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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Greenblatt Discussion Forum
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0053  Tuesday, 11 January 2005

[1]     From:   Julia Griffin <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Jan 2005 15:30:23 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0040 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

[2]     From:   David Basch <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Jan 2005 17:10:41 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0040 Greenblatt Discussion Forum


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julia Griffin <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Jan 2005 15:30:23 -0500
Subject: 16.0040 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0040 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

Greene-into-Falstaff was considered and rejected by Alexander Grosart in
the 1880s.  He disliked it because, as he said, "It revolts one to think
of the 'gentle' Shakespeare associating himself with the base Harvey in
travestying so tragical a death-bed as was Greene's . . ."

Not the only way one might respond to the idea; but still.

Julia Griffin

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Basch <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Jan 2005 17:10:41 -0500
Subject: 16.0040 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0040 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

In the Greenblatt Discussion Forum, the issue has been brought up of the
inspiration for the John Falstaff character. I too have my theory of who
it was that John was patterned after. I even have some evidence to
support my view.

John Falstaff was patterned on none other than John Shakespeare, the
poet's father. The similarity is in manner, the love of wordplay and
life and a cynical view of how society operates. Evidence repeated by
Professor Greenblatt in his new book (which I am reading) suggests that
John Shakespeare was quite a personality and looked up to by his peers.
Hence William would have been given a good send off with such a father.

How can I document my view? As the Shakespeare biographer, Peter Levi,
wrote, John Shakespeare was left a legacy from his father, Richard
Shakespeare, and was named in the still existing court document,
"Johannem Shakere." (Peter Levi expressed surprise at this too in his
book!)

"Shakere" has the Hebrew meaning "false." This very Hebrew word occurs
in the Ninth Commandment in the phrase, "Eyd Shakere," "false witness"
(don't be one). Now take the "Shak" portion of Johannem's last name as
"false" and couple this with "staff" as a form of "spear" and you get
"Falstaff."

I would also note the many commentators that have observed character
John Falstaff's notable literary wit and some have even alleged that he
was an alter ego for William himself. Would it not be electrifying to
learn that here in WS's work is a portrait of his father?

Professor Greenblatt is big on reading the poet's thoughts and
biographical events in the life of Shakespeare from various lines found
in Shakespeare texts. If his thesis makes sense, then these biographical
elements should similarly be taken seriously.

David Basch

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