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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: Historical Accuracy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0833  Wednesday, 11 April 2001

[1]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Apr 2001 13:18:41 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0820 Historical Accuracy

[2]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Apr 2001 11:05:12
        Subj:   Re: Historical Accuracy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Apr 2001 13:18:41 -0700
Subject: 12.0820 Historical Accuracy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0820 Historical Accuracy

>Though I do not think that Dr. Marx's book absolutely hinges upon this
>statement, the statement is utterly incorrect.  Tyndale was martyred in
>October of1536 on the continent at the instance of King Henry. . . .
>what I'd like to set in
>train is a conversation between those who might consider this sort of
>error negligible and those who consider it egregious.
>
>R. A. Cantrell

With hopes that I myself will not be judged as I judge, surely it is
egregious. In a published work such a mistake threatens to destroy the
reader's trust in everything the author says. Surely (hopefully) you are
not the first to catch this.  Both author and reader must be writhing.

Stephanie Hughes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Apr 2001 11:05:12
Subject:        Re: Historical Accuracy

I think (though I may be wrong) it was Jonathan Bate who expressed his
disappointment in his review of the book in the TLS. I did read Marx's
book when it came out, and found it very disappointing, too.

Catrell is right about Tyndale. My dissertation (PhD thesis), which I'm
supposed to be working on *now*, is on Shakespeare and the English
Reformation, and it does point out Marx's mistake.

In 1535 Tyndale was betrayed by Henry Phillip (who posed as one of his
converts) and seized by agents of the Council at Brussels. He was then
imprisoned in the Castle of Vilvorde. In August 1536 he was condemned
for heresy. He was strangled in the following October, and his body was
consigned to the flames. Many copies of his translation were seized and
burned, as was Tyndale himself.

Marx may have confused Tyndale and Cranmer (who was burned in 1556), as
Foxe's Actes and Monuments (known as Book of Martyrs) has a woodcut
showing the burning of Cranmer. See the 1559 Latin edition of Rerum in
ecclesia gestarum commentarii, and John Day's 1563 English edition of
Foxe's Actes and Monuments. The latter edition also illustrates Cranmer
being plucked from the University Church. To SHAKESPEReans who want to
know more about Cranmer I would recommend Diarmaid MacCulloch's Thomas
Cranmer: A Life (1996). (It's nearly 700 pages, though!)

As for Miola, I would suggest that he is 'not guilty' as far as the
'editorial concern' goes, as he may not have read the passage which
Catrell cited, and even if he did, he didn't read it as an editor.
Marx's acknowledgment says that Miola read 'early drafts of several
chapters' of his book. So it is possible that Miola may not have read
the passage. Let us suppose for a moment Miola did read the passage in
question. He is an expert in classics (including ancient religion), and
its relationship to Renaissance literature, but unfortunately, not in
the English Reformation.  For this reason, (if he did read the passage
in question) it may not be surprising that he couldn't have spotted
Marx's fatal mistake.

After all, almost any book consists of some mistakes -- whether minor or
fatal. This statement is not meant to justify Marx's mistake. It
recommends that we should be careful readers.

Takashi Kozuka

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