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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: June ::
Re: King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0617.  Monday, 2 June 1997.

[1]     From:   G. L. Horton <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 May 1997 09:54:07
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0613  Re: Incest in King Lear

[2]     From:   Susan Mather <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 May 1997 20:22:30 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0613  Re: Themes in King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres


[3      ] From: Alan Pierpoint <
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        Date:   Sunday, 1 Jun 1997 08:53:11 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0613 Re: Themes in King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres

[4]     From:   Virginia M. Byrne <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 May 1997 14:25:37 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0605 Q: Themes in King Lear

[5]     From:   Chris Clark <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 May 1997 19:18:56 GMT
        Subj:   France and Burgundy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           G. L. Horton <
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Date:           Friday, 30 May 1997 09:54:07
Subject: 8.0613  Re: Incest in King Lear;
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0613  Re: Incest in King Lear;

  Smiley's novel brings to the fore the
>issues of Lear's "love contest" in the play's opening as a
>socially/politically sanctioned rhetoric of incest, full of all the
>abuses of power which characterize incest.  Although we don't encounter
>physical incest/rape as such, as we currently define it in our social
>discourses, it's implications are everywhere, especially in that early
>scene.  In fact the love contest does discoursively represent/embody the
>evil of incest, and subsequently Lear's position in that discourse of
>power.

Eliza Wyatt has written a small-cast Lear pastiche titled "Nuncle" that
separates out and focuses on the incest thread.  It was done somewhere
around London last year: Battersea???  I have the review she sent me
buried in one of my desk drawers.

G.L.Horton -- Newton, MA, USA

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<http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan Mather <
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Date:           Friday, 30 May 1997 20:22:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0613  Re: Themes in King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0613  Re: Themes in King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres

On King Lear and incest--

Is it incest or pseudo-incest?  I'm thinking it's the latter.  King Lear
doesn't appear to want to have sex with his daughters-but rather, have
his daughters's identities-social, sexual, what-have-you.  There are
three really good texts I have read on the issue of incest-books by Mark
Taylor:  _Shakespeare's Darker Purpose_, Diane Dreher's _Domination and
Defiance_ & this last one is really good, an article in _Shakespeare
Quarterly_, Fall 1990 vol. 41:3 299-308 by Jeffrey Stern, "_KL_:  The
Transference of the Kingdom."  He writes: "That which Lear describes,
then, as his 'darker purpose' (I.i. 36) is, in effect, to regain by
marrying its new queen(s) the kingdom he has renounced" (300).  An
interesting notion. . . .

--Susan 
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[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan Pierpoint <
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Date:           Sunday, 1 Jun 1997 08:53:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0613 Re: Themes in King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0613 Re: Themes in King Lear; Smiley's 1000 Acres

Replying to Jocelyn Emerson:  I withdraw the term "bitch" and apologize
to all whom it may have offended.  You, and perhaps others, missed the
tone of my brief remarks, which were meant to stimulate interest in A
Thousand Acres.  I haven't tried to teach it, but I assigned it as extra
reading to a few students in my Brit Lit (high school senior) class for
extra credit, intending to then have them read Lear, but we ran out of
time.  They graduate on Thursday, and I will share your remarks with
them during their final, the next and last time I will see them as a
captive audience.  I still like the idea of pairing the two texts; if I
do it again I'll have to start earlier.  If Shakespeare was writing a
"polemic," in Lear, what by the way was his agenda?  Evidently, Smiley's
injection of the incest theme didn't seem forced or formulaic to you, as
it did to me when I first read it.  I was a bit ticked at Smiley for
mangling one of my favorite characters...if you have any further
insights or suggested critical sources for A Thousand Acres, I'm
interested.

-Alan Pierpoint   
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[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Virginia M. Byrne <
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Date:           Friday, 30 May 1997 14:25:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0605 Q: Themes in King Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0605 Q: Themes in King Lear

Chris...

Try jealousy as a theme and family.  How about blindness?

Did you hear the rumor that the same actor that played Cordelia for was
also played the fool thus the tie and the reason they are never onstage
together?

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Clark <
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Date:           Friday, 30 May 1997 19:18:56 GMT
Subject:        France and Burgundy

Is it not interesting that Burgundy is offered Cordelia before France?
Is there some significance there? If Lear expected them both to reject
her because she had no dowry, then it made no difference - but he had a
hidden agenda (or 'darker purpose') in splitting the kingdom, so why not
in offering the suddenly resented daughter?

Opinions welcome....

Cheers.
 

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