The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0127 Sunday, 19 June 2011
Date: June 19, 2011 11:05:53 AM EDT
Subject: Re: Arden3 Sir Thomas More
MAN: Now, Marshall McLuhan--
WOODY ALLEN: You don't know anything about Marshall McLuhan's work--
MAN: Really? Really? I happen to teach a class at Columbia called TV, Media and Culture, so I think that my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity.
WOODY ALLEN: Oh, do you?
WOODY ALLEN: Oh, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here. Come over here for a second?
WOODY ALLEN: Tell him.
MARSHALL McLUHAN: -- I heard, I heard what you were saying. You, you know nothing of my work. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing.
WOODY ALLEN: Boy, if life were only like this. (Annie Hall)
For Jerry Downs, apparently, life really is like this. After noting my assessment of McMillin's as an essential study of the play and my calling McMillin's identification of Shakespeare's contributions to the play "well-argued"--the crux of Briggs's original query, Downs's castigates me for one word--"convincingly"--in my own article on the topicality of Tilney's injunction to revise the play to defuse anti-immigrant sentiments, an argument hinging upon the authorial qualities of Hand D and dating D's revisions/additions to 1592/1593. Downs counters McMillin's own 'precise speculation' by producing McMillin himself, whom he characterizes as retracting the substantial portion of his monograph about the dating of Hand D. What my article attempts, in part, to do, is resolving the issue of this speculation. While I'm pleased that Downs read my article, I feel that his questioning of my acceptance of McMillin's using his 1995 and 1997 conversations with and later "unsolicited" epistle from McMillan does not undermine my own argument in favor of the Shakespearean quality of Hand D, especially its rhetorical strategies, and the dating of the play to 1592/1593. Downs, however, gives the impression that my use of McMillin's book makes irrelevant my contributions to the multi-facted Hand D debate.
Although I can produce neither McMillin nor Hand D (whom I envision as "Thing" from The Addams Family) to support my argument, I will note that Greenblatt, in Will in the World (2004), accepts both Shakespeare as Hand D and the 1592/1593 (0r 1595) date of revision using essentially the same argument as my article: Sir Thomas More capitalizes upon the xenophobia of these difficult years (cf. 215, 262-265) but reports, without endorsing, that "current scholarly consensus holds that Shakespeare probably wrote his contribution between 1600 and 1605" (267).
Anyway, although Downs uses my words as an entry point to challenge McMillin's work, I appreciate his publicizing my essay. Maybe now it will be added to the World Shakespeare Bibliography.
(Tentatively identified as either Pete McCluskey or Sir Paul McCartney)
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