The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0699 Wednesday, 13 April 2005
Date: Tuesday, 12 Apr 2005 10:28:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0684 What are 'delicate wits?'
Comment: Re: SHK 16.0684 What are 'delicate wits?'
Thanks Stephen and Norman.
As shown with the Shakespeare cites "delicate" then, as I believe now,
in its most common usage relates a sense fineness or fragility with a
positive, or non-negative, connotation. Cf. dainty and flimsy.
There's a hierarchical aspect too. Rich men's scandals are "delicate
affairs." For the poor they're "tawdry matters." Delicate is a
I hadn't thought to consult a dictionary for a phrase, thanks for the
Florio reference. "Delicate wit" in the usages I seen generally would
match "keen" and "learned." I think a good modern parallel is "refined
sense of humor."
For the comment I interpreted as sarcastic, Florio's "slye, wylie,
craftie" would be good matches. That writer was a divine commenting
negatively on a humorous secular appropriation of a bible passage.
"Smart-alecky" or "cheeky" may be good modern matches too.
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