Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

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

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0291  Tuesday, 8 November 2011

 

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

     Date:         November 3, 2011 7:11:58 PM EDT

     Subject:      RE: Woodstock

 

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

     Date:         November 3, 2011 9:09:54 PM EDT

     Subject:      Re: Woodstock {Corrected}

 

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

     Date:         November 4, 2011 7:00:14 AM EDT

     Subject:      Thomas of Woodstock

 

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

     Date:         November 4, 2011 8:24:45 AM EDT

     Subject:      Re: Woodstock {Corrected}

 

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

     Date:         November 4, 2011 5:45:09 PM EDT

     Subject:      RE: Woodstock {Corrected}

 

[6] From:         Gerald E. Downs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         November 6, 2011 1:00:04 AM EST

     Subject:      Re: Thomas of Woodstock

 

 

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

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

Date:         November 3, 2011 7:11:58 PM EDT

Subject:      RE: Woodstock

 

Just for the sake of verity, regarding apples:

 

M Egan wrote: ‘There’s just no evidence for the claim that the word apparel below should be contracted in to two syllables, as Mac Jackson asserts’.

 

Here’s some (from Bridewell): ‘Jane Trosse being taken in unsemely appell more manlyke than woman like and folowed from taverne to Taverne was brought into this house the ixth of Marche 1576’.

‘Ellis the glovers apprentices -- To each of them the like appell’ (30 March 1605).

 

Jane Trosse, mentioned by Nashe, was the most unruly woman in sixteenth-century London. You’ll be able to read all about her in my forthcoming book. You can read all about apparel given to Ellis the glover’s apprentices in the latest Malone Society Collections volume. Incidentally, the church of St. Thomas the Apostle was affectionately known as ‘St. Thomas the Apple’.

 

Duncan Salkeld

 

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

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

Date:         November 3, 2011 9:09:54 PM EDT

Subject:      Re: Woodstock {Corrected}

 

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

 

>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!"

 

A) Any pair of professional Shakespearean actors can read "Excellent Tresilian! / Noble Lord Chief Justice!" as pentameter. "Excellent" as in "Gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman." "Tresilian" in three syllable, as the play generally has it, though it sometimes has four, and is sometimes uncertain.

 

B) "Excellent Tresilian" is a feminine line, while "Once more" is a masculine line, so they cannot be spoken alike. Moreover, they are differently counterpointed; a better comparison would be, "Harry of Herford, Lancaster, and Derby...."  

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         November 4, 2011 7:00:14 AM EDT

Subject:      Thomas of Woodstock

 

According to Michael Egan, “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.” 

 

Actually, Michael, what I said was, “To Michael Egan, who said, ‘You seem to be saying that I belittle the opinions of people who argue with me without having actually read my book.  What would you have me do?’: I would have you admit that you were wrong to imply that a person has to have read a book in order to make intelligent comments about it.”  So, are you saying a person cannot have an intelligent opinion of a book he has not read, or do you agree that you were wrong to have implied that you did?  Thanks, by the way, for putting me in the same alien world as Jackson, but—I assure you—the world I’m in is much more alien than the one he’s in.

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         November 4, 2011 8:24:45 AM EDT

Subject:      Re: Woodstock {Corrected}

 

Michael Egan quotes Macdonald Jackson thus “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 . . . .”  He then says, "In other words we know the MS is in Rowley’s hand because of its 'curious' use" etc. etc. Jackson words are "is closely paralleled in" while Egan's are a simple "is in." 

 

Can we all agree that these do not mean the same thing? That deleting two words changes the claim from tentative to absolute?

 

I can understand Egan's efforts to get his theory accepted, but not his furious rages over small matters that end up like this.

 

Cheers,

don

 

p.s. Disregarding my own excellent advice, I have grabbed a six-pack out of the fridge and joined the party. I'm sure I'll regret it.

 

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         November 4, 2011 5:45:09 PM EDT

Subject:      RE: Woodstock {Corrected}

 

It's probably futile to comment on Michael Egan's comments, for it only prolongs the increasingly empty discussion. But I really can't let pass the following:

 

"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!""

 

Egan clearly believes - and his comments in his many postings on SHAKSPER about this are absolutely consistent - that all blank verse is scanned as iambic pentameter. It isn't. Try scanning Lear's "Never, never, never, never, never" (in which no foot is an iamb). Blank verse would be as dull a dramatic verse form as the hexameter if all its lines scanned in exactly the same way. "Excellent Tresilian etc" is a perfectly good blank verse with a feminine ending and I'll willingly record a version to show Egan why. But its rhythm won't be the same as "Once more...". If identity with a simple iambic pentameter really is the Egan test, then a great deal of Shakespeare's verse would fail.

