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Home :: Archive :: 1990 :: November ::
Shakespeare Spinoffs (97)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 96. Tuesday, 13 Nov 1990.
 
 
(1)   Date:   Mon, 12 Nov 90 19:30:37 EST                    (27 lines)
      From:   
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  (Laurie E. Osborne)
      Subject: Inspired by Shakespeare
 
(2)   Date:   Mon, 12 Nov 90 22:33:00 EST                    (53 lines)
      From:   "Hardy M. Cook" <
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 >
      Subject: Anthology of Shakespearean Humor
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Mon, 12 Nov 90 19:30:37 EST
From:   
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  (Laurie E. Osborne)
Subject: Inspired by Shakespeare
 
 
I'm afraid what I have to offer as works inspired by Shakespeare are not
part of anyone's literary elite. Actually, _Shakespeare's Dog_, by Leon
Rooke is not bad. The other two novels, both of which include
Shakespeare as a character and refer to _The Merchant of Venice_, are
potboilers pure and simple. The first is Erica Jong's _Serenissima_, in
which our heroine timetravels in order to use her distinctive brand of
prose to describe sex with the bard in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. The
second manages to bring in sex with Queen Elizabeth and well as with
Shakespeare.  It is called, predictably, _The Quality of Mercy_, by Faye
Kellerman. I wrote a piece on the first two novels (Rooke and Jong) for
an SAA seminar a couple of years back. I'd be glad to send it along if
anyone is interested.  I even went so far as to attend an "author's"
luncheon in order to ask Ms. Jong why she chose to have Shakespeare
appear in her work. I describe the interview, such as it was, in the
paper. I plan at some point to expand the essay to include the Kellerman
novel, mostly because I am fascinated by the fact that both Jong and
Kellerman chose, principally, *Merchant*.
 
Laurie E. Osborne

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(2) --------------------------------------------------------------79----
Date:   Mon, 12 Nov 90 22:33:00 EST
From:   "Hardy M. Cook" <
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 >
Subject: Anthology of Shakespearean Humor
 
In response to Ken's query, let me offer Marilyn Schoenbaum's
*A Shakespeare Merriment: An Anthology of Shakespearean Humor*,
Garland, 1988.  This delightful collection ranges from John
Manningham anecdote about "William the Conqueror" to Woody Allen's
"But Soft . . . Real Soft" from *Without Feathers*.
 
There are twenty-four selections and a *New Yorker* cartoon by
Bernard Schoenbaum (Sam's brother).  My two favorites are James
Thurber's "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" and Isaac Asimov's "The
Immortal Bard."
 
For your enjoyment, here is the selection from Robert Manson
Myers's *From Beowulf to Virginia Woolf*:
 
William Shakespeare was the greatest dramatist the world has yet
to produce.  He came of a very respectable family and was, through
no fault of his own, born poor but honest on a hot and paltry day
in 1564, presumably on his birthday, near Suffix, England, while
his parents were travailing abroad.  In extreme youth, having
already marred Anne Hatchaway, the Merry Widow, he settled at
Windsor with his eight merry wives, where he remained until 1611,
when he removed to Stratford-on-Auburn, more commonly known as
the Deserted Village.  Shakespeare never made much money, and he
is remembered today chiefly for his plays, most of which have,
unfortunately, been dramatized.  In early manhood he wrote
*Love's Labour's Lust*, to be followed shortly by *As You Lack It*
(a high comedy, featuring the villainous Skylark), and *Anatomy
and Coleoptera* (a comedy of errors):
 
        Age cannot wither nor costume stale
        Her indefinite virginity.
 
In later manhood he wrote *Othello* (the first domestic tragedy),
*King Lear* (the last domestic tragedy), and *Hamlet* (a tragedy
of errors).  Shakespeare betrayed women brilliantly: he created
female characters with a stroke of his pen, and it is impossible
to find a Hamlet among them.  Although he was a dramatist of vast
proportions, he sometimes also wrote poetry: *The Rape of Lucretius*
was inspired by the works of Seneca, a Roman prefix under Emperor
Trojan.  Shakespeare wrote almost exclusively in blank verse
(unrhymed ironic pentameter); and his plays often present a fool --
sometimes Shakespeare himself.
 
Hardy Cook

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PS: There's also a selection from *Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Are Dead*.
 

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