The Shakespeare Quartos Archive

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0007   Monday, 10 January 2011

From:         Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Monday, January 10, 2011      
Subject:     The Shakespeare Quartos Archive 

[Editor's Note: This site is the highest quality facsimile site I have ever viewed. Be sure that you 
watch the video "Using the Shakespeare Quartos Archive" <http://www.quartos.org/info/videos.html> to 
learn about the features of the site. One that I was particularly impressed with is the opacity feature 
that allows you to view the variants in two editions, a 21st century version of the Hinman Collator. 
Another feature of note is the one that allows you to view cue lines of particular characters. This is 
one impressive web site. -Hardy]

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive

* Introduction 
* Using the archive 
* About 
* Documentation 
* Institutions & links 

Introduction to the Archive:
The Shakespeare Quartos Archive is a digital collection of pre-1642 editions of William Shakespeare's 
plays. A cross-Atlantic collaboration has also produced an interactive interface for the detailed study 
of these geographically distant quartos, with full functionality for all thirty-two quarto copies of 
Hamlet held by participating institutions. 

* The Shakespeare Quartos Archive-Hamlet Prototype:
Here you can view full cover-to-cover digital reproductions and transcriptions of thirty-two copies of 
the five earliest editions of the play Hamlet. You can view quartos separately, or alongside any number 
of copies. You can search, annotate, make public or private sets of annotations, create exhibits or 
character cue line lists, and download and print text and images. 

* Enter the Shakespeare Quartos Archive:
o Learn how to use the archive 
o Find out more about archive features, browser requirements and known issues. 
o Compare the text of quarto editions 
o Watch video tutorials 
o View transcription documentation 
o Browse known issues 
o Read about affiliated institutions 

* Predecessor Project-William Shakespeare in Quarto:
The British Library's Shakespeare in Quarto site was launched in September 2004. Now updated with 
fourteen quarto editions not in the Library's collections, this site reproduces at least one copy of each 
edition of William Shakespeare's plays printed in quarto before the theatres closed in 1642. Here you can 
view quartos separately or compare any two copies. 

o Explore Shakespeare in Quarto 
o Find out what's new Hamlet Quartos In The Archive
Hamlet, First Quarto, 1603. 
British Library Shelfmark: C.34.k.1 
Hamlet, First Quarto, 1603. 
Huntington Shelfmark: 69304 
Hamlet, Second Quarto, 1604. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22276 
Hamlet, Second Quarto, 1604. 
Huntington Shelfmark: 69305 

Hamlet, Second Quarto Variant, 1605. 
British Library Shelfmark: C.34.k.2 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
British Library Shelfmark: C.34.k.4 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
British Library Shelfmark: C.71.b.2 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
Bodleian Shelfmark: Arch. G e.13 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
Edinburgh Shelfmark: JA 3734 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22277 
Copy 1 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22277 
Copy 2 

Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22277 
Copy 3 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
Huntington Shelfmark: 69306 
Hamlet, Third Quarto, 1611. 
Huntington Shelfmark: 69307 
Hamlet, Fourth Quarto, [1622]. 
British Library: C.34.k.3 
Hamlet, Fourth Quarto, [1622]. 
British Library: C.12.h.14 
Hamlet, Fourth Quarto, [1622]. 
Bodleian Shelfmark: Arch. G d.41 
Hamlet, Fourth Quarto, [1622]. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22278 
Copy 1

Hamlet, Fourth Quarto, [1622]. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22278 
Copy 2

Hamlet, Fourth Quarto, [1622]. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22278 
Copy 3 
Hamlet, Fourth Quarto, [1622]. 
Huntington Shelfmark: 69308 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
British Library Shelfmark: C.34.k.5 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Bodleian Shelfmark: Arch. G d.40 

Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Bodleian Shelfmark: 4o Z 3(6) Art.Seld. 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Edinburgh Shelfmark: JA 3735 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22279 
Copy 1 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22279 
Copy 2 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22279 
Copy 3 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22279 
Copy 4 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Folger Shelfmark: STC 22279 
Copy 5 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
Huntington Shelfmark: 69309 
Hamlet, Fifth Quarto, 1637. 
National Library of Scotland Shelfmark: Bute.476 

Usage Terms and Conditions | Website design by MITH | Contact the Shakespeare Quartos Archive
This project was made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities 
(NEH) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

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 opinions expressed on it are the sole 
property of the poster, and the editor assumes no responsibility for them.

SBReviews Call for Reviewers

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0006   Friday, 7 January 2011

From:         Jeremy Fiebig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         January 6, 2011 5:30:45 PM EST
Subject:      SBReviews Call for Reviewers

Thank you for the kind welcome. I continue to be excited about the SBReview Panel and look 
forward to sharing its work with the SHAKSPER community.

We are aiming for a big push here at the start of 2011 and are looking for well-credentialed 
reviewers of the following titles:

Paul Menzer's _The Hamlets: Cues, Qs, and Remembered Texts_ (Delaware 2009)

Scott and Stapleton's _Christopher Marlowe the Craftsman_ (Ashgate, 2010)

Madhavi Menon's _Unhistorical Shakespeare_ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

Hugh Grady's _Shakespeare and Impure Aesthetics_ (CUP, 2009)

John Drakakis's 3rd ed. of _The Merchant of Venice_ (Arden Shakespeare, 2010)

_Coriolanus_: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare) [Paperback] William Shakespeare. Peter Holland 
(Editor). To be released Feb 1, 2011.

