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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: February ::
Shakespeare's Style
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0123  Sunday, 24 February 2008

[1] 	From:	Jan Hammerquist <
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	Date:	Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 16:02:12 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

[2] 	From:	Bob Grumman <
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	Date:	Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 17:22:03 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

[3] 	From:	David Basch <
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	Date:	Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 11:50:09 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

[4] 	From:	Jacqueline Mullender <
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	Date:	Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 17:47:30 +0000
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

[5] 	From:	Jacqueline Mullender <
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	Date:	Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 21:08:43 +0000
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Jan Hammerquist <
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Date:		Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 16:02:12 -0500
Subject: 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

Language, yes, but how far will grammatical analyses take us? 
Syntactical or semantic constraints being often collaborators with a 
certain way of thinking, one should also consider language's link to 
mind, picture the level of imagination required for a Shakespeare to 
fuse sound and meaning through a sense of difference and association. 
Thus we cannot analyze from only within in a structuralist frame, but 
should also infer something of a radical sense of reality which, when 
coupled with a language mastery (something Jonson and Marlow also had, 
so linguistics isn't everything to set WS apart), creates a kind of 
conceptual music.

I would suggest Shelley's essay; some good excerpts are here: 
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/defence.html

Jan Hammerquist

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Bob Grumman <
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Date:		Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 17:22:03 -0500
Subject: 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

I guess I have to reply to this thread. I resisted because I didn't feel 
I had time to even begin saying everything I'd want to. Now, though, I'm 
just going to say one of them: to understand what makes Shakespeare a 
great poet, is easy: you simply determine what makes any poet great. Of 
course, each great poet has a unique personality that has to come 
through, and uses the tricks of the trade in different proportions, but 
basically they all do the same thing. Bardolators will not accept that, 
though. (Note: I'm speaking of traditional poetry only; it is of course, 
a new ballgame when we get into such poetries as language and visual 
poetry.)

--Bob G.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		David Basch <
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Date:		Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 11:50:09 -0500
Subject: 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

Concerning the discussions of the use of stylometric means of 
determining authorship, I must comment that these obviously are not 
always conclusive.  For example, Donald Foster's attempt to use such 
techniques to identify a "Funeral Elegy" as authored by Shakespeare's 
turned out to be dead wrong.

Stylometry is clearly not at the diagnostic level of DNA and its use, 
effective enough to reveal a writer of the caliber of Joe Klein, should 
be taken with a grain of salt, considered of interest but not 
definitive.  Authors whose works are marked by great complexity that 
include communication through such things as tone, meaning, and wide 
allusion simply cannot be boiled down to numbers.

This seems to be the case for the use of stylometric techniques for 
identifying "A Louvers complaint" (ALC). Such methods are too mechanical 
and crude to take account of the intangibles of style and meaning for 
which only human sensibility is adequate.

I do not consider myself an expert on such stylistic things, but my 
readings of ALC make me impressed by its vocabulary, which the writer 
manages to admirably integrate into his fluid lines, a skill and 
capacity that seem worthy of a Shakespeare. Besides, the poem is 
by-lined by Shakespeare. Hence skeptics about the poet's authorship are 
impugning Thomas Thorpe's character and accepting what is only 
speculation that Shakespeare had nothing to do with this publication.

No doubt, Brian Vickers brought forward evidence of the existence in ALC 
of parallel elements in the verse lines of his proposed candidate for 
authorship. But even this must be taken with great caution since others 
have reported how many themes in the Sonnets are commentaries and 
"parodies" of the lines and themes of earlier sonneteers and no one 
claims that these others wrote the Sonnets.

David Basch

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Jacqueline Mullender <
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Date:		Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 17:47:30 +0000
Subject: 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

As others have said, a complex and elusive issue, Jason. My 
fourpenn'orth would be to suggest that you look at literary stylistics - 
aka literary linguistics, as a source of potential linguistic tools. I'm 
thinking of writers such as Michael Toolan, Mick Short, Geoffrey Leech, 
Paul Simpson -once into this field you will fnd the rest through their 
bibliographies. I discovered them through a masters course in Literary 
Linguistics, which I would recommend.

Also, Shakespeare authorship studies identifies numerous specific 
features of Shakespeare's style (in order to distinguish him from his 
co-writers / collaborators), and I recommend Brian Vickers' Shakespeare 
Co-Author as an excellent survey of the field.

New work in computational stylistics is emerging all the time, 
especially in the interdisciplinary interface between linguistics and 
Shakes. studies, so keep your eyes peeled for more!

Hope this helps,
Jacquie Mullender

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Jacqueline Mullender <
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Date:		Thursday, 21 Feb 2008 21:08:43 +0000
Subject: 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0113 Shakespeare's Style

A further thought: Norman Blake's (2002) book A Grammar of Shakespeare's 
Language would be a very useful addition to the toolbox for your quest, 
as might Jonathan Hope's (2003) Shakespeare's Grammar. The former gives 
some good detail on style, from a linguistic perspective.

I also recommend Vivian Salmon and Edwina Burness 'Reader in the 
Language of Shakespearean Drama' (1987) and 'Reading Shakespeare's 
Dramatic Language', edited by Adamson, Hunter, Magnusson, Thomopson and 
Wales (2001).

Jacquie Mullender

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