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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Burgundy and France
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1954  Thursday, 11 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Nov 1999 16:05:24 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France

[2]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Nov 1999 16:24:24 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France

[3]     From:   Brother Anthony <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Nov 1999 10:15:35 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France

[4]     From:   Simon Morris <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Nov 1999 10:40:14 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Nov 1999 16:05:24 -0500
Subject: 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France

I suspect that "compliment" in "there is further compliment of
leave-taking between France and him" just means "a whole bunch
of"...i.e., Lear is taking forever to say goodbye.

Dana (Shilling)

>An oddity relating to Burgundy is Goneril's 'There is further compliment
>of leave-taking between France and him.' (end of 1. 1, same in both Q
>and F) Why should Lear be complimenting France? Foakes notes 'After the
>way France and Cordelia are sent packing . . . Burgundy's name might be
>expected here. A matter of authorial inadvertence?' In my forthcoming
>edition for the Oxford Shakespeare, based on Q, I plan to emend to
>Burgundy (as Hanmer did.)
>
>Stanley Wells

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Wednesday, 10 Nov 1999 16:24:24 -0500
Subject: 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France

Stanley Wells writes and asks:

>An oddity relating to Burgundy is Goneril's 'There is further compliment
>of leave-taking between France and him.' (end of 1. 1, same in both Q
>and F) Why should Lear be complimenting France?

Stephen Greenblatt (and the Norton editors) interpret "compliment" to
mean "ceremony."  (OED complement [sic], sb. 8) Even royal enemies may
be expected to observe protocol and ostentation. I immediately think of
Henry and Francis and the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

Of course, Gonoril's "further compliment of leave-taking" may be ironic,
in that she means that the two kings are offstage raging at each other.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brother Anthony <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Nov 1999 10:15:35 +0900
Subject: 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France

I would think that Lear is not 'complimenting France', as Professor
Wells puts it, he is performing the formal ceremony of leave-taking
which is due to one king visiting another. The modern sense of 'paying
some one a compliment' is hardly attested so early, I suspect, and the
OED has the Lear quote as an example of definition 8b of 'complement'
(the standard spelling of the word until about 1700): 'Observance of
ceremony in social relations; ceremoniousness; formal civility;
politeness or courtesy'. Shakespeare would have known that the Duke of
Burgundy did not deserve anything like the full ritual due to a king.
Cf. Henry V Act V where the two kings of France and England address each
other as 'brother' even before the negotiations are complete, and call
Burgundy 'Duke' and 'Lord'.

Actually, the line is odd since it comes in the middle of Goneril and
Reagan's complaints about their father, they having remained on stage
after France and Cordelia have left; Lear and Burgundy left together
some time earlier and would have said goodbye at once. In modern
productions, Goneril has to look into the wings as if she can see
something happening offstage but Shakespeare's theatre had no wings...?
But the whole section is about the threat to his exercise of kingship. A
king does not have to take leave of a Duke.

An Sonjae (Brother Anthony)
Sogang University, Seoul, Korea

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Morris <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Nov 1999 10:40:14 GMT
Subject: 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1944 Re: Burgundy and France

But read this against Lear's:

"Thou hast her, France. Let her be thine; for we
 Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
 That face of hers again. Therefore be gone
 Without our grace, our love, our benison.
 Come, noble Burgundy."

Doesn't that penultimate sentence run on a little long for sincerity?
Wouldn't his farewell be more rhetorically effective without it? Lear
dwells on his grace, love, and benison because in fact he does want to
bestow them on Cordelia, and cannot help doing so, if only in secret.
The further leave-taking with France is a device to allow him to see
Cordelia again, even though this undercuts his promise never to see her
face again. This prompt annulment of his rhetoric is, of course,
characteristic of Lear.

Simon Morris
 

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