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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: September ::
Re: Tyndale Bible and "fat" Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2177  Friday, 14 September 2001

[1]     From:   Steve Sohmer <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Sep 2001 12:12:06 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2166 Tyndale Bible and "fat" Hamlet

[2]     From:   Frank Whigham <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Sep 2001 08:38:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: "fat" in Tyndale


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Sep 2001 12:12:06 EDT
Subject: 12.2166 Tyndale Bible and "fat" Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2166 Tyndale Bible and "fat" Hamlet

Dear Friends,

David Daniell has often said, "No Tyndale, no Shakespeare." Tyndale's
prose, says Daniell wisely, sparked the explosion of 16th century
English literature. Shakespeare certainly seems to express a debt to
Tyndale when he puts into the mouth of his Buckingham an echo of
Tyndale's dying prayer that God open the King of England's eyes, which
could be found in Foxe. But "fat" Hamlet is a players' inside joke ala
the exchange between Burbage [Hamlet] and Shakespeare [Polonius] about
killing the calf in the capitol.

Steve

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 14 Sep 2001 08:38:35 -0500
Subject:        Re: "fat" in Tyndale

Andrew Ball of the OED revision project made these remarks when I sent
him the original posting (9/13) about "fat" in Tyndale and Hamlet:

Thanks very much for that; it's certainly an interesting one. I agree
that it seems to fit with the overarching definition of sense 10 [of
"fat" as adjective; see below], but not with any of the specified
subdivisions. This means we will have to add it, as it becomes our
earliest evidence for the general sense. I shall forward it to the file
of new senses for drafting.

. . .

For what it's worth, I agree that 'very strong' is a slightly weak
interpretation of the Tyndale. There seems to me to be a move away from
translating this passage in terms simply of strength in English (Wyclif
had had just 'strong'). I suspect the best translation etymologically of
the relevant Hebrew is 'men of substance' (which the New English Bible
has, this probably accounting for 'fed men' in the Geneva Bible). Most
translations seem to try and capture some element of both 'strength' and
'physical girth' (e.g., AV has 'lusty'). Perhaps Tyndale's 'fat'
(preserved by the Great Bible) has something of that? (Jerome used
'robustus', which I think had both meanings in Latin as well.)

=====

[OED definition 10:
10. Well supplied with what is needful or desirable.


 

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