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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: January ::
Re: Shakespeare's French
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0185  Friday, 28 January 2000.

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Thursday, 27 Jan 2000 12:52:16 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0173 Re: Shakespeare's French

[2]     From:   Brian Vickers <
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        Date:   Fri, 28 Jan 2000 11:41:58 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 11.0173 Re: Shakespeare's French


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Thursday, 27 Jan 2000 12:52:16 -0500
Subject: 11.0173 Re: Shakespeare's French
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0173 Re: Shakespeare's French

Dana Shilling tells us that  "Henry V implies knowledge of about 15
words of French (several of them dirty, so the first things the audience
would know)."  The actual number is around a hundred, depending on how
you count things like the variously inflected forms of tu and apprendre.
Perhaps more to the point is the fact that the grammar of 3.4 is
tolerably accurate and idiomatic, or at least so it seems to somebody
who is fluent in modern French and has read a fair amount of Montaigne,
Rabelais, Ronsard, et al.,  in French.  It would, of course, have been
possible for Shakespeare to write out the scene in English and get
somebody like John Florio (a patronee of Southampton, and whose
translation of Montaigne Sh. seems to have seen before it was published,
and hence proposed as a friend or acquaintance by many scholars) to
translate it into English-or for Shakespeare to have written it in bad
French (the way one does who has primarily a reading knowledge) and
somebody to have fixed it up before it was performed/printed.

Idiotismically,
Dave Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Vickers <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Fri, 28 Jan 2000 11:41:58 +0100
Subject: Re: Shakespeare's French
Comment:        SHK 11.0173 Re: Shakespeare's French

Many years ago - well, not that many - J. W. Lever showed that the
French scenes in Henry V displayed Shakespeare's knowledge of John
Eliot's Ortho-epia Gallica, or Eliot's Fruits for the French (1593). Cf.
his essay "Shakespeare's French Fruits", Shakespeare Survey 6 (1953):
79-90, which illuminates many aspects of the play.

Brian Vickers
 

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