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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: August ::
Re: Character: Titles, Categories, and Milk
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0645.  Monday, 1 August 1994.
 
(1)     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Jul 1994 18:40:29 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Generic Expectations and Titles (5.0643)
 
(2)     From:   Scott Crozier <
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        Date:   Monday, 01 Aug 1994 18:35:56 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0643  Re: Character: Milk and Titles
 
(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Saturday, 30 Jul 1994 18:04:11 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Categories
 
(4)     From:   E. L. Epstein <epstein@QCVAXA.BITNET>
        Date:   Friday, 29 Jul 1994 21:16:04 EDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.0643  Re: Character: Milk and Titles
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Jul 1994 18:40:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Generic Expectations and Titles (5.0643)
 
Thomas Ellis makes some good points in his recent comment on David Schalkwyk's
question about titles. But how serious is his label for comedies: NOT TO BE
TAKEN SERIOUSLY? Don't we always laugh at things we take seriously? Isn't
comedy based on very serious tensions and conflicts in society (or culture if
you wish)? I'd says "yes" to both questions.
 
Which leads me to another question about generic expectations. I've heard
scholars say that they must determine the genre in order to interpret the text.
And I've heard other (equally opinionated) scholars say that genre is
meaningless to interpretation. Do playgoers really carry a big bag of generic
expectations along to a play?
 
One example: last night my 13 year old child and I went to see TAMING OF THE
SHREW. When Jesse heard Katherine say she would be revenged, he believed that
Katherine would kill Bianca at the end of the play. Or so he told me afterward.
(Jesse has seen many contemporary plays, but this is his first experience of a
Renaissance play).
 
(1) Do I have a peculiarly dense child? (2) Will he acquire "generic
expectations" as he grows older? (3) Might anyone who heard this play for the
first time have a similar reaction? (If you answer yes to [1] you are in big
trouble!)
 
Yours,  Bill Godshalk
 
P.S. The production of TAMING by Fahrenheit Theatre Group (Cincinnati) was
excellent.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Crozier <
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Date:           Monday, 01 Aug 1994 18:35:56 +1000
Subject: 5.0643  Re: Character: Milk and Titles
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0643  Re: Character: Milk and Titles
 
In reply to Thomas Ellis's assertion that all the comedy titles signify: NOT TO
BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. I wonder at the worth of trying to group the plays anyway.
Nevertheless, "Midsummer Night's Dream" may suggest frivolity to many but it
was also the season of maypoles, and festivls which celebrated fertility and
sexuality. The lovers may think that by leaving Athens that they are leaving
the precinct of a restrictive court and thereby hope to have fun, but what
awaits them in the forest, especially for Helena, is a tantamount to
molestation. MND is fun but there is enough meat in it to make it  more than a
party pie!
 
Regards,
Scott Crozier
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Saturday, 30 Jul 1994 18:04:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Categories
 
Martin Mueller is right to be skeptical of category inclusion. Before we assert
WHY certain fluids are categorized together in a certain culture, we should
remember George Lakoff's discussion of women, fire, and dangerous things -- one
category in one Australian aboriginal culture. With western eyes, this suggests
that women are firey and dangerous, but, not so, Lakoff teaches us. We must
learn HOW and WHY a category is constructed inside a certain culture.
 
So if a certain alien culture has a category that links milk, mud, feces, and
blood -- we say, "Ah, ha. They think milk is DIRTY." However, once we find the
deep structure of the category, we find out that the culture has linked all
dense liquids that are essential to communal life. (This is a culture of my own
construction so don't ask for references.)
 
My point is, following Lakoff, that categories are tricky things. And, as far
as I can tell, all humans use categories to structure their knowledge, etc.
 
Categorically yours,  Bill Godshalk
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. L. Epstein <epstein@QCVAXA.BITNET>
Date:           Friday, 29 Jul 1994 21:16:04 EDT
Subject: 5.0643  Re: Character: Milk and Titles
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.0643  Re: Character: Milk and Titles
 
In re Mueller: Hottentots (Khoisan) equate Milk with feces and urine because in
cattle the milk comes from approximately the same part of the cow's body. ELE
 

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