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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Purses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0178  Friday, 23 January 2004

[1]     From:   David Cohen <
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 >
        Date:   Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 10:33:15 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0165 Purses

[2]     From:   David Cohen <
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 >
        Date:   Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 10:37:41 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0165 Purses


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 10:33:15 -0600
Subject: 15.0165 Purses
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0165 Purses

Patrick Dolan <
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 >writes,

 >On Jan 21, 2004, at 11:00 PM, David Cohen wrote:
 >
 >>Could we not say, Occam-wise, that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar?
 >
 >We could say it. Occam couldn't have, since they didn't have cigars
 >then.

Cute! But I said, "Occam-wise . . . " not "with Occam . . . "

 >Freud may have said it. On the other hand, Freud died, I believe,
 >of oral cancer. In his case, the cigars were also the cause of his
 >death. I don't know if that adds anything to the discussion of purses.

How could it?  Please inform.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Cohen <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 10:37:41 -0600
Subject: 15.0165 Purses
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0165 Purses

Frank Whigham <
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 > writes,

 >Cigar or no cigar, one other seed for the force of the purse as
 >sometimes having a sexual loading is Chaucer's extraordinary use of it
 >in the epilogue to the Pardoner's Tale (quoted from the LION text):
 >
 >920        I have relikes and pardon in my male,
 >921        As faire as any man in Engelond . . . .
 >
 >
 >For many Chaucerians this passage is unmistakably about the Pardoner's
 >heterodox sexuality.

I have two problems, one small, the other big, with Frank Whigham's
post.  The small one:  Why not give a translation for the few
Philistines on this list-am I the only one?-who don't read their Chaucer
in really, really aulde Angle-ish; I mean, though academic psychologist
trained, I do enjoy Chaucer (in translation, thank you), especially the
Wife of Bath, a wondrous kick-ass broad, and I did get the drift, and
all, but would have appreciated the courtesty.  Okay, small potatoes.
More important: What does Chaucer and the Pardoner have to do with purse
tossing in Shakespeare's plays?  Chaucer wrote these lines at the end of
the 1300s during the reign of Richard II, roughly 200 years before
Shakespeare wrote. Chaucer was a different person writing in a different
era (Middle Ages), so what's the connection? Merely stating that "many"
Chaucerians agree-how many is "many": 30?  most?, and what about other
Chaucerians who disagree, are they numerous, and even if not, do they
have more credentials, respect?-that "this passage is unmistakably about
the Pardoner's heterodox sexuality" is no evidence of sexuality implied
in some or all of the purse tossings.  In short, first we must believe
that the indicated Chaucerians are correct, and second, we must believe
that The Pardoner's Tale reveals something about Shakespeare.  If some
Shakespearean tossings ARE about sexuality, which ones are they, and
what is the evidence?  I would very much like to know because, frankly,
if Frank Whigham's inference about Shakespeare from Chaucer has some
validity; it would make the purse topic so much more interesting.

David Cohen

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