A note from the SBReview Panel on Coriolanus:

It would be interesting to discover what new discoveries / approaches could warrant a(nother) 
new Coriolanus. Without micro-managing our reviewers, I wonder if we might ask for at least 
part of the review to assess the value of such an edition.

If you are interested in reviewing one of these titles for our April 1 or August 1 intake 
dates, please let Hardy know, or contact me directly.


[Editor's Note: What Jeremy did not mention is that there are a number of titles for which 
the Panel has already chosen reviewers and those reviews are currently being written. It is 
also important to mention that ALL reviewers and reviews are vetted by the SBReviews Panel. 
Because the SBReviews Panel of distinguished scholars and theatre practitioners oversee all 
activities of the SBReviews, I consider that reviews in this project have formal publication 
status. This project was one of three ideas that I came up with when I decided actively to 
regain the original academic focus of SHAKSPER; the other two were the Roundtable and Cook's 
Tour. I have every expectation that the current medical procedures and undertakings I am 
engaged with (including detoxification after six years of taking significantly large doses of 
narcotics) are going to be providing me significant reduction if not elimination of my 
chronic pain issues and an increase in my level of energy and focus, all of which should be 
resulting in my more active pursuit of SHAKSPER related activities in the future. -Hardy]

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 opinions expressed on it 
are the sole property of the poster, and the editor assumes no responsibility for them.

SBReviews_12: Janet Adelman's Blood Relations

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0004   Friday, 7 January 2011

From:         Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Friday, January 7, 2011       
Subject:      SBReviews_12: Janet Adelman's Blood Relations


Janet Adelman. _Blood Relations: Christian and Jew in The Merchant of Venice_.  Chicago and London: 
University of Chicago Press, 2008.  ISBN-13: 978-0-226-00681-9; xi + 226pp. US$35.00.

Reviewed by Murray M. Schwartz, Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, Emerson College

