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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Burgundy and France
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1980  Monday, 15 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Heidi Webb Arnold <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 1999 14:14:20 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1963 Re: Burgundy and France

[2]     From:   Anthony Burton <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Nov 1999 15:34:24 -0800
        Subj:   Burgundy and France


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Heidi Webb Arnold <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 1999 14:14:20 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 10.1963 Re: Burgundy and France
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1963 Re: Burgundy and France

I thought sound and silence were an interesting topos for re-reading the
first act of Lear, with thanks to other posts from Drs. Godschalk and
Taft. And, returning to the play, I really appreciated the careful
editorial notations, I'm reminded of William Perkins' comments at the
beginning of his Commentary on Galatians, that only fanatics
(Anabaptists, no offense to any 20th Century persuasions meant here)
would read scripture without scholarly annotation and commentary.

I don't know protocols for the Burgundy and France, discussion, for me
not unlike wondering why some people are always at the window seats at
McDonalds, and have appreciated the informative discussion of protocol
between Burgundy and France. I wondered, for this thread, if the
competition between France and Burgundy could be glossed in terms
similar to the competition between the three daughters, recasting it in
domestic terms? King Lear asks Goneril to speak first as the eldest
(1.1.53-54), is there any evidence that Burgundy would have been elder
to France (1.1.193)? The play may be directing sound to the elders,
which might be a way to see Lear's voice and Cordelia's silence as both
respectfully reinforcing an age-based hierarchy for speech, and sound in
the play.  Which seems to me like a good thing.  (I won't pick on
McDonald's here.)

I would look for references on age-based kin groups but I don't have
those books right here.

best,
heidi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anthony Burton <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Nov 1999 15:34:24 -0800
Subject:        Burgundy and France

Let me correct the appalling misreading of my note of disagreement with
Stanley Wells' proposed emendation of King Lear, which wrongly makes it
seem that I was impugning Wells' well-earned reputation for excellent
scholarship-in which he has, however, not fled from controversial
positions.  I would not have other readers think I was being either
hostile or disparaging.  Referring to those critics whose forgettable
interpretations rest on a presumed (and forever unprovable) authorial
oversight by Shakespeare, I simply urged Wells to avoid their company,
since in my opinion there was no compelling reason to join with them.
Maintaining profound respect for the admittedly difficult text in our
possession, I offered possible interpretations that were consistent with
it and avoided a need for any emendation at all.  Others contributing to
this thread have also proposed different and probably better ways of
making sense of the received text.  My reference to Humpty Dumpty
pointed to a danger I assume we have all confronted: a pet argument, in
the light of challenges from friends and colleagues, turns out to rest
more on subjective enthusiasm than on concrete evidence.    On this
listserve, I hope it would be considered a duty rather than lese majesty
to air disagreement freely and even employ vivid images to make a point
(It may be different on the listserve for tax accountants). If the
emperor proposes to stroll about starkers, isn't it patriotism and not
treason to speak out?  But if the analogy to Mr. Carroll and his talking
egg be treason, my Yankee inclination is to make the most of it and try
to profit by his example.

Anthony Burton
 

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