I’m delighted to announce that Delia & I will be returning to Hollins University to teach again in Summer 2015 for thei r MA/MFA Program in Children’s Literature - and that Terri Windling joins us there as 2015 Writer-in-Residence ! Now, here’s the catch: In order to study…
im having trouble sleeping for more than a few hours at a time the past week? or more? im not sure. but it keeps hapening, like, i fell asleep for a few hrs around one and woke up at four, and i ?? i cant remember now. its hard to remember when I slept, just that its not for very long. like, on thursday i didnt fall asleep until four, but woke up at seven, and then slept for another hour a little later.
anyway the point is one of the things that makes it easier to settle down long enough to sleep is thinking about Nice Things that i can in no way fret or worry or hate myself about, and lately that has been hamlet/horatio Cute College Times, play-what-play. because i am a Joke. the Most Trash. i am. a joke…
this is mainly for fic purposes but is an interpretation of the: “before my god, i might not believe/without the sensible and true avouch of mine own eyes” line in hamlet as horatio being of a different religion to the other characters in the play a valid one. maybe it’s just a turn of phrase but “before my god” makes me think he is - wouldn’t he not have said “before god” or “before our god” if he believed in the same god as the other characters ie. the christian god?
because i’m kind of super into north african muslim horatio now
do people who know this play better than me have thoughts?
hi! i hope you don’t mind responses to this.
my first instinct was “before my god” = just a way that Christian texts refer to God sometimes, equiv to “before God” and “before our god,” because it seems familiar. I am pretty much absolutely certain I’ve heard Christian texts and/or people refer to God as “my God” even when writing for or speaking to an audience that had the same set of beliefs, and i was fairly confident it shows up a lot a lot in the Bible too.
i decided to see if i could back that up with some Hot Research, because there is nothing more i like better than Hot Research about Hamlet and Religion.
So, first off, the King James Version of the Bible uses “the Lord my God” a lot. For example, Psalm 104:1, “… O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.” Here, the Psalmist is speaking directly to God, but still using “my God.”
Paul also is translated as saying “I thank my God for [x]” sometimes in his letters, generally in the context of him saying “hey im r glad about you guys, congregation fellow believer buddies.” (Romans 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:4, 1 Corinthians 14:18, Philippians 1:3, Philemon 1:4).
This isn’t necessarily evidence that “before my god” = before our, the Christian, god. I’m bringing it up because the translators of the KJV were Shakespeare’s contemporaries, so any quirks in language present in the KJV are likely to also be part of the habits of yr average English Renaissance guy.
“My God” is also used once more in the play — by Polonius in 2.2 when he’s talking to Claudius and Gertrude: “I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,/Both to my God and to my gracious king.”
I think the most likely in context — tho not the only possible — reading of this is “I swear to God I wouldn’t believe this shit if I wasn’t watching it,” almost more a “holy fucking shit” thing than anything else.
AND if you were stretching, which I always am, you could parallel this to Hamlet’s request that Marcellus and Horatio swear to him that they will not tell anyone about the ghost. Because there’s also a bunch of stuff in the Bible re: swearing, swearing by God’s name (as in not in the cursing sense but the make a promise sense), and the appropriateness therein.
The fact that Hamlet asks them to swear three times (if I’m counting correctly) and that he asks them not to swear by God but “by my sword” is Interesting and also fodder for another post so I won’t drag this out longer.
ALL OF WHICH IS NOT TO SAY that North African Muslim Horatio wouldn’t be awesome, because North African Muslim Horatio would be awesome.
And another note #and sorry if this was a thing you already knew/had taken into account — Christianity had a huge presence in Northern Africa from the inception of the religion up until the Umayyad Caliphate conquered the area, whereupon Islam started to replace Christianity until it was fairly reduced by like, Shakespeare times. There was still a Church there, but not to the massive extent there was prior to the 7th century.
Augustine, one of the Biggest Names in early Christian theology, was from Algeria. One of the first converts to Christianity in the Bible is someone from Ethiopia. There were sizeable churches established in places like Ethiopia and Alexandria and Eritrea in the first century CE that continued on up until the present day.
