Monday, December 8, 2008

19C Women & Shakespeare

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro

During the 19th century, educated women in America became involved in popularizing Shakespeare, as teachers and story-tellers or as editors of plays. They contributed to journals, published essays and books on Shakespeare, and participated in professional debates. Just as Shakespeare intended for his audience to read contemporary events into his plays, many 19th century women used Shakespeare to raise contemporary concerns: marital and family relations; the education of women; women's access to universities; the Ideal of Womanhood; ethnic differences; and the experience of civil war.

In 1600, there were about 200,000 people living in London and its environs. There were several public playhouses (including The Globe) and performances at court, plus troupes of transient players passing through. The author's conservative estimate has over 3,000 Londoners attending the theater each day, 15,000 per week. The play was not just their entertainment, it was their way to catch up on news around the world and the history of their country.

Although women could attend performances, they were not allowed to be performers. Female characters were played by young boys. Shakespeare exploited this by turning gender ambiguity into a technique in several of his plays. Men and women would attend the plays, but well-to-do ladies would frequently wear masks to hide their identity.

New Hampshire Christian Science Founder, Mary Baker Eddy d. 12/3/1910

December 3, 2008

Mary Baker Eddy, born on July 16, 1821 in Bow, New Hampshire, founded of the Christian Science movement. Deeply religious, she advocated Christian Science as a spiritual practical solution to health and moral issues. She wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; founded The First Church of Christ, Scientist of Boston in 1879; and conceived several periodicals including The Christian Science Monitor.
Starting at the age of 8, little Mary began to hear voices calling her name and would go to her mother only to be told she had not been called. In her autobiography, Eddy explained: "One day when my cousin, Mehitable Huntoon, was visiting us, and I sat in a little chair by her side, in the same room with grandmother, — the call again came, so loud that Mehitable heard it, though I had ceased to notice it. Greatly surprised, my cousin turned to me and said, 'Your mother is calling you!' Mary responded to the voice with the phrase from Samuel 'Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.' When the call came again I did answer, in the words of Samuel, but never again to the material senses was that mysterious call repeated...

"My mother, as she bathed my burning temples, bade me lean on God's love, which would give me rest if I went to Him in prayer, as I was wont to do, seeking His guidance. I prayed; and a soft glow of ineffable joy came over me. The fever was gone and I rose and dressed myself in a normal condition of health. Mother saw this and was glad. The physician marveled; and the 'horrible decree' of Predestination — as John Calvin rightly called his own tenet — forever lost its power over me."

She became convinced that illness could be healed through a clearer perception of God and the explicit rejection of doctors, hygiene, and medicines based upon her reading of the Bible, where Jesus did not need these suspicious modern-day innovations for healing: "It is plain that God does not employ drugs or hygiene, nor provide them for human use; else Jesus would have recommended and employed them in his healing."

Nearly 90, Mary Baker Eddy died on December 3, 1910 at her home at 400 Beacon Street, in the Chestnut Hill section of Newton, Massachusetts.