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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: September ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2108  Wednesday, 5 September 2001

[1]     From:   Nancy Charlton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 04 Sep 2001 14:29:40 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy

[2]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 4 Sep 2001 14:54:42 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy

[3]     From:   Richard Kennedy <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Sep 2001 03:18:26 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Charlton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 04 Sep 2001 14:29:40 -0700
Subject: 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy

> Richard Nathan wrote:

> Richard Kennedy, as usual, doesn't have the faintest clue as to what he
> is talking about.  . . . Richard Kennedy has
> repeatedly shown himself to be a raving lunatic.

Undoubtedly mine will not be the only voice raised in protest against
this kind of blatant ad hominem attack.

As this thread has developed, Mr Kennedy's views have been progressively
shown to be in large part mistaken.  That is not the same thing as the
above quoted attacks, certainly not the latter of them.  If it were,
heaven help us all!

If I were to say something like this, it would (a) be off the record, in
face-to-face speech where emotional nuances would be plain; and (b) in
my mind's ear I'd be hearing my mom's voice saying, non-judgmentally,
'the pot shouldn't call the kettle black.'

Nancy Charlton
                         __
Antic disposition is:   |ON|
                        |__|

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 4 Sep 2001 14:54:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy

Richard Nathan writes:

> We know that few documents have survived from
> the era mourning Shakespeare's death - but that is
> certainly not evidence that none ever existed.

And Jonathan Hope elaborates:

> It might be worth reminding ourselves that whenever
> we say things like 'no one wrote anything about X'
> in the Elizabethan/Jacobean period, what we *ought*
> to say is 'nothing survives about X'.
>
> There are some pretty depressing estimates about the
> survival rate of printed books around - and
> presumably that for manuscripts is worse - so that
> fact that we don't have any texts about X doesn't
> mean there weren't any.

Indeed.  It is also worth reminding ourselves that popular, more
widely-read printed documents (and probably popular, widely-read and
circulated manuscripts as well) seem to have even lower rates of
survival.  This might have been because these popular texts were read
and handled to the point of disintegration.  Some book historians and
bibliographic scholars argue that the non-survival of a particular
(known) text may be interpreted as evidence of popularity, and that
large numbers of surviving contemporary copies (as is the case with the
1609 quarto of Shakespeare's Sonnets) argue for a book's relative lack
of popularity among the reading public.

Further, when thinking about factors in the survival of a document, it's
perhaps worth considering that cheaper volumes (pamphlets, single sheets
and the like) may have been produced quickly to capitalize on a current
event, purchased, read and possibly passed along once or twice before
landing in the bin.  Anything written about Shakespeare's death might
well have appeared in such a quick-and-dirty, inexpensive format, to be
snapped up by theatre aficionados, read, and tossed.  Analogously, one
might consider the MANY quite horrible paperbacks that mushroomed in the
days immediately following the death of Princess Diana.  How many of
those (and all the other millions of books produced for exploitation of
sensational events) have survived even a few years as cherished objects
on the family bookshelfs?  Not many, I would venture.

Of course, Jonathan Hope quite rightly reminds us:

> Doesn't mean that there *were* either, of course,
> but it is as well to
> be clear about the limits of our knowledge.

Well said, and very true.

Incidentally, I allude to sources in my statement above but do not cite
in detail.  If anyone is interested in more specific references on
anything upon which I touched above, please feel free to write me
off-list and I will do my best to provide them with more precise
information.

Karen Peterson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kennedy <
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Date:           Wednesday, 05 Sep 2001 03:18:26 -0700
Subject: 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2103 Re: Funeral Elegy

Nathan says that because we don't have documents or reports of any
mourning at Shakespeare's death, no notice, no elegies, and so forth, it
doesn't mean that there weren't any. That's very true.  And with such a
technique, we can claim anything at all to be true, and that the records
have not survived.  That seems to be a very useful tool for anybody
doing research into anything. If a document is needed to prove a thing,
we can suppose that it existed at one time but now it's lost.  That's a
nice shortcut for Nathan to get where he wants to go, rather like
flying, or floating in a balloon, or like a bird, his mouth working his
wings, flapping and flapping.

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