CFP: Authorship Studies in Early Modern Drama and Literature

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0443  Friday, 14 December 2018

 

From:        Darren Freebury-Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         December 14, 2018 at 10:01:48 AM EST

Subject:    Call for Papers: ‘Authorship Studies in Early Modern Drama and Literature’ 

 

Dear SHAKSPERians,

 

Please see the CFP below. All interested SHAKSPERians are encouraged to submit abstracts.

 

CALL FOR PAPERS: ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews (2020)

 

I am pleased to announce that I will be guest editor for a special issue of American Notes and Queries (scheduled to be published in 2020) titled: ‘Authorship Studies in Early Modern Drama and Literature’. 

 

The issue will address authorship during the early modern period, including, but not limited to, the works of Shakespeare and his Elizabethan and Jacobean contemporary writers; canonicity; attribution studies; evaluating and/or introducing methodologies for discriminating writers; the current state of authorship studies; digital innovations and textual analyses of plays, poems, and other genres; corpus linguistics; co-authorship; as well as reviews of books concerning authorship, attribution, canonicity, and textual studies written within the last five years. 

 

 

Main deadlines:

 

1 April 2019:

Please send an abstract of up to 250 words and a working title to the guest editor (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

 

31 May 2019:

Notification of acceptance.

 

1 August 2019:

Submission of articles and reviews for the special issue to the journal: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/anq

 

Please note that articles must comply with the editorial norms and must not exceed 7,000 words. Book reviews must not exceed 1000 words. All articles are published in English. Please be so kind as to have your paper revised by a native speaker. 

 

Darren Freebury-Jones

Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies (International – USA)

 

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Henley Street

Stratford-upon-Avon

 

 

The Shakespeare Box

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0442  Friday, 14 December 2018

 

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

Date:         December 13, 2018 at 11:38:11 AM EST

Subject:    'The Shakespeare Box'

 

The current issue of The Ben Jonson Journal has, as its featured article, my piece on “Mr Shuckspr’se Box” (https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/pdfplus/10.3366/bjj.2018.0230) which has been kindly reviewed here (https://euppublishingblog.com/2018/10/15/mysterious-shakespeare-box/) and by several other panjandrums, including Neil MacGregor (‘fascinating’) and Stephen Greenblatt (‘marvellous’). The doyen (I believe) of Italian Shakespearians, Fausto Cercignani, has been kind enough to weigh in - although he thinks it reads ‘Mr Shackspr’ rather than ‘Mr Shuckspr’ - which may well appeal to you, in particular, given the name of your site!

 

[Editor’s Note: SHAKSPER is spelled the way it is because when it was founded only eight characters were allowed in a name. It has remained that way for the past close to thirty years. -Hardy]

 

It’s an interesting Tudor artefact, to say the least, and I’m (slowly) putting together a blog (www.theshakespearebox.com password: palimpsest - all lower case) to fill out various other aspects of the story of the box and its ‘interrogation’ (there’s lots, and many more high resolution photographs, even unto microphotography).

 

I’m very much of the view that ‘the wisdom of the crowd’ might have some useful things to add to the enquiry - my own thoughts have been somewhat haphazard and fitful: for instance, I only realised after the last time I saw the box (with Eve McLaughlin) that the reverse of the lockplate is caked in (centuries of?) grime, and wondered whether, if either of these theatrical giants did have a hand in it, there might be a further ‘reveal’? 

 

Anyway, I do hope you enjoy the piece, and attach some (slightly higher) resolution photos for your amusement. I find the ‘W’ rather evocative, and somehow slightly festive, as I imagine the son of a glover and whittiwer personally punching the metal and send it in that spirit!

 

Attached Photo 1: 

 

 

Attached Photo 2:

 

Attached Photo 3:

 

Attached Photo 4:

 

 

Links to Additional Photos:

 

High resolution photos of the box and its inscriptions here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fh69h15j7vy8e7d/AACJP7pK2AcVDMip-pE8NGx8a?dl=0 as well as infra-red of the “Shuckspr” writing inside https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1a0p68j78p43h5l/AADGFJfQJrvusx3h7lmEUzw6a?dl=0 and some rather beautiful microphotography https://www.dropbox.com/sh/axrcyky07i9vblw/AADoX8yU-RxRecQypGjtTON5a?dl=0 That’s before one gets on to Ben Jonson signature comparison! 

