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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: March ::
Re: Women and Smoking
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0176  Sunday, 1 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Helen Ostovich <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Feb 1998 11:47:40 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0173  Q: Women and Smoking

[2]     From:   Kevin J Costa <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Feb 1998 14:43:39 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Women and Smoking

[3]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Feb 1998 14:59:44 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0173  Qs: "Hamlet Studies"; Women and Smoking


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Ostovich <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Feb 1998 11:47:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.0173  Q: Women and Smoking
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0173  Q: Women and Smoking

RE Ursula's pipe in BF: smoking tobacco was, when it was first
introduced at the end of the 16th century, considered to have positive
medical benefits.  It was usually sold in apothecary shops. Ursula
mentions blending her tobacco with coltsfoot, an herb used for smoking
as a cure for asthma.  It was also cheaper than tobacco, and her
adulteration of the Virginia leaves may simply increase her profits for
tobacco sold with ale, or to top off pig dinners in her establishment!
Certainly smoking was considered, especially by young courtiers or Inns
of Court fashion-plates, an "art":  see _Every Man Out of his Humour_,
toward the end of Act 3, for Brisk's elaborate pipe-smoking scene (he
alternates pipe smoking with attempts to play the viola da gamba, to
impress his mistress), or other references earlier in the Paul's Walk
scenes of Act 3 to lessons given in the art of smoking.  These are
lessons designed principally for gentlemen, not ladies.  Of course,
Ursula is no lady.  See also Drugger's ambitions for his newly designed
smoke-shop in _The Alchemist_.

Best wishes,
Helen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kevin J Costa <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Feb 1998 14:43:39 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Women and Smoking

For an excellent example of city comedy that flouts conventions and is
generally concerned with the dissolution/problematizing of cultural
stratification, have a look at Middleton and Dekker's _The Roaring
Girl_.  The play features a character named Doll Cutpurse who makes her
way through a merchant class London peppered with corrupt and corrupting
gentry.  Listen to one of Moll's speeches to Sir Alexander, whom she has
recently beguiled:

        And all your enemies fear you for my sake:
        You may pass where you list, through crowds most thick,
        And come off bravely with your purse unpicked!
        You do not know the benefits I bring with me:
        No cheat dares work upon you with thumb or knife,
        While you've a roaring girl to yoru son's wife! (5.2.156-61)

She smokes too!  Enjoy.

Kevin Costa
SUNY-Buffalo

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Feb 1998 14:59:44 -0600
Subject: 9.0173  Qs: "Hamlet Studies"; Women and Smoking
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0173  Qs: "Hamlet Studies"; Women and Smoking

>I've been teaching Bartholomew Fair, and my students were curious about
>the fact that Ursula smokes ("Where's my pipe now? Not filled?  Thou
>arrant incubee," she says to Mooncalf in 2.2.88-9).  Is Ursula flouting
>gender conventions by smoking?  I have a vague recollection that
>Elizabeth used to smoke with Ralegh, but at some point smoking became a
>strictly male prerogative.  I'd be grateful for any information any list
>members would have on attitudes to smoking, or perhaps other scenes in
>early modern drama where characters smoke.
>
>Thanks.
>Nely Keinanen, Senior Lecturer
>University of Helsinki

Well, of course, there's James I's own tract against smoking.  Mistress
Gallipot in Middleton and Dekker's *The Roaring Girl* is a tobacconist,
along with her husband, and I'm pretty sure that Moll smokes.

Melissa Aaron
University of Wisconsin-Madison
 

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