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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: May ::
Re: Curses and Cursing
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0462.  Friday, 27 May 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Louise Nichols <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 May 94 11:06:46 EDT
        Subj:   curses and cursing
 
(2)     From:   William Russell Mayes <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 May 1994 11:08:58 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
 
(3)     From:   John Cox <COX@HOPE.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 May 1994 11:22:14 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
 
(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 May 1994 22:38:59 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Curses
 
(5)     From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Friday, 27 May 94 06:08:01 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louise Nichols <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 May 94 11:06:46 EDT
Subject:        curses and cursing
 
To Matthew Westcott Smith -- If you haven`t already done so, you should look
at the HENRY VI plays where Queen Margaret begins her cursing career.  She
throws her first curse at King Henry himself in Part Two of the sequence
after Henry banishes her lover, Suffolk.  She then gets angry at Suffolk
for not knowing how to curse his enemies.
 
I think you`ll find a lot of cursing in these plays, although much of it is
among the men.
 
Louise Nichols
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Russell Mayes <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 May 1994 11:08:58 -0400
Subject: 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
 
To Matthew Wesctott Smith:
 
As for curses in Shakespeare, Caliban (in _The Tempest_), King Lear and
Coriolanus all have some memorable curses, but I think their purpose is
different than the women in Richard III. Shakespeare's sources, particularly
Holinshed, discuss some of these women (as I recall), but Shakespeare departs
from Holinshed in significant ways.  As far as criticism goes, you may want to
look at a brief book called _Prayer in the Sixteenth Century_ (I forget the
author) that explains curses in opposition to prayers. I hope this helps.
 
W. Russ Mayes Jr.
Dept. of English
University of Virginia

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Cox <COX@HOPE.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 26 May 1994 11:22:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
 
Though Frances Shirley specifically excludes formal cursing from her survey,
Matthew Smith might nonetheless find her book useful.  It's called *Swearing
and Perjury in Shakespeare's Plays* (London:  Allen & Unwin, 1979).
 
John Cox
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Thursday, 26 May 1994 22:38:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Curses
 
For Matthew Westcott Smith: remember curses are prominent in KING LEAR. Lear
curses each of his daughters in turn. But you're right; the curses in R3 are
quite different.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Friday, 27 May 94 06:08:01 EDT
Subject: 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0458  Qs: Curses and Cursing
 
Matthew Wescott Smith asks about curses and women.  One method of tracking them
would be to chase the words "curse," "vow," "oath" etc through a concordance.
But I'd very much encourage you while you're at it to look at the early qrinted
quarto texts as well, since they usually have juicy variant forms of this kind
of thing.  A quick way to check would be with Marvin Spevack's multi-volume
concordance that includes "bad" quartos.  And I know that you could do the same
electronically with the Oxford Text Archive e-texts of the entire canon
including the baddies on disc.  (You maybe could; I can't yet as I still suffer
from e -phobia, an irrational fear that if I hit the wrong command I'll erase
all of my hard disc or that Ian Lancashire will wince discomfortedly.)  Ken
Steele, the originator of SHAKSPER, is a whiz at this, but he's otherwise
engaged.
 
When you find out anything nice, why not post it for the tribe to see?
 
                              Hunting and gathering,
                                 Steve E-quartowitz
 

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