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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1635  Monday, 18 August 2003

[1]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Aug 2003 00:20:22 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1623 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Aug 2003 16:20:30 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1623 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as Roscius

[3]     From:   Rolland Banker <
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        Date:   Sunday, 17 Aug 2003 21:10:19 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Aug 2003 00:20:22 -0600
Subject: 14.1623 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1623 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Roscius

Al Magary wrote:

>Even an apprentice scholar could list 10 erroneous assumptions made, and
>biases demonstrated, by the Oxfordian who analyzed the alleged 1620-50
>handwritten annotation in a 1590 ed. of Camden's Britannia in the
>Huntington Library.  The first error is the assumption that the
>annotation itself is genuine--i.e., not itself a fraud, perhaps one
>committed by an Oxfordian.  (Even the article's author admits that copy
>of Britannia was in unknown hands up until 1922.)
(etc.)

Yes, there were a number of questionable or erroneous assumptions in the
article.  But even though I took some harsh jabs myself in my post
today, I think we need to keep the author's Oxfordianism separate from
the evidence of the inscription itself, which does appear to be
genuine.  Alan Nelson's web page has some relevant additional
information, as I noted yesterday when I posted the URL.  I think this
annotation is very interesting and deserves to be investigated further,
since it appears to be a commentary on Shakespeare's acting and his fame
in the generation after his death.  And whatever we may think of Paul
Altrocchi's beliefs and his scholarly standards (or lack thereof), he at
least deserves credit for noticing the annotation and trying to figure
out its significance.

Dave Kathman

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Aug 2003 16:20:30 +0100
Subject: 14.1623 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1623 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare as
Roscius

The reference itself seems unexceptional to me.  If genuine (a big
caveat - see below!), it would suggest that, in Warwickshire at least,
Shakespeare was more famous for having been an actor than a playwright.
This would seem to date it between his retirement to Stratford and the
publication of the First Folio - after that date some other epithet
(Plautus? Seneca?) would have been more appropriate.  I am not happy
with the word "plane" - it doesn't seem to make sense between "Roscio"
and "nostro", although I can't suggest anything more satisfactory
("plene"?).  I suppose the fact that we can't make sense of the
inscription could count in favour of it being genuine!

Which brings me to the other point, which may need a separate thread.
There are distressingly many forgeries around.  Am I correct in assuming
that there is a consensus that the Alleyn reference to purchasing a copy
of the Sonnets is a forgery by J.P. Collier (See Duncan-Jones, Arden3
edition, p.7)?  (If so, someone should tell Professor Nelson!)
Similarly, are we all aware that some entries in Manningham's Diary may
have been forged by Collier?  (See Lothian & Craik, Arden2 "Twelfth
Night", p.xxvi - the "Twelfth Night" entry itself is thought to be
genuine.)  Collier also forged entries for Henslowe's Diary.  Is there a
modern study of all the Victorian forgeries?

John Briggs

[Editor's Note: Yes, separate thread. -Hardy]

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rolland Banker <
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Date:           Sunday, 17 Aug 2003 21:10:19 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1611 Contemporary Reference to Shakespeare

The Nelson link is good and shall we say a wee bit more informative, I
recommend it. As a novice bardolator in the Harold Bloom home schooling
network it is apt for me to enter into areas well beyond my ken and
express my childish delight from time to time.

I will not be offended if Doctor Cook feels the need to delete my
ravings, although I promise that I take this seriously and beg the
SHAKSPERians' indulgence; nevertheless, as a novice, I must pass gas
from time to time and as always with a babyish grin.

Roscius the actor, how apt is that? As Al Magary expresses so well
there's no logic in it to get from here to their place--it just ain't
so. Like taking apart the Wooden O with Chinese torture of little drops
of water; and then laying the timber on the ground side by side making
what? A flat earth! "Warp, warp!" said Jaques (Saquespee) in AYLI. Like
warping wainscot, something is proving, although green, a shrunk panel.

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