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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Speed Performance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1690  Wednesday, 27 August 2003

From:           Robin Hamilton <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 26 Aug 2003 20:16:16 +0100
Subject: 14.1675 Speed Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1675 Speed Performance

Jack Heller <
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 > writes,

>Coriolanus is one of my personal favorites, and a play I hope eventually
>to publish an essay about. Among other things, the beast fable and
>Coriolanus's "Why have you given hydra here . . ." speech were cut.

Jack, by "the beast fable", I presume you mean Menenius' Fable of the
Belly and the Limbs?  I don't think this is part of the beast-fable
tradition.  As far as I know, it doesn't appear in the Aesopet tradition
(and obviously pre-dates the Reynard cycle, the other major Western
European beast-fable sequence).

Overall, it feels rather literary, but I can't say where it originates.
Help, someone?

I hope I'm not being simply ultra-picky here, but the idea of the
beast-fable was pretty much alive at this time -- Jonson plays the
"English" version (an offshoot from the Reynard cycle?) of the Gulling
Fox against the Aesopet version, at the beginning of _Volpone_.

And earlier, Caxton printed the humanist versions of both the Aesopet
and Reynard sequences.

It's still a contested area, and not simply in New Historicist terms -
who owns the moral intellectual copyright to Brer Rabbit?

So "beast fable" -- dem's fighting words ...

<g>

Robin Hamilton

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