This bold and brilliant book was the last scholarly work of Janet Adelman's exemplary career as a teacher 
and interpreter of Shakespeare.  Aptly entitled "Strangers within Christianity," the opening chapter of 
_Blood Relations_ begins by confronting the perception of Jewish intrusion into "Christian" Renaissance 
studies when she and many other Jews, myself included, began academic careers in the 1960s.  Her book is 
in part a response to that fear of inordinate Jewish presence among Shakespeareans, which she immediately 
links to her central theme, the troubling status of Jews within Renaissance Christian history, theology, 
and _The Merchant of Venice_ itself. 
_Merchant_ is a play of interiors and exteriors, insiders and outsiders.  In this intricately, sometimes 
obsessively argued book, Adelman shows how Shakespeare's overdetermined text encodes -- both concealing 
and revealing -- fantasies and theological arguments about the presence and place of Jews and Jewishness 
in allusion, metaphor and dramatic structure. _Merchant_ is replete with instances of literal and 
metaphorical outsides and insides, purses and persons, disguises and revelations.  In Adelman's reading, 
virtually every aspect of the play is shown to be embedded in theological and cultural discourses about 
purity of blood, discourses that have yet to outlive their currency.  As "a figure for the disowned other 
within the self" (12), the sifting signifier of "the Jew" retains much of its problematic tenacity to 
this day in the contentious commonalities and rivalries of Abrahamic societies, making this book both an 
indispensible contribution to Shakespeare studies and a commentary on some of the most persistent 
conundrums and conflicts in Western history.
In _Blood Relations_ Adelman foregrounds the dream-like strategies of dramatic and linguistic structure 
that encode the "day residue" of the culture surrounding the play -- the biblical texts and shared 
imaginings that thread through sermons, plays, and historical narratives.  Her readings owe much to her 
psychoanalytic insights into the ways dramatic form -- especially Shakespeare's displacements into poetry 
of telling fantasies -- enacts in its "subterranean logic" (87) the tensions that are hidden in the 
play's overt features.  For example, she reads Graziano's passage about the "prodigal" barque that 
returns "Lean, rent, and beggared by the strumpet wind" at 2.6.14-19 as an oblique representation of "the 
bodily danger inherent in lovemaking" (102).  Similarly, the reported rupture in Antonio's ships points 
to the split in Antonio himself.  "For the innards concealed in the prologue in effect spill out 
dreamlike into the action of the play, into a plot that threatens to open him up and a set of literalized 
metaphors that express what he does not want to know that he has within" (115).  In every chapter, 
Adelman illuminates the ways apparently gratuitous elements (e.g. Jessica's disguise as a boy) become 
meaningful aspects of the play's design.
One of Adelman's achievements is to show how the play and its cultural moment paradoxically both 
reinforce and resist secure oppositions at every turn.  For her, the text of _Merchant_ is haunted by 
ambiguities, ambivalences, and anxieties in both proto-capitalist Venice and the Belmont of fairy-tale 
exchanges.  Opposites interpenetrate more troublingly than in any other Shakespearean comedy, threatening 
the tone of the play at crucial junctures in the action, and casting the stability of individual and 
group identities into doubt.  As Portia says, "Which is the merchant here?  And which the Jew?" 
(4.1.176).  Nowhere is Shakespeare's preoccupation with doubles and foils more problematically present. 
It should be said, however, that Adelman's arguments are often so complex in their interweaving of 
biblical, historical, and textual elements that they must be read (and re-read) carefully to grasp both 
their logic and their import in the play's meanings.  They defy easy summation but repay concentrated 
study.  One of the book's strengths is its powerful expose of the logic of cultural exclusion and racism 
in general.  A whole series of binaries are shown to be both fixed and fluid: Venice/Belmont, 
white/black, Christian/Jew, Moor/Jew, Christian/ Moor, spirit/blood.  "Two distincts, division none," in 
the paradox of "The Phoenix and the Turtle."
Adelman's introductory chapter frames and summarizes the book's purposes.  Each of the three chapters 
that follow is like an overlapping spotlight highlighting aspects of her central themes and intensifying 
aspects of the overall arguments about conversion, blood and the dilemmas of identity, and each centers 
on one character: Lancelot Gobbo, Jessica, and Antonio.  
The introductory chapter explores way in which _Merchant_ is haunted by anxieties that disrupt the 
"secure distinctions" between Christians and Jews in Elizabethan England.  At the center of her argument 
is the Christian preoccupation with the Jew as "the original stranger" within Christianity, and the 
converso as the hidden Sephardic Jew within the imaginary of Shakespeare's world.  As both origin and 
other, the Jew calls into question religious, national, and gender boundaries.  Adelman's careful and 
lucid interpretations of  "Sir Thomas More," the significance of London's converso community, Robert 
Wilson's "The Three Ladies of London," and John Foxe's "A Sermon Preached at the Christening of a Certain 
Jew" in 1577 converge on the problematics of "blood relations" and both the uncertainty and the necessity 
of conversion in relation to Christian triumphalism. 
In her second chapter, Adelman considers the "throwaway scene" of Lancelot's departure from Shylock's 
house (2.2) as a comic displacement that encodes anxieties about conversion before we encounter them in 
close proximity to Jessica's flight from her Jewish father and her theft of his ducats and jewels.  The 
story of Isaac and Jacob, a "pretext" for Christ's bodily ancestry and Christian Jewish origins, informs 
the language of Lancelot's dilemma about leaving the Jewish house.  As it both mirrors and parodies its 
biblical precursor, 2.2 reinscribes anxieties about fathers and sons even as it displaces them.  
Jessica's conversion is central to the third chapter.  In leaving her Jewish father, Jessica's betrayal 
encodes anxieties about the Jewish body and the Jewish womb.  Jessica may steal from her father's house 
and sell her mother's ring, but she cannot escape Christian uneasiness about her potential maternity.  
"The more Jessica appears to be 'a gentle, and no Jew,' the more vigorously her problematic lineage needs 
to be asserted" (75).  The threat of merger provokes insistence on differentiation; cultural assimilation 
reinforces racial alterity.  Adelman recognizes a convergence of religious and proto-racist elements in 
Jessica's role as she comes to occupy an ambiguous place in Belmont, at once insider and outsider, 
convert and stranger.  Jessica's body also presents a potential threat to the integrity of Christian 
blood in the proto-national Christian state, a threat Portia counters in her injunction against violating 
the integrity of Antonio's body. "Conversion, danger to the commonwealth, race, and miscegenation come 
together in Jessica's body . . . " (97).
Adelman's final chapter moves from Jessica's "ambiguously gendered" (101) body to the fraught issue of 
circumcision, claiming convincingly that the biblical story of Dinah "haunt[s] the edges of _Merchant_" 
(105), as "a kind of conversion story gone terribly wrong, with both parties to blame" (103).  It is 
Portia as Balthazar who must counter the threat of bondage to the old Law embodied in the trope of 
circumcision and literalized as Shylock's pound of flesh.  Antonio's unseen interior has a double 
valence: it hides the Jew within even as, in the idea of "circumcision of the heart," it identifies the 
true Christian.  The trial scene finds its scapegoat as it illustrates Shakespeare's diagnostic 
imagination.  "Though it creates a monstrous Jew as it reproduces the threat of circumcision and 
crucifixion in 4.1, it also allows us to see what needs that creation fulfills, for its characters as 
well as its audience" (112).

The meanings of Antonio's interior, however, are not limited to the symbolism of circumcision.  As many 
have recognized, his opening confession, "In sooth I know not why I am so sad," (1.1.1), masks erotic 
desire.  "Shylock both literalizes and gives an alibi for Antonio's initial desire to be unlocked purse 
and person for Bassanio, to be known inside out by him . . . As though only torture could extract the 
confession that Antonio wants both to conceal and to make . . . [in his] ambivalent desire for self-
disclosure" (120).  In one of Adelman's most eloquent insights, she states a deeper meaning as well:

