The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0505  Tuesday, 26 May 1998.

From:           Ed Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 26 May 1998 09:46:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Female Roles

Dear Dave Kathman,

I'm glad that you were able to reconstruct your answer to my previous
post. I meant "Oxfordian" in a metaphoric sense, of course, and I
thought that the quotations around the word would make that clear. I'm
not at all sure that I am being the obstinate one, Dave. After all,
isn't my position that Forse's essay deserves to be taken seriously and
that he has opened up (not closed) the question of major female parts in
Shakespeare's company being played by sharers?

If I "shifted into attack," I'm sorry, but what I meant to do was to try
to focus the discussion on Forse's arguments. I'm pleased that you do
exactly that in the last part of your post, and your reply raises an
interesting question: if economic self-interest is one vector of
emerging capitalism, custom is its antagonist, at least in this case.
So the problem of whether or not sharers would play major female roles
can be recast as: How quickly would economic self interest overcome
custom? *It's a tough question, and I can see where some would think
that the answer is: not at all! On the other hand, often in history
(See, I respect history, David), economic interests run roughshod over
custom, as, for example, rural ways of life were quickly decimated by
the industrial revolution.

You raise one important issue here, and I'm grateful for it. I hope that
you or others will raise similar issues in the future; then we can do
what scholars ought to do: discuss the question dispassionately.

--Ed Taft

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