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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Re: Which Potato
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1431  Friday, 8 June 2001

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 07 Jun 2001 12:54:09 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1413 Which Potato

[2]     From:   Paul E. Doniger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 7 Jun 2001 18:32:37 -0400
        Subj:   Fw: SHK 12.1413 Which Potato


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 07 Jun 2001 12:54:09 -0400
Subject: 12.1413 Which Potato?
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1413 Which Potato?

Barrett Fisher asks:

>If in fact the sweet (or Spanish) potato is the stimulus to lustful
>behavior referred to, is the "Shakespeare Lexicon" in error?  Can we be
>fairly confident that Shakespeare himself would have made such a
>distinction?

In the Arden edition of TRO, Bevington does not distinguish between
common and sweet potato (see note on 5.2.56 -- with an anecdote about
the Eighth Army in 1943!).  But Gordon Williams in Glossary of
Shakespeare's Sexual Language asserts that it's the sweet potato.  Of
course, we can't be completely sure which potato Shakespeare thought was
an aphrodisiac.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul E. Doniger <
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Date:           Thursday, 7 Jun 2001 18:32:37 -0400
Subject: 12.1413 Which Potato?
Comment:        Fw: SHK 12.1413 Which Potato?

In the Arden Shakespeare (Kenneth Palmer, ed.), the only note on this
line suggests the aphrodisiac quality of "unfamiliar foods." Perhaps it
is the "exotic" nature of the potato that is of interest here. This
seems logical, since in the folio, the first letter of the word Luxury
(which often meant 'lechery') is capitalized. If that's the case, it
seems that the Lexicon reference would be correct.

There also is a note about the potato reference in Merry Wives
(5.5.18-19), but no distinction regarding white or sweet.

Paul E. Doniger

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