For example the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, which was founded in 42 CE, had its own popes starting in like the 4th century and continuing on I think pretty much uninterrupted? to the present day.
WHAT IM TRYING TO SAY IS…. a lot of interesting things could be done w/ North African Muslim Horatio, since he would have grown up in a culture where theres more than one religion present (the various Islamic gov’ts — ok I’m less solid on the Ottomans but I kno the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphate at least — were pretty down w/ christians & jewish people hanging around, because they could charge them waaaaaay more taxes). And so maybe when Horatio says “my God” to him it sounds like he’s specifying because he’s used to multi-religious communities, but to everyone else it sounds like a standard oath.
ok. sorry this is v. long. ppl who kno more about African history & the history of Islam in Africa & the Churches there pls feel free to correct me because I’m not An Expert by any means there i hope this was helpful and not Vexing.
i replied to a discussion on the local sf fan group’s fb group re: shifts to digital comics w/ this thing like, “hey, digitizing comics means a lot of creators who couldn’t otherwise make comics can, and they’re a lot easier for a lot of people to get ahold of, and less expensive, and also you don’t have to go to a comic book store which Sucks for lots of women”
and like every comment after that is “NO… NO….. COMIC BOOK STORE NOT BAD …. nO….”
i mean, primarily by women??? so i don’t know . but
i feel like “good grief let us get out our big girl pants put them on and walk into comic stores” sums up the response to a lot of different expressions of sexism in the sf community.
i know fagles takes some liberties in his translation but he’s just really intuitive to read. i’ve read some lattimore (who is the other Big Translator on campus) and found it really difficult to parse for some reason
i think something about the sentence structure??? he’s less dramatic in his translation though lmao
YEAH ITS…. something??? about the sentence structure??? that might be it. i just found it massively easier & more intriguing to read. maybe now that i have a better grasp on the stuff going on in the various works that i read fagles for first, the fitzgerald & lattimore translations will work better for me, but i dont kno… if i can ever let go of this fagles love…..
lattimore tends to be very literal which is great if you want a v greek sentence structure, there’s not much liberty taken but on the other hand—there’s not much liberty taken, so in english it can be stilted. WHICH w the eumenides works wonders.
i remember reading agamemnon for the first time and being amazed at how strange it felt to me? strange and old. so i can see how stilted english could do really incredible things, oh man, that would be super neat.
I was never able to Get Into The Odyssey before I got the Fagles translation (which i don’t have w/ me here : ’ < ) (also i read it back when i was still highlighting things in books, which i don’t recommend, because pencil looks Cooler anyway and you can erase the most embarrassing notes later on).
but fagles’s translation was poetically blunt, if that makes sense at all. like, it was super direct to me, in a way that also had a lot of beautiful imagery. that’s why I like the theban plays as translated by fagles so much, because to me at least they sound the most like words that would come out of real people’s mouths? while also having just this super direct approach.
this got longer than i thought so i'll put most of it behind a read more
I read this post, which i don’t want to reblog because I’m sure the sentiment is useful and healthy for some people? And I don’t want to like, start an internet fight or anything (well I mean, i am in a constant state of lets do it lets fight, but i’m trying to behave, is what i’m saying.)
But the entire thing is just the worst?? possible thing for someone like me to hear???
It’s essentially “have you ever thought about just not being depressed?” from another angle. It really, really is.
Despite the fact that I regularly and habitually make efforts to love & praise myself, despite the fact that I sometimes in fact have short spans of time where I think really really HIGHLY of myself, despite the fact that I have a family who constantly reinforces me & my self-worth and friends who do the same, despite the fact that I believe in and actively participate in a faith that is in part all about how each individual person is worth and deserving of more grace & love than we can comprehend, despite all of this I am still always going to be unhealthily critical of myself. I am always going to probably hate myself to a certain extent, or if not hate myself, then believe unkind and untrue things about myself, and constantly shit talk myself in my head.
Okay, maybe not always. But, if there’s a time when that sort of mentality will be ever permanently banished from my mind, it’s years and a lot more hard work down the road.
