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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: October ::
Shakespeare and Greek Tragedy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1683  Tuesday, 4 October 2005

From: 		John W. Velz <
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Date: 		Saturday, 01 Oct 2005 17:23:13 -0500
Subject: 	Shakespeare and Greek Tragedy

Shakespeare and Greek Tragedy

Some of Euripides was translated into Latin early in the sixteenth 
century and it has been argued that Shakespeare had access to Euripides 
through these Latin translations.  Start with Emrys Jones, <The Origins 
of Shakespeare>, Oxford: Clarendon, 1977, chapters 1, 3 and 4.  The 
first chapter, "A Tudor Genius", is about the high standards of Tudor 
literacy and how they influenced Shakespeare.  Chapters 3 and 4 are 
about Euripides' influence on Shakespeare.  The whole book is excellent 
and anyone interested in the intellectual life of the sixteenth century 
can profit from reading it entire.  It is not Shakespeare's ability to 
deal with Greek that should concern us, but his fluency in Latin.  After 
7 years at The King's New School at Stratford, Shakespeare would have 
been very comfortable in Latin.  He had worked his way through the whole 
of the <Metamorphoses>, for instance, and he shows knowledge of the 
original and of Golding's translation in many places in the canon. 
Golding was almost certainly used as a trot for the boys at Stratford. 
 From day 1 at the School, instruction and student response were 
entirely in Latin.

All best,
John W. Velz

P.S.  For those of my friends who have heard rumors of my illness, it is 
true that I have cancer and am undergoing radiation treatment for it and 
expecting surgery five weeks after the radiation is finished in another 
three weeks.  Chances of survival are well above 90% in this regimen in 
a case like mine.  As Mark Twain once said, reports of my demise are 
premature.

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