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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: May ::
Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0507  Friday, 26 May 2006

[1] 	From: 	Bob Lapides <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 25 May 2006 11:36:34 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0499 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

[2] 	From: 	Jim Carroll <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 25 May 2006 11:53:52 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0499 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Lapides <
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Date: 		Thursday, 25 May 2006 11:36:34 EDT
Subject: 17.0499 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0499 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

I've read Baldwin, and I understand how one careless statement 
eventually led to bigger mistakes in this regard, but I don't get why so 
many of Shakespeare's contemporaries and near-contemporaries (who knew 
enough to know better) would claim he had but "small Latin" and was 
relatively uneducated in other matters as well.

In the 19C, something similar happened with Charles Dickens, who was 
attacked by certain of his critics for being uneducated. This claim was 
to some degree true, but it was often irrelevant to his great 
achievement, and it was put forward by those with a particular bias, 
that is, by those who thought the mass appeal of such a powerful writer 
threatened their own literary, social or political values.

What I'm wondering about is this: Were those who criticized 
Shakespeare's supposed want of education motivated by some political 
agenda? Was the question of his knowledge of the accepted rules of drama 
and of classical literature really an argument about social background, 
one that became increasingly important in the class conflicts of the 17C 
and later?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Bob Lapides

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jim Carroll <
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Date: 		Thursday, 25 May 2006 11:53:52 -0400
Subject: 17.0499 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0499 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

I don't know why there are so many doubts concerning Shakespeare's 
knowledge of Latin, but he surely knew at least as much as his 
middle-class neighbors (and in-laws), the Quineys. Baldwin discusses the 
evidence from their letters here:

http://durer.press.uiuc.edu/baldwin/vol.1/html/71.html

Jim Carroll

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