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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: May ::
Re: Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0457  Tuesday, 12 May 1998.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 May 1998 13:24:54 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Edmund, Hamlet, etc

[2]     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 May 1998 13:28:44 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine

[3]     From:   Richard J. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 May 1998 13:04:32 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine

[4]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 May 1998 00:22:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine

[5]     From:   David J. Kathman <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 May 1998 20:12:28 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 11 May 1998 13:24:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Edmund, Hamlet, etc.

Dear Roy Flannagan,

Your point about Edmund Shakespeare and Edmund in *King Lear* is very
acute. It may well be that Edmund, Gloucester's bastard son, is
patterned on Edmund Shakespeare-intuitively, the idea is appealing. But,
of course, there is the problem of proof, and therein lies the rub.  As
for Hamlet and Hamlet, both are variants of the same name, and Hamnet
Shake-speare was probably named after Hamnet Sadler, who was
Shakespeare's neighbor. Apparently, Shakespeare and Hamnet and Judith
Sadler (his wife) were life-long friends and very close.  As you may
know, in *Ulysses,* Stephen Daedalus concocts the theory that Hamlet is
really Hamnet (Shakespeare's only son, who died in 1597 (?), maybe 1596,
I forget exactly, but rest assured someone will know. If so, then
*Hamlet* reverses the story of Hamnet. In the former, a dead father
calls out to his son; in real life, the opposite would have been true.
What to make of it? You tell me. One theory would be that in carrying
out the Ghost's impossible commands, Hamlet becomes the hero that
Shakespeare always hoped his son would be. That sounds a bit
sentimental, but then, we are all sentimental about our own children,
aren't we?

As for Kate, my theory is that Shakespeare had a vision of the future in
which he met Katherine Hepburn, immediately feel in love with her, and
used her name from that moment on.

--Ed Taft

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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Date:           Monday, 11 May 1998 13:28:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine

I'm curious to know what Mr. Flannagan would make of the character
William in AS YOU LIKE IT. Surely if this character is intended to
resemble the playwright, we're in deep trouble-unless, of course, we're
anti-Stratfordians. The connections Mr. Flannagan suggests may or may
not exist; if they do exist, however, they may well be ironic.

Fran Teague
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[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J. Kennedy <
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Date:           Monday, 11 May 1998 13:04:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine

The name of Shakespeare of Stratford's son and daughter, Hamnet and
Judith, were taken from friends of his, Hamnet and Judith Sadler, of
Stratford.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 May 1998 00:22:06 -0400
Subject: 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine

Edmund was sixteen years younger than William. What finally occurred to
me to wonder was if he might have been brought to London quite young, to
apprentice in his brother's company, playing girl's parts.

For some time I've believed that the avuncular Sonnet One was written to
someone named Edmund ("pity the world, or else this glutton be"
edo=glutton; mundi=world), but I didn't see how the dates could fit with
this boy brother.

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David J. Kathman <
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Date:           Monday, 11 May 1998 20:12:28 +0100
Subject: 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0445  Edmund Shakespeare, Hamnet, Katherine

Roy Flannagan wrote:

>Is it just me, or could there be something going on between Hamnet and
>Hamlet?  Where did Shakespeare get the name Hamnet, anyway?

Shakespeare's twins Hamnet and Judith were named after Hamnet and Judith
Sadler, a married couple in Stratford who were his friends and
neighbors.  Interestingly, Hamnet Sadler was very often referred to as
"Hamlet" by those who knew him, including Shakespeare (in his will),
Abraham Sturley (in a 1597 letter), his brother-in-law John Smith (in
his 1601 will), his cousin Helen Scudamore (in her 1606 will), and the
Stratford town fathers (in a 1595 return of maltsters).  (See Mark
Eccles' *Shakespeare in Warwickshire*, p.126.

Dave Kathman

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