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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Shrews
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1176  Thursday, 19 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Frances Barasch <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Nov 1998 13:55:41 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1142  Re: Shrews Behaving Bawdily

[2]     From:   Barbara R. Hume <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Nov 1998 12:03:10 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1151  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

[3]     From:   Neth Boneskewy <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Nov 1998 15:21:56 -0800
        Subj:   Shrews (Adventurous Women and Dangerous Men)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frances Barasch <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 Nov 1998 13:55:41 EST
Subject: 9.1142  Re: Shrews Behaving Bawdily
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1142  Re: Shrews Behaving Bawdily

To shift Shrew to another tack.  Does anyone suppose there is bawdy in
Shrew? E.g.  do you suppose that the boy actor playing kate might have
winked when he offered to place his hand under Petrucchio's foot
(foutre), thereby alluding to his diminutive "yard"?  frances barasch

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Barbara R. Hume <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 Nov 1998 12:03:10 -0700
Subject: 9.1151  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1151  Re: Shrews Behaving Badly

>Barbara Hume's account (based on Krentz's collection of essays) of the
>appeal and inner workings of the romance novel sounds powerfully
>persuasive to me, even though I am a man and don't read many of them.
>But I have read *Jane Eyre,* and it seems to me that Hume's analysis
>fits to a tee what happens between Jane and Rochester, even to the need
>for Bronte to "wound" Rochester so that his masculinity is less
>threatening and he is forced to admit dependence on Jane, at least to
>some extent.

Very astute! I recently reread *Jane Eyre* very carefully, and it is a
quintessential romance. Bronte laid the groundwork for scores of novels
following that basic pattern.  Except for the nineteenth-century style,
which becomes especially dense in some of the dialogue (modern romance
writers don't usually have their characters speak in long paragraphs),
this classic work functions as a romance novel normally functions: to
show the difficult road toward the final integration of the maculine and
the feminine into a complete, fomalized (through marriage), and
productive (through children) unit.

>I would also ask Barbara whether she thinks that the "romance formula"
>she adumbrates fits *All's Well* and *MM*? In the former, Bertram seems
>to be quite handsome and sexually appealing, but Helena has to outwit
>him, make him grow up, and, literally, save him from the "dark" side of
>himself, no?  And much the same is true, at least potentially, in
>Shakespeare's depiction of Angelo and Mariana, who, with the help of the
>Duke and Isabella, at least gives Angelo (who probably is another
>handsome cad) a second chance.

Your argument makes sense, although a true romantic hero must have much
more than good looks to recommend him. Generally he turns out to be a
man of integrity and generosity as well, even if the writer has to
strain credulity a bit to show, for example, that what he's been doing
with the money he wins from drunken lords in the gaming hells is to fund
orphanages, not maintain a plethora of expensive mistresses!

>Indeed, Shakespeare's use of the "romance
>genre" suggests that his comedies in general and the "problem" plays in
>particular, are written with the women in his audience firmly in mind.

Shakespeare reveals such a powerful understanding of human psychology in
his work that I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that he even
understood women!

>By the way, Barbara, I know of exactly such a male as you describe at
>the end of your post. His initials are E.T., and you can e-mail me
>privately if you want to know more.
>
>--Ed Taft

You may expect a message shortly. The rest of you women on this list,
back off!

Barbara Hume

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Neth Boneskewy <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 Nov 1998 15:21:56 -0800
Subject:        Shrews (Adventurous Women and Dangerous Men)

Barbara Hume wrote:<<Even better, try reading a book of essays called
_Adventurous Women and Dangerous Men_, edited by Jayne Anne Krentz,
another top writer in the genre. These essays explain the appeal of
romance fiction.>>

Thank you.  I'm very interested in anything that can append acuity to my
conceits about how to construct a romance for a self-sufficient, uppity
female protagonist with an unregimented spirit, a sovereign heart, and
an irritable intelligence.  Against my every instinct of deserved
modesty, I will cautiously mention I am writing a novel.  The discussion
on Shrew has been illuminating, unexpectedly so.  (I missed the previous
discussion, I've only been subscribed since July.)  It hadn't occurred
to me to consider Shrew for insights into my characterizations.  My most
heartfelt appreciation to the list.

Neth Boneskewy
 

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