The Merchant of Venice in London and U.S. Cities


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0377  Wednesday, 12 September 2012


From:        Actors From The London Stage <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         September 12, 2012 7:21:08 AM EDT

Subject:     The Merchant of Venice in London and U.S. Cities


The Merchant of Venice 


Actors From The London Stage will present The Merchant of Venice at The University of Notre Dame this week, the University of Texas at San Antonio, next week, and Wellesley College, University of Texas at Austin, Penn State University, and Kansas State University in the following weeks. 


They will conclude their tour with performances at The Cockpit in London.


The Cockpit is at Gateforth Street (Off Church Street) London NW8 8EH 

4th November at 5.00 

5th November at 7.30



Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) has been touring US campuses for over 36 years. Our principles remain the same as ever: to allow the discovery of the genius of Shakespeare – in class through the active involvement with the students, in performance through the release of the audience’s imagination. The plays are performed with minimal props and no set, through the skills of just five actors without a director. Shakespeare’s language is the true star as, we believe, he intended.


AFTLS is proudly supported by Shakespeare at Notre Dame.


Have You Looked at the SHAKSPER Web Site Lately?


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0376  Friday, 10 September 2012


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

Date:         September 6, 2012 1:17:17 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER Web Site


I've been visiting the website lately, as I'm preparing to direct Hamlet in the spring. Revisiting some old discussions and ransacking other resources. It is, indeed, well worth visiting, and I'm greatly appreciative that it's available. 



C. David Frankel



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

Date:         Thursday, September 6, 2012

Subject:     Have You Looked at the SHAKSPER Web Site Lately?




A gentle reminder that there is a wealth of information at the SHAKSPER web site:


At the About tab—

  • You can learn general information about the list and read some of the essays I have written about it; 
  • You can also read about the SHAKSPER “Team,” about the SHAKSPER Advisory Board and about the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel; and 
  • You can read about SHAKSPER Netiquette and how to cite SHAKSPER;

At the Scholarly Resources tab—

  • You can find my “Selected Guide to Shakespeare on the Internet”; 
  • You can find the SBReviews, the SHAKSPER Book Reviews; 
  • You can find the past SHAKSPER Roundtable Discussions; 
  • You can find papers from SHAKSPER members seeking critical advice; 
  • You can find the SHAKSPER Library of Essays and Reference Files; and 
  • You can find my past Cook’s Tours and my Shakespeare Pedagogical Resources.


Then there are tabs to the Archive, Current Postings, and Announcements as well as a tab about PlayShakespeare, the site that hosts SHAKSPER.


I believe that there is much useful information available and worth a visit to the site if you have not been there or not been there lately. 

Heminges and Geeinges


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0375  Friday, 10 September 2012


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

Date:         September 10, 2012 1:20:57 AM EDT

Subject:     Heminges and Geeinges


Commentary on Shakespeare’s text is often accompanied by mention of the 1623 Folio blurbs attributed to the players John Heminge(s) and Henry Condell. The understandable yen is to reconcile opinions to their statements (which are not altogether clear) but general readers don’t always have all the relevant information. 


All agree that Ben Jonson wrote the prefatory matter but the players’ remarks may be taken at something like face value: “It had bene . . . worthie to have bene wished, that the Author himselfe had liu’d to haue set forth, and ouerseen his owne writings . . .”


True, to some extent; Shakespeare was far removed from these texts. Recent intimations of his intentions to publish (Erne) are not supported by the evidence. Yet had the Author overseen publication we may have cause to regret the loss comprising the many interesting mysteries and textual puzzles feeding a halting industry.


“His mind and hand went together: And what he thought, he vttered with that easinesse, that wee haue scarse receiued from him a blot in his papers.”


The great variety of critics is doubtful; “fair copy” isn’t evidence of ease (or unease) and Hand D doesn’t seem a work of “the best for blotting.” Ben & Co. meant only another slight deception, though the blots thicken in Jonson’s posthumous Timber: or Discoveries:


“I remember, the Players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that . . . he never blotted out line. . . . I had not told posterity this, but for their ignorance, who choose that circumstance to commend their friend by . . . .”


