New DVD: Shakespeare’s Sonnets


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0304  Wednesday, 18 July 2012


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

Date:         July 17, 2012 5:05:13 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: DVD Son.


Hannibal Hamlin is in a state of disbelief:


Kim Catrall !?


>For Release 20 July 2012 by Illuminations

>Shakespeare’s Sonnets 

>Illuminations, with Touch Press, Faber and Faber and The Arden 

>Shakespeare, present an exclusive DVD release, Shakespeare’s 



Why not Kim Catrall? Her IMDB bio says, “At 11, she returned [from Canada] to her native country and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She returned to Vancouver and, at age 16, graduated high school and won a scholarship to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. During her final year at the academy, she won a part in Otto Preminger’s Rosebud (1975). Following her film debut, Kim returned to the theatre, first in Vancouver and then in repertory in Toronto prior to winning a contract at Universal in Los Angeles . . .”  Her list of film and TV credits since 1975 is very long:


No one else in the cast list for the DVD has sex appeal too?



Al Magary



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0303  Tuesday, 17 July 2012


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

Date:         July 13, 2012 7:22:20 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Shorthand


Steven Urkowitz objects by the numbers:


> But Downs is blowing smoke about the alleged

> stenographic source for speech prefixes designating

> actors by numbers rather than names: “1 Lo., 2 Lo. 3 Lo,“


I didn’t claim a stenographic source for the designations. Seems again uncareful reading of my observations.


> He claims, “At Q1 5.2 Richmond enters to address his

> ‘fellows in arms.’ Their prefixes are 1 Lo., 2 Lo., and

> 3 Lo. Why? They aren’t named in the dialogue, that’s why.

> F identifies them, but that’s F’s job. That would have been

> necessary also in any theatrical transcription.”

>  Nope. Not so.  Wrong-o.


That last is the kind of thing I wish I hadn’t written. Glad I didn’t. But of what I did write; Q1 R3 had no “identifiers” in its copy, either specific speech headings or dialogue indicators. Therefore, 1, 2, 3. That can happen in various ways, including shorthand transmission.


But that’s not the point. Jowett claims that Q1 derives from an F-like text by unbroken written transcription. If so, major characters named in F for that scene would have been transcribed accordingly. Q1 argues against that set-up.


> "Murderers Nominated by Numbers  in  2 HENRY

> VI and RICHARD III” . . . . I show that these pairs

> of . . . murderers in Q and F have only numbers,

> no names, in both versions.


The question is, whence these printed texts? Scholarship hasn’t really answered, though all before and after disagree with Urkowitz about Q.


> I . . . recommend Grace Ioppolo, DRAMATISTS

> AND THEIR MANUSCRIPTS . . . . I re-read this

> last month and feel much the stronger, wiser, and

> more familiar with the extant objects that contain

> the texts we talk about.   (Gerald, are you listening?)


Yes, to Carl Smith at the moment. On Steven’s recommendation some years ago I posted a review of sorts of Ioppolo’s book (“Understudies,” Thursday, 3 Jan 2008 17:04:44 EST). She does a shockingly poor job. The book was apparently turned down by her contracted publisher and her main adversary seems to be Paul Werstine, whose scholarship is much the better. I also wrote (2007) on this site of her STM opinions.


> You see . . . the noisiest folk get all the attention

> and hijack the discourse. That’s why I am on

> Gerald Downs’ case.


Shall we compare noise? If I’ve been getting attention it's news to me.


> Stenography? Well, I’ve been trying to track

> down English examples where we could compare

> a written composition and a later steno report of

> that written text.  I’d hoped to find one of Donne’s

> sermons transcribed while he spoke it and then

> later printed from his original. But it seems like it

> didn’t ever work out that way . . .


No one doubts the stenographic reporting of sermons. The best are those of Henry Smith, a truly gifted preacher who died young. Where Steven errs (this time) is to suppose sermons were written; as a matter of protocol, they weren’t. A preacher who read a sermon wasn’t worth his salt. That’s why Smith’s orations seem to be orations and why he first thought his sermons were reproduced from his own notes; there was no complete copy. That all changed with the printing of reported sermons, which proved to be marketable.


