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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Dating Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0812  Wednesday, 27 April 2005

[1]     From:   Steve Sohmer <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 13:54:37 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0799 Dating Hamlet

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 19:18:34 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0799 Dating Hamlet

[3]     From:   Tony Burton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 14:58:19 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0799 Dating Hamlet

[4]     From:   Joseph Egert <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 19:39:05 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0780 Dating Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Sohmer <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 13:54:37 EDT
Subject: 16.0799 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0799 Dating Hamlet

Dear Friends,

Not to prolong this string unduly (for Hardy's sake and all of us).

For Larry Weiss. Philip's "To solemnize this day the glorious sun /
Stays in his course" (3.1.77-8) and Constance's strange reference to
"the high tides in the calendar" (86) point to a Solstice. Tides are
higher on the Solstices.

John Briggs will (perhaps) be interested to learn that quite a few among
Shakespeare's country-persons knew that the Julian calendar was some 13
days behind the sun ca. 1600, among them John Dee (see his "A playne
discourse"), Thomas Digges (one of whose books was a source for
"Othello," and whose son wrote a doggerel for the First Folio
forepages), and any lettered Elizabethan who owned one of the ubiquitous
almanacs. These pamphlets were, after the Bible, the most widely
circulated printed documents in England. Many contained long
dissertations on the flaws in the Julian calendar.

I hope this will suffice to satisfy the skeptics; in any case, I've done.

All the best,
Steve

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 19:18:34 +0100
Subject: 16.0799 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0799 Dating Hamlet

Bill Arnold writes ...

 >Well said, and well documented, Peter.  You are the rock!

That's very kind, Bill, but I am a pebble.  The rock in this case is
another Peter, Peter Millward.  His book 'Shakespeare's Religious
Background' (1973) includes a chapter on the Bible in Shakespeare, from
which I got the Hamlet-Job references.

Although Millward was a Jesuit priest, his book is impressively
balanced. The Bible chapter, for instance, is followed by chapters on
the poet's debt to Anglican liturgy, Anglican homilies, and to the
Anglican preachers Smith and Hooker.

Peter Bridgman

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony Burton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 14:58:19 -0400
Subject: 16.0799 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0799 Dating Hamlet

Steve Sohmer's catalog of indications that Shakespeare was thinking of
the religious calendar-or at least the astronomical features on which
the calendar is grounded-in many of his plays, especially Hamlet, seem
to be balanced by equally convincing arguments that those references
were too dubious and out of the way to have impressed themselves
effectively on any contemporary audience.

But of course there were contemporary mystical points of view,
Rosicrucian and other, for which astronomical clues would have been as
significant as they are for Mr. Sohmer.  Does Sohmer's argument suggest
to him or any others that Shakespeare's spiritual bent was more towards
the path of some esoteric spiritual, or mystical, or similar
self-transformative practice than on the codified doctrines of any
organized religion?  It does to me.

Tao'ny Burton

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph Egert <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 19:39:05 +0000
Subject: 16.0780 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0780 Dating Hamlet

Michael B. Luskin writes: "The WHOLE play exists because Hamlet's father
DID in fact return from it!"

I beg to differ. The play exists because young Hamlet and his audience
are uncertain WHO in fact returned from where. The play is designed to
test and "capture the conscience of the king," namely royal Authority as
embodied by the Ghost and his clones (Claudius et al).

  Regards,
  Joe Egert

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