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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: Upstart Crow
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0209  Monday, 8 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 11:48:58 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0204 Re: Antonios; Gilligan; Nietzsche; Bona Bard

[2]     From:   Ronald Macdonald <
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        Date:   Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 12:04:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Alleyn as Upstart Crow

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 16:47:49 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0204 Re: Antonios; Gilligan; Nietzsche; Bona Bard

[4]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Mon, 08 Feb 1999 12:45:00 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0204 Re: Antonios


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 11:48:58 -0500
Subject: 10.0204 Re: Antonios; Gilligan; Nietzsche; Bona Bard
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0204 Re: Antonios; Gilligan; Nietzsche; Bona Bard

Stephanie Hughes wrote:

>As John Dover Wilson and Dolly Wraight and others have shown, to my
>satisfaction, the "upstart crowe" was the actor/manager Edward Alleyn,
>an attribution that makes sense in terms of the timing, tone and text of
>Greene's Groatsworth. There is no evidence whatsoever that William
>Shakespeare was involved in the theatre scene of 1592. It is not good
>scholarship to use a single highly-ambiguous term as fact when there are
>no other facts to support it.

I have an open mind on this, and I am curious about Dover Wilson's and
Wraight's reasoning.  For example how do they explain "only Shake-scene
in a country" and "tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide," a
paraphrase from 2HV1?  (Quotes modernized).  And how do they explain
Henry Chettle's 1592 apology for publishing Greene's "Groats-worth,"
which is quite clearly addressed to WS?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Macdonald <
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Date:           Sunday, 7 Feb 1999 12:04:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Alleyn as Upstart Crow

I'll confess unfamiliarity with the arguments of Dover Wilson and Dolly
Wraight concerning Edward Alleyn as the real target of Robert Greene's
attack in his 1592 pamphlet Groats-worth of witte.  But how does
Stephanie Hughes (or Wilson or Wraight) explain the phrase "the onely
Shake-scene in a countrey"? or the pointed parody of York's description
of Queen Margaret in 3 Henry VI ("O tiger's heart wrapp'd in a woman's
hide!"), when Greene calls the object of his scorn "Tygers hart wrapt in
a Players hyde"?  True, "Shake-scene" isn't "Shakespeare," but surely
part of the palpable sense of sneering at an upstart nobody is carried
by the fact that Greene only alludes to his target without deigning to
name him.

--Ron Macdonald

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Sunday, 07 Feb 1999 16:47:49 -0800
Subject: 10.0204 Re: Antonios; Gilligan; Nietzsche; Bona Bard
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0204 Re: Antonios; Gilligan; Nietzsche; Bona Bard

>Easier only if you are able to accept that the most imaginative and
>creative of all writers would, not merely adapt to his purposes, but
>take word for word, lock, stock and barrel, from the works commonly
>regarded as his sources. This simply makes no sense.

I did not so much as suggest that.  The fact of having characters with
similar names in similar situations requires no such wholesale
plagiarism.

>As John Dover Wilson and Dolly Wraight and others have shown, to my
>satisfaction, the "upstart crowe" was the actor/manager Edward Alleyn,
>an attribution that makes sense in terms of the timing, tone and text of
>Greene's Groatsworth. There is no evidence whatsoever that William
>Shakespeare was involved in the theatre scene of 1592. It is not good
>scholarship to use a single highly-ambiguous term as fact when there are
>no other facts to support it.

Just for the heck of it, I looked into this.  Besides the site I already
cited (no pun intended, because it's far too weak), which points out the
equally obvious pun on "Shake-scene", the Riverside Shakespeare accepts
this as a reference to our man (p. 1959).  I also ran across the fact
that Thomas Nashe alludes to Henry VI in 1592 in Pierce Penilesse his
Supplication to the Divell (Riverside, 1961).  If W.S. was instrumental,
as most people figure, in getting a coat of arms for his old man, then
he'd have had to arrive like a meteorite on the theatrical scene to
build up a reputation sufficient to get what he wanted by 1596, and not
begin until after 1592.  Oh, yes, and the conventional chronology (also
in Riverside) supports his being in London and at work for some time
before 1592.  I think I'll side with the conventional wisdom on this
one.

Cheers,
Se

 

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