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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0185  Tuesday, 4 February 2003

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Monday, 3 Feb 2003 14:34:05 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0176 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Monday, 3 Feb 2003 21:51:19 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare and Research

[3]     From:   Elliott H. Stone <
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        Date:   Monday, 3 Feb 2003 18:17:41 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0164 Re: Shakespeare and Research


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Monday, 3 Feb 2003 14:34:05 GMT0BST
Subject: 14.0176 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0176 Re: Shakespeare and Research

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

Point taken.  (Though see Golding's translation of Ovid for 'take in the
topsail', a text which also just might have suggested the wording of the
'confused noise' at the end of the scene.)

I was, I suppose, thinking more generally (and carelessly) of all the
details of the storm, and the response of the on-stage characters to it,
for which there are plenty of literary parallels.  For the (very few)
nautical terms in the scene he need have done no more than ask around
amongst the no doubt many of his acquaintance who were sailors, or had
been to sea.  This is not to deny that he might himself have experienced
a storm at sea; been, during the lost years, a sailor; or have travelled
to the continent - but I don't think these hypotheses (or the hypothesis
that he had read the Strachey letter ahead of publication, for that
matter) are necessary ones.

(It's interesting, perhaps, that Donne, who *had* been in a storm,
managed to write his verse letter on the subject without a single
'nautical' term in sight.)

There is, by the way, a good book on the literary and pictorial storm
tradition: Otto Goedde, 'Tempest and Shipwreck in Dutch and Flemish Art:
Convention, Rhetoric and Interpretation (1989), which goes well beyond
its central focus

David Lindley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Monday, 3 Feb 2003 21:51:19 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare and Research

An apology first: I read James' original post on Shakespeare's coat of
arms too quickly. He said that "Shakespeare acquired the right to impale
these arms with the arms of his mother's family, the Ardens, another
recusant family, whose COUSINS, also named Arden, were implicated in the
so-called Sommerville Conspiracy" (emphasis added). I missed the
"cousins" part, and consequently confused two Arden families and thought
that James was referring to the Ardens of Park Hall. (I was aware that
they were not the only Ardens; for example, I mentioned another Arden
family in my previous post.)

I greatly appreciate James' pocket-size summary of Mutschman and
Wentersdorf's work, which gave me an opportunity to post here some
questions (some old, others new) which one must consider before deciding
whether or not to accept M&W's (and James') theories.

As to Shakespeare's arms, it may be interesting to point out that while
Scott-Giles suggests that the Shakespeares wanted to impale the coat of
Ardens of Park Hall (PH), but the heralds negatived their entitlement,
James, quoting M&W, asserts that it was the heralds who assigned the
coat of the Ardens of PH, but the Shakespeares rejected it and claimed
their entitlement to impalement of the coat of Ardens of Warwickshire
and Bedfordshire (W&B). S-G and M&W provide different views because the
surviving draft doesn't say whether it was the Shakespeares or the
heralds who claimed the Shakespeares' entitlement to impalement of the
fess coat of the Ardens of PH. (We don't know for sure either if William
actually applied for his father.) Suppose M&W and James' assumption is
correct. Then (firstly) why did the Shakespeares not impale the coat of
the Ardens of W&B at the end? It was what they wanted, wasn't it? (Did I
misunderstand the argument?) Secondly, why did the Shakespeares choose
the coat of the Ardens of W&B over that of the Ardens of PH? (Was it
because the Ardens of W&B were closer kin to those of Wilmcote than
those of PH?) Thirdly, on what basis should we assume that it was the
coat of the Ardens of W&B instead of that of the Ardens of Cheshire and
Staffordshire (suggested by Crisp)? Those who support M&W's account must
present a reason to choose it over Crisp's (and vice versa). (I
requested Crisp's essay through my university's ILL office and am
waiting for it to arrive.)

