Thursday, June 21, 2012

William Shakespeare - His Vocabulary

In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time. 
Thucydides, The History of The Pelopennesian War,  Book I, 1.22-[4]

William Shakespeare could hardly sign his own name. Yet when modern scholarship counted, his "works", contain a vocabulary of some 25,000 words! To put this in true perspective, John Milton only had a vocabulary of around 12,000 words! And you don't need the Oracle of Ottawa to tell you that John Milton was no slouch. It was a pretty dangerous thing for the Oracle of Ottawa to finally come into possession of his own copy of the Norton Oxford Edition Shakespeare! The introductory essay on Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt  is quite simply one the best that the Oracle of Ottawa has yet seen.  

William Shakespeare - First media mogul?
 Many decades ago when the Oracle of Ottawa was a struggling high school student in a small town, somewhere in Eastern Ontario, and was introduced to Shakespeare's Macbeth  in English 450, the Oracle of Ottawa was awed by the greatness of the words. It is all still fresh in the memory to this very day. But when I investigated further on my own into other works, even as a teenager in the 1970's, the Oracle of Ottawa soon realized that there were many, very many, other hands in the work! And as the Oracle of Ottawa has grown into a grumpy old white man, his opinion has only became more sure and rigid. Of course that was in no way popular with my most excellent English teacher of the time, who was a totally frothing and raging Shakspearean! And damn the logic and your research!

The known Shakespeare signatures...
 To understand the multiple hands theory, one has to understand how the Elizabethan court functioned. Modern sources dictate that the Her Majesties Privy Council met once a week! Maybe they met formally once a week, but in the reality of the time Her Majesties Privy Council was together, at times, a lot! Waiting for news, and planning strategy had them in close proximity informally for great periods of time. Due to the communications technology of the early 16th century, waiting was an art form. What better way to pass the time, then to tear off your experiment of the sonnet form of poetry, or, the lads down at what today would be called the State Department of Foreign Affairs, who to pass the time, have written those damn fine history plays? And the lads down at Excise! Can they ever do up a fine comedy! Somebody should get these works to the printer and the stage. This is where William Shakespeare came in...

William Shakespeare was the first modern Media Mogul! He assembled the players. Dealt with the government red tape, The Master of the Revels, raised the financing, got a an endless source of new material of unimaginable high quality, and most importantly of all, got the (paying) bums into the empty seats! And we have the documents to prove all of this, don't we? William was no stranger to the forms and the possibilities of the Joint stock company. Think of him as an early adapting Ted Turner....  

Stuff you should know?

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