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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
Greenblatt on Hamnet & Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1835  Wednesday, 6 October 2004

From:           Douglas Galbi <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 5 Oct 2004 10:53:31 -0400
Subject:        Re: Greenblatt on Hamnet & Hamlet

That Hamnet and Hamlet represented the same name is an important and
underappreciated fact.  Another important and underappreciated fact is
that Shakespeare's mother's mother was named Mary, his mother was named
Mary, but none of his sisters were named Mary.  Across sixteenth century
England, veneration of images of Mary became a focus of intense
controversy and dramatic public repressions, while the share of parents
naming their daughter Mary rose sharply.  For some discussion and
analysis, see Section IV of "Sense in Communication" at
www.galbithink.org  For a large, machine readable database of names from
the Guild of the Holy Cross, Stratford (entered 1406-1430 and 1490-1534)
and from Stratford and Solihull (parish registers, 1539-1668), see
http://www.galbithink.org/names/engb1800.htm )

Shakespeare was a brilliant writer.  His work was primarily directed to
the theatre. Mary, it seems to me, provides more insight into
Shakespeare's choice of theatre and the creative power of his theatre
than does Hamlet.  Shakespeare scholars have written much about Hamlet,
but little about Mary.  Shakespeare scholars could bring more life to
their discipline with more appreciation for the biographical and
historical significance of Mary to Shakespeare.

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