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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: May ::
Re: Cordelia; Leontes; Riverside
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0529.  Saturday, 3 May 1997.

[1]     From:   David Evett <R0870%
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        Date:   Friday, 02 May 1997 11:22 ET
        Subj:   SHK 8.0521  Re: Cordelia

[2]     From:   Jay Johnson <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 May 1997 11:38:47 -0600
        Subj:   Leontes' Illness

[3]     From:   Patrick Gillespie <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 May 1997 09:58:12 -0400
        Subj:   Riverside


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%
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Date:           Friday, 02 May 1997 11:22 ET
Subject: Re: Cordelia
Comment:        SHK 8.0521  Re: Cordelia

Some recent contributors perceiving in *Lr* 1.1 a "priggish" Cordelia
have called on her statement that after marriage her husband will carry
"Half my love with him, half my care and duty" (102) to claim that she
shares Lear's corrupt view of love as quantifiable.  Whatever may be
said of love the concept or emotion, love enacted, in the form of "care
and duty," must be subject to the iron constraints of time and thus
quantified in terms of time spent. Cordelia or any other child looking
after her husband in France cannot also at that same time be looking
after her father in England: she shows us this in the clearest possible
way by choosing to look after her father in England rather than her
husband in France at moment of crisis, when the needs of the father seem
more urgent than those of the husband. This strikes me as practical, not
priggish.  I might add that one of the duties of love, imposed by early
modern commentators on such loci as Eph. 5:21-6:9 (a passage that surely
underlies Cordelia's whole speech) was to resist actions of their
parents and masters that ran counter to divine or human law; Kent, of
course, repeats the attempt from his position as servant in the sequel.
Both of them are challenging the mockery that Lear's demands and
Goneril's and Regan's responses make of the mystery of love, paternal,
filial, and spousal.

Priggishly,
Dave Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jay Johnson <
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Date:           Friday, 2 May 1997 11:38:47 -0600
Subject:        Leontes' Illness

I find Syd Kasten's discussion of Leontes' illness in terms of Conjugal
Paranoia fascinating and largely convincing, but when he says, "His
premorbid personality seems to have been without blemish," I wish to
take a small exception.  It is true that to a great extent we witness
this condition flare up out of nowhere, but there is one small glimmer
of Leontes' personality or character from the past that shows at least a
hint of a root from which this morbid growth springs.  In I:ii (101-5)
Leontes responds to Hermione's jocular request to say when was the first
time she "said well."  The second time was her persuasion of Polixenes
to extend his visit, but "What" she asks "was my first?".  Leontes
replies:

                        Why, that was when
        Three crabbed months had soured themselves to death,
        Ere I could make thee open thy white hand
        And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter,
        "I am yours forever."

This account of the courtship period between Leontes and Hermione
suggests anything but idyllic romantic submersion.  Rather it implies an
egoistic campaign not to win over and persuade a desirable love-object
but to overwhelm and dominate, a campaign which was not pleasant but
"crabbed" and "sour."  Is there not a possible connection between the
young Leontes courting Hermione in this frame of mind and the older
Leontes descending into the pit of morbid paronoia?

Cheers,
Jay Johnson
Medicine Hat College

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patrick Gillespie <
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Date:           Friday, 2 May 1997 09:58:12 -0400
Subject:        Riverside

Dear Gabriel,

Like David, I've also had no problem finding the new Riverside. Not only
does Barnes and Noble have it (including most of its various
incarnations here in Boston) but Wordsworth, the Harvard Bookstore, both
branches of Borders, Waldens, etc. Did you or your friend try
Amazon.Com. Given that the book only came out this year, I doubt you
would find it in Books in Print. Did you look in the latest CD-Rom
edition of Books in Print or did you look at the book?

A word of warning:

I've noticed that each bookstore has adopted a creative pricing
strategy:

Barnes & Noble $85.00
Wordsworth: $75.00 (Give or take a dollar.)
Harvard Bookstore: $45-$65 (I'm not kidding - they seemed to have
changed their prices from one week to the next, now opting for the more
expensive tag.)

> >And on a related subject: Are the older King Lear

> You mean *Leir*?                 [or do you mean Q1?]

I mean Leir. Is it seriously being touted as Shakespeare's? Who's to say
which of the two *Lear* texts are older? - Q1 or the folio? Arguments
are made but in the end one can only surmise. Steven Urkowitz makes an
argument in favor of Q1 being older, as you seem to assume, but the
whole question is still up for debate.

Patrick
 

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