Jeanne Roberts


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.151  Thursday, 12 April 2012


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

Date:         April 10, 2012 7:03:49 PM EDT

Subject:    Jeanne Roberts 


Jeanne A. Roberts (CC ‘04), a founder of the Cosmos Club Shakespeare Discussion Group and a former president of the Shakespeare Association of America, died April 3 at her home after a long battle with cancer.


A memorial service and reception will be held April 12, Thursday, at 11:30 a.m. in St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St. N.W, just off Wisconsin Avenue.


Bill Day

Communications Officer

The Shakespeare Group


VU-ing STM’s D & LLL


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.150  Tuesday, 10 April 2012


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

Date:         April 6, 2012 7:24:39 PM EDT

Subject:     VU-ing STM’s D & LLL


In Shakespeare’s day the letters v and u were graphically interchanged in a holdover system whereby words beginning with either letter were spelled with an initial v; either medial letter got a u.


Most representations of these texts are modernized, though it isn’t hard to apply contextual fixes the same way readers did then. Nowadays we prefer photos to ‘old-spelling’ texts that aren’t—evidence should not be altered. Might that precept extend to UV protection?


Printers kept to the system for some time, perhaps in part because their type-supply had too few v’s for medial massaging. But manuscript evidence is an order of magnitude greater (for inference) and writing practice wasn’t consistent. Can writers be differentiated by u/v usage?


I’ve looked at transcriptions of various hands associated with Sir Thomas More. S (Munday), A (Chettle) and B (perhaps Heywood, probably not) all use u for medial v. E (Dekker) uses medial v five words to one (haue). C (the ‘functionary’) invariably writes v for medial v (and v initially for either letter, as do the others). Two Chettle medial u’s are altered to v, which Greg does not attribute to a different hand, but I wonder if another (C?) made the changes.


These habits (which may change over time) are personal. Chettle & Munday were in the print trade; it would be surprising if they didn’t conform. B, the wildest (phonetic) speller, conforms. C never varies from medial v, which may tell against his identity with D (as some have thought possible), whose habit (if any, in 3-D pages) is quite different from the rest:


‘Dvng’, as in dvngheap. Medial v for u is hard to figvre & not qvick to vnivmble; ‘[Mv] nvmber’. How unusual this is for the time, I can’t say; it’s not unprecedented, however.


By my count (having little else to do, I reckon) D uses 18 medial ‘u for v’ (8 ‘haue’) and 17 ‘v for v’: ‘Shreiue’, ‘shreeve’; ‘even’, ‘euen’. Is it possible that Shakespeare, of all people, had not settled on a way to write a vee sound? I don’t think so. Others insist, of course; that’s the kind of thing one accepts when accepting Hand D as Shakespeare’s. I contend that D was a copyist, for a number of good reasons. If that is so, we can relieve Shakespeare of the bumpkinization of D’s text. Why saddle Shakespeare with nonsense—if it’s nonsense?


What might the copyist have been copying? I’ve noticed some clues that may not seem meaningful. “Doesn’t mean a thing” doesn’t mean a thing to me because things have a way of piling up. Jowett observes in his Arden 3 whitewash some “remarkably distinctive” spellings:


“’Iarman’ . . . as a spelling of ‘German’ is elsewhere in drama exampled only in 2 Henry IV and the manuscript play John of Bordeaux, written by Greene, who was dead by the time the revisions of [STM] were composed” (442).


Something of a Greene Herring (yuk!) I think. Bordox is not in Greene’s hand and certainly not in his spelling. Jowett had cited “McMillin’s and Taylor’s proposed dating of the revisions in 1603 or after . . .” (438). But McMillin argued specifically (and well) that D’s addition dated to the early ‘90’s (Bordox-duty-time); the question remains open, despite the press-gang enlistment of McMillin.


“Hand D spells ‘eleven pence’ as ‘a levenpence’ . . . . Moreover, and more striking still, the full ‘a leuenpence’ is found in [LLL] . . .” Further moreover, Jowett notes that the “u/v distinction is incidental” (442).


