The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.018  Saturday, 21 January 2012


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

Date:          21 January 2012

Subject:     SHAKSPER Discussion


Dear SHAKSPEReans,


As I was repairing digests in the Archive that were truncated during the transfer from the old site to the new, I was reminded that in the past SHAKSPER was a site of vigorous debate. In 2002, a decade ago, there were almost 2,500 yearly digests. Granted, at the time, frivolous discussions were in evidence, but I am afraid that in my quest to return SHAKSPER to its academic roots that some of the liveliness of the conference has become my victim. True, SHAKSPER has a number of new scholarly features—the Roundtables, the SBReviews (that’s SHAKSPER Book Reviews), and many additions to the Scholarly Resources section of the web site (http://shaksper.net/scholarly-resources)—but a dearth of engaging exchanges is apparent of late. 


So let me attempt to prime the pump. 


I vividly recall the 1997 Washington, DC, Shakespeare Theater “photo-negative” casting production of Othello with Patrick Stewart, when the Duke played by Craig Wallace delivered the “I think this tale would win my daughter, too” line with a venom I had not previously thought possible. Before this production, I had considered the Duke one of the only characters in the play who appeared to be without racial hatred. Or my excitement when in 1999 I saw the opening 30 seconds of Julie Taymor’s Titus and knew immediately I was viewing one of the best Shakespeare films I had ever seen.


Have there been any performances on the stage (perhaps the Old Vic-BAM Richard III directed by Sam Mendes with Kevin Spacey, http://theater.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/theater/reviews/kevin-spaceys-richard-iii-staged-by-sam-mendes-review.html) or film (The Tempest with Helen Mirren directed by Julie Taymor) that have suggested possibilities you had not previously considered? 


Have you recently, or not so recently, read a book or article that you found particularly thought-provoking? 


With some trepidation, I ask what effect would PIPA/SOPA have on academic Internet discussions like those on SHAKSPER?


I will stop my questions for now, but be aware that others will undoubtedly follow.


My best to all subscribers of the past 23 years who have made this electronic conference what it is.


Hardy M. Cook



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