September 19, 2014
"Those wounds heal ill that men do give themselves…"

— Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene III

September 19, 2014

Sext: Two curs shall tame each other…

September 18, 2014
Sonnet 129

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
  All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
  To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

—Shakespeare

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Filed under: shakespeare sonnets 
September 18, 2014
"Love seems to involve the same circularity, as Paris’ remark to Helen suggests: ‘He eats nothing but doves, love; and that breeds hot blood, and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love.’ Lechery, as Thersites says, ‘eats itself’; like Troilus’ idea of action, it sustains itself by its own energies, without outside reference, and, like the action of time in Ulysses speech, it is constantly devouring and overriding its own brief achievements: ‘The expense of spirit in a waste of shame/Is lust in action; and till action, lust/Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame….Mad in pursuit and in possession so;/Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;/A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;/Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream…’ (Sonnet 129)."

— Terry Eagleton, Shakespeare and Society: Critical Studies in Shakespearean Drama

September 18, 2014
"He eats nothing but doves, love, and that breeds hot blood, and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love."

— Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act III, Scene I

September 17, 2014
"But Sirius, whom nothing escapes, Sirius who with one look embraces the universe, could not see without indignation such sacrileges. In his anger, he charges his rays with pestilential poisons and virulent miasms, which simultaneously infect the air, the earth and the waters. At once upon this criminal earth there arises an unknown plague. Syphilus is the first attacked by it, on account of having been the first to profane the sacred altars. A hideous leprosy covers his body; fearful pains torture his limbs and banish sleep from his eyes. Then, this terrible disease—known since then among us by the name of Syphilis—does not take long to spread in our entire nation, not even sparing our King himself."

— Girolamo Fracastoro, Syphilis sive morbus gallicus (1530)

September 17, 2014
"There are numerous references in Troilus and Cressida to illnesses that demonstrate Shakespeare’s familiarity with humoral discourse. The play’s Greek characters repeatedly suffer from complexional dysfunctions, to the point where it can seem as if the play was at least initially conceived of as a comedy of humors. Alexander describes Ajax as ‘a man into whom nature hath so crowded humors….He is melancholy without cause, and merry against the hair’ (I.ii.21-22, 27-27), a diagnosis that Ajax himself applies to Achilles (II.iii.87); when Agamemnon asks his men ‘What grief hath set these jaundies on your cheeks?’ (I.iii.2), he alludes to a humoral condition commonly believed to be caused by obstruction of the bile; and ‘biles’ is itself referred to at II.i.2. While these afflictions are all construed as endogenous states arising from internal imbalance, Troilus and Cressida also refers to certain illnesses that seem to offer a more modern conception of disease as a determinate thing contracted from an external source. This is particularly the case with the play’s multiple references to syphilis, which more than any other disease tested the humoral assumption that illness was an internally derived state. Although Shakespeare displays no explicit knowledge of Fracastoro’s theories of disease and only a passing familiarity with those of Paracelsus, the emergent perception of syphilis as a determinate foreign body is powerfully present in Troilus and Cressida: Thersites anachronistically refers to it as the Neapolitan bone-ache, and Pandarus’s concluding reference to the Winchester goose, a colloquial name for the pustules of syphilitic infection, notably figures the disease not only as an organism but also as migratory—an illness one might ‘bequeath,’ to use his term."

— Jonathan Gil Harris, Sick Economies: Drama, Mercantilism, and Disease in Shakespeare’s England

September 16, 2014
TroilusI am giddy; expectation whirls me round. The imaginary relish is so sweet That it enchants my sense: what will it be, When that the watery palate tastes indeed Love’s thrice repured nectar? death, I fear me, Swooning destruction, or some joy too fine, Too subtle-potent, tuned too sharp in sweetness, For the capacity of my ruder powers: I fear it much; and I do fear besides, That I shall lose distinction in my joys; As doth a battle, when they charge on heaps The enemy flying.

Troilus
I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
The imaginary relish is so sweet
That it enchants my sense: what will it be,
When that the watery palate tastes indeed
Love’s thrice repured nectar? death, I fear me,
Swooning destruction, or some joy too fine,
Too subtle-potent, tuned too sharp in sweetness,
For the capacity of my ruder powers:
I fear it much; and I do fear besides,
That I shall lose distinction in my joys;
As doth a battle, when they charge on heaps
The enemy flying.

September 15, 2014

I think Barbara Ehrenreich sold me a tall soy latte this morning.

September 12, 2014
"Love for the prostitute is the apotheosis of empathy with the commodity."

— Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project

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