Sorry, Thanks, and Faster Hosting


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0430  Friday, 26 October 2012


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

Date:         Friday, October 26, 2012

Subject:     Sorry, Thanks, and Faster Hosting 


Sorry, folks. I had a recall for hard drive in my iMac and because my hard drive had already failed I thought the chances of having to have the replacement were small so I did not scrupulously check my backup. Well, you can guess. I had to have hard drive replaced and my clone failed to boot, so . . .  Well, I am still recovering and apologize to those who have submitted and have been waiting to see your submissions posted.


Once again, let me thank all who wrote to me after my “moment of doubt.” I simply so not have time to reply to everyone but be assured I have read your message and you have my sincere thanks. 


As always, I gladly look forward to any private correspondences about anything related to SHAKSPER, either the mailings or the web site.


Also, I am pleased to announce that Ron Severdia founder of and designer and host of new SHAKSPER web site has upgraded the server that hosts SHAKSPER. It is a noticeably faster machine. I encourage all who are interested to take the web site for a spin. You might want to try a search of the archives during your test drive.


Best wishes,


LEAR 5.3


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0429  Monday, 22 October 2012


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

Date:         October 21, 2012 9:46:04 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: LEAR 5.3


Let me return to an unfinished bit o’ thread that just grew to a point where I can talk about it. We were disputing around the last scene in LEAR where the line “Save him, save him” happens immediately after Edgar has mortally wounded Edmund. The Oxford / Norton texts produced by what I’ve come to think of as The Little Rascals of Shakespearean Textual Scholarship take the speech from Albany and give it instead to ALL, like, say, Albany and Goneril and the Herald and the soldier(s) needed in a moment to go out after Goneril (if it is not the Herald who chases ineffectively after her) and who else? 


I was indeed surprised when I saw this ALL speech prefix, since Q and F both read, clear as clear can be, “Alb.”


When I checked in the Textual Companion to the Oxford Shakespeare, the coy reference given sends one to Blayney, and then one finds that the cited Blayney work must be The Texts of King Lear and their Origins. So through Interlibrary Loan I got hold of Peter’s magnificent book. And then I spent quite a while with his index, trying to find where he discussed his bold choice of ALL over ALB. Found all kinds of other material, reminders of why he is a real bibliographer and I’m a theatre-guy who digs quarto and folio variants. So I wrote to him. And yesterday, modeling the immense communal generosity I’ve found from most bibliographers, he replied. First off, I learned that his suggestion for ALL was from his unpublished second volume of the LEAR textual study. Oops. Second, Peter’s literary interpretation of Albany’s role, quite other than my own, led him to figure that of all the people on stage at that moment, Albany was the least likely to say about Edmund, “Save him.” Now, yes, Peter Blayney knows more about Early Modern printing than anyone in the bibliographical forest, but his opinions about Albany’s characteristics and whether or not Shakespeare might have given that line to Albany or to ALL are based solely on his taste, not his immense bibliographical acumen. 


In citing Blayney’s then (and still) unpublished speculation without his own clear explanation that the idea is indeed speculation, the Little Rascals Oxford/Norton editions throw lit-crit dust as if it were (like so much of Peter Blayney’s published bibliographic analysis) textual gold.  (I don’t mean to disparage literary critical ideas, but we really should separate them from verifiable textual fact. ALL in this case is a neat idea; ALB is a fact, or rather several facts in Q and F.)


Does Alb. / All matter all that much? As a director I say “yes.” It can, if you want to give the actor playing Albany yet another chance to demonstrate that Shakespeare is “working” this character richly, densely. I’d tell the actor, following my estimate of Albany quite different from Peter Blayney’s, “Okay, Albany wants Edmund defeated but still alive, so he can rub his nose with the incriminating letter intercepted and given to him before the battle by Edgar.” Ain’t very Christian, now. And I’d want to remind the actor (and our readers of SHAKSPER) that fully half of Albany’s speeches are vividly variant between Q and F but not this one. And that maybe Shakespeare himself played that role. Teach your students how to distinguish theory and evidence. Teach them to verify data. Teach them to love the frissons of characters (no matter if they be ALB or ALL) leaping unexpectedly into an ongoing action. “Irish harpers, learn your trade.” (You too, revision deniers.)



