2005

Shakespeare's Biblical References

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1031  Tuesday, 31 May 2005

From:           John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 29 May 2005 18:52:14 +0100
Subject: 16.1023 Shakespeare's Biblical References
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1023 Shakespeare's Biblical References

Bill Arnold wrote (amongst other self-glorifying nonsense - there's a
fine piece of gibberish about the Septuagint): "I do not believe that
the statement that Tyndale's was the basis for the KJV is accurate.
Interested readers will find my book covers all this."

And disinterested readers will seek out the introductions by David
Daniell (a fine Shakespearean, as it happens) to his modern-spelling
editions of "Tyndale's New Testament [1534]" (Yale University Press,
1989) and "Tyndale's Old Testament" (Yale University Press, 1992).  Also
the preface to the British Library original spelling edition (2000) of
Tyndale's 1526 New Testament (the burnt one).

John Briggs

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The Genius of Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1030  Tuesday, 31 May 2005

[1]     From:   Peter Farey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 30 May 2005 05:27:19 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Elliott Stone <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 28 May 2005 17:33:14 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 29 May 2005 13:24:26 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Farey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 May 2005 05:27:19 +0100
Subject: 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare

There are various ways in which names were hidden within a meaningful
text at that time. For example, the words "Sir Francis Walsingham"
appear on his tomb as an acrostic of the first letters of the epitaph,
and the name "Margaret Ratcliffe" is hidden in a similar way in Ben
Jonson's poem to the lady in question. In his "Execration Upon Vulcan",
Jonson also mentions telestichs (using the last letter of each line),
but I know of no use of the progressive acro-stic (first letter of first
line, second letter of second line etc.) or similarly complex methods as
early as this.  The Friedmans (p.95) give an example of a 1499 acrostic
which uses the first letter of each section, however, giving (in Latin)
the message "Brother Francis Collonna passionately loves Polia".

Anagrammatizing names was certainly popular in those days.  'James
Stuart' = 'a just master' is one that comes to mind, and I found a
rather naughty one in the Anthony Bacon papers. Anthony's secretary,
Jaques Petit, was posing as the valet of a Frenchman called M. le Doux
who was working as a tutor at a stately home in Rutland, and le Doux had
been having an affair with a defrocked nun also employed there. In a
letter to Anthony (LPL MS.654 f.69), Petit thinks that she would be
after him too if he gave her half a chance. Her name was IDE DU WAULT,
and (using the W as two Vs) he suspects that she wants DU VI DU VALET
('vit' or 'vi' apparently being an old French word for the male organ)!

Another approach was that of the rebus, of which John Aubrey gives a
pretty dreadful example. It seems his grandmother used to have a rhyme
about Sir Walter Raleigh ('raw'+'lie'): "The enemy to the stomach and
the word of disgrace / Is the name of the gentleman with a bold face".
The pictorial rebus, such as the one created for the name Abel Drugger
in Jonson's "The Alchemist" is in a slightly different category.

Several things can be observed about the text-based examples, though.
First, where the actual letters of the name are used, the spelling is
always one which would have been known (albeit just one of several ways)
at the time. Second, there is a fairly simple key or clue which, if
followed, leads to the solution. Third, the name is in a context which
says something, particularly about the person named. This can be either
in the overt meaning or in the hidden one, but it is there somewhere.
This means that random findings of just 'will', 'sha-c sp-y', 'ever',
'becaaan, 'kit' etc. are only ever going to be just that, random. But
this does NOT mean that a message meeting those conditions might not be
out there somewhere (in fact I believe I know of one), and I think it
would be a pity for people to stop looking just because most of the
suggestions made so far have been far from adequate.

Peter Farey
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www2.prestel.co.uk/rey/index.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elliott Stone <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 28 May 2005 17:33:14 -0400
Subject: 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare

People do not have to pursue secret messages in the typography of the
Sonnets. It would be much more helpful and fruitful to look at the plain
language of the dedications to Shakespeare's work.

I believe that Thomas Thorpe wrote the Dedications to Lucrece, Venus and
Adonis, and the Elegy by W.S.  Thorpe certainly had good reasons and
most importantly financial reasons to be ironic and witty.

It might be very instructive to read Professor Foster's Book's argument
entitled "The Case For William Shakespeare"pp80 and change it to read
"The Case For Thomas Thorpe". Certainly the Dedication to The Elegy By
W.S., as well as the truly awful poem itself, were meant to be IRONIC.
It is a SATIRE. The poem was published to be sold for English pence. The
idea that the author (Strachey, Ford and certainly not Shakespeare) paid
for the publication out of his own pocket is not credible. The only
reason for its publication was to make money out of an incredible bit of
news that Thorpe and his friends believed could be exploited. William
Peter after a day of drunken carousing and while riding on horseback was
murdered.  He was stabbed by a short sword through the back of the head
by Edward Drew who later escaped from custody. (I will not vouch for the
suggestion that Drew ran off to Virginia to help found America!)

