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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: April ::
Re: The Topic
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0662  Monday, 3 April 2000.

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Mar 2000 10:59:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Mar 2000 18:22:48 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0637 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

[3]     From:   Susan Neill <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Mar 2000 16:32:40 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0637 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

[4]     From:   Simon Malloch <
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        Date:   Saturday, 01 Apr 2000 16:06:53 +0800
        Subj:   The Rise and Rise of Richard Burt

[5]     From:   Simon Malloch <
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        Date:   Sat, 01 Apr 2000 16:07:07 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0608 The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

[6]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Sunday, 2 Apr 2000 23:01:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

[7]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Sunday, 2 Apr 2000 23:01:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

[8]     From:   Judith Matthews Craig <
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        Date:   Sunday, 2 Apr 2000 23:01:13 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Friday, 31 Mar 2000 10:59:18 -0500
Subject: 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

Gabriel Egan wrote

> Giulio Romano's I modi erotic drawings (16 of them) were widely
> disseminated through Europe as engravings and depicted a variety of
> positions of sexual intercourse; Shakespeare probably saw them in this
> form, and would certainly at least have heard of them and their content.
> Aretino, Romano's friend, claimed to have been inspired by the erotic
> pictures to write 16 sonnets. There are references to Aretino in
> Jonson's Volpone (1605-6) and The Alchemist (1610) as well as in Thomas
> Nashe's 1594 novel The Unfortunate Traveller.

Of course, there is a reference to Romano himself in WT,V.ii.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 31 Mar 2000 18:22:48 +0100
Subject: 11.0637 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0637 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

David Lindley has already noted that even the most liberal of us don't
really believe in complete freedom of speech. Melissa Cook seems to hold
up the absolutist position:

> Allowing messages which cite porn or any other controversial
> material on the list does not mean that the list, its members, or
> its editor support pornography.  It simply means that the list
> supports the free speech of the person making the posting.
> Nothing more.

Surprisingly, no one took the bait of my offering racism as a topic upon
which liberals run hard up against their own prejudices. That is to say,
defenders of free speech often get uncomfortable when asked to defend
the right of racists to spread their filth. Actually, this issue was
scarcely address by respondents, most of whom asserted-as Melissa Cook
does-that they support free speech without addressing the boundary
cases. Perhaps racism was not a clear enough example, so might I offer
"holocaust denial" as a better test? I'd be surprised if SHAKSPERians
defended a listmember's right to assert that the Nazis didn't murder
millions of Jews, communists, gypsies, and others.

The liberal defence of free speech as an absolute (based on a false
distinction between saying and doing) betrays a failure to grasp
post-Saussurian linguistics' principle that language is not an innocent
window on the world; it is itself performative.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan Neill <
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Date:           Friday, 31 Mar 2000 16:32:40 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 11.0637 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0637 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

Melissa wrote:

<<Discussion of whether or not pornography is
exploitation is very interesting and
relevant but doesn't have much to do with the list
itself.>>

Personally, this discussion has made me think more about how I define
"pornography" than whether or not "porn." is exploitation. I think I
believe that only sexual "material" - movies, live shows, magazines,
whatever - that DOES exploit is pornographic. I've seen only one "hard
core" (genetalia obviously visible and the sex was not simulated) movie
(by mistake, believe it or not....really). I didn't watch the whole
thing; what I did watch was boring as hell but I'm not sure it was
pornographic. There was no violence. No one was forcefully causing
someone else physical pain or humiliation for his/her own sexual
gratification.  If there had been violence, I would have turned it off
immediately (what happens to the "actors," etc.  working in the
"porn"/adult entertainment industry is a different topic, I think).

Anyway, I don't think that the many sexual references, etc. in WS's
writings can be classified as pornography.  "Erotica" is a better
descriptor for these references in some plays and "bawdiness" for
others. It seems to me that WS had a healthy attitude about sex and the
human body and knew that these references got the laughs and pissed off
the "puritans."

Susan Neill

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <
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Date:           Saturday, 01 Apr 2000 16:06:53 +0800
Subject:        The Rise and Rise of Richard Burt

Recent discussion has focused on the presence or promotion of
pornography on this list.  Frankly,  the primary issue is not the
'promotion' of porn,  but rather the 'promotion' of Richard Burt.