I won’t parse Jonson (depends on what ‘this’ is, what ‘is’ is, etc.); but whatever else is meant by the “nostrati,” Ben ingenuously(?) restates the players’ repeated claim. Further, Jonson says he wouldn’t have ‘told posterity’ something, had Shakespeare’s friends not been impressed by ‘that no blots circumstance.’ This part of the Folio address then seems to have a real basis; it must refer fair copy, whether or not the players knew it. (But not “foul papers with deletions unmarked,” as Honigmann. Would H & C choose that troublesome circumstance to commend their friend by?)


So what happened to the texts subsequent to delivery? Foul papers (rough drafts) don’t come in play without denying testimony (twice over) reported of the players. Moreover,


“But ... his Friends ... [no ‘...’ significance here] haue publish’d them, as where (before) you were abus’d with diuerse stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of iniurious impostors, that expos’d them;”


Many Shakespearean (& non-) plays were corruptly published: Hamlet, R&J, Orlando, Faustus. There’s no denying the truth of their statement; the question is, where does it stop? Corrupt texts; F texts printed from quarto (whole or part); and revised quartos all testify to a limited supply of plays in the clean form said to have existed. Even the “mind & hand” candidates are downgraded to rough drafts.


My hypothesizing tends toward F texts more deformed than has been supposed; corruption comes in different sizes. Shorthand reporting—if no mission impossible; if we choose to accept it—is stealing, stealthy, and injurious. But it can be repaired: “euen those, are now offer’d to your view cur’d, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers, as he conceiued the[m]."


Cured, perfect, and as he conceived them, they’re not. Those are fibs. But is “even those” a reference to all the Folio texts? Surely not, we assume. And yet I wouldn’t draw the line at the traditional bad quartos. I get two important inferences from Bordox: 1) That a job so well done could have been repeated many times; and 2) That no performance (as now) was necessarily immune to recording. When Heywood suggested his play of Elizabeth (If You Know Not Me) was taken by shorthand he notes that “at first” it was well performed. But he was ashamed of the quarto, “scarse one word trew.” Much of the error must be from a bad performance. (As a lot of the text is technically “true” I think Heywood was going cousin Jasper “scant one sentence trewe” one better). What would the quarto have been like if the play had been reported of a good performance or printed from fair copy? These questions might apply to plays of the King’s Men, who complained of corrupt piracies elsewhere.


Gerald E. Downs

Richard III Dig in Leicester Car Park


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0374  Friday, 10 September 2012


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

Date:         September 8, 2012 8:24:21 AM EDT

Subject:     Richard III Dig in Leicester Car Park


The search for Richard III’s grave in a Leicester car park is getting ‘tantalisingly close’.


Here are excerpts from some stories of the search that have been posted online:


BBC News: Leicester


“Richard III Dig: How search reached Leicester car park”

By Greig Watson

BBC News 

7 September 2012 Last updated at 19:25 ET


A council car park in Leicester is not where you would expect to find one of England’s most notorious kings.


But years of painstaking research, a globe-trotting trail of clues and cutting edge technology - along with an awkward phone call - have led a team of experts to this unglamorous spot near the city’s ring road.


And they hope within touching distance of the lost grave of King Richard III.

Richard was killed in battle in 1485, an event which ended the bloody civil war known as the Wars of the Roses.


The royal family which defeated him, the Tudors, ensured he was remembered as a black-hearted villain, capable of killing family and friends.


But a loyal band of enthusiasts have worked hard to rescue the last Plantagenet king's battered reputation - and recover his lost remains.


It was known his body was dragged from the battlefield and exhibited in Leicester to show the public he was truly dead.


Historian Dr John Ashdown-Hill, author of The Last Days of Richard III, combed archives for clues to his eventual burial site.


“I uncovered an account in the financial records of Henry VII where he set aside money to pay for an alabaster tomb for Richard.”


“This said the tomb should be built over his grave, in the Choir of Greyfriars church. So we had a specific place.”


But where one problem was answered, another remained.


Greyfriars was demolished during the religious reforms of Henry VIII and one widely accepted story had Richard’s bones being tipped into the local river.


Again Dr Ashdown-Hill’s research came to the rescue.


He found the tale came from a 17th Century map-maker called John Speede who had also looked for the grave.


“Looking at Speede’s map, he had misidentified Greyfriars, which was actually the separate Blackfriars. He was looking in the wrong place.”


