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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Stouthearted Men and JC and Mac. and Sex
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0608  Wednesday, 14 March 2001

[1]     From:   Gerda Grice <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Mar 2001 13:26:07 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0601 Re: Shakespeare Bashing

[2]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Mar 2001 18:04:53 -0600
        Subj:   JC and Mac. and Sex


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gerda Grice <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Mar 2001 13:26:07 -0800
Subject: 12.0601 Re: Shakespeare Bashing
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0601 Re: Shakespeare Bashing

I grew up in the day when the choices of literary works that had, I
guess, been deemed appropriate for high school boys in British
Commonwealth countries were also being taught to high school girls--even
in single sex girls' high schools. At my school, the High School for
Girls in Montreal, our reading list included not only JC, but also John
Buchan's Prester John, and a novel called Captains Courageous (can't
remember the author).  Then, in music class, one of the songs we were
taught to sing for the school concert was "Give Me Some Men Who Are
Stouthearted Men"!  Honest!  I guess that even as recently as the 50s,
the purpose of high schools was still thought to be the preparation of
boys for their future careers.

Gerda Grice

> The other thing about *JC* is that there's very little sex, apart from
> that brief reference to Antony in the early going.  Also true of *Mac*,
> which most of us older folk read in the 11th grade having read *JC* in
> 10th.
>
> Venerably,
> Dave Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Mar 2001 18:04:53 -0600
Subject:        JC and Mac. and Sex

Dave Evett remarks venerably:

>The other thing about *JC* is that there's very little sex, apart from
>that brief reference to Antony in the early going.  Also true of *Mac*,
>which most of us older folk read in the 11th grade having read *JC* in
>10th.

We must not overlook the lewd double entendre in Casca's account to
Brutus and Cassius of Caesar in the Marketplace.

". . . When [Caesar] came to himself again, he said if he had done or
said anything amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his
infirmity. Three or four wenches where I stood cried 'Alas, good soul!'
and forgave him with all their hearts.  But there's no heed to be taken
of them.  If Caesar had stabbed their mothers they would have done no
less."  (1.2.268-75)

*Stab* is always potentially an obscenity in Elizabethan English as
"die" also is. There is a comic epitaph for a London prostitute that
avers that "she had a sheath for every man's stab."

And Mistress Quickly protests against Falstaff who "stabbed me in mine
own house, most beastly in good faith.  'A cares not what mischief he
does; if his weapon be out, he will foin like any devil; he will spare
neither man, woman, nor child."  2H4 2.1.13 ff.

The historical Julius was much known for lechery.  It was said of him
that "No man was safe with him, nay nor no man's wife neither."

As for Mac. we see in Polanski's film how much sexual potential there is
in that play.  Kenneth Tynan said acidly of the sleepwalking scene in
which Lady M enters nude, "The Scottish doctor may not be able to
minister to a mind diseased, but in that icy castle at least he could
send the waitingwoman for a cloak."

Cheers,
John
 

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