 

Peter Holland

 

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         November 6, 2011 1:00:04 AM EST

Subject:      Re: Thomas of Woodstock

 

I'll add some notes to the Woodstock discussion (before it's too late). Donald Bloom observes:

 

>Well, if this hadn't been going on for so long with so little new being

>said but so much vituperative excess expressed . . . . But it has.

>And I have grown tired of it. To this point [Grumman] 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.

 

Well, the vituperation comes from Michael Egan, to which others respond less in kind. However Woodstock is raised, it is an important topic; after all, Jackson's articles began independently of Egan. Manuscripts are few and should be discussed. I've raised (on this thread) collateral issues that are "new" in many respects.

 

How does one try not to read without succeeding? When Grumman tries not to read he's good at it. I agree if anyone suggests that the various topics be separated by e-mails with appropriate titles; the present format is not the best. And why not refuse to publish the name-calling? Speaking of which, Egan's responses to his critics leave something else to be desired; namely, answers. Perhaps he is not interested in discussing his topic more than to hijack it by a kind of obfuscation. In the mean-time, he may get persons not otherwise inclined to feel sorry for Oxfordians; they once had a journal of their own. Egan notes:

 

>[Jackson] says . . . he has never claimed that the . . . Woodstock

>MS . . . 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 . . ." 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;

 

But Jackson doesn't claim the ms. is holograph. Egan takes that step himself in order to berate another for it. The assumption that copyists relayed spellings and whatnot is as old as the hills and probably right. Not that much can be made of it, for various reasons. For example, Egan cites Jackson on

 

>"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.”

 

>Actually these “old-fashioned” spellings, etc., are there because the

>MS is based on an old MS with 16-century spellings and usages.

 

More actually, such evidence is worth little. The same collection of plays as Woodstock contains the 1620's holograph (almost certainly Heywood), The Captives. It is full of capital I's and C's. The reason is not really idiosyncratic but practical. The i n m u (and other) minims were confusing; if one throws in a big eye a bit of the confusion is eased, especially initially. The same goes for the C, whose little version was easily misread. I guess the habit was widespread amongst casual copyists but I would not guess authors or dates by it.

 

>Bob Grumman . . . says that I should allow someone who

>hasn’t read my book to argue with me about its contents.

>This is insanity.

 

I'm nearly convinced. But I agree with Grumman on this one. M. Egan's book is repetitive and overloaded with extraneous matter. For that reason his case is no worse in his shorter essays.

 

>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

 

In my last post I cited Holinshed to correct some misstatements in Egan's book(s). He should discuss that, since it is important to his hypothesis. So Michael, were you wrong about the ambiguity of Richard Exton as mayor of London, and wrong about the mayor and Exton as two characters? Do you agree after all that the set direction was an error based on the dialogue? Does this mean the author was elsewhere?

 

>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.

 

I have read the book, or most of it. No one could read it all, but I've perused enough to know that the critical arguments are not made, but avoided in a sea of assertion.

 

>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.

 

Nothing short about it, except it falls that way.

 

>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.

 

I am long aware of the opinion that ascriptions were supplied after dialogue, and in some cases that is so, probably to avoid ink smears. In others I'm aware the copyists had to figure prefixes out. I don't remember reading that authors followed the scribes, or that authors wrote without speech headings; which, pointless and unlikely, would need some evidence. Again, look at The Captives; that's the authorial way.

 

But it's no good to assert something contrary to the evidence of the manuscript. The speech headings are late, confused, wrong, deleted, different inks and hands. Do we pick a hand, any hand, and build a house of cards? Michael, tell me how the evidence supports your view. As you say, mere assertion don't get it.

 

>In the case of . . . Woodstock he also edited quite noticeably, as my

>close discussion of the artefact’s derivation clearly demonstrates.

 

As in his short essays, Egan has no close discussion, just assertion: only the author . . . . But if I missed the discussion I'm sure Michael can quote it to us. I've only copied a few pages for fear of a lawsuit.

 

>Peter Groves tries to pretend that “appar’l,” . . .

 

Michael Egan lost this argument. He will lose it again, no doubt. B. A. P. van Dam's books (1902, 1924) are available online with many examples of added and subtracted syllables in the poetry of the day. I'm sure there are others.

 

 

Gerald E. Downs

 

 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.