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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Re: Tillyard (Again)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1768  Wednesday, 10 September 2003

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Sep 2003 14:41:53 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1758 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Sep 2003 14:46:43 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1751 Re: Tillyard (Again)

[3]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Sep 2003 09:21:39 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1758 Re: Tillyard (Again)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Sep 2003 14:41:53 -0400
Subject: 14.1758 Re: Tillyard (Again)
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1758 Re: Tillyard (Again)

On topic portion of post:

per Holger Schott


>It's one thing to argue that Elizabethan literature participated in
>political discourse, quite another to claim that writers were widely
>persecuted. Who exactly is on that "long list"? Kyd? We don't know
>exactly what happened to him in the Tower, and in any case he wasn't
>locked up for anything he had written. John Stubbes? He lost his hand
>for a political polemic, not for a work of literature (if you'll allow
>that distinction for heuristic purposes). Jonson? Branded for killing
>Gabriel Spencer, imprisoned for _Eastward Ho_, together with Chapman,
>but only briefly. Who else? I don't know of any writers that were
>executed -- certainly not as a consequence of their literary efforts
>(otherwise Surrey and Chidiock Tichbourne would qualify, I suppose).
>Cinna the poet -- torn to pieces for his bad verses -- has no real-life
>equivalent in Elizabethan England.

Just to show that I can admit to being wrong. Few artists were
persecuted for their art, as Holger points out. Many polemicists did
however suffer horrific consequences for publishing or publicly speaking
sometimes vaguely seditious texts. I still contend that the slipperiness
to which Marcus alludes below and not an aesthetic principle that art is
not didactic accounts for the distinction. Poetry is by nature slippery
and inherently suggests itself as a means of covert polemics.
Extravagant praise for Elizabeth is everywhere evident in the poetry and
drama, but the consequences of the mildly implied criticism of the state
of Eastward Hoe and The Isle of Dogs  make it impossible to avow that
they were as didactic in their art as they chose.

"The light methods with which Elizabeth resorted to the rack cannot be
better illustrated than the following, related by Lord Bacon in one of
his letters. 'The Queen was mightily incensed against Haywarde, on
account of a book he dedicated to Lord Essex, being a story of the first
year of Henry IV, thinking it a seditious prelude to put into the
people's heads boldness and faction: She said, she had an opinion that
there was treason in it, and asked me, if I could not find any places in
it, that might be drawn within the case of treason? Whereto I answered,
for treason, sure I found none; but for felony very many: And when her
majesty hastily asked me, Wherein? I told her, the author had committed
very apparent theft: For he had taken most of the sentences of Cornelius
Tacitus, and translated them into English, and put them into his text.
And another time when the Queen could not be persuaded that it was his
writing whose name was to it, but that it had some more mis

 

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