1999

Re: Writing from Experience

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0482  Thursday, 18 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 09:26:50 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience

[2]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 11:16:48 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience

[3]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 16:30:48 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience

[4]     From:   Michael Yogev <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Mar 1999 08:11:29 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0453 Re: Writing from Experience


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 09:26:50 -0800
Subject: Re: Writing from Experience
Comment:        SHK 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience

Stephanie Hughes wrote quoting me:

>>My original rebuttal to Ms. Hughes used sonnet
>>sequences as an example.  Since most of them are not autobiographical,
>>it seemed to fit.  Then I thought of Hamlet captured by pirates and a
>>lot of other things.

Then she replied:

>Where is the evidence for your belief that the sonnets are not
>autobiographical?  (Or that the author of Hamlet was never himself
>captured by pirates?)

Ms. Hughes, I have realized for some time that you are not a very
careful reader.  I have made the same error myself on this list, to my
embarrassment.  I think it is clear from the quote in full context that
I meant Elizabethan fictions in poetry or plays, and I'll expand it to
any form fiction comes in.  As you can see, I am not referring to
Shakespeare's sonnets, but sonnet sequences in general.  I am not an
expert on the subject.  That they are not usually autobiographical is
widely accepted in the books I have read.  If that is so, my statement
needs no justification.  Burden of proof is on anyone who says they are.

It is true that many, probably the majority of scholars, do think that
Shakespeare's sonnets are autobiographical.  I have asked this list
about that 2 or 3 times, but no one has come forward to help me
understand.

I don't pretend to know that Shakespeare was not kidnaped by pirates,
but I think it is unlikely.  Perhaps you will inform me.  Was the Earl
of Oxford?

Whether either were captured or not, my point is that incidents in
fiction, except autobiographical fiction, are made up.  The emotions
explored therein MAY be real for the author.  Your comments are
pointless unless you argue that all incidents in fiction is
autobiographical.  Do you?  Did THE WINTER'S TALE really happen?  Unless
you are saying something so obviously crazy, I can't imagine what point
you are making.  Are you just being petty?

I wrote:

>>I cut my paragraph because I felt I'd made a category error.  These
>>examples are not to the point.  One can maintain that an imaginative
>>artist will take their emotional experience and transform it into the
>>fiction of a sonnet sequence

Ms. Hughes wrote:

>Show me a worthwhile sonnet sequence that was not based on personal
>feeling and I'll eat my mousepad.

Bon appetite.

First, my statement allows that this can happen, which you seem to have
missed.  Even so, you have not earned the right to say this,
argumentatively speaking, until you engage points made by myself and
others in Tuesday's posts.  This issue is roundly answered there.
Ignoring those points does not make you right.

I wrote:

>>Thus someone who agrees with Ms. Hughes
>>main point could still insist that Shakespeare experienced great grief,
>>and could therefore write Titus A,

Ms. Hughes wrote:

>Grief? Rage perhaps. Hamlet's the one written out of profound and very
>real grief.

You betray ignorance of the literature on the play.  It is open to more
than one interpretation.

I wrote:

>>I don't think this approach really addresses Ms. Hughes point.  Finding
>>examples of moving art that was not deeply felt by the artist seems more
>>decisive.

Ms. Hughes wrote:

>Yes? We're waiting . . . .

Again, answered in Tuesday's post, which you have ignored.  This tactic
does not impress.

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 11:16:48 +0000
Subject: 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience

>>I understand why she holds to this so tenaciously.  She is an
>>Oxfordian.  The case for Oxford is in part built on what the true
>>believers fancy are correspondences between the plays of Shakespeare and
>>the life of Oxford.

Rather the other way around. It is because I find numerous and profound
correspondences between the lives of all great artists and their works,
and can find none with Shakspere of Stratford and the works of
Shakespeare, that I am inclined to see the Oxfordian's point that every
play reflects one or more aspects of Oxford's life.  This is not fancy,
but fact, as anyone who studies the matter with an open mind will soon
see.  I was raised to have an interest in the connections between humans
and what they do. I was certainly not raised an Oxfordian.

