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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Filthy Shakespeare

Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Most Outrageous Sexual Puns

It's a universal truth: sex sells. Giving the audience what they wanted in the 16th century, however, meant veiling it with puns, bon mots, slang and other tricks; fortunately, Shakespeare scholar Kiernan (Shakespeare's Theory of Drama) has taken the mystery out of the Bard's deceptively graphic passages in these frank translations from some of his most popular plays. Because most students read whitewashed versions (or because most high school instructors don't want to go there), even fans may be unaware of the degree to which, for instance, Iago (Shakespeare's 'filthiest-minded character') employs sexually loaded language to rouse Roderigo's murderous lust in Act 5 of Othello: 'Quick, quick, fear nothing... and fix most firm thy resolution' seems innocuous enough until Kiernan reveals that 'nothing' means 'vagina' and 'resolution' means 'balls.' These blush-inducing transcripts render Shakespeare's work instantly contemporaneous; as it turns out, just the title of Much Ado About Nothing is easily as vulgar as anything uttered by gross-out moviemakers the Ferrelly brothers. Divided into chapters on lesbianiasm, homosexuality, virginity, sexual diseases, impotency, whores, pimps, brothels and other topics that shall here remain nameless, this jaw-dropping, giggle-inducing text proves both the Bard's enduring relevance and the fact that today's popular entertainment isn't nearly as debased as some might think. - From Publishers Weekly

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