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Esthétiques de la nouveauté à la Renaissance

 | 
Franck Lessay
, 
François Laroque

The Novelty of Different Tongues: Polyglot Punning in Shakespeare (and Others)

Patricia Parker

Résumé

Cet article analyse quelques exemples de jeux de mots multilingues chez Shakespeare et certains de ses contemporains, suggérant par ce biais l'importance qu'il y a à consulter des dictionnaires ou autres ouvrages de référence de cette époque, importance qui ne peut qu’être confortée par l'engouement actuel pour les langues étrangères. Un tel engouement vient en partie de mon expérience d'un enseignement dans un environnement bilingue ou multilingue, au Canada, en Tanzanie et en Californie où se trouvent de nombreux étudiants dont l'espagnol est la langue maternelle. Partant de noms comme “Marcade”, “Mercutio”, “Signor Angelo”, et “Iago” dans Shakespeare, cet article s'intéresse aux résonances interlinguistiques de ces noms et de quelques autres. Puis il analyse des interconnections linguistiques avec l'espagnol et d'autres langues dans Hamlet, La Nuit des rois et Henri V, des jeux de mots sur “ambo", “ambus” (embuscade), sur “boys” et "bois en français dans Comme il vous plaira et dans le Bussy d'Ambois de Chapman. Il aborde ensuite la question de la source espagnole du terme anglais “Ingle” (terme signifiant “catamite” ou giton en anglais au XVIe siècle) ainsi que celle des rapports entre les mots “ingles", “angles” et “Anglais” que l'on trouve souvent dans les textes de cette époque, en particulier dans Henri V et dans Les Joyeuses commères de Windsor. D'autres jeux de mots multilingues sont soulignés dans Peines d'amour perdues et dans le “Piège à rats” dans Hamlet avant d'en venir, pour terminer, à ceux qui se rapportent à la “fente” du “Mur”, à la tombe du Nigaud (Ninus/Ninny) et au signifiant “Quince” (le Coing) dans Le Songe d'une nuit d'été.

Texte intégral

  • 1 The scenes involving this French “Parolles” may also recall the Rabelaisian Panurge, notorious spe (...)

1In Shakespeare's All's Well that Ends Well, the figure called “Parolles” is termed a “manifold linguist” (V.iii.236), or speaker of many tongues, in a play that goes out of its way to remind the audience of the French meaning of his name — as more than one “word” (IV.v.39-40)1 What I propose to explore here are instances in which a manifold linguistic ability might be useful in approaching Shakespeare and other early modern texts; as well as to suggest that we might consult more frequently than we often do the multilingual dictionaries (and other such resources) that were part of the novelty of the period, enabling a different kind of speaking in tongues. Part of the inspiration for this essay comes from my experience of teaching in bilingual or multilingual contexts — in Canada, in California (where many students have Spanish as their “mother” tongue), and in Tanzania (where most of my students spoke English as a third language, after their original language and the lingua franco of Kiswahili and were acutely aware not only of the interconnections of language and power but of the political and other uses of “wordplay”, as much more than the trivialized “ornament” it was reduced to in the eighteenth-century tradition of editing and criticism, including what I would term “sound” not “in government”, to borrow a phrase from A Midsummer Night's Dream (V.i.124). Such multilingual (as well as punning) flexibility, I submit, offers an important tool in the interpretation of Shakespeare, whose criticism has often been hampered by anachronistic assumptions of the insularity of England or an “English only” approach, blind to the multilingual resonances of Shakespearean and other contemporary texts — despite the polyglot nature of early modern London and the fact that so much of Henry V itself is in the French not only of the enemy in a dynastic war (itself justified by a French-English intermarriage) but long the language of the “English” court, in a play whose chiastic “bastard Normans, Norman bastards!” (III.v.10) enables perception that such “bastardy” or mixture could apply to the “broken English” (and “compounding” with other languages) the play itself evokes.

  • 2 On the importance of “Mercury” or “Hermes” (the god associated with crossroads and “herms” as well (...)
  • 3 For Shakespeare's “fatal Cleopatra,” see Johnson on Shakespeare, ed. Arthur Sherbo, The Yale Editi (...)
  • 4 On James, Jacobus, and Jacob (and Esau), see also the recent book by Philippa Berry, Shakespeare's (...)
  • 5 See the analysis of the the multilingual puns on “Kates”, “cates”, Old French achat or “purchase” (...)

2Students familiar with romance or other related languages, for instance, are more easily able to apprehend the link between the “Mercury” long associated with the marketplace and the name of the “rich Mercatio” of Two Gentlemen of Verona or the description of “Mercutio” as a “saucy merchant” in Romeo and Juliet (Hiv. 142), as well as the link between this ambassador, messenger, or envoy of the gods and the envoy “Marcade” in Love's Labours Lost (a play filled with wordplay on envoys and “envoies”). Those with even less Greek than most of us might also perceive the link between Hermione in The Winter's Tale, who returns as if from the dead, and Hermes the fertility Symbol and “psychopomp”, the Greek name for the silver-tongued thief evoked in the description of Autolycus as “littered under Mercury”2 Similarly, the mysterious “Signior Angelo” of Othello (I.ii.16) on whom so much ink has been spilled (in attempts, for example, to find a topical allusion as an explanation for the name) might be recognized simply as the name of the generic nuntius or “messenger” (angelo or angelus) who here puts the Venetians in “false gaze” (I.ii.19), as well as an allusion to the devil disguised as an “angel of light” that shadows here the “Angelo” whose false report anticipates that of Iago, the white devil of the play, or the “Angelo” of Measure for Measure, in a network of serious as well as comic puns on “angels” (coins as well as “messengers”) that extends from The Comedy of Errors to the very latest of Shakespeare's plays. Recent work has begun to employ the kind of multilingual flexibility that critics, readers, and audiences of Shakespeare require in order to recognize in the Iberian name of “Iago” himself the resonances of “Santiago” (patron saint of Spain and enemy of Moors), still sounding in a different form in “San Diego” (as California students whose first language is Spanish are quicker to realize than Californians who live in Palo Alto or nearby Los Gatos with no sense of the meanings of their Spanish names)3 “Iago” (which already suggests Latin “ago”, “perform or act” as well as “accuse”) is the Spanish counterpart to James, the reigning English king, who also appears as “Iacobus” (or Jacob) on the frontispiece to Pur chas His Pilgrimes (London, 1624), which cites for the Jacobean royal line the text from Psalms on the chosen people of Jacob or Israel (“He shewed his word vnto Jacob, and he hath not dealt so with any nation”). “James” himself, of course, bore a name that resonated in potentially more scurrilous contexts with French “Jaques” (or English “jakes”)4 Similarly, Shakespeare's various “Kates”, as Natasha Korda has pointed out, resonate with “cates”, from Old French achats (linked in turn with “chattel” and other kinds of commodities), an interlingual connection important not only for the upwardly mobile bourgeois context of The Taming of the Shrew but for the French “Kate” of Henry V, the central “article” in a conquest that involved a transfer of property and title, like the Lancastrian title to England itself, “purchas'd” (2Henry TV, IV.v.199) or gained by means other than natural descent5.

