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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Re: Shakespeare and Research 1
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0148  Wednesday, 29 January 2003

[1]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 12:55:04 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare and Research

[2]     From:   Ed Kranz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 08:23:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[3]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 07:37:44 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0138 Re: Shakespeare and Research

[4]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 15:17:33 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research



[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 12:55:04 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare and Research

Sean has raised a very interesting point:

>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.

I discuss this possibility in my dissertation (PhD thesis) in detail.

The Privy Council's letter of appointment of the commissioners has been
transcribed. But as far as *I* know, the Council's "further Instruction"
hasn't. I have a list of "things to do before submitting your
dissertation", and reading the instruction in question is one of them
(but I don't know if I have time to do it as my university is not as
flexible as before).

Edgar Fripp did give us a summary of the instruction, according to
which, the commissioners were requested to report those presented and
suspected to be seminaries, Jesuits, etc. or to have helped them, and to
appoint in every "quarter of the shire" subordinates to "observe all
such as refused obstinately to resort to the church". I don't think we
know exactly who the commissioners appointed as their subordinates, but
the churchwardens would be our best bet.

It seems possible that the commissioners listed all parishioners who
refused to go to church whatever their excuses were, because they were
asked to report "all such as refused obstinately to resort to the
church". It could be argued that this is reflected in the forms of the
two returns, as Sean has suggested (and I in my dissertation).

I've been hesitating to reject the commissioners' "weak evidence" theory
for two reasons. Firstly, most of them appear to have been Catholics
(so, along with some other issues, it's been suggested that John was a
Catholic recusant). Secondly, (to complicate the matter further) the
Bishop of Worcester, who played a vital role in the 1577 visitation, was
not on the scene in 1592, so the commissioners could not confirm with
him the information they received from their subordinates. It seems
sensitive to stress (or at least accept) the ambiguous nature of the
returns.

I feel reluctant to disclose my research online at least until I submit
my dissertation, so I'm sending a summary only to Sean this
afternoon/evening. I hope SHAKSPERians will find my decision reasonable.

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Kranz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 08:23:25 -0500
Subject: 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

In response to John-Paul Spiro's query I'd like to name just one:
Disowning Knowledge In Six Plays of Shakespeare by Stanley Cavell,  it's
everything John-Paul mentions; "essential", "the best" and it certainly
has been most helpful and meaningful to me personally. It is not only
the best writing I have read on Shakespeare it's the best literary
criticism I have ever read-written by a philosopher no less!

Ed Kranz

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 07:37:44 -0600
Subject: 14.0138 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0138 Re: Shakespeare and Research

>I'd like to know
>everyone's personal Top 5 Works of Shakespeare Criticism/Scholarship.

1. T. W. Baldwin: William Shakspere's Small Latine & Lesse Greeke

2. E. K. Chambers: The Elizabethan Stage

3. Marvin Spevak: Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare

4. Pollard and Redgrave: Short Title Catalogue of Books Printed in
England (etc.)

5. Charlton Hinnman: The Printing and Proof-reading of the First Folio
of Shakespeare

6. Geofrey Bullough: Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
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[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 28 Jan 2003 15:17:33 -0000
Subject: 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0126 Re: Shakespeare and Research

My apologies to David and everyone else for the delay in this post-it
seems it's one thing to construct a database of all the poems in
Egerton, Devonshire, Blage, Tottel, and Arundel, and another to remember
how you [A]access it.

:-(

>>>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?

More or less.

>If so,
>it's a distinction that will be very difficult to draw with confidence,

Well, no it's not, it's actually pitifully simple.  A Petrarchan
poet-Wyatt, for instance-draws on and directly translates the
_Canzoniere_.  A Petrarchist poet ignores Petrarch and draws on the
tradition, whether Italian, French, Spanish, or English.  As far as I
know, this distinction was first made by Donald Guss in _John Donne,
Petrarchist_.  Certainly, with regard to Donne, it's non-trivial.
Donne's only Petrarchan poem (not a translation) is "Twicknam garden",
very different from his earlier Petrarchist (sic) poems.

Importantly, Petrarchist poems tend to leach-out the iron, and play-up
the images-burning hearts and oxymorons.  Admittedly, this is there in
Petrarch, but Petrarchism provides a comic-book version.

Petrarch the poet and the Petrarchist tradition are wildly different.

Narrowing this down to England, it's easier to deal with.

Leaving aside the lines from the Triomphe in Chaucer's Troilius_, Wyatt
is central.  Thirty of his poems are direct translations from Petrarch-
mostly sonnets, but also including ballades, canzones, and epigrams.
About half of Wyatt's sonnets are translated from Petrarch.

{I'd like to be more precise on this, but not only do I find it
difficult to extract information from my own database, but a
key-text-George Watson's _The English Petrarchans_, which lists the
Renaissance English translations of Petrarch, has gone walkabout.}

But anyway, mostly it's fair to say that Wyatt DIRECTLY translated more
of Petrarch than anyone else at that time.

So the first key English date is early 16thC.

The second is obviously Tottel in 1555.

Then you have forty years of Petrarchism in England.

Then Sidney's A&S.  Admittedly, this reinstates the concept of the
sonnet
+sequence+, but it's easier, for god's sake, to track Plato and Catullus
there than a direct link to Petrarch.

Shakespeare's two sonnet plays-LLL and R&J-come straight out of the
late-16thC English spin on the Petrarchist tradition.  There's no
+direct+ evidence of Petrarch in either.

>even if one defines the restriction so tightly as to exclude contact
>through translations.

Before anyone starts, I'm not remotely denying that Shakespeare had read
Petrarch, either (likely) in the original, or (pretty certainly) via
Wyatt from Tottel.  But there's no sign of this in the plays.  The
Sonnets are maybe another matter.

>In any case, I'm not clear about the critical
>utility of the distinction.

See above.  See below.

>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.

It's Dr. incidentally.  I don't often make a point of this, but as it
took me seven suffering years ...  And if you go behind the two letters,
I wear a DPhil rather than a PhD.

<g>

>Hamilton will explain further, or direct me to some fountainhead.

I'm not absolutely sure of the connection you're trying to make between
"My mistress' eyes" and R&J.  130 is a pretty-typical
inverted-Petrarchist poem (as Donne said, "Leave her, and I will leave
comparing thus -- /  She, and comparisons, are odious."  Whereas Romeo's
feelings about Rosalind, as retailed to Benvolio, are simply straight
Petrarchist.  The two things are sisters-under-the-skin, and would serve
to emphasise my point about the importance of the Petrarchan/Petrarchist
distinction.

A bit of the +point+ of R&J is the shift from the Petrarchist stance
Romeo has to Rosalind, to the inf[l]ected-Platonic attitude he adopts to
Juliet.  This gets blurred if you conflate Petrarchan with Petrarchist.

... and carrying this outside LLL and R&J, what about the Petrarchist
idiom of the description of Antonio at the beginning of MV?  Or The
Other Antonio in 12N?  I'm sorry to keep hammering on about this, but if
you conflate P/P, it gets lost.

As to fountainheads (look, this REALLY is a joke -- honest!) how about
John Vyvyan's _Shakespeare and the Rose of Love_?

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

>"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.

It's a bit more than an overstatement, David.  Leaving aside the elide
around lost/MS/published, even imitations are mostly post-Tottel.  Sure,
Wyatt's MSS were circulating (except for Blage, which seems to have been
severely firewalled, hardly surprisingly) but the raft of English
Perarchist junk seems mostly post-1555.  If I were Dante, I'd create a
special circle in hell for Nicholas Grimald.

No hard feelings, I hope.

<g>


Robin

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