Young Shakespeare's Young Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0280  Sunday, 19 August 2018

 

[1] From:        Jim Carroll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 18, 2018 at 3:07:58 PM EDT

     Subj:         Re: Young Hamlet 

 

[2] From:        Pervez Rizvi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 19, 2018 at 6:24:49 AM EDT

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: Young Hamlet

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         August 18, 2018 at 3:07:58 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: Young Hamlet

 

Gerald Downs quotes me here:

 

This emotional outburst seems appropriate for . . . prose, and Shakespeare’s later revision reigns it in a bit, but not completely. This kind of emotional repetition appears elsewhere . . .

 

O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!  Ham 2.1.72

 

O my dear Cassio, my sweet Cassio!

O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!         Oth 5.1.76-77

 

O my lord, my lord,

Forgive my fearful sails!     A&C 3.11.54-55

 

I could go through every line of Q1 like this, but I won’t . . . because it’s just too silly!

 

And then says:

 

These texts are corrupt. 

 

But if all the Shakespeare you see is corrupt, what is the basis for believing that Q1 is bad relative to them? In other words, where is the non-corrupt Shakespeare?

 

Emotional outbursts permeate Shakespeare’s verse. 

 

That's not the point. The point was that Shakespeare uses a particular method for some emotional outbursts and the examples I gave of it are identical to the Q1 line.

 

Modern scholarship should take matters more seriously. 

 

Just because there is sarcasm doesn’t mean there isn’t seriousness.

 

It won’t do to ridicule van Dam’s extensive analyses merely for tenacity’s sake, or to maintain a priori opinion. These quotes are not necessarily good evidence. I’ll try to get back to Bourus.

 

It’s not ridicule for those reasons, it’s ridicule because van Dam’s examples contradict the rather obvious evidence we can see right before our eyes in Shakespeare’s texts.

 

Jim Carroll

 

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         August 19, 2018 at 6:24:49 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Young Hamlet

 

Van Dam thought that plays like Q2 Hamlet were too long to be performed and had to be cut down to about two hours. He explained many of the differences between Q1 and Q2 by supposing that the actors couldn’t remember their lines and improvised, and that Q1 preserves the improvisations, via a shorthand report. (See chapter one of his book.) 

 

He may be neglected now, but some of his ideas have been revived in the most talked-about Shakespeare book of our time, Lukas Erne’s Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist. Erne also thinks the long plays were heavily cut for performance and, in the penultimate chapter of his book, he also explains the bad quartos by supposing that the players were allowed to “make free with their lines within certain limits” and “remembering the essence rather than memorizing verbatim may have been...acceptable” (Literary Dramatist, 234, 235). (If this was true then, as a byproduct, it disposes of most revision theories, since we can hardly suppose that Shakespeare would have wasted his time changing words and phrases in plays like Lear when the actors were going to say what they liked anyway.)  

 

As Greg rightly protested in his review of Van Dam’s book, what became of the prompter? The well-attested existence of the prompter in playhouses of the era tells us that, contra Erne, actors were expected to say their lines correctly, since a prompter's job would be impossible as well as unnecessary if the actors were making them up. Be that as it may, we should give Van Dam credit for the ideas of his which have been so warmly received from Erne, though Erne fails to credit him, presumably being unaware of his book. 

 

 

 

Young Shakespeare's Young Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0279  Saturday, 18 August 2018

 

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

Date:         August 17, 2018 at 9:41:54 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Young Hamlet

 

OK, I’ve only read the beginning paragraph of Gerald Downs’s post - but if we are reduced to arguing that “funeral” has to scan “fun’RAL”, then I can’t see the point of this game - really.

 

Julia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0278  Saturday, 18 August 2018

 

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

Date:         August 17, 2018 at 4:04:01 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Local and Global Myths

 

Reflecting on the matter of local and global myths relating or relatable to Shakespeare, along with the continuing interest in my neck of the woods with gender-bending performances, brings to mind certain remarks by Robertson Davies some forty-five years ago.  

 

Referring to Shakespeare, along with Goethe and the ancient Greeks, he said “ . . . supreme works of art are themselves convincing arguments in favour of any theory to which they can be attached, however frail the attachment may be.” One wonders whether the Shakespeare connection to any given subject — Business administrators and sports managers have in recent memory made their claims to inspiration from the Bard, and myths themselves are interesting only when and probably because they transcend their immediate cultural and geographic circumstances. One wonders whether the Shakespeare connection in these cases is aimed at shedding more light on Shakespeare on page or in performance, or lending publication-worthy prestige to the subject in question, or to the author. Perhaps the spirit of charity is our only guide.

