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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Roses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1297  Friday, 5 August 2005

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Aug 2005 07:17:27 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1291 Roses

[2]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Aug 2005 17:57:38 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.1291 Roses


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Aug 2005 07:17:27 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1291 Roses
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1291 Roses

Peter Bridgman writes, "Whoever commissioned the first 17 Sonnets wanted
the marriage. In 1590, when Henry was seventeen, his guardian Lord
Burghley (Henry had been forcibly removed from his Catholic mother and
Southampton House to be brought up a Protestant) tried to marry off his
fifteen year old grand-daughter Elizabeth Vere to the young Earl.
Henry's mother Mary, who was in favour of the marriage, probably
contacted Shakespeare, through a mutual Catholic acquaintance, to
commission these Sonnets.  As it turned out, after secretly taking
advice from Shakespeare's cousin, the Jesuit St. Robert Southwell, Henry
refused the marriage offer and moved back in with his mother at
Southampton House."

I want to hear more.  As any good reader of history knows, much of
history comes from corollary evidence, and becomes evidence about the
principal.  And especially in the case of Will Shakespeare in which most
of what we know is outlined in Schoenbaum and needs detective work and
amplification.  So, let's plough this furrow [ ! ]

For instance, how does all this square with the dates and places known
about the Earl and the dates and places known about the sonnets.  The
*Who* of the sonnets can be explicated by the journalistic rules of who,
what, where, when and why.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Aug 2005 17:57:38 +0100
Subject: 16.1291 Roses
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.1291 Roses

Dear All,

Something that may be relevant to this discussion:

Shakespeare was born in 1564 and educated at a Grammar School in Stratford.

He therefore knew well the practices of rhetoric from childhood, the
aims of which in poetry are (in the immortal words of Dr. Johnson) 'to
instruct by pleasing'.

To quote from Brian Vickers' book on the subject of rhetoric, a relevant
detail to refute the idea that much of Shakespeare's poetry reveals some
sort of post-romantic (ahistorical) expression of the poet's deepest
'feelings' (shudder here) the classical-medieval-renaissance concept of
literary composition was of a deliberate process involving a plan, a
definite aim, and a distinct range of emotional effects on the audience.
"The creative process is, as ever so far, still an objective one,
concerned with the work not the writer: 'it occurs to no one that a
writer will set out to express the reactions of his sensibility for
their own sake'"

Moreover, Shakespeare was writing a SONNET sequence - a unique and
carefully ordered set of FORMULAIC utterance which has more precedent in
the traditions of love poetry, rhetoric and artiface (Petrarch, Wyatt et
al) than in the direct communication of some sort of modern expression
of unique sensibility.

As I said elsewhere on a similar point, remember, Dr. Johnson is always
right.

All best,
Marcus

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