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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Word against Word
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0082  Wednesday, 1 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Vick Bennison <
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	Date: 	Sunday, 26 Feb 2006 13:08:58 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0066 Word against Word

[2] 	From: 	JD Markel <
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	Date: 	Sunday, 26 Feb 2006 18:19:02 -0800 (PST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0066 Word against Word

[3] 	From: 	Sarah Cohen <
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	Date: 	Monday, 27 Feb 2006 09:46:12 -0800
	Subj: 	Word Against Word


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Vick Bennison <
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Date: 		Sunday, 26 Feb 2006 13:08:58 EST
Subject: 17.0066 Word against Word
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0066 Word against Word

I found the following quote from Hobbes' 1628 "On the Life and History 
of Thucydides":

Dionysius further findeth fault with his using to set word against word: 
which the rhetoricians call antitheta. Which, as it is in some kind of 
speech a very great vice, so is it not improper in characters: and of 
comparative discourses, it is almost the only style.

I see three usages:  1) seeming contradictions in Biblical writings (as 
is Bunyan's).  2) simple rhetorical antithesis (as in Hobbes').  And 3) 
the legal problem of one person's word against another when there are no 
other witnesses, the phrase "word against word" apparently being used 
very commonly in legal jargon to describe that, though how far back, I 
wouldn't know.

I'm no scholar and to tell you the truth, I can't quite figure out what 
Shakespeare's "the word itself against the word" is referring to in the 
two occurrences in Richard II.  Wouldn't mind a little enlightenment 
from someone there.

Vick Bennison

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		JD Markel <
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Date: 		Sunday, 26 Feb 2006 18:19:02 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 17.0066 Word against Word
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0066 Word against Word

Not usage but source or provenance.  Given the pardon/destroy 
antithesis, and Hobbes' intro to Thucydides which relates some ancient 
displeasure with antithetical wordplay

http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/HTML.php?recordID=0258.01

where Hobbes writes "word against word,"

the context for the Shakespeare phrases might be found in 
contemporaneous discussions on rhetoric.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sarah Cohen <
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Date: 		Monday, 27 Feb 2006 09:46:12 -0800
Subject: 	Word Against Word

I found the following reference in the LION database. I hope it helps.

Scott, Thomas. From Foure Paradoxes (1602). Artes irritamenta malorum.

Farewell vncertaine Art, whose deepest skill
  Begetts dissentions, and ambiguous strife,
  When (like a windy bladder) thou dost fill,
  The braine with groundles hopes, & shades of life.
  When thou dost set the word, against the word,
  And woundst our iudgment with Opinions sword.

Sarah Cohen

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