Sonnet 74

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0186  Saturday, 28 April 2018


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

Date:         April 26, 2018 at 2:59:21 PM EDT

Subject:    Sonnet 74


His Sonnets are about half done but what is he saying in this?


But be contented when that fell arrest

Without all bail shall carry me away,

My life hath in this line some interest,

Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.

When thou reviewest this, thou dost review

The very part was consecrate to thee:

The earth can have but earth, which is his due;

My spirit is thine, the better part of me:

So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,

The prey of worms, my body being dead;

The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,

Too base of thee to be remembered.

   The worth of that is that which it contains,

   And that is this, and this with thee remains.


Sid Lubow




'Not the Year's Work in English Studies' for 2016 Now Available

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0185  Saturday, 28 April 2018


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

Date:         April 28, 2018 at 10:50:08 AM EDT

Subject:    'Not the Year's Work in English Studies' for 2016 Now Available




From 2000 to 2016 I wrote the “Shakespeare: Editions and Textual Studies” annual review for the Year’s Work in English Studies published by Oxford University Press. In 2016 I was asked to stand down and so gave up the review, but I continue to attempt to read and evaluate everything published in this field. Since the discipline of formally reviewing scholarship is the best way to make sense of it, I decided to continue writing an annual review and to self-publish it on my website. I am grateful to Ed Pechter for serving as my editor for this review, saving me from 100s of infelicities and improving the sense in many places. I would be interested to hear from any readers who find this review useful.


The review is called Not the Year's Work in English Studies (NYWES) and it appears at:




The review for 2016 has just be published there, alongside links for NYWES for 2015 and YWES for 2014 and every preceding year back to 1999.



Gabriel Egan




CFP: What’s Missing in Shakespeare?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0183  Thursday, 26 April 2018


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

Date:         April 25, 2018 at 8:26:35 PM EDT

Subject:    CFP: What’s Missing in Shakespeare?


Essay Collection: What’s Missing in Shakespeare?

Co-edited by Darlene Farabee (University of South Dakota) and Brett Gamboa (Dartmouth College)


Shakespeare’s plays are often complicated by what they lack. Key characters go missing from scenes or drop out of the action entirely; absent characters exert influence over those onstage; mislaid or immaterial objects are pivotal to the resolutions of plots; urgent questions are settled through silences; and plays are frequently haunted by untaken roads or abandoned plot threads. In addition, contemporary performances are shaped significantly by cuts to the script, with some scenes or characters rarely realized in performance, and some plays rarely performed at all.


We invite contributions for a peer-reviewed essay collection on the value of what goes missing on Shakespeare’s stage. We envision a collection mainly focused on performance, mingling historically situated analyses and readings of the plays through contemporary theoretical concerns. Contributors might explore the foregoing (or related) topics through a variety of critical approaches, including editorial and textual studies, object-oriented ontology or actor-network theory, cultural studies and canonicity, cognitive and reception theories, genre studies, or attention to contemporary staging. Additional topics of inquiry might include:

  • deletions from or changes to source materials
  • generic irresolution
  • reported action, or ‘scenes’ occurring offstage
  • omissions from contemporary or period accounts of performance
  • syntactical omissions or elisions
  • absences brought on by representational limits (horses, weather, landscapes, etc.)
  • gaps in time or multiple time schemes

 Please send abstracts of about 250 words (for essays of 5000-6000 words in length) and a brief c.v. to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by no later than June 3, 2018. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about individual topics or the volume as a whole.



Borrowers and Lenders CFP

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0184  Saturday, 28 April 2018


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

Date:         April 27, 2018 at 8:18:25 PM EDT

Subject:    Borrowers and Lenders CFP


Borrowers and Lenders Special Issue: Shakespeare and Gaming CFP


In what game designer Eric Zimmerman calls our ‘ludic century’, the proliferation of games of all sorts makes them a schema for (re)understanding the modes and habits of cultural production. Indeed, the practices of Shakespearean appropriation are frequently products of playful engagements, whereby the appropriator traverses the text, building virtual or imaginary worlds that interact with the received Shakespearean corpus, its margins, and its outliers in creative ways. Moreover, just as play may be likened to appropriation, aspects of Shakespeare games and game development might reflect and/or challenge traditional modes of humanistic inquiry, and adaptive play has the capacity to influence critical reading practices. Using games to foreground the notion of interactivity at the heart of appropriation, this special issue of Borrowers and Lenders invites multimedia projects, including original creative-critical games, and theoretically-oriented essays of between 5,000 and 9,000 words to explore how games and games studies impact the study and circulation of Shakespeare, offering new models of reading through appropriative acts. 


