Shakespeare's Sexuality in Question: Who Was the Fair Youth?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.136  Thursday, 21 March 2019


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

Date:         March 20, 2019 at 11:18:27 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Announcements; Sexuality


I read the Sonnets as allegories. In my reading, the "fair young man" is mankind, who needs to be guided away from environmentally unsustainable practices like using fossil fuels such as coal.

Also, in keeping with the theme of protecting the environment, I’ve located a nature goddess in the Sonnets as well. And yes, Shakespeare seems to be worshiping her.


For a complete explanation, please see my published article “’My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun’: hidden lovers in Shakespeare’s Sonnets”.


Marianne Kimura

Associate Professor

Department of English Studies

Kyoto Women's University







CFP: Shakespeare and Morality Symposium

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.135  Thursday, 21 March 2019


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

Date:         March 21, 2019 at 10:23:46 AM EDT

Subject:    Call for Papers - Shakespeare and Morality Symposium 


Call for Papers - Shakespeare and Morality Symposium hosted by Surrey Shakespeare Centre at the Guildford School of Acting 


Shakespeare and Morality Symposium

June 21, 2019


Surrey Shakespeare Centre
Guildford School of Acting

Stag Hill Campus
University of Surrey


We invite papers on the topic of Shakespeare and Morality in criticism, performance, and theory. Themes may include but are not limited to: authority, loyalty, fairness, sanctity, care, and liberty. We encourage papers from scholars in both literary and performance studies, as well as teachers from English or Drama departments who are currently teaching Shakespeare at A-level.


The aim of this one-day symposium is to bring together leading scholars, teachers, and students who are working on Shakespeare and Morality, or Renaissance Ethics, to share their research.


If you’d like to participate, please send a 300-word abstract to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Neema Parvini

Senior Lecturer in English

University of Surrey




American Shakespeare Center at the 43rd OVSC

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.134  Thursday, 21 March 2019


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

Date:         March 20, 2019 at 5:11:48 PM EDT

Subject:    American Shakespeare Center at the 43rd OVSC


We are happy to announce a new addition to the 43rd Annual Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference, which will be held at Marietta College from June 28-30, 2019.  


The American Shakespeare Center will be represented to offer Text and Performance workshops on the topics of Shakespeare’s Verse, Rhetoric, Cue Scripts, and Textual Variants.


The deadline for paper and panel proposals is Friday, April 26, 2019


Here is our call for papers: 


Shakespeare Nations

The 43rd Annual Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference 

Marietta College (Ohio)

June 28·30, 2019


    Plenary speaker: Ruben Espinosa, University of Texas at El Paso

    Emerging Scholar speaker: Vanessa Corredera, Andrews University

    Text and Performance workshops: The American Shakespeare Center

    Performances by Marietta College’s Shakespeare in the Park Festival:

    Romeo and Juliet, directed by Emily Heugatter, University of Central Oklahoma.

    Bye Bye Birdie, with music directed by Peter Sour


The conference welcomes abstracts for papers, panels, workshops, and roundtables that examine Shakespeare’s representations of group(s) as well as proposals that examine how Shakespeare’s works have animated groups over time. We hope to see proposals that come to these issues from a broad range of perspectives and approaches.


In addition to the many ways that Shakespeare’s works explore the search for individual identity, the plays and poems also concern themselves with group dynamics: family, friendship, alliance, faction, race, gender, nation, mob. These cohere and collide in early modern literature in ways still relevant to our time. Characters balance their senses of belonging to place and time such as bloodlines and birthplaces against abstract senses such as citizenries and faiths and even these borders are revealed as porous and unstable. They travel to new locales and negotiate the preservation or loss of old identities, with the assumption of or resistance to new ones. As importantly, for centuries, the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries have inspired imitation/adaptation/incorporation (sometimes rejection) of what they view on stage into their own group identities. In his time, Shakespeare collaborated with and copied from his contemporaries, but after 1660, acting troupes reintroduced his plays into their repertories or adapted them. Today, some actors designate themselves as Shakespearean.


Travelers become Shakespearean throngs in Verona. Immigrants bring with them worlds of culture, influencing and being influenced by what they bring and what they find. Shakespeare as cultural symbol has been used to foster faction, competition or exclusion of group identity.


Curricula commonly require (some do not) the study of Shakespeare. Activist Shakespeareans community-build through their essays and public speeches. Academics form conferences like the OVSC. People even form societies to advocate the position that Shakespeare's work was written by someone else.


Presenters may submit their work for consideration by the editors of the Selected Papers of the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference.


The conference is open to graduate students for regular sessions, and to undergraduate students for roundtable discussions. Both graduate students and undergraduate students are encouraged to submit papers for The Rick Smith Memorial Prize competition to Professor Hillary Nunn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, May 17.


Please send abstracts of 250-500 words to Joseph Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The deadline for abstracts is Friday, April 26.


Check out our website at


Follow us on Twitter @OVSC



The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.133  Wednesday, 20 March 2019


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

Date:         March 20, 2019 at 9:04:25 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS


John Briggs wrote:


And the trouble with that is that John Marston is the one playwright whose style is most likely to be confused with that of Shakespeare.


For what it’s worth, I share your doubts. These Additions went from not even being in the apocrypha to being in the canon in less than ten years. I struggle to believe in them. The stylometric tests don’t seem worth much to me. For example, Taylor gives the first addition to Heywood, and Nance gives the fourth to Shakespeare; but they do so using microattribution, which, among other things, is biased towards authors with large canons, as Shakespeare and Heywood are. Craig did a Zeta test that, between Shakespeare and Dekker, found in favour of Shakespeare, but at best by a slight margin. I did a Zeta test between Shakespeare and Marston, and the results were equivocal. 


