Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0521 Thursday, 1 June 2006
From: Abigail Quart <
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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