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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: Sonnet 129
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0229.  Monday, 20 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Robert Montgomery <
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        Date:   Sunday, 19 Mar 95 16:24:51 PDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0227  Q: Sonnet 129
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Mar 1995 00:19:48 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0227  Q: Sonnet 129
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Montgomery <
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Date:           Sunday, 19 Mar 95 16:24:51 PDT
Subject: 6.0227  Q: Sonnet 129
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0227  Q: Sonnet 129
 
I suppose one can read sonnet 129 as "auto-erotic," but I see nothing in it
that so limits the poem. In any case, the thematic issue is not the particular
kind of lust involved, but rather the psychological experience of lust in
general. Also, the images of heaven and hell (face and genitals) with which the
poem concludes might very well exclude the auto-erotic reading, or at least
suggest that one has to reach to acommodate it.
 
R.L. Montgomery
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Mar 1995 00:19:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0227  Q: Sonnet 129
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0227  Q: Sonnet 129
 
Joe Nathan's question about Sonnet 129 reminded me of a conversation that Skip
Delany (SF novelist) and I had about ten years ago. Skip wanted to read
"spirit" as spirits (booze), and interpret "expense of spirit" as pouring out
your spirits (drink) when you were in a wasteland -- a pretty dumb thing to do.
 
But this poem is not usually read as a warning against masturbation. Many
people see a pun in "waste"/waist, and read "waste of shame" as "whore," who as
soon as she's "Enjoyed" (5) is "despised straight" (5). In other words, this is
a sonnet about copulation which is both necessary and detested -- when it's
with a waist of shame.
 
The sonnet is obviously from a male point of view, but I've talked with women
who have expressed similar feelings after making love with a male waist of
shame.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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