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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: Isabella's Chastity
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1149  Monday, 5 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Jun 2000 11:30:20 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Isabella's Chastity

[2]     From:   Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Jun 2000 12:29:36 -0400
        Subj:   Shakespeare and Mothers

[3]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Monday, June 05, 2000
        Subj:   Re: Isabella's Chastity


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Jun 2000 11:30:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Isabella's Chastity

To David Bishop. Nothing is inarguable unless one or more of the
participants decides that his or her position is dogma.  There's a lot
more to say about MM, but if this is the end of the discussion, so be
it.

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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Date:           Friday, 2 Jun 2000 12:29:36 -0400
Subject: Mothers (was Re: SHK 11.1143 Re: Isabella's
Comment:        Shakespeare and Mothers (was Re: SHK 11.1143 Re: Isabella's
Chastity)

Florence Amit perceptively observes:

"Ever since the ancient matriarchs were displaced by male shamans, women
have heard shrilled "the children" "the family".  They and those
following knew and know that women are sensitive to those cries, which
they vocalize with effect. But my remark is that first a woman must be a
human person before she is a mother."

If I might, I'd like to spin off from this thread a new one.  How does
Shakespeare treat women as mothers?  Two who come immediately to mind
are Lady Cap. and Hermione.

The former is one of the more self-absorbed of Shakespeare's mothers,
mocking her husband ("A crutch, a crutch!  Why call you for a sword?")
and urging her daughter to marry "now" despite Lord Capulet's desire to
postpone such a wedding (and promoting Paris as wealthy and highly
placed).  My students find her grief at Juliet's apparent death
puzzling, given that only virtual moments before she's said "I would the
fool were married to her grave."

The latter's cause is her own honor, a human person before she is a
mother, though she certainly loves her children.   "I have that
honorable grief which burns worse than tears drown"-it is her own
integrity, which only by extension covers the children, that she
protests here.

Both the above statements are simplistic, I know-I throw them on the
metaphorical table only to spark debate on the general topic of
Shakespeare's mothers.

Marilyn A. Bonomi

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Monday, June 05, 2000
Subject:        Re: Isabella's Chastity

Theodora A. Jankowski has an interesting article in *Shakespeare
Studies* (26: 218-255), in which she considers "the position occupied by
adult virgin women as a queer space within the early modern Protestant
sex/gender system." She uses "the term 'queer' to define not only
varieties of nonheterosexual activity, but also to define
nonreproductive heterosexual activity and nonsexual erotic activity
(218)" Janowski coins the term "queer virgin," which she applies to
Isabella of *Measure for Measure* and Lady Happy of *The Convent of
Pleasures."
 

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