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William Shakespeare - Sonnets and Speeches
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Dirk Vandeputte



Joined: 14 Nov 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Steenhuffel, Brussels, Belgium

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder, Alan, if this forum, and more specifically this Shakespeare thread could be of help for me (and all other interested Dutch-speakers) in my lecture and study of Shakespeare's plays. My intention to start a reading and translation group in Brussels has not enough perspective or interest yet. In the mean time I can but linger with him and admire and be moved. The thing is that the English idiom is not always easily understood, disguised as it is in poetry and that, notwithstanding two excellent Dutch translations, I'm often challenged to translate and try a more up-to-date and even more close to the original one. Practically I'm often lost, even with my two Dutch translations (one of which is in credit for the other one). For example:

Clown: Put your grace in your pocket, sir, for this once, and let your flesh and blood obey it. (Twelfth night, 5/1)

Is the clown saying here that the duke must put his hand ( flesh and blood) in his pocket and give more (grace)?

Best regards, Dirk

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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Dirk -

I hope your reading has been going well. There are at least two English play-by-play editions of Shakespeare's plays that provide detailed line-by-line commentaries (or footnotes) to his plays.

Possibly the standard play-by-play edition is known as "The Arden Shakespeare"; another play-by-play edition (ie a separate volume for each play) is "The Oxford Shakespeare".

I have a copy of The Oxford Shakespeare for Twelfth Night, and have found the lines (29 and 30) to which you refer. There are footnotes commenting upon the phrases "put your grace in your pocket" and "flesh and blood obey it", noting for example the pun on the word grace, as the customary form of address to a duke (Duke Orsino being the character that the Clown / Feste is addressing).

When Michael Shepherd began this thread he noted "It's with some hesitation that I open a thread on Shakespeare; knowing that we have ardent experts on his work all around... ". It's with some hesitation that I offer any advice - except possibly to get a good English edition for any play that you may study. (And I would recommend the Arden edition for "Shakespeare's Sonnets").

Best wishes, Alan
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