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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Shakespeare's Personal Faith
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0646  Wednesday, 6 April 2005

[1]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 16:54:17 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 12:29:44 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[3]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 17:32:55 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[4]     From:   Norman Hinton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 05 Apr 2005 13:08:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[5]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 21:15:49 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

[6]     From:   John-Paul Spiro <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 05 Apr 2005 17:17:34 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 16:54:17 +0100
Subject: 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Peter Bridgman wrote:

 >The 'Non nobis Domine' is Psalm 115 from St Jerome's Vulgate
 >(completed 405 AD) and is traditionally a song of deliverance.

Well, no.  Only in the Nova Vulgata of 1979.  In all previous versions
of the Vulgate, 'Non nobis, Domine' is verses 9-26 of Psalm 113, 'In
exitu Israel'.  As far as I am aware, there was no Catholic liturgical
item with the incipit 'Non nobis, Domine'.

The Nova Vulgata (execrated as heretical by extreme traditionalists)
adopts the Protestant or Hebrew numbering and division of the Psalms.
The Book of Common Prayer (and also the Anglican Psalter, often bound
with it) gives the Latin incipits for each Psalm (and the canticles).

Shakespeare has either misread his source (Holinshed), or chosen to
interpret it in an Anglican sense for his audience.

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 12:29:44 -0400
Subject: Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Colin Cox has rumbled me:

"My guess is you are no actor"

Flatterer.

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 17:32:55 +0100
Subject: 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Love IS blind, whatever the object. 'Unworthy' objects can elicit grand
and noble poetry. Love IS rarely consistent. Love IS almost always
contradictory. The imagery of the sonnets surely demonstrates at its
most sophisticated an alert and sensitive  examination and analysis of
states of almost mystical adoration, humour, frustration, anger,
amazement, depression and self-abasement that is in any great love
passion, and reflected in all great love poetry in any language. It
matters not what the object is when seeing the poetry as poetry. If it
is noble writing, does the object of adoration invalidate the quality of
the writing? And, yes, mystical poetry frequently borrows this erotic
diction to convey other states of ecstasy and/or frustration.

So what if Mr WH or whoever was a vain and worthless boy / young man?
The poet's reactions to and relationship with him are sublime and
universally applicable. I am not quite sure why David Basch is so
frowningly curt and dismissive of the 'object' of the sonnets as now
agreed upon by many scholars including Booth and Vendler. He comes very
close to dismissing the sonnets on the grounds that unless they are
directed to Yahweh, they are unworthy of Shakespeare. Really? I fear it
may be that Mr Basch has already made the a priori assumption that it is
a series of coded praises to Yahweh, and if you start from that base,
then, yes, indeed, there will exist a sub-strate of invincible ignorance
about any other way of seeing the sonnets, no matter what evidence of
generations of scholars is put before you.

I have to say that, for me, David Basch's last posting was the saddest,
most dispiriting of this entire thread in terms of its implications.
That so much impressive investigative zeal and imagination could have
been spent on such a deadening and illiberal exegesis is truly, truly
defeating. I cannot think where we go from here.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norman Hinton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 05 Apr 2005 13:08:49 -0500
Subject: 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

My point is that, while telling us (perhaps) what he believes, Hawkes
says that we cannot believe things that are written.

If you are given a list of what to buy at the grocer's, should you then
assume that the list cannot possibly be a true statement so what is wanted?

This 'writing writes itself and no one can know what is really meant' is
a disease, not a critical standpoint.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Apr 2005 21:15:49 +0100
Subject: 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Abigail Quart writes ...

 >The real cue is in the next speech. The word in caps is
 >REFORMATION, a damned odd word in a Catholic bishop's mouth:

I've finally finished reading Eamon Duffy's 'Stripping of the Altars'.
It quotes hundreds of source documents from the time of the Reformation,
but I cannot recollect a single document actually containing the word
"Reformation".  I expect WS and his contemporaries would have no more
understood they were living at the time of the Reformation than their
grandparents would have understood they were living at the end of the
Middle Ages.  These are terms coined by historians.  The following
quote, from a Protestant site called 'What was the Reformation? A Brief
History', seems to agree with me ...

"It wasn't until the late seventeenth century that Reformation was used
as a term to describe an era in church history. Veit Ludwig von
Seckendorf's Historical and Apologetic Commentary on Lutheranism or the
Reformation was the first work to use reformation in this sense.
Seckendorf, who had definite pietistic leanings, used reformation as the
key word to describe the events in Germany in the early sixteenth
century, especially the years 1517-1524. This work, as did dictionaries
and encyclopedias of the eighteenth century, typically linked the era of
the Reformation to the life and career of Martin Luther".

In the light of this, shouldn't we read Canterbury's word 'reformation'
as meaning moral reformation, rather than any conversion to
Protestantism on the part of the young king?

Besides, there are moments in the play when Henry's Catholicism is very
evident.  For example, he orders Bardolph's hanging for stealing a pax.
A pax or 'paxbread' was, as Duffy explains, "a disk or tablet on which
was carved or painted a sacred emblem, such as the Lamb of God or the
Crucifix. This pax was ... taken [after being blessed by the priest at
Mass] to the congregation outside the screen, where it was kissed by
each in turn ... [It was] clearly a substitute for the reception of
communion".  Since the mere possession of a pax would have meant a spell
in prison for anyone watching Henry V, this is hardly the actions of a
Protestant king.

Nor is the building of two chantries to atone for his father's sins ...

Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a-day their wither'd hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I do;
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all,
Imploring pardon.

Under the Chantries Act of 1547, these two chapels would have been
stripped of all their plate, vestments and artworks, and the land
confiscated by the Crown.

Peter Bridgman

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John-Paul Spiro <
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Date:           Tuesday, 05 Apr 2005 17:17:34 -0400
Subject: 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0636 Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Dear Mr. Basch,

Please put your whip away.  The horse is dead.

John-Paul Spiro

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