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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: "What's in a name?"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1701  Friday, 6 July 2001

[1]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Jul 2001 09:33:49 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.1692 A rose is a rose?

[2]     From:   Stevie Gamble <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Jul 2001 13:12:35 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1692 Re: "What's in a name?"

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Jul 2001 20:49:28 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1692 Re: "What's in a name?"

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 Jul 2001 22:27:08 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1692 Re: "What's in a name?"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Jul 2001 09:33:49 -0400
Subject: 12.1692 A rose is a rose?
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.1692 A rose is a rose?

"Ms or Mr. Hamilton's example was "cat." I'll use "rose." See, I know
it's a flower. As a noun. I also know that, as a flower, it has been
sacred to many goddesses, including Aphrodite and the current Queen of
Heaven, Mary. It was also used to describe Elizabeth I of England. The
pattern of its inner petals resembles a woman's intimate parts which is
probably how "rose" became a synomym for those, too."

I'd just like to point out that this proves rather than disproves the
argument about context. First of all, "rose" can be a verb, the past
tense of "rise," and we know the difference from context alone (the two
meanings have the same pronunciation). So without context your specific
example is, if not meaningless, at least ambiguous.

Second, the meanings which rose "accrues to its little, four-letter
self" are anything but without context. I have taught students who know
perfectly well that a rose is a beautiful flower that smells nice and is
the traditional gift of love on Valentine's Day (especially in red), but
who do not know the connections with various goddesses or Elizabeth I.
They would respond to Elton John's version of "Candle in the Wind"
because of their cultural context - flowers are beautiful, short lived
when cut and a traditional gift of love.  But they wouldn't (didn't,
when we discussed this) think that Elton John was comparing Diana to a
former queen of England who was also beloved and well dressed. Their
context and my context for the song are different, althogh there is
certainly overlap.

"BTW, traffic signs are notoriously short on context. Should one not
stop at STOP signs because of their meaninglessness?"

Traffic signs are not at all short on context, unless you artificially
limit context to mean "other words in the same sentence." To drive in
America you have to take a test which involves correctly identifying the
shape and color of certain signs, so that you know how to respond even
if you can't read the word (or at least, that was a requirement when I
took the test). If I saw a hand lettered sign reading "stop" on a
telephone pole, I would not stop because that "stop" would have no
context for me. In South Philly, where I used to live, "stop" signs were
almost (dare I say) universally understood to mean "slow down unless
there's a cop nearby" and I actually saw a very near accident when
someone came to a full stop and almost got rear ended by the driver who
knew the local context of "stop."

To bring this back to Shakespeare, "a rose by any other name would smell
as sweet." The collection of letters is not what gives meaning, and even
when we have become used to a collection of letters having a specific
meaning, it is still the contexts - literary, cultural and otherwise -
which do most of the work of carrying the sense.

Annalisa Castaldo
Temple University

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stevie Gamble <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Jul 2001 13:12:35 EDT
Subject: 12.1692 Re: "What's in a name?"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1692 Re: "What's in a name?"

From:   Janet Costa 
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>  So. Have we decided that the Renaissance was keeping their discovery of
>  Viagra a secret?

Well, of course.

Now that it's been explained to us it's pretty obvious that the
alchemists genetically modified cantharides, and that the subsequent
product was marketed secretly to a number of rich and powerful
individuals in proto-capitalist enclaves such as Verona in order to
enable and sustain the patriarchal structure which, without
pharmacological support, might have withered away (with the transient
and fleeting erection) to return to the more open, inclusive and
people-based norm of reciprocity which had preceded it.

Of course, like all good theories, it is of universal application.
Consider Archimedes' assertion on the action of a lever:

'Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the
earth.'

Now that our eyes are opened to the identity of and identification with
the penis/testacles, we note that lever=penis and earth=ball, as well as
the other way round, and can see, at last, what Archimedes was really
saying. All that remains is to discover what drugs he was doing...

Best wishes
Stevie Gamble

From:           Abigail Quart <
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wrote, of Elton John's choice of the word 'rose' for the reworking of
'Candle
in the Wind',

 >Yeah. He coulda said "daffodil."

 No. It's got too many syllables.

 Best wishes,
 Stevie Gamble

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Jul 2001 20:49:28 +0100
Subject: 12.1692 Re: "What's in a name?"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1692 Re: "What's in a name?"

From:           Stuart Taylor <
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"I do think the context of a word

 

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