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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: September ::
Last Words
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0792  Thursday, 14 September 2006

[Editor's Note: These are the last two posts I will accept on these 
subjects, rolling his eyes and sorry he did not hit the delete key -Hardy]

[1] 	From: 	Bill Lloyd <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 12 Sep 2006 14:08:08 EDT
	Subj: 	Hamlet's Age

[2] 	From: 	Michael B. Luskin <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 12 Sep 2006 14:52:05 EDT
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0783 Borges Comment


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bill Lloyd <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 12 Sep 2006 14:08:08 EDT
Subject: 	Hamlet's Age

Charles Cathcart has recently argued, in 'Hamlet: Date and Early 
Afterlife' [Review of English Studies Vol.52, No.207 (2001), pp. 
341-59], that Shakespeare's Hamlet may have been written as early as 
1599, instead of the more commonly accepted 1600-01.

We now know that Richard Burbage was christened 7 July 1568, and would 
have turned 31 in July 1599, so in 1599-1600 he would have been '30 
yeares or thereaboute'. People at that time were sometimes vague about 
their age, probably not knowing exactly when they were born. Examples 
could be cited from depositions in lawsuits where the deponent describes 
himself as being a certain age in one interrogatory, and a year or two 
older or younger in another interrogatory just a few days later.

So it's possible that Shakespeare didn't 'mean' anything by making 
Hamlet appearing to be 30-- he was just suiting the role to the player. 
The character Hamlet is clearly meant to be young-ish, but exactly what 
age doesn't really matter. If Burbage was feeling a bit creaky in 1599 
or 1601 then no doubt he acted younger, just as when playing King Lear 
at the age of 37 he acted older. After all he was an actor.

Bill Lloyd

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Michael B. Luskin <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 12 Sep 2006 14:52:05 EDT
Subject: 17.0783 Borges Comment
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0783 Borges Comment

I am a little appalled, slightly more amused, that the posting elicited 
comment.  I sent it ONLY as a joke, I had a vision of Hardy Cook rolling 
his eyes, knitting his brow, and smiling sardonically, before hitting 
the delete key.  Please, about this.  I thought it was FUNNY.  I only 
regret that the usual suspects did not rise to the worm.

Michael B. Luskin

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