Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2255  Monday, 1 October 2001

[1]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 28 Sep 2001 11:53:21 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[2]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 28 Sep 2001 09:31:03 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[3]     From:   Karen Peterson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 28 Sep 2001 10:00:40 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[4]     From:   Bruce Young <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 28 Sep 2001 12:30:41 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[5]     From:   Mari Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 28 Sep 2001 16:37:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 28 Sep 2001 11:53:21 -0400
Subject: 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

Is Jankowski's argument really as inane as the Guardian article makes it
seem?

Jeff Myers

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 28 Sep 2001 09:31:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

To Thomas Larque:

Valerie Traub is the primary authority on early modern English female
homoeroticism.

Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 28 Sep 2001 10:00:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

Thomas Larque wrote,

> I am interested in
> writing a detailed
> response to these claims and would therefore like to
> get hold of as many
> articles, essays and books making claims for
> lesbianism in Shakespeare's
> plays as I possibly can.  I would be very grateful
> if SHAKSPEReans would
> suggest any relevant works that I might usefully
> look into.

Valerie Wayne (ed), *The Matter of Difference:
Materialist Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare* is one place to start.
Valerie Traub has a book coming out in 2002, *The Renaissance of
Lesbianism in Early Modern England*. Traub's early '90s article, "The
(In)Significance of 'Lesbian' Desire in Early Modern England" has been
anthologized in a couple of collections (including, I *think*, *The
Matter of Difference* and also a collection called *Erotic Politics*)
and is considered an important piece on this issue.  Our own Richard
Burt has an article, "No Holes Bard: Homonormativity and the Gay and
Lesbian Romance with Romeo and Juliet" in *Shakespeare Without Class:
Misappropriations of Cultural Capital* (Donald Hedrick and Bryan
Reynolds, ed. and introd.).  A fair number of the monographs and
collections focusing on queer studies of Shakespeare touch on
lesbianism, although nowhere near the extent to which (male) gay themes
have been explored.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Karen Peterson

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Young <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 28 Sep 2001 12:30:41 -0600
Subject: 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

I just read the article in the Guardian and thought I'd quote and
comment on one example of Jankowski's reasoning.  She says: "If Hero [in
Much Ado] could have been unchaste with a strange man the night before
her wedding, then it's entirely possible she may have been unchaste with
her cousin."  Much, of course, hinges on this "could have" and "may
have."  Since Hero's being "unchaste with a strange man the night before
her wedding" is only the fabrication of Don John and Borachio (with some
help from Margaret), Jankowski's suggestion puts her in the same
position as Hero's accusers.

It's possible to read a play from the point of view of the villains and
those they deceive, but such a reading, at least in this case, doesn't
seem to me coherent.  Mainly because the event that supposedly "could
have" happened didn't.

The other bit of supposed evidence for this reading of Hero (her sharing
a bed with Beatrice) also leads to incoherence.  Some readers may find
it hard to believe that Beatrice and Hero could be bedfellows without an
erotic relationship.  But if that's the implication of their sharing a
bed, why don't any of the other characters notice it?  Or is there
evidence they do notice that audiences and critics have simply been
blind to for a few centuries?  (If so, show me.)  In fact, the text uses
this aspect of the two cousins' relationship mainly as a way of
defending Hero's honor.  (For one thing, the report that she and
Borachio have had "vile encounters . . . / A thousand times in secret"
is ridiculous if Beatrice has been with her every night except for the
one when the deception took place.)

Leafing through the play I just noticed the line "slander'd to death by
villains" (5.1.88).  I think this line could be taken metaphorically to
refer to the possible fate of plays and characters when subjected to
some of the more creative of current interpretations.

Bruce Young

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mari Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 28 Sep 2001 16:37:03 -0400
Subject: 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2248 "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

Hmmm... never considered most of the plays sited in this article but I
made the same argument in a grad school paper on Shakespeare's
homoerotic elements (I wrote it in 1998, I believe it was), about
Winter's Tale.

I alluded to the heavily erotic atmosphere in Cleopatra and noted as
well several lines between Desdemona and Emilia that met the same
criteria.

Makes sense to me, folks.

Mari Bonomi

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.