2003

Re: Othello on Bloom

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1343  Wednesday, 2 July 2003

[1]     From:   Ros King <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 07:38:07 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1326 Bloom on Othello

[2]     From:   Kezia Vanmeter Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:57:28 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom

[3]     From:   Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:35:11 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom

[4]     From:   Jonathan Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003 18:58:15 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom

[5]     From:   Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 21:27:33 -0400
        Subj:   Bloom on Othello: Consummation Vel Non?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ros King <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 07:38:07 EDT
Subject: 14.1326 Bloom on Othello
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1326 Bloom on Othello

As Keith Hopkins demonstrates, Iago is everyman - hence his horrible
effectiveness.

Desdemona (speaking as someone who had the enormous pleasure of playing
her many years ago) is a normal young woman with normal sexual appetites
and a normal understanding of sexual behaviour. She is quite capable of
parrying Iago's sexual jokes (in a scene that so many directors cut
because it does not fit with their preconceptions of her supposed
'virginal' 'innocence'). But the fact that she is not ignorant does not
mean that she is not innocent. She tells Emilia that she can't imagine
sleeping around and there is no way that an an audience in the theatre
at that moment can interpret that as any other than the truth.

She also believes in doing what she's promised to do even if that makes
life difficult for herself. She doesn't know that Iago has been dropping
suggestive, poisonous remarks in her husband's ear, and, as so many
women do, she stays with someone who starts abusing her. Women do that
all the time because they keep hoping it's going to get better - that he
will turn back to being the person they love. Like it or not, it is
perfectly normal behaviour and the people at fault are those doing the
abusing.

'These men, these men' as she despairingly says.

Ros

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kezia Vanmeter Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:57:28 EDT
Subject: 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom

Desdemona can be seen as a "rescue personality," whose maternal,
comforting instincts prevail.

1. She falls in love with Othello because he tells what scary things
he's been through. After lots of details on being sold into slavery,
Cannibals, etc, he summarizes "She loved me for the dangers I had
passed."

2. She marries him--OK this is a stretch--to rescue the racist society
from its odious prevailing [not just prevalent but prevailing] idea,
still-existent 400+  years later, racism, i.e., the belief that skin
color is significant.

3. Act II scene 1: She rescues Emilia from Iago's habit of wife-abuse
(part of his and the surrounding society's misogynism<--root concept
underlying whole play) by standing between him and Emilia, "What wouldst
thou say of me...." knowing she is now the general's wife. She is not
flirting here, as pre-1975 commentators believed. She is rescuing a
"sister."

4. SHE IS RESCUING CASSIO

5. SHE TRIES TO RESCUE OTHELLO with her last words.

Kezia Vanmeter Sproat

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:35:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom

>Well, I wasn't going to say anything, but those of
>us who've seen her
>case history, plus the pre-sentence reports of her
>probation officer
>never did hold out much hope. There's the background
>of domestic
>violence and substance abuse for a start.  We're
>also pretty sure that
>that Mrs Lear was involved (again!), which explains
>the shoplifting. You
>knew she was dyslexic, I suppose?
>
>T. Hawkes

I have to agree. There is nothing to indicate anywhere that Desdemona
had such a past. Shakespeare would have made that known. Besides,
wouldn't the tragedy be greatly diminished if Desdemona were indeed a
whore and Othello had merely discovered it? I thought the tragedy was
that someone entirely chaste is falsely accused and murdered by someone
who dearly loved her (too well). Besides, I believe we can trust even
Iago when he says in an aside:

"Thus credulous fools are caught, and many worthy and chaste dames even
thus, all guiltless, meet reproach".
Act IV, Scene i

Brian Willis

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003 18:58:15 +0100
Subject: 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1334 Re: Othello on Bloom

>Keith Hopkins observes,
>
>'I do not think Desdemona was a chaste person, and probably had a sexual
>history, and is very much of a product of the society she was born in
>to.

when I shagged her last week she was definitely a virgin - I'm not sure
about afterwards though.

Jonathan Hope
Strathclyde University, Glasgow

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 21:27:33 -0400
Subject:        Bloom on Othello: Consummation Vel Non?

After Othello quells the night-brawl, Desdemona suddenly appears with
her attendant(s).  Startled, Othello exclaims: "Look if my gentle love
be not raised up!"  Then sternly to Cassio:  "I'll make thee an
example." Desdemona asks what is the matter.  After words of reassurance
to her, invitation to Montano and command to Iago, Othello leads her off
saying: "Come, Desdemona:  'tis the soldier's life/ To have their balmy
slumbers waked with strife."  (II.3.246-254).

