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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: June ::
Qs Arising from Miss-Begetting Discussions
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0490.  Friday, 16 June 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 Jun 1995 15:53:50 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0482  Re: Miss-Begetting
 
(2)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 15 Jun 1995 20:57:31 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0482  Re: Miss-Begetting
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Jun 1995 15:53:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0482  Re: Miss-Begetting
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0482  Re: Miss-Begetting
 
I seem to recall reading somewhere in the body of *Lear* criticism the idea
that Edmund's status as both a younger and bastard son is important because it
indicates that Gloucester sought extramarital sex even though he already had a
legitimate son.  According to this critic, the Elizabethans winked at the sin
of a man who fathered a child out of wedlock if his wife had been "unable to
produce a son for him"; but Gloucester's adultery is more clearly blameworthy
because he already has Edgar.  Can anyone confirm this?
 
                                                        Michael Friedman
                                                        University of Scranton
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <LS0796@ALBNYVMS.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 15 Jun 1995 20:57:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0482  Re: Miss-Begetting
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0482  Re: Miss-Begetting
 
Dear Milla Riggio--
 
The idea of the Abraham-Isaac "myth" in connection with "birth" is fascinating.
If one considers "male anxiety" about not being able to give birth as a
possible factor (as so many psycho-analytic feminists are wont to) that
generates the fantasy of "gain through sacrifice" (as well as "sex- as-death"),
and if we place such a dilemma onto a strictly intellectual or artistic plane
(in which babies become "ideas" and "artifacts" respectively), are we back in
the same old conundrum in which "culture" becomes gendered male? Is this kind
of gendering more prevalent in most Renaissance texts than the offhanded idea
that vigor in sex will produce a male offspring ?? What I find provovcative is
speculations on the possible mythic (rather than just 'practical") significance
of the desire for male children more than women children that was more
prevalent in the renaissance. But I am wondering about what the
GENDER-IMPLICATIONS (if any) are of the ABRAHAM-ISAAC myth? If we're speaking
from a "male perspective" in citing such a myth, it seems to serve a similar
function to the myth of Narcissus--That sacrificing Isaac is "breaking the
mirror" so one may see ones reflection in multiplicity and may question the
authenticity of the "essential self" as but a product of singular mirror (or
MONOTHEISTIC god).
 
My question for you, MILLA (though I'd love to hear you ramble on in other
directions), is whether there are more gendered versions of this myth, or
female analogues, and if there's not, is because women, in so far as they were
subjects, had to translate the terms of Abraham-Isaac back into matriarchal
terms in which "birth" was more central than 'death"?
 
Thanks, Chris Stroffolino
 

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