Linguaculture, Volume 8, Number 1, 2017

 RE-READING, RE-WRITING, RE-CONTEXTUALISING SHAKESPEARE (I)
Issue Editor: Iulia Andreea Milică
 
 TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Iulia Andreea Milică
 
Michael Hattaway
New York University in London, UK

Abstract & Keywords

Performance studies must enjoy parity of esteem with critical studies because they remind us of the plurality of “readings” that are generated by a Shakespearean text. Shakespeare seems to have apprehended this when, in Othello, he used a nonce-word, “denotement”, which applies to Othello’s reading of his wife in his mind’s eye. I examine other sequences in which we watch a character “reading” on-stage or imagined action, in Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, Cymbeline, Richard II, and Troilus and Cressida.  In Hamlet this involves re-reading as well as generic displacement, which, I argue, is a way of rendering inwardness. As I test case, I analyse a production of King Lear by Shakespeare’s Globe, on a fairground stage, in which the king reshaped himself, became a folkloric figure, like a figure in Nashe’s Summer’s Last Will and Testament. The play itself was thus, indecorously, reshaped as “The Tale of King Lear”. “Dramatic truth”, therefore, in no way depends upon theatrical “realism”.
Keywords: critical and performance studies; heterocosms and theatrical locations; generic decorum and inwardness; embedded descriptions; denotement; seeing and reading; King Lear; fairground theatres; “folk-drama”, truth and realism
 
Siobhan Keenan
De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Abstract & Keywords

The discovery of the body of the historical Richard III under a Leicester car park in 2012 sparked fresh interest in one of England’s most controversial kings. Accused of murdering his nephews—the Princes in the Tower—Richard’s reign was cut short when he was defeated by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond (later Henry VII), at the Battle of Bosworth (1485). Richard was subsequently demonised in Tudor historiography, perhaps most famously by Sir Thomas More in his “History of King Richard the thirde” (printed 1557). It is to More that we owe the popular image of Richard III as a “croke backed” and “malicious” villain (More 37), an image which Shakespeare has been accused of further codifying and popularising in his Richard III. Today, the historical Richard III’s defenders argue for the king’s good qualities and achievements and blame early writers such as More and Shakespeare for demonising Richard; but, in Shakespeare’s case at least, this essay argues that the possibility of a sympathetic—and even a heroic—reading of the king is built in to his characterisation of Richard III.
Keywords: Shakespeare; Richard III; tragedy; villainy
 
Monica Matei-Chesnoiu
Ovidius University of Constanţa, Romania

Abstract & Keywords

The paper highlights the cultural constructedness of vision in the early modern period by drawing on heteroglossic representations of the eye in early English texts, ranging from anatomy and physiology treatises to philosophy, poetry, emblems, and geometrical perspective in astronomy and land surveying. The argument is based on the association of word and image in early modern representations of space, mirrored in Ortelius’s notion of geography as the eye of history, which shows the importance of the visual element in the system of acquisition and transmission of knowledge in the Renaissance. In the particular case of Pericles, the play unfolds over a vast international geography and creates powerful visual effects. The imaginative spatial conventions of the play can be assimilated to the system of geometrical projection on which maps depended. Locations are used according to a geometric triangulation system to refract the imaginative and spatial vision. As in emblems, the locations unfolding in the play give the action meaning in the process of involved spectatorship. Moreover, in the theatre, the lone monocular beholder of mathematical linear perspective is multiplied into a choric array of spectators.
Keywords: eye, geography, Renaissance perspective, spatial imaginary, Shakespeare, Wilkins, Pericles
 
Garry Harrington
Salisbury University, USA

Abstract & Keywords

In The Merchant of Venice, Portia seems relieved when the Prince of Morocco chooses the wrong casket—relieved at least in part because Morocco is black. Much textual evidence, however, suggests that Morocco is the worthiest of the three suitors who choose among the caskets in attempting to win Portia. For example, Morocco is the only one of the three who while deliberating on the caskets refers to Portia by name or by reference, and only he uses the word “love” while making his choice. Moreover, unlike Aragon and Bassanio, Morocco bases his choice on what he considers to be Portia’s merits, which he holds in so high an esteem that he mistakenly chooses the gold casket. And while Bassanio’s motives are largely mercenary, Morocco is clearly wealthy and so has no need of Portia’s money. Although Morocco exits in act two, his presence reverberates later via his association with Shylock and the Moorish woman whom Launce impregnates. Sometimes alleged to exhibit anti-Semitism, The Merchant of Venice, as the presentations of Morocco and Shylock demonstrate, actually constitutes one of Shakespeare’s most compelling endorsements of the vibrancy which diversity can impart to any society.
Keywords: Morocco; Portia; diversity; Moor; Bassanio; hazard; Shylock; caskets; anti-Semitism; society
 