By ‘incidental’ Jowett must mean that nothing can be made of the u/v distinction, in contradistinction of the ‘remarkable distinctions.’ But is that so? In his Arden 3 LLL, Woudhuysen (an even-handed scholar), remarks of possible authorial spellings (including ‘a leuen’) that the evidence “that these are distinctive Shakespearean forms is on the whole weak” (318). One of his points is that “More striking forms” in LLL are not found in other texts presumed from authorial copy. Among these are ‘hou’ (ho), ‘smothfast’ (smooth-faced), and ‘rescewes’. If we insist this play is good evidence for Hand D, we may with better result cite Bordox, whose Scribe can’t be outdone: ‘hou’, ‘mapellfast matrone’, and the beautiful ‘rescqe’.


So how does Hand D compare to Burdiox? First, its scribe (S; I’ll call him Sunday, since S is for Munday) is a phonetic speller who conforms to orthodox word forms by a rough osmosis:


       Ill teach yow how to Iest with Iarmayne vandermast


       pre the be [sagde] sadg [I] it often comes to pass that he

       which most presumes will prove a nasse


Sunday habitually uses medial v for v, and sometimes a medial v for u: ‘provd’ (proud). He also separates ‘a’ from the rest of a word, as he does with ‘be’ (‘be hould’) or not (‘betuwne’); and ‘in’ (‘in cappable’). LLL has ‘my none’ (mine own), analogous to ‘a nasse’, ‘my nies’, and other Bordox usage.


Now, Sunday had his reasons: he was virtually illiterate in transcription but masterful in his element—rapid phonetic writing: a, b, in, my, i, of, the (thee, thy, they) were written instantaneously. These were part of his art (and stock in secret trade).


How and why did Shakespeare come to spell like Sunday? No one was more cappable; he had no reason to exhibit the traits described. Yet one Bordox manuscript text, wearing a rationale on its sleeve, easily accounts for the traits. It needn’t even appeal to OED’s, REED’s, or your acronym of choice; these spellings happened by method and chance together. Sunday spelt ‘one’ (own) and ‘my’ (mine); all he needed for ‘my none’ was the sound. The same for ‘a leven’. The number doesn’t occur in Bordox, but it could have been so represented, especially since the scribe’s habit was the medial v.


In the passage above, ‘I’ is deleted and replaced by ‘it’. The indication is that one sign (for one letter) served multiple functions; the scribe corrected his own transcription. Anyone copying such text would normalize it to a greater extent, but in that phonetic day much would come through as it does in LLL. Is that text a report? Sure it is.


Why does a brilliant and learned play exhibit otherwise crazy spellings? Why is there confusion after confusion in speech headings? Because Shakespeare’s foul papers couldn’t keep up? No, that’s what happens to reports.


Might STM be reported? If it is, a lot of the mystery may be reconciled, along with the scholarship. I’ve been thinking about it.


Gerald E. Downs


The Tempest App for iPad


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.149  Tuesday, 10 April 2012


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

Date:         Sunday, 8 Apr 2012 19:21:08 -0400

Subject:     The Tempest App for iPad


Dear colleagues: 


This may be of interest to you as medievalists and early modernists or your students. Over the past months I have been working with colleagues at Notre Dame and elsewhere on a collaborative, interactive digital Shakespeare edition. Our first play is The Tempest. This is a “textbook” app for iPad offering dynamic, multilingual “lecture streams” (annotations by specialists), student-instructor work space, digital videos of performances of the play, audio clips of renowned actors reciting lines from the play, paintings and images about the play, and more. There are many other features not available in a regular print edition. 


We are now live in Apple iTune Store and are launching the app at the Shakespeare Association for America annual conference in Boston today. The website is located at:



Alex Huang

“Shakespeare Must Die” Banned in Thailand


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.148  Wednesday, 4 April 2012


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

Date:         Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Subject:     “Shakespeare Must Die” Banned in Thailand


[Editor’s Note: My older daughter Melissa passed this story on to me from the Huffington Post Online. –Hardy]


Thailand Bans ‘Shakespeare Must Die’: ‘Macbeth’ Film Adaptation Deemed Offensive


By Thanyarat Doksone 04/ 4/12 10:03 AM ET AP


BANGKOK — Thailand’s film censors have banned an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” saying it could inflame political passions in the country where it is taboo to criticize the monarchy.


