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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Oldcastle
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0771  Monday, 29 March 2004

From:           Thomas Pendleton <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Mar 2004 15:08:45 -0500
Subject:        Oldcastle

Stanley Wells, who should know since he was one of the editors, is quite
right that the Oxford CW did indeed substitute "Oldcastle" for
"Falstaff" throughout 1 Henry IV (but not 2H4).  And it did indeed evoke
a good deal of shock/horror at the time.  Since that time, it has evoked
seemingly universal disbelief, even in Bevington's single volume 1H4 for
Oxford (gen ed. S. Wells) and in the Norton Shakespeare, which is
basically a reprint of the Oxford CW.  But it is there if one wants to
read it.

Bill Godshalk is right, too, about the glosses on "old lad of the
castle" in Humphreys.  But since Shakespeare claimed in the epilogue to
2H4 that Falstaff wasn't to be understood as Oldcastle, it's hard to
imagine that the phrase isn't a pun playing on that supposition,
regardless of what the brothel in Southwark was called.

Tom Pendleton

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