NABOKV-L post 0014053, Mon, 13 Nov 2006 18:17:53 -0500

Subject
Last will? codicil
From
Date
Body
Charles writes:-

-that all four of them are post-1977, post-Rowse
and post-Freud, and reflected that the last of these has taught us to
find sexual innuendo in almost anything, including Johnson-

Unhistorical surely. Sexual innuendo is not something Freud discovered.
Down
to the second last century, all men of literate persuasion were
nurtured on
the salacious bosoms of Greek and Latin literature, where obscenity is
par
for the intercourse between writer and reader.There are many books on
this: -Jeffrey Henderson's 'The Maculate Muse:Obscene Language in
Attic
Comedy' (1975); J.N.Adams, 'The Latin Sexual Vocabulary' (1982); Amy
Richlin's 'The Garden of Priapus' (1983), the latter particularly good
on
satire, and invective High poetry did not therefore exclude wild
metaphorical imaginings in which earthy double-entendres could be heard
in
lines that otherwise bore 'straight' meanings. If Ovid advises short
women
to ride on horseback, he is not counseling diminutive ladies to take
equestrian exercise. He is providing a colourful device for delicately
suggesting the best position for them in bed.

All this fed into Western literature, indeed provided classical
sanction for
the compatibility of profanity in high art.

Since you insist that Partridge's volume 'Shakespearean Bawdy' might
resolve
your doubts, then look at pp.284-6 (3rd edition 1968). There you will
find
that while it generally means 'a passionate or powerful sexual desire'
, in
Sonnets 135 and 136 'will does mean 'sexual desire; lust', but it also
means, now the male, now the female, sexual organ, as a number of
scholars
have, ever since the book first appeared in 1947, hastened to tell
me'.
Booth's edition again lists texts contemporary with Shakespeare where
'will'
means both female and male sexual organs. As you see this was long
known
before 1947, let alone 1977.

Peter Dale

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