  • 6 The First Quarto here has “myching Mallico, that meanes my chiefe”; the Second Quarto has “this mu (...)
  • 7 On “conveyance”, see my Shakespeare from the Margins (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996), (...)

3What I frequently tell my bilingual or multilingual students is that those of us who come to Shakespeare without the benefit of grounding in languages other than English are at comparative disadvantage, given the macaronic character of much of early modern “English” itself. Spanish and other interlingual connections are important well beyond the pocas pallabras (or Spanish “parolles”) of Shakespeare's “English” comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, which (though it bears that title as the only Shakespeare comedy set in England) is filled with reminders of other accents and tongues. “Ofelia”, for example, in the so-called “Bad” or First Quarto of Hamlet is not just an unusual spelling (or, like “Corambis”, a different name) but Spanish for “Ophelia”, in a play whose Spanish-sounding terms include the famous malhecho of the Folio's “Miching Malicho”6 In ways obscured by conflated or modernized texts of Hamlet, its early texts are marked by multiple traces of other tongues. To cite just a few of the possible examples, “student” is spelled “studient” in both Q1 and Q2 (pp.34-35), influenced perhaps by French étudiant', the variants of the Folio’s “wee coated them on the way”, Q2's “we coted them on the way” (Q2), and Ql's “We boorded them a they way” (pp. 100-101) suggest the French aborder and a coté that also lurk within the passage of Twelfth Night on “Mistress Accost” (“‘Accost’ is front her, board her, woo her, assail her”, I.iii.52-59); the French-sounding “carriage(s)” of all three texts of the speech of the figure known most familiarly as “Osric” (from the “Osricke” of the Folio text (V.ii. 157) — pronounced in the French fashion in Branagh's film of Hamlet — may take us back to the first scene's “carriage of the article desseigne” (Q2; “Article designé” in F), a phrase that may also bear the trace of French desseigné, in lines (on a “Moity” or “moitie competent” and other French terms) whose variant spellings of “Fortinbras” (F), “Fortinbrasse” (Q2), and “Fortenbrasse” summon the interlingual complex that Pistol (in Henry V) had already invoked in his comic translation of French bras (or “arm”) as English “brass”. In the French-English scenes involving Pistol (frequently ignored by critics of the play), Pistol's mishearings or mistranslations manage to parody both the Roman imperial pretensions of the war (the “armes” rendered in the earlier language lesson as arma, first line of the Aeneids “arms and the man”) and the boast that Henry has just made that the Agincourt victory will “live in brass” (IV.iii.97), since when Pistol is offered “brass” instead of gold, he rejects it (“Brass, cur?/... Ofer'st me brass?”, 18-20). Even the name of Pistol's French prisoner here (whose throat is ultimately cut, only because of the order given by Henry) — “Monsieur le Fer” (26) or “Master Fer” (as Pistol calls him) — resonates with suggestion for this play, sounding simultaneously the French for “iron” (suggesting a further lapse, perhaps, from any idealized age of “gold” as well as the “iron” that had already been linked with the instruments of war in the second scene of Act II that first introduced the king's former thieving companions) and (in “fer”) the root of ferrying, conveying or translating that subtends so much of the play itself, including the Chorus's repeated promises to “convey” the audience across the Channel between England and French, the play’s repeated translation (translatio, from the same Latin root) between French and English, and the “conveyance” or theft of the crown itself, the “theft” with which the entire Lancastrian series of histories began (evoked in Richard II's “conveyers are you all” and Pistol's own definition of the term “convey” in Merry Wives as simply a polite word for “steal”)7.

  • 8 This pun on “boys” and “bois” or “woods” is caught by Mario di Gangi in The Homo-erotics of Early (...)
  • 9 See for example the “Oboes” of the Oxford Classics edition of Hamlet, edited by G. R. Hibbard (Oxf (...)

4Early modern spellings that hover between English and other languages also enable a range of wordplay that is largely lost to contemporary ears, especially when it is effaced by the modernized spellings familiar from the printed page. Lines in As You Like It, for example, tum on a French-English pun on “boys” and “bois” (or woods), difficult to catch because we no longer hear French “bois” in “boies,” “boyes” or “boys”. Chapman's Bussy d'Ambois similarly plays on the links not only between “ambois” and English “ambush” but between the play's homoerotic subtext and the suggestion in its protagonist's name of “ambo” (“both” or “both ways”, frequently exploited in a sexual sense in the period) and “boys”8 Both might take us back to the “ambo” and boys of the Henriad or once again, to the early texts of Hamlet, with its “Hoboyes” (in the Folio, rendered as “Oboes” in many of the texts that choose not to print Q2's “Trumpets”)9 and its multiple other references to “boys,” ranging from the “Boyes” of the Folio text (p. 105) on boy players to the Ghost addressed as “boy” in the Folio and Second Quarto (pp. 64-5), or — most curious of all — the Second Quarto's “Neither a borrower nor a lender boy” (p. 44), most likely an “error” (though one which uses “boy” in the verbal sense used in the boy-Cleopatra's complaint against the future transvestite boy-player who will “boy” her “greatness”).

5In the “ambo” text from Bussy D'Ambois, when d'Ambois is asked his name by Maffé, Steward to Monsieur, it is in a passage that emphasizes not only the double-meaning “ambo” but the English “serve” or “service” which resonated in the period with Italian servizio, used for sexual service as well — a resonance we might keep in mind when approaching other early modern English texts (including the lines from A Midsummer Night's Dream where so-called “rude mechanicals” set out to “serve” their aristocratic audience):

Maff.:

[... ] Is your name D'Ambois?

Buss.:

Sir?

Maff.:

Is your name D'Ambois?

Buss.:

Who have we here?

Serve you the Monsieur?

Maff.:

How?

Buss.:

Serve you the Monsieur?

Maff.:

Sir, y'are very hot. I serve the Monsieur;
But in such place as gives me the command
Of his other servants [...] (I.i.145-150)

6When his name is repeated in the shortened form of “Ambo”, the “B” text of the play includes lines that highlight not only the link between “Ambo” and “Ambois” (the form that may be later punned on in the “ambush” for him) but the variable spelling of “Ambois” as “Amboys”, containing within it the “boy” (catamite both ways: or Ganymede) that subtends this sense of potentially going both ways:

Maff.:

[...] Here sir Ambo.

D'Amb.:

How, Ambo, sir?

Maff.:

I is not your name Ambo?

D'Amb.:

You call'd me lately D’Amboys, has your Worship
So short a head?

Maff. :

I cry thee mercy D'Amboys. (I.i.204a/b/c/205)

  • 10 See John Bale, A Comedy concernynge thre lawes, of Nature, Moses, and Christ, corrupted by the Sod (...)
  • 11 Alan Stewart, Close Readers, p. 56.
  • 12 The Dramatic Writings of John Bale, Bishop of Ossory, ed. John S. Farmer, facsimile of the Early E (...)
  • 13 See John Florio, A Worlde of Wordes (London, 1598) under “Ambo” and “Ambodestro”, together with hi (...)

