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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: "What's in a name?"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1751  Friday, 13 July 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 08:43:13 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1740 Re: "What's in a name?"

[2]     From:   Stuart Taylor <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Jul 2001 01:22:32 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1740 Re: "What's in a name?"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 08:43:13 -0700
Subject: 12.1740 Re: "What's in a name?"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1740 Re: "What's in a name?"

>Tell me again that Shakespeare is NOT saying these boys raped England.
>Tell me again that he's given you no clue.

Abigail, Shakespeare in NOT saying these boys raped England with the
rose metaphor.  He did not give those clues.

>Mike, Mike, Mike, are you so sure that Shakespeare's the one who's
>incompetent here?

We agree on that!

Fantasy:
>Because I see a continuous underlying horror of civil war running through
>the plays doesn't mean anybody else will.

Reality:
One can see this theme running through these plays without resorting to
the sort of decoding you have exercised.

My response is basically to say I'm not going to give much of a
response.  I wrote that you had to read a whole paragraph between the
lines to come up with your interpretation of this scene.  I was wrong.
You needed a mini-essay to do it.  My case is that so much decoding
makes an interpretation tenuous.  Not necessarily wrong, but doubtful.
Some of the lines you quoted could also be decoded to mean that Satan
was behind it, but I won't go there, and would be disappointed in anyone
who did.

Further, I know from long experience that if someone is in love with
symbolism they will find it both where it is and where it is not.  Read
my friend Scott's defense of the movie *Exorcist II* in his book *The
Killer B's* for an extraordinary example of this.  And as someone I
greatly respect reminded me this week, it is rare to change another's
opinion through reason and evidence.  I have done enough reading in the
sociology of knowledge to know this, and should not have needed the
reminder.  You are clearly predisposed to look for these kinds of
symbols when a straightforward reading is adequate.  Bless your heart.
Have a nice life.

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Taylor <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Jul 2001 01:22:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 12.1740 Re: "What's in a name?"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1740 Re: "What's in a name?"

Mike Jensen said,  "Yes, the OED is flawed.  There are also words where
earlier precedents have been found than the OED records.  That does not
make it useless."

Robin Hamilton responded,  "I'd agree with Mike here, and it's never
going to be perfect, but it does get better."

Remarks that are far less "singularly trite" and "unexceptional" than
this have been regularly so labelled and dismissed on this thread.
What's gives here?

Besides, in this thread I have relied heavily on the OED and other such
sources and have never so much as suggested that they are useless.

The question was rather, given the imperfection of such texts in
capturing living language use, is it accurate to say that the
non-appearance of a word or phrase in such texts establishes or suggests
that the word/phrase in question was not in use during the period in
question?

And, does other "evidence" count, such as, let's stick with context for
the moment.  Why can't we work through the discussion of the context(s)
involved in any of the examples that have been presented?

Mike Jensen said,  "[Shakespeare] should have done a much better job
pointing out this meaning, if that meaning was intended."

Someone (I apologise, I can't find the exact remark) previously referred
to 'the difference between wit and smut.'  It seems to me that to expect
Shakespeare to point out his meanings is to expect smut rather than wit.

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