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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: March ::
Re: The Future; Size of Elizabethans
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0226.  Sunday, 17 March 1996.

(1)     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Mar 1996 16:54:37 +0000 (HELP)
        Subj:   Shakespeare, the Future, & Semantics

(2)     From:   Ann Chance <
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        Date:   Sunday, 17 Mar 1996 22:33:07 +0800 (WST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0216 Re: Physical Size of Elizabethans


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Mar 1996 16:54:37 +0000 (HELP)
Subject:        Shakespeare, the Future, & Semantics

Paul Hawkins was teaching Hamlet I.i this week and was astonished to find that
a goodly number of his Shakspeare students at Marianopolis College in Montreal
did not know what "mourning" was, then doubly surprised when some more admitted
they had never seen or used the word "dew".

I think we may revert when teaching *anything* to the old "learn these twenty
words today and twenty more tomorrow" of our high schools.

Accessibility has often been a problem with Shakespeare, but I think this most
recent innocence is a signal to us to teach less thematically and politically
and more semantically and linguistically. These plays are almost nothing at
all, without their words and the rich ambiguities and resonances wihin them.

Harry Hill
Montreal

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann Chance <
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Date:           Sunday, 17 Mar 1996 22:33:07 +0800 (WST)
Subject: 7.0216 Re: Physical Size of Elizabethans
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0216 Re: Physical Size of Elizabethans

As I understand it, physical stature is quite significantly influenced by the
(net rather than proportional) amount of animal proteins in the diet during
childhood. I'd therefore expect average stature to have generally increased
with wealth/social status, and would be interested to know of any evidence,
literary or otherwise, that this was so. (Offhand, I don't remember any such
thing, myself, apart from the still prevalent general association in fictional
representation of physical stature with *individual* - and particularly male -
social, moral, and spiritual stature.) However, I'd imagine that an even
slightly visible positive correlation between stature and social stratum would
have been made much of, especially in reinforcing notions of hereditary
superiority and inferiority (nobility of 'blood', 'breeding', etc).

Ann Chance
The Univerity of Western Australia

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