7In John Bale's Thre Lawes, which condemns the “Sodomye” of the Church of Rome (“At Rome for prelates are stewes, / Of both kyndes”)10, Sodomy is similarly conjured together with Idolatry by using “ambo” (or “both), “stressing the ‘bothness’ of Sodomy and Idolatry, or to follow the Latin ‘ambo’, the “ambiguity’ of their joint self”11Sodomy, conjured, protests that “Ambo is a name full clean — / Know ye not what I mean [ — ]?”12 in lines that suggest (from the mouth of “Sodomy”) precisely the opposite. Florio's influential Worlde of Wordes (London, 1598), or Italian-English dictionary, similarly defines Italian “Ambo” as “both” and “Ambodestro” as having “the use of both hands alike”, an ambidexterity that frequently also designated “both ways” in the sexual sense (including the “Italian” fashion of “preposterous” sexuality)13

INGLES, ANGLES, INGLISHMEN: SPANISH, FRENCH (AND OTHER) CONNECTIONS

8We might also consider the striking interconnections of “ingle”, the English term most frequently used in the sense of “catamite” though it can also be used for a female lover in early modern England. The Oxford English Dictionary, with its prejudices on display, notes that it designates “A boy-favorite (in bad sense): a catamite” and declares that it is “of no known origin”. Contrary to the latter claim, however, a well-known early modern dictionary, John Minsheu's Ductor in Linguas, or Guide unto the Tongues (published in London in 1617) confirms a particular Spanish connection, as well as its relation to other tongues:

an Ingle, or a Boy kept for Sodomie. Ingle, vox est Hispanica, & signifiait Lat: Inguen, the groine of man or woman. G. Bardache: I. Bardassia, Bardass, Bardascone. H. Bardaxo, Bardajo. P. Bardaixa, a Lat: bardus, a gr.____, i. tardus, blunt, blockish. L. Ganimedes, a Ganimede, quem puerum, Iupiter rapuit, & pro Concubina in coelo habuit, testantib: [...] Poeta & Luciano. Catamitus. q. catamisthos, a Gr._____, i. mercenarius, ut qui mercede, ceu meretrix, ad actum Sodomiticum conducetur. Vnde, & a gr._____, dicitur, i. cinaedus, mercede condutus. Cinaedus. g._____, i. moueo,, verecundias, alij, a______, i. vacuus, & _____, pudor, q. sine pudore, mercenarius, pathicus, a______, i. pati, qui corpus suum patitur aliorum libidini prostare. Hoc autem vitium apud Germanos cum sit incognitum, merito & appellatione destituitur, in eorundem lingua.

9“Ingle, vox est Hispanica”, “the language is Spanish”, proclaims this early modern definition, before proceeding to a Parolles or Panurge-like multilingual gloss, which informs the reader that the Spanish term itself cornes from Latin “Inguen, the groine of man or woman” and links “ingle” with various forms of “Bardash”, the catamitus that is “the Latin name for Ganymede,” including a mercenary employed for a “fee, ad actum Sodomiticum, “for the act of the Sodomites”, and the cinaedus (Greek kinaidos) defined as “one who submits to unnatural lust”, like the “pathic” from Latin pati or Greek pathein. Minsheu's Vocabularium Hispanicolatinum et Anglicum, described on its title page as “A Most Copious Spanish Dictionarie, with Latine and English (and sometime other Languages)”, bound with his multilingual Guide unto the Tongues, and cross-referenced to it, similarly defines “Ingle” (immediately following “Inglatierra, L. Anglia” and before “Inglés” from Latin “Anglus”) as “The groine”, the bodily sexual cavity or angle as well as the translation of Latin “Inguen”, or “groine”. The cross-reference here refers the reader to p. 222 of the multilingual Guide, its definition of English “Groine”, related to inguen as both male and female sexual place, the term that other contemporary dictionaries define as “the space between the groines and thighes” (John Rider, Bibliotheca Scolastica, 1589) or “The part about the privie members of man or woman” (Thomas Thomas, Dictionarium linguae latinae et anglicanae, 1587).

  • 14 Sec the examples collected in Henry N. Bershas, Puns on Proper Names in Spanish (Detroit, Wayne St (...)
  • 15 On engrossing and grossesse, see chapter 6 of my Shakespeare from the Margins (Chicago and London, (...)
  • 16 See this citation from Spenser in Jeffrey Knapp's An Empire Nowhere: England, American and Literat (...)
  • 17 See “The Preface unto the Reader”, in Thomas Wright, The Passions of the Minde in Generall (London (...)
  • 18 See for example Thomas Dekker’s reference to “Enghles & Plaiers-Boyes” and Ben Jonson's Poetaster (...)

10“Ingle,” evoking the groin, privy sexual place of man or woman, and linked with bodily “angles” as well as the English (or in contemporary spelling “Inglish”) that corresponded to Spanish “Inglés”, is defined in English terms as an “ingle”, catamite or “ganymede” as well in Florio's “catamito”, described as “one hired to sinne against nature, an ingle, a ganimade” (Queen Anna's World of Words, 1611). As a “cavity”, bodily angle, or “nook”, it was also inevitably (or pseudo-etymologically) linked with the “angle” (or “angles”) that named the inhabitants of “Anglia”, England or (as it was frequently spelled, “Ingland”), on both sides of the Anglo-Spanish divide (a political division that was a less porous boundary, perhaps, than the linguistic one). Spanish texts of the period play on “ingleses”, angles, and the “ingle”, or groin14 the bodily “corner” or angle invoked in Othello's “keep a corner in the thing I love/For others' uses” (III.iii.272-3), a passage whose “corner” simultaneously evokes “angle” or nook and the cornering related to “engrossing”, in the economic sense as well as the sense of French pregnancy or grossesse.15 “Angoloso” is defined in Florio’s Italian-English dictionary as “full of corners, nookes or angles” (A Worlde of Wordes, 1598). England (Ingland, or Angland, as it was also spelled in the period's metamorphic orthography, home of the Angles or in Spanish Inglés — spelled in entries cited by the OED itself as “Ingles toung” and “Ingles men”) was the focus of the famous story of the “angelic” English boys admired in the Roman marketplace by Pope Gregory, in a passage that also exploited the multiple homophonic possibilities in Angles, English or Inglishmen. England itself was described as located in “the utmost angle of the world”16 in Spenser and in Thomas Wright's influential Passions of the Minde in Generall, published in London in 1604, the year of the first recorded performance of Othello at the court of James (“our venerable Bede, who, borne in a corner of the world comprehended the whole world in his boundlesse apprehension & iudgement”)17 “Ingle” or “catamite” was also rendered in English as “enghle”, a spelling that further facilitated its association with Inglés or Englishmen18

  • 19 See Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch and John Dover Wilson, eds., The Merry Wives of Windsor (Cambridge, C (...)
  • 20 See Henry V II.ii.125, with inter alia, Frankie Rubinstein, A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Sexual P (...)