Richard Burt is a vigorous self-promoter:  a web-site,  notices about
his book and its sales,  about book reviews,  about conference and
personal appearances (even of his wife!),  naming dropping of academic
supporters,  and,  of course,  these postings about Shakespeare and
porn.  These latter are,  to my mind,  less about porn and more about
Richard Burt promoting himself and his own brand of Shakespearean
cultural criticism.

If one objects to the man's self-advertisement, then that is reason
enough to press the delete key.

Simon Malloch.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Malloch <
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Date:           Sat, 01 Apr 2000 16:07:07 +0800
Subject: 11.0608 The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0608 The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

Professor Jean Peterson writes:

> I have found that an excellent teaching method is to occasionally shut
> my mouth and listen, without judgment or condescension, to what my
> students have to say.  If women approximately half my age tell me they
> find it empowering to call each other "bitch," or that they enjoy
> pornography, who am I to tell them they must be misguided or mistaken?
>

If your statement read "If men approximately...", would you still sit
back, listen, and respect?

At any rate,  I find it fascinating that your relativism stops at the
undergraduate classroom door.  Because, indeed, who are you to tell
Gabriel Egan that his is misguided or mistaken?

Simon Malloch.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
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Date:           Sunday, 2 Apr 2000 20:18:54 -0500
Subject: 11.0608 The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0608 The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

Marilyn Bonomi writes:

<The sexual contents and contexts of Shakespeare's work <is a most
<appropriate subject for this list; in fact, we've debated <Sonnet 20
here
<as I recall.  (Yes, I believe it is distinctly a homoerotic <and
perhaps
<homosexual poem.  Is it Shakespeare or a constructed <voice who utters
<those sentiments?    Now THERE is a topic worthy of <SHAKSPER debate!)

If we have a topic of debate here, I would like someone to convince me
that Sonnet 20 is "a distinctly homoerotic and perhaps homosexual poem."
I have been on and off this list and have never seen it debated-perhaps
I should search the archives.  However, I cannot believe that the
speaker of this poem is a "constructed voice" of Shakespeare the
homosexual:  in short (not a slur for the penis), I protest that Sonnet
20 is homosexual in intent:  in fact,  it seems to me to say the
opposite in plain English:

        And by addition me of thee defeated,
        By adding one thing to my purpose nothing:
                        But since she pricked thee out for
                                    women's pleasure,
                        Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their
                                     treasure.
                                       ( lines 11-14)

I seems to me that Southampton here is the homosexual, not Shakespeare,
especially since he had been advocating marriage for this young man in
the earlier sonnets.

I realize that this argument is old and probably demolished to most
current readers' satisfaction; however, I retaliate with the intended ad
hominem slur that to the sexual mind, everything is sexual, (I can give
Biblical references for this one).  Moreover, why did W. H. Auden
equivocate on such an important matter (see the NYR March 23)?
Moreover, I think the whole context of Shakespeare's entire work negates
this possibility.

Can you make Cymbeline or Pericles into a homosexual advance on the
audience?  What about Troilus and Cressida?

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
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Date:           Sunday, 2 Apr 2000 22:44:50 -0500
Subject: 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

Mike Jensen writes:

<We can
<make guesses, as I said, but they are only <guesses.  They will come to
<no satisfying conclusion, and can not since this <debate was not
current
<for him.

I guess we can then decide that all critical effort in Shakespeare
studies is meaningless since the author is dead and that any stab anyone
makes at interpreting Shakespeare is as good as any other.

For some reason-maybe it is age and irritability-I cannot accept your
muddleheadness on this issue.  I think Shakespeare can be known fairly
and convincingly; good and talented minds have been working on this
problem for a long time with fruitful results.  Personally, I hate
seeing a man of character and literary ability maligned just because
certain of us are too weak-willed and lazy to defend him.

Best,
Judy Craig

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Matthews Craig <
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Date:           Sunday, 2 Apr 2000 23:01:13 -0500
Subject: 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0624 Re: The Topic that Will Not Speak Its Name

Gabriel Egan writes:

<Giulio Romano's I modi erotic drawings (16 of <them) were widely
<disseminated through Europe as engravings and <depicted a variety of
<positions of sexual intercourse; Shakespeare <probably saw them in this
<form, and would certainly at least have heard of <them and their
content.

I thought it was common knowledge that these drawings were the subtext
of the statue of Hermione coming to life in The Winter's Tale.

Judy Craig
 

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