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The Venus & Adonis Dedication

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0519  Friday, 14 December 2012

 

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

     Date:         December 14, 2012 5:34:58 AM EST

     Subject:     The Venus & Adonis Dedication 

 

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

     Date:         Friday, December 14, 2012

     Subject:     The Venus & Adonis Dedication

 

 

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

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

Date:         December 14, 2012 5:34:58 AM EST

Subject:     The Venus & Adonis Dedication 

 

Mari Bonomi and (less directly) Julia Griffin take issue with my interpretations.

 

I first posted my article some two weeks ago: for testing by the forum. It takes a couple of minutes to read and it is not difficult to follow. Here (I fear I have to keep reminding), is my summary of the key points arising:

 

1. The overtly obsequious Dedication contains a pervasive theme of insult and rebuke. It is invisible to anyone who (quite reasonably) is expecting a eulogy.

2. It is extremely unlikely that this occurred by chance. That WS was also a master word-player brings the probability of deliberate punning to near 100%.

3. The existence and content of the hidden theme point to an intimate relationship with Wriothesley, which had turned sour.

 

None of Ms Bonomi, Ms Griffin and any other respondent has disputed the reasoning in the article. Until this happens (and occasions a significant flaw) no one here is rationally justified in dismissing the consequences of the new evidence.

 

While we await any relevant analysis of the article (including, hopefully, Ms Bonomi’s logic for her assessment of it as “weak”), let me offer more food for thought. In my previous post I indeed wrote:

 

Evidence, in the form of the Dedication, points to a highly intimate relationship between poet and an aristocratic, effeminate young Narcissus. Its messages suggest that the poet – originally favoured by the aristocrat—was displaced. Moreover, they demonstrate, yet again, his wit. They give us an insight into his character. He was prepared to flatter and grovel with the best when it suited him—but he was no doormat. He balanced charm with calculated reprisal and boldness. He was able to recover (at least in part) his standing with the young lord (as confirmed by the Lucrece dedication).

 

Is it not wonderful and worthy of exploration that the passage remains valid in its essence if its first seven words are replaced with “The Quarto of Shakespeare’s Sonnets”? 

 

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

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

Date:         Friday, December 14, 2012

Subject:     The Venus & Adonis Dedication

 

I have been trying VERY hard to stay out of this thread but . . . 

 

1. I am not a logician

2. I am editor of SHAKSPER

3. Therefore, I should stay out of threads in SHAKSPER that are based on supposed logic 

 

The above is a syllogism: A + B therefore C

 

Below seems to be presented as logical (i.e., a syllogism):

 

1. The overtly obsequious Dedication contains a pervasive theme of insult and rebuke. It is invisible to anyone who (quite reasonably) is expecting a eulogy. (A)

2. It is extremely unlikely that this occurred by chance. That WS was also a master word-player brings the probability of deliberate punning to near 100%. (B)

3. The existence and content of the hidden theme point to an intimate relationship with Wriothesley, which had turned sour. (C)

 

In order for A + B to lead to C, both propositions must be true and C must follow logically from them.

 

If one cannot accept the validity of either A or B then C does NOT logically follow from them. 

 

Since I cannot be convinced by either A or B, I cannot accept that C logically follows from the two premises. (Premise A)

 

From Ian Steere’s perspective, A is valid and B is valid; therefore, C is valid. (Premise B)

 

New syllogism, A (= my perspective) PLUS (B = Ian Steere’s perspective) THEREFORE C (Ian Steere’s presentation is his reading—pet theory—that is not logically irrefutable as is being presented.

 

Syllogistically yours,

Hardy M. Cook

Professor Emeritus and

Former Composition and Technical Writing Teacher

 

PS: “Evidence, in the form of the Dedication, points to a highly intimate relationship between poet and an aristocratic, effeminate young Narcissus.” 

 

This is not a proposition as presented that can be demonstrated logically from the Dedication to Venus and Adonis. To be able to demonstrate such a logical conclusion would require additional factual biographical evidence that is not supplied. (What journalists call the "smoking" bed.)

 

PPS: The Quarto of Shakespeare’s Sonnets points to a highly intimate relationship between poet and an aristocratic, effeminate young Narcissus. Its messages suggest that the poet – originally favoured by the aristocrat—was displaced. Moreover, they demonstrate, yet again, his wit. They give us an insight into his character. He was prepared to flatter and grovel with the best when it suited him—but he was no doormat. He balanced charm with calculated reprisal and boldness. He was able to recover (at least in part) his standing with the young lord (as confirmed by the Lucrece dedication).

 

DITTO: This is not a proposition as presented that can be demonstrated logically from the Quarto of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. To be able to demonstrate such a logical conclusion would require additional factual biographical evidence that is not supplied. QED.

 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.