11It is precisely this kind of multilingual range that pervades the macaronic wordplay of Shakespeare's “English” comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, where (as even Dover Wilson and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch suggest in their original Cambridge edition, though in a comment that restricts “ingle” to the “hetero” side of what Jonathan Goldberg has termed the “hetero/homo divide”)19 the description of Falstaffs having “translated her will, out of honesty into English” (I.iii.43-55), in his assault on Mistress Ford, sounds an “English” that can also be heard as resonating with “ingle” and Spanish inglés, in a play that draws repeated attention to the playing of female parts by transvestite boys as well as to “pages” who were, like players, frequently described as “catamites” or “ingles”. Even the description of the “bedfellow” Scroop, in the passage of Shakespeare's Henry V whose sodomitical overtones join the earlier description of “pilfering borderers” who assault from behind the “breach” of England itself (I.ii.148-149) may suggest the “ingle” resonating within the description of this rebel as an easily-entered “Englishman” (Inglishman or Inglesman), a possibility rendered even more suggestive when we reflect that the rebels themselves have already been described as the crevice or “fault” in the “body” of England that “France” has “found out”, II.Chorus. 15-2)20

  • 21 The Riverside gloss here (on p. 192) cites A.L. Rowse, in the London Times Literary Supplement, Ju (...)
  • 22 See the Riverside edition, p. 193, which also glosses the references to the letter “L” in this pas (...)

12The ingle or catamite about which so much has been written in recent years thus has a Spanish connection, invisible to the OED but clear in the early modern dictionaries which reflected the new vogue for foreign “parolles.” The “great feast of languages” associated with the “wordiness” or “parolles” of Love’s Labour's Lost (V.i.37) is likewise a multilingual or polyglot “feast”, appropriate to a play that takes place in the boundary-space of “Navarre” and that raises the problem of the “orts” (or “scraps”) which troubled the nascent English “orthography” itself. In the scene, for example, in which Holofernes' Latin “haud credo” appears to be heard in the English vernacular by Constable “Dull” as “old gray doe” (in lines in which he protests that “the deer was not a haud credo, ’twas a pricket,” IV.ii.11-21)21 the obscene (and scatalogical) discussion that follows from this “pricket” or “prick-it” places Latin “Perge” (or “proceed”) in proximity to “pollution” and “scurrility”, evoking the bodily purgation or purgatives that Sound elsewhere in this play, from the scene of the punning “enigma/enema” involving Costard (described as “immured, restrained, captivated, bound” and entreating Armado be his “purgation and let me loose”, III.i.123-127) to the “pageant” or “show” held in the “posterior” of the “day” which “the rude multitude call the afternoon” (V.i.91-120). The ensuing discussion of various kinds of “deer” includes a “sore” (or “deer of the fourth year”) and “sorel” (“a deer of the third year”)22 But “sorel” (and “sore L”, the letter that suggests both “the Roman numeral for fifty” and another sexual “corner” or “angle”) also evoke other multilingual puns, including the double-meaning sorella or “sore-elle”, the sound in French for what the men of the play call the “sign of she”. Given the sodomitical sense of “preposterous venery” already summoned in the “obscene and most prepost'rous event” (I.i. 241-242) with which the play begins and the reminders of this play's own transvestite context in the scene where the “Ladies” played by boys respond to an address to their “eyes” (or I's) by turning their “backs” (V.ii.161-162), “sore-L” might also evoke another bodily angle (or ingle). Even the enigmatic scene of the riddle or enigma itself (III.i) ends in an “envoy” or “envoi” that underlines the link between an enigma to be solved and an enema that provides a different form of solution, turning on a riddling ending in a “goose” (the French “oie” already contained within “envoi”), which may be incapable of any solution or answer, until we reflect that the Latin for “goose” is the word “anser” itself. Feast of languages indeed.

  • 23 See the entries for “Mouse” and “Mousetrap” in Gordon Williams’3-volume Dictionary, vol. 2.
  • 24 On “mouse-hunt” herer as “literally, a weasel, but here = woman-chaser. ‘Mouse’ was an amorous ter (...)

13There are multiple other examples of different kings that we might give from even the most familiar of Shakespeare's plays. “The Mouse-trap” of Hamlet, for example, resonates not only with the “tropical / trapical” wordplay with which we are familiar but with the sexual senses of “mousetrap” and “mouse” (the new King's pet term for Hamlet's mother), in a network that links the “mouse” with the “weasel” also invoked in this play, not just because both evoke the “unclean beasts” of the Leviticus code (along with its related strictures against adulterating couplings and other forbidden joinings), but also because the sheer verbal similarity of their Latin names (mus and mustela) had already linked them23 Evidence that this long-standing tradition might have been known to Shakespeare is provided by Romeo and Juliet IV.iv.6-12 (where Lady Capulet says to Capulet “you have been a mouse-hunt in your time”), lines in which “mouse” is “an amorous term of endearment for a woman” and “mouse-hunt” is literally “a weasel”24 The name of the “Mousetrap” play-within-the play that stages the adultery of a sexually unfaithful woman (or “tropically” “turning” wife) thus evokes an already densely evocative association of such unions with the “weasel” and “mouse” that traditionally figured the “pollution danger” (as in Leviticus) inherent in all such polluting or adulterating mixtures.

  • 25 For the link between rima or “chink” and English “rhyme” or “rime”, see my “Preposterous Reversals (...)

14Multilingual connections are also important for the elucidation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, as I have been discovering in the course of preparing a new Arden edition of the play. Classicists have recently begun to draw attention to the crosslingual and other kinds of punning involved in the classical texts most familiar to Shakespeare and other early modern writers — including Ovid, Plautus, Virgil, and others — a punning made easier by the morphing of Latin case endings. Lest we think such a shifting of Latin case endings far removed from Shakespearean wordplay, we might consider the case of “Ninny's tomb” (V.i.202) in A Midsummer Night's Dream, in the play performed by the so-called “rude mechanicals” at the court of Theseus, ruler of Athens, where the name of “Ninus” (another ruler) gets metamorphosed into the English “ninny” or fool — a “ninny” already lurking perhaps (at least to an English playwright's ear) within the play's Ovidian source, in Ovid's description of the lovers’ meeting at Ninus’s tomb(ad busta Nini). The “chink” in the “Wall” in this obscene play-within-a-play also recalls the rima or “chink” through which Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe were said to whisper — a term that itself had a rich multilingual history, linked with Italian rima (plural “rime”) and thus with the English “rhyme” often spelled “rime”, in ways that enabled the linking of bodily chinks or orifices with rhyming of a different kind, exploited (for example) in the exchanges in Love's Labour's Lost on “reason” (“raison” or “raising”) and “rhyme”25.

  • 26 On other kinds of artisanal “joinery”, invoked even more clearly by the name of “Snug the Joiner”, (...)

