CFP: "Shakespeare and Anachronism", Kingston University, Feb. 18th 2017

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.010  Thursday, 12 January 2017

 

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

Date:         January 11, 2017 at 5:12:28 PM EST

Subject:    Reminder CFP, "Shakespeare and Anachronism", Kingston University, Feb. 18th 2017

 

REMINDER CFP:

 

KiSSiT: Shakespeare and Anachronism

The fourth KiSSiT one-day conference is entitled Shakespeare and Anachronism. It will be held at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on February 18, 2017.

 

Disclosing the potential for revolutionary transformation latent in divisive and oppressive realities by travelling imaginatively forwards in time and adopting a universal human standpoint is a fundamental strategy of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry. (Kiernan Ryan, Shakespeare’s Universality: Here’s Fine Revolution)

 

 

Performance and criticism of Shakespeare’s plays, and even the plays themselves, have always been anachronistic on a fundamental level. Since performance is always in the present, its creation of an impression of past events, or even of events in general, “as if for the first time,” can only be an illusion. Criticism, in contrast, by default after the event, and predominantly from an audience point of view, is a rationalisation of this illusion. Perhaps the arch-anachronist can be said to be Shakespeare himself – not only through his cheerful bending of history to his purposes but, more importantly, through using time in its many guises, as historical setting, internal structure and rhythm, to bend our perceptions to proposing counterintuitive possibilities.

 

 

Confirmed speakers include:

  1. Professor Tiffany Stern, Royal Holloway, University of London, renowned for having researched and written widely about the theatrical documents relating to Shakespeare and his contemporaries (and the 18th century), such as actors’ parts and plots, acting methods and playhouse architecture.
  2. Dr Erik Roraback, Charles University in Prague, whose main interests include Shakespeare, critical theory (Spinoza/Leibniz/Benjamin/Adorno), theoretical psychoanalysis (Freud/Lacan/Zizek), Modernity and the philosophical aspects of the Baroque.

 

We look forward to paper proposals discussing various aspects of Shakespearean drama, performance or theorisation, characterised by anachronistic aspects such as:

 

Theorisation: Presentism vs ‘the levers of form’ (Kiernan Ryan)

 

  1. ‘The Globe phenomenon’: aspects of anachronism of Elizabethan/Jacobean working theatre reconstructions and their use – their cultural, institutional, artistic, etc.
  2. Theatre production: ‘updating’ vs ‘meshing’ of time periods (modernising today vs the Elizabethan use of ‘modern dress’); costume, set and possible performance/interpretative effects
  3. Thematic: purposeful anachronism as creative tool of playwrights’ composition
  4. Methodologies of reflection and analysis: ad hoc vs post hoc – practice-as-research in performance (PaR) vs discursive forms of criticism
  5. The relationship of the plays to their historical time as e.g. political interventions/anachronistic theatricalisation of politics and culture in Early Modern times (such as HenryVIII’s jousting)

 

Please submit abstracts and brief CVs by emailing the organizers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before January 30, 2017.

Organised by Ildiko Solti, Paul Hamilton, and Timo Uotinen.

For more information contact us via email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Shakespeare Seminar in Theory (KiSSiT) –  an offshoot of Kingston Shakespeare Seminar (KiSS), part of the London Graduate School, Kingston – is  a series of seminars and conferences for postgraduate students and early career scholars with an interest in Shakespeare, philosophy and theory. The program is committed to thinking through Shakespeare about urgent contemporary issues in dialogue with the work of past and present philosophers – from Aristotle to Žižek.

 

C

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.009  Wednesday, 11 January 2017

 

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

Date:         January 10, 2017 at 5:23:59 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MV

 

Omigod!

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.006  Tuesday, 10 January 2017

 

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

Date:         January 5, 2017 at 2:52:22 PM EST

Subject:    MV Dialog

FinalPost2

Once we have determined that Portia represented Elizabeth and Bassanio represented the second Earl of Essex on the Political/Religious/Current Events Dimension of Meaning, the identities of the other main characters on this Dimension fall into place.

1. Gratiano as the third Earl of Southampton. Shakespeare changed Il Pecorino to add an original Gratiano character who accompanied Giannetto/Bassanio to Belmonte/Belmont and to the trial of Anselmo/Antonio. Gratiano appeared to be on the same level of society as Bassanio/Essex, although Gratiano seemed to consider himself to be a follower of Bassanio just as Southampton considered himself to be a follower of Essex. Southampton was having an affair with Elizabeth Vernon/Nerissa, who was a cousin of Essex and a Lady-in-Waiting to Elizabeth/Portia.

