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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: August ::
Redheads
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0554  Wednesday, 22 August 2007

[1] 	From: 		Bob Lapides <
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	Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 16:15:24 EDT
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

[2] 	From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 21:42:09 +0100
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

[3] 	From: 		Abigail Quart <
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	Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 17:38:52 -0400
	Subj: 		RE: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

[4] 	From: 		Nicole Coonradt <
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	Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 22:42:07 +0000
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

[5] 	From: 		V. Kerry Inman <
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	Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 20:28:11 -0400
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

[6] 	From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Aug 2007 09:41:28 +0100
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

[7] 	From: 		Edmund Taft <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Aug 2007 10:13:12 -0400
	Subj: 		Redheads


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Lapides <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 16:15:24 EDT
Subject: 18.0548 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

According to Frank Felsenstein's *Anti-Semitic Stereotypes: A Paradigm 
of Otherness in English Popular Culture, 1660-1830*, it was the 18C 
actor Charles Macklin who first gave Shylock a red hat and a big nose. 
Macklin made a point of researching Jewish history and culture, actual 
and imagined. He justified the red hat to Alexander Pope, who asked 
about it, by saying "he had read that the Jews in Italy, particularly in 
Venice, wore hats of that colour."

Bob Lapides
nyc

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 21:42:09 +0100
Subject: 18.0548 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

Donald Bloom writes ...

 >I would gather then that there is no negative association
 >with red hair outside the Jew / Judas association.
 >Or is there?

Yes, if slaves wore red wigs in the Roman theatre.

 >With regard to Jews and Judas, does anybody know why
 >or how they came to be associated with red hair? It would
 >seem to be a very odd sort of connection ...

The negative Jewish association may have started with the Jacob-Esau story.

I suspect however that when medieval artists first painted Judas with 
red hair, this was merely to distinguish him from the other apostles at 
the Last Supper (in the same way that John is depicted as beardless, or 
Peter is depicted as white-haired.)  Once Judas's red hair had become a 
recognised convention in Art, it was adopted by the mystery plays. 
Since audiences always booed the guy with the red wig, it was a short 
step for the red "syrup" to become a shorthand for "villain".

But not shorthand for "Jew", since just about everyone else on the 
mystery play stage (apart from Pilate and the Roman soldiers) was a 
co-religionist of Judas.

Peter Bridgman

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Abigail Quart <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 17:38:52 -0400
Subject: 18.0548 Redheads
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

With regard to Jews and Judas, does anybody know why or how they came to 
be associated with red hair? It would seem to be a very odd sort of 
connection, or does it have a common origin with the unluckiness still 
apparently sensed in the Middle East? Did one cause the other?

Ass-eared Set, the murderer of Osiris, was believed to be red-haired, so 
the tradition may have come Egypt. Also, the name "Adam" is supposed to 
mean "red man" so there's a long tradition in that neighborhood.

Among the Jews, however, red hair seems to be just as bad a feature as 
it is among the Christians. I remember my grandmother telling me how 
red-haired girls in her village had trouble finding husbands. That it 
was the "worst thing."

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Nicole Coonradt <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 22:42:07 +0000
Subject: 18.0548 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

Seeing red?  I love this thread and the interesting turns it's taken, 
especially today's posts.

First, I wonder if red associated with malice or sexual promiscuity is 
directly linked to alchemical elements-- fire, specifically-- and 
perhaps humours--blood?-- which would both be very Elizabethan concepts. 
  Anyone an expert?  Is this the "folklore" to which Don refers?

Some of this might be taken as silly, but the cultural trickle down 
regarding red at times seems obvious as in say, Hester Prynne's 
**scarlet** letter-- after all, it could have been any color and yet 
Hawthorne chose **scarlet*.  And women of ill repute are often shown 
wearing red.  Off the top of my head, we have Nancy in the 1968 film 
_Oliver!_ as one example, which is a double whammy:  red hair and red 
dress.  Miss Kitty, the saloon madam in the TV show _Gunsmoke_, had red 
hair.  Laughably, "Ginger" from _Gilligan's Island_ had red hair and she 
played the sexy, movie star.  Re temper, Maureen O'Hara's character in 
_The Quiet Man_ is especially noted for her red hair-- "I have a fearful 
temper" she says at one point, and then John Wayne is warned about it 
from another as well, specifically linking it to her hair color:  "And 
her with her red hair and her freckles-- that temper is no lie!"  Victor 
McLaglen, the biggest hothead of the film is called "Red" Will Danaher. 
  Wharton employs red in _Ethan Frome_ in conjunction with Mattie and 
sexual tension.  Though not a redhead, Liz Hurley as the sexy Devil in 
_Bedazzled_, wears naughty red costumes throughout the film, her French 
maid getup being the one exception.  In a broader sense, the color red, 
specifically *as a color*, is the root/trigger of psychosis in 
Hitchcock's _Marnie_, linked to both violence and sex.  I'm sure a 
complete list of symbolic uses of red would be unimaginably long, but it 
seems safe to say that malice and sex figure prominently in such a list.

Be that as it may, even if it originated via the Miracle Plays and lore 
of Judas as the unlucky, evil ginger, it still seems a bit baffling how 
this stage convention would have been employed-- if indeed it was with 
any regularity (how can we know?)-- in productions staged before a 
ginger monarch.

