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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: Fools
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2559  Thursday, 7 November 2001

[1]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Nov 2001 15:22:12 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools

[2]     From:   Robert Peters <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 06 Nov 2001 17:33:05 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools

[3]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Nov 2001 17:37:22 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 06 Nov 2001 23:15:29 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Nov 2001 15:22:12 -0000
Subject: 12.2557 Fools
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools

According to John Southworth's "Fools and Jesters at the English Court"
(Sutton Publishing, 1998) "Archy Armstrong was the last of the jesters
to hold a permanent position at court" (p.178).  Armstrong was jester
for James I. Southworth does list a couple of jesters who appeared on
Court records after Armstrong retired, but apparently these were only
temporary appointments and Armstrong, according to Southworth, was the
last to hold a full-time job in the role.

Thomas Larque.
"Shakespeare and His Critics"
http://shakespearean.org.uk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Peters <
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Date:           Tuesday, 06 Nov 2001 17:33:05 +0100
Subject: 12.2557 Fools
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools

Gareth Euridge asks,

> with which monarch did the habit of a court fool/jester die out?

The monarch is still there (Queen Elizabeth II), the court jester (John
Major) is out of work.

Robert

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Nov 2001 17:37:22 -0000
Subject: 12.2557 Fools
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools

There does not seem to have been a specific time when court fools or
jesters went out of fashion, much less a last holder of an official
position in an English or other European court. The function does seem
to have been appropriated and thus transformed by the rise of the
independent professional theatre, however - in Shakespeare's time, of
course... "If the gravity and height of the subject distaste such as are
only affected with jigs, and ribaldry (as I presume it will), their
condemnation of me and my poem can no way offend me" (Massinger, The
Roman Actor, Dedication.1-18).

See

Beatrice Otto, Fools are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World
(Chicago UP 2001)

"        ", "Fools Are Everywhere", History Today, June 2001 John
Southworth, Fools and Jesters at the English Court (Sutton 1998)

"        ", The English Medieval Minstrel (Boydell Press 1989)

Enid Welsford, The Fool: His Social and Literary History (Faber and
Faber 1935)

Martin Steward.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Tuesday, 06 Nov 2001 23:15:29 -0500
Subject: 12.2557 Fools
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2557 Fools


> with which monarch did the habit of a court fool/jester die out?

I am under the impression that Will Sommers was the last English court
jester whose name we know.  I recall reading that Henry VIII was so
attached to him that he never filled the office after Sommers died.

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