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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: February ::
Harry, Hal, Henry
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0117  Wednesday, 20 February 2008

[1] 	From:	Harry Connors <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 19 Feb 2008 01:59:14 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0110 Harry, Hal, Henry

[2] 	From:	David Crosby <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 19 Feb 2008 13:32:39 -0600
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0110 Harry, Hal, Henry


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Harry Connors <
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Date:		Tuesday, 19 Feb 2008 01:59:14 +0000
Subject: 19.0110 Harry, Hal, Henry
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0110 Harry, Hal, Henry

First, a little personal history here. My given name is "Harry." It 
isn't "Henry," "Harold," or anything else. You'll find "Harry" on my 
birth certificate. Furthermore, I'm not the first in the family. My 
father and grandfather were both "Harrys." Therefore, when I was an 
infant, it was awkward for my parents to refer to me as "Harry." So, I 
was called "Skip." I didn't lose "Skip" until I went to college when, 
like Abigail, I introduced myself as "Harry." To this day, it is 
possible to tell whether someone knew me before college by whether they 
call me "Skip" or "Harry."

I suspect that Shakespeare imagines Hal/Harry/Henry using names much 
like that. Formally, he is "Henry." Friends, and people he wants to be 
friends with, use "Harry." Really privileged friends (and those, like 
Falstaff, who presume) use "Hal."

And, by the way, Hal, Harry, and Hank are all nicknames for Henry. They 
are not nicknames for Harold. Look it up. It's a sore subject for one 
who had to endure too many high school teachers who insisted that I was 
really a "Harold." Not one came up with the correct "Henry." None, 
apparently, knew their Shakespeare.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Crosby <
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Date:		Tuesday, 19 Feb 2008 13:32:39 -0600
Subject: 19.0110 Harry, Hal, Henry
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0110 Harry, Hal, Henry

Kudos to Don Bloom for bringing the discussion Henry V's nomenclature 
down to the solid earth of the text. His observation that only Falstaff 
and Poins call him Hal must be the starting point for any further 
discussion of the name's significance. All the other speculations seem 
fatuous or overblown until grounded in this way. I hope Don's example 
will inspire us all to make similar close readings.

Dave Crosby

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