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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: February ::
Re: Ur-Hamlet/Ur-Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0344  Thursday, 17 February 2000.

[1]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Feb 2000 13:53:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0313 Re: Ur-Hamlet

[2]     From:   Martin Mueller <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Feb 2000 15:33:34 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0328 Re: Ur-Hamlet/Ur-Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Bishop <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Feb 2000 13:53:33 -0500
Subject: 11.0313 Re: Ur-Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0313 Re: Ur-Hamlet

I appreciate these interesting comments, but still take my stand on the
uniqueness of Hamlet. Other influences are not of course precluded.
There just seems such a greater intensity of interest in this particular
story.

As for Horatio, the name may have echoed down the years, but I find it
hard to give it so much importance, or to imagine that Shakespeare ever
had much use for the tutelage of Kyd-though he may have. The Kyd
connection seems too baroque to me. Surely Shakespeare was more
interested in Marlowe, and he worked through that influence long before
Hamlet. I prefer to think Shakespeare liked the name Horatio, wherever
he remembered it from, because it included "ratio", making it fit a man
who is not passion's slave. In the absence of better facts, simplicity
in a theory seems a virtue.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Mueller <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Feb 2000 15:33:34 -0600
Subject: 11.0328 Re: Ur-Hamlet/Ur-Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0328 Re: Ur-Hamlet/Ur-Lear

I'm not sure whether W. L. Godshalk writes in support or criticism of my
remarks about AYL and the old Leir play.  Lodge's Rosalynde and the old
Leir play circulated at about the same time, in the early nineties.
Kenneth Muir thought that Shakespeare may have acted the role of the
Kent figure in the Leir play (Perillus).  There are some interesting
echoes in Lear, and it's the kind of role Shakespeare is known to have
acted.  There are odd verbal resemblances between Rosalynde the
Chronicle play. We don't know what the Ur-Hamlet was like, but it was
probably part of the "soup" in which a lot of Shakespeare's ideas for
later plays germinated. It is an odd and interesting fact that the great
majority of literary sources on which Shakespeare drew consisted of
works that he could have read, and probably did read for the first time,
before he was 30. It's an exaggeration, but perhaps a useful
exaggeration, to say that for most praactical purposes Shakespeare
stopped reading once he was 30.  It's a useful exaggeration because it
draws attention to the interaction of different source materials in the
poet's memory before plans for particular plays crystallized as
deadlines to be met for the next production.

> >There is a fair amount of evidence that the old Leir play, the narrative
> >source for As You Like It, and an old Hamlet play sloshed together in
> >Shakespeare's memory during the early nineties.
>
>I think it's fair to point out that the major narrative source of AYL is
>Lodge's Rosalynde (1590). Kawachi dates King Leir between 1588-94.
>Though it was entered in the SR in 1594, it was not printed until 1605.
>Some intrepid souls want to believe that the 1605 version is not the
>same as the 1594 Leir, and that the extant Leir is a Christian response
>to Shakespeare's plays.
>
>Yours, Bill Godshalk

Martin Mueller
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.  USA

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