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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: July ::
Shakespeare and Islam
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0681  Thursday, 20 July 2006

[1] 	From: 	John Finnis <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 17:16:29 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0675 Shakespeare and Islam

[2] 	From: 	V. K. Inman <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 18:01:22 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0675 Shakespeare and Islam


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Finnis <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 17:16:29 +0100
Subject: 17.0675 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0675 Shakespeare and Islam

Larry Weiss finds religious anachronism rare in Shakespeare.  But what 
about right under our noses, in Titus Andronicus itself?  Start the list 
with the "ruinous monastery" and the "popish tricks and ceremonies" 
(V.1.21, 76).  Elizabethans will doubtless have sensed allusions to 
Roman Catholicism, Reformation or Counter-Reformation martyrdom and 
other anachronisms, not later than I.1.145, and found this hypothesis 
well reinforced by the time they met the truly blatant in V.1 -- what 
Jonathan Bate in the 1995 Arden edition of Titus (p. 19) calls 
"purposeful anachronism" (though we may debate and refine Bate's 
suggestions about the precise purpose in question).

John Finnis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		V. K. Inman <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 19 Jul 2006 18:01:22 -0400
Subject: 17.0675 Shakespeare and Islam
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0675 Shakespeare and Islam

Cary DiPietro writes:

 >in Titus Andronicus, Aaron, by virtue of being a Moor, is
 >necessarily an Orientalized other and therefore potentially anticipates
 >in a proto-colonial context similar contemporary constructions of an
 >Orient in the same or related geographical regions (well, this is
 >another crux).  Such constructions, Elizabethan or contemporary, serve
 >in addition to narrative and theatrical ends, necessarily political
 >ends, choose to interpret or ignore them how you will.

Here is an important study, if you follow this line: Moors do not exist! 
There is no ethnic or religious group which identifies itself as 'Moor.' 
The whole depiction of a 'Moor' is therefore a fabrication based on 
positing a group of people known as "Moors" and Aaron is a character 
representing that alleged race.  Now I think that most of us could 
recall several productions of Shakespeare in which Moors are black, even 
if a white actor has to color himself for the role e.g. Olivier and the 
British actor who is more known for his role as the Enterprise captain, 
but whose name escapes me, both wore black makeup to play Moors in 
Shakespeare.  Why? Very few North Africans are black.  Arabs tend to be 
olive skinned and the Amazight (formerly called Berbers) who conquered 
Spain are very light and sometimes blond.  So what is a Moor? Are modern 
portrayals of Moors as blacks in Shakespeare consistent Shakespeare's 
concept of Moors? And how did this idea that Moors are black come about?

I would appreciate some thoughts along these lines.

V. K. Inman

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