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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Early Modern View of Literary Study
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1644  Tuesday, 19 August 2003

From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Aug 2003 11:39:25 -0700
Subject: 14.1626 Early Modern View of Literary Study
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1626 Early Modern View of Literary Study

The supposed 1517 quote in History Today was:

>"By God's Body I would rather that my son should hang than
>study literature.  It behoves the sons of gentlemen to blow
>horn calls correctly, to hunt skilfully, to train a hawk well and
>carry it elegantly.  But the study of literature should be left to
>clodhoppers"
>(comment from an anonymous gentleman to Richard Pace, 1517)

After working intensively with early Tudor prose in Hall's Chronicle, I
thought that quote did not ring true.  With Thomas Larques' help I wrote
to the article's author, James Williams, and asked him for the
citation.  He replied:  "You are quite right--it is much to 'good'.  It
is a modernised version as used in the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII,
II, ii, 3765. October 1517 (combined with a version in Matt Cartmill's
View to a Death in the Morning, Harvard, 1993)..."

Hmm.

As well, "clodhopper" is challengeable.  OED2 gives the earliest use as
ca. 1690.

BTW Richard Pace, dean of St. Paul's (1519) and emissary/diplomat for
Cardinal Bainbridge and Henry VIII from about 1514, was something of a
prodigy and, it would appear, well encouraged in his studies.

Al Magary

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