>In its representation of Antonio's concealed inwardness and his ambivalent desire 
>for exposure, _Merchant_ seems to me to anticipate not only Hamlet's noisier 
>insistence that he has something inaccessible within but also his developing sense 
>of the self; and Antonio's ambivalent desire for self-exposure catches exactly this 
>dilemma of this private self in its most painful form.  (121)
Here Adelman draws on the psychoanalytic writing of D.W. Winnicott, who wrote of "the urgent need to 
communicate and the still more urgent need not to be found" (121).
Before the trial scene is over, Portia has reinforced the fantasy of the feminized Jew (for it was said 
that melancholy men bleed like women) and the masculinized Christian (in herself as Balthazar), 
transcending the gender division.  The play can then move to the Belmont of Act 5, which at once 
distances the anxieties of Venice and echoes them in its language of incision, inward searching, and 
prying into interiors.  Portia's triumph "seals off" the potential wound in Antonio's body as the play 
retreats to Belmont, "But the retreat is uneasy, for _Merchant_ seems to me everywhere haunted by what it 
cannot allow itself to know.  In its play of glib surfaces, _Merchant_ represents self-knowledge as a 
wound, and one that must be forestalled . . .  And once that knowledge has been foreclosed, the debt to 
the Jew -- the debt the play encodes as three thousand ducats for three months -- need never be repaid" 
In its textual focus, _Blood Relations_ is a fine complement to and extension of James Shapiro's 
Shakespeare and the Jews, and Kenneth Gross's Shakespeare is Shylock, to take only two examples of 
Adelman's recent precursors.  As in her previous books, Adelman's notes are models of erudition, 
professional critique, and magnanimous acknowledgement of the debts on which she builds.  Her mind 
absorbed and condensed an enormous range of commentary into eloquent prose that is at once summary and 
Adelman's final, brilliant success in _Blood Relations_ strengthens her legacy as a major figure in, 
psychoanalytic, feminist, and historical Shakespearean scholarship.  Not only does she answer the 
prejudices she encountered at the beginning her professional experience as a Jewish scholar, she has 
bettered the instruction.  _Blood Relations_ will be essential to all future interpretations of The 
Merchant of Venice.

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 opinions expressed on it are the sole 
property of the poster, and the editor assumes no responsibility for them.

SBReviews_13: B&N The Taming of the Shrew

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0005   Friday, 7 January 2011

From:         Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Friday, January 7, 2011       
Subject:      SBReviews_13: B&N The Taming of the Shrew


William Shakespeare. _The Taming of the Shrew_. Ed. Nicholas F. Radel & David Scott Kastan. New 
York: Barnes and Noble Shakespeare, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-1411400412; pp.335. US$6.95.

Reviewed by Ann Pleiss Morris, English Ph.D. Candidate, University of Iowa, M.Litt in Shakespeare 
and Renaissance Literature in Performance, Mary Baldwin College 

I am approaching the Barnes and Noble edition of _The Taming of the Shrew_, edited by Radel and 
Kastan, from a pedagogical perspective, conceding that this is an edition of the play meant for those 
with only a cursory knowledge of Shakespeare.  The eight essays included in this text introduce the 
playwright to his readers, whether they are students learning in a classroom or individuals browsing 
the drama section of their local retail store.  The Barnes and Noble Shakespeare series appears to be 
designed to compete with the Signet Classic Editions, the Folger Editions, and the Penguin Editions 
of Shakespeare.  These inexpensive, concisely annotated, single-play texts are well suited for high 
school classrooms, general education of literature courses, or survey courses.  The Barnes and Noble 
edition of _The Taming of the Shrew_ is applicable to all of these situations and, in addition, offers a 
variety of introductory materials appropriate to a broad spectrum of classroom requirements.

Delving into the gender issues of Shakespeare's _The Taming of the Shrew_ presents challenges for 
both teachers and students.  How do we make sense of the patriarchal culture from which the text 
emerges?  How do we address the influence that gender studies has had on the recent critical and 
artistic interpretations of the text?  Moreover, what does the continued popularity of the play say 
about today's gender politics?  Nicholas F. Radel's introduction to the Barnes and Noble edition of 
_The Taming of the Shrew_ grapples with these questions.  He asserts that _Shrew_ "is not a simple 
rehearsal of history.  What makes it continue to be popular and compelling to playgoers and readers 
is not its antiquated vision of hierarchical family relations . . . .  Rather, it is Shakespeare's brilliant 
handling of character and the play's witty -- if sometimes disquieting -- revelation of the complexities 
of gender relations in the early modern period and perhaps our own" (3-4).  Radel argues that 
_Shrew_ addresses the social construction of patriarchal roles.  For him, the play is as much about 
masculine anxieties and feelings of inadequacy as it is about the women's unruliness.  He sees 
Petruchio as a guide who is trying to teach Kate how they _both_ might navigate these social 
strictures to take advantage of the benefits of marriage in their culture.  He notes that the most 
successful method of playing this game in the text is language and illustrates how Kate and 
Petruchio accordingly refine their verbal wit throughout the play.  His approach is of a middling 
sort, both acknowledging the unsettling gender politics of the play and trying to redeem the play for 
contemporary readers.  Overall, the edition provides a nice starting point for those new to 
Shakespeare, giving them information that could foster productive discussions about the text.  

