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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: April ::
Re: Falstaff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0837  Tuesday, 18 April 2000.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Apr 2000 10:05:39 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0822 Falstaff

[2]     From:   Joseph Sullivan <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Apr 2000 16:39:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0822 Falstaff


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 17 Apr 2000 10:05:39 -0700
Subject: 11.0822 Falstaff
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0822 Falstaff

Hi, Clifford.

>It's just that I always saw Falstaff as special in that he clearly
>occupies a special place.  He is one of the few characters that owes his
>whole nature to Shakespeare, and he is (leaving aside MW) a fictional
>character in a play about real people.  Where did Shakespeare,
>accustomed to carving characters from rough statues left to him by
>others, get the material to compose Falstaff?

In part, from two real persons:  Oldcastle, famously, but also Sir John
Fastolfe, a freelancer in the 100 years war.  I recall looking up
Fastolfe in Brittanica, to be told that "his depiction in Shakespeare is
libellous" or words to that effect.  That said, the Brittanica article
didn't mention him being fat, drunken and lecherous, or prone to hang in
bars.  No doubt the DNB would have been a better source, anyway.

The Chaucer reference is interesting, especially in connection with an
inn, though perhaps both are drawing on older, unspoken conventions of
what a bar-fly should be like.

Cheers,
Se

 

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