The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.511 Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Subject: Death of Lisa Jardine
The following are several obituaries and tributes to Lisa Jardine who died of cancer.
From The Guardian:
The celebrated historian and author professor Lisa Jardine has died aged 71.
Jardine was known for her research into the early modern period and, in the later part of her career, she worked as a professor of renaissance studies at University College London (UCL). She was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Society this year and won its prestigious medal for popularising science, as well as being awarded a CBE.
Jardine’s friend and UCL colleague Prof Melissa Terras called her an “astonishing scholar” and said she would be missed. Jardine was “immensely supportive of colleagues and the causes she cared about, passionate about equality, an effortless communicator and had a vital energy that encouraged and galvanised those around her”, said Terras.
“I only knew Lisa for the past three years, but she became a friend as well as a colleague,” said Terras. “Her research team was family to her, and she will be sorely missed by the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, UCL, and the wider scholarly community.”
Jardine also held honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews, Sheffield Hallam University and the Open University, as well as the University of Aberdeen. On top of that, she spoke eight languages, both modern and ancient, was a trustee of the Victoria and Albert museum for eight years and a member of the Council of the Royal Institution for five.
Jardine was treated for breast cancer in 2005 and, in a Guardian interview the following January, she said that the experience had led her to redouble her research efforts. “Faced with losing everything, you can’t help but look back on your life so far. And my feeling was that I hadn’t done enough. I want to do more, much more, and my resolution at the start of the current academic year was to work faster,” she said.
As a young woman, Jardine identified with socialism. In the same 2006 interview, she described how her political views had developed over time, saying she had “moderated with age, though I’m still well to the left of Tony Blair”.
She published works on Christopher Wren, as well as on various subjects related to the Renaissance period, and won the prestigious Cundill international prize in history.
Jardine was married to the architect John Hare and she once said that her greatest achievement was her three “well-balanced children”. She was the daughter of the Polish-British mathematician and scientist Jacob Bronowski, who was well known for presenting the 1970s BBC documentary the Ascent of Man and writing the accompanying book.
She was keen to recognise her father’s role in her success. “When I started my career, he said: ‘Make sure you write the big books, Lisa; then they cannot accuse you of being lightweight.’”
From the BBC:
Lisa Jardine: Tributes after renowned historian dies
Tributes have been paid to historian and biographer Lisa Jardine following her death at the age of 71 from cancer.
Ms Jardine, a professor of renaissance studies at University College London and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society, was praised as “inspirational” and a “brilliant communicator”.
Prof Jardine served as chair of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) from 2008 to 2014.
She was also a trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum for eight years.
Listen: Lisa Jardine on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs
As an author, Prof Jardine tackled subjects including Shakespeare, Erasmus and 17th Century Holland.
She was also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and established the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at Queen Mary, University of London.
Historian Lord Hennessy, a colleague at Queen Mary’s, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Lisa was a polymath. She was a natural swimmer in both the scientific stream and the arts and humanities stream.
“She bedazzled her generation. She had an inspirational effect.”
The UK government’s chief scientific adviser, Prof Sir Mark Walport, added: “She was a brilliant communicator.
“Life, I think, is very much what we make of it, and she really made the most of her life.
“Her work at the HFEA was enormously important because she brought together the science with the public engagement and the debate about the ethics. She was an inspiring leader.”
Historian Simon Schama tweeted: “Lisa Jardine was one of the great historians. She understood that to write of humanity you needed to be fully part of it.”
Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman wrote: “So, so sad to hear of death of wonderful @ProfLisaJardine. A great intellect & completely down to earth. A beacon for women. RIP.”
Lisa Jardine was a regular contributor to the BBC’s A Point of View, and featured on this website for many years. Here is a selection of some of her most popular pieces.
From The Independent:
Lisa Jardine dead: ‘Inspirational historian’ and broadcaster dies aged 71
Tributes paid after academic loses battle with cancer
The distinguished historian, broadcaster and former chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), Professor Lisa Jardine, has died of cancer. She was 71.
Professor Jardine wrote influential works about Sir Christopher Wren, the Netherlands in the 17th century, Erasmus, women in the time of Shakespeare, and humanism, but is perhaps best known for her work as a commentator on history and the arts on television and radio. She regularly presented BBC Radio 4’s A Point of View and also judged a number of literary prizes, such as the Whitbread Prize for fiction.