15I am going to end with another example pertinent to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the resonances surrounding the name of “Peter Quince.” We are used to telling our students that “Quince” (for the director of the artisan's play) is “simply a spelling of ‘quines’ or ‘quoins’ — wedge-shaped blocks used for building purposes”, at the “corners” of houses or other structures, appropriate enough for a carpenter who appears in a “marriage play” preoccupied wih the constructing of “houses” of another kind26 But rarely is anything said of the quince fruit itself, though it is part of a rich network of interlingual punning and metamorphic spellings that brings together “quince”, “coings”, corners or “coigns”, the stamping of “coins”, and the cunnus or “quaint” its sound also suggests. “Quinces” themselves — in ways not obscure or recherché but found in the sources most generally available to Shakespeare or other writers (including Plutarch's Lives, translated by North, or the emblem book tradition, as well as multilingual dictionaries) — appear repeatedly in contexts connected both with Eros or Amor in general and with marriage in particular in this Athenian play. Plutarch's Life of Solon (or the figure most closely associated with the “laws of Athens” invoked at the beginning of A Midsummer Night's Dream), is the authority cited by early modern writers for the tradition that “quinces” were not only breath-fresheners (something that might make us think of the artisan-players' “odorous [or ‘odious’] savours sweet”), but the traditional gift given to Athenian brides — in a passage so well-known that it was routinely cited in emblem-book and other treatments of marriage in the period of the play. These marital associations of the “quince” suggest why the other place in the Shakespeare canon where “quinces” appear is in the preparation for Juliet’s wedding to Paris in Romeo and Juliet. The fact that the quince appears both in scene of Juliet's wedding preparations (a scene that also alludes to another phallically named “Peter”) and in the Shakespeare canon's most memorable “marriage play” makes the “quince” fruit even more appropriate as a gloss for the name of “Peter Quince” than the carpenter's “coigns” or “coins” associated with the building of houses. But when we reflect — as even a cursory glance at contemporary multilingual dictionaries and other contemporary sources would reveal — that the “quince” was both a homophone for an entire (multilingual) range of sounds (that included French “coign” or “cognier” as well as the cunnus it resembled) and the counterpart of Spanish “membrillo” (derived from the membrum that was the genitalia of both sexes), we might understand why it would be even more appropriate as the name of the director of the “rude mechanicals” and the play performed “most obscenely” (I.ii.109) in Act V. Here again, we do not have far to go to find this Spanish and other connections. Minsheu himself offers the following definition of the fruit known as “quince” related both to membrum (or membrillo) and French or Gallic “coing”:

a Quince, a kinde offruit, a G. Coing. [...] I. Mela cotogna, pomo cotogno. L. Malum cotoneum, cydonium [...] H. Membrillo, a membrum, ut affirmat Cobart: ob similitudinem quandam quam habet cum prima pube virorum vel mulierum [...]

  • 27 See Minsheu, “a Quince”, and J. Corominas, Diccionario Critico Etimologico de la lengua castellana (...)

16English “quince” here is run through the multilingual kaleidoscope that links it with the Italian Mela cotogna, pomo cotogno, downy, fleecy or furry apple and utlimately the “Cidonian apple” which traces its lineage back to the Greek city of Crete (home of the labyrinth threaded by Theseus of Athens and the Minotaur recalled by the metamorphosed “Bottom” of A Midsummer Night's Dream). And it comes to rest on Spanish “membrillo” (from the Latin membrum or sexual member) that relates this “quince” or downy “apple” (the fruit already long linked with malum in a different sense) to “a certain similarity which they have to the first pubic hairs of men and women”27 the bodily member or “chink” enacted “most obscenely and courageously” (I.ii. 108) by the artisan-players of Athens itself.

  • 28 On More's name, see Germain Marc'hadour, “A Name for All Seasons”, in Essential Articles for the S (...)
  • 29 Part of my Work in progress on this larger complex has appeared in my “Murais and Morals: A Midsum (...)

17To trace the other interlingual network (among several possibilities) important to A Midsummer Night's Dream, we might return yet again to that other influential compendium of “parolles” — John Florio's A Worlde of Wordes (1598). I have treated elsewhere of the links made possible by the multiple meanings of Latin morus (“mulberry” and “black” as well as “fool”), an interlingual network exemplified by contemporary punning on the name of Thomas More (Morus in Latin), by the “mulberry” emblems of Alciati and others, the “Moro” and “Mora” that in Italian or Spanish could designate both “mulberry” and “Moor”, and the “Sycamore” glossed as sicut morus28 Related to this is an extraordinary contemporary network of interlingual homophones and puns on the syllable “Morr” (or “Moor”) actually brought on stage in the “morris” dance scene of Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Two Noble Kinsmen (III.v. 118-20), a network forged through Greek moria or “folly” and mauros or “black”, English “more” and the translation of the morus or mulberry as the “more” [or “moor”] tree, and the linking of Latin morus with mors or death, mora or delay, morosus or melancholy, amor or love, mores (customs or morals), Spanish moral (mulberry) and moralidad, French “murier” (or “mulberry tree”), “murir” (“to ripen, or mature”), mourir (“to die”), “demeurer” (“to linger, or dwell”, from mora or delay), and murer (“to wall in”)29 Traces of this multilingual network appear throughout Shakespeare — in the name of “Tamora”, paramour of the Moor in Titus Andronicus; in the “moral(izing) fool” of King Lear and other plays; in Emilia's “dull Moor” (V.ii.224) associated with a fool's coxcomb in Othello-, in the mulberry (or “moor” tree) evoked by the spotted handkerchief of Othello (“The worms were hallowed that did breed the silk”, ffl.ii.73), the “Myrrha” (from another story of forbidden joining) evoked by its “Arabian” tree (V.ii.349), and the “sicamour” or “sycamour” Othello shares with Romeo and Juliet, a play of “death-marked love” (Prol. 9) whose “black word death” (III.iii.27) evokes the link between Mors and Moors; in the Norman or French “Lamord” of the Second Quarto of Hamlet (suggesting both Mors and Amor); or the “deaths' head” encountered by “Morocco” in The Merchant of Venice (II.vii.63).

  • 30 On Bottom (the play’s paradoxically wise morus or fool) as a substitute for the Indian boy, see, i (...)
  • 31 Interestingly, it is precisely this network of linkages that James Joyce — another “manifold lingu (...)

