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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
Lear's Illegitimate Son?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1874  Monday, 14 November 2005

[1] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 12 Nov 2005 14:31:19 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1862 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

[2] 	From: 	Jim Blackie <
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	Date: 	Monday, 14 Nov 2005 05:46:22 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1862 Lear's Illegitimate Son?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Saturday, 12 Nov 2005 14:31:19 -0500
Subject: 16.1862 Lear's Illegitimate Son?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1862 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

 > the child of an adulterous mother is, in common law, deemed to
 >be the legitimate son of the husband.

There is no reason to think that Edmund's mother had a husband, so this 
is beside the point.  In fact, it seems improbable that Edmund had a 
legitimate "father" as Lear acknowledged and raised him as his own.

As an aside, Lord Mansfield's Rule (that a child born of a married woman 
was presumed to be her husband's child and neither spouse was competent 
to offer contrary evidence) was enunciated in the 18th Century.  See 
Goodright v. Moss, 2 Cowp. 591, 98 Eng. Reprint 1257 (1777).  BUT 
Shakespeare anticipated it in King John, so there was probably an 
antecedent precedent.  Can anyone cite it?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jim Blackie <
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Date: 		Monday, 14 Nov 2005 05:46:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.1862 Lear's Illegitimate Son?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1862 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

From: Joseph Egert

"Arnie Perlstein wonders if Edmund could be Lear's bastard son.

"Arnie, check out the online promo for the current Salt City Center 
production of BILL DOES WILL: AN EVENING OF SHAKESPEARE, which reads, in 
part, "Some of the evening's characters include Shakespeare's Villains: 
Richard III, Lear's bastard, Edmund, and Claudius..." A typo? Probably."

Nah, probably meant to reflect the TITLE of the play rather than the 
illegitimacy and lineage. The copywriter probably, (like me, sad to say) 
could never remember who was Edgar and who was Edmund. Gloucester might 
have been considerate enough to name one "Galahad" and the other 
"WalMart" or some other sinister name.

Jim Blackie

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