Scholarship did a good job showing the sermons could not have been taken by Bright’s system. That’s where scholarship folded its tent. My guess is that the phonetic talent was also directed to plays.


> So it isn’t that these things aren’t possible, it’s just

> that interested people ha[ve] to agree to the kinds

> of evidence that the community can find convincing.


Be careful. Once one allows shorthand a possibility a whole world of theatrical possibility opens. How about John of Bordeaux? I think its evidence (not me, not rhetoric) will eventually reach the community. For instance, the Lords got their numbers not from the scribe, but a reviser preparing the text for playing. It’s all there.


> Gerald Downs takes a tiny variant, “take up to keep.”

> . . . And he concludes that the repetition “ take up,

> take up” found in F was somehow so minor a change

> that it must be considered beneath Shakespeare’s

> magnificence.


Actually, Steven Urkowitz tries to make hay with the variant. My point was that the phrase is only one of many clear corruptions that found their way into F despite Q1’s revision. Magnificence hasn’t much to do with it. No author would revise other people’s travesties.


> Two points: (1) How does Gerald Downs know that

> Shakespeare wouldn’t make little changes like this?


I would bet Ward Elliott’s Thousand. It’s a matter of odds.


> the little change is part of a sweeping (not timid)

> change in the dramatic rhythms


Move over, Gary Taylor.


> If Gerald Downs would look at the abundance of

> evidence offered by Grace Ioppolo and others,

> he would see how flawed are his assumptions

> about how authors of the time actually marked

> up their own texts and texts of other writers.


I point up how badly Ioppolo misreports Heywood’s The Captives. That’s her primary manuscript for evidence but the reader is badly misinformed. It’s not a matter of opinion, but of clear mistakes.


Gerald E. Downs



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0302  Tuesday, 17 July 2012


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

Date:         July 14, 2012 11:43:13 AM EDT

Subject:     RE: Corambis


Re: J. D. Markel on Corambis


Shakespeare would not have thought “Corambis, thy name dost sucketh.” 


He’d have thought either ‘“Corambis, thy name sucketh” or ‘Thy name doth suck’.


I’m sure I’m not the first to suggest that ‘Corambis’ might be a contraction of [I quote OED] ‘coram nobis before us (i.e. the sovereign) = in the court of King’s Bench’.


Polonius probably has associations with Poland, mentioned at least thrice in the play (cf. also ‘Polack’). 


A Dorothy Woods in early C17 Cheshire was robbed of several items, including shoes ‘with polonie heels’ (see Kermode & Walker, 1994, p89).


New DVD: Shakespeare’s Sonnets


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0301  Tuesday, 17 July 2012


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

Date:         July 13, 2012 4:04:48 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Sonnets DVD


Kim Catrall !?


>For Release 20 July 2012 by Illuminations

>Shakespeare’s Sonnets 


>Illuminations, with Touch Press, Faber and Faber and The Arden 

>Shakespeare, present an exclusive DVD release, Shakespeare’s 



>Released alongside the acclaimed iPad app, The Sonnets by William

>Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets features specially filmed 

>performances of every Sonnet by a star-studded cast of 42 actors and

>Shakespearean experts, including Sir Patrick Stewart, Kim Cattrall, 

>David Tennant, Simon Russell Beale, Dominic West, Fiona Shaw, 

>Dame Harriet Walter, Simon Callow, Stephen Fry, and poets Don 

>Paterson and Sir Andrew Motion. Other prominent experts on 

>Shakespeare include Professor James Shapiro and voice coach 

>Cicely Berry.


The Secret Player


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0300  Tuesday, 17 July 2012


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

Date:         July 15, 2012 11:09:04 AM EDT

Subject:     The Secret Player by Jinny Webber


The Secret Player by Jinny Webber, will be published August 6, 2012. The first of a trilogy, it begins the story of the actor Alexander Cooke, player listed in the First Folio who is credited by Edmund Malone as originating Shakespeare’s principal female roles. The fictional twist: in this story, Alexander Cooke was born female. 


Copies ordered from the website before the release will be discounted:; Kindle and Nook versions available online after that date. 


Cover:icon The Secret Player (2.51 MB)

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