>Not to mention: "How could an illiterate yokel with straw in his hair
>possibly have the profound experiences necessary to produce Lear etc."?

Good question. The issue, however, is not whether Shakspere could have
felt bereft of his estate by his three daughters (as certainly Oxford
did), but where he got the education to write about it with
Shakespeare's dazzling erudition.  Had he gotten the necessary education
someplace, we would certainly have evidence of it.

(Please note that it was not I who raised this issue, and that I am
simply responding to the quoted poster.  All further thoughts please
address to me offline as Hardy doesn't want this subject discussed
here.)

Stephanie Hughes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 16:30:48 -0500
Subject: 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0471 Re: Writing from Experience

>>I cut my paragraph because I felt I'd made a category error.  These
>>examples are not to the point.  One can maintain that an imaginative
>>artist will take their emotional experience and transform it into the
>>fiction of a sonnet sequence
>
>Show me a worthwhile sonnet sequence that was not based on personal
>feeling and I'll eat my mousepad.

Not to take permanent sides on this one, but I always thought Drayton's
Idea was pretty good and it's also pretty clear from the title alone
that it isn't related to personal experience.  Also, I understand that
Herrick's Corinna, Julia, etc., are all fictional (as was Ovid's
Corinna, come to that.)  I think part of the problem is defining what we
mean by "autobiographical."  Falling in love, eating, drinking, death,
etc., are pretty common experiences.  I've never been a Moor working for
the Venetian government but I can certainly understand being jealous.

If we are going to drag personal experience into it, I have an
especially shy friend who is an excellent actor and a devastating
mimic.   He will do stuff on stage he would never do in private and it
is most definitely not a good idea to let oneself go in front of him at
parties.  I often imagine Shakespeare (not that I can prove it, only my
own fiction) as something like this; ostensibly the most boring person
at the party.

{Laura Fargas}
>This thread makes you wish for the Woody Allen moment, when he says "I
>have Marshall McLuhan right here" and pulls him out from behind a movie
>poster to tell the boor behind him in line, "you have no understanding
>of my theories whatsoever."  Ah, for Mr. Peabody and a real Wayback
>Machine!

If I remember my Peabody and Sherman, it's only thanks to Mr. Peabody
that we don't have Romeo and Zelda.  Mr. Peabody is pretty subversive,
come to that; most of the "great men" of history turn out to be
incompetent idiots and have to be put right by a dog, so the history
books will come right.  Three cheers for Peabody, World's Most
Teleological Dog.

Melissa D. Aaron
Whassamatta U.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Yogev <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Mar 1999 08:11:29 +0200
Subject: 10.0453 Re: Writing from Experience
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0453 Re: Writing from Experience

First of all, a resounding "Bravo!" to Laura Fargas for her wise,
self-deprecating (literally) and otherwise wittily sensible post.
Despite Ms. Hughes self-appointed status as critic superior to the
writer-as-critic, I would venture the opinion that it makes sense to
consider what writers and poets themselves say about their
biographical/emotional proximity to the subjects and feelings of their
work.

As a Romanticist by graduate training and with a dissertation on William
Blake behind me, I take issue with the person who mentioned the
"transcendentalist ideal of the poet" as an invention of English
Romanticism we have since been cursed/blessed/bedeviled with.
Wordsworth, the least critically astute (and to my mind least
interesting) of the English Romantics, is probably guilty of this
idealized version of the poet as the fount of all wisdom springing from
his own personal experience-his excruciatingly long and windy Prelude is
perhaps the embodiment of that idea.  Yet even Wordsworth's view of the
poets' experiences as intimately and immediately connected to the works
they compose is qualified by a key phrase: the "spontaneous overflow of
powerful feelings" is nonetheless to be "recollected in tranquillity".

