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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: January ::
Re: Literacy with Editor's Note
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0153  Wednesday, 24 January 2001

[1]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 07:16:36 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note

[2]     From:   Diana Price <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 14:25:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Sunday, 21 Jan 2001 15:48:41 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 07:16:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note

Hardy says we can make a final comment on what appears today, and then
the plug is pulled...a decision I commend.  But one more flippant
comment based on today:

Some of you may want to check out Martha Grimes's delightful little
murder mystery, *The Dirty Duck*.  The great conspiracy against Marlowe
figures prominently, and Grimes's use of it is probably the most
appropriate one that particular conspiracy theory could possibly have.

The rest is silence.

Cheers,
Karen Peterson-Kranz

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Diana Price <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 14:25:37 -0500
Subject: 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note

Since Prof. Cook has permitted a few further comments on the matter of
Shakespeare's educational training, I hope he will also allow these
responses.

William Sutton wrote

| I counted to ten, ate something and counted again. I agree, Diana,
that
| the documentary evidence is not there. However as seen in previous
posts
| it isn't there for a number of his contemporaries either.

Shakespeare is one of the odd men out. There is documentary evidence of
educational training, books, or access to books for Jonson, Nashe,
Massinger, Harvey, Spenser, Daniel, Peele, Chapman, Drummond, Marston,
Middleton, Lyly, Lodge, Greene, Watson, Marlowe, Beaumont, and Kyd
(among others).

| Diana seems to
| be suggesting some kind of conspiracy by Orthodox authorities while
| subtly (?!) defending (I presume) he who must not be named.

Although I am anti-Stratfordian, I am not an Oxfordian and I do not
propose any conspiracies. I am proposing that the types of documentary
evidence generally used to support the genre of literary biography --
including records of education and training -- are missing from
Shakespeare's.

| Her statement that Baldwin based his curriculum on speculative
| compilation is false. John Brownsword, schoolmaster recorded the
| curricular instructions for the grammar school at Witton in Cheshire.
| (Jonathan Bate -'the Genius of Shakespeare' p. 8-9).

Brownsword was schoolmaster in Stratford for two years (1565-67), so he
left the school when Shakespeare was about three years old.

Bate introduces his discussion of Shakespeare's grammar school education
with the qualifier "We may assume...", but by the time Bate gets to
pages 157 or 328, his conjecture has solidified into fact.  He refers
twice without qualification to "the rhetorical training [Shakespeare]
received at school" and builds his argument on the unproven assumption.

| Also the higher
| salary of the Stratford schoolmaster, to me, highlights a paying for
the
| best teacher approach rather than Stratford is such a backwater we
have
| to lure them in approach.

From 1564, when Shakespeare was born, to 1579, when he was 15, there
were six different schoolmasters. The higher salary may indeed have been
necessary to "lure" someone to take the job. For a differing opinion
concerning that "higher" rate of pay, I quote biographer Peter Levi, who
wrote that "this swift succession of schoolmasters does not create
confidence in the school" (30).

Sean Lawrence wrote:

| Diana Price's logic escapes me.  If there is no record of
Shakespeare's
| attending a grammar school, then surely this makes it *less* likely,
not
| *more*, that he attended a university, since he'd also lack the
| prerequisites.

Yes, but that misses my point. It is one thing to acknowledge that there
are no records to account for Shakespeare's education. It is another to
claim he did not need an advanced education in the first place. Such a
claim seems to me to be an attempt to justify the absence of
documentation or to deflect unwelcome questions.

| Let me put it this way:  either our man went to university or he
| didn't.  If he didn't, he still learned how to write and some number
of
| classical allusions somewhere, so it was probably in school and on his
| own.  If he did, then he went to school anyway.

Your suppositions illustrate my earlier point. The majority of literary
biographies of Elizabethans cite at least some shred of documentary
evidence to account for education and training. They do not rely
entirely on guesswork. In that sense, Shakespeare's biography is
unusual.

| In any case, missing evidence is generally a license to substitute
what
| seems most likely--that Shakespeare went to a school where he had free
| tuition--rather than inventing unlikely scenarios out of whole cloth.

I thought that missing evidence meant that one is not supposed to make
unsupported statements and then build on them, or rely on them, as
though they were fact. My own conjectural scenario is that Shakespeare
probably did attend grammar school for several years.

Stephanie Hughes wrote:

| Despite the impressively thorough research Nicholl gave this event,
and
| the fact, obvious to anyone who reads the book with some attention,
that
| every bit of evidence he presents points directly to Cecil, Nicholl
| himself concludes that it was the Earl of Essex who engineered
Marlowe's
| elimination!

Nicholl's theory has been challenged. See Paul E.J. Hamner's "A
Reckoning Reframed: The 'Murder' of Christopher Marlowe Revisited" in
ELR (1996). Hamner presented new research on some of those (Skeres and
Cholmeley) presumed by Nicholl to be in Essex's service.

Diana Price

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Sunday, 21 Jan 2001 15:48:41 -0800
Subject: 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0137 Re: Literacy with Editor's Note

>informed than I may like tell us where-abouts this MARLIN (Marlowe?)
>fellow said that Christ was a seducer and deceiver of the people).

>Marlowe himself said nothing of the sort in any text we have today.

It may not be (to say the least) the most reliable of sources, but what
about the Bates Deposition?  Difficult to avoid in this context ...

Robin Hamilton.
 

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