Codrin Liviu Cuțitaru
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania

Abstract & Keywords

This paper aims at exploring the cultural ambiguity which William Shakespeare remarkably extracts from the sources of his major plays, turning it, eventually, into an essential instrument of the tragic and the tragedy. What in normal/modern circumstances would easily count as “plagiarism”, becomes here, paradoxically, a token of artistic genius and brilliant creation. Our examples will be from the four outstanding tragedies—Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. The sources selected by our research will be Saxo Grammaticus’s Histoires tragiques, Cinthio’s Un Capitano Moro, the Celtic legend Leir of Britain and, obviously, Holinshed’s Chronicles. We shall try to demonstrate that the so-called cultural ambiguity adopts various forms in Shakespeare’s plays, going from the clash of civilisations (Hamlet and Othello) to the crisis of identity (Lear and Macbeth)..
Keywords: cultural ambiguity; identity; cultural clash; Hamlet; Othello; King Lear; Macbeth; Saxo Grammaticus; Raphael Holinshed; Geoffrey of Monmouth; Cinthio
 
Nicoleta-Mariana Iftimie
Gheorghe Asachi Technical University of Iași, Romania

Abstract & Keywords

Hailed by some and passionately criticized by others, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet (1996), one of the best known cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare’s story of the “star-cross’d lovers” has appealed to the young audiences because it succeeded in intermingling the delivery of Shakespeare’s language with the modern discourse promoted by late 20th century media, particularly television and journalism. Different types of media pervade the movie from the outset to its very end: the black screen at the beginning makes room in its centre to a TV set, which moves forward into the viewer’s space, while displaying a newscaster who delivers the play’s Prologue in a monotone; in a symmetrical manner, the image of the television set appears again at the end and we see the newscaster delivering the last lines of the play. After the lines are recited, the television set gets smaller and smaller, until it fades away and the screen becomes black. The whole movie is thus embedded into a news programme; the news story is located as the one which is being witnessed by the viewer in real time. The paper will analyze the role of the television and printed media in the unfolding of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet, with a view to point out its impact on the textual and visual structure of the movie.
Keywords: Romeo and Juliet; media; television; printed media; cinematic discourse
 
Alan Forrest Hickman
American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Abstract & Keywords

Adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays has been part of his legacy from the beginning, as works by artists such as Nahum Tate, Henry Purcell, and John Dryden can attest. Shakespeare’s Sonnets, too, have been put to many uses over the years. They have been set to music, they have been quoted by politicians, they have been used as wedding vows, and they have appeared on greeting cards. For many, they represent the ultimate statement on love. In the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death, they have found their way into a variety of media, including music, drama, books, television, and film. Whereas the plays have long been acknowledged as a rich source of inspiration—both serious and parodic—by artists and auteurs, ranging in kind from novelist James Joyce to dramatist Tom Stoppard to comedian Ben Elton, the poems have received less scrutiny in this regard. However, they represent a gold mine of untold riches, especially in terms of biography, which has yet to be sufficiently tapped. In this paper I take a look at the various uses the sonnets have been put to, primarily in books, television, and film, and come to some conclusions regarding their success in remediation.
Keywords: Shakespeare’s Sonnets; remediation; appropriation; cinema; film; television; theatre; books; biography; love
 
Agnieszka Romanowska
Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

Abstract & Keywords

In the nineteen twenties last century a young poet and diplomat from Warsaw, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, was taking part in an international congress of intellectuals in Heidelberg. During his stay in Germany he wrote The Lovers of Verona (the title in Polish reads Kochankowie z Werony), a play that offers a radical reinterpretation of the main message of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Iwaszkiewicz’s vision of the young lovers, who are infected by insurmountable enmity, was determined by his pessimistic views on the nature of love and desire, expressed also in his other plays, prose and poetry. This article discusses the circumstances behind Iwaszkiewicz’s adaptation that shed light on the reasons for this unorthodox re-writing of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. This is done to highlight the complex interrelations between authorial writing and translation activity which in case of writer-translators are determined by a net of political, social and personal factors.
Keywords: Romeo and Juliet; The Lovers of Verona; Kochankowie z Werony; Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz; translation; adaptation
 
Laurence Raw
Başkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Abstract & Keywords

G. Wilson Knight (1897-1985) was one of the most influential Shakespearean critics of the mid-twentieth century. This piece surveys his work from 1930 until the early 1980s. Much affected by the First World War, he developed a style of criticism based on Christian principles of respect for other people and belief in an all-powerful God. Many of his most famous pieces (in THE WHEEL OF FIRE, for instance) argue for human insignificance in an indifferent universe. It is up to all of us as individuals to develop methods of coping with this world. Wilson Knight’s ideas gained particular currency during the Second World War, when Britain’s very future seemed at risk due to the threat of Nazi invasion. Although much derided for his use of transcendent language—especially by his contemporary F. R. Leavis—Wilson Knight’s ideas seem to have acquired new significance in a globalized world, where individuals fight to main their identity in a technology-driven environment.
Keywords: World War One; Shakespeare; Tragedy; Christianity; transcendence; textual readings