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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: November ::
Jewish Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.2031  Tuesday, 30 November 2004

[1]     From:   Philip Eagle <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 Nov 2004 07:09:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.2025 Jewish Shakespeare

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 Nov 2004 18:33:00 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.2025 Jewish Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Philip Eagle <
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Date:           Monday, 29 Nov 2004 07:09:59 -0500
Subject: 15.2025 Jewish Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.2025 Jewish Shakespeare

Having no detailed academic background in this area, I often wonder why
the possibility is never discussed that Shakespeare could have done what
a modern writer would do, and developed personal sources - for example,
asked a sailor to look over the nautical passages in "The Tempest", a
lawyer to look over Act IV of "Merchant of Venice".  Or were early
modern playwrights so afraid of piracy that they wouldn't have allowed
anyone to know what subject they were working on?

Phil

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Monday, 29 Nov 2004 18:33:00 -0500
Subject: 15.2025 Jewish Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.2025 Jewish Shakespeare

 >Such often-unpersuasive demonstrations could be usefully replaced by
 >those particularizing how deeply versed he was in one or another
 >subject, but lying content with the universal explanation that he was an
 >avid reader, and endlessly curious, with extraordinary powers of recall
 >for the appropriate occasion?  To be sure, it's difficult to believe
 >that any person's reading and curiosity would be sufficient to supply
 >the demonstrated contents of a mind like WS, but the alternative is to
 >go back where we started, and agree, impossibly, with specialist after
 >specialist that 'He must have been one of us'.

When I had a post-graduate year at the University of Dijon in the late
50s, at a time when all the world was familiar with the Hollywood
western.  I was born and raised in Colorado, and when I mentioned this
to some French acquaintances, they jumped to the conclusion that I must
have grown up among cowboys.  I was ready to play along.  Indeed,
although my grandfather kept a livery stable and employed a couple of
hands who had ranch experience, I had never been closer to real cowboys
than the screen at the Palace Theater in downtown Mt. Pleasant,
Michigan.  But I did have experience of the Western landscape, and I
could sprinkle my talk with references to surcingles and lariats and
rowels and other bits of the stock-managing equipment hanging in
Grandad's barn: the willingness to suspend belief took over after that,
and nobody in the group ever seemed to doubt my persiflageous
asseverations.  I tell this story because to my mind, the "expertise"
ascribed to Shakespeare in many vocations and fields of knowledge to
which Allan Axelrod refers rarely seems to me to run any deeper than my
cowboy skills; as W. S. Gilbert knew, it only takes a few salient
details to supply verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing
narrative.

Persiflagistically,
Dave Evett

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