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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: July ::
Re: Seizure Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0640  Friday, 10 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Steve Sohmer <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Jul 1998 06:46:32 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0634  Re: Seizure Question

[2]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Jul 1998 12:44:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0634  Re: Seizure Question

[3]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Friday, July 10, 1998
        Subj:   Q: Seizures


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Jul 1998 06:46:32 EDT
Subject: 9.0634  Re: Seizure Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0634  Re: Seizure Question

Dear Friends,

When Shakespeare's Caesar re-enters with his train, Brutus perceives
"signs" that an extraordinary event has passed: Calphurnia looks "pale";
Cicero's eyes are red; all the rest appear "chidden" (reprimanded), and
"the angry spot doth glow on Caesars brow." This detail has no basis in
Plutarch, and scholars have not been able to explain it. But "angry
spot" could describe a condition of blotchy redness of the skin known as
naevus flammeus, the flaming spot-"A hypertrophied state of the
blood-vessels of the skin, forming spots or elevations of a red or
purplish colour" (OED). Among the superstitious, the naevus has been
called "mother's kiss" or "angel's kiss." One biblical commentary nearly
contemporary with the writing of "Julius Caesar" associates the
condition with contact with the Holy Spirit: "The Image of God . . .
perhaps in them [who] hath more naeves and blemishes" (OED).
Shakespeare's Caesar also exhibited another symptom associated with
super-natural contact; according to Caska, he "foam'd at mouth." In
Shakespeare's time, Caesar's chronic epilepsy was called "morbus
sacra"-the sacred disease-because its cause was believed to be the
visitation of a divine or supernatural spirit.

Steve Sohmer

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Jul 1998 12:44:31 -0400
Subject: 9.0634  Re: Seizure Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0634  Re: Seizure Question

When I saw Albert Finney on Broadway in "Luther," he stiffened and fell
straight backwards in an awesomely presented seizure.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Friday, July 10, 1998
Subject:        Q: Seizures

Although not about seizures, two excellent articles about *Othello*
appeared in the Summer 1997 SQ (48.2): Janet Adelman's "Iago's Alter
Ego: Race as Projection in *Othello*" and Daniel Vitkus's "Turning Turk
in *Othello*: The Conversion and Damnation of the Moor."
 

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