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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Oldcastle
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0843  Wednesday, 7 April 2004

From:           W.L. Godshalk <
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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
Posthumous Apology
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
Oldcastle family.

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.

Bill Godshalk

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