And, as Basch posted, I, too, recall reading in more than one source 
that Shylock was often played wearing a big red nose, but, 
unfortunately, I do not have the citations handy, and it may have been 
later productions as suggested by one member.  At first I thought it 
might have appeared in Shapiro's excellent _Shakespeare and the Jews_, 
but I'll have to consult my notes.  (It's not in Greenblatt's _Will in 
the World_, I just checked.) When I read about it conducting research 
for a masters' MOV project, it was presented as entirely conventional, 
as if it were common cultural knowledge, but more comedic than menacing, 
like a modern-day clown rather than a villain.  Also, Shapiro's work 
does makes the case for the fact that there were Jews in Elizabethan 
England, despite their having been driven from the country in 1290 by 
Edward I, so Early Moderns may well have actually seen Jews contrary to 
Basch's comment about "Jews that they had never seen."

Finally, yesterday, two members posted with quotes from AYLI about 
Orlando's hair being of the "dissembling" color and then comment on 
Judas, which Rosalind then glosses over, recanting her original 
sentiment and reasserting her love.  More importantly, however, in the 
same passage Celia speaks of Rosalind as having "chestnut" hair, which 
would seem to blow the whole red=evil theory out of the water since she 
is not a menacing character but the heroine (chestnut effectively 
putting her in the "ginger" category).  Maybe we've gone off track a bit 
here?  It seems then that this could not have been an absolute and I'm 
inclined to think that for the Bard the red wig on Shylock might well 
have been an isolated usage-- iIFhe even used it for his own 
productions.  Elizabeth I, not being a Jewish man, could likely have 
simply overlooked the matter.

Best,
Nicole Coonradt

[Editor's Note: The _Bedazzled_ to which Nicole refers is a re-make of 
the classic 1967 film of the same name that starred Peter Cook and 
Dudley Moore and was directed by Stanley Donen. Images at the Internet 
Movie Database remind me that Lilian Lust - played by Rachel Welsh - 
wore a variety of skimpy two-piece attires, some sparkly, some white, 
and at least one was red: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAEzvi815TA&mode=related&search= Since 
seeing this film, I have craved having a Frobisher & Gleason Raspberry 
Flavoured Ice Lolly. But who could forget such memorable moments as the 
nuns whose initiation ceremony involves jumping up and down on 
trampolines - "For her tremendous feet" - The Order of the Leaping 
Berylians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IECuJDpc_4&NR=1 - or the 
Frooney Green Eyewash Men - or Stanley the intellectual: You'd like to 
be the sort of person who can use words like 'inarticulate'? - or  "What 
rotten sins I've got working for me," George says. "It must be the 
wages." - or George's re-enacting of the fall of the angels with Stanley 
and the Postbox - "I'm getting a bit bored with this, can't we change 
places." How Miltonic that! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr-Vxu_4ckA]

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		V. Kerry Inman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007 20:28:11 -0400
Subject: 18.0548 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

From: 		Donald Bloom <
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 >

 >I
 >also recall reading somewhere (Laurence Durrell, I believe, but other
 >places, too) that red hair was (and is) considered unlucky in the Arabic
 >world.
 >
 >Does anybody know what's going on here?

I asked my department head at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and
Civilizations, at the University of Pennsylvania. His reply.

"VK,

I've not heard that one.

ROGER ALLEN"

Roger Allen is noted for many works, but perhaps the best known and most 
comprehensive:  _The Arabic Literary Heritage_ Cambridge University 
Press, 1998 (and in abbreviated paperback form in 2000, as Introduction 
To Arabic Literature); an Arabic version of the larger volume is in 
press in Cairo. This work has been extremely well received, and many 
scholars now regard it as the standard work in the field.

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~rallen/index.html

Because the Arabic world is so vast and diverse, the concept of red 
headedness being unlucky may nevertheless exist somewhere in it. It is 
just not prominent.

--V. Kerry Inman

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Aug 2007 09:41:28 +0100
Subject: 18.0548 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0548 Redheads

I've been looking at paintings of the Last Supper, and it seems 
red-headed Judases only appeared in the 16th century, and in Northern 
Europe.  Here are two excellent examples:

Hans Holbein the younger (c. 1520-4)
http://www.wga.hu/art/h/holbein/hans_y/1525/10lastsu.jpg

Joos van Cleve (c. 1525-7)
http://www.wga.hu/art/c/cleve/joos/lament2.jpg

Italian Judases from the same period are usually black-haired.

Peter Bridgman

[7]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Edmund Taft <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Aug 2007 10:13:12 -0400
Subject: 	Redheads

Larry Weiss writes:

 >"So far as I have ever read, the red wig was introduced in the
 >McCready/Irving era.  I would be very interested in any primary source
 >for the notion that it was current in 1596-1600."

That's my understanding too. Unless I've overlooked something, we have 
NO evidence that Shakespeare played Shylock with a red whig and/or with 
a big nose.  As for Portia's comment asking who is who 
(Shylock/Antonio), my guess is it's disingenuous not because of 
Shylock's physical appearance, but because he would be dressed 
differently (less sumptuous, more plain) than the Christians.

Ed Taft


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