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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: March ::
Re: TGV Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0286  Tuesday, 31 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Paul Nelsen <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Mar 1998 09:13:28 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0283  TGV Question

[2]     From:   James P. Lusardi <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Mar 1998 10:31:55 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0283  Q: TGV Question

[3]     From:   Richard Bovard <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Mar 1998 10:28:25 -0600
        Subj:   TGV Question

[4]     From:   Adrian Kiernander <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 16:53:30 +1000
        Subj:   Re: TGV Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Nelsen <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Mar 1998 09:13:28 -0400
Subject: 9.0283  TGV Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0283  TGV Question

Michael Friedman will find pertinent commentary on his TGV question in
Michael Shapiro's  GENDER IN PLAY ON THE SHAKESPEAREAN STAGE: BOY
HEROINES AND FEMALE PAGES, (Ann Arbor: Michigan, 1994).  Hope Michael
finds Shapiro's discussion of the theatricality of gender-disguise on
the Tudor stage as sensible as I do.

Paul Nelsen
Marlboro College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James P. Lusardi <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Mar 1998 10:31:55 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 9.0283  Q: TGV Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0283  Q: TGV Question

Dear Michael:

On this point, you might look for comparison at the Orsino's final lines
in Twelfth Night (indeed, the final lines in the play, except for
Feste's song).  Orsino insists on calling Viola Cesario, although he now
knows her to be a woman:  "For so you shall be, while you are a man, /
But when in other habits you are seen, / Orsino's mistress and his
fancy's queen." Evidently, the convention concerning the transforming
power of clothes remains in force; only when Viola dons women's weeds
will her identity as a woman be recognized and acknowledged.

Yours--Jim Lusardi, Shakespeare Bulletin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Bovard <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Mar 1998 10:28:25 -0600
Subject:        TGV Question

I can think of two reasons for such an ending.  These are reasons
mentioned often by writers on Shakespearean comedy.  First, something is
left to do.  Many comedies do not end: there is an explanation or a
story to be told later.  Second, the effect of many Shakespearean
comedies is to create "wonder" or astonishment.  Sylvia has already been
struck dumb, as have many of us at the conclusion of this play.  Now,
the Duke will be included: "one mutual happiness" will be shared, and
'one mutual amazement'?

Richard Bovard
NDSU Libraries

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <
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Date:           Tuesday, 31 Mar 1998 16:53:30 +1000
Subject:        Re: TGV Question

In reply to Michael Friedman, there's nothing in the text of _Two Gents_
to say that  Julia "removes her disguise". On the contrary, while she
*tells* Proteus who she is, and demonstrates the fact by giving him his
ring which he had given to her, she also comments on the fact that she
is still, embarrassingly, in "this habit", a "disguise of love".

One explanation (though not a very satisfying one) is to say that all
this is for the sake of convenience-the plot and situation don't allow
time or place for a costume change.

But we're in a world like _Twelfth Night_ and _Cymbeline_, where the
disguised female characters also remain male in appearance (especially
if they're played by boys) until (after) the end of the play, including
Posthumus's famous "Hang there like fruit" speech.

In the case of _Cymbeline_ I argue the effect is to fulfil Posthumus's
earlier wish for a way for men to be, without women being half-workers.
The *visual* ending of _Cymbeline_ is an image of an astonishingly
harmonious and (pro)creative all-male world.

In the case of _Two Gents_, since Sylvia remains totally silent from the
moment of the attempted rape onward, the effect of having Julia still
disguised as Sebastian is again to expunge most of the female presence,
and voice, from the world of the play. Such an exploration of (and
perhaps fantasy about?) a woman-free world seems to recur in
Shakespeare's plays.

Adrian Kiernander
 

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