The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0843 Wednesday, 7 April 2004
From: W.L. Godshalk <
Date: Tuesday, 06 Apr 2004 13:08:31 -0400
Subject: 15.0817 Oldcastle
Comment: Re: SHK 15.0817 Oldcastle
In his Notes&Queries article for March 2003 entitled "Shakespeare's
to Lord Cobham (H5 2.3.8-14)," Steve Sohmer gives a detailed argument
that "Shakespeare's gentle adieu to Falstaff is also a minutely detailed
recapitulation of the circumstances of the death of William Brooke." And
so he adds another part to Shakespeare's possible relations with the
But Steve also writes: "There is a scholarly consensus that, some few
months after the stage debut of 1 Henry IV in 1596, Shakespeare altered
the name 'Oldcastle' to 'Falstaff.' Commentators have inferred that
Shakespeare did so in response to pressure from the Brooke clan or the
court [or both]. But it must be emphasized that we have only
circumstantial evidence to support this inference."
This seems a very even handed judgment -- to my ears -- and we still
await the firmer evidence that Professor Wells has alluded to.
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