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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: June ::
Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0521  Thursday, 1 June 2006

From: 		Abigail Quart <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 31 May 2006 19:58:52 -0400
Subject: 17.0514 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0514 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

Ed Taft asks if Shakespeare would write his correspondence in Latin. 
After spending all his working hours discovering the vivacious potential 
of English, including its delicious punability with French, Latin, and 
what-have-you, Shakespeare would switch over to a linguistic corpse in 
order to efficiently communicate with friends (all educated?), family 
(all educated?), neighbors (all educated?), and acquaintances (all 
educated?)? Do we really believe that the man who gently laughed at 
educational pretensions in his comedies was such a snob as to require 
Latin in all those to whom he wrote?

But say he was a snob. I seem to remember reading a letter of Richard 
III's about Jane Shore, definitely written in English. If English kings 
were writing in English, would even an English snob have the effrontery 
to correspond in Latin?

But say he had the effrontery to correspond in Latin. Would he be 
completely unafraid to appear as one who preferred the language of 
Catholicism? Because Latin was the language of the Catholic Church. 
Nobody else had any use for it at all.

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