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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: James and Elizabeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1139  Friday, 2 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Andrew W. White <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jun 2000 09:32:42 -0400
        Subj:   James and Elizabeth

[2]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jun 2000 10:03:37 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1131 Re: James and Elizabeth

[3]     From:   Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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        Date:   Thursday, 1 Jun 2000 10:15:05 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1131 Re: James and Elizabeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew W. White <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jun 2000 09:32:42 -0400
Subject:        James and Elizabeth

Perhaps this is a bit off-topic, but Abigail Quart's sharp response
makes me wonder whether anyone on this list teaches the "Duchess of
Malfi" in this particular context-as a dramatist's thinly-veiled
meditation on James' mother.  Not that I've had the chance to do any
reading of the literature, but what is the current opinion on Webster's
source material?  What is the opinion on _Duchess_' relation to James'
family history?

Andrew White
Arlington, VA

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jun 2000 10:03:37 -0400
Subject: 11.1131 Re: James and Elizabeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1131 Re: James and Elizabeth

What Abigail Quart writes here is lovely propaganda, but atrocious
"history." I would suggest that anyone who has a deeper interest in this
subject resort to the nearest library, and check out some books by
people like Mackie and Kenyon and Hibbert and Coward and Wedgwood-and,
with some reservations, Hill-on the subject.

People were hardly as pusillanimous in the seventeenth century as Ms.
Quart suggests-and James's passion for the mother who had abandoned him
as an infant, ignored him as an adult, then sweetly offered to "allow"
him to "share" the English throne to which she had not a snowball's hope
in hell of claim, is well-documented. He had much more "love" (if you
can call it that) for the old lady who had her head. And that
"Protestant" male king had a Catholic mother, and a Catholic Queen. As
well as a number of homosexual favorites on whom he made no scruple of
doting publicly, before homosexuality was accorded its modern status in
polite society.

Carol Barton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Jun 2000 10:15:05 -0400
Subject: 11.1131 Re: James and Elizabeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1131 Re: James and Elizabeth

Florence Amit writes:

>Regarding the Hebrew: coming generations will reveal what you certainly
>do not know and I know somewhat.

I continue to find these assertions that Shakespeare had a scholar's
knowledge of Hebrew and the deviousness of mind to sneak Hebrew
references throughout his plays dubious at best.  I continue to find the
twisting of language all out of context to support a hobby-horse to
smack of Oxfordist conspiracy-theory kinds of thinking.  "Coming
generations" will be hard-pressed to find substantive support for these
word-games.

>You do not like the untidy way that I have arrived at this?
>Your privilege. I think it means something.

While we are each of us free to think whatever we like (all praise to
the Is), we need to have something more rational, more grounded in
actual evidence, and probably more systematic before we assert to a
scholarly group our thoughts and interpretations.  "Untidy" isn't
necessarily a problem; refusing to accept what a word means in general
usage in whatever language it exists is more than "untidy," however.  If
"he-bona" is not Latin, then it is not Latin.  Wishing won't make it
so.  Did Shakespeare know Latin?  The evidence for that knowledge is
certainly a great deal more reliable than for his knowing Hebrew to the
extent  you assert he did.

>given an elementary awareness of spoken European tongues -
>provides an unmistakable connotation.

Not necessarily.  The audience for Shakespeare's plays did not
necessarily speak any language but English.  I hope some of our more
scholarly listmembers can provide specifics on what linguality was like
in Elizabethan theatre audiences.  Nor does your finding deep meaning in
"he-bona" mean that Shakespeare's auditors would or did... nor does it
mean that Shakespeare was constructing, deliberately or subconsciously,
the secret hidden meanings that some take such pleasure in winkling out.

Ms Amit often contributes fascinating insights about the thematic and
character elements of Shakespeare's plays.  I read them always with deep
interest.  I cannot accept however her insistence on special insights
into Shakespeare's language choices.

Marilyn A. Bonomi
 

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