measure would be the two outstanding examples for me. Both,
> I suspect, have the same kind of typological function as Helena; but in
> each case the typology is incomplete or partly contradicted and the
> character becomes very hard to accept.

Weak? Feeble?  I know you're describing the construction not the
character, but they seem strange words to use in relation to one of
Shakespeare's most dynamic and life-affirming women.  Why would
Shakespeare lay on the divine references so thick, and from so many
directions, if not to create a connection between what Helena achieves
and a divine power?  Harriet Walter, who played the role, was convinced
that it was not just the medicine, but Helena's vitality that convinced
the King to live.  I think Brian is spot on about the resurrection
image.  All Shakespeare's characters have questionable motives, and his
plays are liberally sprinkled with examples of the redemptive power of
deception.  Given Helena's "Our remedies oft' in ourselves do lie, which
we ascribe to heaven..." speech, the play could be seen as a lesson in
the ability of humans to create their own miracles.

Why contradicted?  Why not complex?  People, in my experience, tend to
be contradictory, and not wholly good or bad.  How can it be a flaw in
the characterization that, instead of writing types, Shakespeare made
them individual personalities, with weaknesses as well as glorious
strengths?
(I am thinking of Isabella and Helena here, I have trouble seeing a
relationship to Malcolm.)

What's so hard to accept (or dare I suggest, like) in a heroine who
draws elements from allegorical figures, but cannot be contained by
them?

For a sense of the complex power of these characters, Carol Rutter's
--Clamorous Voices-- is a great read.  Harriet Walter discusses Helena
and Juliet Stevenson describes her engagement with Isabella.

Regards,
Anna.

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Re: Attributing Masterworks

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1661  Thursday, 18 July 2002

From:           David Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Jul 2002 02:13:32 -0700
Subject: 13.1635 Re: Attributing Masterworks
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1635 Re: Attributing Masterworks

The inclusion of the Funeral Elegy in the Norton and Riverside editions
seems to me to be one more sign of decline in Shakespeare editing. To
hear this poem as Shakespeare requires an ear of the purest tin (unless,
as T. Hawkes cleverly remarked, it was written by Shakespeare in the
style of Ford). Dr. Dodypoll is a harder case, and an interesting
discovery. The poetry, to judge from the little Richard Kennedy quoted
here, is very much better, though the computer program in my head tells
me it was not written by Shakespeare.

Meanwhile, several additions to the canon have been proposed by Peter
Levi, in his learned and beautiful book, The Life and Times of William
Shakespeare (1989), which to my ear sound like the real thing. This book
is included in the Norton bibliography, but apparently Levi's
suggestions escaped, or fell beneath, the editors' notice.

He proposes, for example, that a line attributed to Shakespeare much
later in the 17th century is Shakespeare's only extant juvenilia. It was
said to have accompanied a gift of gloves to the Stratford schoolmaster
in about 1581:

 The gift is small: the will is all: Alexander Aspinall.(p.31)

An attractive, if wispy, speculation.

More substantial is Levi's attribution of "The sonnet signed 'Phaeton',
printed as a compliment in front of Florio's 'Second Fruites' (1591)":

Phaeton to his friend Florio:

Sweet friend, whose name agrees with thy increase,
How fit a rival art thou of the spring!
For when each branch hath left his flourishing,
And green-locked summer's shady pleasures cease,
She makes the winter's storms repose in peace,
And spends her franchise on each living thing:
The daisies sprout, the little birds so sing,
Herbs, gums, and plants do vaunt of their release.
So when that all our English wits lay dead
(Except the laurel that is evergreen),
Thou with thy fruits our barrenness o'erspread
And set thy flowery pleasance to be seen.
Such fruits, such flowerets of morality,
Were ne'er before brought out of Italy.

