Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: June ::
Re: Recordings; Miss-Begetting
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0454.  Wednesday, 7 June 1995.
 
(1)     From:   David Levine <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Jun 1995 19:45:09 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0440 Re:  Argo Shakespeare titles.
 
(2)     From:   Robert Dennis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 7 Jun 95 13:27:19 -0400
        Subj:   Miss-begetting
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Levine <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 6 Jun 1995 19:45:09 -0400
Subject: 6.0440 Re:  Argo Shakespeare titles.
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0440 Re:  Argo Shakespeare titles.
 
They are ALL available  in the U.K. and are stocked in ANY major bookstore you
go into.  Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus is reliable, but you can find all
of the Caedmons and most (if not all) of the Argo titles in just about any
well-stocked Waterstone's, in or out of London.  I usually buy from James Thin,
simply because I have an account and they're very nice people.  I also usually
buy up a whole bunch when I happen to find myself in England. Apropos of which,
although off the topic:  I didn't see (in the London Season string) that John
Barton's production of Peer Gynt (which appeared at the Swan last Summer) is
being revived this season.  It showcased an amazing performance by Alex
Jennings (who also played Angelo in Measure for Measure, which I missed), and
if it is being revived, should not be missed.  It was far more worth seeing
than the production of Coriolanus that also played in the Swan and seemed to
attract all the crowds, mostly because of Toby Stephens, who sure didn't knock
me out, although the production is, finally, worth seeing with an excellent
Menenius (Philip Voss) and a REALLY dangerous Aufidius (Barry Lynch, if I
remember correctly--watch him!).
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Dennis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 7 Jun 95 13:27:19 -0400
Subject:        Miss-begetting
 
I would like to refer those of you interested in the subject of Miss-Begetting
to the wonderful discussion in _Eve's Rib_ by Robert Pool. Apparently the X and
Y chromosomes are not sufficient of themselves to firmly determine the output
of the conception.  Raging hormones, to which the very early fetus (not just at
conception!) is exposed, can carry the day regarding the outward sexual
appearances and behavior.  The whole book is very interesting, but you might
just read the introduction about the hyena's sexual reality and the chapter
midway through the book about sex identification.  I can't remember exactly
which chapter it is, but it begins with a discussion of a female Olympic
athlete who was denied competing due to chromosome tests. As David Jackson said
earlier, "... the Elizabethans and Jacobeans may well have been onto something
...", and Thomas Bishop's idea of the inversion emphasis also allows a very
interesting meditation.
 
I want to take gentle issue with Milla Riggio, not with the idea that,
"Rennaissance myths about conception are just that, myths", but with the
implication that myths are somehow false.  Myth is a way of dealing with data
and ideas for which we have no other vocabulary.  An excellent contemporary
example of myth is the cosmology of the Big Bang.  This is entirely a mythical
expression in contemporary terminology, of events for which we simply have no
adequate vocabulary.  Possibly we do not even have a glimmer of the right
mechanisms.  But the myth (the Big Bang theory) expresses what we _do_ observe
and what we interpret as reality from our equations.  That particular myth has
won not a few Nobel Prizes for good myth-tellers.  One might add evolution
theory on the list of very-strongly-held contemporary myths.
 
While the Renaissance "myths" may not have had the vocabulary for modern
biochemistry, genetics, and physiology, we cannot allow ourselves to conclude
that therefore, the people had no data.  As far as we know they had babies the
way we do today, they had eyes to observe just like we do, and they appear to
have had excellent cerebral capabilities (witness Shakespeare!).  So the
problem is _not_ to correct their somehow "erroneous" conceptions, but to see
how they phrased their understanding of reality; to examine how they used
_myth_ to express those observations and thoughts for which they did not have
the specific technical terms (often called jargon).  From such examinations we
can frequently learn how better to use myth ourselves, understand ourselves
better, and even, in many instances, glean insight into contemporary ideas
about what otherwise appear to be oppressive, contradictory, or just dull
"facts".  I think it is critical to avoid confusing myths, which are a kind of
model, with what are simply wrong facts.
 
On the quite different issue of appropriateness brought out by Riggio, relating
to the Miss-Begetting discussion:  Why should we avoid discussion of
Renaissance ideas of whatever subject relevant to Shakespeare's works?  I
believe the original query on Miss-Begetting was a good one and the responses
are justified. If we stay within the purview of actual scientific studies
(e.g., as reported with references in Pool), of original ideas and
interpretations from participants, and of other literary references given by
the contributors (as opposed to apocryphal anecdotes) we stand to gain
knowledge and are reasonably assured of avoiding offense.  Information about
research obstetricians playing sex-doctor also can be legitimate, but the story
as shared here on the list seemed more apocryphal than didactic. I have enjoyed
this Miss-Begetting thread and hope more will come of it.
 
Bob D.

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.