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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2269  Tuesday, 2 October 2001

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Monday, 01 Oct 2001 12:55:41 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 01 Oct 2001 14:31:08 -0400
        Subj:   Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Monday, 01 Oct 2001 18:04:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[4]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 Oct 2001 20:46:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Monday, 01 Oct 2001 12:55:41 -0500
Subject: 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

I don't want to be difficult but I'm having some difficulty keeping up
with the terminology in the discussion of "non-hetero" sexuality in
Shakespeare.

For instance, back in the 60's, when I first became aware of these
concepts as something more complex than the source of schoolyard
sniggering, "queer" was a rude term for male homosexuals, equivalent to
"fag" and "fruit." It now seems to be a serious critical concept, but I
could use a good working definition of just what that concept is.

Likewise, I considered myself quite hip at the time for knowing what
"gay" meant well ahead of many of my peers -- a male homosexual
subculture term for themselves, equivalent in meaning to "queer" (etc.)
but not rude. It now seems to be used sometimes in that way, and
sometimes as referring to all non-hetero relationships.

Has this shift in meaning or tenor come about because British writers,
equally interested in the scholarly / critical problem of the non-hetero
in WS, began using these terms without knowing about their American
connotations? Or something else?

Just wondering,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 01 Oct 2001 14:31:08 -0400
Subject:        Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians

Bruce Young may be right about the deficient nature of Jankowski's
scholarship and reasoning, but it's well to remember that not too long
ago scholars explained the close relationships of many New England women
of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century as "asexual" "Boston
marriages." More recent research reveals, however, that some of these
"Boston marriages" were indeed consummated, so to speak.

--Ed Taft

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Monday, 01 Oct 2001 18:04:00 -0400
Subject: 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

The following has been cited as

> 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."

Is this what passes for reasoning these days?  If John slept with his
wife before they were married, it is entirely possible that he slept
with her brother afterwards.

I suppose the argument is that if Hero was so debauched that she would
screw a strange man the might before her wedding she could have been
perverse enough to have a lesbian relationship with her cousin.  In
other words, if she had such uncontrollable heterosexual urges, she must
have been an incestuous lesbian as well.  But we know that Hero did not
sleep with a strange man, so does it follow that she also did not sleep
with Beatrice?

The syllogism attributed to Jankowski is more than fallacious; it is so
patently absurd as to call into question its author's intelligence.  Did
Jankowshi really make such an argument, or is it a gross
misrepresentation by someone who didn't understand what she did write?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Monday, 1 Oct 2001 20:46:52 -0400
Subject: 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

I think Jankowski could have found many more convincing examples. The
Carl Miller book I cited earlier, Stages of Desire, has an interesting
chapter called "Lesbian Double Cherries" about early modern
female-female relationships.  Rosalind/Celia is quite convincing, and if
you accept The Two Noble Kinsmen as a Shakespeare or part-Shakespeare
play, it's in the text, not even subtext.

Dana Shilling

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