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Shakespeare and DonneGeneric Hybrids and the Cultural Imaginary$
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Judith H. Anderson and Jennifer C. Vaught

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251254

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251254.001.0001

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“None Do Slacken, None Can Die”: Die Puns and Embodied Time in Donne and Shakespeare

“None Do Slacken, None Can Die”: Die Puns and Embodied Time in Donne and Shakespeare

(p.61) 3. “None Do Slacken, None Can Die”: Die Puns and Embodied Time in Donne and Shakespeare
Shakespeare and Donne

Jennifer Pacenza

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines Shakespeare and Donne’s use of the die pun, referring both to mortal death and orgasmic death, in order to argue that the works of both authors utilize the die pun as an escape from the confines and damages of linear time through the pure potentiality of embodied time. Throughout Songs and Sonnets, Donne uses imagery of perpetual, pre-orgasmic sex as a way to imagine escaping the destructive passages of time. Shakespeare uses the same pun to create productive, autoerotic self-replication in the first fifteen sonnets to the Young Man. For Shakespeare and Donne, language, specifically the die pun, is a vehicle for the manipulation of both meaning and time. Puns, as these two poets deploy them, deny both a unifying central meaning and diametrically opposed binary meanings; instead, they create a multiplicity of meanings manifested in embodied time.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Donne, die pun, embodied time, linear time, death, orgasm

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