The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0318  Wednesday, 25 February 1999.

From:           Steven Marx <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Date:           Wednesday, 24 Feb 1999 10:48:03 -0800
Subject:        An Undergrad's Interest

Thought I'd forward you a message received this morning with the above
title, along with my reply.

Dear mevillan

Thanks for your message, with its intriguing title and flattering
start.  An undergrad's interest is a precious commodity much to be
fostered, and I think your speculations and questions raise interesting
issues.  They also indicate a stance, both interpretive and ethical that
my generation by and large rejected, but that seems to be making a
return in many quarters.  So I've forwarded message to the editor of
SHAKSPER, a discussion list of Shakespeareans, to see if he thinks it's
appropriate to circulate further.

As to your theory.  I haven't looked at the Sonnets in a long time, but
your characterization of their "ideals" of love seems plausible.  Love
in opposition to lust is a recurrent obsession of the tragedies, except
in some ways, Romeo and Juliet, though one could argue that their whole
death-marked love is corrupt. But that polarity, along with favoring of
male over female, doesn't hold in the comedies, and in The Winter's
tale, which I'm just teaching, those attitudes are shown to be
"Wintery," tragic, misguided and only capable of redemption by the
affirmation of sexuality and the acceptance of male-female
friendship-what Jean Hagstrum in his wonderful book of the same name
calls "Esteem enlivened by desire" It's subtitled "the couple from Homer
to Shakespeare."

All the best,
Steven Marx

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. wrote:

Dig your page- Interested in your book: My theory is that the sonnets
produce a template of  Shakespeare's ideals of love which are then acted
out within his plays (or at least some of the comedies and Romeo and
Juliet- I'm still working on it) The theme of a "true" love of the mind
verses a lust of the eyes is presented in the sonnets (his male friend
representing love of mind since-as a heterosexual man- Shakespeare does
not have to deal with lust in the situation. The darklady of course
represents the realistic relationship of man and woman with all its
duplicity and lustfulness. "A woman's face with nature's own..." is
brought up most obviously in Twelfth Night when the Duke falls for
Cesario- the Duke lusts after Olivia, does not love her (check out first
mention of olivia by Duke- "eyes") and develops a "true" love for
Cesario because of the relationship of "mind". (there is even a almost
exact quote- though in different context, at the end of the play. Eyes
vs reaon or mind theme is also in Midsummer's and Romeo loves Rosalind
with his eyes and Juliet with his mind (note the wordplay of Juliet and
Romeo- it is only rivaled by Mercutio and Romeo (and there we have that
true mind male relationship again). There's more but you're a scholar
and I'm a sophomore at a state school in North Carolina, so I'll shut

As far as Shakespeare in love, I find it interesting that RandJ is
inspired by Shakespeare's love (Violet) and in the play the Juliet (in
my opinion) has by far the most eloquent and intelligent things to say.

Got any info? Things to look up? Always trying to learn more

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