2. Shakespeare as Lorenzo.

Lorenzo was a character in The Spanish Tragedy. I surmise that Shakespeare acted this role, and that his contemporaries as theater people, as well as many of the experienced playgoers in London, would have recognized him as having performed Lorenzo in this popular play.

 

[ . . . ]

 

 

 

Velz, Barton, Foakes Next of Kin

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.008  Wednesday, 11 January 2017

 

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

Date:         January 10, 2017 at 6:07:24 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Kin

 

Three of my guests are deceased: John Velz, Anne Barton, and Reg Foakes. I would like to get consent from the next of kin, but do not know who to contact. If you have next of kin information for any of the three, please sent it to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

This is more complicated than you think, or less.  You, as the author, own the copyrights, unless (1) you agreed in writing to give them to the “guests” or (2) you produced the articles as works for hire under written agreements with Iona or SNL.  Even if the “guests” are your collaborators and, therefore, are co-owners of the copyrights, any of the collaborators has the right to license the work without the consent of the others (but has a fiduciary obligation to share any license fees and royalties with the other copyright owners).  I don’t think there are any other rights the “guests” might claim, such as right to privacy or right to publicity, and in most states, with the exception of California and maybe a handful of others, those are personal rights which expire when the claimant does.  If, however, there are rights you need to clear, the “next of kin” might or might not be the correct person to issue the license.  You need to get in touch with the estates’ executors or administrators who might or might not be the next of kin.

 

That being said, please understand that I am not giving legal advice. 

 

You should consult a lawyer of your own choosing.

 

 

 

Heather Wolfe, Folger Library Curator

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.007  Wednesday, 11 January 2017

 

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

Date:         January 10, 2017 at 4:31:23 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Wolfe

 

The Heather Wolfe story can’t be quite like this, surely, if it’s so new?  Oxfordians, etc., have never questioned that Shakespeare the player was the man from Stratford; the point of dispute is whether this Stratfordian player is also the playwright.  Unless she has found a coat of arms that says that, I can’t see what has been proved ...

 

Julia

 

 

 

MV Dialog

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 28.006  Tuesday, 10 January 2017

 

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

Date:         January 5, 2017 at 2:52:22 PM EST

Subject:    MV Dialog

 

FinalPost2

 

Once we have determined that Portia represented Elizabeth and Bassanio represented the second Earl of Essex on the Political/Religious/Current Events Dimension of Meaning, the identities of the other main characters on this Dimension fall into place.

 

1. Gratiano as the third Earl of Southampton. Shakespeare changed Il Pecorino to add an original Gratiano character who accompanied Giannetto/Bassanio to Belmonte/Belmont and to the trial of Anselmo/Antonio. Gratiano appeared to be on the same level of society as Bassanio/Essex, although Gratiano seemed to consider himself to be a follower of Bassanio just as Southampton considered himself to be a follower of Essex. Southampton was having an affair with Elizabeth Vernon/Nerissa, who was a cousin of Essex and a Lady-in-Waiting to Elizabeth/Portia.

 

2. Shakespeare as Lorenzo.

Lorenzo was a character in The Spanish Tragedy. I surmise that Shakespeare acted this role, and that his contemporaries as theater people, as well as many of the experienced playgoers in London, would have recognized him as having performed Lorenzo in this popular play.

 

GRATIANO:

O my Anthonio, I do know of these

That therefore onely are reputed wise,

For saying nothing… .

 

LORENZO:

I must be one of these same dumb wise mean,

For Gratiano never let’s me speake.

 

GRATIANO:

Well, keep me company but two yeares mo,

Thou shalt not know the sound of thine owne tongue.

(1.1.95-109)

 

During the outbreak of plague in 1592-93, the Crown ordered the complete closure of all theaters in London. Shakespeare may have kept company with Southampton during this period.

 

As he did with Mercutio in R&J, Shakespeare may have provided us with a glimpse into Southampton’s personality.

 

BASSANIO:

…but heare thee Gratiano,

Thou art to wilde, to rude, and bold of voyce,

Parts that become thee happily enough,

And in such eyes as ours appeare not faults;

But where they are not knowne, why there they show

Something too liberall, pray thee take paine

To allay with some cold drops of modestie

Thy skipping spirit, least through they wilde behaviour

I be misconsterd in the place I goe to,

And loose my hopes.

(2.2.172-81)

 

BASSANIO:

Gratiano speakes an infinite deal of nothing,

more than any man in all Venice, his reasons are two

graines of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff: you shall

seeke all day ere you finde them, & when you have them

they are not worth the search.

(1.1.114-18 )

 

(This sounds like good friends teasing one another.)

