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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: June ::
Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0531  Monday, 5 June 2006

[1] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Friday, 2 Jun 2006 14:19:14 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

[2] 	From: 	Jack Heller <
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	Date: 	Friday, 2 Jun 2006 21:13:28 -0400 (EDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's 'Small Latin and Less Greek'

[3] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 3 Jun 2006 10:32:53 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

[4] 	From: 	John Crowley <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 03 Jun 2006 08:18:20 -0400
	Subj: 	Shakespeare's Latin

[5] 	From: 	David Evett <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 3 Jun 2006 16:40:52 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0514 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

[6] 	From: 	Jim Carroll <
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	Date: 	Sunday, 04 Jun 2006 02:06:25 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

[7] 	From: 	Abigail Quart <
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	Date: 	Monday, 5 Jun 2006 02:17:07 -0400
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Friday, 2 Jun 2006 14:19:14 -0400
Subject: 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

Abigail Quart needs to have a look at J. W. Binns, *Intellectual Culture 
in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: the Latin Writings of the Age,* for 
a lively and deeply learned effort to restore the actual balance between 
the relative values assigned to Latin and vernacular texts in 
Shakespeare's England.

David Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jack Heller <
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Date: 		Friday, 2 Jun 2006 21:13:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 17.0527 Shakespeare's 'Small Latin and Less Greek'
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's 'Small Latin and Less Greek'

At the risk of extending a thread which has probably been exhausted . . 
.  I wouldn't take for granted that workers in the theater had no use 
for Latin. We have extended Latin passages in plays by Marlowe, Jonson, 
and Middleton, and for those who want to assert that Latin was primarily 
used by Catholics-that would not explain Middleton's use of the language.

Jack Heller

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Saturday, 3 Jun 2006 10:32:53 +0100
Subject: 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

Carol Barton writes ...

 >The likelihood that Shakespeare would have written private
 >correspondence in Latin is little, however, since (as you
 >correctly point out) there would have been few people in
 >Shakespeare's sphere of influence who could have read
 >it--assuming he could write it.

Another strange statement.  SHAKSPERians seem to be unaware that English 
grammar schools taught Latin grammar, not English grammar.  If anyone in 
Shakespeare's 'sphere of influence' was lucky enough to have had an 
education, that education was in Latin.

Peter Bridgman

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Crowley <
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Date: 		Saturday, 03 Jun 2006 08:18:20 -0400
Subject: 	Shakespeare's 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.

As I'm sure many correspondents will note, this is entirely wrong. Latin 
was then and would remain until the 18th century the international 
language of scholarship, jurisprudence, and what we now call science. 
Until late in the 17th century much of the correspondence of the Royal 
Society was in Latin.  Strong anti-Catholics from Bruno to Newton used 
Latin for every purpose.  Bacon wrote his "casuals" in English, but his 
works intended to last in Latin.  In the late 20th century one of the 
unfortunate rock-dropping miners in Beyond the Fringe says he once 
thought he'd rather have been a judge, but he "never had the Latin for 
it." For all that, I'm also of the opinion that Shakespeare didn't, and 
had no reason to, write many personal letters in Latin. The Paston 
family a century earlier, a rising gentry family like Shakespeare's, 
didn't.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Evett <
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Date: 		Saturday, 3 Jun 2006 16:40:52 -0400
Subject: 17.0514 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0514 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

A propos dismissal of Shakespeare on grounds of inadequate education I 
am surprised that nobody has so far pointed to the well-documented and 
widely discussed contempt of university-educated writers (e.g. Greene, 
Peele, Nashe) for mere theatrical hacks like Shakespeare--expressed in 
some of the plays of the War of the Theaters, in pamphlets, and in the 
two parts of *The Return from Parnassus"* (though in Part II Burbage and 
Kempe are given a chance to state their preference for the work of 
Shakespeare and Jonson over that of their university-educated rivals, 
and to recruit a pair of university wits as possible actors and 
playwrights, the two wits immediately express their unwillingness to 
stoop so low, and prefer to try their fortune first as mere musicians, 
and then as shepherds).

Philomusically,
David Evett

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jim Carroll <
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Date: 		Sunday, 04 Jun 2006 02:06:25 -0400
Subject: 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

I gave the html address of page 71 of Baldwin's book, but it looks like 
I'll have to be more explicit for Ed Taft. Here is part of a paragraph 
from that page:

 >"[Richard Quiney's brother-in-law] Mr. Abraham Sturley,
 >who was also an alderman, frequently intermixed long
 >Latin paragraphs in his letters to him, several of
 >which I have read: nay, on one occasion I have found
 >an entire Latin letter addressed to him; and Mr. Sturley
 >certainly would not have written what his brother could
 >not understand."

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

So, we have two adults communicating by letter in Latin, not just a 
child writing an exercise. The obvious reasons to write in Latin are 1. 
to practice Latin and 2. for privacy, since most of the hands through 
which the letters would pass on their way to the recipient would not be 
able to read Latin, if they could read at all. So for Stanley Welles to 
comment to the effect that Shakespeare "may" have written a letter in 
Latin does not seem strange or surprising to me at all, unless I'm 
missing something obvious. It's not as if Welles had said "Shakespeare 
certainly MUST have written letters in Latin."

Jim Carroll

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Abigail Quart <
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Date: 		Monday, 5 Jun 2006 02:17:07 -0400
Subject: 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0527 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

I stand corrected. I was embarrassingly wrong. For nearly forty years 
I've had a one-way impression of the Renaissance as a time when classic 
works were busily translated out of Latin into vernacular and it never 
occurred to me how shallow and incomplete that was. Since I'm always 
happier knowing more than less, I'm grateful for the correction, despite 
the well-earned personal humiliation.

That said, getting back to the original topic of this thread, William 
Shakespeare was a hard-working commercial playwright specializing in the 
English vernacular, not a scholar, not a university man. If human beings 
were the same then as now, I have to wonder what might have been said if 
William had had the "effrontery" to even attempt a correspondence in 
Latin.  "Small Latin and less Greek"?

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