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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: June ::
Re: American and British Humor; Miss-Begetting
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0457.  Thursday, 8 June 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Peter Donaldson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Jun 95 11:03:27
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0453  Re: American and British Humor
 
(2)     From:   Jesus Cora <
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        Date:   Thursday,  8 Jun 1995 13:38:00 UTC+0200
        Subj:   SHK 6.0453  Re: American and British Humor
 
(3)     From:   Robin Farabaugh <
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        Date:   Thursday, 8 Jun 1995 08:49:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0433  Re: Miss-Begetting
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Donaldson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 07 Jun 95 11:03:27
Subject: 6.0453  Re: American and British Humor
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0453  Re: American and British Humor
 
I have a mixed reaction to the discussion on British/American humo(u)r.
 
1. There are no essential national differences.  The proximity contemporary
Britons and/or Americans feel to Shakespeare is a construction. (Which is
greater -- 400 years in time or 3000 miles by air in a world in which the
hotels all look the same, pizza with guacamole available near the National
Theat(e)r/e and t shirts with advertis/zing never far off.  A more fruitful
question would be: how are British/American differences constructed in
particular cultural contexts, and what role does (")Shakespeare(") play in
those constructions.  This is my post-structuralist or United Colo(u)rs of
Benetton reaction.  Should we, for example, be discussing the path from the
"Britishness" of John Gielgud in "The Ages of Man" and  Manckiewicz' Julius
Caesar as it contrasts with the construction of Britishness (if any) in
Prospero's Books or Branagh films, and seeking to explain such shifts as we may
find?
 
2. It is interesting that such questions can be discussed in cyberspace when
they are not respectable at conferences.  This is not all bad. Similarly with
questions about S's Catholicism (quasi-unrespectable, yet very interesting),
authorship (totally unrespectable, not interesting to me, but obviously to
others), etc.   Even lack of anonymity (contrast muds and moos) has not
deterred Shakespearean from venturing (transgressing) into the naive, the
humanly interesting, the perennially annoying yet poignantly persistent set of
"Shakespeare" questions.  Does mentioning this dampen participation?  This is
my electronic populist reaction. Should we just enjoy this, or,
meta-discursively, discuss it?
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jesus Cora <
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Date:           Thursday,  8 Jun 1995 13:38:00 UTC+0200
Subject: Re: American and British Humor
Comment:        SHK 6.0453  Re: American and British Humor
 
Tut, tut!
 
Does anyone really consider _Benny Hill_ as "true" English Humour? I certainly
do not. Irony, innuendo, double-meaning, subtlety, etc. are the main
characteristics of what I understand English humour is. As the "provoker" of
this issue, I think I should point this out.
 
Yours,
Jesus CORA ALONSO.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Farabaugh <
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Date:           Thursday, 8 Jun 1995 08:49:09 -0500
Subject: 6.0433  Re: Miss-Begetting
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0433  Re: Miss-Begetting
 
 
Shakespeareans might be interested in two books that deal with the physical
realities of female life in Early Modern England. Mary Prior has edited Women
in English Society 1500-1800, which has a number of useful essays on pregnancy
and lactation, issues which had a great deal to do with shaping the lives of
both men and women, obviously enough, though we don't often stop to think about
it. Valerie Fildes has edited Women as Mothers in Pre-Industrial England which
has some essays on the experience of pregnancy and one essay which includes a
transcription of a letter from an uncle to his nephew about how best to get his
wife pregant. The advice was apparently successful, for a year later she gave
birth to a son. I think I remember some discussion in those articles of early
modern beliefs of the importance of female arousal for successful conception.
Hope this helps. Cheers, Robin Farabaugh
 

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