 

But could Shakespeare have doubled Lorenzo when he played Shylock? I believe so, for two reasons. First, Lorenzo and Shylock never share the stage at the same time. Second, Shakespeare wrote into the play excuses for Lorenzo showing up late so that he could remove his Shylock Jewish gaberdine and uncover the Lorenzo garb beneath.

 

LORENZO:

Sweet friends, your patience for my long abode,

Not I, but my affaires have made you wait:

(2.6.22-23)

 

 

SHYLOCKE:

I pray you give me leave to goe from hence,

I am not well

(4.1.391-92)

 

FAUSTUS/ JEW OF MALTA:

BARABAS:

Pardonnez moi, monsieur, we be no well.

JM: (4.4.68)

 

Many editors and commentators envision that Shylock left the stage a trembling and broken — even suicidal — man because he had been forced to deny his Jewish heritage and become a Christian. The plain meaning of the words suggests as much.

 

However, the plain meaning of these words must also be considered in connection with the reference to Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta. Barabas, disguised as a French musician, had just poisoned Bellamira and Pila-Borza and needed to make a hasty exit. Shylock needed to make a quick exit as well: Shakespeare had so arranged it that Shylock’s presence was no longer needed in the scene. He (as Shylock) needed time to change into Lorenzo for the In such a night duet with Jessica that began Act 5.

 

3. Nerissa as Elizabeth Vernon. On the Source Dimension the Lady of Belmonte did not have a maid such as Nerissa. Her maid was merely a serving girl who later married Anselmo; Nerissa was more of an intimate companion on a slightly lower social standing. Elizabeth Vernon was a Lady-in-Waiting to Elizabeth and was carrying on an affair with Southampton at the time Shakespeare wrote the play. Southampton later married her against the Queen’s wishes.

 

4. Belmonte as Belmont. The Belmonte of Il Pecorino did not exist. Belmont was the Hampshire home of Southampton’s recusant cousin, Thomas Pounde. Thomas had helped the Jesuits and had been imprisoned for a number of years. He became a Jesuit late in life.

 

5. Antonio as Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague. Montague was Southampton’s maternal grandfather and, together with his second wife Magdalen Dacre, were the most prominent Catholics in England. Their home, Cowdray House, was called Little Rome.

 

Bassanio said of Antonio:

…and one in whom

The ancient Romane honour more appeares

Then any that drawes breath in Italie.

(3.2.293-95)

 

In Shakespeare's time, Rome and Roman signified Roman Catholic

 

Montague died in 1592. Antonio was inexplicably sad because he was dead (but was not aware of that fact). He had much ado to know himself, and Gratiano remarked that he was marvellously chang’d. 

 

1 Corinthians 

51 Behold, I show you a secret thing, We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall blow, and the dead shall be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

 

6. Stephano as Stephano.

ENTER MESSENGER

 

LORENZO: Who comes so fast in the silence of the night?

 

STEPHANO: A friend.

 

LORENZO: A friend, what friend? your name I pray you friend?

 

STEPHANO: Stephano is my name… .

 

LORENZO: …My friend Stephano… .

(5.1.25-28, 51)

 

Notice that Shakespeare as Lorenzo asked the Messenger for his name, and called him friend several times in quick succession (as previously discussed, a Shakespearean marker to alert the audience to pay particular attention to that word). Nowhere else in the play did anyone ask for a messenger’s or servant’s name or refer to the messenger or servant as friend or something similar. The Guise faction in France plotted to have Elizabeth poisoned by an Italian named Stephano.

 

7. Flesh but not blood. This was a contentious issue during the Reformation.

 

PORTIA: This bond doth give thee heere no jot of bloud,

The words expresly are a pound of flesh:

Then take thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,

But in the cutting it, if thou dost shed

One drop of Christian bloud, thy lands and goods

Are by the Lawes of Venice confiscate

Unto the state of Venice.

 

In Il Pecorone, the flesh/blood quibble was just that, a legal quibble. In MV, Shakespeare created a specific statute. He knew that the bare quibble would not hold water with attorneys or judges in attendance. 

 

Il Pecorone did not specify Christian blood. That comes from Faustus. Edward Alleyn made an indelible impression on audiences with his final words as Faustus just before he descended into hell: 

 

FAUSTUS: See, see where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament:

One drop would save my soul, half a drop!

 

In 1559 Elizabeth had enacted the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity that forbad the Catholic Mass. During Mass the people could partake of the Body (bread) of Christ, but only the priests could partake of the Blood (wine) of Christ. The Anglican communion service allowed the people to partake of both. Article 28 of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, upon which the Catholic Mass was based. There are numerous references to flesh and/or blood throughout MV.

 

Respectfully,

Bill

 

 

 

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