The best exemplar of the poet as critic of the idea that his own
experience forms the basis for emotional intensity and invention is, of
course, Keats, in a letter to Richard Woodhouse (27 October 1817).  Bear
with me for quoting a poet known for the intensity and emotion of his
works:

"As to the poetical Character itself, (I mean that sort of which, if I
am any thing, I am a Member; that sort distinguished from the
wordsworthian or egotistical sublime; which is a thing per se and stands
alone) it is not itself-it has no self-it is every thing and nothing-It
has no character-it enjoys light and shade; it lives in gusto, be it
foul or fair, high or low, rich or poor, mean or elevated-It has as much
delight in conceiving an Iago as an Imogen. . . A Poet is the most
unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity-he is
continually in for-filling in some other Body . . . It is a wretched
thing to confess; but is a very fact that not one word I ever utter can
be taken for granted as an opinion growing out of my identical
nature-how can it, when I have no nature?"

In another letter he makes a similarly insightful comment about "what
quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature &
which Shakespeare possessed so enormously-I mean Negative Capability,
that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries,
doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason" (To George
and Thomas Keats, 21, 27[?] December, 1817).

If Stephanie Hughes will grant that Keats is a "great" poet, or in his
own terms a "Man of Achievement" in literature, shouldn't we take
seriously his critique of the "wordsworthian or egotistical sublime"
that, I submit, underlies her view of artistic creation?  Hence the
wisdom of Laura Fargas' remark on the "negative" formulations used by
Terry Hawkes, a critical version of Keats' "Negative Capability" if I've
ever read one.  Surely Keats' comments above argue, at the very least, a
certain artistic and ironic distance from the work created, and he
claims that the intensity he (and Shakespeare) achieved is a function of
this distance, as his own resonant and sensuous poetic creations
assert.  He never had the intimate connection with Fanny Brawne that he
so ardently desired, he never traveled foreign lands as he wished he
could (only to Italy to die), yet his poetry shows an intensity that
comes from an imagination carefully trained to deny or avoid the
personal, not to indulge in biographical and emotional experience.
Again, echoing someone else here, Keats' poetry is based more on his
reading and speculation than on lived experiences, a product of the
"wild surmise" he celebrates in "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer".

Impersonally and romantically,

Michael Yogev
Department of English
University of Haifa

Re: Feeling and Meaning

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0481  Thursday, 18 March 1999.

[1]     From:   David J. Schalkwyk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 09:37:54 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

[2]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 12:11:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 12:27:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

[4]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thu, 18 Mar 1999 09:18:15 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

[5]     From:   Nely Keinanen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 18 Mar 1999 09:07:53 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David J. Schalkwyk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 09:37:54 -0600
Subject: 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

Talk about barbed compliments:

>First off, I'd like to say that your note is a welcome breath of sanity
>into the sorts of discussion that get too polarized, too soon.
>
>However, the argument seems to hinge on how you would define "human
>life".  If humanness is defined by either reason or emotion, if human
>life is the life of the heart or the head, then the second of your
>propositions is simply synonymous with the position against which the
>first of your propositions is reacting.
>
>My real question is how else can we define human life.  If it's neither
>emotion nor reason, what is it?

Sean, I would say that by introducing another dyad, especially one which
perpetuates the temptation to locate meaning or humanity in a particular
part of the human body, in this case, as always, inside it, you offer me
a false alternative.

I added principle b) to counter certain theories of
language-structuralist and poststructuralist-which tend to abstract it
either as a system or as a movement of self-slipping signifiers.  In
other words, in correctly pointing out that meanings are not in the head
or the heart, these theories tend to make the mistaken assumption that
head and heart make up the totality of the human which they wish to
remove from a rigorously autonymous language-system.  Now head and
heart, reason and feeling, are concepts like any other.  We use them
crucially and intelligibly; they are indubitably part of what is "human"
about language.  But language cannot be reduced to what is in the head
in the form of images or pictures, say, nor to what is in the heart in
the form of feelings.  Language certainly expresses feelings, often very
powerfully, but, again, the notion of expression is misleading, since it
suggests that language is a mere vehicle, a passageway, for that which
is inside and which constitutes the real meaning of the utterance.  To
someone with this view of expression it would seem unintelligible that
anyone could write meaningfully without having such feelings "inside"
which are expressed by the words.

