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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: August ::
Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0767  Sunday, 16 August 1998.

[1]     From:   Richard A. Burt <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Aug 1998 15:47:39 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality

[2]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Aug 1998 15:30:27 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality

[3]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <
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        Date:   Saturday, 15 Aug 1998 09:12:10 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A. Burt <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Aug 1998 15:47:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality

Some thoughtful criticism on the sonnets and the topic of (homo? gay?
bi? sodomitical?) sexuality is made by Eve Sedgwick in _Between Men_ and
by Bruce R. Smith in his book _Homosexual Desire in Renaissance
England_.  Passing mention is made by Joel Fineman in his book on the
sonnets (which was attacked, wrongly in my view, by Jonathan Goldberg
for being homophobic).

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Aug 1998 15:30:27 -0500
Subject: 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality

Carl Fortunato wrote:

> >2. Whether or not there is a sequence, are the Sonnets personal
> >revelations or works of creative fiction, if you will, where the poet is
> >exploring potentialities and emotional possibilities in the way a novel
> >might?  I have a gay friend who has written incredibly moving
> >straight-love poems as well as equally moving gay-love poems, both about
> >imagined rather than real experiences.
>
> I have always assumed that they were autobiographical.  I would think
> that the "Will" sonnets are a strong indication of that, as well as the
> personal references and sheer vagueness of some of them.  Rowse made a
> whole career on the supposition that they were autobiographical.  He
> denied their homosexuality, but he was a homophobe (At one point,
> arguing against Shakespeare's homosexuality, he writes, "Shakespeare was
> perfectly normal.")

Rowse may have been a homophobe, but if so he was one of the
self-loathing sort. Rowse
himself was openly gay.

Dave Kathman

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <
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Date:           Saturday, 15 Aug 1998 09:12:10 -0400
Subject: 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0762  Re: Sonnets and Homosexuality

I've always thought sonnet 20 was a somewhat nostalgic (if I understand
that word) admission of his heterosexuality.  I wonder, however, about
that word "nothing."  After all, isn't "nothing" what, according to
Hamlet, lies between Ophelia's legs?

Jeff Myers
 

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