Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2013 :: May ::
Sun, Coal, Fog, Smog

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0219  Monday, 6 May 2013

 

[1] From:        Marianne Kimura < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         May 5, 2013 5:23:00 AM EDT

     Subject:     Sun/Coal 

 

[2] From:        Abraham Samuel Shiff < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         May 5, 2013 11:35:24 AM EDT

     Subject:     The Burning of Coal 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         May 5, 2013 5:23:00 AM EDT

Subject:     Sun/Coal

 

About the sun/coal allegory idea

 

I want to clear up the idea that the structure in “Romeo and Juliet” which may be an allegory representing mankind’s changing economic relationship to the sun (due to fossil fuels) over many centuries or millennia must be depressing and regrettable.  

 

Of course, I agree that the way Romeo approaches the comatose Juliet seems a bit scary. But think beyond that scene. In Act V, scene 1, Shakespeare makes Romeo tell a dream about waking up from death to find his lady had revived him with kisses:

 

If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep, 

My dreams presage some joyful news at hand: 

My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne; 

And all this day an unaccustom’d spirit 

Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts. 

I dreamt my lady came and found me dead— 

Strange dream, that gives a dead man leave to think!— 

And breathed such life with kisses in my lips, 

That I revived, and was an emperor. 

Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess’d, 

When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!

 

And we can see renewable energy (as wind and waves and solar panels etc.) getting more and more attention these days. People are discussing carbon footprints a lot.

 

Furthermore, the timing is not specified. If the return to a sun economy takes 1000 or 2000 years, then all of us reading this will not be around to see it. It actually won’t matter to us. On the other hand, Shakespeare will still be relevant. He was “for all time” (quoting Ben Johnson):

 

He was not of an age, but for all time!

And all the Muses still were in their prime,

When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm

Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm!

Nature herself was proud of his designs,

And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines!

 

Humans thousands of years from now may well enjoy a greener, cleaner planet once fossil fuels have been used up. And Shakespeare may well be recognized for his achievement: to tell the tale, to put the message for future generations into a wonderful code, readable universally. For we know that Shakespeare’ plays are easy to perform in any language and any setting. 

 

Solar energy and Shakespeare are both universal. My idea is not a gloomy, fraught and horrible message, but one that may show what Shakespeare had in mind: to defend and extol the forces that keep our planet fit for our habitation: photosynthesis, the hydrological cycle, etc. He was a marvelous human being, showing us, many centuries after his death, what is important, who we are, and where we are in the cosmos.

 

Marianne Kimura

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         May 5, 2013 11:35:24 AM EDT

Subject:     The Burning of Coal

 

In his response (SHAKSPER, 04 May 2013, SHK 24.0212, item [3]), Larry Weiss apparently misinterpreted the use of ellipsis to shorten the title of a poem describing pollution in London (SHAKSPER, SHK 24.0206, 26 April 2013 item [5]) to mean a focus on the word fog.

 

This is curious, inasmuch as the editor chose to print the entire poem with the full title, which is: ‘Upon the foggie air, Sea-coal smoke, Diet, Filth and Mire of London.” The poem describes the effects of coal smoke.

 

The other work cited and quoted from is by Sir Hugh Plat, published 1603. The editor printed the title page; unambiguously about coal. Another quotation from Sir Hugh (leaf B4v): “Also the stirring of common seacole fires after they are once caked and knit together doth make a hellish smoke and smolder, dispersing the sootie substance & subtle atomies [sic] abroad into the air, . . . ”

 

Is Weiss blowing fog to obscure the fact that he was not knowledgeable about Elizabethan use of coal for fuel and the deleterious consequences of coal smoke?

 

Abraham Samuel Shiff

Graduate Student

Master of Liberal Studies Program

The Graduate Center

City University of New York

 
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.