My dearest Readers,
Here's a picture of Shakespeare very few see or recognize. It actually makes him look more savvy than that wizened, pudgy faced picture we're all used to seeing. It's a conspiracy, I tell you. To warp the way we look at Shakespeare. After all, he's SUPPOSED to be the father of all literary plays.
In last month's post, I touched upon how deliciously naughty Shakespeare was and how throughout the centuries his words had been deleted and altered to create "clean" versions of his works. After all, how could Shakespeare be considered "literary" and taken seriously by ANYONE if he's referring to sex, cunts, pricks, erections, ejaculations, buggery, lesbians, brothels, dildos, boobs, balls, pimps, and impotence???
As the book, "Filthy Shakespeare" by Pauline Kiernan brilliantly points out, William Shakespeare's name actually gave cause for eyebrows to be raised even then. For his name was a sexual pun in and of itself and quite literally meant "To Shake one's Spear" which was the definition of wanker. And "Will" was another word for "prick." So essentially, his name quite literally meant "Prick Wanker." No wonder the dude wasn't afraid to write about sex. His very own name set the tone of puns he was meant to write for the rest of his days.
As if that wasn't enough ammo for him, just a few years before Shakespeare was born there was a great scientific "rediscovery." Of the clitoris. Yes. In 1559 (Shakespeare was born in 1564). Greek medical writers had actually long documented extensively the location of the clitoris and that it could be stimulated outside of penetration, yet all of Europe somehow "forgot" about the clitoris (I think it was a freakin' conspiracy...Dan Brown should have seriously covered this in his Da Vinci book). With this "rediscovery" of the clitoris throughout Europe, it was becoming quite evident to men that a woman's pleasure could actually be controlled outside of a man. Which worried them to no end. There were public outcries about dildos being sold and used and what would happen to the population (and the men...). After all, the dildo was serious competition. It always hard, didn't create a mess, and there was no fear of disease or pregnancy attached. A dildo was almost a no brainer for a gal back in those days...
Needless to say, by the time Shakespeare stepped into the picture, lo, the man had plenty of stuff to write about, as the dildo and clitoris conspiracy was still going on. And write about the dildo conspiracy he did.
In THE WINTER'S TALE, the character Autolycus is selling "wares" when he arrives into Bohemia. I have to share the lines because it's really THAT good. Here is an excerpt (now remember, to "sing" is a pun on "fuck" and "fadings" refers to "orgasms"...keep this in mind as you read):
Servant: "He hath songs for man or woman, of all sizes. No milliner can so fit his customers with gloves. He has the prettiest love songs for maids...with such delicate burdens of dildos and fadings, "Jump her and thump her"...
Autolycus (singing): "Pins and poking-sticks of steel, what maids lack from head to heel...come buy!"
Servant: "He has dildos for man or woman, of all sizes for all shapes of genitals and arses. No glove-maker can bring a female prostitute or male brother-goer so quickly to orgasm with his gloves. He has the sexiest dildos for virgins, such lightweight burdens of sensual dildos and refrains that sound like orgasms: "Jump into her and fuck her."
Autolycus (singing): "Pins and poking-sticks of steel, everything maids need from penis tip to heel. Come and buy!"
Now why is it we never read THIS is freakin' English Lit?! I'm sure none of the guys in my class would have complained about not understanding what the heck Shakespeare was talking about. Because, yes, sex IS a universal language. Which is why Shakespeare loved to touch upon it so much (yes, pun intended...). Bottom line, no matter who attended his plays, be they rich or poor, every adult understood the workings of sex and so it was a brilliant tool he used quite frequently and liberally in order to communicate with his audience to evoke humor as well as emotion (think of Romeo and Juliet's parting is such sweet sorrow scene). That said, I hope you now have a completely different take on Shakespeare and I hope you read the fabulous book "Filthy Shakespeare" and truly take the time to appreciate just how funny and witty and brilliant and naughty the man really was.
Cheers and much love,