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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: October ::
Re: Fops
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1915  Tuesday, 10 October 2000.

[1]     From:   Werner Broennimann <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Oct 2000 19:07:31 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 11.1869 Re: Fops

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Oct 2000 14:45:51 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1896 Re: Fops

[3]     From:   Rita Lamb <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Oct 2000 21:45:26 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1896 Re: Lapwings


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Werner Broennimann <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Oct 2000 19:07:31 +0100
Subject: Re: Fops
Comment:        SHK 11.1869 Re: Fops

Harry Hill's reference to Edmund's use of "fop" in King Lear I.2.14
challenges the usual explanations of the word.  Kenneth Muir (Arden 2)
glosses: "fools; not as after the Restoration, dandies", and Weis, Halio
and Foakes all follow suit.  In this interpretation, Edmund refers to
Edgar as a fool, because he can easily dupe or deceive him (" to fop"),
as he subsequently demonstrates.  Stanley Gardner, in his Warwick
edition of the play (1969) cites Burton's Anatomy I.2.1.6, where it is
most discomfortingly explained why scholars beget foolish children:
"they pay their debt (as Paul calls it) to their wives remissly, by
which means their children are weaklings, and many times idiots and
fools."  Pre-Restoration occurrences of "fop" do indeed mainly imply
gullibility or exploitability, but occasionally foppishness is linked
with sartorial excess, as in Marston's Antonio's Revenge (1602), part
II, IV.3.136: "Foole, fop, foole? Marry muffe. I pray you, how manie
fooles haue you seene goe in a suite of Sattin?"  In productions of the
play, it is interestingly often Edmund, not Edgar, who appears in
dandylike apparel, as witnessed by Mark Lockyer, replacing Owen Teale,
in the 1993 RSC Lear featuring the late Robert Stephens in the title
role.

Werner Br

 

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