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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Re: Civility, Iago, Fonts
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0163.  Saturday, 1 February 1997.

(1)     From:   Steven Marx <
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        Date:   Saturday, 01 Feb 1997 08:17:38 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0157  Minimal Civility

(2)     From:   Wes Folkerth <
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        Date:   Saturday, 01 Feb 1997 00:11:05 -0500
        Subj:   Iago and Fonts (not related)

(3)     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Saturday, 1 Feb 1997 03:55:23 +0200
        Subj:   Mataindios

(4)     From:   Peter Paul Schnierer <
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        Date:   Saturday, 1 Feb 1997 13:07:13 +0100 (MEZ)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0149 Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis

(5)     From:   Eric Johnson-DeBaufre <
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        Date:   Saturday, 1 Feb 1997 10:54:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Iago and Homosexuality


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steven Marx <
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Date:           Saturday, 01 Feb 1997 08:17:38 -0800
Subject: 8.0157  Minimal Civility
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0157  Minimal Civility

This is another shy vote for "minimal civility."

Steven Marx

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Wes Folkerth <
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Date:           Saturday, 01 Feb 1997 00:11:05 -0500
Subject:        Iago and Fonts (not related)

Hi all,

In response to James Schaefer's note that Iago is Spanish for "James," it could
also be noted that St. James was celebrated in medieval times (on the
pilgrimage circuit) for -- killing Moors.

The best early modern font I've found is Adobe's Caslon series, which includes
all the goofy characters, ligatures, and even some of the swashes.  I'm not
sure if it's available in TrueType format though.

Bye for now,
Wes Folkerth

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Saturday, 1 Feb 1997 03:55:23 +0200
Subject:        Mataindios

Al Cacicedo wrote:

>by the way, the good saint [Santiago de Compostella] is sometimes
>represented as Santiago Mataindios, Indian-killer.

This is in effect synonymous with "Matamoros", as all of North Africa and much
of the Levant were sometimes called "India" in sixteenth-century travel books.
See, for instance *The Voyage and Travaile of M. Caesar Frederick Into the East
India, the Indies, and beyond the Indies*  at sig. L3r.17    North Africa and
the Middle and Near East are there alluded to as "those parts of India".  Sorry
I do not have the date of this book handy, but it is mid-to-late 16th c. as I
recall it.

John Velz

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Paul Schnierer <
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Date:           Saturday, 1 Feb 1997 13:07:13 +0100 (MEZ)
Subject: 8.0149 Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0149 Re: Iago, Homosexuality, and Psychosis

When I read excerpts of Richard Burt's piece on Iago et al. to my Shakespeare
class yesterday there was unanimous admiration for his grasp of early Jacobean
anatomy.

What is at issue, therefore, is not bad language (although I find myself in
agreement with Kevin J Donovan) but an essentially medieval approach that has
supplanted scholarship: Take a source text that is sufficiently old and
difficult (*Othello*, the *Nicomachean Ethics*, whatever), discuss a de rigueur
interpretation of it (Branagh's film, your fellow monks' anatomy of passions,
and so on), emphasize what that interpretation could do if it were what it
isn't (explicit homosexual acts, Christian virtues extolled to the detriment of
others), and locate that in the original. There you are. Aristotle is now a
Church Father, and Shakespeare "queer rather than gay".

We work by wit, and not by witchcraft.

Peter Paul Schnierer

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric Johnson-DeBaufre <
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Date:           Saturday, 1 Feb 1997 10:54:59 -0500
Subject:        Re: Iago and Homosexuality

Contrary to Richard Burt's position that "it's gay sex that remains, for some,
hardest to imagine," as his own recent post makes manifestly clear it is, in
fact, quite easy to imagine even when the sexual behavior in question may
signify many other things.  It is not, I think, because of any unwillingness or
inability to entertain thoughts of Iago's "gayness" that several listmembers
have challenged Professor Burt's reading of Branagh's Iago, but that the scenes
themselves are somewhat ambiguous and can be read in several ways.

For example, Iago's penetration of Emilia from behind---a scene which can, as
one person on this list put it, be read as suggesting anal, vaginal or virtual
sex---while it could signal Iago's gayness, could also be read as a
continuation of the rather bestial vision of sexuality that Iago puts forward
from the play's first moments and that are contained in such references to the
sexual act as "tupping," "making the beast with two backs," etc.  Reading the
scene in this way places it within the general coarsening of sexuality that
Iago advances and projects onto other characters throughout the play.

Of course one could also point out, as I believe that someone else did, that
anal sex is not an exclusively nor even a principally gay form of sexual
expression, but this is beside the point.  It is not that I disagree entirely
with Burt's reading, in fact it has given me a lot to think about, only that
his reading of these scenes as confirmations of Iago's gayness is not without
its problems.  But then neither is mine.

Eric Johnson-DeBaufre
 

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