Juliet is the Sun


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0409  Friday, 12 October 2012


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

Date:         October 11, 2012 2:01:30 AM EDT

Subject:     Juliet is the Sun


Dear Editor,


I would like to announce that an article I wrote called “’Juliet is the sun’: the Secret Anti-coal play in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and the Cosmic Heliocentrism of Giordano Bruno” has been published this past spring in the Area Studies Journal of Tsukuba University. Here is the link;





I first became aware of the sun-coal dichotomy in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ a few years ago, when I began investigating images of fossil fuels in fiction as my research project when I was a professor at Tsukuba University in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. 


But more fundamentally I think I’ve been influenced in my thinking by learning about a ceremony at the Grand Shrine at Ise (a major Shinto shrine in Japan) which excludes fossil fuels from the process of the ceremonial rebuilding of the shrine, a ceremony which occurs every twenty years. Power saws to cut the wood, or trucks, and so forth are all not allowed to be used for the wood used for the shrine.


No doubt, recent modern concerns relating to energy and renewable fuels have also influenced my ideas. Exposed to the idea that there is an economic process that can exclude fossil fuels, I began to wonder if Shakespeare had similarly wished to point to this fossil fuel/solar dichotomy with the line “Juliet is the sun”. 


Researching about coal use in Elizabethan London was pretty exciting, actually, because the data confirmed my hunch: coal use and production soared in the late 1500s and “before the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, in 1603, coal had become the main source of fuel for the nation, though not without complaint”, (from ‘Coal: A Human History’, by Barbara Freese, page 33). Mainly the complaints seem to have centered around the smoke, of course.


In addition, for 20 years, ever since graduate school, I had wondered why the scenes in “Romeo and Juliet” with the two lovers together exclude others from interacting with the couple. We are left with the Party Scene (where they meet), the Balcony Scene, the Good-bye Scene, and the Tomb Scene. Finally I decided that these scenes were special and provided an allegory for Mankind and the Sun, where the Sun is a source of energetic inputs into Mankind’s economy. Just as England “left” the sun to use primarily coal during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, so Romeo must leave Juliet (He says, “I must be gone and live, or stay and die”).  That is to say, at a certain point, structural dependence on fossil fuels necessitates “leaving the sun” economy.


A friend, a professor of Art History told me “your idea is radical!” I must admit that he is correct. Nevertheless, I find it convincing, and for a reason that supersedes Shakespeare’s dramatic opus: to read Shakespeare’s Sonnets is to become aware of how allegory was this playwright’s most natural mode of thought or artistic expression.


I think my interpretation may open up exciting possibilities to see in Shakespeare’s other works “sun” dramas with Man’s place and role in the universe expressed in neatly done Renaissance cosmic allegories.


My article is not behind a paywall, and though the university publishing the article is in Japan, my article is in English.


As luck would have it (I guess it’s almost too ironic that this happened to someone studying solar energy!) I left Ibaraki Prefecture and my job there after the Fukushima Nuclear accident and I now live in a small town in a mountainous region of Western Japan.


Sincerely yours,

Marianne Kimura



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0408  Wednesday, 10 October 2012


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

Date:         Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Subject:     FYI


Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers,


Things have been a bit slow of late, perhaps in part due to the midterm obligations of some.


In part, the slower traffic was something I welcomed since I have been recovering from surgery. I am becoming more myself and now would welcome renewed activity on the list. 


All announcements are welcome as are the announcing of publications as Steve Urkowitz has just done. 


Announcements are an integral part SHAKSPER’s purpose. Nevertheless, SHAKSPER is a discussion list, and I would welcome renewed discussions that are within SHAKSPER’s purview, as delineated at the General Information tab of the web site: http://shaksper.net/about/general-information


I also encourage subscribers to explore the resources on the SHAKSPER web site, http://shaksper.net/ , and to inform me of any problems or suggestions about improving it. 


Finally, I would like to thank all subscribers, some of whom have subscribed for many, many years. This list was founded to serve the Shakespeare academic community and those of similar interests and could not exist without the contributions of subscribers. Thank You.




Textual Studies Strand “Two Hours Traffic?”


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0407  Wednesday, 10 October 2012


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

Date:         October 10, 2012 9:47:02 AM EDT

Subject:     Textual Studies Strand “Two Hours Traffic?”


I thought to break some of the unspoken behaviors of the community by letting folks know about an essay of mine that the good people at Shakespeare Bulletin brought out in their most recent issue.  It addresses the question, “Did Shakespeare’s Company Cut Long Plays Down to Two Hours Playing Time?”  


First promulgated by Alfred Hart in the 1930s and 40s, and then revived by Stephen Orgel in the late1980s, adopted by Andrew Gurr in the late 1990s, and reinvigorated by Lukas Erne in the last dozen or so years, the idea that Shakespeare’s long plays were always cut down to be performed in about two to two-and-a-half hours rests on essentially silly fantasies about Early Modern expectations  for invariable playhouse brevity and (in the case of Orgel’s immensely influential and provocative essay, “The Authentic Shakespeare”) on simple oversights in calculating arithmetical sums.  My essay reinterprets much of the evidence previously cited in the length-of-performance debates and brings in fresh material from a number of Records of Early English Drama (REED) volumes.


You can view the opening paragraphs of my essay at:




including what may be the very first citation in recent Shakespearean textual studies of a work co-authored by Milton (“Uncle Milty”) Berle. 


And you may even get the whole issue as a free sample if you are interested in subscribing. 


“Go. . . , Subscribers !”  



Steve Unmodestowitz

Professor Demeritus

English and Theatre

City College of New York


Rosenberg “Masks” Books for Sale


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0406  Friday, 5 October 2012


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

Date:         October 2, 2012 1:48:53 PM EDT

Subject:     Rosenberg “Masks” Books for Sale


I have a few unused copes of each of Marvin Rosenberg’s five Masks books - Othello, Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet and Anthony and Cleopatra - which I am offering for sale: $55 for hardcover copies, $35 for paperbacks (including postage and packing). There is no paperback edition for The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra.


If anyone is interested, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thank you.

Mary Rosenberg

Shakespeare and the Second World War


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0405  Friday, 5 October 2012


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

Date:         October 2, 2012 7:38:29 PM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare and the Second World War


Al Magary forwarded this announcement from the FICINO list:



Dear All,


Marissa McHugh and I are delighted to share the good news that our multi-authored book, Shakespeare and the Second World War:  Memory, Culture, Identity (University of Toronto Press) has just been published.  


Here is the link:


and a description from the dust jacket:


Shakespeare’s works occupy a prismatic and complex position in world culture: they straddle both the high and the low, the national and the foreign, literature and theatre. The Second World War presents a fascinating case study of this phenomenon: most, if not all, of its combatants have laid claim to Shakespeare and have called upon his work to convey their society’s self-image.


In wartime, such claims frequently brought to the fore a crisis of cultural identity and of competing ownership of this ‘universal’ author. Despite this, the role of Shakespeare during the Second World War has not yet been examined or documented in any depth. Shakespeare and the Second World War provides the first sustained international, collaborative incursion into this terrain. The essays demonstrate how the wide variety of ways in which Shakespeare has been recycled, reviewed, and reinterpreted from 1939–1945 are both illuminated by and continue to illuminate the War today


Please share this information with interested friends, colleagues, and students, and especially with your university librarian!


With thanks,

Irene (Irena) R. Makaryk


Department of English

University of Ottawa

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