2003

Re: Lesbian Lovers in MND

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0175  Friday, 31 January 2003

[1]     From:   Ted Dykstra <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 12:36:20 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0163 Re: Lesbian Lovers in MND

[2]     From:   Frankie Rubinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 16:59:38 -0500
        Subj:   Lesbian Lovers in MND


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ted Dykstra <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 12:36:20 EST
Subject: 14.0163 Re: Lesbian Lovers in MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0163 Re: Lesbian Lovers in MND

>Nor dare we overlook the related humor in Thisby's
>"cherry lips" that often "kissed" the "stones" (!)  guilty of "parting"
>her and her "fair Pyramus" --  all metaphors reflecting Shakespeare's
>wonderfully playful eroticism.

Yes, they're called malapropisms, and Archie Bunker is another wonderful
example. The female lovers in MND would have garnered many laughs from
their "highly charged" conversation, but not because THEY knew what they
were saying but rather because the AUDIENCE knew the double entendre
beneath sentences that were meant to be innocent. This is called COMEDY.
The very SECOND you have the actors play not the innocence of the
conversation but have them keenly aware of the double meanings and
relate to each other as if it were the sex they were talking about, you
accomplish two things: you destroy the comedy, and you ruin utterly the
actual thrust of the entire play. And GOD am I tired of seeing people do
that with this play. I've said it before: "write your own!!!!!" You can
have all the lesbians you want then, and have it not be funny besides.

Ted Dykstra

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frankie Rubinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 16:59:38 -0500
Subject:        Lesbian Lovers in MND


Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> writes,

>Frankly, I get weary of the assumption that friendship is perforce
>homosexual in intent, and homoerotic in expression. To me, this is
>one
(of the dumber things that Freud cooked  up for internal reasons of his
>own.
>
>I realize that I am a voice in the wilderness on this issue, but I worry
>about those who either have no understanding of the immense power of
>friendship, or cannot conceive of that power in any context accept the
>bedroom.


True. It would be asinine to say friendship is "perforce" homosexual,
but the existence of homosexual friendship, itself, was hardly cooked up
by Freud, as Greek and Elizabethan (and Biblical) literature and fact
have demonstrated  -- and some of those friendships that are "homosexual
in intent" or" homoerotic in expression" also have "immense power"  and,
unsurprisingly,  turn up in Shakespeare's canon, another idea that it is
wearisome to have to defend.

L. Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> writes,

>Lesbian lovers in MND?  Apparently these ladies are not at present of a
>lesbian mind; they are strongly expressing their interest in the men.
>In any case, how does their lesbianism, if it exists at all, affect the
>argument of the play?

You raise a crucial question and whether the [concept of homoeroticism
is relevant to MND  depends, does it not, on what one thinks the
argument of the play is  If it is to deal with love's irrational,
unstable, often absurd nature, to parody the elusive dream of romantic
love, to present the "tragical mirth" of that which goes under the
rubric of "love" --  ranging  from the "love" of fathers who deny
daughters freedom to choose a lover, seeing resistance possible only if
the daughter is "bewitched" by rhymes and verses  (as Desdemona was also
won by "witchcraft", by tales of romance); to the "love" of ill-suited
couples like Hippolyta and Theseus, who wooed  his love with his "sword"
and won her love doing her "injuries" but promises to wed her in another
key, with "revelling"  that unfortunately pleases her not (see their
quarreling over the final "entertainment" ) ;  to the "love" of a tiny
sized fairy, Titania, "enamored of an ass,"  a large sized Bottom, a
love that  is defined as a contest won by the " force and blessed power
" of  "Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower.[and his/its "love juice"]; to
the confused "love"  between two girls and two boys, also under the
power of  metaphorical flowers and juices, in which one of the girls,
Hermia, concludes when she awakes from her "dream,"  that emotions are
often out of focus and not what they seem : "Methinks I see these things
with parted eye,/When everything seems double", and the other girl,
Helena, concurs with the sad ambivalence and sense of loss in  "So,
methinks:/And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,/Mine own and not mine
own"  --  if, one believes that a mocking but tender presentation of the
infinite varieties of loving are the "argument" of the play, then
Shakespeare's re-introduction of  the "parted" and "double" language and
concept , i.e., the earlier thread and language we had noted, will
demonstrate the relevance of the erotic wordplay in the earlier
speeches.

