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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: February ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 116. Wednesday, 14 February 1996.

(1)     From:   Simon Morgan-Russell <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Feb 1996 15:05:12 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0112 Re: Funeral Elegy

(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Feb 1996 21:41:59 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   FE


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Simon Morgan-Russell <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Feb 1996 15:05:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0112 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0112 Re: Funeral Elegy

I'd like to ask those most involved in the debate about the poem's authorship:
"why does this matter?"  I don't mean to deliberately obtuse or provocative,
but what is at stake for those for and against the inclusion of this text in
Shakespeare's canon?

Simon Morgan-Russell
Department of English
Bowling Green State University

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Feb 1996 21:41:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        FE

I want to thank Dave Kathman for his great response to my initial comments on
Eld's printing. Yes, Dave is absolutely correct. Thorp or Thorpe entered FE in
the Stationers Register and had the rights to the book.  I was simply
speculating that Eld may have an informal agreement with Thorpe to assume his
rights -- and thus leave Thorpe's name from the title page. But Thorpe's role
in the process, I think, needs to be considered.  (I have yet to generate a
copy of Thorpe's bibliography.)

Since Eld's name does appear on the title page, he may have sold the book --
assuming that it was sold -- and not distributed gratis.

Manuscripts -- bound manuscripts -- are no less permanent than books. Middleton
manuscripts are still extant -- as are mss. by many 16th-17th century authors.
The ink and the paper are still quite fine.

Finally, I'd like some truly solid evidence that FE was privately printed and
paid for by Shakespeare.  If Dave's scenario is correct, the printing was paid
for by Thorpe.  If Thorpe didn't sell books, how did he make his money?
Commissions?  On what?

If Thorpe was not a printer, and assuming FE was privately printed, by didn't
Shakespeare go directly to Eld -- the printer who had printed the Sonnets? Why
go through Thorpe, the middle man?

In *Some Aspects of London Publishin*, Greg discusses anomalous title pages --
"about 150 in fact" (85). He suggests several ways to account for these title
pages. He says, "it might happen . . . that a bookseller who had purchased a
copy would not at the moment find it convenient to pay for an edition, but
might know of a printer willing . . . to bear the risk and take the profit of
an edition, allowing him the benefit of distribution and retention of the copy"
(88). Let me emphasize that Greg is here merely speculating, but the
speculation MAY in the case of FE be correct.

Anyway, Dave, in the spirit of scholarly research, let's keep looking. I looked
Thorpe up in R. B. McKerrow's Dictionary this evening, and found less
information than you have.  Where have you been looking?

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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