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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0704  Saturday, 24 March 2001

[1]     From:   Vick Bennison <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Mar 2001 09:30:45 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0690 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Mar 2001 16:32:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0690 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Vick Bennison <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Mar 2001 09:30:45 EST
Subject: 12.0690 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0690 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

I'm sure this has been brought up before (I may even have read it
somewhere something tells me) but in reading Tempest again last night, I
noticed that Caliban says something to the effect of "may a southwest
wind blow on you and blister you all over".  A southwest wind in England
would not blister you, nor would it on any likely island in the New
World.  In much of the Mediterranean it could, however, since it would
be blowing from Saharan Africa, probably bringing some of the sand with
it?  I'd like to propose the (to this day) uninhabited Pelagian Islands
to the east of Tunis as a possible location, though as has been pointed
out, it is truly unnecessary to propose any real island (I mean, was
Gilligan's Island real?).  There are two other things.  You will recall
that Antonio and friends kidnapped Prospero and Miranda at night and set
them adrift in a leaky old boat.  How did they get the leaky old boat
all the way into the Atlantic near Bermuda?  Secondly, Sycorax was
banished to the island from Algiers Would the good folks of Algeria
really go to the trouble to take a pregnant witch all the way to Bermuda
to banish her?  There is a long history of people being banished to
islands in the Mediterranean.  Were the Algerians really that hard up to
find a place to maroon her?  If Shakespeare had intended the island to
be in the New World he did a very poor job of organizing the plot
elements.  Furthermore, if he had any real interest in describing
colonialism, he would have done much better to have an indigenous
population on the island, not just a first generation half-demon ("if
your cat has her kittens in the oven would you call them muffins?").
Most days I think that Shakespeare was a whole lot smarter than I am,
and I therefore give him the benefit of the doubt.  Shakespeare's
audience was seafaring savvy and I'm sure he expected them to
immediately figure out that this island was meant to be in the
Mediterranean.

- Vick Bennison

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Mar 2001 16:32:55 -0500
Subject: 12.0690 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0690 Re: Kermode (Tempest Reference)

Clifford Stetner graciously notes that his extrapolation from the
comment I made about "double space"

> to refute the point that Kermode heavily relied on, that the
> geographical location of the island was not consistent with new world
> colonialism.  [which] was supposed to invalidate all post colonialist
> readings.  ... should not have imputed these implications to [me] or the
> further implication he tried to draw from it that Shakespeare should not
> be read politically at all.

Thank you.  I do believe that Shakespeare made political points, but I
doubt very much that he made political points which were not in vogue
until the late twentieth century.
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