The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0523  Tuesday, 18 December 2012


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

Date:         December 18, 2012 7:21:13 AM EST

Subject:     The Venus & Adonis Dedication 


I know not how poor will be the perception of my argument, if I leave so much surmise resting on so little substance.


A newcomer to the forum would reasonably assume that I was politely (and humbly) acknowledging deficiencies in my thesis.


Those familiar with the earlier content of this thread might see different messages (though maybe not Scot).


A reader from a third category might realize that the thrust of the words is ambiguous. Without a complete background, s/he would be reliant on surrounding remarks for clarification. If these were also ambiguous—and the theme of the alternate meanings was consistent—s/he would become increasingly suspicious. Eventually, s/he would conclude that the ambiguity may be deliberate and seek to test this hypothesis.


In my article I show that the V & A Dedication of some 130 words contains persistent ambiguity. The alternate theme is both cohesive and antithetical to the messages perceived by the unquestioning. The article contains a mental experiment designed to strip away the barriers of preconception and familiarity. It proceeds to quantify a range of probabilities that the punning was deliberate. None of this has been undermined.


Subsequently, I dealt with questions on Shakespeare’s motivation. Anyone who doubts the feasibility of my answer is of saintly disposition or otherwise ignorant of human nature. There is, at least, no doubt as to Shakespeare’s ability to pun. I repeat: we would probably be hailing the address as a fine example of his understanding of both human interaction and wordplay, if he had presented the situation in one of his own plays. (Pace you dim shadows of Larry and Julia). 


I am sorry that I have had to raise hypothetical scenarios in order to provoke analysis and discussion. That attention has, however, shown the pillars of my case to be rather sturdy (if now a little yellow-stained). Any further testing will be gratefully received. 

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