Levi says, "No other writer of sonnets is as good as this except
Spenser, but Spenser would have signed it. The humour is Shakespeare's,
and so is the movement of thought, so is the seasonal colouring. This is
not Shakespeare's greatest sonnet, though not his worst either; it fits
its place well as one of his earliest, perhaps the very first." (97)

Levi includes another plausible discovery in an appendix, for those who
care. I have not seen anyone else mention these, though I suppose they
must have. When an edition includes this sonnet, but not the Funeral
Elegy, as a proposed addition, please pass on the news.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

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Re: Cultural Studies and the Battle for British

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1659  Thursday, 18 July 2002

[1]     From:   John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 15:07:09 +0100
        Subj:   Re: Cultural Studies and the Battle for British Higher Education

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 15:01:14 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Cultural Studies and the Battle for British Higher Education


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 15:07:09 +0100
Subject:        Re: ASIDE: Cultural Studies and the Battle for British Higher
Education

I think Richard Burt is right about that version of Cultural Studies
that he is describing. What was genuinely radical has now been exported,
and re-imported in the version he outlines.

I support Gilroy in his suggestion that (a) the closure of Cultural
Studies at Birmingham should be fought but also (and this is perhaps
where Richard and I disagree) (b) that this closure needs to be seen in
the much larger context of the crisis in British Higher Education.  Here
the late Bill Readings' version of 'cultural studies', modelled much
more on the US template isn't of much help to us.

The crisis has to do with the loosening of boundaries between
disciplines and not with what L. Swilley thinks of as an attack on
humanism. Gilroy's two-pronged argument is that 'Cultural Studies' is
now so widely disseminated that it has outgrown the concept of a
'centre'. What those whom Richard Burt rightly castigates have done, is
to jump on the bandwagon, tool up with what they perceive to be the
current 'professional' discourse, and ventriloquise concepts that they
leave behind in the office when they return home.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Jul 2002 15:01:14 -0400
Subject:        Re: ASIDE: Cultural Studies and the Battle for British Higher
Education

Although L. Swilley's observation may appear at first off-topic, it is
in fact a sentiment expressed frequently in the Early Modern period when
desperate scientific theories like Copernicanism and Cartesianism were
bringing the world to a Hell of confusion.  Similar sentiments were
voiced during the decline of the Roman Empire, the Athenian Academy, the
Babylonian captivity, etc. etc. "We" never actually had a "common
definition of humanity and human destiny." Puritans and recusants in the
sixteenth century, Native Americans and Europeans in the nineteenth
century and Israelis and Palestinians today differ profoundly in their
definitions of human destiny. The problem with a "center" is that, if
everyone were in it, it would not be a center, it would be the whole
place.  Centers must have margins. They only really work for those who
occupy them and who define human destiny as tethering everyone on or
beyond the margins closer to their happy isle where all collisions
cease.

In fact we have a greater degree of common center of humanity today than
at any time in history. Global capitalism since the fall of the Soviet
Union has united the whole face of the planet around the US dollar.
Every sale of every commodity from drinking water in Brazil to opium in
Afghanistan to bullets in Kosovo is connected through a vast complex of
property interrelationships to the Dow Jones Industrial Average snaking
up and down like the world serpent of the Sumerians to which anything
and everything from American Constitutional liberties to ecosystem
equilibrium to Iraqi peasants must be sacrificed. Its exigencies alone
will henceforth determine the course of advancement of human knowledge
by bestowing its divine grace solely on its chosen people whose
sacrifices are pleasing unto it. The pursuit of science and technology
that reaps patents that can be transformed into property and profit will
thrive, while the pursuit of humanistic studies that breed heresy and
blasphemy will be cast into the outer darkness.

Out here waiting,
Clifford Stetner
CUNY
http://phoenixandturtle.net

> >A cursory glance at any recent example of
> >cultural studies will show how incredibly canned and processed it has
> >become.  In my view, it tends at best to be ephemeral, vulgar
> >sociology....etc.
>
> I agree, and - although Dr. Burt might be horrified to learn why I do -
> isn't it because we have lost a common definition of humanity and of
> human destiny? Without that center from which there swings a free and
> endless tether into a vastness of sound meaning, we can only be
> "scientific," positing one desperate theory after another, those
> colliding with one another in a very Hell of confusion.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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