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The Venus & Adonis Dedication

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0510  Monday, 10 December 2012

 

From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 8, 2012 6:12:52 AM EST

Subject:     The Venus & Adonis Dedication 

 

Larry Weiss suggests that Shakespeare must have been supremely neurotic to have derived satisfaction from his unperceived insult. 

 

This is a possibility, I suppose. However, more likely he was just driven to relieve the frustration of having to kowtow to someone who had demeaned him (as are, I guess, most spitting waiters).

 

Let us consider this from another angle. Imagine that a Shakespearean play contains two characters: a vain peacock of an Earl and a humble, unknown author. The latter has been badly dealt with by the former, but is then obliged to produce a dedication to him. Shakespeare has him compose what is, in effect, the V&A address. It is read out to the strutting, young jackanapes (with suitable interjections or asides to clarify the wit to the audience). We would be enthralled. Most would think it a fine example of Shakespeare's wit and of how well he understood the human condition. 

 

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