Friday, December 03, 2010

Remembering Richard Paul Roe

This morning I learned of the passing of Richard Paul Roe, a key expert on an important and underappreciated topic in Shakespeare scholarship: Shakespeare's Italy. Roe is pictured here in an interview I did with him in 2002 at (as it was then titled) the Edward de Vere Studies Conference at Concordia University in Portland, Ore.

Practically for as long as I've known about the authorship issue (dating back to 1993) I've heard reports about Roe's treasure chest of new evidence on the Bard's Italian knowledge. Roe, one soon learned, had been gathering this wealth of new research over many years of travel to and research in Italy.

Roe's fundamental point was that, contrary to the ignorant-old-Will Stratfordian dogma, the author of the "Shakespeare" canon knew the Italian and French settings in his works exceptionally well. The "Shakespeare" Italy plays in particular, Roe argues, display a kind of organic and intimate knowledge that only comes from first hand experience.

I've seen Richard give talks, and I've had the great privilege to interview and correspond with him. He was very kind to provide a few important and unpublished findings for "Shakespeare" By Another Name.

I'm very sorry to have to report the news of his death today.

One small solace is that Roe lived to collect, write and supervise the preparation of a tremendous book containing all of his findings. This magnum opus, The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Then and Now, will be published next year by HarperCollins.

The Oberon Blog today reports a conversation they had with a publicist at HarperCollins, who announced a Nov. 1, 2011 publication date for Roe's book. I have an advance copy of the book and will only reiterate what I said earlier this year: It's a superb piece of work.

As the publication date approaches, I'll be posting a full review.

Meantime, I extend my condolences and sympathy to the loved ones he leaves behind.

Roe's work will be long admired and appreciated. There has been, I think, no greater collection of Shakespearean scholarship in recent years. And that, in the words of the Sonnets' dedication, is surely a fine and fitting kind of "eternity promised by our ever-living poet."


Unknown said...

Sorry to hear of his passing and that I never had the opportuntiy to hear him speak. I certainly look forward to the publication of his book.

Thanks, Mark, for keeping up with these things. I check this blog pretty frequently to see what is new in the authorship world.

Mark said...

Thank you, Amy. Re looking forward to Roe's book, that makes two (plus many more) of us.

More to come next week on a new discovery that's making some waves in the world of authorship research.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry to hear about this. Does he have a "successor" as far as knowledge of Shakespear's Italy or of Roe's work on the topic?