[ilds] Modern Bisexual Love and Beyond

Odos odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Thu Jun 5 18:35:42 PDT 2014

I would suggest a concrete example of how reading the sonnets differently (or perhaps the object of desire differently) would change how we understand their poetic appeal and literary processes.  Try Sonnet XX followed by XVIII.  Out of sequence, the "master mistress" of desire in 20 provides a new sense of how the erotics and sensuous organic imagery of 18 works.  I think a reading that puts 18 in a closet is boring in comparison...

I'm not one to rely too heavily on the biography of an author, but I'm also wary of the racism that plagued the New Critics and the effectiveness of the intentional fallacy for avoiding dealing with the basis for their privileged social position (as well as, say, Ransom's conflicts with Robert Duncan over the biography of the poet as opposed to the effectiveness of the poetry...).  Nonetheless, when an author's life provides us with a rationale for new interpretive vistas, I won't turn it down based on the death of the author.  As Foucault reminds us, the death of the author is the birth of the author function.  We construct a creator behind the artefact, just as we maintain a fetish of authenticity around the archive.

And for Shakespeare, whether the bard had his hand in the Q1 or not, I enjoy the provocations it offers to read the F1 differently.

All best!

Sent from my iPad

> On Jun 5, 2014, at 6:22 PM, Lee Sternthal <lasternthal at gmail.com> wrote:
> How would it change how you read the sonnets exactly?  I don't think it would change anything important, actually, except for our understanding of who he was writing them for (which I believe to be totally unimportant.)   Everything important in reading the sonnets has nothing whatsoever to do with your knowledge of who and what he was writing them for.  If it does...well...I guess we read for different reasons.  
> The sonnets stand on their own, clearly, all that matters is that he was inspired to write them.  Call me naive, but the rest is gossip, which is fine, but own it as such.  I know, they'll be all these people disagreeing.  Save your time.  I'll never agree that it matters anymore than whether hamlet's greatness resides in being inspired by the loss of his son hamnet or not.  The play speaks to us across time and memory because none of those details mattered once they became an expression of dramatic art.  We do not empathetically feel the total bankruptcy and corruption that hamlet feels because we know any more or less "facts" about the author who created him.  One might feel more analytically comfortable with a work, but that's all.
>> On Jun 5, 2014, at 4:42 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Well, it would certainly change how we read the Sonnets if Shakespeare had lovers of two genders.  And that's certainly how Durrell understood the Sonnets.
>>> On 2014-06-05, 2:50 PM, Marc Piel wrote:
>>> What can it prove or not whether WS was Homo or not.... Does it chan
>>> something about his creativity or otherwise......????????
>>> @+
>>> Marc
>>> Le 05/06/14 20:49, Bruce Redwine a écrit :
>>>> James,
>>>> I'd definitely like to see that "more on that."  Stephen Greenblatt in
>>>> his biography, /Will in the World/ (2004), is too guarded to draw any
>>>> firm conclusions about Shakespeare's sexuality or bisexuality.  He
>>>> calls the Earl of Southampton Shakespeare's "possible lover" (p. 308),
>>>> who was nine and half years younger than WS.  All this is based on
>>>> inference and textual analysis — no hard "proof."  But Greenblatt does
>>>> make this general comment about Renaissance England:  "Elizabethans
>>>> acknowledged the existence of same-sex desire; indeed, it was in a
>>>> certain sense easier for them to justify than heterosexual desire" (p.
>>>> 253).  Since Durrell saturated himself in Elizabethan literature, he
>>>> surely picked up on this attitude, especially as it appealed to his
>>>> revolt against the England of his time.  That's another reason for
>>>> lamenting the great loss of Durrell's proposed study of the "Elizas."
>>>> Bruce
>>>> On Jun 5, 2014, at 9:49 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com
>>>> <mailto:james.d.gifford at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>> On 2014-06-05, 9:29 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>>>>> Some readers think
>>>>>> Shakespeare was gay (Marlowe apparently was) on the basis of the
>>>>>> /Sonnets/ and the dedication to "Mr. W. H."  No proof there but a lot of
>>>>>> food for thought.
>>>>> Old D was certainly among the crowd that read Shakespeare as
>>>>> bisexual. More on that in December...
>>>>> -J
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