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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Othello Query
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0716  Saturday, 24 March 2001

From:           Will Sharpe <
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Date:           22 Mar 2001 15:41:33 GMT
Subject:        Othello Query

Dear all,

Bullough cites John Pory's 1600 tranlation of Africanus' 'A Geographical
Historie of Africa' as one of the source texts "which Shakespeare almost
certainly consulted". What I am chiefly interested in are the cultural
stereotypes offered by this text - that Barbary Moors are naturally
predisposed to jealousy, are gullible and "will rather lease their
lives, than put up with any disgrace in the behalf of their women", and
what I basically want to know is the extent to which this text
introduces these ideas. My theory is that these discourses belong more
to society at large, and that they were not new to Shakespeare when he
(allegedly) came to read Africanus, yet would really appreciate some
'occular proof', so to speak.

I also appreciate that this book was published in the same year as the
visit by the Moorish ambassadors to Elizabeth's court, but I am more
interested in the Elizabethan perception of Moors up until this point.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,
Will Sharpe.

p.s. A big hand for Eric Luhrs!

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