The Thai-language film “Shakespeare Must Die” tells the story of a theater group in a fictional country resembling Thailand that is staging a production of “Macbeth,” in which an ambitious general murders his way to the Scottish throne.


One of the film’s main characters is a dictator named “Dear Leader,” who resembles former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose ouster in a 2006 coup sparked years of political turmoil between his supporters and critics.


Censors at the Culture Ministry issued a brief memo Tuesday saying that the film could not be distributed in Thailand because it “has content that causes divisiveness among the people of the nation.” The memo did not specify which scenes were deemed offensive.


But, Ing K., the film’s director, said the censorship committee objected to anti-monarchy overtones in the film as well as politically charged content, including a scene based on an iconic photo from Bangkok’s 1976 student uprising showing a demonstrator being lynched.


“The committee questioned why we wanted to bring back violent pain from the past to make people angry,” Ing K. said in an interview Wednesday. The censors also disliked the attire of a murderer in the film, who wore a bright red hooded cloak – the same color worn by the pro-Thaksin demonstrators known as the “Red Shirts.”


The director called the ruling “absurd” and a reflection of the fear in Thai society.

“I feel like we are heading to a very dark, dark place right now – a place full of fears and everyone has to be extra careful about what they say,” Ing said.


She said the character resembling Thaksin could represent any leader accused of corruption and abuse of power. “When Cambodians watch this they’ll think it’s Hun Sen. When Libyans watch it they would think it's Gadhafi,” she said.


[ . . . ]


Ing K. said she plans to appeal the ban.


Trailer available here:


Orson Welles’s Shakespeare Films on the Big Screen This April in Basel


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.147  Wednesday, 4 April 2012


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

Date:         April 4, 2012 8:02:30 AM EDT

Subject:    Orson Welles’s Shakespeare Films on the Big Screen This April in Basel


A small cinema in Switzerland, the Stadtkino Basel, is currently screening a retrospective of Orson Welles’ work, and they will screen all three of Welles’s adaptations of Shakespeare plays from 35mm-prints, (except Macbeth, which will use a 16mm print).


CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (FALSTAFF) will be shown on FRI 20.4 2012 15:15, MON 23.4 2012 21:00, and FRI 27.4 2012 20:00 (in English, with French subtitles)


MACBETH will be shown on MON  09.4 2012 15:15, WED 11.4 2012 21:00, and SUN 15.4 2012 13:00 (in English, with French and German subtitles)


THE TRAGEDY OF OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE will be shown on THU  05.4 2012 21:00, SUN  08.4 2012 13:30, and WED 18.4 2012 18:30 (in English, with French and German subtitles)


More information (in German) can be found here:


Out of these, Othello is of special interest, as it almost certainly will be the European cut that is screened, with Welles spoken opening titles (This is the version I’ve seen at the same cinema before, but they couldn’t confirm this). This version – unlike the American print – has no synch issues, nor does it suffer from the brutal cuts of the 1991 restoration that we all know from DVD.


Though there have been three DVD-releases of Chimes at Midnight over the last year (and a fourth, hopefully better, is forthcoming – as I understand – from Mr. Bongo Films), there hasn’t been a proper release since Studio Canal had to pull their excellent DVD from the market in 2005, and it is only rarely screened due to the complications over the rights. As far as I know, the film has only been screened three times over the last couple of years: at the Locarno Festival in 2005, (when the organisers had to secure special permission from Saltzman’s widow Adriana), from an archival DVD in Los Angeles in summer 2010, and last August at a special screening in London (where I missed it). Though there have been rumours that the legal situation is clearing itself – and the count of DVD releases seems to suggest this – this film remains a very rarely screened gem . . .  I hope the cinema won’t have to cancel the screening, I didn’t dare ask whether they secured the rights…





Matthias Heim


Faculté des lettres / Université de Neuchâtel

Institute of English Studies

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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