Tributes poured in on social media, with the artist Grayson Perry writing on Twitter: “Very sad to hear of the death of Prof Lisa Jardine, a brilliant and generous friend.”
The historian Mathew Lyons, a History Today columnist, called her “a profound and inspirational historian, intellectual and writer”. And Professor Anson Mackay, a colleague at University College London, where Professor Jardine worked from 2012, added: “Really really sad to hear that Prof Lisa Jardine has passed away. A huge loss to UCL and academia in general.”
Born the daughter of Jacob Bronowski, the Polish academic who wrote and presented the BBC documentary The Ascent of Man in the 1970s, and Rita Coblentz, an artist, in 1944, Professor Jardine rose to become one of the UK’s most respected commentators on a range of subjects from the arts and history to ethics and current affairs.
When she was appointed as professor of renaissance studies at UCL in 2012, the dean of arts and humanities, Professor Henry Woudhuysen, hailed her as “an outstanding, internationally renowned scholar”. As chair of the HFEA, a position she held from 2008 to 2014, she had to deal with the complex and highly emotional issues about the artificial creation of life and helped to develop a globally renowned legal framework for IVF treatment.
She appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in June this year, choosing music as diverse as “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads and “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan to Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor and Mozart’s “Dove Sono” from The Marriage of Figaro.
She was married to the architect John Hare, with whom she had two sons and a daughter.
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.509 Monday, 26 October 2015
Date: October 26, 2015 at 10:49:09 AM EDT
Regarding the ribald, secondary meaning of “key”, I have been unable to access a work which I last consulted several years ago: Gordon Williams’ A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature. In my (perhaps faulty) recollection, this gives many examples of the use of “key” in a phallic sense, within the literature of Shakespeare’s era. I can’t remember if those examples included any work by Sydney, but his Sonnet 79 (quoted by Jim Carroll) intrigues me because of the many ribald secondary meanings. Here it is again (reproduced from Jim’s post):
Sweet kiss, thy sweets I fain would sweetly endite,
Which, even of sweetness, sweetest sweet'ner art.
Pleasing'st consort, where each sense holds a part,
Which, coupling doves, guides Venus chariot right;
Best charge, and bravest retreat in Cupids fight,
A double key, which opens to the heart,
Most rich when most riches it impart.
Nest of young joys, schoolmaster of delight,
Teaching the mean at once to take and give,
The friendly fray, where blows both wound and heal;
The pretty death, while each in other live,
Poor hopes first wealth, hostage of promised weale,
Breakfast of love. But lo, lo, where she is,
Cease we to praise; now pray we for a kiss.
In its wider sense “kiss” means, and has meant, a coming-together (or a conjunction) - a sense still commonly used, for example, in the game of billiards to describe an impact between balls. In relation to humans, of course, the term normally relates to two pairs of lips. But in its wider sense it could be used equally well to refer to the conjunction of other anatomical parts.
Such secondary meaning is affirmed in Williams’ smaller, spin-off work. According to A Glossary of Shakespeare’s Sexual Language, the ribald meaning of kiss is “copulate with”. The work gives four or five examples from Shakespeare. Here are a couple. “In MWW I.i.106, Falstaff jokes about not having ‘kissed your keeper’s daughter’. The clown in AW I.iii.49 argues that ‘he that kisses my wife is my friend’, thereby saving the husband bed-labour”. There is similar double usage in another language, close to home. In French, the noun “baiser” means a kiss (in the sense of osculation); however the same word employed as a verb, “baiser”, means to fuck.
If Sydney intended the “kiss” double-entendre, one would expect similar secondary meanings, consistent with the ribald theme, to appear elsewhere in the sonnet. They do. For example: “Consort” (as an impersonal noun) evokes a union or collaborative effort; the “coupling doves” suggest copulation; the “charge” and “retreat” in Cupid’s fight echo the oscillations of sexual intercourse; “to take and give” similarly points to sexual congress; the “friendly fray” symbolizes the energetic activity of sexual union; “blows” which “both wound and heal” evoke acts of penetration and balm: the “pretty death” suggests an orgasm.
Against this background we must also suspect a secondary, intended ribald meaning to the “double key” of the poem. This now looks very much like a construct of “double” meaning: it is both a metaphorical heart-unlocker and a phallic instrument which gives conduit to “riches”. It looks remarkably like the “key” of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 52 which brings the rich to “sweet uplocked treasure”.