18Within A Midsummer Night's Dream this interlingual network is evoked in Puck's “what fools these mortals be” (III.ii. 115), in the description of Thisbe's “tarrying in mulberry shade” (V.i.148), a line that deftly catches Ovid’s own punning on mora as both mulberries and delay, and in the Folio's notoriously puzzling “Now is the morall downe” when the “Wall” separating the eager young lovers departs, in lines where the transformation of “Ninus” into a “ninny”, morus or fool is accompanied by Thisbe's “I come without delay.” The rich underground network that linked “Ethiopes” or “Moors” with the mulberry whose turning from white to dark provided an analogue for climate-based theories of blackness may also help explain why the mulberry itself is transferred from the artisans' play to the description of the love-shaft of Cupid or Amor, which tums a little “milk-white” flower to “purple with love's wound” (II.i.155-169), in the scene that juxtaposes an “imperial votaress” with an “Indian votaress”, mother of the Indian boy who “being mortal, of that boy did die” (II.i.135)30 Even the lines on the Moria or folly of the mundus inversus created by the quarrel of Oberon and Titania are filled with the homophones of “nine men's morals” and “murrian” plague (II.i.96-101). Here might be the appropriate place, then, to return to Florio's Worlde of Wordes and its definitions of both “Moria” and “Mora”: “Moria, an infection, a pestilence, a murrian, a rot or mortalitie that comes among sheepe. Also used for follie and taken from the Greeke”; “Mora, a demur, a stay, a delay. Also a Moore-woman. Also a black-berie. Also a Mulberie. Also a kind of game much used in Italy with casting of the fingers of the right hand, and speaking of certain numbers. Used also for a wall or walles, as the plural of Muro, or as some take it, a great heape of stones, or stone wall without morter”31.

  • 32 See my Shakespeare from the Margins, chapters 4 and 5 on the wordplay on “cosin germans” in Hamlet(...)
  • 33 See also the gone (as well as gonos) echoed in Goneril's name in King Lear, foregrounded in Albany (...)
  • 34 See King Lear I.ii.l 11-114 (a play also filled with references to generational bearing and patien (...)

19There is much more that remains to be said about multilingual punning in Shakespeare and other texts. The network sounded in Pistol's “Master Fer”, to take just one of a multitude of possible examples, connects “conveyance” or bearing (from the Latin ferre t latus) not only with “translation” in all of its senses but with the network in Hamlet that includes “dilated”, “delated” or “related” articles (terms from the variant texts of the scene of the envoys or ambassadors to Norway) as well as the later punning on “grounds / More relative than this” (the familiar modernized version of Q2 and F), a pun that simultaneously exploits “relative” or “relation” as narratable narrative, as something to be transported or borne, and as “kin”, forging yet another connection with multilingual Shakespearean punning on cozening and cousin “germans”, from the germanus or “kin” that also lurks behind the cozening, conveying or translating “Germans” of Merry Wives32 Ferrying, carrying, or bearing also connects these instances to others we might never think of, though perceiving such connections is crucial for the interpreter or editor of the plays. We might note, for example, important links between these networks of puns on “bearing” in all of its senses and the appearance of “ursine” names — like “Orsino” in Twelfth Night, a play filled with bear-baiting, the bearing of messages, and “bearing” in the sense of breeding or high birth, or “Ursula” in the Henriad, another name for the Hostess who has “borne, and borne, and borne” (2H4 II.i.29). Moving in this (perhaps unexpected) direction might lead us to reconsider the resonances surrounding “Mistress Taleporter” in The Winter's Tale, whose name associates her with porters or bearers more generally as well as with the “delivery” of a “usurer's wife”, in lines that link the barren “bearing” or “breeding” of usury as a form of profiting from “time” with the larger gestational plot (involving “Time”) that includes the bearing away of the “new-borne” babe by “Antigonus”, whose name (like Antigone) comes from Greek “gone” (generation, bearing, birth), the figure who famously exits from the play “pursued by a bear”, in lines that present us with yet another interlingual pun (“I am gone forever”) as he is borne away, a figure of transport that returns in the later punning on “gentlemen borne”33 Even the texts routinely cited in the debate over whether “Exit, pursued by a bear” involved a real bear or a play-acting one invoke interlingual as well as other kinds of punning, including Jonson’s Masque of Augurs, where the “dancing bears” who enact an alehouse sign or “dancing beeres” appear with “John Urson”, an ursine name (from the same Latin root as the “Ursa Major” invoked by the “bastard” in Lear) that resonated with English “Whoreson” in other texts34 In these and other cases, what we need to be able to perceive is not just the isolated “quibble” to which wordplay has been so often reduced but rather the interconnections of networks that challenge our ability to follow such linkages — depending, finally, on precisely such nodal “switchers”, as in the language of the chemin de fer itself.

Notes

1 The scenes involving this French “Parolles” may also recall the Rabelaisian Panurge, notorious speaker of many tongues, from the text of Rabelais. See, for example, the scene in this same Act in which the ambushed Parolles says “If there be here German, or Dane, Low Dutch, / Italian, or French, let him speak to me” (IV.i.71-72), recalling perhaps the famous scene in which the polyglot Panurge is introduced into Rabelais' text. On the popularity of Rabelais generally in sixteenth and seventeenth-century England, see Anne Lake Prescott, Imagining Rabelais in Renaissance England (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1998), who also documents the copious references to Rabelais in Randall Cotgrave's influential French-English dictionary. All quotations from Shakespeare are taken from The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans et al (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1974), which glosses “manifold linguist” as “speaker of many languages” on p. 533.

2 On the importance of “Mercury” or “Hermes” (the god associated with crossroads and “herms” as well as with marketing) in these and other Shakespearean contexts, see Joseph Porter, Shakespeare's Mercutio (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1988).

3 For Shakespeare's “fatal Cleopatra,” see Johnson on Shakespeare, ed. Arthur Sherbo, The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1966), VII, p. 74. On Iago and Sant Iago, see Eric Griffin, “Un-sainting James: Or, Othello and the ‘Spanish Spirits’ of Shakespeare's Globe”, Representations 62 (Spring 1998), pp. 58-99.

4 On James, Jacobus, and Jacob (and Esau), see also the recent book by Philippa Berry, Shakespeare's Feminine Endings. Disfiguring Death in the Tragedies, London and New York, Routledge, 1999.

5 See the analysis of the the multilingual puns on “Kates”, “cates”, Old French achat or “purchase” and other terms by Nastasha Korda, in “Household Kates: Domesticating Commodities in The Taming of the Shrew”, Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 2 (Summer 1996).

6 The First Quarto here has “myching Mallico, that meanes my chiefe”; the Second Quarto has “this munching Mallico, it meanes mischiefe”; the Folio has “this is Miching Malicho, that meanes Mischeefe”, in a play that puts a great deal of emphasis on “translation”, which Hamlet's lines here might be interpreted as providing, as an answer to the question of Ophelia / Ofelia “What meanes this, my Lord?” (the Folio text, similar in the other two texts here). See pp. 140-141 of The Three-Text Hamlet: Parallel Texts of the First and Second Quartos and First Folio, edited by Paul Bertram and Bernice W. Kliman (New York, AMS Press, 1991), the source of all quotations from these early texts of Hamlet in this essay to which page numbers in parentheses in the text also refer. There are many more potential examples of multilingual influence in these early texts, as in the early texts of other Shakespeare plays, limited for reasons of space to the ones suggested here.

7 On “conveyance”, see my Shakespeare from the Margins (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996), chapters 2 and 3. “Conveyance” is also used in a sexual sense in Lord Barry's punning Ram-Alley or Merrie-Tricks of 1611 (“when I was young [...] I had as good convayance, / And could have ferd, and ferla y'away a wench”), a resonance that may help to gloss the lines in this scene where Pistol says of “Master Fer! I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him” — lines to which the “Boy” pressed into translating responds “I do not know the French for fer, and ferret, and firk”. Such sexual “conveyance" links “convey” in the sense of “steal” with the sexual invasion that sounds repeatedly throughout this play of war and threatened rape.