 

With best regards,

John 

 

 

 

The Shakespeare Canon and the NOS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0441  Thursday, 13 December 2018

 

[1] From:        Brian Vickers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 12, 2018 at 12:03:42 PM EST

     Subj:        NOS 

 

[2] From:        Brian Bixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 13, 2018 at 10:46:55 AM EST

     Subj:         NOS 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         December 12, 2018 at 12:03:42 PM EST

Subject:   NOS

 

Letter to Shaksper 12.12.18

 

Gentle Shaksperians,

 

I was sorry to see Richard Strier complaining again about the NOS thread in our forum. If he would like additional material there’s nothing to stop him providing some. But he still hasn’t grasped the importance of this discussion at the present time. Gary Taylor and colleagues have distorted Shakespeare’s canon by including a play he never wrote, Kyd’s Arden of Faversham; have claimed Marlowe’s co-authorship of the three Henry VI plays; in Titus Andronicus they have attributed one scene to Middleton, and have awarded one of Peele’s scenes to Shakespeare; they have elevated Middleton to reviser of Macbeth, Measure for Measure and All’s Well; and have given to Shakespeare the ‘Dial’s Hand’ epilogue which was written by Dekker.

 

I have presented here some evidence that all these interventions were unjustified, and more is to follow. The point is that Shakespeare is an international treasure, translated into many languages, and that the authority of Oxford University Press, acquired by centuries of responsible scholarship, has been used to legitimise these false claims. Gary Taylor once boasted the “textual revolutionaries” who fathered the theory of a “Two-text Lear” had “succeeded in hijacking the international resources and cultural authority of Oxford University Press, not only the most respectable but commercially the most powerful of all academic publishers” (cit. Vickers, The One King Lear, 319). Taylor has done it again: OUP has been persuaded to invest massive amounts of money in the most irresponsible edition of Shakespeare ever published.

 

At least one new voice has appeared in this discussion, my brilliant pupil Peter Holland, who I had the pleasure of supervising at Cambridge fifty years ago, and who has since greatly benefited Shakespeare studies by his publications, editing, and serving on scholarly committees. Peter queries my statement that the First Folio is an authority for the text of Macbeth, since “there are unquestionably plays in F1 that contain substantial passages that are not by Shakespeare, Henry VIII to take an obvious example.” This is perfectly true, but ever since James Spedding distinguished the shares of Fletcher and Shakespeare in 1850, the majority of scholars has agreed, given that the shares are large enough for all modes of analysis, and that the two dramatists’ styles are so different. Taylor’s arguments for attributing a 63-word passage in Macbeth to Middleton use a method that Rizvi has shown to be deficient, as have other scholars yet to be cited here. They also fail to observe the basic principle of our profession, that the work of other scholars should be reported accurately, especially when they disagree with our own theories. Taylor began his 2014 SQ essay by summarising the “Macbeth debate”, including this footnote:

 

Even J. M. Nosworthy acknowledged that ‘the general consensus of opinion is that the sections which invoke Hecate and rationalise the songs and dances interpolated from The Witch are the work of an alien hand. 

 

Taylor cited Nosworthy’s book, Shakespeare’s Occasional Plays (1965) pp. 24-5, but concealed the fact that Nosworthy devoted most of his chapter discussing the play’s “Date, Scope, and Integrity” to refuting the consensus, concluding that “Shakespeare was the sole author of Macbeth and that the revising hand was also his” (31). Taylor returned to Nosworthy later in his essay, dismissing as “a few verbal parallels” the evidence he had cited of matching phrases in Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Merry Wives of Windsor (for which he gave the wrong page references: the discussion goes beyond p. 25 to p. 31). These parallels are far more significant than those Taylor cited from Middleton. Now that better resources are available, the question of Middleton’s contribution to Macbeth should be re-opened.

