Author Topic: Shakespeare  (Read 15341 times)

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Shakespeare
« on: July 16, 2014, 05:15:08 AM »
At Brian's suggestion, I picked up a copy of Contested Will.  Haven't broken into it yet (busy with the ballet).

I found that I had a $10 gift card for B&N, and found too that there is a Nook edition of Bill Bryson's bio of The Bard.  Any opinions on it?  (This call for opinion notwithstanding, I mashed the link for that e-book.  So if you hated the book, go on, give me cause for remorse!)
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Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 05:26:34 AM »
Don't know about Bryson but Brian is right about Contested Will. 
Edmund Morris on Beethoven in that series was a good one IIRC.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 11:00:03 AM »
Don't know about Bryson but Brian is right about Contested Will. 
Edmund Morris on Beethoven in that series was a good one IIRC.

Thanks!

I did little more than browse The Shakespeare Wars when that was on the shelf at the MFA shop.  Still not sure I want to sit down and read it . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 03:23:26 PM »
The Bryson is quite good. As usual with him.
I never knew Mary Queen of Scots wrote Cymbeline!

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 03:54:18 PM »
I will take y'all's rec, I just snapped the 'Contested Will' title up. Maybe to save for my trip next month.   It does look interesting. :)
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 05:02:32 PM »
I've made a good start on the Bryson book.

I'm right in the corner of an author who closes his first chapter with the frank, manly disclosure . . .

Quote from: Bill Bryson
... this book was written not so much because the world needs another book on Shakespeare as because this series does.  The idea is a simple one:  to see how much of Shakespeare we can know, really know, from the record.

Which is one reason, of course, it's so slender.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 09:27:51 AM »
Am really enjoying the Bryson, which is essentially (1) Here is some historical context, (2) These are the actual facts we have in our possession viz. Shakespeare, and (3) Here is some of the conjecture spinning from the facts, but however attractive, it remains conjecture.

In my reading this morning, I learnt more than I ever knew before about the Spanish Armada.  (Admittedly, I had not done any particular research.)

Once I wrap this book up (which I have on my Nook™), I shall without fail crack open Contested Will.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2014, 05:02:52 AM »
Finished the Bryson book, which completely followed through its initial promise.

I suppose I have reneged, in that I have not brough Contested Will with me to read.  Yet.

Will probably read the sample on my Kindle of The Shakespeare Wars.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Brian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 05:25:34 AM »
I liked the Bryson, too. As thoroughly fun and smart as Bill Bryson always, always is.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 06:14:18 AM »
I liked the Bryson, too. As thoroughly fun and smart as Bill Bryson always, always is.

In theory, Contested Will should arrive in today's mail. Looking forward to its insights.  :)

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2014, 06:20:08 AM »
In theory, Contested Will should arrive in today's mail. Looking forward to its insights.  :)

 8)

Groovy!

I have started the sample of Ron Rosenbaum’s The Shakespeare Wars on my Kindle.

Quote from: Ron Rosenbaum
It’s always seemed to me that the work is what is most worth caring about and that Shakespearean biography, with its few indisputable facts, its suppositions, its conjectures, its maybes, does more to distort than to illuminate the work.

I have nothing against literary biography in general, but I suspect most serious literary biographers must be a bit dismayed at the fantasies spun out by Shakespearean biographers on the basis of such fragmentary evidence. Just as in the old story of the man who persists in searching for his keys under a streetlamp (even though they’re not there) “because that’s where the only light was,” Shakespearean biography, especially the obsessive–often circular–attempts to make inferences about the work on the basis of the few known facts and anecdotes about the life, can be a distraction from the true mystery and excitement, the true source of illumination, the place the hidden keys can actually be found:  the astonishing language.  (Look how little we know about Homer and how little it matters.)

Thus most efforts to forge, fabricate or flesh out the life (as opposed to placing the work in its cultural context) have ended up doing a disservice to the work because they lead inevitably to a reductive biographical perspective on the work and use the work to “prove” suppositions about the life.

I think I shall wind up reading this, as well.  There are such powerful resonances with the foodfight which often arises over Shostakovich.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 06:22:07 AM by karlhenning »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2014, 04:45:11 AM »
I've finished with the sample of The Shakespeare Wars . . . find it of interest, but I'm not sure I want to read the lot.

OTOH, continuing in Contested Will and well content to consume the whole book.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 11:40:46 AM »
OTOH, continuing in Contested Will and well content to consume the whole book.

If I had ever been aware of the pro-Shakespeare forgeries, I had long forgotten about them.  This is an engrossing read.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2014, 01:13:44 PM »
Ack! A grammatical slip: "whomever it was."


Well, the odd error will slip out.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2014, 03:20:11 AM »
More than I ever knew before about Delia Bacon!  I enjoy the humane sympathy of Shapiro's discussion of Bacon, even while one must denounce her presuppositions and methods.  (I want to go back to Bryson's book, which is a slender volume enow that he is blameless for being at all curt about Delia B.)  And now Twain is on the scene (and I think I espy a driver for Brian's pursuit of the Twain autobiography; or at least, there are delectable synergies).  Wish I didn't have to go to work, I'd just read on.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2014, 04:18:05 AM »
Back on board with the Shapiro, started the final chapter (the case for Sh.)  It's all a rattlin' good read.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2014, 05:25:01 AM »
This is not news, but it is (was) the fellow at Wooster with whom I studied Shakespeare:

Quote from: Jn Finn
Campus, community remembers Ray McCall
Published: July 30, 2007 4:01AM

By JOHN FINN

College News Services

WOOSTER-- Ray McCall, longtime professor of English whose trademark pipe, Smith-Corona typewriter, and familiar jaunts across campus on a vintage mid-century bicycle became legendary, died Saturday. He was 78.