Frankie Rubinstein

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The Museum Dramatists

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0174  Friday, 31 January 2003

From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 08:57:43 -0800
Subject:        The Museum Dramatists

I did my second hand bookstore thing in San Francisco Wednesday and made
a discovery.  There was a series of older English plays published c.
1908, the date of the volume I purchased, called The Museum Dramatists,
named for the location of the publishing house near the British Museum.

The back of the book has an advertisement for their six published
titles, followed by this

>These will be followed by others selected from the following

Then gives the titles of 12 plays.

Does anyone know if more than the first six volumes were actually
published? If so, which plays made it into print in this series?

For those who want to know, the six volumes in the advertisement show a
liking for plays by, or attributed to, John Heywood, containing three of
his works. They complete list is

1) Gammer Gurton's Needle
2) Four P. P. & the Pardoner and the Friar (Heywood)
3) Everyman
4) John John, Tib, and Sir John, (Heywood) with Tom Tiler and His Wife
5) Ralph Roister Doister
6) Mankind

Thanks in advance,
Mike Jensen

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Re: Shylock Redux

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0172  Friday, 31 January 2003

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 08:33:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 14:39:27 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

[3]     From:   Nora Kreimer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 31 Jan 2003 08:34:22 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 08:33:17 -0500
Subject: 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> writes,

>It's often objected that no law code could allow contracts which call
>for violation of the law.

Quite true.  But Shakespeare, despite the fever dreams of some, wasn't a
lawyer.

>I'm wondering, though, whether such an
>arrangement could be possible if the contract was intended to bridge two
>legally separate communities, who wouldn't be incorporated under a
>single 'code' of law.

>In other words, while relations between Christians would be governed by
>a single set of laws, customs, etc. (a 'social contract', Hobbes would
>say), and relations between Jews would be governed by a similar set of
>laws, customs, etc. (call it Talmudism, whatever Shakespeare's knowledge
>of the Talmud), relations between the two would be based entirely on
>one-of-a-kind ad hoc legal agreements, honoured by the courts but not
>part of a regular legal framework.  I'm not a lawyer, so I wouldn't know
>the terms for this, but it strikes me as bearing a certain affinity with
>how treaties between countries are one-off deals though, since the
>Treaty of Westphalia, efforts have been made to link them together into
>codes.

Well, it's a nice philosophical point, but it does not reflect the
reality of law.  On the one hand, a gentile government would pay very
little attention to Jewish law.  (I would say "none", except that, for
all I know, an enlightened judge might have taken Jewish law into
consideration when dealing with a contractual dispute between two Jews
-- it if came before him in the first place.)  And, on the other hand,
except for certain "not even if they threaten you with death" religious
points, Jewish law in the Diaspora traditionally defers to the law of
the state.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 14:39:27 -0000
Subject: 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

"It's often objected that no law code could allow contracts which call
for violation of the law.  I'm wondering, though, whether such an
arrangement could be possible if the contract was intended to bridge two
legally separate communities, who wouldn't be incorporated under a
single 'code' of law."

This is why there were systems of natural law and codes of civil law
which governed communities in concert with local, common-law codes and
customs.

I suppose influential works from our period would be

Jean Bodin, Six Books of the Republic (chiefly V.vi);

Hugo Grotius, The Law of War and Peace;

John Selden, Mare Clausum;

Francisco Suarez, On the Law;

William Lambarde, The Laws of Nations [?? if I'm not misremembering].

See also

Brian P. Levack, The Civil Lawyers in England 1603-1641: A Political
Study (Oxford 1973); "The Proposed Union of English Law and Scots Law in
the Seventeenth Century", Juridical Review 20 (1975), pp.97-115; "Law
and

Ideology: The Civil Law and Theories of Absolutism in   Elizabethan and
Jacobean England", Heather Dubrow and Richard Strier (eds.), The
Historical Renaissance: New Essays on Tudor and Stuart Literature and
Culture (Chicago 1988), pp 220-241.

Daniel R. Coquillette, "Legal Ideology and Incorporation I: The English
Civilian Writers 1523-1607", Boston University Law Review 61 (1981),
pp.1-89

R. H. Helmholz, Roman Canon Law in Reformation England (Cambridge 1990)

K. Pennington, The Prince and the Law 1200-1600: Sovereignty and Rights
in the Western Legal Tradition (Berkeley 1993)

Brian Tierney, Religion, law, and the growth of constitutional thought
1150-1650 (Cambridge 1982)

John Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights (Oxford 1980); Natural Law
(New York 1993)

Terry Nardin, Law, Morality, and the Relations of States (Princeton
1983)

Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (Harmondsworth 1977)

Charles R. Beitz, Political Theory and International Relations
(Princeton 1979)

martin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nora Kreimer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 31 Jan 2003 08:34:22 -0300
Subject: 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0167 Re: Shylock Redux

The question Martin Steward has asked regarding differences will be
answered by a deeper and more detailed reading of the play. There are
the highly xenophobic comments exchanged between Portia and Nerissa in
I, ii regarding all suitors of foreign origin, as Portia's own comment
on the Prince of Morocco may serve by way of an example.

