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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: Actors v Scholars
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1145  Tuesday, 10 June 2003

[1]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Jun 2003 09:18:03 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1125 Re: Actors v Scholars

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Jun 2003 18:06:08 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 14.1125 Re: Actors v Scholars


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 09 Jun 2003 09:18:03 -0700
Subject: 14.1125 Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1125 Re: Actors v Scholars

Martin Steward asked for clarification on the following:

>"Jonson, whose career as a playwright would have been
>over had not Shakespeare convinced the actors to give the boy a second
>chance..."

According to Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer (Some Account of the
Life, etc. of Mr. William Shakespeare, 1709), who collected his material
from the actor Thomas Betterton, when Jonson first presented Every Man
(In not Out) to the Chamberlain's Men, in 1598, they rejected it and
returned it to Jonson "with an ill-natured answer". Shakespeare read the
script and urged his fellow players to reconsider, which they did.

It is interesting that when Jonson published Every Man in 1616,
Shakespeare's was the first name on the list of actors, a spot usually
reserved for Burbage. It is believed that Shakespeare played Elder
Knowell in the production. And, Jonson, the unthankful ingrate, as he
did in the prologue of Bartholomew Fair, still takes a bash at Will. In
the 1616 Every Man prologue Jonson knocks Henry VI, Henry V and
Cymbeline. The 1599 Every Man Out of his Humour, of course, contains the
famous "Not without mustard" barb against Will.

Still at the end of the day, much as Will did, you have to love the
irascible old sod!

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 9 Jun 2003 18:06:08 +0100
Subject: Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        SHK 14.1125 Re: Actors v Scholars

Colin Cox introduces the list to "[John] Hales, a fellow of Eton" and "a
distinguished student of Greek and philosophy educated at Oxford. He was
not too fond of Puritans it appears."

John Hales was indeed distinguished. He led the English delegation to
the Synod of Dort in 1618-19, but returned somewhat disgusted by the
dominant Calvinists' rather high-handed treatment of the Arminian
Remonstrants. This denoted, not a lack of fondness for Puritans exactly
(whatever they were), but a generosity of spirit and a respect for
humane tolerance typical of one who moved in his circles, but perhaps
also indicative of the lack of realism entertained by those circles.

His joshing of Ben Jonson should not be taken as malicious; nor should
Jonson's views on Shakespeare and his art be dismissed as "ranting" or
"nagging".

Hales's fascinating report of the Synod can be found in his letters
home, collected in Golden Remains of the ever Memorable Mr. Iohn Hales
of Eton Colledge &c (London: Tim Garthwait 1673). They also contain the
Articles of the Synod itself. Considering the impact that they had on
theological controversy in England against the background of the
recently ignited Thirty Years' War, Hales ought perhaps to be more
widely known than he is.

m

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