Sunday, April 17, 2011

The dumbshow Hamlet - pay no attention to that author behind the curtain

How has it come to this? Hamlet, perhaps the single most celebrated literary work in the English language, is still today widely read as so much dumbshows and noise when it comes to its biographical layers of meaning. 

The editor of the new definitive edition of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray inadvertently highlights this strange point in a recent interview

In the Harvard University Press promotional podcast on its new Gray, editor Nicholas Frankel says

"[Wilde] did say ... that the book 'contains much of me in it.' I think those were his words. '[The characters] Basil Hallward is who I think I am; Lord Henry [Wotton], who the world thinks me; and Dorian Gray, who I would be in other ages perhaps.' I think that's pretty clear evidence that Wilde saw himself all over this novel in all three of those central characters. Although to give him credit, he also said that art generally conceals the artist more completely than it reveals the artist.... So I think he would have been displeased with us wholly reading the novel in terms of himself and his biography. And of course we wouldn't do that with many works of art. We wouldn't do that with Hamlet, for instance. We wouldn't read Hamlet as an expression of Shakespeare necessarily."
Hear the lady protesting too much for yourself below, starting at the 12:20 mark.

Monday, April 11, 2011

News from Germany (Drei)

From our own Mr. H.W. in Germany today comes this news: Kurt Kreiller's book (Der Mann, der Shakespeare erfand: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford) will be published in paperback on April 18. This hard-hitting Oxfordian tome, our correspondent notes, has proved since its 2009 release to be "quite a success." Kudos to gentle master Kreiller! 

Moreover, the peerless Oxfordian researcher Robert Detobel (a helpful and careful early proof-reader of "Shakespeare" By Another Name) has a new book coming out in response to James Shaprio's recent anti-Oxfordian diatribe Contested Will. The book cover is pictured here. 

Detobel's Will - Wunsch und Wirklichkeit - James Shapiros Contested Will ("Will -- Wishes and Reality -- James Shapiro's Contested Will") is slated for publication in October. 

According to its press release, the new Will will be challenging Shapiro's "almost unbelievable range of errors... and deliberate distortions."Hear hear! 

Both books are in German only as of this writing. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Shakespeare" in Venice - film under construction, carnivale underway soon!

On Wednesday night (April 13), Club Oberon in Cambridge, Mass. will host a fundraising preview party for the film Nothing is Truer Than Truth, a work-in-progress documentary centering around Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford and his Shakespearean adventures in Italy in 1575-'76. 

Readers of this blog have been introduced to the filmmaker, Boston-based Cheryl Eagan-Donovan, and to her recent successful campaign to underwrite her forthcoming trip to Venice to film on location at many of the sites that de Vere traveled to and immortalized in the "Shakespeare" canon. 

Eagan-Donovan has also recently signed Deborah Cesana, location assistant for recent Hollywood films The Tourist and The Merchant of Venice, to be the production coordinator for her film's Venice-based shoot.

According to Eagan-Donovan, she will be traveling in May to Italy for on-location photography and also this spring and summer will be filming interviews in the U.S. with Oxfordian scholars Roger Stritmatter and Richard Waugaman, authors Stephen Greenblatt (Will in the World) and Steven Pinker (The Stuff of Thought), as well as Tina Packer (founder of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass.) and Academy Award winning actor F. Murray Abraham.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

This. Looks. Big.

Anonymous teaser trailer out today. Wow.  (Postscript: The movie's worldwide release dates are logged here. As of June 29, Anonymous will debut in cinemas in the US & UK on Oct. 28.)

Monday, April 04, 2011

"Shakespeare" = salty dog

Thanks to reader R.H. for passing along this great little excerpt from the book A Gipsy of the Horn: The Narrative of a Voyage Round the World in a Winjammer (Rex Clements, 1925).

Upshot: The Bard knew sailing and nautical terminology first-hand. Almost as if, say, he had crossed the English channel at least four times (SBAN pp. 70-71, 75 & 113), had circumnavigated much of Italy in a Venetian galley (pp. 85-92) and likely plied stormy seas on the open Atlantic, in advance of the Spanish Armada attack (pp. 222-29):
The books that had survived the West Coast had succumbed to the rigours of the Horn and had been dumped, a sodden pulp, overboard.  My battered old Shakespeare was the only book left in the half-deck and I hung on to that with grim solicitude. ... 
On one occasion, when the bosun came in I fired off the first scene of the The Tempest to him. He was immensely taken with it, but would hardly believe it was Shakespeare at all.  However, he knew what "bring a ship to try" was, which was more than I did at the time or, I dare say, a good many others who have read the play.  Shapespeare’s knowledge of the sea always struck me as remarkable.  For an inland-born poet he was very fond of similes, and astonishingly accurate in his use of nautical technicalities.  How did he acquire his knowledge? One ignorant of sea-life would hardly use the phrase "remainder biscuit after a voyage" as a synonym for dryness, or talk of a man as "clean-timbered." I like to think that in the obscure early years of the poet’s life in London he made a trip to sea, perhaps as an adventurer in one of the ships that smashed up the Armada. ['cuz why not? –Ed.] At least, no one can prove he didn’t; [!] and to my mind what more likely than that a high-spirited youth doing odd jobs about the old Shoreditch theatre, in the scampling and unquiet times when Medina Sidonia was fitting out should join some salt scarred vessel. ...