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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0126  Monday, 27 January 2003

[1]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jan 2003 13:57:55 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0119 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jan 2003 16:11:51 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0119 Re: Shakespeare and Researc

[3]     From:   John-Paul Spiro <
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jan 2003 15:20:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare and Research, with a challenge

[4]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 16:12:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0119 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[5]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Sunday, 26 Jan 2003 17:06:22 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare and Research


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jan 2003 13:57:55 -0000
Subject: 14.0119 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0119 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.

Fair dos, Marcus -- but "troubadour" for Petrarch is pretty much totally
off-side.  Howzabout En Betram?

{Oh god, my Pound is showing.}

>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).

The SHAKSPER connection would be via the concept of the Inaccessible
Muse, but that's another issue ...

Ah ... Obviously everyone knows more about this than me, but how about
Gaspara Stampa?

:-(

Robin

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jan 2003 16:11:51 -0400
Subject: 14.0119 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0119 Re: Shakespeare and Research

Takashi's post on Shakespeare's supposed recussancy is much better
written and researched than anything I could hope to offer on the
subject, so I'll limit my response to one point:

>[John Shakespeare's]
>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.

Do we know what the charge to the commissioners was?  If they were
obliged to mention everyone who didn't go to church, then they might
have been obligated to raise John's name.  In this case, the
commissioner's suspicions would appear to be an effort to absolve him of
blame, rather than merely serving as weak evidence of suspected
recusancy.

Yours,
Sean.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John-Paul Spiro <
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jan 2003 15:20:44 -0500
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare and Research, with a challenge

Bill Arnold suggests that discussion about Shakespeare's research may
provide good ammunition against Anti-Stratfordians.  There are two
reasons why this is a waste of time:

1) As others have noted, Shakespeare's "research" is not news.  He used
historical texts, literary sources, previously-existing plays,
pamphlets, etc.  I've heard a lot about his "legal training," his
"intimate knowledge of Italy," and so on, but I've never understood why
such things couldn't have been learned from books or from conversations
with people who had had such training and/or experiences.  (Besides,
there are enough geographical errors in the plays that a better argument
can be made for his never going to Italy.)  Shakespeare's use of source
material and reference works is a major area of Shakespeare studies and
has been for a long time.  Any Anti-Stratfordian who argues that
Shakespeare couldn't have written his own plays because he didn't have
the requisite knowledge and experience obviously doesn't understand the
value of a library.  But this itself is irrelevant, because...

2) Anti-Stratfordians are by definition unreasonable.  It's one thing to
have some kind of healthy skepticism, but I have yet to see any evidence
for why the man from Stratford did not or could not have written the
plays.  I also have yet to see any evidence of a vast conspiracy
involving actors and noblemen to associate a collection of plays with
some guy who didn't write them.  Actively believing that someone else
wrote the plays is a matter of faith, not a scholarly hypothesis.

Bill Arnold may want to get discussion going so that some
Anti-Stratfordians read it and think, "Hmm, maybe I'm wrong about my
crackpot theory--maybe this Stratford guy just read a few books and
that's how he knew the same things that we think the Earl of Oxford
knew," but I sincerely doubt it.

That said, on to something more fun and productive.  I'd like to know
everyone's personal Top 5 Works of Shakespeare Criticism/Scholarship.
I'm not asking for what you think is "essential" or "the best"--I want
to know what secondary texts have been most helpful and meaningful to
you personally.  Be as idiosyncratic as you can--the idea here is to
inspire other people on the list to check out a work of
criticism/scholarship that maybe they've ignored or haven't heard of.

I'll start us off--

1) "The End of Kinship: 'Measure for Measure,' Incest, and the Ideal of
Universal Siblinghood" by Marc Shell

2) "'King Lear' and the Gods" by W. R. Elton

3) "The Meaning of Shakespeare" by Harold C. Goddard

4) Stephen Booth's analytic commentary on the Sonnets

5) "Making Trifles of Terrors: Redistributing Complicities in
Shakespeare" by Harry Berger Jr.

Anyone else?

John-Paul Spiro
CUNY Graduate Center

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 16:12:09 -0500
Subject: 14.0119 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0119 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.

I'm not sure whether I fully understand the distinction Robin Hamilton
wants to draw.  Is the crucial question whether the imitator knew
Petrarch's text first hand, or only via intermediary writers?  If so,
it's a distinction that will be very difficult to draw with confidence,
even if one defines the restriction so tightly as to exclude contact
through translations.  In any case, I'm not clear about the critical
utility of the distinction.  As even a cursory study of the immense
archive of work on the subject of this thread, Shakespeare's
relationship to his published and/or manuscript and/or theatrical
sources, will reveal, those relationships, even when we are looking at
something as positive as the interplay between North's translation of
Plutarch's life of Antony and *Antony and Cleopatra," can be dizzyingly
complex.  The complexities are enhanced when refractions of a source
text appear in dozens or hundreds of places in the secondary author's
work, and are as different as the contrast, say, between Romeo's account
to Benvolio of his love for Rosalind, and Sonnet 130.  Perhaps Mr.
Hamilton will explain further, or direct me to some fountainhead.

>>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".

"Many" is perhaps something of an overstatement with respect to
translations, at least as regards surviving published texts.  It is not,
however, with respect to imitations.

Pensively,
David Evett

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Sunday, 26 Jan 2003 17:06:22 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare and Research

Apology: I did not add the following information in my previous post as
I wanted to double-check my memory on this subject at the Shakespeare
Institute Library first.

James tells us that "Shakespeare acquired the right to impale these arms
with the arms of his mother's family, the Ardens, another recusant
family". But this statement is tricky.

Firstly, the link between the Ardens of Wilmcote and those of Park Hall
has not been established. (It appears likely that M&W's work is based on
someone else's such as Stopes'. French suggested the link before Stopes,
but M&W's bibliography does not list French's book.)

Secondly, James has told us only a half of the story about Shakespeare's
arms. A 1599 draft of the assignment of arms shows a sketch implied the
"fess coat" of the Ardens of Park Hall. But this Arden coat was
scribbled out, and another Arden coat was drawn next to it. Whether it
was the Shakespeares themselves who claimed the entitlement to the fess
coat of the Ardens of Park Hall or not, the draft seems to suggest that
the claim was negatived, and that another Arden coat was assigned. (The
Shakespeares evidently decided not to impale the coat.) It has been
suggested that the latter coat may indicate a connection with the
Cheshire/Staffordshire Ardens.

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

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