 

Warm regards,

Brian

 

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         December 13, 2018 at 10:46:55 AM EST

Subject:    NOS

 

For eight years I ‘ran’ a Shakespeare group for a dozen-plus friends and neighbours. Each winter we read one play that was being produced in the subsequent summer at Stratford, Ontario. The participants, ranging in age from 50 to 80, were well-educated and occasionally went to Stratford performances, but most had led careers that had taken them away from the humanities.

 

They fell upon the texts with intensity and passion, often braving difficult weather to reach our meeting place. We were determined that our gatherings would be serious, that we would not become, at least not directly, a therapy group. We read aloud slowly, carefully, and one of the most satisfying features of our sessions was the way in which the reading became less and less self-conscious and more and more dramatic and poetic. Of the plays we read - The Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, Othello, Lear, Hamlet, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet - the favourites became The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, both with strong ‘non-rational’ elements.

 

My rôle was to read as much of the secondary literature as I could lay my hands on, and then to transmit that, no doubt minus many scholarly subtleties, to the group. But I have no formal training in English Studies; I was simply a kingly borgne in the royaume des aveugles.

 

Lunching recently with some of the group, I did my best to explain the ongoing discussions in this forum about the NOS. People listened with growing exasperation, partly at my confusion, partly at what they understood to be essence of the controversy. One spoke up. ‘These are Shakespeare scholars, people who love the plays?’ she asked. ‘Don’t they know when they’re reading Shakespeare?’

 

 

 

MM Ending Query

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0440  Thursday, 13 December 2018

 

[1] From:        Harry Keyishian <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 12, 2018 at 1:52:28 PM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: MM Ending 

 

[2] From:        Robert Projansky <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 13, 2018 at 7:53:33 AM EST

     Subj:         Re: SHAKSPER: MM Ending 

 

[3] From:        Thomas Krause <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 13, 2018 at 8:05:11 AM EST

     Subj:         MM Ending 

 

[4] From:        Brian Bixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 13, 2018 at 10:46:55 AM EST

     Subj:         MM: Valetudinarian Comments 

 

[5] From:        Alan C Dessen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         December 12, 2018 at 6:27:53 PM EST

     Subj:         MM 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         December 12, 2018 at 1:52:28 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MM Ending

 

I’ll try a reply to Jim Ryan’s message. I suggest we compare what Duke Vincentio is doing to what Paulina does in The Winter’s Tale: calculating an appropriate punishment for a wrongdoer, and then managing his or her rehabilitation. Paulina brings Leontes to a penitent state and suspends him there for sixteen years, until Perdita has grown to marriageable age. Similarly, Vincentio keeps Isabella ignorant that her brother lives until she has helped Marianne plead for Angelo’s life, thereby making up for her lack of charity towards the panicked Claudio. Vincentio reconciles Claudio to death as a necessary condition for reprieving him. Angelo, after exposure, humiliation, and shaming, is reprieved by the women he has wronged (and by Vincentio’s disruption of his crimes) -- dodgy, but in the same vein. I agree with Jim that Lucio gets his due by having to marry Kate Keepdown. Barnardine I put into the category of “oh, what the hell...” after the main work of rehabilitation has been accomplished. I suggest that Vincentio enacts the moral scheme of James I’s Basilon Doran of 1599, especially the section on how a monarch must educate and manage his subjects.

 

Harry Keyishian

Professor Emeritus of English

Director FDU Press (1977-2017)

Florham Campus, Fairleigh Dickinson University

 

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         December 13, 2018 at 7:53:33 AM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: MM Ending

 

Jim Ryan poses “obvious questions that the play does not explicitly answer:”

 

Why does the Duke suddenly change from an advocate for death to an advocate for life after overhearing Isabella and Claudio? 

 

He doesn’t. He is never an advocate for death. We can’t take everything everyone in a play says on its face, and the Duke’s speech to Claudio, who has just asked his sister to give in to Angelo’s demands, is fryerish blather intended to quiet Claudio’s mind. The manipulative but merciful Duke, who intends to save Claudio, gives neither the audience nor Claudio a hint of his intentions at this point. In dramatic terms, that rescue is the more wonderful for Claudio (and us) when it happens against Claudio’s total despair of any possible earthly salvation. We know the Duke is thinking this because he tells us so in a later scene, when he hears Isabella approaching.