8 This pun on “boys” and “bois” or “woods” is caught by Mario di Gangi in The Homo-erotics of Early Modern Drama, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 55, who also has wonderful things to say about the homoerotic subtext of Chapman's Bussy d'Ambois, though he does not mention that play's own punning on “ambush” and “ambois” or the attention called to the “ambo” (“both” or sexual “both ways”) or “boys” suggested in the protagonist's name.

9 See for example the “Oboes” of the Oxford Classics edition of Hamlet, edited by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 255, with pp. 140-141 of the Three-Text Hamlet.

10 See John Bale, A Comedy concernynge thre lawes, of Nature, Moses, and Christ, corrupted by the Sodomytes, Pharisees & papystes most wycked [hereafter TL], sigs. Civ-Cijr, cited in Alan Stewart, Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1997), p. 53.

11 Alan Stewart, Close Readers, p. 56.

12 The Dramatic Writings of John Bale, Bishop of Ossory, ed. John S. Farmer, facsimile of the Early English Drama Society edition of 1907 (New York, Barnes & Noble, 1966), Three Laws Act II (p. 16).

13 See John Florio, A Worlde of Wordes (London, 1598) under “Ambo” and “Ambodestro”, together with his reference to “ambidexters” in the Epistle Dedicatorie to that Work. “Ambodexter” was itself an ambiguous term in the period, in ways that included both double-dealing and this sexual sense of “ambo”. On “preposterous venery” (and its “Italian” links), see my Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context (Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp. 26-17.

14 Sec the examples collected in Henry N. Bershas, Puns on Proper Names in Spanish (Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1961) pp. 69 [“INGLESES, FUENTERRABIA (ingle, rabo), which cites from Gongora, Quevedo and others, in puns that include “the parts of [the] body affected by the ‘French pox’”, and pp. 60-61.

15 On engrossing and grossesse, see chapter 6 of my Shakespeare from the Margins (Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp. 220-228, which includes discussion of the links between dilation, inflation, pregnancy and the economic terminology of Troilus and Cressida as well. For the sexual sense of “corner” elsewhere in Shakespeare, see The Merchant of Venice (“I shall grow jealious of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners”, III.v.29-30).

16 See this citation from Spenser in Jeffrey Knapp's An Empire Nowhere: England, American and Literature from ‘Utopia’ to ‘The Tempest’ (Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1992), who also on p. 65 describes the familiar incident cited by Bed. : “Before Gregory became pope, relates Bede, he encountered some boys for sale in a Roman marketplace, and asked ‘was was the name of that nation, or people? And when answer was given, that they were called Angles, or english. Truly not without cause, quote he, they be called Angles, for they have an Angels face [...] (History, 48v)”. Knapp (p. 277, n. 9) cites further the punning on Angle and angle in Higden's Polychronicon and Abrahman Fleming's glossing of the pun in his translation of Virgil's Eclogues (Bucoliks, 3-4).

17 See “The Preface unto the Reader”, in Thomas Wright, The Passions of the Minde in Generall (London 1604). “Ingland” is the spelling of “England” used in “Hand D” of Sir Thomas More: see Andrew Gurr, ed. Henry V (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 196. The 1587 edition of Holinshed's Chronicles spells it “Engleterre” — for example, in Raphael Holinsheds Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, 6 vols (London, 1808), vol. III, p. 117. Thomas Chaloner, Of the office of servauntes (London, Thomas Berthelet, 1534), sigs B8rv, C44-V, cited in Loma Hutson's The Usurer's Daughter (London, Routledge, 1994), p. 74 has the spelling “Anglishmen", a rendering of the Angles or English as “Anglish” that also appears in the French-English scenes of Shakespeare's Henry V, a play where Albion or England is referred to as a “nook-shotten isle”. See also the variant spellings cited in the OED under “English”, England, and so forth and Alan Stewart, Close Readers, p. 42.

18 See for example Thomas Dekker’s reference to “Enghles & Plaiers-Boyes” and Ben Jonson's Poetaster (“shall I have my sonne a stager now? an enghle for players?”, I.ii; or as “angle” in “Ile [...] enghle some broker for a Poets gowne”, II.ii) in The Plague Pamphlets of Thomas Dekker, ed. F. Wilson (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1925), p. 65, and the volume containing Poetaster in the Herford-Simpson edition of Jonson's Works.

19 See Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch and John Dover Wilson, eds., The Merry Wives of Windsor (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1954), p. 107; the introduction to Jonathan Goldberg, ed., Queering the Renaissance (Durham, N.C., Duke University Press, 1994), p. 2; and chapter 4 of my Shakespeare from the Margins, which explores this wordplay within Merry Wives. See also the analysis in chapter 1 of my Literary Fat Ladies (London, Methuen, 1987) of the language lesson scene (IV.i) of Merry Wives, where Latin lapis slides into English “pebble”, and quaes, quods, horum and other Latin terms suggest their obscene vernacular counterparts.

20 See Henry V II.ii.125, with inter alia, Frankie Rubinstein, A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Sexual Puns and Their Significance (London, Macmillam, 1984), and Christopher Pye, The Regal Phantasm: Shakespeare and the Politics of Spectacle (London, Routledge, 1990), p. 39, who links these passages. See also pp. pp. 39-43 and pp. 168-169 of Shakespeare from the Margins and my “Uncertain Unions: Welsh Leeks”, in David Baker and Wiley Maley, eds., British Identities (forthcoming).

21 The Riverside gloss here (on p. 192) cites A.L. Rowse, in the London Times Literary Supplement, July 18, 1952, who “suggests that Dull heaxs haud credo as ‘awd (old) gray doe”.

22 See the Riverside edition, p. 193, which also glosses the references to the letter “L” in this passage which suggests “the Roman numeral for fifty” and yet another sexual “corner” or angle. The sound of “doe” in “haud credo” or “old grey doe” may also summon to the ear the French “dos” (or “back”), suggesting the “L” of a different bodily angle. On letters of the alphabet as suggestive of various bodily postures, crevices, or comers, see Gordon Williams' Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearian and Stuart Literature, 3 vols (London and Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, The Athlone Press, 1994), under “lovers alphabet” (vol. 2), which cites for “L” both Thomas Jordan's Walks of Islington (1641), III.2 and the double “LL” of Thomas Dekker's Westward Ho (1604), II.i.99, which is put to vaginal use. The play on names in the “latter end” of “Judas” in Act V of Love's Labour's Lost joins the tradition of scatalogical wordplay on names that includes “Hor-Ass” for Horace, “Harry-Osto” for Ariosto, and the “anus” of “Ciceronianus”.

