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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
A Thought for St. David's Day
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0611  Friday, 5 March 2004

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Mar 2004 07:53:45 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0597 A Thought for St. David's Day

[2]     From:   Tony Burton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Mar 2004 12:03:57 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0581 A Thought for St. David's Day

[3]     From:   W.L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 04 Mar 2004 12:53:58 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0597 A Thought for St. David's Day


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Mar 2004 07:53:45 -0800
Subject: 15.0597 A Thought for St. David's Day
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0597 A Thought for St. David's Day

Terence Hawkes's back-story on Falstaff is fascinating.  No doubt he
will also share with us whatever historical rumours he can find about
how many children were born to the wife of an historical Thame of Glamis.

Yrs,
Sean Lawrence.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony Burton <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Mar 2004 12:03:57 -0500
Subject: 15.0581 A Thought for St. David's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0581 A Thought for St. David's Day

Following Terence Hawkes' useful suggestion

 >"to embrace the full implications of the likelihood that the designation
 >'Welsh' carried, in an English context in the early modern period, an
 >unmistakable whiff of potential disorder"

let me suggest that Shakespeare might be expected to have known that the
Welsh called themselves Cymry, and that "Welsh" was originally a Saxon
word meaning "foreigner," (as in "damn furriner") and thus a presumably
disruptive element by definition.

Contemporary entertainment has always played freely with the wildly
imaginary or exaggerated "customs" of real or imaginary foreign places
of origin.  Popping into my mind offhand are some ancient examples:
Robin Williams as Mork from Orc;  Estelle Getty as Sophia Spirelli
Petrillo Weinstock, the grandmother in "Golden Girls", with her
reminiscences of implausibly bloodthirsty customs from her Sicilian
childhood; Bronson Pinchot as Balki Bartokomous, the irrepressible
cousin in "Perfect Strangers" with the even more lunatic folk customs
and religious beliefs of his home island of Mypos.

So, going beyond the sober accuracy of historicist truth and detail,
perhaps there was a tradition of stage Welshmen (or even a distant
memory of cultural stereotyping) that meant "be ready for anything,"
which worked to the advantage of all the characters and casual
references already suggested in this thread.  Is't possible?

Tony Burton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W.L. Godshalk <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 04 Mar 2004 12:53:58 -0500
Subject: 15.0597 A Thought for St. David's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0597 A Thought for St. David's Day

 >A barely palpable dimension of 'Welshness'
 >clearly accrues to Falstaff as a result of his links with Sir John
 >Oldcastle (c1378-1417), Falstaff's 'remote original' as the Arden editor
 >calls him.

writes Terence Hawkes, but even after the history lesson regarding Sir
John Oldcastle (c1378-1417), I am still puzzled as to what a "barely
palpable dimension" might be.  Does Terry mean that Falstaff"s
"Welshness" is not very obvious?  That's simply said.

But now I'd like to know how a "barely palpable dimension [...] clearly
accrues to Falstaff."  On the one hand this "dimension" is almost
imperceptible, but on the other hand it can clearly accrue.

Bill Godshalk

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