 

What accounts for the fact that the Duke, who does not like to stage himself to the eyes of his subjects, becomes the showman of the theatrical last scene? 

 

Like an undercover investigator who comes out of the shadows to testify in open court and the bright glare of public attention, we see the Duke play out the two parts of a single process that he has set in motion at the beginning of the play. When the Duke goes undercover he is looking to find out what’s what in Vienna, and then, presumably, to do whatever needs doing about it — as himself, and he does that, despite his disinclination to show himself to public applause. Shakespeare could have set the entire last scene in a room in the palace, but the public return et seq. gives the play a bigger finish. It’s pure showbiz. Similarly, at the end of Twelfth Night Shakespeare might have written

 

Ant.

How haue you made diuision of your selfe, 

An apple cleft in two, is not more twin 

Then these two creatures. Which is Sebastian

 

Ol.

Most wonderfull.

 

Seb.

You are my sister, Viola! 

 

Vio.

Sebastian! Brother mine!

 

Or some such. But he didn’t. Instead, he stretches out the recognition for thirty or forty more lines, because, despite the fact that the audience already knows who is who, this is a perfect place for such a crowd-pleasing schmaltzy drag-out. Likewise, instead of pretending to disbelieve the accusations, the Duke could have revealed his deception and what he knew as soon as the accusation was made, but dramatically, it’s a hundred times better the way WS wrote it.

 

How has the Duke come to forgive Lucio for the slanders that the Duke had earlier so much dreaded? 

 

Dreaded? I don’t think he has expressed that. I think he has merely suggested that he wants Angelo, not himself, to take the brunt of any criticism of the coming crackdown. Actually slandering your sovereign was a capital offense in Shakespeare’s day, and everybody knew it. Anger, yes, but there is nothing that indicates the Duke has any fear of slander, Lucio’s or otherwise. Dramatically, Lucio’s outrageous slanders crank his wiseguy bigmouth insouciance up to 11. Lucio, “a fantastique,” is unknowingly badmouthing his ruler — a man with life and death power over him — to his very face, hilariously, because we, like the Duke but unlike Lucio, know to whom he is talking. Those slanders are written for huge comic effect, a dream opportunity for the actor playing Lucio. The Duke forgives him because MM (unlike MOV) is a play about mercy, for Claudio, Lucio, Barnardine, Angelo, for every miscreant in the play except the already-deceased Ragozine. 

 

Why does the Duke become susceptible (if in fact he does) to the “dribbling dart of love”? 

 

Nobody knows why anyone is susceptible to this. I myself have felt its pointy end and been unable to explain exactly why. My own theory about Duke V’s attraction to Isabella is that Act V plays out in its convoluted way because it is set up as a test, which she passes with an A+. We know far in advance that she will get her justice, that Angelo will get his comeuppance, but Isabella’s plea for mercy for Angelo is unexpected, unpredictable and quite special, and if she is being tested or measured she proves to have the kind heart of a saint. Also, there is no reason why this saintly woman, who was such a turn-on for Angelo, (whose very blood is snow-broth), should not similarly affect the Duke, a man of presumably standard-issue temperate circulation. We can suppose also that the Duke too somehow realizes what a sizzling Mädchen she is, even though he never hears her say anything like the astonishingly sensual things she says to Angelo by way of saying she would die before giving up her chastity. Isabella has no clue about her own high-voltage sexuality as she draws these images — but William Shakespeare certainly does. Imagine Isabella down front and Angelo circling behind her upstage as he cautiously uncoils his nasty what-if, and then his upstage jaw-dropping astonishment when she unwittingly reveals her passionate self, smoldering under a virginal snowbank:

 

Ang.

Admit no other way to saue his life

(As I subscribe not that, nor any other,

But in the losse of question) that you, his Sister,

Finding your selfe desir'd of such a person,

Whose creadit with the Iudge, or owne great place,

Could fetch your Brother from the Manacles

Of the all-building-Law: and that there were

No earthly meane to saue him, but that either

You must lay downe the treasures of your body,

To this supposed, or else to let him suffer:

What would you doe?

 

Isab.