McCall, who came to The College of Wooster in 1958 and continued teaching through 1998, was revered by his students and admired by his colleagues. "Ray McCall was a generous, loyal and nurturing colleague," said Deborah P. Hilty, professor of English emerita at The College of Wooster. "He exemplified citizenship of the highest order, both on the campus and in the city."

Gordon Collins, professor emeritus of psychology, added that McCall was one of Wooster's great teachers because he cared more about his area of study than about campus politics or having his work published in scholarly journals. "He was the quintessential faculty member," said Collins. "He loved teaching, and wanted his students to care about learning as much as he did. He was an excellent I.S. (Independent Study) adviser because he was a real taskmaster, but at the same time he was very caring and compassionate."

Collins also described McCall as a Renaissance Man. "Ray was a serious scholar, but he had a lot of other interests," said Collins. "For example, he was an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable baseball fan. He also was a devoted poker player, and he was very widely read. There was little about which he wasn't conversant."

Laura Neill, a former student and later a colleague of McCall through Ohio Light Opera, expressed the sentiments of many when she said, "The College of Wooster is a better place following Dr. McCall's tenure here, and all who knew him are better people for having had even one conversation with him. My relationship with Dr. McCall began when I took his Shakespeare class in the '80s. I remember his typed comments on the front page of my research papers; comments that were always very helpful. My grammar improved immensely that semester."

Regarding the opera, Neill added, "Dr. McCall was dedicated to the work of the Ohio Light Opera, beginning in the early years. He always made a special effort to have all the historical write-ups for the program book turned in well ahead of time so that we could meet our publishing deadline, and he would always prepare the pre-curtain lecture schedule with efficiency. His expertise was appreciated by all of us."

McCall served the College in a variety of capacities, including two terms as chairperson of the English Department. He also directed Wooster's summer session, was acting dean of the faculty, filled numerous terms on the Teaching Staff and Tenure Committee, and was a member of the selection committee that chose Henry Copeland as President in 1977. In addition, he chaired the communication department and the theatre department. He also collaborated with Joe Fishelson and Ted Williams in helping to found the Wooster Chamber Music Series. "In each of these roles, his leadership skills were extraordinary: replete with imagination and good sense, and laced with his marvelously compelling dry wit," said Hilty.

Humor was, indeed, another of McCall's many endearing qualities. "He had a very dry and subtle sense of humor," said Collins. "You had to be on your toes around Ray or you would miss it."

McCall and Collins, along with several other faculty members, were part of the "Suicide Club," a group that would meet each week to talk about issues that affected the college, the community, the country, and the world.

In 1991, McCall received the highest honor of his distinguished career when he was named to the Virginia Myers Professorship of English in recognition of his many contributions and achievements.

Above all, McCall was passionate about Shakespeare. He spent portions of two research leaves in London studying the legendary poet and playwright and producing detailed studies of 300 Shakespearean plays. He also specialized in contemporary drama, 18th century literature, and American literature. He wrote original dramatic sketches for the St. James Strolling Players, and acted with the Arena Fair Theatre, Hampstead Drama Guild, and Stage Right Repertory Company.

Throughout his career he reviewed dramatic productions, concerts, and recitals for The Daily Record. He also had articles and reviews published in College English, Western Humanities Review Critique, and Explicator.

"As a teacher — both on The College of Wooster's faculty and as a sought-after lecturer on opera and light opera in the Wooster community — Ray demonstrated meticulous scholarship and consistently commanded the full attention of his audiences," said Hilty. "He was passionately engaged in the arts, and his frequent reviews of musical and theatre performances in The Daily Record were splendid teaching moments in themselves."

Born Nov. 19, 1928 in Erie, Pa., McCall attended high school in Meadville, Pa. He enrolled at Allegheny College and graduated in 1949. He then earned his master's degree and his Ph.D. at The University of Wisconsin, Madison.

McCall is survived by his wife, Lois, who wrote for Wooster magazine for a number of years, and three children: Susan, Sarah, and Gilbert.
 
"Ray McCall was modest, principled and eloquent," said Hilty. "His understanding of life and learning was informed by the 'complete and generous education' John Milton urged us to pursue and that constitutes Ray's gift to us all."
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2014, 05:59:55 AM »
If I had ever been aware of the pro-Shakespeare forgeries, I had long forgotten about them.  This is an engrossing read.

Yes it is. I began at lunch yesterday, got two chapters in. Already looking forward to lunch today!  :)

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Offline Brian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2014, 06:38:26 AM »
Yes it is. I began at lunch yesterday, got two chapters in. Already looking forward to lunch today!  :)

8)
Isn't it always thrilling to find non-fiction that's written with verve, humor, and curiosity? So many academics, especially, write as if they're doing chores.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2014, 06:53:16 AM »
And the problem is, write it like it's a chore, and it's a chore to read . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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