Monday, June 07, 2010

Shakespeare in Italy: Game, Set, Match?

When Mark Twain wrote his witty and still-unsurpassed anti-Stratfordian opus Is Shakespeare Dead?, he ultimately boiled the Shakespearean authorship problem down to one question: Was the Bard a lawyer?

His question is still an interesting one -- and certainly highlights just one of many problems the conventional Stratford theory has to overcome.

But as of 2010 -- with the forthcoming publication of a long-awaited book that represents practically a life's worth of research -- I think there's a new BIG question in town: Did "Shakespeare" personally visit the Italian locations of his plays?

Today I received in the mail an advance copy of Richard Paul Roe's beautiful, forthcoming book The Shakespeare Guide to Italy - Then and Now.

A longer review is forthcoming. But let me just say that I've interviewed Mr. Roe before, and over the years I've seen presentations and read papers by him and have had a longstanding respect and admiration for his work. He in fact kindly shared a small but significant number of his research findings for the Italy chapters of "Shakespeare" By Another Name.

And now just a brief perusal of his own opus confirms what I've long suspected: Mr. Roe's lifetime of research in Italian archives, visiting often-obscure Italian locales (nevertheless locales clearly referenced in Shakespeare), building up the case brick-by-brick... has certainly paid off.

The Shakespeare Guide to Italy could be a game-changer, in other words.

Of course, how orthodox scholars react -- no doubt in their time-honored "ignore all serious opposition" strategy -- is another subject altogether.

More on that and the big book itself to come.


Jeremy said...

Whether Shakespeare visited Italy is one of many questions that put his legacy in doubt. I just saw this interesting and fun video that talks about the authorship question: I didn't know about Amelia Bassano. Crazy!

Anka said...

Eagerly awaiting! Mark, does the author touch on Illyria also? My dream is still to go to Dubrovnik and dig up some literary dirt.

John in Berkeley said...

Great news! Well-researched professional scholarship (I hope and trust). Like a breath of fresh air...

Mark said...

It is indeed well-researched and a breath of fresh air. I have since learned, however, that the publication date of this book is still forthcoming. As soon as I have more information about the arrival date of this book in stores, at, etc., I will post it to this blog. (Please know that many have been talking about and eagerly anticipating Mr. Roe's work for years now. So a few more months of wait time isn't, I submit, much more to ask in the grand scheme of things.)

Jane said...

I've heard Richard Roe speak several times and have EAGERLY awaited a book detailing his extensive research. I'm truly delighted to hear that it has finally been written. I understand that supplies are limited. Is there any way to obtain a copy?