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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: May ::
FYI Ron Rosenbaum's Shakespeare List
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0262  Monday, 5 May 2008

From:		David Basch <
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Date:		Sunday, 04 May 2008 13:09:24 -0400
Subject: 19.0235 FYI Ron Rosenbaum's Shakespeare List
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0235 FYI Ron Rosenbaum's Shakespeare List

In one of the discussions on Shakespeare's intentions, Al Magary 
presented the list with the comments of Ron Rosenbaum (printed in 
Slate.com) on the emptiness of some of the biographical references on 
Shakespeare.

Rosenbaum had written:

It's unfortunately typical of the slippery, unresolvable-and often 
tedious and irrelevant-conflicts of Shakespearean biography.... and 
waste time on such evidence-deprived controversies as the recent dust-up 
between Germaine Greer in Shakespeare's Wife and Stephen Greenblatt 
(initially in Will in the World over the unanswerable question: Did 
Shakespeare love his wife?  (Greer: Yes. Greenblatt: No. Actual 
evidence: Nil.)"

My own comment now is whether there is this total lack of knowledge of 
Shakespeare's intentions that Al highlights. For if you consult Sonnet 
145, you in fact get a portrait of the poet's wife, Anne Hatheway. On 
this, let me inform the list that even scholar Helen Vendler 
acknowledges that Anne's name appears in this sonnet in line 13, "I 
hate, from HATE AWAY she threw," but her name also appears numerous 
additional times if the sonnet is carefully examined. Consider, for 
example, that you can read Anne's name a time or two more in elliptical 
form on lines 9 to 13:

[9] ... hate
...
[12]                  ... away.
[13]... hate ... HATE AWAY

And then, consider the devices in the sonnet lines 5-9, that, brought 
together, yield "h-aight - aW-A-I" and "hat'e - aW-A-I" as shown in the 
configurations of the sonnet as follow:

[5]     aight
[6]    h
[7]   Wa
[8]   A                                 a n
[9]   I hate

Turning to the words of the sonnet itself, you can read how loving the 
poet is to her. She has "lips that Love did make" and she has "mercie" 
"in her heart" and has an "ever sweet tongue" that pronounces "gentle 
do[o]me"- not blood curdling, shrewish shrieks. The poet is absolutely 
enamored of her and cringes at the fact that somehow she happens to be 
displeased.

Since, as some language experts have told us, the word "and" was 
pronounced "an...," Anne turns out to have saved the poet's life when in 
the final line the poet tells "An... saved my life saying not you."

Concerning his wife, if we are guided by Shakespeare's own words, we 
find a woman altogether different from conventional stereotypes. She was 
not the silent type that Germaine Greer imagines in her book, 
Shakespeare's Wife, though Greer is correct about the resourcefulness 
that such women in the period were likely to exhibit.

If we are discussing intention, we might leave open the intentions of 
the poet as he communicates this in his sonnet.

David Basch

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