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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: October ::
Shakespeare's "first serious critic" revealed by
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1975  Friday, 10 October 2003

From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Oct 2003 14:00:40 +0100
Subject: 14.1968 Shakespeare's "first serious critic" revealed
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1968 Shakespeare's "first serious critic" revealed
by Stanley Wells in TLS

We seem to be discussing Stanley Wells' find as though its authenticity
was proven.

I'm sure Stanley himself would acknowledge the difficulties associated
with authenticating a MS which is unavailable, and which has been quoted
only in modernised form.

A number of Shakespeare forgers have operated through the years, so it
is reasonable to view *any* such document with caution.

If this is a genuine document, then it's a startling piece of close
reading, and it certainly challenges my notion of what criticism was
typically like at the time.

I want to stress that I have no idea whether this document is genuine or
not, and I certainly have no doubts about Stanley's sincerity in this
matter.  But unless the document comes into the public domain in some
way, I don't see how it can be authenticated.

This leaves us with a problem in terms of assessing its contents.

Jonathan Hope
Strathclyde University, Glasgow

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