Bad Sex in Fiction award voor Shakespeare?

Vroege Middeleeuwen:
Enig overgebleven fragment uit oerversie Romeo & Juliet => Rodewijn & Anita
Populaire raamvertelling die gewoonlijk in de late uurtjes werd voorgedragen:

Hé meisje!, zeg meisje, ben je al een beetje nat
ritsiepie ritsiepa ritsiepoe
Een harde lul die is gemaakt om mee te pompen
falderie, faldera

1590-1592:
Shakespeare is onder de indruk geraakt van de poëtische schoonheid en tragiek in het Rodewijk & Anita verhaal, en maakt een eerste engelse versie van Romeo & Juliet:

Here is the story of a real cool dude. Romeo’s his label, and he sho’ ain’t crude.
He went to a party where he wasn’t supposed to. He fell for a gal that he danced real close to.
Juliet, Juliet, yeah man.
The priest and the nurse, they got the two together. They built ’em a nest, like birds of a feather.
The problem was the old man and old lady didn’t want Romeo to be her matey.
Capulet, Montague, no man.
So he got in a fight with a real rough cat He killed him dead, and that was that.
The trouble was the dude was Juliet’s kin, And we all know blood’s thicker than skin.
Tybalt, Tybalt, po’ man.
The priest and the nurse hatched ’em a plan to fool Verona; Julie takes a pill, and they think she’s a goner.
The problem was Romeo’s a loner. He got kicked outta town by the dudes of Verona.
Romeo, Romeo, where you be? Yo, Mantua by the sea.
He gets a message the wrong way straight. He rides to Verona to see his mate.
When he arrives, he thinks he’s late; So he slays the Frenchman and opens the gate.
Paris, Paris, po’ man.
He sees his chick taking a nap; He gets real fonky and starts to rap.
He takes out the poison and drinks it real quick; He ends his life to be with his chick.
Romeo, Romeo, po’ man.
The priest comes in way too late, He sees all the blood near the gate.
Julie yawns and she sits up straight; She spies the priest and asks for her mate,
“Romeo, Romeo, where you be?”
“Lord, Child, can’t you see? Your dude is dead! No mo’ mister! I’ll take you away and make you a sister!”
Juliet, Juliet, po’ gal.
She sends him away. She says she won’t go. She picks up the cup and throws it on the flo’.
She gives her man a longing kiss. She grabs his knife and dies in bliss.
Juliet, Juliet, po’ gal.
Now the Montagues and Capulets, they made their peace; They raised up some statues to show their grief.
For never was a story of more woe Than this one here of Juliet and Romeo.

1593:
Shakespeare besluit de eerste versie te bewerken nadat hij er niet in slaagt om in de top-10 charts van de hitparade te komen. Hij gooit het over een andere boeg om een grotere doelgroep te bereiken. Het nu volgende fragment is exemplarisch:

Romeo comes over and pushes me gently back down on the fake fur. I try to rise up to kiss him – it’s so lovely, the kissing – but he pushes me down, again. He likes to kiss me all over before he does anything else. He starts with my eyes, and plants a tender kiss on each lid.
… He moves on to my ears, a kiss that makes my nipples stand erect, and me emit little moans that drown out to my own ears the loud, distracting sound of Cumberbatch swiping dock leaves and tearing nettles and long grasses very close to the rickety stoop. Romeo’s hands are caressing my breasts, now, and I am allowed to kiss him back, but not for long, for he breaks off, to give each breast the attention it deserves. As he nibbles and pulls with his mouth, his hands find my bush, and with light fingers he flutters about there, as if he is a moth caught inside a lampshade.
Almost screaming after five agonizingly pleasurable minutes, I make a grab, to put him, now angrily slapping against both our bellies, inside, but he holds both by arms down, and puts his tongue to my core, like a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop. I find myself gripping his ears and tugging at the locks curling over them, beside myself, and a strange animal noise escapes from me as the mounting, thundering crescendo overtakes me.

1594:
Na een spannende eindstrijd wint Shakespeare the Bad Sex Fiction award met bovenstaande scène. Dit is aanleiding voor hem om voor een laatste keer essentiële onderdelen te herschrijven.

1597:
Definitieve publicatie van Romeo & Juliet:


Act 1, Scene 5

ROMEO [To JULIET.]
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
JULIET
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.
ROMEO
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
JULIET
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
ROMEO
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray — grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
JULIET
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
ROMEO
Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
[Kisses her.]
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.
JULIET
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
ROMEO
Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.
[Kisses her.]
JULIET
You kiss by th’ book.

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Geïnspireerd door Rachel Johnson, die dit jaar (2008) de Bad Sex in Fiction Award heeft gewonnen. Het is haar winnende stukje tekst dat hierboven is gebruikt.

John Updike heeft trouwens een eervolle vermelding voor z’n gehele oeuvre gekregen.

Voor de volledigheid vermeld ik nog dat Romeo’s Rap geschreven is door Pat Alvarado en de oerversie van Rodewijn & Anita is natuurlijk herkenbaar als een echte Hans Teeuwen tekst.

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