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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: October ::
Re: Holinshed Anecdote
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1910  Tuesday, 10 October 2000.

[1]     From:   David Crosby <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Oct 2000 08:45:01 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line

[2]     From:   Peterson-Kranz Karen <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Oct 2000 09:12:54 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Oct 2000 20:40:29 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Crosby <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Oct 2000 08:45:01 -0500
Subject: 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line

D. G. Hales is right on when he labels passage this a standard wartime
atrocity story. Still a very effective one. I can remember that little
thrill of dread when I first read this last verse from Kipling's "The
Young British Soldier" in _Barrack Room Ballads_.

        When you're wounded an' left on Afghanistan's plains,
        And the women come out to cut up your remains,
        Just roll to your rifle an' blow out your brains,
        An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peterson-Kranz Karen <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 9 Oct 2000 09:12:54 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line

I was quite positive that Jodi Mikalachki had taken up this bit from
Holinshed in her *Legacy of Boadicea* (1998), but now I cannot find it.
While searching, I did come across this anecdote, also from Holinshed --
an equal opportunity atrocity.  According to the chronicler, the troops
under Boadicea's command "spared neither age nor sex: women of great
nobility and worthy fame, they took and hanged up naked, and cutting off
their paps, sewed them to their mouths, that they might seem as if they
sucked and fed on them, and some of their bodies they stretched out in
length, and thrust them on sharp stakes" (qtd. p. 14).  Mikalachki
devotes most of a later chapter to analysis of this (supposed?)
incident.  Yum, yum.

Cheers,
Karen Peterson-Kranz
University of Guam

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Oct 2000 20:40:29 -0700
Subject: 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1898 Re: Bullough On-Line

D. G. Hale writes:

> I recall reading somewhere that Holinshed and Shakespeare are giving us
> a euphemized version of the Welsh women's castrating the English dead
> and doing something worse with the members. Standard wartime atrocity
> story, which could range from historical truth to demonizing propaganda.

I would tend to think that the fact that no one would talk about it
might indicate that it was more likely to be true.  What use is a lie if
you can't retail it to your advantage?  I understand that one of the
reasons that the death camps were not much spoken of in allied presses
during the Second World War is that everyone would have dismissed such
stories as propaganda.  Of course, I may be wrong in my example--and in
the case of the atrocity which started all this, we'll probably never
know if it occurred--but my point is that the horror of such events can
lead to their being dismissed as propaganda, as much as it may lead to
their being cited as propaganda.

What strikes me as really interesting about these atrocities, by the
way, is that they constitute a sort of rape in reverse, violating an
orifice with the victim's own phallus.

Cheers,
Se

 

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