My (Wittgensteinian) view is that words mean what they do because of the
way in which human beings use them.  Such use is public, shared,
imbricated in human "forms of life" which include feeling and reason.
It's when 1) emotion and reason are reduced to inner feelings and images
which are supposed to animate words in a philosophical theory, and 2)
opponents in reaction abstract words from their use in everyday life in
an attempt to get away from theory 1) that the debate becomes
misleading.  My principle a) is meant to counter 1), while principle b)
points out the problem with the opposing position 2).  They are in a
sense both symptoms of the same philosophical problem.

Hope this helps.

David

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 12:11:17 -0500
Subject: 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

Cary M. Mazer writes of the "preposterous . . . supposition that a
playwright has to have experienced the emotions of the characters he or
she is representing."  The "supposition" in *Shakespeare in Love" is
that a particular author is jolted out of a particular case of writer's
block by a particular set of experiences, which happen to find their way
in relatively unmodified form into a particular work.  The supposition
does not require that other writers have to work on that basis-or even
this writer when it comes to other works.  The movie is an unabashedly
romantic piece of work (a fact that lots of viewers have found
refreshing and delightful), which incorporates that particular romantic
view of writing unabashedly into its construction.

Sean Lawrence wonders "how else can we define human life.  If it's
neither emotion nor reason, what is it?" There's a lot of life that's
unconscious or partially conscious biology-respiration and digestion and
what not-and there's a lot that's habit-presumably the residue of some
earlier emotion and/or reason, but in practice neither very emotional
nor very reasonable.  But the rest not only need not but largely cannot
be either/or: see a very readable book by the economist Robert H. Frank,
Passions Within Reason, for a persuasive account of the interactivity,
amounting to inextricability, even within the nominally rational
behaviors that occupy practitioners of the dismal science, of the two
modes.

Passionately reasonably yours,
Dave Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Mar 1999 12:27:13 -0500
Subject: 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

Cary M. Mazer wrote:

>Shakespeare, in the voice of
>one of his characters, does take a stand on this, when Berowne asserts:
>
>Never durst poet touch a pen to write
>Until his ink were temp'red with Love's sighs.
>O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
>And plant in tyrants mild humility.

Hmmmm, Berowne as Shakespeare's alter ego, interesting.  Let us all
ponder his observation that

        Small have continual plodders ever won
        Save base authority from others' books.

Larry

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thu, 18 Mar 1999 09:18:15 +1000
Subject: 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

Sean asked:

>My real question is how else can we define human life.  If it's neither
>emotion nor reason, what is it?

Here goes (a fool rushing in...)

My take on this is that Sean is asking a key, but unanswerable,
question.  Human life is undefinable.  We can, however, describe
particular human lives-which is one of the things Shakespeare does so
well.  He describes those human lives where feeling has been driven out
by reason...or expediency (Iago? Claudius?).  He describes those human
lives where feeling has not been tempered by reason (Mercutio?
Ophelia?).   If we amend David Schalkwyk's very welcome message to read,
"words only mean what they do because they form part of human lives," we
have a workable thesis with definite terms...although in the asking of
the question ("how do we define human life?"), we provide, in the act of
asking, part of the descriptive answer...

Yours in vague, metaphysical meanderings...

Karen Peterson-Kranz
University of Guam

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nely Keinanen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Mar 1999 09:07:53 +0200
Subject: 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0470 Re: Feeling and Meaning

I am also reminded of the hilarious scene in King Edward III (assuming
that Shakespeare wrote it?) where Edward has fallen head over heels in
love with the Countess of Salisbury and tries to get his secretary
Lodowick to compose a love poem.  Lodowick is not up to the task, and in
frustration Edward grabs the pen and paper, saying:

I thank thee then: thou hast done little ill--
But what is done is passing passing ill.
No, let the captain talk of boist'rous war,
The prisoner of immured dark constraint,
The sick man best sets down the pangs of death,
The man that starves the sweetness of a feast,
The frozen soul the benefit of fire,
And every grief his happy opposite:
Love cannot sound well but in lovers' tongues.
Give me the pen and paper, I will write (2.1.174-83)

This is not to say that I agree that "great" art is only born out of
personal experience, though at least from the Romantics this seems to
have been a fairly common idea (c.f. Wordworth's "Preface to Lyrical
Ballads" or Coleridge's "Biographia Literaria," where they discuss the
qualities of a poet).  Here, these lines seem to emphasize the silliness
and shallowness of Edward's infatuation, rather than state a truth about
the nature of art.