These lines clearly indicate that Othello and Desdemona were sleeping
when the brawl erupted.  If so, the act of consummation had presumably
occurred, and their "balmy slumbers" were post-coital.  It is hard to
understand why Othello would speak to Desdemona of being awakened from
sleep if they had been interrupted in the middle of their conscious,
unconsummated amours.

On the basis of the quoted lines I would go further and say that Othello
alone was roused by the alarm; that he left Desdemona sleeping in order
to deal with the matter; that she subsequently awoke and was disturbed
to find him gone; and that he was accordingly surprised and angry to
find her "raised up" by the disturbance.  Had they been engaged in
conscious love-play when the bell sounded, Othello would know that
Desdemona, as well as he, had been alerted by it, and he would not
express surprise and sudden anger at seeing her awake and in search of
him.

--Charles Weinstein

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Re: Deconstruction

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1342  Wednesday, 2 July 2003

[1]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003 07:28:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

[2]     From:   Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 08:49:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

[3]     From:   Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 09:43:09 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

[4]     From:   Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 08:51:29 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

[5]     From:   Bruce Golden <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:03:07 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

[6]     From:   Sally Drumm <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003 10:19:24 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

[7]     From:   K. V. Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:40:24 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

[8]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003 16:54:07 0000
        Subj:   Re: Deconstruction

[9]     From:   Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 20:49:16 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003 07:28:05 -0500
Subject: 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

>There is no 'experience itself.'

Hold on there; please dilate upon this thing which is not, this
unextended name without being.

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 08:49:54 -0400
Subject: 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

>'I can express my experience of the world through my use of language.
>But the experience itself is handled other where.'
>
>There is no 'experience itself.'
>
>T. Hawkes

This seems quite insane to me.  Are you saying my cat has no experiences
of existence?  That my pain a few days ago when I once again walked into
a large oak branch while mowing my lawn was not an experience until I
said to myself, "Goddam, that hurt!?"

I think I may become a decondeconstructionist.  My philosophy will be
that even worded events are not experience--unless the words used to
name them are High Poetry.  That way we can not only shut animals out of
experiencing things but stupid people, too.  (Funny, I keep thinking of
the way the Church defined souls a few hundred years ago--and possibly,
to an extent, the way they do now, for all I know.)

--Bob G.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 09:43:09 -0400
Subject: 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1335 Re: Deconstruction

Felperin, Howard.  "The Dark Lady Identified: Or, what Deconstruction
can do for Shakespeare's Sonnets 56:

...is there any pre-modern text better suited to serve as a test case
for deconstruction? ... [The Sonnets] seem to have been cunningly
constructed, Shakespeare's prophetic soul dreaming on things to come,
with the idea of deconstruction in mind.

Fineman, J. Shakespeare's Perjured Eye: The Invention of Poetic
Subjectivity in the Sonnets. Berkeley: U of California P. 1986. 46:

...what Derrida calls "writing," the thematics of the deconstructive
"trace" that Derrida associates with 


Re: Touring Shakes Country

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1340  Tuesday, 1 July 2003

From:           R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 Jun 2003 19:18:22 -0500
Subject: 14.1320 Touring Shakes Country
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1320 Touring Shakes Country

>Does anyone recommend a tourbook for touring Shakespeare sites?  I
>haven't looked recently.

I don't have a book to recommend, but I would like to take the
opportunity to put in a plug for Myrtle House in Mickleton. It is a B&B
some twenty miles (or so) from Stratford, and an absolute delight. You
can get back and forth by bus, but it is much better for those who have
autos. The house goes back, (in sections) I think, to Charles, maybe
James.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.myrtlehouse.co.uk
44(0)1386 430032

_______________________________________________________________
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Re: "But me no buts"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1341  Tuesday, 1 July 2003

[1]     From:   Clark J. Holloway <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 30 Jun 2003 18:03:37 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1321 Re: "But me no buts"

[2]     From:   William Davis <Davis This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 30 Jun 2003 23:43:58 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1321 Re: "But me no buts"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clark J. Holloway <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 Jun 2003 18:03:37 -0700
Subject: 14.1321 Re: "But me no buts"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1321 Re: "But me no buts"

I would also submit:

"O me no O's,"
Ben Jonson, The Case is Altered, Act V, scene i. (Gifford scene
division).

and

"Tut, Pancridge, me no Pancridge;"
Ben Jonson, A Tale of a Tub, Act II, scene ii.

