The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0225  Tuesday, 7 May 2013


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

Date:         May 7, 2013 12:00:59 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Greenblatt


>This speculation comes from something other than the eyes.


I have read this several times trying to figure out if this is a pun and, if so, precisely how to parse it. I confess I am lost.


>So judgment says that the beloved is ugly, while the eyes of 

>love say s/he is beautiful. If the eyes of love see truly, then 

>judgment judges the beloved falsely. We take “censure” to 

>be negative, and so to imply “ugly”, but Duncan-Jones (I 

>haven’t located a Booth yet) says it then had no such 

>connotation. It simply meant to judge.


This is not fair to either Duncan-Jones or Booth, and, as I cited their glosses, I might be responsible for the unfairness. So let me try to set it to rights. Duncan-Jones says that “censures falsely what they see aright” “explores the possibility that the error is not in his eyes, but in his capacity to judge or appraise correctly what his eyes see”; while Booth says that the poem contains “a series of explanations for the discrepancy between what he esteems beautiful and what the world esteems so.” Neither Duncan-Jones nor Booth explicitly considered Bishop’s “speculation”; and, since we are here dealing with the rather slippery world of interpretation of the Sonnets, I don’t think we can say that they “reject” it. In that surreal world two (or more) different and somewhat contradictory meanings can exist simultaneously. Therefore, I would not jump to the conclusion that Booth and Duncan-Jones reject other glosses by implication. In this unique instance expresio unius non est exclusio alterius.


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