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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0106  Thursday, 23 January 2003

[1]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 09:39:26 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 12:32:14 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 19:29:53 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[4]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 19:40:45 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[5]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 23:29:32 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 09:39:26 -0500
Subject: 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.091 Re: Shakespeare and Research

I may be missing something here, but what is this line about? Surely the
fact that Plutarch was an important source for Shakespeare--and that
Shakespeare in fact "used books" in writing his plays--is not news!

Best,
Hugh Grady

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 12:32:14 -0500
Subject: 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research

Shakespeare probably read Plutarch in North's translation of Amyot's
French translation.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 19:29:53 -0000
Subject: 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research

Bill Arnold <
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 > writes

>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?

... awkwardly straddling the Petrarch/Plutarch elide ...

Petrarch was first translated into English by Chaucer, but perhaps most
notably (with relevance to Shakespeare) by Wyatt.

The key-text here is prolly "Amor, che ne'l penser mio vive et regna"
(Canzoniere 140), translated by both Wyatt and Surrey.

More pertinently, Plutarch's +Lives+ (Shakespeare's source for JC, A&C
and Cor) was translated by Sir Thomas North in 1579.  (There's a Penguin
edition, now, I think, out of print, but see Bullough.)

Robin Hamilton

Actually, the Petrarch mistake (?) isn't totally off-side -- think of
Wyatt's translation of 102, "Cesare, poi che 'l traditor d'Egitto",
which ultimately derives from Plutarch's +Parallel Lives+:

  Caesar when that the traitor of Egypt
  With the honourable head did him present,
  Covering his gladness did represent
  Plaint with his tears outward, as it is writ;
  And Hannibal eke when fortune him shut
  Clean from his reign and from all his intent
  Laughed to his folk whom sorrow did torment,
  His cruel despite for to disgorge and quit.
  So chanceth it oft that every passion
  The mind hideth by colour contrary
  With feigned visage now sad now merry.
  Whereby if I laughed any time or season,
  It is for because I have no other way
  To cloak my care but under sport and play.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Jan 2003 19:40:45 -0000
Subject: 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research

Marcus Dahl <
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 > writes,

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

Aren't you shy three generations here, Marcus?  Behind Petrarch is
Dante, and behind Dante is the dolce stil nouvo, and behind +that+
(eventually) are the troubadours -- who were more French than Italian.

Or am I (um, as usual) wrong?

Robin

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 23:29:32 -0500
Subject: 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.099 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>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?

Plutarch's Parallel Lives (23 pairs of notable Greeks and Romans,
compared and contrasted) were composed in Greek, in the late first and
early second century CE.  They were widely translated, into Latin,
French (by Jacques Amyot, 1565-75), and from French into English by Sir
Thomas North (1579).  Similarities in language between North and
Shakespeare have persuaded students of Shakespeare's sources that he
used North's translation as the primary source for *JC* and *Ant*.  The
fact that the lives went through a dozen different printings between
1579 and 1603, and the publication of English translations of several of
his other works between 1530-odd and 1601, suggests that he enjoyed a
considerable popular vogue.

Petrarch--Francesco Petrarca--whose life overlapped that of Chaucer
(1304-1374), wrote a bushel of stuff in Latin, but is now chiefly
remembered for a series of 365 sonnets and canzone, in very choice
Italian, which did much to establish the conventions of European amatory
poetry in C15 and 16.  No complete English translation of these was made
until C18, but many of the poems were translated or imitated by C16
English writers, beginning with Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey
and continuing through Spenser, Sidney, Daniel, and Drayton, and the
ideas about love expressed by the young lovers of Shakespeare's early
comedies and *Rom* are strongly Petrarchan.  Our playwright tends to
give these ideas a pretty skeptical treatment, however, in the plays and
in his own sonnets.

I encourage members of the list who have not read these authors to do
so.

David Evett

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