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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: May ::
Re: the Onlie Begetter
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0415  Monday, 4 May 1998.

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 01 May 1998 18:26:45 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0413  Re: the Onlie Begetter

[2]     From:   An Sonjae <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 May 1998 09:55:14 +0900 (KST)
        Subj:   Re: Sonnets


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 01 May 1998 18:26:45 -0400
Subject: 9.0413  Re: the Onlie Begetter
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0413  Re: the Onlie Begetter

> Maybe, the Onlie Begetter is Shakespeare, and the editor printer was
> inscribing it to him as a familiar name-W.H. being the equivalent of
> say, JP for JP Jones.  Did anyone have middle names back then?

Actually a British scholar whose name evades me (Honigmann? Jenkins?),
has suggested that, since in the secretary hand a long {s} might very
well look like an "h," the initials may have been "W. S." in the
manuscript, and misread by the compositor as W. H.

This explanation supposes that Thorpe (and/or Shakespeare himself) did
not read proof, and that Eld's proofreader didn't pick up the mistake.
If this printing was commissioned by Shakespeare himself, does this seem
likely?  Maybe. Maybe an author always expects his or her name to be
spelled correctly!

Yours,  W. H. Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           An Sonjae <
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Date:           Monday, 4 May 1998 09:55:14 +0900 (KST)
Subject:        Re: Sonnets

I have the impression that the problem with the Dedication starts with
the Romantic fascination with the identity of the Young Man; the text of
the sonnets offers no clear clue. The Dedication mentions an apparently
mysterious Mr. W.H. who is described as 'the onlie Begetter'. As a
result (in my reading) the word Begetter is forced away from its obvious
meaning of 'author' and the reference to our ever-living poet is made to
refer to Shakespeare. I simply cannot understand why Blakemore Evans
finds this latter interpretation 'forced' but I expect that I am being
obtuse.

An Sonjae
Sogang University, Seoul
 

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