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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Fools
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0425  Wednesday, 10 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Lawrence Manley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999 10:36:36 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0412 Re: Fools

[2]     From:   Lawrence Manley <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999 11:19:29 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Patch


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lawrence Manley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999 10:36:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0412 Re: Fools
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0412 Re: Fools

On Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999, Stephanie Hughes wrote:

>>it seems to me likely that the English
>>took the term "patch" from the Italian stage and simply began
>>associating it with the fool's costume.  I don't think the English patch
>>as a piece of cloth necessarily sheds any light on the Italian word's
>>original etymology.
>
>The current movie, "Patch Adams," comes to mind.  I believe that it is
>about clowning.

>I'm sure there are others on this list that know more about the medieval
>jester/fool than I do, but from what I've read I believe that the
>Harlequin of the Commedia started as a ragged beggar whose clothes were
>all ragged and patched, and that he seems to have originated as a sort
>of mendicant wise man, possibly related to the wise man of the Sufi
>tradition, whose wisdom often takes the form of jests, a bit in the
>tradition of the tales of Nasrudin.

That's an interesting suggestion about English "patch," but from what
I've read, Arlecchino, a French addition to the commedia, derives his
costume from the wild man or wild "wode":  his patches were originally
leaves and remain green and brown.  This I know for sure-he is scary,
and anything but wise.  Never leave him a task to do, he'll turn into a
nightmare, and he tends to "flip out" with the least provocation.
Doesn't seem like a Sufi wise man to me.

Lawrence Manley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lawrence Manley <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999 11:19:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Patch

Well, what do you know? No sooner did I reply to Stephanie Hughes on
"Patch" and Arlecchino than I turned my attention (for completely
different reasons) to an old essay by John H. Long on "The Ballad Medley
and the Fool," SP 67 (1970).  Noting that the term "medley" (meaning
"musical hotch-poth") is only cited by the OED from 1819, Long examines
a number of Eliabethan ballad medlies (which mingled bits from many
different ballads) and goes on to connect "medley" with "motley"
(Hakewell in David's Vow, 1622, speaks of "motley cloth, or a meddly
colour") and thus with "patch."  He also notes that Cardinal Wolsey's
jester (geez, he had one?) was nicknamed Patch.

Lawrence Manley
 

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