Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shakespeare at Large

It's obvious that the freakalicious FX show American Horror Story pays homage to classic horror films like The Shining, The Omen, The Amityville Horror, etc. But imagine my delight at seeing a connection to Shakespeare in The Black Dahlia episode this week!

I'm referring to the recent news about Vivien's pregnancy. As it turns out, genetic testing has determined that her unborn twin babies are fathered by two (count 'em!) different men! This phenomenon is called a superfetation, a completely obscure medical concept that I discuss in an essay I wrote about Hermione's pregnancy in The Winter's Tale. My argument is that Hermione's husband is suspicious because pregnant women can have extramarital sex without fear of getting . . . pregnant. Or can they? Belief in superfetation gives her hubby a little reassurance that there would be damning physical evidence against her: twins, one his, and another, younger one that's the spawn of her lov-ah.

Whoa! How often is it that us Shakespeare professors see our weird little topics highlighted on primetime?

Answer: absolutely never.

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