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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: August ::
Re: Why isn't one a number
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1376  Thursday 5 August 1999.

[1]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Aug 1999 08:59:23 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1372 Re: Why isn't one a number

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 Aug 1999 09:20:47 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1355 Why isn't one a number?

[3]     From:   Michael Skovmand <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Aug 1999 09:49:04 +0200
        Subj:   Sv: SHK 10.1372 Re: Why isn't one a number


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 4 Aug 1999 08:59:23 EDT
Subject: 10.1372 Re: Why isn't one a number
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1372 Re: Why isn't one a number

> > In Rom 1.2.29, Capulet says:
>  >         Hear all, all see,
>  >         And like her most whose merit most shall be;
>  >         Which on more view of many, mine, being one,
>  >         May stand in number, though in reckoning none.

Aristotle and the (weak) pun, if indeed it is one, aside, Capulet's
meaning is still "take a look around you at all of the young ladies who
are here, talk to them, and choose the one who best appeals to you"
("Hear all, all see, / And like her most whose merit most shall be;").
"My daughter is among the general crowd of young, available women; to
that extent, she is in standing 'one of them,' " -- ("Which on more view
of many, mine, being one, / May stand in number,") "but when you have
checked them all out, you will find that she is by far the most fair"
("though in reckoning none").  I think the other gloss is greatly
confusing the issue, though of course it tangentially supports the idea
that, not being "one of them" (average), Juliet is "not among their
number" in terms of the quality of her charms.

Best,
Carol Barton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Wednesday, 4 Aug 1999 09:20:47 -0400
Subject: 10.1355 Why isn't one a number?
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1355 Why isn't one a number?

This complicated conceit refers to the doctrine adapted from Aristotle
by Neoplatonism that the quality of "number," being the quality of
division of the One, does not apply to unity.  As we might say zero is
not a quantity (although mathematicians would argue), before the concept
of "zero" made it to the West from the Arabs, "one" had the same kind of
ambiguous metaphysical status giving rise to the proverb cited in Hero
and Leander 261: "one is no number."

Capulet plays on this doctrine by claiming that Juliet may not seem so
wonderful when seen in a group where she is numbered among many.  Sonnet
136 "Among a number, one is reckon'd none" plays on the reference of
"none." None = nothing special vs. none = no number.  Similarly, sonnet
8's "Thou single wilt prove none." The verb "reckon" in both cases
evokes both counting and appraisal.

Clifford Stetner
C.W. Post College
www.columbia.edu/~fs10/cds.htm

Allan Blackman wrote:

>        Hear all, all see,
>        And like her most whose merit most shall be;
>        Which on more view of many, mine, being one,
>        May stand in number, though in reckoning none.
>

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Skovmand <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 5 Aug 1999 09:49:04 +0200
Subject: 10.1372 Re: Why isn't one a number
Comment:        Sv: SHK 10.1372 Re: Why isn't one a number

The discussion on Rom.1.2.32-33, about Juliet "being one/May stand in
number, though in reck'ning none," could be complicated even further, if
we relate this to Measure 2.4.56-57:"Our compelled sins/stand more for
number than for accompt" - i.e. the sins we are forced to do are
registered, but not "taken into account" - to use the relevant metaphor.
In other words, Capulet is playing with or conflating two metaphors
simultaneously: (1)the conventional notion that one is not a number ,
cp. Sonnet 136, and (2) the accountancy metaphor of numbering without
reckoning or taking into account - both of which underscore Capulet's
point that Juliet, although she will be present among the marriageable
girls at the ball, is not herself  on the market yet.
 

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