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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2281  Wednesday, 3 October 2001

[1]     From:   Robert O'Connor <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Oct 2001 09:33:39 +1000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.2269 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[2]     From:   Scott Oldenburg <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Oct 2001 19:17:10 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2269 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

[3]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Oct 2001 11:18:58 +0000
        Subj:   It's all Greek to me.

[4]     From:   Ron Macdonald <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Oct 2001 10:24:52 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert O'Connor <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Oct 2001 09:33:39 +1000
Subject: 12.2269 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2269 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

Hidden lesbians in Shakespeare?  Well hidden indeed.  I have to wonder
when someone is going to venture an opinion on the mental gymnastics
involved in reading a lesbian relationship into the staged interaction
between two boys ...

Queer (or gay or whatever) readings of Shakespeare - and others -
certainly have their place.  I think there is a wealth of understanding
to be gained from examining various relationships in the plays in terms
of possible homosexuality - but only possible, and only when such an
approach is part of the critic's arsenal, rather than the whole of it.
Monolithic readings only ever undermine Shakespeare's standing as a big
gun in the Western canon.

Readings and performances which represent, for example, Bassanio and
Antonio's in *TMV* as actual or frustrated lovers create, I feel, a
distance between the play and the reader/spectator, subverting the
play's ability to communicate to a broad audience.  OK, so sometimes
this subversion is intentional ... but surely in an age when the
credibility and 'usefulness' of the humanities is under constant threat,
we should be putting forward reading of Shakespeare which broaden his
appeal, rather than limit it?

And after all, sometimes a cigar ...

Rob O'Connor

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Oldenburg <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Oct 2001 19:17:10 -0700
Subject: 12.2269 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2269 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

Perhaps I'm incorrect in saying so, but it seems that the criticism of
Professor Jankowski's work is based solely on a review which may or may
not be accurate.  Has anyone actually read the book under discussion?
If the answer is no, I think we are empowering the reviewer a bit more
than we ought.  I certainly wouldn't want anything I wrote to be judged
by one or two select sentences.

Personally, I've always suspected something between Titania and her
votress ; )

Cheers,
Scott

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Oct 2001 11:18:58 +0000
Subject:        It's all Greek to me.

>[1] From: Don Bloom

>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. [...]>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?

A lumberjack writes:

If (at least) 16 sources that Shakespeare could have read can be
speculated for his use of "Bow-wow" then I suppose it could be
conjectured that he might have heard ,during an evening of community
singing in the Mermaid , from the (? circa 14C) ballad of the Border
raids that "The Doughty Douglas[...] chose the Gordons and the Grahams,
the Lindsays sae bright and gay" to duff up Percy and burn the dells
o'Tyne wi' a lang spear in his haun.

On the other hand , Hotspur's "bright moon" might have to be reviewed
were this to be so. And it would leave American connotations behind the
drag curve.

(I think that gives an innuendo count of eight, less my title)

Best wishes,
Graham Hall

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Macdonald <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Oct 2001 10:24:52 -0400
Subject: Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"
Comment:        SHK 12.2255 Re: "Shakespeare's Hidden Lesbians"

Theodora Jankowski's "...in the Lesbian Void: Woman-Woman Eroticism in
Shakespeare's Plays" seems to me closely akin to the kind of
counter-factual character-mongering that regularly (and quite rightly)
draws the scorn and contumely of a band of regular SHAKSPERians.  Bruce
Young has a cogent objection to the logic of the argument, and Jeffrey
Myers wants to know if Jankowski's essay "is really as inane as the
Guardian article makes it seem" (pretty much so, I believe).  Don't some
of the perennial objectors to questions like those concerning little
Macbeths want to weigh in?

--Ron Macdonald

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