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The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0208 Thursday, 27 May 2010
From: Sarah Gail Farrell <
The _Early English Studies_ journal has recently published three articles that may be of interest to members of the SHAKSPER List:
Borlik, Todd. "'The Chameleon's Dish': Shakespeare and the Omnivore's Dilemma." _Early English Studies_ 2 (2009): n.pag. Web. 26 May 2010.
This essay situates Shakespeare's _Hamlet_ within the emergent discourse of ethical vegetarianism in early modern England, challenging the prevailing assumption that the English were a nation of robust beef-eaters. Specifically, it argues that Hamlet has undertaken a commemorative fast for his father, which implies that he likely eschewed meat. It documents Hamlet's repulsion with butchery and his morbid fascination with the physiological decay of the flesh, culling further evidence in the Prince's denunciations of meat-eating in Shakespeare's source. It relates Hamlet's delay to his qualms about cold-blooded butchery, and deciphers the murder of Polonius as an ironic reenactment of the folk-play known as the Killing of the Calf. Finally, the essay unravels the metaphysical and ecocritical implications of Hamlet's fast. By blurring the animal/human boundary, the tragedy problematizes the unthinking acceptance of carnivorism as divinely ordained by the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Fisher, Joshua B. "Digesting Falstaff: Food and Nation in Shakespeare's Henry IV plays." _Early English Studies_ 2 (2009): n.pag. Web. 26 May 2010.
This article examines Falstaff's culinary excesses in Shakespeare's _Henry IV_ plays in terms of _quality_ instead of _quantity_. Rather than viewing Falstaff simply as a figure of gluttonous vice, the article argues that Sir John can be understood as embodying an expansive metaphorical significance _as_ food and, in particular, as overwhelmingly native English foodstuffs that both appeal to and threaten to upset Hal's humoral balance and his capacity to govern both self and nation. As such, embracing Falstaff potentially undermines one's proximity to proper bodily decorum and self-rule, but rejecting Falstaff potentially dissociates both Hal and audiences from a cohesive national community.
Knowles, Katherine. "Appetite and Ambition: The Influence of Hunger in _Macbeth_." _Early English Studies_ 2 (2009): n.pag. Web. 26 May 2010.
This article examines the prevalence of food and food-related imagery in _Macbeth_, arguing that the severe anxiety about the provision of food that affected a large proportion of the population of early modern England has a profound influence on the play. It surfaces first in the brief encounter between the weird sisters and the sailor's wife in 1.3 - an episode which depicts hunger and deprivation overtly - and re-emerges in the language of the noble characters, who, though they do not suffer such an obvious shortage of food themselves, nevertheless express their desires, fears and ambitions through the language of eating, suggesting that during Macbeth's tyrannical reign - despite the appearance of plenty that the banquets imply - food supply might be precarious for all social strata. Thus food becomes, in Macbeth, universal shorthand for all that is significant, reflecting the fundamental place it occupied in the minds of early modern people: a centrality that has perhaps been lost to modern western society where food is plentiful and easily obtained.
These articles can be found at the _Early English Studies_ webpage: http://www.uta.edu/english/ees/
With best regards,
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