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Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Talia (---.dialsprint.net)
Date: January 13, 2005 11:02AM

So, I'm sure you've all heard this and seen the evidence, particularly in the sonnets, but I had never heard my professor speak of it so much, and with a lot of belief and indication in some of those double-meaning words that are used in middle schools across America. You have probably had some sort of conversation about it somewhere on here. Do you believe it? I think its a stretch. I also think that in his time, it was rare, which is not what Professor Chaney said. What do you think?


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 13, 2005 11:16AM

Achilles wore his shoes too tight
and passion kept him up at night
he slept with men in light of day
and no one ever called him gay


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Talia (---.dialsprint.net)
Date: January 13, 2005 11:20AM

well said


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: January 13, 2005 11:44AM

Interestingly, Brahms and Simon in No Bed for Bacon, published in the 1940s, suggested that Shakespeare was homosexual. In Shakespeare in Love, made in the supposedly enlightened 1990s, they didn't.

www.oddbooks.co.uk/harris/gallery.php?image_key=max2

for another ...view...


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 13, 2005 01:12PM

[gayshakes.pitas.com] />
cast YOUR vote !

and a good link from the same site:

[www.infopt.demon.co.uk] />


Jerry: You don't understand, Osgood! I'm a man!
Osgood: Well, nobody's perfect.
(Some Like It Hot)



Post Edited (01-13-05 12:33)


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: January 13, 2005 02:12PM

I think its a stretch.

I agree with you Talia.

I recall some of the discussions in my Shakespeare classes about Shakespeare and other authors purported homosexuality. But my professor, who coincidentally was gay, said that modern critics read into a piece of literature what they want to. He said they often bring their own biases into the readings, which were probably not intended by the author.

So my advice to you would be to take it with a grain of salt.


Les


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: joseph r. torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 13, 2005 04:47PM

I doubt it...unless of course he left his "best bed" to his manservant.

JoeT


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: January 13, 2005 09:10PM

If he was (and I agree with the 'we believe not or we don't know' faction), he would not have been advertising it publicly. Until Elizabeth I loosened the rules, actors were classed with thieves, gamblers, and whores, as being undesirable.

This was a time and place where men could use terms of affection to other men.

pam


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 13, 2005 10:15PM

As with most aspects of life in those times, you took what you could get.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: January 14, 2005 10:52AM

Well, he had children, so one would tend to apply the label 'bisexual' since he sported with both sexes. We know he returned seldom, if at all, back to Stratford once he was working in London theatres. The death of his son, for example, would probably have caused him to return for the funeral.

Surely he would have experienced the same horniness we all do, and would have sought companionship while in the big city. We know of no female lovers, so we are left with the male mentioned in the sonnets, or we have to infer he paid for pleasure in houses of ill repute.

To me, it is clear he dallied on both sides of the street, sure. Assuming the person from Avon even WAS the writer of the sonnets and plays, that is.

Did he leave Anne his second-best bed because he knew she committed adultery while he was away? Maybe, but who can blame the dame?


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 14, 2005 11:08AM

Aw, come ON.....Willie ShakeSpear ? Obviously a made-up name !
like the real name of the second Darren on Bewitched?
Who does he think he is, Peter O'Toole?


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Talia (---.dialsprint.net)
Date: January 14, 2005 11:35AM

My professor says that in his (Shakespeare) time people did not make such a "big deal" about homosexuality...that can't be true.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: January 14, 2005 03:01PM

Based on the sonnets, it's generally believed that Shakespeare had a wife, a mistress, and a boyfriend -- which qualifies him as bisexual in the modern sense of the word.

Then, as now, it was more of an issue for some people than for others. In the world of theatre there has always been tolerance for "out" homosexuality. In the merchant classes, less so.

Elizabethan plays include homosexual characters. Note that in Marlowe's EDWARD II, the king is scorned NOT for having a male lover, but for favoring the male lover over other nobles who feel they have earned favor. Also, for spending time with his male lover when he was supposed to be ruling.

In Elizabethan England, as in ancient Greece, there wasn't such a rush to label someone straight, gay, or bi. Lots of men with wives and mistresses also had sex with other men. Lots of women had husbands and girlfriends. Some spouses had problems with that and some did not. Sort of like... always.

WHICH BRINGS ME to a point in Thalia's post that I have to address. Her professor apparently said that "in his time, it was rare"--meaning, in Shakespeare's time, homosexuality was rare. NOT TRUE. There has always been a spectrum of hetero-bi-homosexual orientation. Attitudes change over the course of history, and the degree of secrecy changes in response, and attitudes change in response to that, and so forth. But there never was a time when homosexuality was more "rare" than at any other.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Talia (---.dialsprint.net)
Date: January 14, 2005 04:09PM

When I said "rare" in my first post, I should have clearly stated that I did not think that homosexuality was rare, but that the outward recognition and acceptance of it was rare.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 14, 2005 04:51PM

ah, so then it was "medium rare"


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Pam Adams (134.71.192.---)
Date: January 14, 2005 05:46PM

Well-done!

pam


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Linda (---.l3.c4.dsl.pol.co.uk)
Date: January 15, 2005 10:15AM

Could a useful comparison be made here with left handedness? Both are presumed to be an inborn disposition, both have been suppressed by the dominant culture and for most of history neither have been commented on in the written record.
Can we say how many active homosexuals there were in Elizabethan times any more than we could count the active left handers?