 

Tony Burton

 

 

 

Young Shakespeare's Young Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0277  Friday, 17 August 2018

 

[1] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 15, 2018 at 3:12:52 PM EDT

     Subj:         Young Hamlet 

 

[2] From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 16, 2018 at 1:52:54 PM EDT

     Subj:         Re: Young Hamlet 

 

[3] From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         August 16, 2018 at 3:59:51 PM EDT

     Subj:         Re: Young Hamlet 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         August 15, 2018 at 3:12:52 PM EDT

Subj:         Young Hamlet 

 

Gerald Downs makes much of the apparent metrical irregularity of the dialogue between Hamlet and Horatio in I .ii.372 et seq. There is a possible explanation that does not require wholesale revision of transmission theories. Isn’t it conceivable that these lines are in prose. Hamlet is full of prose, and Shakespeare notoriously switched from prose to verse and back again in rapid order. I certainly do not insist upon this, but it might be worth a nod. Unlike Downs’s quotations in some of his posts, the actual Quarto and Folio texts do not have shared lines.

 

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         August 16, 2018 at 1:52:54 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: Young Hamlet

 

As a member of this list who is not well-versed in all of Shakespearean scholarship, I wonder if Gerald Downs would explain to me just who van Dam is and what his qualifications are.

 

Although meaning to answer, I’ve not been sure what Hardy asked. John Briggs made a start. I found a couple obits myself and agree that online translation has improved. I’ve spent a lot of time with van Dam but personally, I didn’t know him from a hole in the dike. His last publication I know of, The Text of Shakespeare’s Lear (1935, Louvain, Belgium), was at age 79. The fairly prominent M.D. spent an early decade in South Africa. His turn-of-the-century books on English prosody were with C. Stoffel, a Dutch Anglicist. He wrote for English Studies, Anglia (Germany), Neophilologus (The Hague), and other journals.  I think he translated Bret Harte into Dutch.

 

His article on Greg’s Two Abridgements (Q Orlando & Alleyn’s player’s part) is important, as is that on The Taming of a Shrew. “Did Shakespeare Revise Romeo and Juliet?” is very good, including insightful analysis of some differing Q1/Q2 passages, which he shows are evidence not of revision but of parts separated from originally longer texts. He was interested in, and familiar with a great number of English texts and European criticism. I agree with much of what he says in opposition to leading English scholars.

 

Most of his articles are informative. For example, he examined a quarto of Jonson’s Alchemist that had been cut for performance, which left numerous part lines, though the full play had none. These could in turn cause line-shiftings as found in other plays. 

 

I disagree with him on a number of topics and wish he had seen things my way first. He believed Q1 Lear could not be a report, expressly because it was too long. I think it was played as reported. The same for R3; he could have made their cases for shorthand long ago. As it was, he thought Q1 R3 was a corrected shorthand report, which is getting warm.

 

In his Hamlet, van Dam cites Greg’s review of Chapters on English Printing, Prosody, and Pronunciation (Heidelberg, 1902):

 

But . . . none of these ‘authorities’ carry the least weight. The very fact of the logical clearness of their testimony, which so pleases our authors, rules them out of court. (Greg)

 

[W]ho has ever heard that the logical clearness of a testimony rules the witness out of court? We are of the opinion that the logical clearness of a testimony can be contested only by placing over against it well established facts. (van Dam, 213 – 214)

 

Thus began the treatment van Dam consistently received from Greg and his future allies. I’ve read a lot of it. In the meantime, the New Bibliography (in my opinion) got it mostly wrong.

  

The bottom line is that I take early 20th-century criticism (virtually anything before and including New Criticism) with a mountain of Himalayan sea salt. My interest is in what regard van Dam is held in the scholarly community for his views.

 

Generally, late scholarship doesn’t read van Dam or his authorities; rare citations misstate his positions, as Terri Bourus demonstrates. As an advocate of shorthand transmission, he no doubt seems irrelevant. My last Young Hamlet discussions will concentrate on her chapter on that subject, where I may cite him.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         August 16, 2018 at 3:59:51 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: Young Hamlet

 

Julia Griffin asks:

 

On the “mind’s eye” passage: Horatio never says “My lord, I came to see the King’s funeral” in any text - nor could he, since it is hopelessly unmetrical. Or am I misunderstanding Gerald Downs here ..?