When I first read Edward III, years before it was admitted to the canon, I didn’t need any stylometry to tell me that the Countess scenes are by Shakespeare. They scream his name. The Additions were written later than the Countess scenes; they ought to be more distinctive of Shakespeare if he wrote them, but they’re not. 




Q1 Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.132  Wednesday, 20 March 2019


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

Date:         March 20, 2019 at 1:55:25 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: Hamlet Q1


Gerald Baker remarks:


when [Brian Vickers] questions Maguire’s approach to the 1603 quarto, saying "How can we put Q1 Hamlet on 'an equal footing' with Q2, of which it is an attempted clone?" and referring to Q2 as “the authorised edition” he is assuming (it seems to me) and using as part of his argument that which the argument seeks to demonstrate.


I think Vickers is not arguing this position but agreeing with critics. Many too easily accept Q2 copy as holograph and ‘authorized’ goes too far.


If Shakespeare’s name as author ‘authorises’ Q2, then . . . it ‘authorises’ Q1 as well. Scholars may argue for the inferiority of the Q1 text, but one can’t invoke WS’s name on Q2 as part of a demonstration of any perceived Q1 inferiority and Q2 superiority. 


The title pages are not good evidence of authorship or playing companies for these issues, either way.


I do not understand the logic by which the n-grams and collocations listed on Brian’s website are here regarded as indicators of actors’ memories being contaminated by other repertory items while in other cases lists . . . are regarded as proof of common authorship.


Generally, parallels need evaluation. There can be added signs of borrowing beyond mere collocation. The borrowed words may not fit the Q1 context, or they may be close enough to Q2 phrasing to have called them to the actor’s or a reconstructor’s memory. Even distant Q2 passages could be involved because Q1 transposes so much. Van Dam lists a few instances. Many parallels ought to be regarded first as borrowings, not proof of common authorship.


Brian suggests that [Marcellus] is “the most accurate reporter (probably because he had access to his own ‘part’)----my emphasis, to indicate that the argument has shifted from certainty to only likelihood. Given the conclusion that Brian comes to, that the postulated reconstruction was . . . by a group of actors, it seems illogical to place so much emphasis on Marcellus’s role . . .


I doubt any need for actors’ parts in the memorial run-up to Q1; that can’t be proved. 


The [MR] theory allows for convenient explanations of difficult scripts and thus removes any need for actually engaging imaginatively with such scripts: but as hard evidence the script is what we have and we are bound to see if we can make sense of that script theatrically before invoking a hypothesis to explain its difference from another version of a play


One may “engage imaginatively” with Q1 before or after. Whether it makes sense theatrically doesn’t make the evidence of corrupt memorial transmission go away. Q1 worthiness in anyone’s imagination runs a poor second to evidence that it is derivative and corrupt in the main.


We are being asked to believe that none of [the King’s men] could remember their parts with sufficient accuracy to produce a closer or more correct version of a popular, recognizable play that was no more than three years old and probably less.


Q1 is obviously memorial but this proposal can’t be right, I agree. However, the play’s dating is not all that free of preconceptions.


They ordered these things differently, it seems, at the Admiral’s, where presumably Alleyn retained his script as Greene’s Orlando, to have it turn up centuries later in the Dulwich papers......)


A bad Orlando quarto turned up in 1594. Maguire declined comparison to the player’s part, as I recall, though Greg wrote a book about the two. All such cases should be kept in mind because their features are often repeated. Orlando seems to have been played by competing companies and the quarto must be a shorthand report of the shortened play. The relationship between extant texts, though certain, isn’t really clear. A long history in a short time.


If there was a need to construct a version of Hamlet, surely the author would be an obvious person to include in the project.


Surely not, if it was someone else’s project.


[Vickers’s] . . . argument would also need to take into account why the succeeding longer version (Q2) was entrusted to one of the publishers of the ‘unauthorized’ quarto. . . . I can’t envisage a path that convinces me it would lead to a collaborative reconstruction in ‘02 by major players in Shakespeare’s acting company.


Hirell’s article on the Stationers’ ‘Roberts memoranda’ is good. Roberts had entered Hamlet, which was ‘stayed.’ If Q1 popped up unannounced, the publishers would reconcile their claims; players wouldn’t be involved.


Bourus concludes that the “errors of logic and evidence” in Irace’s work (and also Petersen’s) “are endemic to all nineteenth- and twentieth theories of memorial reconstruction.” That’s why she doesn’t additionally address Duthie or Hart. . . .


Bourus skirted issues and relied on Maguire, as I’d guessed. However, I agree that MR is a faulty theory.


[T]here is a big gap between positions on Q1, and I’d like to think it’s bridgeable but fear it’s not. On the one hand, proponents of the idea that it is a seriously corrupt text: as far as I can see, their only interest in the book is in trying to identify the medium and agent(s) of corruption. On the other, holders of a position that there is no ostensible reason to assume derivation or inferiority in the book: for them (again, as far as I can see) their interest takes in the book’s publication history and the affects and performativity of the text it contains. I guess I lean much more towards this group . . . 


The first interest is in manifest Q1 corruption. Part of textual analysis is to question how it came about; it’s not “assumed” but inferred from passage after passage. Dissenters avoid evidence. Q1 is a travesty; does acknowledgment mean less playable? In light of Q2/F, yes: ‘not capon crammed’ performativity is questionable.


Gerald E. Downs 




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