- Clark

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Davis <Davis This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 Jun 2003 23:43:58 EDT
Subject: 14.1321 Re: "But me no buts"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1321 Re: "But me no buts"

Lea Luecking Frost writes,

>You've got the quote right, but the speaker wrong: it's York who says
>that, not Gaunt.

And later Janet Costa writes,

>Gee, I thought it sounded familiar because I used to hear it from either
>Mom or Dad at least once a week, when I was growing up - usually when
>there was no hope of getting what I wanted!!

I told my dad about my hasty post, attributing York's words to Gaunt,
whereupon my dad said, "Now Billy boy, always remember to check your
citations."  And, of course, I responded, "But dad, I...."  And he cut
me short, "Don't but me no buts, Billy, just do it."  It seems the
phrase "but me no buts" and all its variations are truly popular still
today - especially among parents.  Yet, I wonder where my dad heard it
first?  >From his mom?  If so, where did grandma learn it?  From some
other forebearer?  I wonder if this phrase, like many others that were
coined (or at least made famous) in plays and poetry, might not
attribute its longevity in our collective conscience from the original
words of Shakespeare? - A sort of verbal genealogy of words and phrases,
if you will.   And maybe the variations we have today (as well as
Shakespeare's variations on the same phrase, as pointed out by Karyn
White and a couple other good folks who emailed me privately) are simply
due to the speaker's attempt to tailor the phrase to new events by
intentionally inserting substitute words.  Or, perhaps, we simply change
the phrases by our lack of perfect memory.  After all, even though I had
the quote right, I certainly had the speaker wrong (this must be a sign
of my aging, but I forget what the process is called...memorial
deconstruction?).  So, are phrases to be changed and handed down, or are
they not to be changed and handed down - that is the question.   We may
never know the exact reasons in each case, but linguistic traces from
the past rise up to echo all around us everyday.

Best Regards,
Wm Davis

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Re: Knocking on Wood

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1339  Tuesday, 1 July 2003

[1]     From:   Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 30 Jun 2003 17:31:24 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1322 Re: Knocking on Wood

[2]     From:   Matthew Baynham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:20:21 +0100
        Subj:   Knocking on wood


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 Jun 2003 17:31:24 -0400
Subject: 14.1322 Re: Knocking on Wood
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1322 Re: Knocking on Wood

Yes, David: like old hatreds and old prejudices, many superstitions
persist long after the reason for them has been forgotten (e.g. if you
spill salt, you must throw it over your shoulder---Lot's wife, and
before her, Eurydice?). Comparative mythology of the kind Joseph
Campbell studied is fascinating, if only for that reason.

It would be unseemly for a Jew to "knock on wood" for two reasons: one,
because it's a pagan practice, and two, because it indulges in
superstition (prohibited in Deuteronomy). I hadn't known about the
origin of "kike"---and I'm not sure I wanted to---but thank you all the
same for teaching me something new today.

Hate-words are uglier than superstitious ones . . . but knocking on wood
still has nothing whatsoever to do with the Cross. (That association
seems almost blasphemous, in its conflation of the ancient Greek with
the solemnly Christian: did whoever originated it think the Son need to
be wakened from slumber to come to the aid of the faithful, too?)

Best to all,
Carol Barton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Baynham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 10:20:21 +0100
Subject:        Knocking on wood

David Friedberg asks,

"Is it not true that almost all Christian practices are pagan in
origin?"

Perhaps this is just a throwaway comment. It would be truer, of course,
to say that the most characteristic Christian practices are Jewish in
origin. Thus the agreed sacraments of Communion and Baptism derive from
the Passover meal and Jewish baptism (both prophetic, as of John the
Baptist, and proselytic, as in the Disapora.) The same would be true of
anointing with oil, ordination and monogamous marriage.  Also, clearly,
the ethical teaching of the New Testament is from within the Jewish
tradition, although it is selective from within that range.

David also says, "A Christian cross as you know has one long stem". This
is not always the case. For example, the characteristic Celtic Christian
cross is within, or partly within, a circle which probably represents
the cosmos. (The circle, in this case, may well be of pagan origin,
though.)

Matthew Baynham

_______________________________________________________________
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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