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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: February ::
Vastation
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0044  Thursday, 16 February 2006

[1] 	From: 	Tom Bishop <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:34:34 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

[2] 	From: 	William Proctor Williams <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:51:42 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

[3] 	From: 	Kirk McElhearn <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 16:54:49 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

[4] 	From: 	Jack Kamen <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 12:01:08 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

[5] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 12:13:55 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

[6] 	From: 	Paul E. Doniger <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 17:50:08 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Tom Bishop <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:34:34 -0500
Subject: 17.0035 Vastation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

OED has a good entry on it, including the interesting detail that it was 
very common 1610-1660.
Bloom is right to use it, not for mere quirk or outlandishness (though 
I'm not averse to such things), but for the overtones of "the creation 
of a vast wasteland" going with the "wild" in "bewilderment". The image 
of the experience of familial love in Lear  as a great and wild 
wasteland I find resonant, very apt to the play,  and chiming also with 
Antony and Cleopatra's very different but  equally enlarged picture of 
the "vast" (but not "vastated"!)  possibilities of love.

Probably Bloom would assume Swedenborgian readers, given his rooting in 
Blake, but here I think something else is at work.

Tom

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		William Proctor Williams <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:51:42 -0500
Subject: 17.0035 Vastation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

The Online OED at this institution of higher learning (University of 
Akron) provides these three definitions and although the first two are 
obsolete the third is current, I think, and OED's last recorded use is 1892.

1. The action of laying waste, devastating, or destroying. Also freq., 
an instance of this. Obs. (very common 1610-60).
2. The fact or condition of being devastated or laid waste. Obs.
3.The action of purifying by the destruction of evil qualities or 
elements. Also transf.

William Proctor Williams

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kirk McElhearn <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 16:54:49 +0100
Subject: 17.0035 Vastation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

Anyone who's read a biography of Henry James will be familiar with that 
term. Henry James Sr. had a "vastation", which changed his life... I've 
seen it several times in reading about the James family.

I think the word means more an epiphany, at least according to what I've 
seen of it. But an epiphany of desolation, not of inspiration.

Kirk

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jack Kamen <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 12:01:08 -0500
Subject: 17.0035 Vastation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

I find this definition in the OED  2002:

vastate, v.
trans. To render unsusceptible

1892  Harper's Mag.....That long passion of his early youth, which 
seemed to have vastated him before he came there. He was rather proud of 
his vastation.

Admittedly, it would require some lexical contortions to make it fit 
Bloom's sentence.

Jack Kamen

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 12:13:55 -0500
Subject: 17.0035 Vastation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

Bloom may just be remembering his Latin: vasto, vastare: to make  empty, 
lay waste, desolate [I select from a dozen possibilities]: the  primary 
sense, maybe worth trying to recuperate by reviving a  moribund word 
seems to invoke the desert (think of "Ozymandias")-- love so powerful 
that it obliterates all that is familiar and  comfortable. Not my idea 
of what's going on between A & C, or indeed  in at least some of the 
familial relationships in *LKr*, but that  probably explains why my 
books don't sell by the tens of thousands.

David Evett

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Paul E. Doniger <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 17:50:08 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 17.0035 Vastation
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0035 Vastation

My Concise Oxford Dictionary (Computer edition) gives:
vastation /va"steIS(@)n/


 

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