As much for my poore Brother, as my selfe;

That is: were I vnder the tearmes of death,

Th' impression of keene whips, I'ld weare as Rubies,

And strip my selfe to death, as to a bed,

That longing haue bin sicke for, ere I'ld yeeld

My body vp to shame. 

 

Although the Duke doesn’t show much in the way of growth and change over the play, I think we have to give him credit for seeing all this possibility in Isabella, who does show us an unexpected growth. In her prison scene with Claudio she shows herself quite self-absorbed in her priceless chastity, much to her brother’s chagrin. Nothing in any of that prepares us for her plea for Angelo’s life, but the Duke apparently guesses more about her than we can see.

 

And, the most nagging question, why does the Duke tell Isabella that her brother is dead?

 

The Duke has already planned out his complex revelation scheme by II iii, in which he answers this question in part quite directly.  

 

Duke.  [hearing her approaching]

The tongue of Isabell. She's come to know,

If yet her brothers pardon be come hither:

But I will keepe her ignorant of her good,

To make her heauenly comforts of dispaire,

When it is least expected.

[ Enter Isabella.

 

If the revelation that Claudio has been saved comes out against a belief that he is dead, it is an immeasurably greater joy for Isabella than if it were to come while she believes him still alive but in imminent danger of death. It’s also a greater pleasure for the audience to see that happen. The apparent cruelty in playing with her mind like that is certainly mitigated by her own choice to opt for her chastity over Claudio’s life while telling him she expects him to support her choice, and both Claudio and Isabella have accepted those ‘heavenly comforts of despair’ and told the friar Duke that they can accept Claudio’s inevitable death, and not to mention simple gratitude. Also, by making Isabella think Angelo has executed her brother, the Duke creates a much more difficult emotional obstacle against which she makes her decision to speak for mercy for Angelo, and it becomes that much more difficult a test and that much greater a heart of mercy. When she is first told in IV iii that Angelo has betrayed the bargain and has had Claudio executed, her natural reaction is to exclaim

 

Isa.

Oh, I wil to him, and plucke out his eies.

 

Nonetheless, when Mariana asks for her help Isabella comes through magnificently. In only ten and a half lines she offers several distinct reasons for mercy for Angelo:

 

Isab.

Most bounteous Sir. 

Looke if it please you, on this man condemn'd, 

As if my Brother liu'd: I partly thinke, 

A due sinceritie gouerned his deedes, 

Till he did looke on me: Since it is so, 

Let him not die: my Brother had but Iustice, 

In that he did the thing for which he dide. 

For Angelo, his Act did not ore-take his bad intent, 

And must be buried but as an intent 

That perish'd by the way: thoughts are no subiects 

Intents, but meerely thoughts. 

 

Best to all,

Bob Projansky

 

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         December 13, 2018 at 8:05:11 AM EST

Subject:    MM Ending

 

I’ve been waiting over decade for an opening for my theory of Lucio’s forced marriage, so thanks to Jim Ryan and Jinny Webber for providing it. I hope people will forgive me for introducing it in a thread about performance.

 

Here goes: various scholars have argued that the Duke is a representation of King James, or at least of some of his actions or propensities. Others have pointed out that Lucio—a “fantastique”—could be a representation of Shakespeare himself, since he moves the plot along.

 

If we add in the fact that the play was said to be by “Shaxberd” we can wonder if Shakespeare was somehow using it to shake King James’s beard, i.e. be impertinent toward King James, just as Lucio is impertinent to the Duke. The punishment that Lucio/Shaxberd receives—having to marry someone he impregnated—is just Shaxberd’s way of telling King James that he has already received his punishment—long ago he was forced to marry Anne Hathaway, a woman he had impregnated.

 

The clincher is the similarity between the names (Kate) Keepdown and (Anne) Hathaway. In both cases the first and last names start with similar sounds (or the same sound, if the h is dropped), and in both cases, the last name is a combination of a verb and preposition that mean almost the same thing (keep = hath) and (down = away).

 

This seems like a much a clearer reference to Anne Hathaway than the use of “hate away” in Sonnet 145. 

 

The broader point is that no matter how we look at Measure for Measure, we are likely looking at a lot of contemporary references that we can only dimly understand. For me that goes a long way toward explaining the otherwise sometimes inexplicable actions of the characters. On the plus side, it leaves room for a wide range of interpretation in performance.

