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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: November ::
Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2126  Wednesday, 5 November 2003

[1]     From:   Richard Nathan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 04 Nov 2003 14:15:04 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2115 Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised

[2]     From:   John Finnis <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 04 Nov 2003 18:46:52 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2115 Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 04 Nov 2003 14:15:04 +0000
Subject: 14.2115 Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2115 Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised

You can find the will of Robert Arden (the father of Mary Arden)
reprinted in its entirety in the book "The Reader's Encyclopedia of
Shakespeare" edited by Oscar James Campbell.  Robert Arden's will
appears in the entry for Mary Arden, which is part of the entry for
ARDEN FAMILY.  The text is taken from the original, which is in the
Registry Court of Worcester.  The will isn't terribly long, but I don't
have the time to transcribe it here. There aren't that many items in the
will, and I don't understand why Wood would think it means anything that
these items would be mentioned in Shakespeare's plays.

There was a review of Wood's book in Sunday's LOS ANGELES TIMES, which
review also refers to "The Phoenix and the Turtle."  The review says
that John Finnis of Oxford and Notre Dame and Patrick Martin of
Louisiana State University, working as a team, have made the argument
that "The Phoenix and the Turtle" was about Ann Line and her husband
Roger Line.

Richard Nathan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Finnis <
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Date:           Tuesday, 04 Nov 2003 18:46:52 +0000
Subject: 14.2115 Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2115 Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised

In the Times Literary Supplement for 18 April 2003, pp. 12-14, Patrick
Martin and I offer a reading of the poem usually known as "The Phoenix
and Turtle".  On this reading there is a level of meaning -- available
to various members of the poem's original audience -- according to which
the phoenix "is" Ann Line (executed for religion at Tyburn a few months
before the standardly accepted date of the commissioning and publication
of the volume in which the poem appeared), and the turtledove "is" her
husband Roger Line, who had died in exile.  The other birds mentioned in
the first five stanzas can all be allusively identified accordingly, and
there are in the poem and its context sufficient pointers to the circle
of persons who would have been interested both in the Lines and in
poetry (and in the book), and with whom it is plausible to suppose that
Shakespeare was involved.

Unlike most if not all previous readings, ours gives weight to every
part of the poem, and accounts for all of them.  Moreover, it does so,
we think, without detracting from the poem's evocation of high
mysteries, an evocation that every reader is aware of without any local
or historical knowledge.  But readers of the article must judge that for
themselves.

The nature of the Times Literary Supplement prevents publication of the
apparatus to support the historical claims made about the persons and
events in question, but much of that apparatus was made available to the
editors in their consideration of the article.  We plan to publish it in
the biography we are working on, if not before.

The letters to the Editor of the TLS in the four or five weeks after 18
April were all supportive.  One was from us, correcting an editorial
slip and offering an additional consideration supporting the central
conjecture.

John Finnis

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