Monday, 16 January 2012

Blogoshpere 09 January – 15 January 2012

Last week I found a great variety of posts in the blogosphere worth reading and meditating about. The posts that have something to do with Early Modern England include nine post with a wide range of fields discussed. There is, of course, Shakespeare in many clothes: sources and some religious background to Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy. Besides Shakespeare, we could read about Marlowe, gossiping, brothels, turnS of the calendar year, execution, about marginalia for theatre and book historians. Less in number but no less thought-provoking are the posts that pertain to Digital Humanists. Stanley Fish for example continued his meditation about Digital Humanities demonstrating distinction and much erudition—not that I am surprised by this—in his second take on the topic. Furthermore one of my favourite topics is discussed last week, namely a study about the academic use—or not use—of web 2.0 tools. So, again I learned much last week, so happy reading to you, as well!

Early Modern Studies:

Samuel Thomas in his Gossip in Early Modern England delineates the origins and uses of the word “gossip” from its medieval beginnings up to the time when it received its modern, mainly negative connotation. In the story we find “god-siblings” and Margaret Cavendish, and other early 17th-century printed material dealing with gossiping. A fascinating story, indeed.

H.M. Castor reviews the long history of the change in the turn of the year, i.e. the shift from March 25th to January 1st in his “Old year, New year.” This is both an intriguing story and a learned study in social history. It is worth reading for all.

Liz Dollimore argues in her Shakespeare’s sources – Henry VI part 3 that Shakespeare most of the time relied on Holinshed as a source for this play, but sometimes he turned for other sources. She claims that Holinshed used Hall’s Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families as his ultimate source, sometimes even verbatim, still there are parts in Hall which do not appear in Holinshed. One part, at least, seems more dramatic in Hall, and consequently Shakespeare went back to Hall in this case, i.e. in the scene when Edward IV makes a not so modest proposal to Lady Grey.

If somebody would like to read about Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy, they should consult Ewan Fernie’s “Shakespearience 4: Hamlet’s Depression.” In this post they will meet Luther, the gravedigger scene, mysticism testifying the never-ending interest in both the play and in this monologue.

If somebody is interested in EM executions, then they—and others as well—will find “Heads Will Roll…But How Far?” at the Early Modern News Networks rather informative. The post is about the execution of William Laud, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, on January 10th in 1645, and locates the event within the EM ritual of executions and their representations in newsbooks of the time.

I cannot resist the temptation to advertise this post, “Searching for Hungarian Shakespeares” by Paul Edmondson, as it is about a young and talented Hungarian Shakespeare scholar, Julia Paraizs a friend and colleague of mine. The post presents her current research project, and the reason why she spent some four months in The Shakespeare Centre.

Holger Syme in his Well-Read Plays IV” this week meditated about annotations and marginalia in the third quarto of Thomas Heywood’s Rape of Lucrece (1614; STC 13361a), the Folger’s first copy of Philip Massinger’s The Duke of Milan (1623; STC 17634), the Folger’s second copy of Massinger’s The Bond-Man (1624; STC 17632), the Folger’s copy of the first quarto of the anonymous Edward III (1596; STC 7501) and some other works. His claim this time in his on words is this: “All of them [the particular copies he has written about—Zs.A.] seem to show readers engaged in efforts to make their playtexts more readable. But, as I hope to persuade you, making a play readable, or reader-friendly, did not necessarily mean erasing its origins as a performance script or altering its status from theatrical document to literary work.”

Dainty Ballerina last week published a post, “Vill you not stay in my bosom tonight, love?,” about one of the most elegant and famous brothels in the 17th Century, named Holland’s Leagure. In the post one may find literary and bookish descriptions of the brothel from its contemporaries, and also she let’s the reader peep into the underworld of 17th-century London. This is a study that is to be read by historians of EM culture, especially because of the detailed references section.

Adam G. Hooks’ “Anonymous Marlowe” explores the facets of the creation of an authorial persona, as it happened in the case of Christopher Marlowe. This is done through arguing that a poem, i.e. “The Passionate Shepherd to his Love,” attributed to Marlowe could hardly have been written by him. Hooks meticulously presents the reader the history of this attribution. He then concludes his post with this fascinating sentence: “If Marlowe the author was made by the posthumous publication of his works, he was subsequently unmade as readers appropriated (and failed to attribute) his works in the years that followed.”

Digital Humanities:

Stanley Fish’s second note on Digital Humanities, “The Digital Humanities and the Transcending of Mortality” discusses the theme of Digital humanities in the matrices of single- versus multiple authorship, singe- versus multi-directional experience, institution versus outsourcing, paywall versus open access, and explores the theological and political aspects of DH. In this discussion Fish quotes from big fishes in the DH guild from Kathleen Fitzpatrick, through Matthew Kirschbaum, to Mark Sample, Mark Poster and Jerome McGann. Fish ends his meditation with “What might those contributions [of DH—Zs.A.] be? Are they forthcoming? These are the questions I shall take up in the next column, oops, I mean blog.” I, thus, can’t wait for the next post. Until then, however, one may read the comment thread attached to the post that runs into 107 comments by now.

This is a very though-provoking paper at Impact of Social Sciences (London School of Economics and Political Sciences) entitled “Can’t tweet or won’t tweet? What are the reasons behind low adoption of web 2.0 tools by researchers?” The paper investigates why social networking services are not used by the majority of researchers. Actually, I thought that the state of affairs in this case is better in the UK than in other European countries. Seemingly it is not.

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