James asserts that "the best explanation" for John's absence from the
town corporation meetings (from January 1577) was that "he was afraid
the Commission would ask him to swear to the Oath". Elizabeth signed the
commission on 23 April 1576, but we don't know exactly when the bishop
of Worcester and his subordinates started their visitation. The bishop
sent the return to the Privy Council on 5 November 1577.  Although the
bishop complained of 'the shortnesse of tyme' he had in order to comply
the return, it doesn't help us to answer the question. (We know from the
return that he exchanged letters with the Privy Council before he
started the visitation, but I myself haven't found a calendar(s) listing
these letters.) James' account seems to make sense *if* the visitation
started towards the end of 1576, for *if* it started in summer or autumn
of 1577, and John was unwilling to take the oath of supremacy, then it
seems more natural if he had stopped attending the meetings earlier than
January 1577. Until we examine the betters exchanged between the bishop
and the Council, there remains a possibility that the visitation started
after January 1577. To know when it started, we need more documentary
evidence. In addition, James' theory may be biased by his definition of
"recusants" (those "who refused to take the Oath of Supremacy and go to
Common Prayer"). Did the commission request the bishop and his
subordinates to check if lay officers would take the oath of supremacy
as well as if parishioners went to church? What did the commission
actually say? The bishop's return reports that he searched for "greate
myslikers of the religion nowe professed" and parishioners who "do
absente themselves from the churche". (James might say, "It doesn't
matter what the commission said. What matters is what John thought." If
so, some evidence is needed to prove what made John think so.) Secondly,
if the commission did command the bishop to check it, who (should we
assume may have) come to the meetings to do the job? Finally, why was
John not dismissed for *nine years*?

As to the conveyance of the Shakespeares' property in 1578, M&W neglect
George Gibbes who with the Shakespeares conveyed it to Thomas Webbe and
Humphrey Hopper. What was the role of Gibbes if this, as M&W and James
claim, was the first of the "three noteworthy steps" which the
Shakespeares took "to safeguard" their properties "from seizure by the
authorities [...] on account of his [John's] Catholicism? (Eccles
presented a "secular" account/interpretation of this conveyance.)

Concerning John's so called (now lost) "spiritual testament", one of the
questions that remain UNanswered is: how did John, who we assume was
semi-literate at best, write down his name in full on the testament? M&W
suggest that he did. Should we assume that he was literate (or at least
able to sign his name, although he never signed his name in full on the
other occasions)? How did M&W know that John *signed* it? Malone wrote,
"The writer, John Shakespeare, calls it his Will [...]". That Malone
didn't mention that the name of the testator was written/sign in a
different hand from the rest of the testament may suggest that the whole
text (five leaves) of the relic sent to Malone may have been written by
one person. Should we assume that John did, or someone else did for him?
All we can do is to speculate. It seems more sensible to put that the
five leaves of the testament sent to Malone must have been based on a
genuine English version of Borromeo's testament, even though the
identity of the testator has not been and cannot now be established,
than to insist, as James did, that "the fragment Malone printed is, in
and of itself, strong evidence of John Shakespeare's ongoing adherence
to Roman Catholicism".

William may have travelled abroad. But recent studies of travelling
players, early modern books, and social space (public houses) in early
modern England support the theory that Shakespeare *did not have to* go
abroad to do such "research". Resources were available in England. But
this post is already too long (sorry, Hardy!) and I don't have time to
discuss this subject in detail. I will, as Bob did, have other
SHAKSPERians explore the topic.

Finally, (this has nothing to do with the Shakespeares, but) I've
noticed (and am curious why) James added his academic affiliation at the
end of his recent post whereas he didn't in his previous two posts.

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka
[ :-) ]

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elliott H. Stone <
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Date:           Monday, 3 Feb 2003 18:17:41 EST
Subject: 14.0164 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0164 Re: Shakespeare and Research

I do not know why it is continuously repeated that Shakespeare's
geography of Italy is wrong. It is quite clear that Verona was
approached in his time by a canal and thus was an important seaport and
had a harbor. It still exists! I know many fervent Shakespeareans that
have traveled on it. Yes, Bohemia in Shakespeare's time had a seacoast!
There may be anachronisms in the Canon but the Bard's geography was
excellent.

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

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