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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: July ::
Re: "carving to"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1392  Thursday, 13 July 2000.

[1]     From:   Scott Oldenburg <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 07:10:26 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1386 "carving to"

[2]     From:   Pervez Rizvi <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 21:34:17 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1386 "carving to"

[3]     From:   Ian Munro <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 14:38:43 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1386 "carving to"

[4]     From:   Werner Broennimann <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Jul 2000 11:37:22 +0100
        Subj:   carving to


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Oldenburg <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 07:10:26 -0700
Subject: 11.1386 "carving to"
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1386 "carving to"

Maybe the next lines in The White Devil might shed light.  Flamineo
says, "You need not have carved him in faith, they say he is a capon
already." David Gunby suggests carved as castrated which explains
Flamineo's pun (carve as give choice pieces of meat or cutting and capon
as fattened rooster or castrated rooster). But Flamineo's pun does not
rule out the idea that carve could have a sexual connotation.   I'd like
to hear more.

Best,
Scott Oldenburg

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pervez Rizvi <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 21:34:17 +0100
Subject: 11.1386 "carving to"
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1386 "carving to"

Another parallel occurs in The Two Noble Kinsmen where, in the 1634
quarto, the Doctor gives the following advice to the Wooer:

...........................................desire
To eate with her, crave her, drinke to her, and still
Among, intermingle your petition of grace and acceptance
Into her favour:

(scene 4.3 in modern editions)

Editors emend 'crave' to 'carve'. Nigel Bawcutt, the New Penguin editor,
comments: "The usual form of this phrase at the time would be 'carve to
her', that is, serve up her food with great ceremony, treating her as a
high-born lady. The construction used here may sound odd, but is found
in other plays by Fletcher."

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ian Munro <
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Date:           Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000 14:38:43 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: 11.1386 "carving to"
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1386 "carving to"

Frank Whigham writes:

>In The White Devil Vittoria Corombona, learning that her husband is
>displeased with her, says, "I did nothing to displease him, I carved to
>him at supper-time" (1.2.126, Revels ed.). This passage is variously
>glossed. It appears that many believe that carving at table contained a
>semiotics of erotic content. Lucas, for instance (a widely-read
>annotator), glosses the phrase as follows:
>
>"Carving" was the term for a curious Elizabethan manner of making
>advances by signalling with the fingers -- a sort of digitary ogle.

[snip]

>Do others have light to shed on this usage?

Support for the "semiotics of erotic content" can be found in Heywood's
translation of Ovid's _The Art of Love_ (which I dug out of the Chadwyck
Healey poetry database):

    In wine much hidden talke thou maist inuent:
    To giue thy Lady note of thy intent.
    To tell her thou art hers and she is thine,
    Thus euen at board make loue tricks in the wine.
    Nay, I can teach thee though thy tongue be mute,
    How with thy speaking eye to moue thy suite:
    Good language may be made in lookes and wincks,
    Be first that takes the cup wherein she drinks.
    And note the very place her lip did such
    Drinke iust at that, let thy regard be such.
    Or when she carues, what part of all the meate,
    She with her finger tuch that cut and eate:
    Or if thou carue to her or, she to thee,
    Her hand in taking it touch cunningly. (Book 1, lines 746-59)

I don't have a copy of _The Art of Love_ at hand, so I don't know what
liberties Heywood is taking with the original.

Ian Munro

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Werner Broennimann <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Jul 2000 11:37:22 +0100
Subject:        carving to

Tilley C110 "To be one's own carver" cites R2 2.3.144, Ham 1.3.20 and
Oth. 2.3.173.  In his edition of Othello (Englisch-deutsche
Studienausgabe, T

 

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