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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0301.  Saturday, 21 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Chris J. Fassler <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Apr 1996 11:16:14 -0400
        Subj:   Re:  Funeral Elegy

(2)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Apr 1996 10:53:21 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0297  Re: Funeral Elegy

(3)     From:   Daniel M Larner <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Apr 1996 14:29:19 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0297 Re: Funeral Elegy

(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Apr 1996 21:33:12 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: Funeral Elegy

(5)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Saturday, 20 Apr 1996 16:59:38 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Funeral Elegy


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris J. Fassler <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Apr 1996 11:16:14 -0400
Subject:        Re:  Funeral Elegy

Perhaps, as a public service--akin to the warnings broadcast immediately before
TV shows with violent and/or sexual content--a warning statement of some kind
ought to be prefixed to Joseph Green's posts.  I'm thankful, for the sake of
the list and for its editor, that the Exxon bill is currently in abeyance, and
yet I also hope that no minors have been exposed to the Funeral Elegy track.

Feeling violated,
--Chris Fassler

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Apr 1996 10:53:21 -0700
Subject: 7.0297  Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0297  Re: Funeral Elegy

Don Foster is mistaken: Ward Elliott's McKenna Claremont program is a much
better test for authorship than Shaxicon, brilliant in comparison with
Shaxicon, treating of dramatic verse and poetry with a delicacy and balance of
judgment that makes Shaxicon look like a middle-school exercise to test and
sort verbs apart from nouns.

Don Foster, of course, is a beginner in the field and, it would seem, ignorant
of the more advanced literature on the subject of stylometrics.  May I advise
him to read Jim Helfers excellent post of March 25th that he may study the work
of Elliott and his colleague Robert Valenza, who have "pioneered" some
stratistical refinements that a novice -- I mean Foster -- would do well to
understand before he tries to march Shaxicon any farther, for he does but
trample where a discreet and sure-footed step is needed.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daniel M Larner <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Apr 1996 14:29:19 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 7.0297 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0297 Re: Funeral Elegy

SHAKSPERians--

With regard to Joseph Green's "revisionary praxis" of a "possible non-
intersection of textual surfaces,"--this "creme brulee," as he puts it, with
scarcely disguised wit, is not, as he alleges, a "denial of politics" at all.
It is, on the contrary--simply wonderful!  Thanks.

Dan Larner

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Apr 1996 21:33:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: Funeral Elegy

Don Foster writes:

"FE, written in continuous verse without any stanzaic breaks, has a GL of 22.
The only other text tested by Elliott with a GL higher than 19 is Heywood's
*Troia Britannica*, also in continuous verse without stanzaic breaks; while
other non-Shakespearean textsin continuous verse tend to hover around 16-18.
When adjusted for stanzaic form, FE should register a GL between 19 and 24 if
written by Shakespeare.  At GL 22, it's right on the money."

I think I understand most of this, but the phrase "When adjusted for stanzaic
form" puzzles me.  Obviously FE is not in stanzaic form, and so the phrase must
be a negative: when adjusted for not being in stanzaic form.

But how is such an adjustment made?  I think a crucial calculation or series of
caluclations has been dropped out of the explanation.

Earlier  Don tells us: "The poems have a higher GL because they are written in
stanzaic form without the frequent breaks of dramatic dialogue: they vary thus
from GL 10 to GL 22.  PhT, having a four-line stanza, has a GL of 8. "

I don't understand this comment.  (I assume that "The poems" means
"Shakespeare's poems."  Am I correct?)  Given that PhT has a GL of 8, shouldn't
the poems vary from GL 8 to the top number?  And where does GL 22 come from?
Only in FE does the GL rise to 22 -- in the samples given in the posting at any
rate,  where the Sonnets are highest with a median of GL 13. Shouldn't
Shakespeare's known GL in non-dramatic verse range from 8 to 13?

Am I missing something here?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Saturday, 20 Apr 1996 16:59:38 -0700
Subject:        Re: Funeral Elegy

Shaxicon has compared John Ford's early verse with that of W.S., unknown writer
of the Funeral Elegy.  It can find no similarity between the two poets.  Here
is the beginning line of John Ford's major elegy and the beginning line of the
Funeral Elegy:

Ford:  "Swift Time, the speedy pursuivant of heaven...."
W.S.:  "Since Time, and his predestined end...."

Shaxicon doesn't see the likeness.  And then here are the concluding lines of
another John Ford elegy and the Funeral Elegy:

Ford:  "Sleep in peace: thus happy hast thou prov'd
          Thou mightst have died more known, not more belov'd."
W.S.:   "Who herein hast forever happy prov'd:
           In life thou livdst, in death thou died belov'd."

Shaxicon doesn't see the likeness, and cannot really be blamed for that.  All
Shaxicon can really do is count things; it has no notion of meaning.  Well,
then, here is a count of 4-syllable words in 578 lines, John Ford's major poem,
the Funeral Elegy, and the Sonnets.

Ford:           69
W.S.:           62
Sonnets:        15.

Now this is something that Shaxicon can understand, but it takes no notice of
this 300% difference between the Sonnets and the Funeral Elegy.. It was not
programmed to notice long words, evidently.  However, that's an important
stylistic disparity, a significant mismatch between Shakespeare's non- dramatic
poetry and the Funeral Elegy.

Then there is the quality of the poetry itself.  Shaxicon cannot answer for
that, not knowing poetry from shinola, something which Don Foster admits, and
he should know.because he created Shaxicon. Those who believe the Funeral Elegy
to be written by Shakespeare must answer for themselves how Shakespeare could
have written that miserable poem (Foster admits it) in the same year he wrote
the Tempest.  It's an outstanding descent, a monumental failure, such a fall
from grace not recorded of any poet in all the world since the beginning of
time.  Shaxicon doesn't know a thing about that, and Don Foster tells us that
it's a mere detail.

On the other hand, John Ford could write such a piece of bootpolish as the
Funeral Elegy with his eyes closed, or filled with tears in reverence and
inward weeping for the mismanagement of Fate, all the world treating the
subject of the memorial (and himself) with such malice as one would not expect
to be attached to such saints.  One of Ford's editors describes his early verse
as so much "whining", and that matches well with the  Funeral Elegy.

Does Don Foster, et al, really think that the Funeral Elegy has not been seen
before?  Do they think that Chambers didn't read it, or Schoenbaum, or
Halliwell-Phillips, Rouse, Spurgeon, Hotson, Langbaine, Malone, Chalmers,
Steevens, Dowden, Harrison, Lee.....?  The list of exhalted Shakespearean
scholars who must have read and put aside the Funeral Elegy would fill pages.
Can we believe they actually overlooked a poem by "W.S.". leaving Shaxicon to
make the discovery that the Funeral Elegy was written by Shakespeare?  Not
bloody likely.

I understand that the poem is going to be read by "four voices" soon in Maine.
It might be a good show.  A weeping violin would fit in nicely, and certainly
Shaxicon will be trotted out, perhaps in a cage, a "beast that wants discourse
of reason".  I can't make it.  If there might be jugglers and acrobats I would
reconsider. But, no.  The bathos of the thing can't be endured.
 

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