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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: May ::
Re: Funeral Elegy; Hamlet Q1
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0329.  Thursday, 2 May 1996.

(1)     From:   Jonathan Hope <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 18:29:46 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0323  Re: Funeral Elegy

(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 22:49:54 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   FE and As

(3)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 15:44:19 -0700
        Subj:   Funeral Elegy

(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 01 May 1996 23:56:07 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   FE: Shakespeare Parallels

(5)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 15:15:04 -0700
        Subj:   Hamlet Q1


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 18:29:46 GMT
Subject: 7.0323  Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0323  Re: Funeral Elegy

Thanks to Jim Halford for his account of my lecture (SHK7.0323), but- before
people get too excited, I'd like to make a couple of things clear: my work on
FE is at a very early stage - I've tested the poem using my methodology, but
only against Shakespeare's dramatic verse, NOT against the poetry - so an
obvious problem there.

Furthermore, the fact that FE 'passes' the test doesn't mean anything more than
Shakespeare *could* have written it: i.e. he could have been ruled out but
wasn't.

What I do certainly isn't like fingerprinting or DNA analysis, and I feel
uncomfortable with claims for authorship studies that such positive
identification is possible.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 22:49:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        FE and As

This evening I found Don Foster's comments on "as" in *Elegy by W.S.: A Study
in Attribuition.*  "The poem does have a higher frequency of 'as' and 'which'
than might be expected given Shakespeare's practice elsewhere, but the
discrepancy is too small to be of mathematical importance" (147), and in a
footnote he observes that "Shakespeare's use of both 'as' and 'which' increases
in the last years of his career" (252, n. 54).  So, basically, Don's conclusion
is the same as mine -- though he reached his (I suppose) about ten years ago!

Also, it may be noted that frequency tests -- especially relative frequency
tests -- are a bit misleading.  We can find individual sonnets, for example,
where no "as" is used, and we find others where, say, four or five are used.
So, to arrive at a relative frequency per thousand lines, we have to, as it
were, take the sonnets as one long poem, rather than a series of individual
poems.

A more interesting question might be:  does Shakespeare tend to cluster "ases"?
And when does he cluster them?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 15:44:19 -0700
Subject:        Funeral Elegy

Here's what Jim Helfers said in his March 25th post:

"This discussion [about the FE] probably, in Barbara Stevenson's words,
"portrays perfectly the current status of computational stylistics: the experts
cannot agree on the ways statistics should be adapted to literary
criticism...."

And certainly never will, for, as Helfers says, "internal evidence is only a
single factor in an overall effort to identify an author."

I agree with both Stevenson and Helfers, and then Helfers directs us to Ward
Elliott and Robert Valenze, who "have pioneered a further refinement of
statistical measurement for stylometric analysis...."

I was not looking for an argument, but only agreeing with the man.
Item: Experts cannot agree.
Item: Internal evidence (the count) is only a single factor.
Item: Ward Elliott has made "refinements" in stylometrics.

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Wednesday, 01 May 1996 23:56:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        FE: Shakespeare Parallels

Today I was reviewing Don Foster's parallels between FE and Shakespeare's
undoubted work.  I found this part of his "Case for William Shakespeare" rather
unsatisfactory.  For example, "Fair lovely branch too soon cut off" (FE 234) is
possibly a reference to the Epilogue of *Doctor Faustus* -- "Cut is the branch
that might have grown full straight."  The passages cited by Don (160) from R2
1.2.15-20 are also possible echoes of Marlowe. How can we be sure that FE is
referring to R2?

Don (161) quotes "Feeds on the bread of rest" (FE 444) and finds a parallel in
"the bitter bread of banishment" (R2 3.1.21).  There is quite a difference here
between "bitter bread" and "bread of rest."  When Shakespeare gives "bread" an
emotional valence, it's often negative.  For example, Hamlet's father dies
"grossly, full of bread" (HAM 3.3.80), and compare "cramm'd with distressful
bread" (H5 4.1.270).  In MM, Lucio links the smell of "brown bread" to the
smell of garlic, as in bad breath (3.2.184).  As far as I can see, Shakespeare
does not link "bread" and "rest" as does W.S.

The parallel between the fall of the "seeled dove" (FE 454-56, which Don on
page 196 links to Sidney's *Arcadia*) and the fall of Lucifer (H8 3.2.368-72)
seems forced (Foster 165).

"But whether doth the stream of my mischance/Drive me beyond my self" (FE
573-74, Foster 164) is said to be an image "derived from hunting" (Foster 165).
It seems to me to be a water image -- and I find a parallel in Hooker's *Laws*.
 So the parallel with H8 1.1.141-43 seems incorrect.

I realize that these few examples are hardly a full-scale attack, but they do
suggest my hesitation.  I find the argument from style much more compelling
than the section called "Thematic and Verbal Affinities" (Foster 154ff).

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Apr 1996 15:15:04 -0700
Subject:        Hamlet Q1

The so-called "bad" quarto is bad enough.  Peter L. Groves quotes from it at
length, and it sounds to me very much like the Duke in Huckleberry Finn,
reciting the same soliloquy the best that he can piece it out from memory.

"To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would fardels bear, till Birnm Wood do
   come to Dunsinane,
But that the fear of something after death
Murders the innocent sleep,
Great nature's second course,
And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous
   fortune
Than fly to others that we know not of.
There's the respect must give us pause...."

An so forth, Chapter 21, and which is ridiculous onward and through, such as
the bad quarto, it's rummaging in the memory banks:

"To be, or not to be, I there's the point.
To Die, to sleepe, is that all?"

"No, no, there's much more, it went on and on..."

"Oh, yes, let's see.  Ah, I have it! No, to sleepe, to dreame, I
mary there it goes..."

"Look, we've got to get this published.  Try again."

"For in that dreame of death, when wee awake,
And borne before an everlasting Judge,
From whence no passenger ever retur'nd,
The undiscovered country...."

"Good, good...."

"...The undiscovered country, at whose sight
The happy smile, and...."

"The 'happy smile'?!

"I think it was the 'happy smile'."

"Well, go on."

"...happy smile and the accursed damn'd.
But for this, the joyfull hope of this,
Whol'd bear the scornes and flattery of the world,
Scorned by the right rich, the rich curssed of the poore?"

"That's it?"

"If I could think on it overnight..."

"All right, fine, do that. Good, good, now send in the kid.
Ophelia, I mean."

"It might not have been 'happy smile' in that place, you know
there are so many words...."

"Right, if you remember let me know. Work on it. Send in
Ophelia...."

"She could shave more, you know."

"I'll mention it. Thanks."

"Adieu."
 

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