Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 964. Wednesday, 22 Dec. 1993.
Date: Tuesday, 21 Dec 1993 17:39:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: S and the ancient world
Dear Mr. Budra,
In studying Jonson this past quarter, I was amazed at how valuable it was to
read Martial. For Shakespeare, I recommend reading as much Roman poetry and
drama as you can get to. Seneca seems likely; and it couldn't hurt to read as
much Cicero as you can stand, since that seems to be Shakespeare's style.
Also, this isn't exactly ancient, but in studying the sonnets a few years ago,
I read scraps from several hundred years of Latin love poetry (the *Carmina
Burana* is the only source I remember offhand). The more I study the
Renaissance, the more I am convinced that the real insights come from reading
the stuff they read and thought was important. A mentor said to me that the
average educated man's bookshelf contained mostly classics and theology. I
gulped and started reading.