Por.  A gentle riddance. Draw the curtains: go.   72
Let all of his complexion choose me so,
                                                            ( II, vii )

Also, there is a servant who prefers to work for a poor gentile rather
than stay with a rich Jew in II, ii

  Laun.  Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my
master. The fiend is at mine elbow, and tempts me, saying to me, 'Gobbo,
Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot,' or 'good Gobbo,' or 'good Launcelot
Gobbo, use your legs, take the start, run away.' My conscience says,
'No; take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo;' or, as
aforesaid, 'honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy
heels.' Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack: 'Via!' says the
fiend; 'away!' says the fiend; 'for the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,'
says the fiend, 'and run.' Well, my conscience, hanging about the neck
of my heart, says very wisely to me, 'My honest friend Launcelot, being
an honest man's son,'-or rather an honest woman's son;-for, indeed, my
father did something smack, something grow to, he had a kind of
taste;-well, my conscience says, 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says
the fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience. 'Conscience, ' say I, 'you
counsel well;' 'fiend,' say I, 'you counsel well:' to be ruled by my
conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master, who, God bless the
mark! is a kind of devil; and, to run away from the Jew, I should be
ruled by the fiend, who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself.
Certainly, the Jew is the very devil incarnal; and, in my conscience, my
conscience is but a kind of hard conscience, to offer to counsel me to
stay with the Jew.  The fiend gives the more friendly counsel: I will
run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment; I will run.

If I serve not him, I will run as far as God has any ground. O rare
fortune! here comes the man: to him, father; for I am a Jew, if I serve
the Jew any longer.   30

This is even surprising to Bassanio who comments on this change of
masters. In the same scene

  Bass.  I know thee well; thou hast obtain'd thy suit:
Shylock thy master spoke with me this day,   48
And hath preferr'd thee, if it be preferment
To leave a rich Jew's service, to become
The follower of so poor a gentleman.

The great centre of this play is precisely differences. Treated very
broadly, let's admit, but I see no great differences between these
comments and Iago's own prejudices regarding a certain Florentine and
the Moor.  Let Shakespeare shine through his lines first, then put
forward ideas on the subject of differences at the time of Elizabeth, in
which I am personally very interested, and would like to receive
information through private mail if Martin thinks it's more pertinent.

Regards,
Nora Kreimer
Profesora Titular de Literatura Inglesa

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Re: Claudius' Incestuous Marriage

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0173  Friday, 31 January 2003

From:           Michael B. Luskin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 09:56:06 EST
Subject: 14.0166 Re: Claudius' Incestuous Marriage
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0166 Re: Claudius' Incestuous Marriage

>Claudius did MORE than "dishonor his brother...

Recall Abigail and her no-account husband, Naval, whom David shames to
death.  And, in addition, she keeps him from a blood-guilt.  There is
soot on David for what he did.

Recall also David and Uriah the Hittite, whom David sentences to certain
death at the front of the army, so that David can wed his beautiful
wife, who is now with child by David, who is of course to be the mother
of Solomon. Even though Uriah is a general, and it is not unreasonable
to place him in the front of the enemy, David knows that he has sinned
in spades, in intention, and that marriage to Bathsheva is somewhat
tainted

David did many sinful things, and was also a man of war, which is why
G-d did not permit him to build the temple.

All Jewish oriented attempts to whitewash Claudius, whether one uses the
Torah, the histories, Talmud, or commentaries are doomed to abject
failure.

Michael B. Luskin

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Re: Video Recordings of Jonson's Plays

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0171  Friday, 31 January 2003

From:           Peter D.Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 30 Jan 2003 09:17:11 -0500
Subject: 14.0165 Re: Video Recordings of Jonson's Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0165 Re: Video Recordings of Jonson's Plays

Not a video recording and not quite Jonson either but Richard Strauss's
opera Die Schwiegsame Frau (of which there are a number of recordings
available) is a brilliant, exhilarating setting of an adaptation of
Jonson's The Silent Woman by Stefan Zweig.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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