23 See the entries for “Mouse” and “Mousetrap” in Gordon Williams’3-volume Dictionary, vol. 2.

24 On “mouse-hunt” herer as “literally, a weasel, but here = woman-chaser. ‘Mouse’ was an amorous term of endearment for a woman”, see the New Cambridge edition of Romeo and Juliet, p. 167; Milton's Of Reformation (1641) I. 39; and Williams' Dictionary, vol 2, p. 917; and the entire entry on “weasel” in Vol. 3, p. 1509. On mustela and mus, see, inter alia, Maurizio Bettini, Nascere (Torino, Einaudi, 1998). I owe this reference to Laura Gibbs, herself an accomplished and manifold linguist.

25 For the link between rima or “chink” and English “rhyme” or “rime”, see my “Preposterous Reversals: Love's Labor's Lost”, Modern Language Quarterly 54 (December 1993); on rima and Latin-English punning generally, see the superb essay by Frederick W. Clayton, “The Hole in the Wall: A New Look at Shakespeare's Latin Base for A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Tenth Jackson Knight Memorial Lecture, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 1979, pp. 3-32.

26 On other kinds of artisanal “joinery”, invoked even more clearly by the name of “Snug the Joiner”, see my Shakespeare from the Margins, chapter 3.

27 See Minsheu, “a Quince”, and J. Corominas, Diccionario Critico Etimologico de la lengua castellana, 4 vols. (Bern, Francke, 1954).

28 On More's name, see Germain Marc'hadour, “A Name for All Seasons”, in Essential Articles for the Study of Thomas More, ed. R. S. Sylvester and G. P. Marc'hadour (Hamden, Conn., Archon Books, 1977), pp. 539-562. Multilingual punning involving the “mulberry” also exploited the association with sericulture. Henry N. Bershas, in Puns on Proper Names in Spanish, p. 69, writes of the “Moreria” of a “scornful remark to Silk, in a poem personifying various kinds of fabrics” by Quevedo (“Nacida en la MORERIA / sin que tu puedas negarlo; / y si las moras son perras, / de casta le viena al galgo”, in Verso, p. 373a) as follows: “Because of its origin in silk worms feeding in mulberry trees (moras), Silk is accused of being born in the Moreria, or Moorish quarter of a Spanish town. The epithet perra commonly applied to all moras leads Quevedo then to quote part of the familiar proverb ‘De casta le viene al galgo ser rabilargo’, suggesting that one could expect no less from such a heritage”.

29 Part of my Work in progress on this larger complex has appeared in my “Murais and Morals: A Midsummer Night's Dream”, in Glenn W. Most, ed. Editing Texts: Texte edieren (Gottingen, 1998). The rest is part of two books in progress: Shakespearean (and Other) Languages (forthcoming from Stanford University Press) and Reading Matters Differently: Early Modern Intersections of Gender, Sexuality, Religion, and Race. In Stephen Scrope's translation of Pyramus and Thisbe from the French of Christine de Pisan, the similarity between “la mure” (mulberry) and “le mur” (wall) results in a confusion in which the translator has the wall of the famous Ovidian story, rather than the mulberry, turning from white to black. See the EETS edition (n. 264, 1970 ed. Curt F. Bühler) of The Epistle of Othea on these confusions in Scrope's translation. In Colard Mansion's French translation of the Ovide de Salmonen son livre intitule Metamorphose [...] moralisé par maistre Thomas Waleys (Bruges, 1494), the mulberry is spelled “la mour(r)e”, close to the text's “lamour” or love, while “ripe” is “meure”. The variant spellings of early modern French make possible even more connections than there is space to pursue here.

30 On Bottom (the play’s paradoxically wise morus or fool) as a substitute for the Indian boy, see, inter alia, Gail Kern Paster, The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England (Ithaca, NY, and London, Cornell UP, 1993), esp. 125-43.

31 Interestingly, it is precisely this network of linkages that James Joyce — another “manifold linguist” and attentive reader of Shakespeare — summons in Ulysses, where the “moor" of Othello is followed by the “mulberrytree” supposed to have been planted at Stratford, the “black” face of the “mummer”, a “Moorish hall,” and these lines on “the nine men's morrice” from A Midsummer Night's Dream. See James Joyce, Ulysses (New York, Vintage International, 1990), pp. 212-216.

32 See my Shakespeare from the Margins, chapters 4 and 5 on the wordplay on “cosin germans” in Hamlet and Merry Wives.

33 See also the gone (as well as gonos) echoed in Goneril's name in King Lear, foregrounded in Albany's “I cannot be so partial, Goneril, / To the great love I bear you” (I.iv.310-311) and in the lines where she is called a “degenerate bastard” (I.iv.253) by the father who will soon curse her “organs of increase” (I.iv.278-279). For the Shakespearean network of puns on “bear(ing)”, see Stephen Booth, “Exit, Pursued by a Gentleman Born”, in Shakespeare's Art From a Comparative Perspective, ed. Wendell M. Aycock. Proceedings (of) Comparative Literature Symposium, Texas Tech University, Volume XII. Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech Press, 1981) and Margreta de Grazia, “Homonyms before and after Lexical Standardization”, Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft West Jahrbuch (1990), 143-156, esp. pp. 143-146. For a Jonsonian example of punning on “gentlemen borne" as both “bom” and “borne” or carried away, see Poetaster: “your legges doe sufficiently shew you are a gentleman borne [...] for a man borne vpon little legges, is alwayes a gentleman borne” (II.i).

34 See King Lear I.ii.l 11-114 (a play also filled with references to generational bearing and patient forbearing, as well as usury and barren breeding); Mucedorus (which is filled with homophones including “bear” and “bare”); the popular romance Valentine and Orson (the latter the name of the “bear” baby) echoed in The Winter's Tale and in the “Valentine” and “Orsino” of Twelfth Night-, Stephen Dickey, “Shakespeare’s Mastiff Comedy,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 42, no. 2 (Fall 1991), pp. 255-275; Tom Conley, The Self-Made Map: Cartographic Writing in Early Modern France (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1997), pp. 32-35, on “Fouquet's great portrait of Guillaume Juvénal des Oursins”, which is filled with ursine figures appropriate to this name; and Maureen Quilligan, The Language of Allegory (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1979), p. 79, on Sir Bruin and the bear baby of Book VI of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, in relation to that Book's variations on barrenness and bearing (as comportment and breeding as well as transporting or carrying). Quilligan also notes the French-English pun in FQ 6.3.31 on “peasant” and “pésant”. I discuss the extensive interlingual networks touched on more briefly here in Shakespearean (and Other) Languages: Cultural Semamics, Interpretive Networks (forthcoming from Stanford University Press).

Auteur

Professeur de littérature anglaise et comparée à l'Université de Stanford (Californie). Elle travaille actuellement à une édition du Songe d'une nuit d'été pour la collection New Arden. Elle est l'auteur de Literary Fat Ladies: Rhetoric, Gender, Property (Routledge, 1987) et de Shakespeare from the Margins (Chicago, 1996). Elle a également été co-responsable de cinq ouvrages collectifs, dont Shakespeare and the Question of Theory (en collaboration avec Geoffrey Hartman) et Race and Writing in the Early Modern Period (en collaboration avec Margo Hendricks).

© Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2001

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