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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare and Sex
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0625  Monday, 4 March 2002

[1]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Mar 2002 17:29:08 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex

[2]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Mar 2002 18:14:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex

[3]     From:   Brandon Toropov <
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        Date:   Saturday, 2 Mar 2002 06:23:53 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex

[4]     From:   David Wallace <
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        Date:   Saturday, 02 Mar 2002 12:47:20 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Mar 2002 17:29:08 -0000
Subject: 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex

> I have read, I forget where, that the
> adjective "best" was a misreading of the text of Shakespeare's will, and
> he actually wrote "brown." Anyone know?  Has anyone looked at the
> _actual_ will, and have any Shakespearean scholars made their
> determinations?  If so, it would seem to defuse a lot of the negative
> interpretation about Shakespeare's morality, agreed? ]

The nearest example to this that I am aware of in Shakespeare studies
was A.L.Rowse's claim that Emilia Lanier was "brown" and that this was
supporting evidence for her being Shakespeare's Dark Lady when the
document actually read "brave".  I hope I have remembered that anecdote
correctly.

As for whether Shakespeare's bed was "best" or "brown", I am
three-quarters of the way through a Palaeography course, learning to
read Renaissance Secretary Hand, so am no great expert, but judging by
the facsimile of the will published in Samuel Schoenbaum's "A
Documentary Life" there seems no reasonable doubt that the word is
"best".  The handwriting is rather small and scratchy, since the gift of
the bed is part of an interlineation (and I would guess that Schoenbaum
reduces the will in his copy), but I cannot see any way that the letter
shapes involved could be imagined to be "brown" and there is a very
clear Secretary Hand reversed "e" (reversed as far as we are concerned,
it curls in the opposite direction to the modern "e") as the second
letter of the word.

The "s" and "t" are less clear, but are still rather obviously not an
attempt at the letters "own".

Thomas Larque.
"Shakespeare and His Critics"
http://shakespearean.org.uk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Mar 2002 18:14:09 -0500
Subject: 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0605 Re: Shakespeare and Sex

Though I appreciate Ed Taft's kind words, I don't follow his inferences
from my view of Hamlet. I think the distinction between Catholicism and
Protestantism is, though very popular these days, a red herring.
Purgatory here is just a dramatic purgatory with no significant
doctrinal resonance.  The censors apparently didn't register it. It just
is machinery to get the ghost going. What the ghost is, is a mystery.
The only important question is whether it's telling the truth. That's
hard to doubt when it's onstage--so hard that doubting it, or saying one
doubts it, even seems a little disingenuous.

The m

 

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