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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
Lear's Illegitimate Son?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1895  Wednesday, 16 November 2005

[Editor's Note: Further discussion of this topic should be conducted off 
list between those who are interested.]

[1] 	From: 	Jim Blackie <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 15 Nov 2005 11:34:51 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

[2] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 15 Nov 2005 14:57:42 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

[3] 	From: 	William Sutton <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 16 Nov 2005 00:11:21 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jim Blackie <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 15 Nov 2005 11:34:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

From: Arnie Perlstein - "But for those who enjoy considering wild ideas, 
for fun, and also because occasionally wild ideas lead to interesting 
interpretations, let me clarify first that your answers were helpful to 
in pointing out that my suggestion, in addition to being wild, was 
poorly framed."

I can vouch for the staunch insistence of Arnie's to always consider the 
improbable. While he never has succeeded in leading me WAY down the 
path, he always gets me thinking that my mundane manner of thinking 
about things is just not right; that to get anything new out of old 
readings I need to look at things either sideways or up-side-down.

Sure the suggestions are sometimes wild (we have had words...), but 
sometimes you look down and find a coin you've always overlooked before 
because you "knew" what the path held. Directly below is such a coin, I 
think... I'm not sure WHAT to make of his point. Especially in my past 
few posts here or elsewhere (can't recall) wherein I confess my 
admiration for the myriad female characters that are either more real or 
more moral than their male "peers" in Will's plays. --

------ Hi, Arnie. What about R2? You get lost? -------------

From: Arnie Perlstein - "It is mildly curious to me that we never hear 
about Gloucester's wife after Gloucester's initial macho comments about 
his encounter with her. But it is noteworthy that we never hear a word 
(at least, to my recollection) about Lear's Queen, either from Lear or 
from any of her daughters. Even though this play is an archetypal family 
myth. What do you make of that?"

Guess I'll think it over and get back to you.

Jim Blackie

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 15 Nov 2005 14:57:42 -0500
Subject: 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

 >>In fact, it seems improbable that Edmund had a legitimate "father"
 >>as Lear acknowledged and raised him as his own.
 >
 >No, we are expressly told that Gloucester raised him, and the plain
 >reading of the text is that he acknowledged him, too.

Of course.  My fingerfehler (sp?).  I meant to type "Gloucester."

 >>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?
 >
 >The fact that it was a ruling, and not legislation, suggests immediately
 >that it was already in the air.

It is refreshing to find someone who is still so innocent as to imagine 
that judges don't make law but "find" it floating in the air.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		William Sutton <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 16 Nov 2005 00:11:21 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1884 Lear's Illegitimate Son?

Gee whiz Arnie,

Gloucester's initial macho comments are reserved for the making of his 
bastard son, whose mother is not Gloucester's wife. Edgar's mother, like 
the Lear daughters' mum is absent from the text, therefore of no 
relevance to any interpretation of the text.  Why would I make anything 
of it? Have you been too much i' the sun?

Yours,
William S.

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