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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: April ::
Re: Partridge and a Pear [Tree]
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0786  Friday, 30 April 1999.

[1]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Apr 1999 09:30:15 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0783 Re: Partridge

[2]     From:   Allan Blackman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Apr 1999 23:34:08 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Shakespeare's "artifice" (cont.)

[3]     From:   Anthony Burton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Apr 1999 13:43:49 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0780 poperin pear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Apr 1999 09:30:15 -0500
Subject: 10.0783 Re: Partridge
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0783 Re: Partridge

Peter Groves wrote:

>>Partridge (*Shakespeare's Bawdy*, p. 25) writes:
>>
>>"From the terms listed in the preceding paragraph, we-inevitably, I
>>think -- form the opinion that Shakespeare was an exceedingly
>>knowledgeable amorist, a veritable connoisseur, and a highly artistic,
>>an ingeniously skilful, practitioner of love-making, who could have
>>taught Ovid rather more than that facile doctrinaire could have taught
>>him; he evidently knew of, and probably he practised, an artifice
>>accessible to few-one that I cannot becomingly mention here, though I
>>felt it obligatory to touch on it, very briefly, in the Glossary."
>>
>>Two questions:
>>
>>1) Can someone satisfy my prurient interest by revealing the cited
>>"artifice"?
>>
>>2) In general, is it accurate and/or reasonable to label Shakespeare "an
>>exceedingly knowledgeable amorist" and a "skilful practitioner of
>>love-making"?
>>
>>Allan Blackman
>
>I don't know what could count as evidence for or against (2), with the
>doubtful and unsatisfactory  exception of the anecdote in Aubrey about
>William coming before Richard.

I assume you're talking about the anecdote where Burbage is playing
Richard III; a woman makes an assignation with him whereby he is
supposed to come to her place that night as "Richard III"; Shakespeare
overhears this, goes to the woman's place beforehand and is "at his
game" when Burbage arrives; and sends out word to Burbage that "William
the Conqueror was before Richard the Third".

However, the source of this story is not John Aubrey, writing a couple
of generations after Shakespeare's death, but John Manningham of the
Middle Temple, writing in 1602 at the height of Shakespeare's fame.
Manningham was in a position to know the latest gossip about
Shakespeare: the month before he recorded this anecdote in his diary,
the Chamberlain's Men came to the Middle Temple to perform Twelfth
Night, and Manningham was also acquainted with some of Shakespeare's
friends.  One of the fellow Middle Templars he quotes in the diary,
Thomas Greene, moved to Stratford the following year and became
Shakespeare's attorney and close personal friend, living in New Place
for a while and calling Shakespeare "cousin" (they may have actually
been distantly related).  Plus, this same anecdote was recorded in an
18th century book, written by someone who could not have had access to
Manningham's private diary, so the story was certainly making the rounds
for years afterwards.  Whether one chooses to literally believe the
story or not (and I'm inclined to think it's just a clever joke), it is
at least evidence that Shakespeare had a contemporary reputation as
something of a ladies' man.

Dave Kathman

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Allan Blackman <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Apr 1999 23:34:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Shakespeare's "artifice" (cont.)

I thank Michael McMahon and Peter Groves for their suggestions as to
what Partridge has in mind re Shakespeare's "artifice."  However,
neither "linguo-perineal stimulation" nor "fingering" would seem to be
the answer.  Note that Partridge speaks of "an artifice accessible to
few", and surely both practices (given a willing partner) are accessible
to all.

Any other suggestions?

Allan Blackman

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anthony Burton <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Apr 1999 13:43:49 -0700
Subject: 10.0780 poperin pear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0780 poperin pear

If Folger was reluctant to give an attribution for poperin Poperinghe,
the reason may be found in Partridge's ever-present-at-my-side
Shakespeare's Bawdy, full of unexpected sexual allusions for poperin
pear and, finally, the author's own derivation of the word-a citable
authority in itself.  Does anyone know where an illustration of this
salaciously evocative fruit can be viewed by the lewdly learned?
 

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