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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Re: Geography
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1348  Monday, 4 June 2001

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Sunday, 03 Jun 2001 09:59:25 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1332 Re: Geography

[2]     From:   John Jowett <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Jun 2001 11:41:17 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1332 Re: Geography


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Sunday, 03 Jun 2001 09:59:25 -0700
Subject: 12.1332 Re: Geography
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1332 Re: Geography

R. A. Cantrell asks,

>Let me be more direct.  Do any well informed students of the period know
>of any texts that might be relevant to this apparent and in itself
>unimportant mistake?

Actually, yes, though I'm not a particularly "well-informed student of
the period", just someone with access to the OED2.  This lists, under
island (sb), the following note:  "Formerly used less definitely,
including a peninsula, or a place insulated at high water or during
floods, or begirt by marshes, a usage which survives in particular
instances, as Portland Island, Hayling Island, Mochras or Shell Island,
etc."   There is a particularly good example of this sort of usage, from
1547:  "Norway is a great Ilond compassed abowt almost wyth the See."
Note the word "almost".

Moreover, definition 1b describes an island as, "In Biblical lang.,
after the corresp. Heb. word, applied to the lands across the sea, the
coasts of the Mediterranean", and refers to a corresponding reference
for "isle".

I wouldn't think of Gaunt's language as particularly Biblical (though
Clifford might point out that he was a patron of the Wickliffites, who
started this habit of using 'isle' in their Bible translation), but
there's nothing to show that he isn't thinking of England as a
peninsula.  All that we can determine is that he thinks of England
vis-

 

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