Cheers,
Nely Keinanen
University of Helsinki

DRH '99 Extension & Exhibition Call

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0474  Wednesday, 17 March 1999.

From:           Willard McCarty <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 16:51:29 +0000
Subject:        DRH '99 Extension & Exhibition Call

PLEASE POST / CIRCULATE
-----------------------

                     Digital Resources in the Humanities 1999
                            King's College London
                             12-15 September 1999

               Conference site:  <http://drh.org.uk>
               Exhibitions site: <http://ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/drh/>

The DRH conferences have established themselves firmly in the UK and
international calendar as a forum that brings together scholars,
librarians, archivists, curators, information scientists and computing
professionals in a unique and positive way, to share ideas and
information about the creation, exploitation, management and
preservation of digital resources in the arts and humanities.

DEADLINE EXTENDED
-----------------
Following a number of requests for extensions to the deadline for
submissions to DRH99, the organisers have agreed to receive submissions
of papers and panels up to 19 March 99. Proposals for academic papers,
themed panel sessions, posters, demos and workshops are invited.
Deadlines are:
        Papers and panels : 19 March 99
        Posters and demos : 29 March 99
        Workshops         : 29 March 99.

Full details and submission forms may be found at the URL given above.

CALL FOR EXHIBITORS
-------------------
Academic and commercial publishers and developers of digital resources
for the arts and humanities are invited to exhibit at DRH'99 in the
Great Hall at King's College London.

For the four days of the conference, individual exhibition space will be
provided in the Great Hall at King's College London, on the Strand.
There exhibitors will have the opportunity to demonstrate their
electronic resources and show relevant books to conference delegates.
Sales of commercial products at the conference is encouraged.

The plenary sessions of the conference and the refreshment breaks will
also take place in the Great Hall, which will be the focal point for the
conference. The general conference sessions will take place in rooms
adjacent to the Great Hall.

Exhibitors will be encouraged to submit information on their activities,
products and resources. Descriptions of electronic resources and related
products on exhibit will be published in a separate section of the
conference Proceedings, on paper and in electronic form, to provide a
valuable source for delegates.

FEES
Commercial exhibitors will be charged 


Re: Marlowe and Autobiography

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0480  Thursday, 18 March 1999.

From:           Lisa Hopkins<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wed, 17 Mar 1999 14:45:41 -0000
Subject:        Marlowe and Autobiography

Well, Marlowe wasn't Jewish, or a lame world conqueror, nor a lovesick
African queen.  It does seem likely that he shared the sexual
orientation of Edward II and the religious doubt of Faustus, and the
detailed account of French politics in The Massacre at Paris may have
been informed by his own experiences and those of people he knew
personally. But what does it prove?

Lisa Hopkins
Sheffield Hallam University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Eroticism; Marriage Age; Gower; Iago

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0479  Wednesday, 17 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 10:33:35 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0467 Eroticism on the Early Modern Stage

[2]     From:   Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 14:07:10 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0456 Assorted Responses to Past Postings [Re: Marria

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 18:00:46 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0466 Re: Negatives; Names; Women, Iago, Harfluer

[4]     From:   Maijan H. Al-Ruwaili <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wed, 17 Mar 1999 15:57:05 +0300
        Subj:   SHK 10.0466 Re: Negatives; Names; Women, Iago, Harfluer


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 10:33:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0467 Eroticism on the Early Modern Stage
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0467 Eroticism on the Early Modern Stage

Stevie Simkin writes:

>In the opening scene of Dido Queen of Carthage, written for the Children
>of the Chapel Royal, the stage direction reads: "There is discovered
>JUPITER dandling  GANYMEDE upon his knee, and MERCURY lying asleep."
>There follows an unambiguously homoerotic scene between Jupiter and
>Ganymede.
>
>Jackson I. Cope points out that the part of Jupiter may well have been
>played by the Master of the choir, with obvious implications for sexual
>abuse ('Marlowe's Dido and the Titillating Children' in English Literary
>Renaissance vol. 4, no.1, Winter 1974, p.319).
>
>Anyone got any thoughts on this?
>
>I would imagine that the Boys' companies would throw an interesting new
>light on these debates.

