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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.099  Wednesday, 22 January 2003

[1]     From:   Mari Bonomi <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 09:00:19 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   R.A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 08:20:13 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[3]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 06:51:34 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[4]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 09:32:01 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[5]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 22:37:57 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[6]     From:   James Conlan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 23:29:57 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.087 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[7]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 05:33:51 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mari Bonomi <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 09:00:19 -0500
Subject: 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>Based on the translations I've read, I'd say Petrarch.  There are some
>very close parallels in both plays.

MAJOR BLUSH!!  Obviously I meant Plutarch, not Petrarch!!

That's what comes of working on two computers at once and reading email
to alleviate the strain of webpage work.

My apologies!

Mari Bonomi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R.A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 08:20:13 -0600
Subject: 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>And surely Latin would have been a component of whatever education his
>grammar school offered him?

Latin was, with its adjuncts, all that his grammar school offered him. I
cannot stress too strongly the  need for everyone interested in
Shakespeare to read Baldwin's: William Shakespeare's  Small Latine
&Lesse Greeke.

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 06:51:34 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

To Mari Bonomi:

Surely you meant Plutarch, not Petrarch -- right?

Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 09:32:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

Mari Bonomi quotes me, "Bill Arnold asks, 'For instance, do we know
where he got his background materials for his ancient history plays:
Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra?'"

Then writes, "Based on the translations I've read, I'd say Petrarch.
There are some very close parallels in both plays.  And surely Latin
would have been a component of whatever education his grammar school
offered him?"

Thank you very much for that response.  It does beg the question, which
I will raise verbally, was Petrarch translated into English during the
Shakespearean Age prior to the writing of Julius Caesar and Antony and
Cleopatra?  And if so, how available was the text, and where might Will
Shakespeare have come upon it?  And if not, was it only available in
Latin?  Lastly, in either case, would the work have been read by the
populace or primarily at the university level?"

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 22:37:57 +0000
Subject: 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>Bill Arnold asks, "For instance, do we know where he got his background
>materials for his ancient history plays: Julius Caesar and Antony and
>Cleopatra?"
>
>Based on the translations I've read, I'd say Petrarch.  There are some
>very close parallels in both plays.
>
>And surely Latin would have been a component of whatever education his
>grammar school offered him?
>
>Mari Bonomi

Personally, I'd go for Plutarch (available in North's translation).

Peter Groves

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Conlan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 23:29:57 +0000
Subject: 14.087 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.087 Re: Shakespeare and Research

I appreciate the remarks, both skeptical and enthusiastic, regarding
possibilities for Shakespeare's education.

Beginning with Takashi Kazuka's concerns about Shakespeare's connections
to the recusant gentry and working toward R.A. Cantrell's reminder that
Shakespeare's access to books in the late 1580s/early 1590s would have
allowed him to become a member of the Lord Chamberlain's/King's Men
later on in his career:

A recusant was a person who refused to to take the Oath of Supremacy and
go to Common Prayer [a recusancy punished by fine] as distinguished from
a non-conformist who may have taken the Oath of Supremacy but who
refused to take communion at Common Prayer [the usual excuse was that he
was "out of charity with his neighbor"].  From the perspective of the
reformist segment of the Church of England, the nonconformist lord was a
threat to the established order both because his refusal to partake in
the sacrament signalled disapproval of the service and because he might
attend or sponsor a non-Church of England service later in the day on
his property.  In the Elizabethan period, recusancy and nonconformity
are most often [though not exclusively] used to describe the non-violent
political resistance offered by Roman Catholics to the Elizabethan
reforms of the Church.

Of the gentry around Shakespeare who were Roman Catholic recusants,
there is, first of all, his father, John Shakespeare, who was named
alderman and bailiff of Stratford-on-Avon and thereby entitled to bear
the heraldic arms which son William acquired finally for his father in
1599.  In addition William 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 because they kept a Roman Catholic
priest as a gardener. Shakespeare's wife, Ann Hathaway, appears to have
established residency in a parish immediately before their marriage
where a priest ordained in the Roman Catholic church might preside over
their wedding.  And Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna, turns up on
recusant rolls after his death.