In addition to Radel's introduction, David Scott Kastan, the series' general editor, provides adept 
essays that introduce both the Shakespeare's world and his language.  He uses examples from all of 
Shakespeare's plays to support his claims, providing an overview of the playwright's work.  Kastan 
specifically focuses on _Shrew_ in his essay on editing the text.  Radel further discusses Shrew in detail 
in his essay about the early staging of the play, in his performance history of the play, and in an essay 
on famous adaptations of _Shrew_.  I like that an instructor can choose from among these essays, 
and their critical approaches, to suit her classroom needs.  As a teacher who emphasizes 
performance, I was particularly impressed by the "_The Taming of the Shrew_ on the Early Stage," 
"Significant Performances," and "Inspired by _The Taming of the Shrew_" sections.  While editions 
such as the Sourcebooks Shakespeare and Shakespeare in Performance have placed increased 
emphasis on the interplay between Shakespeare as literature and Shakespeare as theatre, it was nice 
to see this emphasis in a classroom-ready text.  The diagrams of Shakespeare's theater are useful for 
showing students the layout of the English Renaissance stage and explaining the original staging 
conventions to them (much more effective than makeshift drawings on the chalkboard).   Finally, 
the thorough and informative performance and adaptation histories had me scurrying to buy the 
Barnes and Noble editions of all the plays I will be teaching in my "Shakespearean Adaptation" 
course this spring.

The text, itself, is a conservative version based on the First Folio text.  It aims to clarify the Early 
Modern text when necessary, modernizing spelling and punctuation, standardizing character names, 
and clarifying entrances and exits.  Editorial stage directions are kept to a minimum, and their 
addition is signified with brackets. 

The editors enhance this text with informative notes.  When I taught single editions of Shakespeare 
in the past, I used the Signet Classics editions because they are inexpensive.  While I appreciate the 
portability of the Signet series, I have repeatedly been disappointed by their minimal notes.  I was 
smitten, then, with the thorough notes provided in the Barnes and Noble edition, which cost only a 
couple of dollars more.  (In fact, the Barnes and Noble editions are cheaper than the Signet editions 
when they are purchased from the retailer's web site).  To illustrate my contention about the notes, 
when Petruchio calls Kate "Kate of Kate Hall" (188), the Signet edition glosses the phrase as 
"possible topical reference; several places have been proposed."  The Barnes and Nobel edition, on 
the other hand, provides a more expansive gloss: "Perhaps a reference to Katherine Hall, a large 
house in southern England, or some specific place; most likely, however, an ironic way of saying 'the 
house that Kate is in charge of.'"  I like that in addition to providing more information, this gloss 
explains the phrase's significance, and thereby assists students' understanding of their reading of the 
scene.  The Barnes and Noble edition glosses difficult words in the left margin, provides pithy 
annotations of words and phrases on the verso page, and offers longer notes in the back (such as a 
lengthy explanation of the various inferences of the word "Kate" in Act II, scene i).  Overall, the 
explanatory information is presented in such a way that it is not overwhelming, achieving a balance 
between the terseness of the Signet editions and the gregarious explanations of more scholarly 
editions as the Arden.

The only thing that I feel is missing from this edition is a selection of representative critical essays 
about _Shrew_, similar to the selections provided by the Signet, the Norton Critical editions, or the 
Bedford/St. Martin's texts and Contexts series.  Especially with a controversial play like _Shrew_, I 
find it helpful to point students to a variety of critical responses.  Nevertheless, this edition does 
have an annotated bibliography that gives young scholars a balanced representation of the available 
criticism. This bibliography includes classic articles from the 1960s to the mid-2000s, providing 
examples of such theoretical practices as New Criticism's close readings, cultural studies, and diverse 
approaches to gender, performance, and textual studies.   Now that students can have access to 
most of these essays from their library's web sites, a good bibliography may be all that students really 

Overall, I was impressed with the Barnes and Noble Shakespeare's _The Taming of the Shrew_ as a 
pedagogical tool.  Its strong, varied essay and clear, thorough notes are particularly attractive, and I 
believe this edition would be a welcome companion as high school and undergraduate students 
begin to navigate the gendered world of Shakespeare's Padua.

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 opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the 
poster, and the editor assumes no responsibility for them.

SBReviews_11: Robert Appelbaum's Aguecheek's Beef

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0003   Friday, 7 January 2011

From:         Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Friday, January 7, 2011       
Subject:      SBReviews_11: Robert Appelbaum's Aguecheek's Beef 


Robert Appelbaum.  _Aguecheek's Beef, Belch's Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections: Literature, 
Culture, and Food Among the Early Moderns_.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.  xxiv + 
376 pp.  $32.50.  ISBN: 0-226-02126-2.

Reviewed by Arthur Lindley, Institute for Advanced Research, University of Birmingham