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: January 15, 2005 01:16PM

It could likely be expressed as a percentage of the population for those who list to larboard, be it sinister(!) or not. I would think southpaws would remain a consistent percentage throughout history, whereas sexuality numbers would change as societies attitudes were permissive or not. Still, there were times when children (Lewis Carroll, for example?) were forced to write dextrally as well.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: PamAdams (---.wlan98.csupomona.edu)
Date: January 15, 2005 06:22PM

My father was forced to switch handedness- born in 1936. Interestingly, his younger brother- born in 1948 was not. I don't know if that shows enlightenment on the part of my grandmother or laziness.

pam


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 15, 2005 10:50PM

My mother (b.1928), and I believe, my father-in-law (b.1936) were both forced
to switch to right hand.

Also, I'm not sure if I can agree with Hugh about the percentages.
I'd think they'd remain the same but the expression of the inclination would be suppressed.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: January 16, 2005 05:09PM

My mother, born 1918, was forced to be right handed (they tied her left hand behind her back at school so she couldn't use it) . As a young woman she broke her right wrist, rapidly learned to write left-handed again, and remained ambidextrous.

I read somewhere that if you look at the proportion of left handed geniuses, it is twice that of left handers in the general population and if you look at the proportion of left handers in lunatic asylums, that is also double. I rationalize this by thinking that a lefthander getting on in a righthanded world will have to put in so much effort s/he will either bust the scale potentialwise or flunk out all together, but then I would - I'm a southpaw, too.

I always thought that where people wrote from right to left, there would perhaps be more lefthanders than righthanders, perhaps in the reversed proportion to in a culture where they write from left to right. Not so, the proportions of right and left handers are the same in all cultures. So why do some cultures write what is the harder way for the majority?



Post Edited (01-16-05 16:11)


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: January 16, 2005 06:52PM

unresearched guess, because someone started doing it that way and everyone else said "we've ALWAYS done it that way"

and yes...tied behind her back ! gave her a severe case of stuttering


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: January 16, 2005 07:59PM

My primary school writing teacher, a dogmatic Irish spinster who taught copperplate writing (as well as singing, geography and general studies for little boys) with unforgettable perfectionist passion, was right-handed but used to tell the class that no one should be ashamed of being left-handed, because Leonardo da Vinci was left-handed and he was "the most intelligent man who ever lived". She did however insist that left-handers write forehand, i.e. with wrists straight and below the writing line, not hooked around above it to achieve a backhand action. That wasn't a hard adjustment.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Sang-DUk (---.res.east.verizon.net)
Date: February 16, 2005 09:14PM

where'd u get this information? Please respond, as I am doing a research paper on this and am having trouble finding sources. Thanks


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: marian2 (---.range81-152.btcentralplus.com)
Date: February 17, 2005 03:46AM

It's anecdotal, Sang-DUk, it either happened to folks we know, we read about it but can't remember where or other people told us.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Talia (---.dialsprint.net)
Date: February 17, 2005 12:52PM

My info came from my english professor...hearsay, I guess.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: February 17, 2005 12:56PM

Sang-DUk, which topic are you researching specifically?


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: February 17, 2005 12:57PM

hearsay, I guess

Talia, in many cases, it's interpreting the words in such a way that the author would have the mindset of a homosexual.

I've never read anything by a scholarly critic who made this accusation seriously, however.


Les


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: February 17, 2005 01:36PM

A compilation:

To lay his gay comparisons apart,
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd

For gay apparel 'gainst the triumph day.
Ere beauty's dead fleece made another gay:
Then, lullaby, the learned man
hath got the lady gay;

My gay apparel for an almsman's gown
The gay new coats o'er the french soldiers' heads
And deck my body in gay ornaments

Do their gay vestments his affections bait?
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Never lack'd gold and yet went never gay !


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: February 17, 2005 04:29PM

'homo' is a common name to all men.
Henry IV Part 1 Act 2 Scene 1


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: Marian-NYC (12.154.236.---)
Date: February 17, 2005 06:43PM

Marian2 asked: "So why do some cultures write what is the harder way for the majority [meaning: right to left]?"

I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but right-to-left is only "harder" if you're writing with a smear-able medium on a surface you hand touches. It's probably easier if you're chiseling words into stone.


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: February 17, 2005 07:48PM

Having done very little chiseling of words into stone ( and when I say very little, i mean none), I would tend to agree, Marian-NYC, since I would imagine I'd use my right hand to hammer and the left to hold the chisel (I am right-handed)



Post Edited (02-17-05 18:48)


Re: Shakespear a homosexual?
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: February 19, 2005 11:47PM

According to this, the first OED record is 1935

[www.voxmagazine.com] />
Bringing Up Baby (1938), starring Cary Grant, is the first film to use gay in the modern sense




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