Were my dissertation/forthcoming book here with me, and were I not
leaving for Ohio in one hour, I could venture a longer reply. But I
would recommend your looking into Thomas Middleton's prose satire
"Father Hubbard's Tales," the first tale which tells of a prodigal who
plans to visit the Blackfriars Theater to see "a nest of boys able to
ravish a man." A marvelously ambiguous phrase. And, though I have my
disagreements with the argument, I also recommend for its information
Theodore Leinwand's article "Redeeming Beggary/Buggery in Thomas
Middleton's Michaelmas Term"; this appeared in ELH around 1995.

Hope this helps.
Jack Heller

P.S. Thanks to the many for useful replies on Ross and Macduff.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 14:07:10 +0000
Subject: 10.0456 Assorted Responses to Past Postings [Re:
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0456 Assorted Responses to Past Postings [Re:
Marria

I'm sorry not to have replied more quickly to the request for
documentation on age at marriage.   I would add the following to Frank
Whigham's list (he mentioned Ralph Houlbrooke, The English Family,
1450-1700: 63ff. &  Keith Wrightson, English Society, 1580-1680: 68ff.):

Several books by Peter Laslett: Family Life and Illicit Love in Earlier
Generations; Household and Family in Past Time; The World We Have Lost;
Bastardy and Its Comparative History  (ed., with Karla Oosterveen and
Richard M. Smith).

Ann Jennalie Cook, "The Mode of Marriage in Shakespeare's England,"
Southern Humanities Review 11 (1977): 126-32

Bruce W. Young [that's me], "Haste, Consent, and Age at Marriage: Some
Implications of Social History for Romeo and Juliet," Iowa State Journal
of Research 62 (1987-1988): 459-74.

Michael Anderson, Approaches to the History of the Western Family,
1500-1914.

According to Michael Anderson (page 18), the average age at marriage for
women in Western Europe during (as well as long before and after)
Shakespeare's time was about 25 or 26; for men, 27 or 28.  For England
from 1550 to 1650, Peter Laslett has gathered data indicating almost
exactly the same ages: approximately 25 for women and 28 for men
(Bastardy 21).  See also Laslett, Family Life 29, 218; and Houlbrooke,
English Family 63.  (Houlbrooke gives 26 as the mean age of marriage for
women, 27 to 29 as the mean age for men, in Elizabethan and Stuart
England.)

The average age of marriage was somewhat lower for the aristocracy of
Renaissance England than for other classes (Laslett, World 86, 285;
Houlbrooke, English Family 65, 128).  But it was still in the twenties
(about 19 to 21 for women, 24 to 26 for men).

For information on Tuscany, see my article (listed above), which refers
to several authorities on the subject.  My article also discusses
attitudes toward early marriage-which did, of course, take place, even
if much less often than many have assumed.  The common view seems to
have been that early marriages were undesirable as well as rare, in part
because lack of physical maturity could endanger the life of a too-young
mother, also because the marriage of an immature bride and groom might
not be grounded in "real and solid love."

Bruce Young
Department of English
Brigham Young University

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Mar 1999 18:00:46 -0800
Subject: 10.0466 Re: Negatives; Names; Women, Iago, Harfluer
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0466 Re: Negatives; Names; Women, Iago, Harfluer

Mike Jensen writes:

>We came to different conclusions about the meaning off all this.  Mr.
>Haylett concluded that Gower is a spin doctor.  OK, I'd like to learn
>from that.  Please show me in the text, folio or quarto (I imagine you
>know they are quite different), that Gower is doing this.  Does he lie
>at other times?  How many other instances are there of him attempting to
>control perception?

I'm wondering, does anyone find naming Gower after a poet and
"authority", later chosen as the chorus for Pericles, a bit indicative
of reliability?

I don't really have a clear view on this.  There could be a Gower in the
source, for instance, but I'm interested if anyone else has a reading of
this.

Cheers,
Se


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