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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0119  Friday, 24 January 2003

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jan 2003 07:58:45 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 20:11:49 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[3]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jan 2003 13:38:47 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[4]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 20:49:34 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[5]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 20:41:15 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[6]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jan 2003 11:20:37 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare and Research


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Thursday, 23 Jan 2003 07:58:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

Hugh Grady writes, "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!"

Ah, but it IS news to the Marlovians, Oxfordians and Baconians, and they
need to read all about IT on SHAKSPER.

My reason for creating the thread might not have been clear at first, so
I will gladly spell it out.  There is a concept in law known as telling
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  I am a scholar
who accepts as Emily Dickinson wrote, in Poem 1455 (Johnson), "Opinion
is a flitting thing, / But Truth, outlasts the Sun--"

Applied to Will Shakespeare, it suggests to me that if true scholarship
demonstrates that Will Shakespeare's ancient history plays were based in
part on earlier histories or other works of art he consulted via
research, than ipso facto the same logic can be applied to his later
history plays, and his tragedies, and his comedies.

So, indeed, I hope that the more Shakespeare and Research is discussed,
more documentary evidence will be brought forward and works cited.  As a
SHAKSPERean, I, for one, find the topic a worthy one for this message
board and the membership to read and ponder.  Thus, with time, the Truth
will come out, as best as can be known.

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

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 20:11:49 -0000
Subject: 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>the
>ideas about love expressed by the young lovers of Shakespeare's early
>comedies and *Rom* are strongly Petrarchan.
>
>David Evett

Petrarchist -- there's a difference.

Wyatt (a Petrarchan) translated Petrarch directly -- Shakespeare in the
early comedies was drawing on the Petrarchist (sic!) tradition.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Thursday, 23 Jan 2003 13:38:47 EST
Subject: 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>Aren't you shy three generations here, Marcus?

Good point Robin - that was I put the word 'troubadour' in little speech
marks - because I couldn't think of the best term to describe the poetry
of Petrach except as a kind of troubadour. I am sure others on the list
know more about the correct terminology for his sort of china-fine
pedestal love poetry (to the unreciprocating but no doubt lovely Laura).

Best,
Marcus

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 20:49:34 -0000
Subject: 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>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,

Let's not forget the +Secretum+.  I absolutely love the idea of Petrarch
ratting on with the ghost of Augustine.

Two utterly sad bastards who deserved each other.

Robin Hamilton

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003 20:41:15 -0000
Subject: 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0106 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>many of [Pertrarch's] poems were translated or imitated by C16
>English writers, beginning with Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey

No they weren't.  Surrey translated exactly one of Petrarch's sonnets --
"Love that doth live and reign within my breast"  (I'm quoting off the
top of my head here, so I may be misremembering).  Wyatt translated more
than several of Petrarch's _Canzoniere_, not just the sonnets but (which
everyone seems to manage to ignore), "Mine old dear enemy, my froward
master".

I think the Triomphi jumps from Chaucer to Shelley.  Small loss, that,
but ...

Robin Hamilton

(Hey, just thought -- does Greville's "Farewell sweet boy, I gave thee
all my youth ..." draw on Petrarch indirectly or Wyatt directly?  Prolly
not.

:-(

R.)

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jan 2003 11:20:37 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare and Research

My ISP was having a connection problem, and I lost a long(er) post. So I
kept this one short(ish) and sent it off before losing it.

James claims that Mutchman and Wentersdorf's "well-researched volume
escaped the attention of the more celebrated biographers of
Shakespeare". I wonder whether he means that these "celebrated
biographers" were unaware of the German biographers' work, or that they
were aware of the work, but still presented different views.

It should be pointed out that although James described M&W's work
"impressively detailed archivally based exploration", their Seed & Ward
edition (which the BL and the Shakespeare Institute Library have) often
does not present documentary evidence for their argument (their
bibliography doesn't list any archival materials, either), neglects some
other evidence previously presented, and fails to consider alternative
(for them "negative") interpretations.

Sams does provide documentary evidence, so readers can tell where his
arguments came from. But he often looks only at one side of the coin and
completely neglects the other side of it (ie, he fails to consider
alternative interpretations), so his work has very similar problems -
namely, lack of careful examination of evidence, and narrowness of view.

James claimed that the vision of certain "celebrated biographers of
Shakespeare" had been too narrow. But those who insist on the
Shakespeares' old faith often have the same problem. The debate does not
have to cease (and it probably will not at least for a while), for the
end of debate may be the end of healthy scholarship. But if one insists
on only one side of the story, then he or she should clarify why the
other side of the story should be rejected.

As to John Shakespeare, we don't know if he was actually a recusant. His
name did appear on recusant returns, but the returns report that (in the
first return) the commissioners "suspect" and (in the second) "it is
said that" John did not go to church because he feared process for
debts. Here remains some ambiguity: whether it meant that the
commissioners regarded his fear for process as a subterfuge, or that
they simply could not confirm the information presented to them. His
fear of process may well have been a genuine reason for his absence from
church.  John's name did not appear on the recusant roll, so it is safe
to say that he was not a convicted recusant.

(In his article) James insists that John stopped attending the town
corporation meetings because he was "unwilling to take the oath of
supremacy". It may have been the case. But it is not fact but one
interpretation of the record available to us. The minutes of the
meetings do not clarify the reason for John's absence. So once again
certain ambiguity remains, and it creates room for alternative
interpretations of the evidence. (James probably didn't have space to
examine them in his article.)

James tells us that "Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna, turns up on
recusant rolls after his death". I wonder if James would mind reminding
us of the year(s) when she appeared on recusant rolls. The incident of
1606 is well known. But her father was still alive, and Susanna appeared
in the ecclesiastical court's act book, not on recusant rolls. (Susanna
was charged with not receiving the sacrament. Her case, the act book
records, was "dimissa" [dismissed], so she may have meanwhile received
the Eucharist.)

I don't know if James believes that Shakespeare went abroad. But those
who believe that Shakespeare did need to consider among many other
things at least these four points: (1) when Shakespeare went abroad; (2)
who helped him (i.e., from whom to whom he moved); (3) when he came back
to England; (4) why he came back.

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

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