Steve Urkowitz

Query Winter’s Tale


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0428  Monday, 22 October 2012


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

Date:         October 20, 2012 12:34:16 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Query Winter’s Tale


In response to Roger Appelbaum’s query about The Winter’s Tale at the Courtyard Theatre in 2009, as I was heading in to the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive today anyway I took a look at the prompt book and reviews.


At the end of the oracle scene, Act 3, Sc 2, following Leontes’ final words “Come and lead me to these sorrows”, there is a whole page of written instructions. The page describes a series of lighting and sound cues “sound of creaking”, and an instruction “brake off”, presumably to allow the cases to move. The bookcases seem to have met centre-stage before “crashing”. A “winter tree” was brought in to stand behind the fallen bookshelves (visible during Act 3 Sc 3). Other instructions include “painting tilts” and “chandelier falls”.  There were several warnings to staff to ensure Leontes (Greg Hicks) was well clear of danger.


Based on my own memory and the reviews, this is what happened:

The two large bookcases that dominated the upstage area (set at an angle, allowing a space between them, and upstage of the thrust) toppled, throwing all the hardbound volumes onto the stage where they remained for the Antigonus scene before the interval. The bear was made of paper and the library shelves were transformed “into the jagged cliffs of the Bohemian coast”. After the interval the book metaphor continued “The Bohemian rustics sit among collapsed piles of books from the formerly imposing shelves of Leontes’ elegant court”. The mummers wore paper and “the trees . . . sprout paper leaves”.


This moment and the repeated book motif were extremely memorable though I was not sure why it continued in Bohemia. One of the reviewers suggested the book destruction was a “metaphor for chaos”. The destruction did not happen until the very end of the scene when Leontes was alone on stage, linking it more with his deranged state of mind than with the challenging of the Oracle (though from the point of view of practicality it would not have been possible to put this into effect until the stage was pretty clear).


The 9/11 parallel didn’t occur to me, and I have found no mention of it in any review though as this production was later staged in New York it may have had such resonance there.


I hope this helps!


Best wishes

Sylvia Morris

(ex-Head of Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive)

Twitter: @sylvmorris1



The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0427  Monday, 22 October 2012


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

Date:         October 21, 2012 9:46:04 PM EDT



KING JOHN in Staunton, VA, and Chesapeake Shakespeare RICHARD III


I’m off to Staunton, VA, this weekend for an American Shakespeare Center board meeting and a rare opportunity to see on Sunday afternoon a production of KING JOHN.  The play was the first that I learned to read “fine-screen” theatrically, and this troupe of ASC players work magic every time I see them.  Also, on Friday near Baltimore, I’ll be giving a pre-play talk for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of Richard III.  

American Shakespeare Center:


Chesapeake Shakespeare Company:


Steve Urkowitz

Shakespeare 450: Call for Program Proposals


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0426  Monday, 22 October 2012


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

Date:         October 20, 2012 7:40:30 AM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare 450: Call for Program Proposals


SHAKESPEARE 450: Call for Program Proposals

21-27 April 2014, Paris


The Société française Shakespeare is organizing in Paris a week-long conference from 21-27 April 2014 to coincide with the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. The program will include plenary lectures, roundtables, workshops, seminars, panels, along with performances at various venues, theatres, concert halls, museums, libraries, artists’ studios and bookshops.


The conference is backed by a large number of French and international institutions and organizations.


The international organizing committee welcomes seminar, workshop or panel proposals on all aspects of Shakespeare’s works, their reflections in painting, sculpture, opera, on radio and screen, as well as issues of performance, critical theory, poetics, commemorations, textual and scenic rewritings, translation, biography.


For 2014, panel proposals will welcome up to four papers per session. Panels may extend for more than one session. Workshop and seminar/roundtable proposals may include more participants; it is up to the organizers to determine their precise form (open discussion, position papers followed by a roundtable discussion, etc.).


Panel, seminar and workshop proposals should include:


- name and university affiliation of proposed leader(s);

- title of panel, seminar or workshop;

- a 500–750 word description stating topic, relevance and approach;

- a 5-line bio of each seminar leader including their email address(es).


Please send your proposals by 10 December 2012 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


For more information, see:


See also CFP attached:  pdf  Shakespeare 450 (74.61 kB)

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