Any donated funds over travel expenses would go to food, transportation, Medievalpoc hosting and webmaster costs, software, and related expenses.
I had received some private inquiries about being on some panels about “historical accuracy” and representation in speculative fiction, and I’m genuinely enamored with the idea. If I can do anything to contribute to the think tanks that go on during a Con like this, I’d relish the opportunity. I’m sure I’m well capable of contributing to the fansquee!
I have applied to some assistance organizations, like the esteemed Con or Bust, but if I can raise the funds independently I would retract my request.
I can’t wait, and I’m looking forward to my first Sci Fi/Fantasy Con! If you’re going to be there, feel free to send a message!
If you want me to be on your WisCon panel PLEASE LET ME KNOW and I’ll see what I can do!
like it's not cute sailor moon-y weaponized femininity that ppl go on about, it's the VELVET CLOAK DAGGER LIPSTICK very mature very adult kind??? and i feel like that's related to how a looooot of wf stans are also obsessed w/ the persephone revisions, and i'm just. hmm. bc if you remove the totes feminist context and character names, the synopsis is exactly the same as some schoolgirl kink thing LIKE
young fresh innocent waif taken up by dark brooding older man but she wanted it all along and MAYBE I’M READING TOO MUCH INTO IT BUT I’M TIRED AND I HATE WF AND PERSEPHONE REVISIONS AND I WANT HOT CHOCOLATE
I’M SORRY FOR GRUMPING ON YOUR INBOX BUT IT JUSTS!!! FROSTS MY COOKIES!!! SO MUCH!!!!
ITS OK ANN MY INBOX IS HERE EXPRESSLY FOR GRUMPING PURPOSES. i wish you the best hot chocolate
also it took me a minute to get what wf was i was like, “wrestling … federat ion?? no thats not right… oh. lipstick oh ok yeah.”
but yeah no i get where you’re coming from on the persephone thing, and the persephone/weaponized femininity link.
like, the wf stuff, like you said, is all v cloak & daggar femme fatale stuff, something associated w/ sexual and physical maturity. whereas persephone’s story is basically about a girl who is preyed upon and taken unwillingly away from her home as a creepy child bride sort of thing.
if persephone represents the bridging of the gap between non-wf and wf for them, then what is it that changes her? “losing her innocence” is probably the nicest answer, but basically you know, that she had a sexual relationship w/ an older man who kidnapped her, that she had her agency taken from her and found it necessary to use the agency she did have — whatever control she had over hades b/c of his love for her — to bargain with him.
so with all that you can see that weaponized femininity, the femme fatale heels & lipstick etc. aesthetic/mindset that’s advocated is tied up in ideas of having sex/engaging in sexual activities as somehow fundamentally changing someone/changing the way they perform their femininity. and that this transformation, thru the persephone story, is also tied up with a narrative about losing innocence, so having sex = losing innocence = now you are a different sort of feminine.
and the sex seems to be in particular cishet sex (or at least it is in yr revisionist persephones). so the ability to access weaponized femininity is still dependent upon the actions of a man.
its the same virgin/whore stuff just played a little differently. its still a mindset or a philosophy???( i guess??? in the loosest sense) of presenting femininity that only works if you’re cisgendered, het, able-bodied, white, and a certain weight and body type.
which isn’t to say that i never wear heels and lipstick and swooshy dresses to feel Powerful, because i totally do. sometimes im like “shit i gotta hang out with a lot of nerds at a party, i know, im going to Dress Up.” but that’s not ~weaponized femininity~~~~ because its not the idea that im performing my femininity in this particular way to please people around me for whatever, and i certainly don’t conceive of it as somehow weaponizing my femininity.
it’s that wearing four inch heels makes me over six feet tall and that makes me feel super cool, and makes me harder to ignore. but sometimes i do the same thing with ugly as shit boots, those also make me feel equally as Powerful, and heels-lipstick-dress Feminine is a thing thats only one aspect of my personal femininity and of the multitudinous ways others can express themselves, and one i understand is not necessarily desirable or accessible to all people.