 

Somewhat, at least. Hopelessly unmetrical lines haven’t stopped anyone yet. That was my conjectural emendation, as I tried to say—proposed only for example, especially since the Q2 line (which Julia notes is unmetrical) derives from the hopeless Q1. I explained that ‘funeral’ must lose a syllable and that ‘-ral’ would be stressed, ‘fun-‘ unstressed (the story of my life). The likelihood is that Shakespeare’s true and perfect lines can’t be recovered from Q1 reprinting. I go by a questionable assumption that Shakespeare always wrote logically. Yet Hamlet’s exclamation seems unwarranted, other than as ‘ghost writing.’

 

Michael Luskin:

 

I have forgotten the original point of [the Young Hamlet thread]. I would love someone to give a short summary.  

 

Steve Roth praised NOS General Editor Bourus’s argument against Q1 as a memorial reconstruction or a shorthand report. She argues that Q1 is Shakespeare’s early version, where our heroes are youngsters. I suggested her negative cases were probably ill-informed. I was right, but my review got sidetracked by Bourus’s misreporting of B. A. P. van Dam.

 

Nick Clary, coordinating editor, hamletworks.org:

 

The complete text of Van Dam’s The Text of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is available online at hamletworks.org in the Criticism section.

 

This is the only copy I’ve found online. I appreciate the fact and the notice. I mentioned this in one of my postings. I have two copies, one in pieces.

 

Van Dam believed that Shakespeare’s verse was regular and any deviation was caused by interpolations. On p. 252 of the complete book, he provides a helpful listing of characters and the number of their lines.

 

This isn’t quite true, since he defines interpolations as actors’ insertions. Verse of the era was allowed some irregularity by implied rules. Cuts and poor memory account for deviations, as do writing and rewriting by others; actor error; printing error; reprinting (of Q1 in Q2 and Q2 in F); variation of wording; and by failure to account for added or deleted syllables in the received texts, and in respect of usage.

 

His is the best description and explanation of shorthand reporting and its implications, including good discussion of alternative causes of textual contamination, which apply to much of the texts.

 

The book has a good chapter on prosody as he preached it, including reference to his authorities and examples from the age. He cites those with whom he disagrees. He includes an analysis of WT in line with his theories. His note here is the first argument that Hand D of STM is a copy, which has never been answered satisfactorily. This is a good source for open-minded, attentive readers.

 

Jim Carroll:

 

[I]it doesn’t matter what century van Dam came from or wrote in: either what he says makes sense or it doesn’t, and you always have to use your own mind to decide that. Pronouncing “father” as “far’r” leads me to believe that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,

 

That’s not what he says; it’s fa’r; fa(the)r, not far’r. I noted some of his rationale and evidence. Again, the text seems to derive from Q1, not Q2 manuscript copy. Van Dam is often misreported. I agree that argument matters most, but scholars limited to their own times are handicapped by lack of learning in their era, or learning forgot by their era.

  

I wonder what van Dam would think of this line from 1H4: ‘By heaven, methinks it were an easy leap,’ 1H4 1.3.201 I suppose van Dam . . . will want to pronounce “heaven” as “he’en” . . .

 

Schmidt lists all Shakespeare’s use of heaven ‘indiscriminately as monosyllable and disyllable.’ That is, its pronunciation depended on its metrical function. Van Dam discusses ‘heav’n’ (heau’n) specifically when he questions whether ‘-en’ is apocopated (pronounce, ‘heav’) and concludes that is usually the case for the monosyllable. The apostrophe commonly indicates a monosyllable, but not the sound. He goes by analogy, as apocope is extremely common, but he cites three interesting printings.

 

        . . . against the heav’s   Spenser, Astrophel (Thestylis)

        . . . the heav’s for ay     Spenser, Astrophel (Aeglogue)

        . . . all the heaven’ at leisure       Ben Jonson

 

Ben Jonson complains that printers fail to use the apostrophe and he tries to get them into his works. Often printers are unsure where to use it. Interestingly, van Dam observes that printed prose exhibits more such usage than poetry, which acknowledges common pronunciation but mishandles prosody. A stenographer would not differentiate, for speed’s sake: one size (small) fits all. His transcription could not be trusted. F 1H4 was printed from Q5. There’s no way to know pre-quarto usage. Even so, the verse is, and probably was, regular.

 

I fear it is, and yet methinks it should not, R&J 4.3.28

(and this speech by Juliet is filled with “irregular” lines).

