In my lifetime, I’ve cried violently on three occasions while watching movies. The first was a Korean film, “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring,” the second, Sam Shepard’s “True West,” and the third, “Titus Andronicus.”
Hath lopp’d and lew’d, and made thy body bare
Or her two branches, those sweet ornaments
I choke up each time I come to the horror of Lavinia’s rape and mutilation--NOT from seeing Lavinia’s weeping stumps in the film with Helen Bonham-Carter but the text itself.
Interesting you inform me Titus and Coriolanus “stand supreme in capturing in advance our current reality.” Harold Bloom said Titus should be categorized comedy. As a daughter, I found Bloom’s comments stupid and took personal offence. As a daughter, a woman who has been the quarry of male violence after leaving the protection of my father’s house, I know Titus to be of the most wrenchingly real, heartbreakingly tender father-daughter narratives. Tender, not as in gentleness but a tenderness that arises from the very "frisson" of which you speak: terror and Titus's controlled responses to it.
Titus comes much earlier than Lear. Cordelia-Lear pathos stirs me deeply—more than deeply--but Titus-Lavinia bond consumes me. Titus is the apex of fatherhood's power and father-consciousness in a man's tenure as the defender of his brood (and Lear, as everyone knows, is a father’s descent into infancy). Only a man who has daughters in the world could possibly write Titus.
If you take Lavinia out of the story, and retain his bond with his sons, Titus is still powerful enough to hold my attention.
I’ve read every word in your post and understand 95% Chiasmus has gone over my head but I’ll worry about it later.
(Btw, you and your motorbike looks Shakespearean. Like a still from the production of Titus Andronicus in the above mentioned productiion with Anthony Hopkins.)
A question: In your courses, do you teach Emily Dickinson next to Shakespeare, or is Dickinson a specialty of other colleagues and feminists? She has skimmed and ingested a great deal imagery and words directly from him.
Btw, I am writing my graphic novel as a Chinese “King Lear.” I am fascinated by men and their descent from power. I have always had a tender spot for old men as they ripen like pears ;) Even better, my editor at Norton is Alane Mason who worked with Steven Greenblatt on “Will In the World.” Below, my great grandfather, a King Lear figure to me.
Causes Belle Yang Supports
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