FLIPPING THRU THERE’S ALSO, when oedipus is telling jocasta about his parentage and going to see the oracle of delphi & stuff, “but first he flashed before my eyes a future/great with pain, terror, disaster”
knox has it as “he foretold a dreadful, calamitous future for me”
fagles, is not one to miss an opportunity, it seems.
ok so there wasn’t anything like HUGE AND GLARINGLY AWFUL WRONG about green’s overview/analysis of the play, as much as i was hoping he’d be like “also, freud was totally right etc.”
because i am A Loser i would have preferred it if it went more into the origins of the myth — the fact that it predates sophocles by hundreds if not thousands of years, the reasons why sophocles chose this particular myth and this particular telling of the myth to communicate his intent — and if Free Will as a thing wasn’t brought into the discussion.
like, cause i don’t think Free Will is ever presented as An Option? in the text? you just don’t have any. local classicists on my dash can feel free to pop in and correct me on this but like, did the ancient greeks really even think of free will as a thing?? like, how we think of it now???
anyway, it could have been more insightful/nuanced/etc but there wasn’t anything fundamentally wrong w/ it.
sdfkjf i forgot that in the fagles translation of oedipus, there’s a line in the very very beginning thats translated as “I would be blind to misery/not to pity my people kneeling at my feet.”
The other translation I have (by bernard m. w. knox) writes it as “I would be insensitive to pain” but that’s because bernard m. w. knox has no joy in his life.
im checking different translations online now, because i have never really read oedipus in any translation but fagles’s, and all of these it’s just like come on guys. “I would be a hard-hearted man indeed,” “Dull and cold this heart/ to see you prostrate thus,” “Ruthless indeed were I and obdurate,” come on buds.
im r tempted to watch it and then get grumbly and write lots based on minor semantic differences„„
i mean im not an EXPERT on the oedipal myth. but i did take a class just on the oedipus myth w/ a hardcore historian/classist. i have three …. different …. books that are just critical/scholarly books on oedipus …..
so i shouldnt, but i sort of want to, but i sort of , that would be probably useless
hurgle burgle i think i breathed in enough bleach flames to irritate my throat some
or i mean, also it could be psychosomatic, because that also happens with everything, or it could be because i havent been drinking enough water, but what i’m saying is if i die of bleach poisoning someone clear my internet history
What denomination of Christianity do you belong to?
im a protestant (tho i r h8 the super strident protestant v catholic jets v sharks thing that still goes on a bunch in protestant churches today, i really appreciate some catholic traditions & practices, and would be actually super into going to a catholic church if i found a good one were it not for the fact that i couldnt take communion)
beyond that, i can’t really give you a specific denomination or anything. i’ve been a member of a lot of different churches in a lot of different denominations — baptist, nazarene, covenant, evangelical, lutheran too maybe? many — and never settled on one because it so quickly becomes a matter of splitting hairs.
the theological differences can be significant in terms of how churches are lead and stuff, but holy shit have i gone thru a lot of church squabbles & stuff re: denominations and differences in denominations and etc etc etc etc can we not etc.
mostly i’m just an apostle’s creed & nicene creed sort of gal. (you know, holy catholic and apostolic Church, communion of saints, forgiveness of sins, etc). and think that the most important things to emphasize in the practice of our faith is the monstrous love and compassion and grace Christ showed for us and commanded us to show for others, and His dedication to justice & mercy & protecting and providing for those who are in need of protection. all the laws and commandments are secondary to the first and greatest — to love God with all our strength and to love our neighbors.
sorry this is probably more involved than you were looking for D :
this new zenpencils story thing has got me thinking. i used to hate a lot on zenpencils—i called it derivative, lazy trash; an ahistorical, political void. but now that he’s addressing people like me, the “trolls” and “haters,” and now that he’s shown that haters like me…
if i swished around w/ my hands some things i had soaking in water w/ some bleach in it, and then went and washed my hands like twice, that’s not going to ruin my skin or anything, is it???? i mean, besides drying out my skin. its not gonna like, bleach it or anyhting, from that amnt of contact .