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Home :: Archive :: 2011 :: November ::
Thomas of Woodstock

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0289  Thursday, 3 November 2011

 

[1] From:         Donald Bloom < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         October 28, 2011 8:52:17 AM EDT

     Subject:      Re: Woodstock

 

[2] From:         Michael Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         October 31, 2011 3:29:30 PM EDT

     Subject:      Woodstock

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Donald Bloom < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         October 28, 2011 8:52:17 AM EDT

Subject:      Re: Woodstock

 

Bob Grumman writes:

 

To Donald Bloom, who thinks a moratorium might be in order concerning Woodstock, I have to say, “Aw, don’t be a spoilsport.”  (Unfortunately, I‘m the sort who loves exchanges as beastly as this one, or worse.)

 

Well, if this hadn't been going on for so long with so little new being said but so much vituperative excess expressed, I would accept the rebuke as probably accurate. But it has. And I have grown tired of it. To this point he may well say, "Well, don't read these posts." I try not to, but they are like a noisy party upstairs and very hard to ignore when they keep crowding in on these columns.

 

But he needn't worry. The party doesn't sound like ending even though the morn in russet mantle clad walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill.

 

Cheers,

don

 

p.s. Perhaps I should have flown into a furious rage, insulted his intelligence, his integrity and his mother, and bet him a million new guineas that I could prove he was an idiot. Then we could have a barroom brawl of our own. 

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:         Michael Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         October 31, 2011 3:29:30 PM EDT

Subject:      Woodstock

 

1. Macdonald Jackson

 

I sometimes feel Mac Jackson and I inhabit different universes. He says in his most recent email that he has never claimed that the so-called Woodstock MS (aka 1 Richard II) is in Rowley’s hand.

 

But that’s just not true. I quote from his article in The Oxfordian 2010, p. 98:

 

“The Woodstock MS’s old-fashioned spelling of some nouns, verbs, adjectives, and so on is closely paralleled in Rowley’s own letters to Henslowe . . . One such link is closer than I had recognized. I mentioned Rowley’s curious use, in his letters to Henslowe, of capital I/J in mid-sentence Jn, Js, and Jt and linked this habit with the frequency in the Woodstock manuscript of initial and even me­dial capital I. But I failed to notice that the specific In, Is and It all occur in Woodstock, when be­ginning neither sentences nor verse lines.”

 

In other words we know the MS is in Rowley’s hand because of its “curious” use of capital I/J in mid-sentence Jn, Js, and Jt and even medial capital I, etc. It was convenient for Jackson to make this claim earlier; now that it is not, in the light of the evidence I’ve presented, we have a new theory: the copyist followed Rowley’s anachronisms and orthographic quirks.

 

Actually these “old-fashioned” spellings, etc., are there because the MS is based on an old MS with 16-century spellings and usages. In this context, Jackson also dishonestly claims that he has dealt with A.C  Partridge’s evidence for the manuscript’s orthographic  “stratifications,” that is,  its overlays of 17th-century usages upon a 16th century text. But again, that’s just not true. He has never done so. Merely asserting that Partridge is wrong is not enough. Whatever Jackson’s heart-felt asseverations, all of Partridge’s data support the conclusion that the MS is a 17th-centrury copy of a 16th-century drama. Interested readers should check Partridge's limpid analysis. Once again, I challenge Jackson to rebut Partridge’s work properly, because that’s where the truth is to be found. He needs to publish a full-length study in an academic journal. I hereby offer him space in The Oxfordian.

 

2. Bob Grumman 

 

Bob Grumman clearly inhabits the same alien world as Jackson. He says that I should allow someone who hasn’t read my book to argue with me about its contents. This is insanity. I’m willing to discuss my data with anyone but since it is so voluminous and detailed it’s only worth doing so after they’ve reviewed it.

 

 If Grumman wants to debate the accuracy of my evidence he’ll have to show me where it's wrong. I can’t and won’t deal with what I call “argument by adjective,”—“ridiculous,” “absurd,” etc.

 

3. Gerald Downs

 

Gerald Downs vividly demonstrates the above point. He says that “the attribution case is premature without study of the artefact’s derivation, which begins outside Michael Egan's edition (and its critics).” Obviously he too has not read my book. Of course the attribution case must include “a study of the artefact’s derivation.” I encourage him to review the extensive information my General Introduction plus my essay “A Short History of the Text” in Volume III.

 

Downs is apparently unaware that it was common for copyists to transcribe MSS without assigning speech-heads. The dramatist put them in later—obviously he would know who said what. In the case of 1 Richard II/ Woodstock he also edited quite noticeably, as my close discussion of the artefact’s derivation clearly demonstrates.

 

4. Peter Groves

 

Peter Groves tries to pretend that “appar’l,” spoken in two syllables, despite the apostrophe, is a recognizable word. I don’t care whether it sounds like ‘apple’ or not. The facts are that other than the needs to make a case there is no justification for suggesting that the word “apparel” is meant to be slurred. Apple or apparl,  an audience would be scratching its head over the meaning of the word (a very important one) and I don’t believe any dramatist, even third-rate Sam Rowley, would sacrifice comprehension just to meet some kind of rhythmic technicality no one cared about until Mac Jackson needed it to strengthen his case. The same goes for the syllables and indeed whole words Jackson simply eliminates because they screw up his count, not to mention his tortured “nasal assonantal rhymes” theory, which tries to show that non-rhyming words actually sound the same if you force them through your nose. BTW, at the same time Rowley is pulling off these extraordinry technical feats he is elsewhere dismissed as a plagiarizing hack who stole hand over fist from Shakespeare.

 

Finally, I challenge him or any one else to comprehensibly speak "Excellent Tresilian! /Noble Lord Chief Justice!" to scan with "Once More into the breach, dear friends, once more!"

 

5. Gabriel Egan

 

As for Gabriel Egan, I do indeed, in his own words, “accuse [him] of misleading people by omitting a pertinent detail.” Pertinent is an understatement. Moreover, the omission was deliberate, with a lot more additional “misleading” beside. Gabriel needs to apologise to me and make amends and corrections. He already has my list.

 

Michael Egan

 

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