Thursday, 24 August 2017

Fever isn't such a new thing

Everybody's got the fever, that is something you all know
Fever isn't such a new thing, fever started long ago.
Romeo loved Juliet, Juliet she felt the same*
When he put his arms around her, he said "Julie baby you're my flame"

Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell wrote about the physiological effects of sexual attraction "around 1955", says Wikipedia. By the time of Elvis Presley's cover, the example of Cap‘n Smith and Pocahontas had been introduced; a New World example from the seventeenth century added to an Old World example from the sixteenth.

But the clue is there in Cooley and Blackwell‘s lyrics:

Fever isn't such a new thing, fever started long ago...

... thousands of years ago. in fact.

Sappho was born around 630 BCE and very little is known about her. One of Natalie Haynes‘s Stands up for the Classics programmes (a series now in its third season of what I hope will be many) deals with this "distinguished Lesbian" (as she was described in a fairly recent academic French work – in which she had a blank page devoted to her).

Natalie Haynes says, about 19 mins in:

She pathologizes love in a way that nobody had before. So when Sappho writes about love it‘s a medical condition... She has fever... She‘s afflicted with madness... She‘s going green...She‘s sick... She calls Eros, at one point, a "melter of limbs". Literally any time you listen to any love song, and someone says "you give me fever",  it‘s Sappho...'.
So, assuming Sappho started producing poetry (not publishing, this was before the advent even of alphabetic script) in the mid-7th century BCE, Cooley and Blackwell‘s 'long ago' – written in the mid-20th CE – meant "well over 2½ millennia.

Just sayin'. But Kindle Direct Publishing calls.

PS A few clues:
  • Out-of-town stadium with the aid of redrafting. (6)
  • "Him!" moaned this sort of argument. (2,7)
Update: 2017.08.26.20:45 – Added this footnote:

*When I first heard this song – possibly in the mid-fifties (the Peggy Lee version , my oldest brother being a fan)...
[on one notable occasion he raised eyebrows by walking down Ealing Broadway in those unenlightened times singing : 
"I‘m a woman, W - O - M -A - N"  – 
... I heard this line as "Juliet she fell for same"  – a bit over-formal, I thought.

Update: 2017.12.30.18:45 – The answers: ETIHAD (a bit  gnomic, I‘ll admit, for those ignorant about the beautiful game); and AD HOMINEM.

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