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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: August ::
Re: R's Hump; OJ Shrew; Thanks; Greening (S.112)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0659.  Friday, 5 August 1994.
 
(1)     From:   John C. Mucci <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Aug 1994 14:54:33 -0400
        Subj:   Richard's Hump
 
(2)     From:   Kate Caldwell <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Aug 94 10:28:34 MDT
        Subj:   The OJ Version of The Shrew
 
(3)     From:   Terrance Kearns <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Aug 94 20:34:13 CST
        Subj:   Thanks
 
(4)     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 04 Aug 1994 21:56:01 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0649  Re: Sonnet 112 (Greening)
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John C. Mucci <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Aug 1994 14:54:33 -0400
Subject:        Richard's Hump
 
There is an excellent article in a 1984 *Smithsonian* by Robert Wernick titled
"After 500 Years, Old Crookback can still Kick Up a Fuss," which thrashes the
idea about of a deformed/not-deformed Richard with examples given from many
sources.  Apparently there is a Richard III Society in the UK which has 3,000
members, and which works "indefatigably to put up plaques and statues in his
name and win a fair hearing for their hero everywhere," believing Richard has
been maligned in actions as well as physical description.  Says Wernick, "one
of the few things that seem reasonably certain about Richard is that he was not
deformed. The hunchback, the withered arm, the malignant face, the twisted
dwarfish body were all inventions of Tudor propagandists. The only contemporary
reference to anything odd about his appearance was one statement that his right
shoulder was higher than his left."
 
Of course, dramatists have one of their most effective uses of displaying the
internal goings-on of a character through external devices such as body-shape
or affliction, and as such Shakespeare's Richard III can be anything the writer
wished.  It is the *choice* of physical detail which is of interest.
 
John Mucci
GTE VisNet
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kate Caldwell <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Aug 94 10:28:34 MDT
Subject:        The OJ Version of The Shrew
 
The recent messages about The Taming of the Shrew got mixed up in my dreams
last night with news reports about the OJ Simpson case. The result was a
dream in which Katherine is mentally and physically abused by a husband who
keeps telling her he's doing it for her own good.  In the final scene,
Katherine is a quivering, bruised lump who fears her husband so much she
submits to his most minute whim.
 
An interesting interpretation and one I hadn't previously considered.
 
Any thoughts?
--A Kate who considers herself Bonnie Kate, not Kate the Curst
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terrance Kearns <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Aug 94 20:34:13 CST
Subject:        Thanks
 
Dear Prof. Cook,
 
This is to thank you and Terry Ann Craig for the new DATABASE search function
that has been added to the SHAKSPER list.
 
Since subscribing to the list last spring, I have been one of the thousands of
subscribers who have never posted anything but who have followed the exchanges
with regularity and (I hope) profit.  (I might say that, upon one or two
occasions, Drakakis and Hawkes have sorely tempted me to enter the fray, but
I've resisted so far).
 
My current research interest is _Coriolanus_, and I've wanted to search the
whole SHAKSPER archive for references to that play, but the pressures of my
administrative duties have precluded doing that manually.  The new service
you've enabled has now allowed me to search for references to that late Roman
tragedy, and I look forward to surveying the material tomorrow.
 
You and Terry Ann Craig have rendered a great service to those of us out in the
provinces, and I want you know that your work is appreciated.  In addition, I
hope that your institution appreciates the value of your contribution to
Shakespearean studies around the world.
 
With very best wishes,
Terry Kearns
 
[Thanks, and a slight correction.  The Database Function has been available;
it is just that no one quite could figure out how to use it. Now we all know.
--HMC]
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 04 Aug 1994 21:56:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0649  Re: Sonnet 112 (Greening)
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0649  Re: Sonnet 112 (Greening)
 
I've been thinking about Piers Lewis's reading of Sonnet 112 (SH 5.0649), and I
think it's a good reading. In fact, if you place it in the context of
Shakespeare's (apparent) conflict with Greene, the sonnet makes sense. "For
what care I who calles me well or ill,/So you ore-greene my bad, my good alow?"
(112.3-4). Unfortunately, we don't have a complete and circumstantial 16th
century account of Shakespeare versus Greene, and our narrative is pieced
together with texts that allude and don't name names directly.
 
And I can't be sure that the speaker, the lover of the sonnets, is Shakespeare
speaking in his own voice. I'd rather take the sonnets as another of
Shakespeare's fictions, a playful take off on ASTROPHEL AND STELLA and other
heterosexual sonnets. I can't take the sonnets as the heart of Shakespeare's
mystery. And if Shakespeare is not the speaker of the sonnets, the Greene
reference would be more problematic -- though, of course, not impossible.
 
As I was pondering the sonnet last night, I noticed the recurrent oppositions:
"loue and pittie" (1), "well or ill" (3), "my bad, my good" (4), "shames and
praises" (6), "None . . . to me, nor I to none" (7), "right or wrong" (8), "To
cryttick and to flatterer" (11). The Beloved as "All the world" (5) is set
against "all the [social] world" (14). And I wonder if "my steel'd sence" is
set against "my Adders sence" (8, 10). And, of course, there is the opposition
between "your tounge" (6) and "others voyces" (10). And in the final line "all
the world" is set against "me."
 
I simply throw this out as an observation at this point, and, since I haven't
down my homework (beyond Booth), I don't know what others' voices have said
about "Binary Opposition in Sonnet 112."
 
I like Piers's reading of line 12: "Marke how with my neglect I doe dispence."
I think the speaker's "neglect" is on public opinion, and as Booth points out
"dispence" can mean "condone" or "disregard." But as Piers suggests, after I
read the last two lines, the "neglect" seems to come forward and include them.
 
And I wonder if the final two lines are an ironic put-down: the Beloved is so
busy monitoring the lover, praising and blaming, that the world thinks the
Beloved is "dead" -- and that fact excuses the lover. And if we do read the
final lines this way, isn't the rest of the sonnet reversed in meaning? The
lover is apparently praising the Beloved for the "shames and praises" that he
receives from "your tounge," but actually he's pointing out what a drag it is
to be so carefully watched and criticized by one's Beloved. And in the final
words the speaker/lover turns the tables: "me thinkes y'are dead."
 
Is the Beloved the "so profound _Abisme_" (9)? A real deep hole? Praise or
blame?
 
Yours in the ranks of the mesmerized, Bill Godshalk
 

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