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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: The Strumpet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2329  Monday, 25 November 2002

[1]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 07:07:42 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 12:32:01 -0000
        Subj:   SHK 13.2320 The Strumpet

[3]     From:   John Zuill <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 10:32:04 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet

[4]     From:   D. Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 09:41:43 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet

[5]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 21:13:53 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 07:07:42 -0500
Subject: 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet

I would like to respond to young Matt Cheung, who asks:

>Hello everyone.  Thanks for the insight into the origin of strumpet, but
>doesn't it also mean prostitute?  Hamlet calls Fortune a strumpet in Act
>2 when he's with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and again when he's with
>Polonius.  So how did we get from a musical instrument to prostitute?
> Forgive me if this question seems elementary, but I'm young.

Matt, young or not, the first place any scholar should go when asking
such a question is to the nearest dictionary. If you do so, you will
discover that (1) you are correct; and (2) that is the more common (in
both senses?) usage of the word, even today.

You can see, then, how Frank Hildy's innocent enquiries ("Does anyone
know where I could get a strumpet to play upon?  How long does it take
to learn the proper fingering of a strumpet? ") might be angrily
misconstrued by his wife.

By the way, Frank: the answer to the first question, in your area, is
downtown Baltimore or 'DC. The answer to the second is, for some men, a
lifetime.

I teased a non-academic Brit friend once, telling her that plain "tea
and strumpets" would be lovely for lunch . . . she was horrified, and
crimson-cheeked corrected what she thought was an innocent Yankee gaffe:
"uh, no, dear . . . I think you mean 'crumpets' . . . a 'strumpet' is a
lady of the night . . . ."

(I like that story. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to tell it.)

Carol Barton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 12:32:01 -0000
Subject: The Strumpet
Comment:        SHK 13.2320 The Strumpet

Tom Bishop's impeccable scholarship unearthed this reference to the
rediscovered musical instrument, the "strumpet":

Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress Pt 2: "So he passed over, and all the
strumpets sounded for him on the other side."

Remarkable! Who would have thought to look in Bunyan's evangelical
masterpiece for the origins of the beliefs of kamikaze radical
Islamists? And yet why should I be surprised? This would be no more
brazen an act of cultural (mis)appropriation than that perpetrated by
the Church of England, who now stroke and coo over the poor godly
preacher they saw fit to bang up for a dozen years of his life.

martin

PS - I saw a lovingly crafted replica of one of these instruments on
Monday evening, played by a member of Phillip Pickett's New London
Consort at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank. He was given an
extended solo during a performance of John Dowland's "Toss not my soul".
Or was it "Fie on this feigning"...? Anyway it sounded awful.

PPS - Matthew Cheung makes a common error when he says that "strumpet"
also means "prostitute": "Hamlet calls Fortune a strumpet in Act 2 when
he's with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern", he writes. A closer examination
of the 1603 Quarto would reveal that he actually "Calls for a tune on a
strumpet", which obviously makes much more sense in the light of this
latest research.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Zuill <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 10:32:04 -0300
Subject: 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet

A Pun on Strumpets from Troilus and Cressida Act 4 Scene 5

        [Exit with CRESSIDA]

NESTOR  A woman of quick sense.

ULYSSES Fie, fie upon her!
        There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
        Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
        At every joint and motive of her body.
        O, these encounterers, so glib of tongue,
        That give accosting welcome ere it comes,
        And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
        To every ticklish reader! set them down
        For sluttish spoils of opportunity
        And daughters of the game.

        [Trumpet within]

ALL     The Trojans' trumpet.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D. Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 09:41:43 -0600
Subject: 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet

To all who sent money to me to receive a copy of my landmark book, "Let
the Kettle to the Strumpet Speak," I regret that it will not be
available for some time owing to the officious interference of some
persons from the Postal Service. I have, however, forwarded your checks
to my defense counsel, Dunno Howe (one of the partners in Dewey,
Cheatham and Howe, the legendary Cambridge criminal law firm).

Thanks and all,
don

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 21:13:53 -0500
Subject: 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2320 Re: The Strumpet

Aficionados will be familiar, of course, with D. Tom Essent's Quintet
for Strumpet, Throbbo, Shame, Suckbutt, and Anguished Horn (Onan 171).
There's a nice recording by the Secum Players.

Dave Evett

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