The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0381  Thursday, 15 February 2001

From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 14 Feb 2001 16:56:10 -0500
Subject: 12.0365 Re: Cressida
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0365 Re: Cressida

Carol Barton says that

>David [Lindley] is correct. The fact that I live in a quaint town by 21st century
>standards may mean that at first I am bewildered by Dame Alisoun's
>rhapsodies on her queynte ("quaint *what*?!) on first reading the
>_Canterbury Tales_ -- but a quick check of the glossary will disabuse me
>of my "modern" linguistic prejudices, and teach me that the word can
>indeed be a noun, in the 14th century.

Well, actually, your anecdote proves my point.  A person living in the
late Middle Ages or Early Modern period would not have need to consult a
glossary.  She would know about "quaint" and its various meanings, e.g.,
Quaint Ariel.

My point is a simple one -- you might say it's so simple that it need
not be made.  We humans have to reconstruct the past from our position
in the present. I think it's admirable that we humans are dedicated to
doing so.  But I think we should constantly remind ourselves -- as the
Roman conquerors were reminded -- we are only human, and cannot
transcend our time and place, our here and now.  Tragic?  You bet.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

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