 

Van Dam wouldn’t suggest this as evidence of corruption. Although Q1 was partially reprinted, Q2 has problems of its own. Irregularity is not proof of Shakespeare’s usage if printer’s copy wasn’t in his hand; and especially if transmission is suspect. To this day, F tends to be absolved of error, for no good reason. 

 

The line from Q2 Hamlet is remarkably similar to this one from R&J:

 

O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost 4.3.55

 

As far as “methinks I see”, it appears 9 other times in early, middle and late plays by Shakespeare . . . . Do we even know whether or not Shakespeare had decided to use prose or verse or a mix in these early scenes? . . . Q1 has the prose line (after several poetry lines):

 

O my father, my father, methinks I see my father.

 

Methinks per se is no issue, unless, as a sign of bad writing, it is overused. Signs of bad writing are my speciality. Q2 is verse throughout the scene; presumably the line in question means to conform. Q1 prints the play as verse, no matter how badly remembered, written, or aligned. The example in both Hamlet texts is overlong. In R&J, it scans; thus no similarity unless Hamlet is emended. However, the wording and subject matter are similar. Juliet’s line is odd, telling herself to look at what might be a ghost.

 

This emotional outburst seems appropriate for . . . prose, and Shakespeare’s later revision reigns it in a bit, but not completely. This kind of emotional repetition appears elsewhere . . .

 

O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!  Ham 2.1.72

 

O my dear Cassio, my sweet Cassio!

O Cassio, Cassio, Cassio!         Oth 5.1.76-77

 

O my lord, my lord,

Forgive my fearful sails!     A&C 3.11.54-55

 

I could go through every line of Q1 like this, but I won’t . . . because it’s just too silly!

 

These texts are corrupt. Emotional outbursts permeate Shakespeare’s verse. Modern scholarship should take matters more seriously. It won’t do to ridicule van Dam’s extensive analyses merely for tenacity’s sake, or to maintain a priori opinion. These quotes are not necessarily good evidence. I’ll try to get back to Bourus.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 

 

Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0276  Friday, 17 August 2018

 

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

Date:         August 16, 2018 at 4:24:08 PM EDT

Subject:    New Book: Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance

 

Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance

Edited by Aneta Mancewicz and Alexa Alice Joubin

In the Reproducing Shakespeare series

Palgrave Macmillan, 2018

 

“Contradictory myths are the foundation to many conversations about Shakespeare today. We can better grasp the significance of global Shakespeare by understanding the cultural logic of the production and consumption of these myths—often articulated in the form of journalistic adoration of universal aesthetics.” 

 

Drawing on a definition of myth as a powerful ideological narrative, this book examines historical, political, and cultural conditions of Shakespearean performances in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. 

 

The first part of this volume offers a theoretical introduction to Shakespeare as myth from a twenty-first century perspective. 

 

The second part critically evaluates myths of linguistic transcendence, authenticity, and universality within broader European, neo-liberal, and post-colonial contexts. 

 

The study of local identities and global icons in the third part uncovers dynamic relationships between regional, national, and transnational myths of Shakespeare. 

 

The fourth part revises persistent narratives concerning a political potential of Shakespeare’s plays in communist and post-communist countries. 

 

Finally, part five explores the influence of commercial and popular culture on Shakespeare myths. Michael Dobson’s Afterword concludes the volume by locating Shakespeare within classical mythology and contemporary concerns.

 

 

TABLE of CONTENTS   https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783319898506

 

AMAZON link:    https://www.amazon.com/Global-Shakespearean-Performance-Reproducing-Shakespeare/dp/3319898507/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534450365&sr=8-1&keywords=local+global+myth+shakespeare

 

This collection of scholarly essays offers a new understanding of local and global myths that have been constructed around Shakespeare in theatre, cinema, and television from the nineteenth century to the present. Drawing on a definition of myth as a powerful ideological narrative, Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance examines historical, political, and cultural conditions of Shakespearean performances in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. The first part of this volume offers a theoretical introduction to Shakespeare as myth from a twenty-first century perspective. The second part critically evaluates myths of linguistic transcendence, authenticity, and universality within broader European, neo-liberal, and post-colonial contexts. The study of local identities and global icons in the third part uncovers dynamic relationships between regional, national, and transnational myths of Shakespeare. The fourth part revises persistent narratives concerning a political potential of Shakespeare’s plays in communist and post-communist countries. Finally, part five explores the influence of commercial and popular culture on Shakespeare myths. Michael Dobson’s Afterword concludes the volume by locating Shakespeare within classical mythology and contemporary concerns. 

 

 

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