Priming the Pump

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.093  Thursday, 7 March 2019

 

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

Date:         Thursday, March 7, 2019

Subject:    Priming the Pump

 

Dear Subscribers,

 

For the past many months, the thread The Shakespeare Canon and NOS has dominated discussions on SHAKSPER.

 

Some are delighted in this, while others are frustrated with it.

 

The bottom line is that I can only work with what I receive that is eligible for posting to the list.

 

If you wish to see other topics explored, you will need to initiate a thread. 

 

So long as the topic is not about Lord Votemort (i.e., he who shall not be named), it is probably acceptable. 

 

So, I encourage subscribers to think about topics they would like to see discussed on SHAKSPER and start a thread.

 

Also, I encourage reviews of productions and books as well as inquiries and announcements.

 

SHAKSPER belongs to its subscribers. I am merely an editorial conduit through which content is distributed.

 

Thank you,

Hardy

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.092  Wednesday, 6 March 2019

 

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

Date:         March 6, 2019 at 5:45:57 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: NOS

 

Perhaps we should allow Gerald Downes and Perez Rizvi the last words on this particular strand, lest we fall into the anachronistic trap of asserting that Shakespeare invented Google.

 

Kind regards

 

John Drakakis

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.091  Tuesday, 5 March 2019

 

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

Date:         March 4, 2019 at 8:08:49 AM EST

Subject:    Re: The Shakespeare Canon and NOS

 

Those readers who are following our discussion of the work adjacency networks method will, I hope, be interested if I try to explain for everyone’s benefit one of the points at issue between Gerald Downs and Gabriel Egan.

 

In their Shakespeare Quarterly article, Egan and his co-authors describe one principle of their method as follows:

 

When comparing the networks of two texts, the difference between their respective usage of the word “and” should matter more to us than their respective usage of the word “beneath,” simply because the word “and” appears more often in English writing.

 

Downs asked a very simple question: Why? I’d like to show that the question is a pertinent one, by a very simple example.

 

Imagine if you’re looking at web pages to try to find information about some topic. You will likely move from page to page, following links from one website to another. If, while you are doing this, you find yourself being regularly linked to some websites much more than to others, then the chances are that the former are useful websites. That’s why people link to them a lot. Google uses this principle to decide which web pages to give the highest ranking to. We know why it does this: because it has to decide which web page should appear first in your search results, which second, which third, and so on.

 

In my simple example, let’s imagine a text that uses just three function words: “and”, “it”, “that”. It doesn’t use all possible phrases involving these words. It uses just the following four phrases:  

 

it and

that and

and it

and that

 

It uses all these phrases an equal number of times. Notice that when the text uses “it” or “that”, it always follows the word by “and”. But when it uses “and”, it follows it half the time by “it” and half the time by “that”. 

 

If you apply Google’s technique, as Egan has explained it, then you will discover that “and” gets a rank that’s twice the rank of “it” and “that”. The reason is that when you hop from function word to function word, two hops out of every four will take you to the word “and” whereas only one hop out of four will take you to “it” and only one hop out of four will take you to “that”. According to the formula that Egan and his co-authors use, this means that the phrases “and it” and “and that” are given twice the weight of the phrases “it and” and “that and”.

 

Is it obvious to you why this is the right thing to do for authorship attribution purposes? Me neither. That’s why Gerald Downs’ question was a good one. It would not be surprising if Gabriel Egan couldn’t answer it, because we know from the publication history that all the formulae had been decided by his co-authors in their works published without him. It would have been better if he had just said candidly that he can’t answer the “Why” question. The answers he has given have about the same explanatory value as Antony’s description of the crocodile in Antony and Cleopatra: “It is shaped, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth; it is just so high as it is, and moves with it own organs. It lives by that which nourisheth it, and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.”

 

 

 

Richard III at STC

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.090  Tuesday, 5 March 2019

 

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

Date:         March 3, 2019 at 4:18:54 PM EST

Subject:    R III at STC

 

Hardy, I heard the STC dramaturge’s explanation of casting Richmond as a woman. It was part of the diversity of the cast. Richmond was meant to be the opposite of Richard—in character, and in gender. In addition, and most interestingly, Drew Lichtenberg said the Elizabethan audience would have viewed Richmond as Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather, and as a sort of stand-in for her. 

 

Richard M. Waugaman

 

[Editor’s Note: Richard, thank you for the clarification. I am still not sure that it changes my option that the reason for the choice was not particularly evident in the production itself. In fact, I found the choice jarring. If Richmond was cast as a woman playing the future Henry VII, I would have found the decision more acceptable to me.-Hardy]

 

 

 

 

BOOK NOTICE: Dancing Queen: Marie de Médicis’ Ballets at the Court of Henri IV

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 30.089  Tuesday, 5 March 2019

 

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

Date:         March 4, 2019 at 10:40:42 PM EST

Subject:    BOOK NOTICE: Dancing Queen: Marie de Médicis’ Ballets at the Court of Henri IV 

 

BOOK NOTICE: Dancing Queen: Marie de Médicis’ Ballets at the Court of Henri IV (University of Toronto Press, 2019; ISBN 978-1487503666).

 

Dear Shakespeareans interested in dance:

 

I am delighted to forward this announcement of the publication of my colleague Melinda Gough's book Dancing Queen: Marie de Médicis’ Ballets at the Court of Henri IV (University of Toronto Press, 2019; ISBN 978-1487503666).

 

Drawing on newly discovered primary sources as well as theories and methodologies derived from literary studies, political history, musicology, dance studies, and women’s and gender studies, Dancing Queen traces how Queen Marie de Médicis’ ballets authorized her incipient political authority through innovative verbal and visual imagery, avant-garde musical developments, and ceremonial arrangements of objects and bodies in space. Making use of women’s “semi-official” status as political agents, Marie’s ballets also manipulated the subtle social and cultural codes of international courtly society in order to more deftly navigate rivalries and alliances both at home and abroad. At times the queen’s productions could challenge Henri IV’s immediate interests, contesting the influence enjoyed by his mistresses or giving space to implied critiques of official foreign policy, for example. Such defenses of Marie’s own position, though, took shape as part of a larger governmental program designed to promote the French consort queen’s political authority not in its own right but as a means of maintaining power for the new Bourbon monarchy in the event of Henri IV’s untimely death.

 

For more information, or to order the book, please click here.

 

Dr H M Ostovich  <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Founding Editor, Early Theatre <http://earlytheatre.org/>

Professor Emerita, English and Cultural Studies

McMaster University

 

 

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