Topics might include:

  • Educational and pedagogical games 
  • Role-playing games and character studies 
  • Failure, fail-states, and glitches as concepts applicable to and beyond gaming
  • Gaming and performance studies/performativity
  • Game-making as scholarship and criticism
  • Shakespeare and Shakespeareana in interactive and electronic literature
  • Shakespeare board and video games
  • Shakespearean quotations, allusions, and motifs in non-Shakespearean games or games culture more broadly
  • Theories of play and interactivity
  • Transmedia approaches to Shakespeare
  • Virtual and immersive Shakespeare experiences

Because Borrowers and Lenders is an online, open-access journal, we encourage essays that include embedded media and games hosted on free platforms such as itch.io. Please submit a 250-word abstract to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by August 15th, 2018.  Selected essays will be due February 1st, 2019 for publication in early 2020. Borrowers and Lenders is a peer-reviewed journal, and submissions will be reviewed by the volume’s guest editors and anonymous readers in Shakespeare and game studies.  For more information, please visit: http://www.borrowers.uga.edu/about.



James Shapiro's Review

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0182  Monday, 23 April 2018


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

Date:         April 22, 2018 at 10:45:51 PM EDT

Subject:    James Shapiro's Review


In response to James Shapiro’s review of Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness by Rhodri Lewis I sent this letter to the NYR:


James Shapiro’s history of Hamlet criticism leaves out what might be called moral criticism: how Hamlet feels the pull of conflicting duties. 


Part of Hamlet is a believing Christian, with a duty to leave vengeance to God. Part of him also believes a son has a duty to revenge his murdered father. Each belief is sincere—he can’t rid himself of it—but incomplete. We all face the question of what to do about being insulted or attacked: to revenge, or not to revenge? You don’t have to be a Christian to be against revenge. You can be an atheist and still believe revenge is wrong, while also believing you can be wrong not to retaliate. Satisfy one conscience, the other makes you guilty.


Hamlet’s third ineradicable duty is to uphold the order of the state, first of all by not killing the king. This is any subject’s duty but especially that of a prince, who’s responsible for “the sanity and health of this whole state.” The king’s duty is justice: he’s delegated by God to punish criminals. But what if the king is the criminal? You can’t impeach a king. And you can’t kill the king without risking chaos and death. Laertes, in a parallel situation, charges in to revenge his father’s murder—as he thinks. He knows what duties he has to jettison to do it: “To hell, allegiance!...I dare damnation.” He hasn’t heard about the horror of damnation firsthand from his father’s ghost.


Hamlet responds by faking an insanity that comes close to being real. This might give him an excuse for killing the king—we still recognize temporary insanity as a possible defense. But he expends this excuse on Polonius (thinking he’s Claudius). To sanely punish the king for his crime, Hamlet needs public evidence, not just the private word of a ghost. At the end he gets proof, in the dying testimony of Gertrude and Laertes, and in the death of Claudius, killed with his own poison. Hamlet’s proto-justice—trying and punishing the king—is a move away from rule by kings toward the rule of law. But proto-law is not yet law, so Hamlet can’t live on after killing the king. He does his patriotic duty by passing the kingdom to the nearest successor: Fortinbras.


Hamlet’s final duty is to the truth: what Nietzsche called intellectual conscience. This leads him to the absolute skepticism beloved of postmodern critics like Professor Lewis. Confronted with the bones we’ll soon be reduced to, foundations crumble and we discover there’s no such thing as a duty and nothing is real but power: predator and prey. But like most of us, including theoretical skeptics, Hamlet can’t come to rest in this curious consideration. His other duties will not die.


Our “moral order” does not collapse under the weight of its contradictions. We live with them. That’s the human condition, exemplified by Hamlet.


Best wishes,

David Bishop




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