Shakespeare's Bawdy

Shakespeare's Bawdy

Shakespeare's Bawdy

Shakespeare's Bawdy

Synopsis

This classic of Shakespeare scholarship begins with a masterly introductory essay analysing and exemplifying the various categories of sexual and non-sexual bawdy expressions and allusions in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. The main body of the work consists of an alphabetical glossary of all words and phrases used in a sexual or scatological sense, with full explanations and cross-references.

Excerpt

When Shakespeare's Bawdy first appeared, in 1947, it was in an edition limited to 1,000 copies and selling at the high price of two guineas (at a time when forty-two Penguins could have been bought for this sum). Both the circumstances of its publication and certain features of the book itself aligned it with the category of erotic literature (or, in the vulgate, dirty books) such as might be perused with impunity by the wealthy and learned but should be placed and priced out of the reach of anyone else. Partridge follows the time-honoured custom of resorting to the sanitizing influence of Latin for certain expressions which English would have rendered offensive. So we read of a possible pun on 'penem in vaginam inmittere'-to put the penis into the vagina (p. 89)-and of 'the innuendo being digitae in vulvam inmissae (or impositae)-or, at best, vir sub indusio mulieris praetentans, or not doing so', i.e. fingers put (or pushed) into the vulva, or the man pushing under the woman's clothes (p. 202). On occasion Partridge seems even to have coined Latinisms for sexual activity: the word penilingism (p. 92), apparently meaning 'tonguing

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