Shakspere's debt to Latin poetry: studies in connexion with the classical tendencies of the sixteenth century

Brown, Percy C. (1912). Shakspere's debt to Latin poetry: studies in connexion with the classical tendencies of the sixteenth century. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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The question of Shakspere’s learning and, in particular, of his classical attainments has exercised the ingenuity of critics from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the present day. The controversy takes its origin from Jonson’s line: “And though thou hadst small Latine and less Greeke”, a famous but unfortunate utterance, famous because it came from one who knew Shakspere well, unfortunate because, as a casual remark, it has attracted the attention of the critic to the neglect of worthier subjects of enquiry. For ever since the rugged old classicist wrote his eulogistic verses to Shakspere’s memory, whole armies of critical dryasdusts have wrangled drearily over the poet’s more or less of Greek and Latin; pedants without number, and scholars, who should have known better, have battened as voraciously as Egyptian locusts on every word and expression that seemed to possess even the remotest colour of classicism. No other utterance, surely, has given rise to a more senseless and futile discussion or to a pedantry more absurd and laborious in the whole annals of our literary criticism.
It has been our practise in the following pages to consider those theories only which bear the stamp of probability and to disregard views of a more or less chimerical and lunatic nature in which Shaksperian criticism abounds. We have also endeavoured to separate as far as possible from the mass of absurdity and hypercriticism matter which appears sound and valuable and of real importance for the illustration of our subject.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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