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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: Another Midsummer Query
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2540  Monday, 5 November 2001

[1]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Nov 2001 15:55:37 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[2]     From:   Ed Kranz <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Nov 2001 11:01:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[3]     From:   Tony Burton <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Nov 2001 12:04:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[4]     From:   Bruce Young <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Nov 2001 10:08:18 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[5]     From:   John Ramsay <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Nov 2001 12:30:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[6]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Nov 2001 12:36:48 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[7]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Saturday, 03 Nov 2001 00:34:39 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[8]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Nov 2001 19:19:49 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

[9]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Sunday, 04 Nov 2001 00:06:08 -0600
        Subj:   "made love" in MND


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Nov 2001 15:55:37 +0000
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

>How do we interpret Lysander's statement that "Demetrius, I'll avouch it
>to his head / Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena / And won her soul"
>(1.1.106-108) in light of the fact that Demetrius' statement about "the
>rich worth of (Helena's) virginity" (2.1.219)?
>
>In other words, at the risk of making my masculinity vulnerable, what
>does "made love" mean in 1.1?
>
>Paul Swanson

When I was an English kid in the '50s, 'making love' still did not have
its present meaning (or not in my area). It was much the same as 'paying
court' used to be.

Brian Haylett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Kranz <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Nov 2001 11:01:18 -0500
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

Well I do think it is obvious, "Made love" does not, in this context,
mean, as it does currently, sexual relations. It means wooed, courted or
something like that; a usage which persisted through the nineteenth
century and into the early twentieth. Witness Jane Austen, Edith
Wharton, Henry James and I daresay, countless others.

Ed Kranz

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony Burton <
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Date:           Friday, 2 Nov 2001 12:04:55 -0500
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

Paul  Swanson asks,

> How do we interpret Lysander's statement that "Demetrius, I'll avouch it
> to his head / Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena / And won her soul"
> (1.1.106-108) in light of the fact that Demetrius' statement about "the
> rich worth of (Helena's) virginity" (2.1.219)?
>
> In other words, at the risk of making my masculinity vulnerable, what
> does "made love" mean in 1.1?

Thinking of Hamlet's justification for sending R & G to their deaths,
that "they made love to their employment", it seems safe to interpret
the phrase in the broadest possible sense, indicating (embracing?) any
expression of fervent or unconditional commitment or loyalty, but
without necessarily implying visions of raised skirts and unlaced
codpieces, nor any need to disparage Paul's masculinity.

Tony B

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Nov 2001 10:08:18 -0700
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

Paul Swanson asks "what does 'made love' mean" in MND 1.1.106-08.

According to the OED (s.v. 'love' 7g) "to make love" means "to pay
amorous attention; now more usually, to copulate."

The quotations that follow indicate that in Shakespeare's time it meant
the former: "to pay amorous attention."  The change seems to have taken
place some time between 1860 and 1950 (probably closer to 1950, but with
some overlap: I remember in the 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life" the
line "Mother, he's making violent love to me").  Here are the first few
quotations from the OED:

1580 LYLY Euphues (Arb.) 290 A Phrase now there is which belongeth to
your Shoppe boorde, that is, to make loue. 1590 SHAKES.Mids. N. I. i.
107 Demetrius..Made loue to Nedars daughter.  1602  Ham. V. ii. 57 Why,
man, they did make loue to this imployment.  1605  Macb. III. i. 124
Thence it is That I to your assistance doe make loue. 1605  Lear V. iii.
88 If you will marry, make your loues to me.

Note that in this last quotation "make your loves to" means "court" or
"woo."  And in fact the verb "court" ("To pay court to, pay courteous
attention to; to try to win favour with. To pay amorous attention to,
seek to gain the affections of, make love to [with a view to marriage],
pay addresses to, woo") seems a good synonym for "make love."

Bruce Young

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Ramsay <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Nov 2001 12:30:09 -0500
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

> I have another Midsummer Query, one that is probably obvious but I have
> just missed somewhere.
>
> How do we interpret Lysander's statement that "Demetrius, I'll avouch it
> to his head / Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena / And won her soul"
> (1.1.106-108) in light of the fact that Demetrius' statement about "the
> rich worth of (Helena's) virginity" (2.1.219)?
>
> In other words, at the risk of making my masculinity vulnerable, what
> does "made love" mean in 1.1?
>
> Paul Swanson

'To make love' used to mean to court or flirt, not actually consummate.
Used in that sense in 'Tom Jones' which was written long after
Shakespeare's time.

Twas the 60's and the birth control pill that brought about the
'consummation devoutly to be wished' and changed making love to making
out -:)

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Nov 2001 12:36:48 -0800
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

Paul Swanson asks,

>How do we interpret Lysander's statement that "Demetrius, I'll avouch it
>to his head / Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena / And won her soul"
>(1.1.106-108) in light of the fact that Demetrius' statement about "the
>rich worth of (Helena's) virginity" (2.1.219)?

I think we must read this phrase as meaning wooing, not having sex with,
for two reasons.

1. In context, the love making is said to have "won her soul" which I
suppose is possible with intercourse, but more likely by fair speech
etc.  Wouldn't he need to win her soul before she would be willing to
have sex? Maybe, maybe not.

2. More significantly, elsewhere in Shakespeare, "make love" is clearly
used in the sense of woo.

EG Proteus: The picture that is hanging in your chamber;
        To that I'll speak, to that I'll sigh and weep:
        For since the substance of your perfect self
        Is else devoted, I am but a shadow;
        And to your shadow will I make true love.

     Hortensio: Now shall my friend Petruchio do me grace,
        And offer me disguised in sober robes
        To old Baptista as a schoolmaster
        Well seen in music, to instruct Bianca;
        That so I may, by this device, at least
        Have leave and leisure to make love to her
        And unsuspected court her by herself.

[This last is clear because we see Hortensio "making love" to Bianca
during his music lesson.]

I could find no instance in Shakespeare in which "make love" is clearly
used in its more modern sense.  The OED entry for make probably includes
the first use of the phrase "make love" in this sense, but I had not the
patience to read through it.

t.

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Saturday, 03 Nov 2001 00:34:39 -0500
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

> How do we interpret Lysander's statement that "Demetrius, I / Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena /

"Made love" means "courted", particularly via vows, flattery, gifts,
etc. This was its primary meaning until quite recently.  My grandmother
used this phrase for respectable courting among neighbors-- slightly
more raffish was "sparking". She would have been shocked to learn that
"making love" could be taken to refer to "country matters".

Geralyn Horton, Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.stagepage.org>

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[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Friday, 2 Nov 2001 19:19:49 -0000
Subject: 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2533 Another Midsummer Query

> How do we interpret Lysander's statement that "Demetrius, I'll avouch it
> to his head / Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena / And won her soul"
> (1.1.106-108) in light of the fact that Demetrius' statement about "the
> rich worth of (Helena's) virginity" (2.1.219)?
>
> In other words, at the risk of making my masculinity vulnerable, what
> does "made love" mean in 1.1?
>
> Paul Swanson

Courted (mostly verbally), not 'physically seduced'.

There are 52 entries citing the phrase, "make love", in OED2.  I refuse
to summarise these.

Robin Hamilton

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Sunday, 04 Nov 2001 00:06:08 -0600
Subject:        "made love" in MND

Paul Swanson asks,

<. . . what does "made love" mean in 1.1?>

courted; paid court to.  The phrase was still used in that sense in my
youth in N.Y.C. suburbs.  I rather think the fully erotic interp. was
not in use then.  Maybe the latest supplement to OED could tell us when
the erotic interp came in.

Cheers for lovemaking,
John

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