This review is an exercise in belatedness.  Since Robert Appelbaum's _Aguecheek's Beef_ . . . came 
out in 2006 it has become a much reviewed and much praised work.  I am happy to concur with 
most of the praise.  Appelbaum's scholarship is both broad and deep.  He applies it skilfully to 
illuminate most of the texts he studies -- notably _Twelfth Night_ and _Hamlet_ -- and provides a 
context that will illuminate many that he does not.  Teachers of those two plays together, for 
example, should put the first chapter of this book on their recommended list immediately.  
Additionally, Appelbaum has an almost Greenblattian ability to turn up nuggets of information -- 
about why early modern Italians didn't eat beef or about the origin of a word like "bully" (7) -- 
and resonant anecdotes.  He also has an admirable ability to accept and incorporate information 
that complicates and challenges his theses, and he has a topic that is almost as universal as he 
claims it is.  This is, in short, an admirable book within its limitations, one from which almost 
any reader will learn a great deal.  Belatedly, however, I want to suggest what I think those 
limitations are, since they may be more apparent to a sometime Medievalist like myself than to 
the Early Modern and Cultural Studies specialists who have written the reviews I have seen.  
Those limitations are important not only for this work but for Renaissance studies in general.
Appelbaum's subject is food in the early modern period as "not only . . . an economic reality 
answering to a biological function, but as . . . the object of a multitude of discourses: stage plays, 
religious polemics, mystical tracts, cookbooks, medical texts, herbals, travelogues, novels, to 
name a few" (p. xiii).  This vast body of material is studied over a comparably large span, roughly 
1450-1750.  Appelbaum organizes his material by setting up a dynamic of change -- basically his 
adaptation of Norbert Elias's "civilizing process" in which European (food) culture evolves from 
a crude medieval base toward greater refinement, self-consciousness and literacy -- against a 
principle of continuity.  "Eating and drinking became more 'civilized' . . . to the extent that it 
[sic] came to approximate the laws of sociality of the emerging modern nation-state and its 'civil 
society'" (p. xvi).    What remains stable is the (eternally?) recurrent opposition, brilliantly 
extrapolated from _Twelfth Night_ and _Hamlet_ in Chapter One, between the "comic" view (p. 
xiv) of food and eating which sees the world as a life-sustaining and pleasure-providing field of 
nutrition -- Belch and Aguecheek's life that "consists of eating and drinking" (2.3.10-11) -- and 
_Hamlet_'s "tragic" view which sees it as a system of predation in which humans ravenously 
consume in order to fatten themselves for worms.  In an extraordinarily useful exercise in 
historicized close reading (pp. 15-27), Appelbaum first reminds us that Hamlet's "funeral baked 
meats" came in pastry shells known as "coffins," then links that to the Ghost's account of his 
body being literally cooked by the effects of the poison to reveal Gertrude and Claudius's 
funeral/wedding as an example of what Hamlet and the play come to see as "the universal 
cannibalism of nature" (30).  The two versions of nature are, of course, inescapable 
complements; it is simply a question of whether you see your vial of blood as half-empty or half-
Chapter Two explores the Galenic theory behind the idea that life consists of eating and drinking 
in a way that greatly elaborates what most of us thought we knew about humoral theory.  
Galenic science viewed the body and its health as a function of digestion: "The body was a 
consuming organism" (49).  Appelbaum stresses the way this "sensational science" was rooted in 
the physical experience of eating -- in the taste of what is hot or cold, wet or dry -- in contrast to 
the more abstract nutritional science that displaced it in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries.  Appelbaum further insists that the discourse that explained food also created "a 
regime of sensation that we no longer experience" (52).  The past is another pantry; things taste 
differently there.
Chapter Three takes up the civilizing process through a history of the evolution of cookbooks 
and related textual authorities.  The spread of such books, especially in the latter part of the 
period, imposed fixity and uniformity on previously heterogeneous experience: _this_, says the 
text, is how we cook our chicken cacciatore, and _that_ is how we eat it.  The same process 
codifies "taste" in the form of progressive refinement of manners and self-consciousness: the 
birth of _haute cuisine_ as "the triumph of culture over nature" (80).
Chapters Four and Five return to the stable opposition set up in Chapter One: "food of wishes" 
vs. "food of regret."  The former chapter makes the rather obvious point that dreams of 
Cockaigne were rooted in the real experience of hunger and, less obviously, that these fantasies 
were translated in later utopian literature -- More especially -- into dreams of order, discipline 
and equal distribution.  "Utopia is sober.  But utopia is also a land without hunger and provides 
an answer to plebeian doubts and fears" (142).  The latter chapter deals with the ascetic tradition 
and the guilt attached to eating in early modern Christian culture, whether in the form of 
religious self-denial a practiced by Teresa of Avila or the health-based dietary extremes of an 
authority like Luigi Cornaro.  Inevitably perhaps, this chapter concludes with a discussion of the 
Fall in _Paradise Lost_, though less inevitably that discussion focuses on a prolonged argument 
about what exactly Eve ate: a chaste apple, a sensuous peach, or some combination of the two.  
For reasons I will return to below, I found this discussion less than fruitful.
Chapter Six returns to Sir Toby Belch, his drinking and his pickled herring.  Appelbaum treats 
Toby as a transitional figure in the civilizing process, whose aristocratic disregard of propriety 
and regularity looks to the feudal past but whose staple diet of imported wine and herring looks 
forward to a more cosmopolitan future.  That evolution is linked to a process by which -- in the 
Appelbaum version at least -- "civility," defined as an expression of bourgeois self-assertion, 
opposes and eventually displaces "courtesy," defined primarily as the courtly assertion of rank 
and privilege.  "Civility is _cosmopolitan_ . . . _fastidious_ . . . _elegant_" (210; his italics), and 
leaves little place for the likes of Belch.  On the other hand, it becomes a justification for 
colonizing those, such as the Amerindians, who can be defined as "uncivil."  Evolution toward 
gentility thus turns out to be evolution toward empire.
Chapter Seven takes up the consequences of that process in a discussion of Jean de Lery's 
sixteenth-century narrative of cannibalism in Brazil and Richard Ligon's seventeenth-century 
account of plantation life in Barbados.  Empire, like many other things in this book, turns out to 
be centrally about food.  In Brazil, fear of hunger and cannibalism displaces the fear of sin, 
especially gluttony.  At the same time, however, "alimentary despair" (258), the colonial 
experience of being cut off from one's sustaining food culture, produces a modulation of 
religious experience, "the material equivalent of spiritual alienation" required, for Calvinists, as 
the first step to salvation.  The plenty of life in Barbados, on the other hand, distils a version of 
our modern relation to food: 

