The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1561  Tuesday, 5 August 2003

From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 5 Aug 2003 11:16:24 +0100
Subject:        Tillyard (Again)

Here are two comments about E. M. W. Tillyard that have been made on
SHAKSPER recently.

"Just to pick an example on which there is nearly universal contemporary
consensus, E. M. W. Tillyard presented a highly truncated, ideologically
informed "Elizabethan World Picture" in an attempt to do exactly what
Sutton proposes, focus on Shakespeare's contemporaries to illuminate his
plays.  Numerous critics have by now been able to show the extent to
which Tillyard's version of Elizabethan culture was in turn constructed
by him from a set of assumptions and ideologies of his present." (Hugh
Grady, SHK 14.1519 28 July)

"In fact, Tillyard basically ripped off Lovejoy while giving him minimal
credit. Then Tillyard oversimplified and distorted Lovejoy for clearly
ideological purposes." (Edmund Taft, SHK 14.1532 29 July)

I'd be grateful for an example, cited from _The Elizabethan World
Picture_, of an error by Tillyard. If the error can be shown to be
related to ideological purposes, all the better.  (Respondents are, of
course, entitled to understand 'error' as widely as they like; I don't
mean to confine us to simple slips with names and dates.)

I ask this because I want to convince myself that Tillyard's current low
status is really deserved. (As I mentioned here before, the review of
EWP given by Don Cameron Allen is 1945 is not the "devastating" thing
that Graham Bradshaw has, here and in print, characterized it as.)

Gabriel Egan

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