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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
About Hamlet [Was Dating Hamlet]
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0995  Wednesday, 25 May 2005

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 May 2005 12:07:11 -0400
        Subj:   Dating Hamlet

[2]     From:   Elliott Stone <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 May 2005 16:19:51 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0985 Dating Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 May 2005 12:07:11 -0400
Subject:        Dating Hamlet

I think Don Bloom feels backed into a corner; he writes, rather petulantly,

"It is most kind of ET to clear up my puzzlements, but in this case he
hasn't. In four words: I don't believe it. I would like to see his
sources for both judgments: (1) that friendship was not a cardinal
virtue in the Middle Ages; (2) that it became one in England only as a
result of the Fairie Queene."

Now this isn't exactly what I said, but it will do. Friendship is
extolled even over heterosexual love in the early Shakespeare and in
Montaigne, and Spenser makes it a necessary attribute for fashioning a
gentleman. What more do you want? If you read my post, I didn't deny
that friendship existed in the Middle Ages. How could it not exist? But
Don conveniently ignores the heart of the matter: the way Hamlet in the
first part of the play exhibits an expanded notion of friendship that
crosses traditional boundaries of rank and class. That would hold true
even if there was not a new, humanistic emphasis on the virtues of
cultivating friendship.

That Erasmus had zero influence on English humanism, given his
friendship with More, is an incredible comment. What are YOUR sources, Don?

Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elliott Stone <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 May 2005 16:19:51 -0400
Subject: 16.0985 Dating Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0985 Dating Hamlet

It has always seemed to me that Hamlet is not the author of the love
letter to Ophelia. Polonius is very anxious that Hamlet is to be thought
to be in love with his daughter. It would make sense to look at the
letter in terms of Hamlet's speech, character and personality and then
compare it to Polonius' speech with its overblown verbosity and
circuitous digressions.  Polonius loves to gild the lily which is just
what this letter does.

This test might confirm my suspicions.

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

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