>the _commodification_ of need and the goods required to satisfy it . . . the 
>_alienation_ of the individual from material and spiritual comfort . . . the 
>_hybridization_ (or _creolization_) of cultural style through the conjunction of 
>strange and familiar foodways; the _assertion of wonder_ at the new horizons 
>of possibility opening up before the subject.  (258)

The food of wishes again confronts the food of regret (not to mention, the food of cultural 
A conclusion -- in which very little is concluded -- returns us to the food of wishes in the form 
of Robinson Crusoe's enactment of the fantasy of civilizing a cannibal by means of European 
food, and Rousseau's attempt to make Emile "philosophical" about food; that is, aware of its 
nature, its sources -- including murdered animals -- and the labor that went into producing it -- a 
reflection of Appelbaum's stated intention for his own book (see p. xvii).   Here and elsewhere, 
he is more inclined to set problems than to resolve them.  We wish that our relation to nature or 
the other could be benign.  We wish that food could be a civilizing force, but we know it is more 
complex, ambiguous, disappointing than that.  At the end of all this civilizing process, Crusoe 
and Friday devour a goat in the jungle, Rousseau and Emile wonder about whether the members 
of a salon are civilized. 
Most of this is impressive, much of it is persuasive.  Within its limits, as I said, it is 
commendable.  Appelbaum has drawn a very large circle within which to work, but it is a circle 
and it excludes as well as encloses.  The book is, for example, rigorously Eurocentric: the 
American colonies aside, no other part of the world gets even a passing mention.  This is an 
unfair question perhaps, since it invites the author to write a different or an additional book, but 
it is hard to avoid asking: are we dealing with universals here or with the peculiarities of Judeo-
Christian cultural history?  China, India, Japan, the Muslim world have great and complex food 
cultures.  Does Appelbaum think any of them have gone through a comparable evolutionary 
process?  Is there a Hindu or a Buddhist or a Confucian equivalent to the food of regret?  
A similarly unfair question: are we dealing with eternals or with historical accidents?  Is there any 
period in Western history -- C.E. or B.C.E -- that is not marked by the same ambivalences?  The 
food of wishes, of course, survives and flourishes as foodie literature, in the form, say, of 
aspirational coffee-table cookbooks that would teach us to cook like Ferran Adria or Heston 
Blumenthal, if only we had chemistry labs attached to our kitchens.  Our current equivalent of 
Cockaigne is El Bulli or Provence.  The literature of regret and food guilt survives in vegan or 
environmental diatribes about the evils of meat-eating and in our pervasive worry about air miles 
and carbon footprints.  Appelbaum has surprisingly little to say directly about recent history -- 
or, for that matter, about the current equivalents of the dietaries and herbals, which fill so much 
space in our bookstores and cable-TV schedules.  Out of curiosity, not criticism, I wish he had 
said more.
There are real problems within Appelbaum's circle of discourse, however, and those problems 
tend to be symptomatic of larger, lingering issues about the ways we do Renaissance studies.  
The scheme he has derived from Elias requires a pre-civilized period before the civilizing process 
starts, so he duly provides one.   The othering of the Middle Ages begins, in a small but 
significant way as early as p. xv with a caricature of medieval diners eating with their hands and 
licking gravy off their trenchers, an image that is repeated with elaboration at 207-08.  I ask 
anyone who, unlike Appelbaum, remembers the theatrically delicate manners of Chaucer's 
Prioress (see General Prologue, ll. 127-31) to imagine her licking her trencher.   Or using one, for 
that matter: ranking diners, like the head of a priory, ate off plates.  They also used knives and 
spoons, not to mention finger bowls.  Since Appelbaum (341 n11) admiringly cites Terence 
Scully's _The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages_, he must know that Scully insists throughout on 
the sophistication of medieval cuisine and the elaborateness of medieval manners, the latter 
subjected to the kind of textualized authority Applebaum associates only with the seventeenth 
century.[1]   More importantly, the Prioress -- "cosmopolitan, fastidious, elegant" -- is displaying the 
marks of civility sometime in the 1390s.  She thinks, of course, that she is practicing "courteisie" 
(l. 132), "countrefet[ing] cheere of court" (ll. 138-39) in the decidedly uncourtly surroundings of 
the Canterbury pilgrimage.  Since she is almost certainly a social climber, she thus embodies the 
transition from medieval courtesy to bourgeois civility two hundred years before Appelbaum 
thinks it occurred.  Moreover, she embodies the change not as opposition but as assimilation, a 
trickle-down process that is comically extended by the fawning show of delicacy Harry Bailly 
puts on when he addresses her.  The manners of the Knight and his very courtly son also reflect 
a "civil" concern to set aside rather than assert rank.  The Knight does not slap down the Miller's 
attempt to "quit" him; he asserts his authority only when he needs to stop the quarrel between 
Harry and the Pardoner.  The literature, in short, does not support the Appelbaum-Elias version, 
any more than history supports the idea that international trade and the commodification of 
food were Renaissance developments.  Oil, wine, spices, and grain were all traded commodities 