As far as sources for further study, I summarize much of this
information in my article "Shakespeare's Edward III: A Consolation for
English Recusants" _Comparative Drama_ 35.2 (2001): 177-207.  Eric Sams,
_The Real Shakespeare_ (New Haven: Yale UP, 2000?) and Velma Richmond,
"The Shakespeares of Stratford," in _Shakespeare, Catholicism and
Romance_ (New York: Continuum Press, 2000), 79-96 treat the Roman
Catholic affiliation of Shakespeare's family and refute the skeptics.
The _Ben Jonson Journal_ has dedicated a recent number to Shakespeare's
Catholicism, and Paul Voss (at Georgia State University) has told me he
composed a piece for a broader audience on Shakespeare's Roman
Catholicism that I have yet to get a hold of.

Though more attention these days is being paid to the evidence that
Shakespeare had ties to the recusant community, the investigation of
this aspect of Shakespeare's background is not new.  The most
impressively detailed archivally based exploration remains Heinrich
Mutschmann and K.  Wentersdorf, _Shakespeare and Catholocism_ (New York:
Sheed and Ward, 1952;
AMS Press, 1969).  How this well-researched volume escaped the attention
of the more celebrated biographers of Shakespeare remains a mystery.

Shakespeare's primary connection to a member of the aristocracy
sympathetic to the fate of the recusant gentry is well-known: A recusant
lord's heir with whom Shakespeare was obviously on familiar terms was
Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton.  Shakespeare dedicated the
narrative poems _Venus and Adonis_ and _The Rape of Lucrece_ to the Earl
of Southampton. G.P.V.  Akrigg's book, _Shakespeare and the Earl of
Southampton_(1968), remains the authority on this relationship.
However, it should be pointed out, the sort of patronage the Earl of
Southampton offered Shakespeare is not particularly well defined. As
Henry Wriothesley was a ward of the Crown, William Cecil, Lord Treasurer
of England and Master of the Wards, had control over the young earl's
money and marriage prospects -- control Cecil turned to his own profit.
But Cecil, who had one of the finest libraries of his time, was also
responsible for the Earl's education.  In other words, as a ward of the
Crown, the Earl had access to Cecil's books before he had access to his
own money.  The relationship between the Earl (only 19 when _Venus and
Adonis_ was printed in 1593) and Shakespeare, were it a
service-for-privilege rather than service-for-financial support
relationship, might account for Shakespeare's access to books before
Shakespeare became a servant of the Lord Chamberlain.  The difficulty of
the hypothesis is that, unlike the privileges of the Grooms of the
Chamber which Richard Firth Green has demonstrated existed long before
Shakespeare, the suspicion that the Earl vouched for Shakespeare to
Cecil or allowed him to borrow books from Cecil's library, becoming
thereby "godfather" (_V&A_ dedication), to Shakespeare's poem is
difficult to test.  Perhaps Shakespeare's "vow to take advantage of all
idle hours till I have honoured you with some graver labour" (V&A
dedication) was a vow to be fulfilled with the "warrant [Shakespeare]
ha[s] of [the Earl's] honourable disposition" (_Lucrece_ dedication);
perhaps not.  Regardless, it is clear that Shakespeare adopts the
posture of a servant in his dedication to both poems, signing off "your
honour's in all duty" and "your lordship's in all duty," and speaking,
especially in the dedication to _Lucrece_, of everything he has ever
done or will do being "yours, being part in all I have" at a time when
the Earl of Southampton was not in full control of his own
purse-strings.

Best to all,
J. P. Conlan

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 05:33:51 EST
Subject: 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

RE: Shakespeare's sources for Caesar and Anthony etc.

Don't you mean North's translation of Plutarch and not the 'troubadour'
poet Petrarch?

Best,
Marcus

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