Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: December ::
Re: Cats
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1332  Tuesday, 22 December 1998.

[1]     From:   Louis Marder <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 21 Dec 1998 17:37:16 -0600
        Subj:   Re: Cats; Rites; Titus

[2]     From:   Belinda Johnston <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Dec 1998 11:14:02 +1100 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1322  Re: Cats


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Marder <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 21 Dec 1998 17:37:16 -0600
Subject:        Re: Cats; Rites; Titus

12-20-98:  Dear Friends: There is no mystery about cats and cazzo.  I
was brought up in an Italian/Sicilian neighborhood.  I am not sure of
pronunciations or spellings, but the Italians, especially the Sicilians
are great swearers with Sex.  [The Jews deal in broken bones, etc.
Break your arm, break your head, grow like an onion with your head in
the ground, drop dead].  The Sicilians would say in their dialect, oo
cazzo on culo [a penis in your arsehole; (it was pronounced gotz],
fongule a mom [fuck your mother], [I am not sure of the Sicilian dialect
or pronunciation of Italian].

When I  was in the Army in 1943, I was in the Military Police for more
than a year.  Once I was in a group sent to guard Italian prisoners of
war who were working in a fruit canning factory.  We were stationed in
an old red brick schoolhouse in the center of town.  I offered to teach
the men English if they would teach me Italian.  I would hang out in the
"day room" which overlooked the street.  We would lean on the high
window sill, talk, and watch the world go by.  A pretty girl [they were
all pretty!] would go by and one of the men would  say, "Ah, bella gamba
[legs], soon a girl with large breasts world go by and a man would say,
"Bella mammilla", and then a pretty girl walked by and a man would say,
"OO cazzo punta a duodecci hora"  That took me by surprise.  I asked had
he studied Shakespeare.  He said no and that everyone in Italy used that
expression.  Is it the origin of  "The bawdy hand of the dial is at the
prick of noon?"  As for the English audience not knowing Italian, on the
stage a knowledgeable actor would merely bend his elbow with his fist
upward and cross it with the opposite hand forcing the fist upward.) I
have seen that gesture used often in Shakespeare at the appropriate
place. (Cf."a fig") I'll leave it to y'all to follow this up in Arthur
Brooke and so on.  Lou Marder  
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Belinda Johnston <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Dec 1998 11:14:02 +1100 (EST)
Subject: 9.1322  Re: Cats
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1322  Re: Cats

>. . .
>Hardin Craig glosses the earlier reference (at 2.4.19) by observing that
>the king of the cats in Reynard was Tybalt-"who," says Mercutio in the
>same scene, "fights as you sing prick-song."

This is a long shot, not in any way important or relevant to
Shakespeare, but I've always wondered if that generic cat's name
"Tibbles" comes from Tybalt?
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.