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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
no country for old men?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0105  Friday, 3 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Tony Burton <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 2 Mar 2006 12:43:02 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0093 no country for old men?

[2] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 2 Mar 2006 15:57:43 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0093 no country for old men?

[3] 	From: 	Mike Jensen <
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	Date: 	Friday, 03 Mar 2006 07:31:14 -0800
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0093 no country for old men?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Tony Burton <
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Date: 		Thursday, 2 Mar 2006 12:43:02 -0500
Subject: 17.0093 no country for old men?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0093 no country for old men?

The forthcoming SAA meeting in Philadelphia next month has a scheduled 
seminar on Shakespeare's geezers.  Perhaps Frank Whigham's question 
about contempt for old men will be answered then.  Perhaps it will lead 
to the creation of geezer support groups, or consciousness-raising among 
those youthful strivers who add such vitality to these exchanges.

Now, what was I just doing?  I meant to get back to it.

Tony

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Thursday, 2 Mar 2006 15:57:43 -0500
Subject: 17.0093 no country for old men?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0093 no country for old men?

Kudos to Frank Whigham for an uncommonly interesting post. Old men get 
some respect in these plays--Adam in AYL, Gaunt, Egeus, Duncan--but it's 
true that we can add to Frank's list Falstaff ("I know thee not, old 
man), and Shallow and Slender, too, Brabantio, Montague and Capulet. 
Titus Andronicus? Not that the old guys don't sometimes call for 
sympathy as well as sarcasm.

Some of it may be a residue of Shakespeare's early dramatic reading: we 
used to call the senex figures in New Comedy "blocking" characters, 
because they stood between the young protagonists and their desires, for 
girls and money, and that is how Capulet functions vis a vis Juliet, 
Gaunt to Richard II, Lear to the older daughters and Gloucester to Edmund.

Connections with political history seem to me tricky: those old men like 
Burghley died one after another in the 90s, and younger men began to 
emerge--Robert Cecil, Essex (until he imploded), Coke--and some of the 
problematic greybeards are prominent in plays written after another 
relatively young man is on the throne. Appropriate and inappropriate 
behavior might be a factor: I'm disposed to think that when Prospero 
says "Every third thought shall be my grave" he is doing as an old man 
should.

Gerontologically,
David Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Mike Jensen <
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Date: 		Friday, 03 Mar 2006 07:31:14 -0800
Subject: 17.0093 no country for old men?
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0093 no country for old men?

 >Nonetheless, I'm curious about the possibility of some kind of
 >historically specific structure of feeling about old men: specifically
 >here about male contempt for old men at the top of a gerontocracy
 >during the final years of Elizabeth's possibly too-elongated reign,
 >the stopper for advancement ever more fully corked in by a spiteful
 >queen whose hatred of her own ageing must have had many imitators.

Frank, your question is more specific than this, and the play certainly 
post-dates 1602, but one debate about age (not gender specific) may be 
found in the play *The Old Law.* It should at least receive a glance for 
its varied ideas and values.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

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