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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: November ::
Shakespeare and Education Query
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2220  Monday, 24 November 2003

From:           Jim Harner <
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Date:           Saturday, 22 Nov 2003 08:13:02 -0600
Subject:        Shakespeare and Education Query

I've received the following inquiry from a friend at the Library of
Congress. If anyone can offer an answer, please contact her off-list:
Abby Yochelson <
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Many thanks,
Jim Harner

She writes:

Here's the question as I received it:

There was a letter from one university-educated man to another--each of
whom was a fellow author--in which one writes something to the effect
that if each of these men is honest with himself they will each admit
that Shakespeare is the superior writer, notwithstanding his lack of a
university education.

I came across this reference casually perhaps two years ago in a
magazine article, and I wish I had saved it. Over the last week, I have
read three biographies of Shakespeare but have not been able to find
this reference. My hope is that someone in your system may be able to
point me to the source of this quote.

I [that is, Abby] wrote asking for any clarification - were the writers
contemporaries of Shakespeare or modern? What sorts of journals did he
usually read, etc. And here's the reply:

My recollection is that these two men were coevals of Shakespeare's, and
I believe each was university-educated (which is apparently why they
were sensitive on the subject). I have a sense that one of the, in
particular, was quite sensitive about being bested by this presumptuous
upstart. Apart from books, my reading list is limited. The passage I saw
would likely have been something in National Review, The New York Times,
or, less likely, The Washington Post. More remote possibilities are The
Times (of London), the Columbia University Alumni magazine, The New
Yorker, or National Geographic.

I expect if this passage were quoted in The Washington Post or National
Geographic, it undoubtedly has appeared in many other places. Does it
sound at all familiar?

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