throughout the Middle Ages.  If there was a civilizing process, it started long before 1450.
If Appelbaum doesn't know enough about the Middle Ages, he doesn't say enough about the 
literature of his own period.  I don't want to play the mug's game of asking why he didn't choose 
the texts I would have chosen, but his principles of selection _are_ sometimes baffling.  No 
character in Shakespeare, not even Falstaff, is as elaborately identified with food as Cleopatra; 
she gets three sentences (234-35).  They are perceptive sentences, of course, but they do cry out 
for more.  For all the discussions of cannibalism, _Titus Andronicus_ gets only two passing 
mentions.  And how do you write a book on early modern food culture whose thematic and 
chronological center is 1600 and not mention Sir Epicure Mammon, Ursula the Pig Woman, 
Zeal-of-the-Land Busy's gluttony for pork, the figurative cannibalism rife in _Volpone_, or the 
model of civilized dining offered by Ben Jonson's "Inviting a Friend to Supper"?
If Jonson is Renaissance literature's poet laureate of eating, Marlowe -- who rates a single 
mention -- is its laureate of hunger.  All his protagonists are driven by literal and/or figurative 
hunger: an insatiable inner emptiness that requires endless stuffing.  "How am I glutted with 
conceit of this" (_Dr.F_., A-text, 1.1.80) is Faustus's original and constant response to magic.[2]   
King Edward differs only in preferring a more colloquial version of getting stuffed.  Tamburlaine 
not only hungers for crowns, he arranges a course of pastry ones for his generals and himself to 
feast on.  Appelbaum manages to (mis)quote Gluttony in _Faustus_ (212) without mentioning the 
glutton s/he is addressing.
Of course, all these hungers are emblematic as well as physical.  Specifically, they are theological, 
which may explain Appelbaum's neglect of them.  In the Augustinian theological system that is 
marginalized throughout this book, evil _is_ hunger, or rather, hunger is the first physical 
manifestation of a larger sin.  Sin enters the (Miltonic) world when the serpent convinces Eve to 
feel empty in the midst of Edenic plenty.  He teaches her to feel ignorant, deprived, denied; 
_then_ she feels hungry (the relevant passage in _Paradise Lost_ is 9.679-744).  This is not simply 
the sin of gluttony, as Appelbaum thinks; gluttony is the metonymic substitute for the root of 
evil, cupidity -- one of those theological words that never quite make it into this text.
Appetite is, as Appelbaum says, "a longing to possess" (225).  As such it is a token of that larger, 
cupiditous love of the other (person or thing) for one's own pleasure: the desire to use, consume, 
destroy. In the Augustinian doctrine that is the consistent orthodoxy of the early modern period, 
as it is today for both Catholics and Protestants, evil is privation, not a positive entity but the 
lack of something it is natural to have, as darkness is the absence of light.  (The primary text is 
_City of God_ XII-XIV.)  Fallen man tries to fill that spiritual emptiness with material things, only 
starting with food.  In the process of tempting Eve with the apple, the serpent sells her on 
discarding her mutual relationship with Adam in favour of the worship of non-existent admirers, 
betokened by her solitary, self-gratifying bingeing on the luscious fruit Appelbaum goes to great 
length to prove is now a peach.  Actually, it is an emblem.  The appetite for peaches is not, as he 
quotes Ulysses to show, "an universal wolf" (232); the appetite for power over others is.  Having 
eaten that peach, she immediately decides she has to share it and death with Adam because of 
how dearly she loves him (see 9.830-33) -- literally to death.
Though Appelbaum understands that the "forbidden fruit" is "a polysemous token" (192), he 
tends to get stuck at the literal level, worrying about the difference between higher and bestial 
appetites, when he should be distinguishing between _caritas_ and _cupiditas_.  The regret that 
attaches to the 'food of regret' is original sin, which is both murder and self-murder.  Thus, 
eating is the term by which Marlowe describes Faustus's relation to everything.  That is what 
Epicure Mammon reduces all experience to.  That is why all of Volpone's schemes amount to 
growing "fat by eating, once a month, a man" (1.5.92).  	
The theological context of this book's subject is always liable to go missing or go to the margins, 
not surprisingly given that Augustine gets exactly one mention and seems to mean nothing to 
Appelbaum except, vaguely, a source of _contemptus mundi_.  He is also, however, the primary 
source of Milton's interpretation of Genesis and the ultimate early modern authority on one of 
Appelbaum's inescapable subjects: evil.  Too often in Renaissance studies, we overvalue 
humanistic traditions and undervalue theological ones, getting rid of the latter by consigning it to 
a small body of specialists like Huston Diehl and Deborah Shuger.  We do so at our peril, as we 
do when we define our period in opposition to a crude fiction of the Middle Ages instead of the 
complex, nuanced, oddly familiar, real thing.  If a scholar as subtle and learned as Robert 
Appelbaum can fall into such errors, God help the rest of us.

     [1] (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1995); see especially Chapter Seven, pp. 166-84.
     [2] Christopher Marlowe, _Dr. Faustus: A- and B-Texts_, ed. David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen 
(Manchester and New York: Manchester UP, 1993), p. 115.
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