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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0176  Monday, 3 Feburary 2003

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Jan 2003 08:56:10 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0170 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   Jim Carroll <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Jan 2003 11:26:49 EST
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare and Research


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 31 Jan 2003 08:56:10 -0500
Subject: 14.0170 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0170 Re: Shakespeare and Research

David Lindley <
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 > wrote,

>>"...the nautical language necessary to write _The Tempest_'s opening
>>scene..." Well, London was the major port of an important seafaring
>>nation.  One suspects he could have picked up enough nautical language
>>at the docks of the Thames to fill several such scenes.

>He could, in fact, have got a good deal of it from literary storm scenes
>- Virgil, Ovid, Erasmus's Colloquy 'Naufragium' etc. etc. [I hesitate to
>say it, but, see my New Cambridge edition...]

Errr....  I don't quite see how he could have gotten _English_ nautical
language from classical sources....

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Carroll <
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Date:           Friday, 31 Jan 2003 11:26:49 EST
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare and Research

Philip Tomposki wrote:

>While not presuming to challenge James Conlan theory of Shakespeare's
>foreign education, I must question one of his fundamental assertions:

>"...how Shakespeare acquired his education in 1) the Italian necessary
>to read Cinthio's _Hecattomithi_, 2) the sort of French necessary to
>write _Henry V_, 3) the nautical language necessary to write _The
>Tempest_'s opening scene, 4) specific geographical details about
>Verona, Messina, and Venice, and 5) the operation of the law."

>Of the first and last point I cannot comment.

I agree with Philip Tomposki, and on the issue of Cinthio, it's curious
that some believe that Sh. must have known BOTH French and Italian. If
he knew French, he could have known Chappuys' French version of Cinthio.
Bullough's *Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare* points out
two similarities in language, one from the French, the other from the
Italian version of the story, and *Othello*. The simplest explanation is
that an English translator conflated the two sources, not neccessarily
intentionally, since the verbal likenesses between the three works are
so slight. (Bullough says "Emilia's 'I'll have the workta'en out'
(III.3.296) comes very near to 'en tirer le patron', which has no
equivalent in the Italian. On the other hand, Othello's demand 'Give me
the ocular proof....Make me to see't' (III.3.361-5) is nearer to
Cinthio's 'se tu ne me fais voir'.  Since there is no certainty I supply
a translation from the Italian (Text I).")

If Shakespeare knew Italian, why are there so *few* purely Italian
sources in Shakespeare (and the Cinthio story is the only one that I
know of)?

Given Shakespeare's association with the Inns of Court, it seems
reasonable to me that he may have commissioned a young student or lawyer
to translate things of interest to him. John Manningham, a lawyer, saw a
performance of Twelfth Night in 1602, and said himself that it was most
like the Italian *Inganni*. *Gl'Ingannati* inspired other stories like
it in English, but if Manningham knew this story, it isn't hard to
imagine how it and other foreign works found their way to Shakespeare.
This is pure speculation, but preferable it seems to me than supposing
that Shakespeare knew Italian, or traveled to Italy.

Jim Carroll

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