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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Sonnet 89
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1580  Tuesday, 24 August 2004

[1]     From:   Frank Whigham <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Aug 2004 08:50:50 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1571 Sonnet 89

[2]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Aug 2004 08:29:18 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1571 Sonnet 89


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Aug 2004 08:50:50 -0500
Subject: 15.1571 Sonnet 89
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1571 Sonnet 89

 >Also, in 34 WS confronts Lady Mary saying that if only she had warned
 >him he could have worn a "cloak" (i.e. condom), and in 35 he accepts his
 >responsibility for his infection.

Speaking from ignorance, may I ask what's the historical evidence for
Renaissance condom use?

Frank Whigham

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Aug 2004 08:29:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1571 Sonnet 89
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1571 Sonnet 89

Thomas Larque writes, "As for your attempt to create a biographical
story from the Sonnets, the Oxford Companion argues that 'To read
Shakespeare's sequence in the hopes of decoding an implied story ... is
inevitably to do violence to the lyric compression and self-enclosure of
the individual sonnets which compose it ...' and seems critical of 19th
century readings of the Sonnets which were 'preoccupied with their
alleged biographical content at the expense of their artistry'."

OK: lyric poetry mostly is in the first person, and as in the case of
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, her love sonnets are usually interpreted as
autobiographically addressed to her husband Robert Browning, the equally
famous British poet.  Having said that, there are also many lyricists
whose works are not obviously autobiographical.  Most modern songwriters
who fill our airwaves with songs are constantly bombarded with the
question, "Who did you write that song for/about?"  Recently, Carly
Simon sold herself at a charity event for circa $50,000 in which she
guaranteed to reveal to the highest bidder the *real person* behind the
autobiographical line, "You're so vain, I bet you think this song is
about you, don't you, don't you?"  As if, we all-l-l-l-l *want* to know,
and do?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Warren Beatty, Madonna, the
Pope?  Well, somebody paid a Prince's Ransom to find out.

OK: well, after some TIC, above, I would like to say I created a
firestorm and raised the hackles of the hornets in the world of Emily
Dickinson by alleging that the *evidence* supports a founder of the
Republican party in America named Samuel Bowles, an editor of hers, and
early publisher was her secret love interest of her lyric poetry.  Other
Dickinson scholars suggest others, for the *addressee* of her lyric *I*
poetry: including Jesus, a preacher, a Supreme Court justice, relatives,
her father, etc.  Others have weighed in on the side of a female
addressee, as in in the hetero/homo-sexual interpretations of
Shakespeare's sonnets.  The battle rages here in America as it does on
the British bard in England.

OK: there IS no doubt that Will refers to himself as "Will" in some of
the sonnets.  And there is no doubt we have interest in the question:
was the addressee as real as in Carly Simon's song, and can we find out
the true identity, or is it doubtful, as in the case of Dickinson,
although the evidence has been/is being marshalled to resolve an answer?
  Only time will tell, and it will take "sixteen tons" of sweat and
labor of scholars to resolve the question.  And once it is resolved, if
it is resolved, no doubt there will be doubters of the best drawn
inference of the totality of facts brought to bear.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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