These dedications are not secret messages. They are just encrusted with
interpretations from people who can not get a joke

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 29 May 2005 13:24:26 -0400
Subject: 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1024 The Genius of Shakespeare

Basch's cryptograms remind me of the cyphers which Nashe (he of the
beautiful mind) fancied he saw in newspaper headlines.  And Nashe admits
to paranoid schizophrenia.

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Antony and Cleopatra's Worm

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1028  Tuesday, 31 May 2005

From:           Joseph Egert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 29 May 2005 21:54:14 +0000
Subject: Antony and Cleopatra's Worm
Comment:        SHK 16.0994 Antony and Cleopatra's Worm

Jack Heller writes, "Here, I think, the bawdiness is fully intended."

Heller and Bevington are exactly right.

To reiterate: in Shakespeare (as Freud would be the first to admit), a
cigar/worm is never just a cigar/worm. To the London audience of the
day, many of them frequenting the neighborhood stews and pubs, the
phallic association of worm/aspic with coition would be immediate and
dominant. Death and orgasm were intimately linked to this lusty lot, not
to be denied their cakes and ale despite the thunderings of their
preachers. As Bevington notes, the scene is suffused with "erotic
violence." Cleopatra will become a morsel not for the monarch Caesar but
for the emperor worm, the organ of both life and death.

Regards,
Joe Egert

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About Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1029  Tuesday, 31 May 2005

From:           D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 May 2005 11:50:10 -0500
Subject:        About Hamlet

Edmund Taft writes,

"Erasmus's views on kingship seem to me to have had a profound effect."
I had already gathered that, but I wished to see some evidence.
"Elizabeth and James . . . practiced a policy of tending to their own
gardens."

If the discussion is of Elizabeth and James, as opposed to Renaissance
monarchs generally, then that is a different issue. I was thinking of
the latter, as best I could summon my limited knowledge of rulers in
France, Spain, Italy, Germany, etc., as well as England and Scotland.

We could go into the question of whether England's policy toward Ireland
displays the difference between bad Medieval and good Renaissance
attitudes, and whether the pacific policies of the two monarchs
mentioned had more to do with comparative national weakness, than
superior morality, but frankly I haven't the energy for it.

Likewise: "As for friendship, it's hard to imagine that anyone in the
middle ages would or could write "On Friendship," as Michel de Montaigne
did."

I don't see this as evidence that would justify the broad generalization
about Medieval attitudes toward friendship.

My view is influenced by items like the following, a list (quoted) of
suggested topics for the 38th International Congress on Medieval
Studies, 8-11 May 2003, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo,
Michigan: "Medieval Friendship"

* idealized same-sex friendship
* sworn brotherhood (e.g., Amis and Amiloun)
* chivalric friendship (comradeship in arms)
* monastic friendship and/or friendship with God
* marital friendship
* friendship and sexuality
* queer friendship
* friendship and courtliness
* friendship and patronage
* the politics of friendship
* the influence of classical ideals of friendship (e.g., from Aristotle,
Cicero) in the Middle Ages

I could, of course, be wrong, but my impression is that friendship was
of extreme importance in the Middle Ages. I would hazard a guess that
Montaigne, Spenser and Shakespeare were more likely trying to maintain
an admired tradition what was, perhaps, getting lost than starting
something wholly new.

Does anyone out there know of some recent scholarship on this subject
(that is, the attitude toward friendship in the Middle Ages) that I
could consult?

Cheers,
don

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First Falstaff [Was Gambon as Falstaff]

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1027  Tuesday, 31 May 2005

From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 30 May 2005 14:46:15 +0100
Subject: 16.1018 First Falstaff [Was Gambon as Falstaff]
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1018 First Falstaff [Was Gambon as Falstaff]

Holger Schott Syme wrote,

 >I'm not absolutely sold on the identification
 >of the Falstaff in the _Wits_ frontispiece as
 >Lowin (just as I don't necessarily believe that
 >Tamburlaine illustration depicts Alleyn), though
 >it's not implausible.

You're right to be sceptical. In Theatre Notebook 47 (1993) pages 122-40
John Astington demolished the authority for the former and in
Shakespeare Quarterly 44 (1993) pages 73-86 he did the same for the latter.

Regards
Gabriel Egan


_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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