Plays have a double life, in the mind as read, and on the stage as acted; reading a play and seeing it acted are two different but equally valid and valuable experiences. Shakespeare’s fellow-actors provided in the First Folio of his works a text for readers, and all later editors have had readers in mind; even acting versions have first to be read. There has been a fashion in criticism for claiming that the ‘real play is the performance, not the text,’ or that a play is a 'communal construct,’ and 'exists in relationship to scripts we will never have, to a series of revisions and collaborations that start as soon as there is a Shakespearean text.’ It seems to me rather that the 'real play’ is as much the text we read, and perhaps act out in the mind, as the performance we watch; and scripts are what directors and actors make for the stage out of the reading text provided for them by editors… The life a play has in the mind may be very different from the life it has on the stage.
—  R. A. Foakes, introduction to King Lear, Arden Shakespeare Third Series

anonymous asked:

Alrrrrighty there foaks. I gotta question for you. Now please bare with me I'm just getting into the fandom. But let's say I wanted to make a blind oc, no horrible back story, nah. Just how said character was born. I was thinking they'd see kinda like through echo location, but Uh. What's is the stance on said character types? Would this be acceptable? Or should I get back to the drawing board.

Welcome to the fandom!!!!! 

I reeeeallly really love the idea of an OC that has no tragic backstory, who is just sort of born the way they are. Especially when it comes to something like blindness. 

The echolocation thing can be done of done right; how does your oc go about finding things? Do they just talk nonstop, or scream (sing???)? These might not be the best route to go, as (typically) a loud ninja is a dead ninja. 

Maybe your character has some sort of staff or cane they use, and the tapping sound helps with echolocation as well as weaponry. You could also look at them being some sort of musician (biwa hoshi much?)

We see the trope of blind warriors played pretty heavily, so I think it’s definitely a way to go. We have Ganjin and the Biwa Hoshi in Japanese history, which are possible characters you could play off of to incorporate elements into your story.  


A lot of people have asked if I can make a list of everything I’ve read for my MA this year. And while that would be pretty impossible, it occurred to me that I can just copy and paste the bibliographies of papers I’ve written for you to look through. I’m going to do this installments (and I will tag them ‘emd library,’ but for those of you who are interested, here’s a resource list of Shakespeare/early modern criticism on the random topics I’ve written about this year:

Shakespeare and Single Combat

  1. Ascoli, Albert Russel. 2010. ‘Wrestling with Orlando: Chivalric Pastoral in Shakespeare’s Arden,’ Renaissance Drama n.s. 36/37, pp. 293-317.
  2. Alexander, Nigel. 1971. Poison, Play, and Duel: A Study in Hamlet (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.).
  3. Cranfill, Thomas M. 1973. ‘Shakespeare’s Old Heroes,’ Texas Studies in Literature and Language 15, pp. 215-30.
  4. Edelman, Charles. 1991. Brawl Ridiculous: Swordfighting in Shakespeare’s Plays (Manchester: Manchester University Press).
  5. Evans, G. Blakemore and others. 1997. The Riverside Shakespeare (Boston: Houghton MifflinCompany).
  6. Foakes, R. A. 2003. Shakespeare & Violence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
  7. Jackson, James L. 1990. ‘“They Catch One Another’s Rapiers”: The Exchange of Weapons in Hamlet,Shakespeare Quarterly 41, pp. 281-98.
  8. Knowles, Ronald. 1991. ‘The Farce of History: Miracle, Combat, and Rebellion in 2 Henry VI,’ The Yearbook of English Studies 21, pp. 168-86.
  9. Low, Jennifer. 1999. “Manhood and the Duel: Enacting Masculinity in “Hamlet,”’ The Centennial Review 43, pp. 501-512.
  10. Low, Jennifer. 2000. ‘“Those Proud Titles Thou Hast Won”: Sovereignty, Power and Combat in Shakespeare’s Second Tetralogy,’ Comparative Drama 34, pp. 269-90
  11. Meron, Theodor. 1997. ‘The Homeric Wars Through Shakespeare,’ Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law) 91, pp. 126-31.
  12. Meron, Theodor. 1998. Bloody Constraint: War and Chivalry in Shakespeare (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  13. Sacharoff, Mark. 1970. ‘Tragic vs. Satiric: Hector’s Conduct in II, ii of Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida,”’ Studies in Philology 67, pp. 517-31.
  14. Semenza, Gregory M. Colón. 2001. ‘Sport, War, and Contest in Shakespeare’s Henry VI,’ Renaissance Quarterly 54, pp. 1251-72.
  15. Snyder, Susan. 1980. ‘Ourselves Alone: The Challenge to Single Combat in Shakespeare,’ Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 20, pp. 201-216.
  16. Waggoner, G. R. 1965. ‘Timon of Athens and the Jacobean Duel,’ Shakespeare Quarterly 16, pp. 300-311.
  17. Watson, Curtis Brown. 1960. Shakespeare the Renaissance Concept of Honor (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

Be warned, just because they’re on this list doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ‘good’ critics. (Theodor Meron, for instance, is wrong about a lot of stuff.) But here’s the first bit. Happy hunting.