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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Physical Size of Elizabethans
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0257.  Wednesday, 3 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Apr 1996 08:15:04 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0250  Re: Physical Size of Elizabethans

(2)     From:   Brooke Brod <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Apr 1996 20:57:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re:  Physical Size


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Apr 1996 08:15:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0250  Re: Physical Size of Elizabethans
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0250  Re: Physical Size of Elizabethans

Ron Dwelle;

I found your information regarding the laws of breeding quite interesting,
particularly that behavior "enlarges" along with physiology when creatures
cross-breed. It has been my understanding that inbreeding, that is, breeding
within too limited a gene pool, inclines towards instability of temperament,
the mad genius, as well as a variety of physical problems. During the two years
I spent on a Mediterranean island in my youth I came to know several members of
an aristocracy that had, according to report, intermarried among only eight
families for some four hundred years, and the physical results were evident,
shared to some extent by every member of the family I saw, buck teeth,
receeding jaw, unusual ears and protruding eyes. Some pictures of English
aristocrats from the renaissance period seem to me to show the same
characteristics, particularly those from the time of Hans Holbein who, unlike
so many Court painters, told the truth with his brush. The only one that comes
to mind is Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, the poet, who has the same look about
him as the aristocrats of my acquaintance, though not to such an extreme. Since
the English aristocracy spent a good deal of their time breeding the best
possible horses and dogs for the hunt, they would probably be more aware than
most of us today of these laws of breeding. In their search for appropriate
mates I would think they would have taken this into consideration along with
blood lines and dowries.

As for the enlarged behavior caused by cross-breeding, it has been my
experience, in humans at least, that it tends to give an expanded world view
and a tendency to think for oneself, that could well appear anarchic to members
of more limited gene groups.

Stephanie Hughes

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brooke Brod <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Apr 1996 20:57:44 -0500
Subject:        Re:  Physical Size

Although people may have been smaller (I am not coming down on any particular
side) it seems to me that the clothes were larger.  Women's clothing in
particular with its wide skirts and crinolines, must have taken up more room
that the clothing available to women today.  What the Elizbethans lacked in
stature they made up for in their clothes.  It must have been a very tight fit
at the Old Globe.
 

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