 

Tom Krause

 

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         December 13, 2018 at 10:46:55 AM EST

Subject:    MM: Valetudinarian Comments.

 

I have on my desk a slip of paper on which are written two sentences of MFM’s Claudio. The first is: If I must die/ I will encounter darkness as a bride/ And hug it in mine arms, (3. 1. 82-84, Arden) a noble sentiment, but which is swiftly followed by a reconsideration: The weariest and most loathed worldly life/ That age, ache, penury and imprisonment/ Can lay on nature, is a paradise/ To what we fear of death (3. 1. 128-131)

 

I recently read Robert Fagles’ translation of The Odyssey. When Odysseus visits the House of Death, he says to Achilles, Time was, when you were alive, we Argives/ honored you as a god and now down here, I see/ you lord it over the dead in all your power. / So grieve no more at dying, great Achilles, to which Achilles replies, By God, I’d rather slave on earth for another man-/ some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive-/ than rule down here over all the breathless dead.**

 

Claudio’s and Achilles’ words are so similar that it seems reasonable to ask whether the similarity is accidental.

 

**These are, coincidentally, the words that Stephen Greenblatt cites in his NYRB review (December 20) of Scott G. Bruce’s The Penguin Book of Hell.

 

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         December 12, 2018 at 6:27:53 PM EST

Subject:    MM

 

I have no neat solutions to the recent questions about MM raised by Jim Ryan and others. I do have my own take on some of them, though I doubt that my views will carry much weight in the wider community. However, as a scholar and a long-time playgoer, I do have a few observations. First, one of my mantras as a theatre historian is: when Shakespeare put quill to paper, he was writing for players, playhouses, and playgoers that no longer exist. Before notions of “character” or psychological realism became the default position for readers, critics. actors, and directors, I wonder if those interpretative tools or reflexes are necessarily valid everywhere, especially in MM. The first 355 lines of 5.1 (up to Lucio’s uncovering of the friar) provide a good example. In response to the repeated question: why does the Duke make Isabella jump through a series of hoops, my answer (which I do not expect others to buy into) is that Shakespeare, by means of the Duke’s return, has set up a “what if” situation: what if the Duke had gone away as announced in 1.1 and had not returned to observe and intervene? What would have been Isabella’s fate when even Escalus does not believe her? What does the sequence reveal about Justice in this Vienna and Angelo’s assertion in 2.4 that “my false o’erweighs your true”?

 

Second, I’ve witnessed a lot of stage productions of MM where actors did address some of the problems cited in this thread. I’ve seen at least two finales where Isabella intervened, by means of a gesture or stage movement, to stop the Duke’s revenge on Lucio – as if to say “I forgave Angelo so …” I saw an actor deliver the Duke’s forceful indictment of Angelo to prevent her from kneeling with Mariana while signaling to us that he was actually rooting for her to choose sisterhood over condemnation and pass the test he had set up. I’ve seen Juliet Stevenson (the best Isabella in my playgoing experience) take a pause in her final speech after “For Angelo …,” turn her head to look at her nemesis above and behind her, and, as if gritting her teeth, deliver those final legalistic lines that, though far from Portia’s “quality of Mercy” speech, represent a remarkable effort given the circumstances. I don’t claim that any of these choices are “authentic” (I avoid that term), but that kind of creative in-the-theatre thinking can be helpful when confronting moments that puzzle a reader.

 

Alan Dessen

 

 

 

Boycott International Journal of English and Cultural Studies

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 29.0439  Thursday, 13 December 2018

 

From:        John Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 10:15 AM
Subject:     Boycott International Journal of English and Cultural Studies

 

I received an unsolicited invitation to publish in a new journal called the International Journal of English and Cultural Studies. Its web address is http://redfame.com/journal/index.php/ijecs. I responded with a determined refusal to accept the invitation, because the journal charges US$300 to publish an article. The only scholars who need to pay to publish are those who can least afford to, i.e., those who are earliest in their careers. The fee is exorbitant and exploitative. Please assist in boycotting it.

 

 

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.