Mar 10: In which the Classics pall somewhat.

But enough of high officials of state and hookers, let's have some old-fashioned Jacobean exposition, Beaumont and Fletcher style:

DION. Yes; whose father, we all know, [my absolute favorite expositional device -- ed] was by our late King of Calabria unrighteously deposed from his fruitful Sicily. Myself drew some blood in those wars, which I would give my hand to be washed from.
CLE. Sir, my ignorance in state-policy will not let me know why, Philaster being heir to one of these kingdoms, the King should suffer him to walk abroad with such free liberty.
DION. Sir, it seems your nature is more constant than to inquire after state-news. But...
I think if I were doing a doctorate I would do it on exposition in early modern drama. This isn't a comedy, or CLE (Cleremont) could be the dumb character. Then we could get all the pipe out.

What I would like to ask someone with a doctorate is why the hell the people are named what they are. Our hero is named Philaster, which might be the name of a nineteenth century Senator or modern point guard. The villain is a Spaniard (of course), so naturally he's named Pharamond, which is more point guard-y than Senatorial, to my ear. Other people in the cast are:

Arethusa
Thrasaline
Galatea
Megna

I guess maybe we're more provincial than the Jacobeans -- or maybe this is just the Jacobean version of science fiction (compare this list of Doctor Who henchmen).

Anyway, what we got is that the King is going to give his daughter away to the Spaniard, Pharamond. I believe we're supposed to hiss automatically. Philaster, who has a claim to the throne that I'm not going to untangle -- one thing about this one-night-stand way of reading, you don't do the work on the relationship that you ought to -- is steaming. He talks hot, and then, the princess (who we haven't seen) calls him for an assignation. It's a setup! his friends cry, but he goes anyway. And...scene!

The past couple days I've been pissing on Swift and Cervantes, and I'd rather not be a hater, but there you are. Even the Daily Reading Guide's reassurance that Beaumont and Fletcher were "men from good families" is no balm. Maybe if I put some Thrasaline on it I'll feel better.

Emerson tomorrow! There's a cure for the blues!

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