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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Marriages
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1002  Thursday, 15 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 09:26:05 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0994  Re: Marriages

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 12:43:52 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0994 Re: Marriages

[3]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 14:31:43 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0992  Queries


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 09:26:05 -0700
Subject: 9.0994  Re: Marriages
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0994  Re: Marriages

> Your question makes me wonder about the prevalence of romantic comedy in
> the early modern period.  If we think about the Restoration, for
> example, many of the comedies are focused on married couples, where the
> comedy is based on whether one or the other partner will be unfaithful.
> There is much less of this in Shakespeare (although clearly some, as in
> Merry Wives or the jokes at the end of Merchant).  Does anyone have any
> theories about why comedies of courtship would have been more popular in
> Shakespeare's age?  Might this phenomena be related to the rise and fall
> of the sonnet in the 1590s, as discussed by Arthur Marotti?

Could both be related to demographics?  As I understand it, the young
were, if not positively outnumbering the old in Elizabethan London, at
least quite a large identifiable group.  With such a demographic, the
concerns of youth-courtship, finding a mate-would take on increasing
importance.

Cheers,
Sean.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 12:43:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0994 Re: Marriages
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0994 Re: Marriages

Nely Keinanen writes

> Your question makes me wonder about the prevalence of romantic comedy in
> the early modern period.  If we think about the Restoration, for
> example, many of the comedies are focused on married couples, where the
> comedy is based on whether one or the other partner will be unfaithful.
> There is much less of this in Shakespeare (although clearly some, as in
> Merry Wives or the jokes at the end of Merchant).  Does anyone have any
> theories about why comedies of courtship would have been more popular in
> Shakespeare's age?

Here's a reductive, Marxian, suggestion: Before the bourgeois revolution
marriage was a possible site of class-boundary-transgression.  (Is she
the Duchess of Malfi, still?) After the revolution, the question was
"can we stick to this patched-up settlement?" rather than "what kinds of
alliances are permissible?"

I'm suggesting, vulgarly, that marriage might be a metaphor for class
alliances, of course.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Oct 1998 14:31:43 -0400
Subject: 9.0992  Queries
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0992  Queries

To the extent that they are comedies, marital relationships motivate
*Cymbeline* and *The Winter's Tale.*  They provide the basis for the
not-very-extensive comic elements in *Richard II*.  Outside Shakespeare
there are *The Second Shepherd's Play*, *Gammer-Gurton's Needle*,
*Knight of the Burning Pestle*, *The Two Angry [also Merry] Women of
Abingdon,* and assorted city comedies whose titles escape me at the
moment.  That's partly because this kind of comedy has strong roots in
classical comedy--*Amphitruo*, *Menaechmi*, etc.

Dave Evett
 

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