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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: May ::
Re: Senile Dementia
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1097  Saturday, 27 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 May 2000 08:49:09 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia

[2]     From:   Susan Brock <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 May 2000 17:05:35 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 11.1078 Senile Dementia

[3]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 May 2000 13:20:23 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia

[4]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 May 2000 12:06:32 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia

[5]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 May 2000 11:31:07 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia

[6]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 May 2000 11:31:07 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia

[7]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Saturday, May 27, 2000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 May 2000 08:49:09 -0700
Subject: 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1093 Re: Senile Dementia

David Shenk asks:

> Can anyone elaborate on why Shakespeare has Polonius lose his train of
> thought here? Is it simply to establish his old age -- or distractedness
> for some other reason?

I tend to look on it as an example of metadrama: Polonius is performing
a set-piece speech for Reynaldo, and one which anticipates most
questions, but is thrown off by Reynaldo's interjected agreement.  To
get him back on track, Reynaldo prompts him like an actor:  "At 'closes
in the consequence', at 'friend, or so', and 'gentleman'.  Having to
memorize his most casual speeches may or may not be evidence of waning
intellectual powers, but it does so a certain habitual effort at
self-control and calculated self-presentation.

> But "senile dementia" is still a highly
> relevent term when used in a less clinical setting. When it comes to a
> historical review -- and especially when dealing with fictional
> characters -- there isn't much point to using the most contemporary
> clinical term. I am using the term that most accurately, and generally,
> describes the condition of elderly people slipping into a state of
> dementia).

This is probably obvious, but I wonder whether you (or anyone else) have
looked at the contemporary descriptions of senility?

Cheers,
Se

 

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