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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0286.  Tuesday, 16 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Apr 1996 12:03:13 +0000 (HELP)
        Subj:   [Funeral Elegy Broadcast]

(2)     From:   <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Apr 1996 12:22:18 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Kennedy's Elegy Authentication

(3)     From:   Margaret Brockland-Nease <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Apr 96 12:42:54 EST
        Subj:   [Funeral Elegy]

(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Apr 1996 16:49:44 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   [Funeral Elegy]

(5)     From:   Kay Pilzer <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Apr 1996 17:29:35 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Fun Elegy, Reprised


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Apr 1996 12:03:13 +0000 (HELP)
Subject:        [Funeral Elegy Broadcast]

Members of the list may be interested to know that excerpts from my recording
of the Elegy were broadcast across Canada on Monday April 8th., receiving a
good and convinced response from those CBC spots.

Delegates who heard it at the Book Exhibit at the World Shakespeare Congress in
Los Angeles and who spontaneously commented on it were pretty unanimous in
their commendations as well. I shall be very pleased if this recording does a
little to assist the authentication of the strange and moving poem.

One sign of the shifting opinion -unrelated to the recording- is that both
Harper Collins and the new Riverside are including it, although the Norton as
not yet deifinite; I hope that the CD will convince Norton further.

        Harry Hill and Paul Hawkins [director]

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Apr 1996 12:22:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Kennedy's Elegy Authentication

Richard Kennedy observes that Foster provides little in the way of external
evidence such as the typewriters and paraphernalia found in the Unibomber's
wooded hut. Hovever, there is further authentication readily available for him
if he were to listen to the CD or audiocassette made at Concordia University.
The rhythms and textures he would hear, with the shifts in mood and tone and
the extraordinary emotional closeness, might bring him nearer to acknowledging
that he is listening to Shakespeare's voice in *A Funeral Elegy*, albeit from a
set of 1996 vocal cords.

Of course I have been given luncheon for making this comment.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Margaret Brockland-Nease <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Apr 96 12:42:54 EST
Subject:        [Funeral Elegy]

In light of the recent similarities noted between the Funeral Elegy arguments
and the Unibomber manifesto, is it too facetious to note the Renaissance-like
character of the spellings put forth for the "name" of the manifesto's author?
I've seen in print Unibomber, Unabomber, and, as the three-inch Newsweek
headline proclaimed, Unabomer (planter of unaboms).  I can't help but think of
the various spellings Sir Walter Ralegh used in his signature.

Margaret Brockland-Nease
Department of Humanities
Brunswick College

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Apr 1996 16:49:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        [Funeral Elegy]

Again for those who don't read the TLS, I'd like to report that Brian Vickers
(April 12, 1996) gives a rather long and detailed response to the criticisms of
Abrams and Foster (17). Much of what he details has been shifted through before
by other scholars, but Vickers, of course, offers his own interpretations.  He
feels that the differences between Shakespeare's undoubted work and FE are "so
gross as to defeat computerized statistics . . . . it only needs a normal
reader with some powers of judgment to tell the difference" (17).  He ends by
claiming that Abrams has played Svengali to Foster!

Yours,  Bill Godshalk

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kay Pilzer <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Apr 1996 17:29:35 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Fun Elegy, Reprised

Having just returned (OK, so I'm gloating a little!) from the ISA/SAA in LA,
where I was privileged to hear Don Foster take on His Honor Stanley Wells (and
others) in an eloquent and scholarly presentation, I open my SHAKSPER messages
to confront -- a little wearily (Hughes onto the lemmings, presumably in
invisible fur, to conflate her earlier metaphors), and others ("Give us new
evidence!") -- the ongoing deathless pseudo-debate in this list over
attribution of the deathless Funeral Elegy.

Foster DOES have a new article forthcoming (perhaps he'll tell us where;  I
didn't get that part) with a summary of the evidence he's uncovered since
publication of his book.  So watch for it.

But in the meantime, I think it's time we did our own homework, or accept that
(Occam-ish?  Holmesian?) conclusion:  when everything plausible has been
omitted (i.e.:  this is a Bad Poem, so Our Hero couldn't have written it), then
one must admit the implausible (i.e.:  that Our Hero wrote this Really Bad
Poem!)

And, less authoritatively than Foster, but no less urgently, I suggest that a
scholar with strong opinions either keep them to her/himself, or spend the time
and study necessary to find something to add more useful than strong opinion to
this debate.

In fact, I find myself moving to the side of the line now occupied by Foster
and even His Honor David Bevington (who includes the Elegy in his forthcoming
updated *Works* edition):  it's time we accept Shakespeare's authorship of this
Bad Poem and move to considering the, at least, biographical implications of
this discovery.

-- for which we owe Foster a debt of gratitude, even if for a gift that NONE of
us, including Foster himself, ever wanted.

Yours for responsible, polite, (and safe) scholarship,

        Kay Campbell Pilzer
        Vanderbilt University
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