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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: September ::
Re: Words; owe/own; Importance; Teaching
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 734. Thursday, 28 September 1995.
 
(1)     From:   David L. Gants <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Sep 1995 08:57:43 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Shaks. First Use
 
(2)     From:   Ron Macdonald <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Sep 1995 10:29:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   owe/own
 
(3)     From:   Brian Corrigan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Sep 95 11:28:18 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0729  Re: Importance of Shakespeare
 
(4)     From:   Kathleen Kendrick <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Sep 1995 11:42:22 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0686 Teaching: Questions, Comments, and Observations
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David L. Gants <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Sep 1995 08:57:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Shaks. First Use
 
In response to earlier queries about first-use attributions to Shakespeare, the
digital OED lists 1986 occurrences where Shakespeare as author falls within the
"EQ" or Earliest Quote field.
 
Those familiar with the OED may recall that, when listing Shakespeare as
author, the OED editors use "Shaks." or occasionally "Shakes." but never
"Shakespeare."  Additionally, when citing the above statistic one should bear
in mind the probable inflation due to bardophilic editors.
 
*** David L. Gants ** Electronic Text Center ** Alderman Library ***
*** University of Virginia ** Charlottesville, Virginia ** 22903 ***
*** 
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  *** (804) 924-3230 ***
         *** http://www.lib.virginia.edu/etext/ETC.html ***
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Macdonald <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Sep 1995 10:29:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        owe/own
 
I certainly agree with Bill Godshalk that the double meaning of "owe" is
implicit in _Beowulf_.  Perhaps Marcel Mauss's classic _The Gift: Forms and
Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies_ (_Essai sur le don_) might be
pertinent here.  Mauss has some canny observations about the obligations
incurred by the receiver of a gift, the way he is not only possessed _of_ a
gift, but possessed _by_ it, and in accepting it becomes the creature of the
imperative to reciprocation and restitution.
 
Closer to home, there's Olivia in _Twelfth Night_, smitten with the person of
Viola, whom she takes for Cesario, stirred from her self-protective narcissism
and suddenly aware that the self is not an entity unproblematically at one's
disposal and under one's control: "Fate show thy force: ourselves we do not
owe; / What is decreed must be; and be this so" (I.v.310-11). The primary
meaning of "owe" here seems to be "own," so Olivia seems to say the self is not
owned but owed elsewhere.  On the other hand, she can't quite help negating the
secondary meaning as well, thus making the defensive assertion that we do _not_
owe our selves but possess them to bestow or reserve at will.  It's an economic
way of suggesting the ambivalence of Shakespearean characters who find
themselves falling in love, the mixture of joy and fear, the rapturous giving
of oneself up to the experience shadowed by a kind of resentment of the threat
to personal autonomy, which begins to look as if it might have been illusory in
the first place.
                               --Ron Macdonald
                                 <
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Corrigan <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Sep 95 11:28:18 EST
Subject: 6.0729  Re: Importance of Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0729  Re: Importance of Shakespeare
 
In Re:   Robert Appelbaum <
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         Marcello Cappuzzo <
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         Importance of Shakespeare
 
Although the "watershed" image *might* be overstated, it seems to me that
Applebaum's commentary trying to dismiss the idea actually strengthens it. To
be sure, it takes a bit of a bardolator to suggest that Shakespeare alone
"reformed" English, but the fact remains that a great number of bardolators
fawned over the old marble bust since before the time of John Henry
Ireland--the force of this historical obsequiousness, as Applebaum has
demonstrated, has created reactions and factions both in favor and opposed to
Shakespeare (just read the recent postings on "conceptualizing" the old rascal
in performance).  Such reactions have kept the centuries- old works alive and
hotly-contested today--thereby continuing to influence us.  Shakespeare's
influence upon our current household words, therefore, should not be dismissed
into thin air in one fell swoop.
 
And as to Cappuzzo's knee-jerk response--when, if I may borrow my collegue's
idiom, will professors learn to read tone?  Hughes' comment, far from deriding
the Spanish language, was suggesting that, without the lone contribution of
Shakespeare to English belles lettres, the richly- ornamented works of the
Spanish Golden Age would have lured us all into embracing that literature
rather than that of the English Renaissance, and consequently the SHAKSPER
group would possibly be the DEVEGA group. Quite a nice compliment, in fact, to
the Spanish tongue.  With Applebaum, I am not so ready to dismiss Marlowe,
Jonson, Middleton, Marston, Ford, Webster, Shirley and the rest of the happy
band of dramatic heathens.  I might be willing to sacrifice Massinger (read
JOKE).  But we must not underestimate the singular influence Shakespeare has
had upon our culture and language--surely this was Hughes' point from the
beginning; rather romantic and appreciative, to be sure, but it seems to me
that we too generally dismiss appreciation for politics today, and I for one
was refreshed by Hughes' comments.
 
Brian Corrigan
North Georgia College
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathleen Kendrick <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Sep 1995 11:42:22 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 6.0686 Teaching: Questions, Comments, and Observations
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0686 Teaching: Questions, Comments, and Observations
 
In reply to Mr. Thomas Ellis - we have been reading Phyllis Wheatley (an 18th
Century Afro American poet).  In her poem, *To the University of Cambridge, in
New England*, the last verse, line 28, she refers to herself as an Ethiop and
not derogatorily, more a definition of placement rather than an ethnic slur (if
that will help).
 

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