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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Altered Passages
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2293  Monday, 18 November 2002

[1]     From:   Tom Bishop <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 12:10:06 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2277 Re: Altered Passages

[2]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 22:50:49 -0600
        Subj:   Bowdler(s)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Bishop <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 12:10:06 -0500
Subject: 13.2277 Re: Altered Passages
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2277 Re: Altered Passages

Peter Groves writes:

>>I remember reading once that in Bowdler, Postumus' "Thy mistress,
>>Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed" (3.4.22) is given as "Thy
>>mistress, Pisanio, hath played the trumpet in my bed" . . .

The strumpet, of course, as Bowdler did not know, was a combination
string and brass instrument, rather like a euphonium , but with no
valves (since they hadn't been invented yet) , and with strings of
differing lengths barred and pegged across the circular curve of the
instrument. Players of strumpets, or "strumpeters", would set up a
running or strumming movement with the fingers of the right hand across
the strings, rather like the ancient Celtic bards on their lyres, and
would punctuate their oral narratives with appropriately military, or
amatory, or even scatological, blasts through the mouthpiece. Some
models also had strings across the bell, to resonate when notes were
blown, on the Aelian harp principle.  Imogen was probably retelling one
of the favorite medieval "lays" of   love and soldiery, like "Tristan
and Iseult", or "Sir Orfeo", that formed the core of the strumpet
repertoire. But there is a recorded performance, alas on unreliable
testimony, of Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" given on the strumpet at court
in 1405.

Tom

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 22:50:49 -0600
Subject:        Bowdler(s)

Story is that his sister (?) did most of the work and got none of the
credit.  She was such a proper lady that she missed some of the
extraordinary obscenities in Sh. as she just did not understand them.
For instance "And thus makes she her great Ps" TN 2.5 which was much
discussed on the list lately  Conversely, she probably left no "hell" or
"damn" unexpurgated.

Cheers for unexpurgated texts,

JWV

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