“He perhaps used the story of the grave being emptied to cover for the fact he could not find it.”


But Dr Ashdown-Hill’s next contribution was perhaps the most astonishing. He just happened to have Richard III’s family DNA.


Years earlier he had tried to trace descendants of Richard’s sister, Margaret of York.


[ . . . ]


Against the odds, after three years of searching, he succeeded in tracing a living relative in Canada.


[ . . . ]


Events took a decisive turn when Dr Ashdown-Hill met Philippa Langley, from the Richard III Society, who had been trying to get backing for a search for the lost king’s remains.


Ms Langley said: “Because of the work of Dr Ashdown-Hill, with his DNA work, when we put that into the conversation, the authorities thought: ‘Ok, these guys are serious’.”


But this still left the small point of actually finding the church, levelled more than 500 years ago.


So she approached archaeologists at the University of Leicester, headed by Richard Buckley.


Ms Langley said: “He went off and did the map analysis and it was that which clinched it, because he came back and said ‘Look I think you are right. I think this is telling us something’.


[ . . . ]


On 25 August, machines broke through the surface of the Greyfriars car park in Leicester.


“It was surreal,” said Ms Langley. “Three years of hard work and I thought ‘Am I really seeing this? Am I really seeing Leicester City Council allowing us to rip up their car park?’


“I kept thinking someone was going to come out and shout ‘Stop!’.”


Mr Buckley said the first week exceeded expectations. Just two trenches produced pieces of window and tile which could only have come from a high-status building.


A third trench then helped identified the walls of the church. Were they closing in on Richard?


Mr Buckley said: “The remaining hurdles are whether there are any burials in the church, whether there are any in the choir and if so, are they the one we want?”


[ . . . ]


Also, see these if you are interested:


New Blog: Guy Earl of Warwick


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0373  Friday, 10 September 2012


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

Date:         September 9, 2012 1:41:28 AM EDT

Subject:     New Blog: Guy Earl of Warwick


I am just letting list members know that I have started a blog dedicated to discussion of a play called The Tragical History, Admirable Atchievments and various events of Guy Earl of Warwick, printed in 1661 by Thomas Vere and William Gilbertson.

To answer the obvious question of why I’d dedicate a whole blog to such an obscure play, the reason is that I suspect that, although printed in 1661, Guy of Warwick is actually a work from the Elizabethan period, and that the play’s clown, called Sparrow, is a satire on Shakespeare. The idea is not original. It was first proposed by Alfred Harbage in 1941, but didn’t gain much traction until decades later when Helen Cooper revisited it in ‘Guy of Warwick, Upstart Crows and Mounting Sparrows’ (in Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson: New Directions in Biography, 2006). Since then, the idea has attracted more attention. Helen Moore has discussed it in her edition of Guy of Warwick for the Malone Society (2006), as has Katherine Duncan-Jones recently in ‘Shakespeare, Guy of Warwick, and Chines of Beef’ (Notes and Queries, March 2009) and Shakespeare: Upstart Crow to Sweet Swan: 1592 - 1623 (2011), 12-13.

 I have been studying Guy of Warwick for a number of years, and have had three papers related to the subject published in Notes and Queries. Full-text versions of these papers are available on the blog, but a very brief summary of my (radical) hypothesis is as follows:

1. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona Shakespeare used the characters of Lance and Crab to satirise Thomas Nashe and Ben Jonson for their roles in the Isle of Dogs affair. Since The Isle of Dogs was played in July 1597, Two Gentlemen must be later than anyone has previously supposed. I proposed a date in late 1597 or early 1598.


2. In retaliation to being satirised in Two Gentlemen, Jonson wrote Guy of Warwick in collaboration with another playwright [currently unidentified], using the clown Sparrow to satirise Shakespeare. Based on my proposed dating of Two Gentlemen, I suggested that Guy of Warwick was probably written in the first or second quarter of 1598.


As you can see, my overall hypothesis includes a significant reappraisal of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The argument for it does not rely at all on any link with Guy of Warwick, which is a supplementary hypothesis. So even if you think you may not be interested in Guy of Warwick, you might like to at least read my Two Gentlemen paper.

The blog is at

John Peachman

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