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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: September ::
Shakespeare, Stone, and History
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 556.  Thursday, 16 Sept. 1993.
From:           David Richman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Sep 1993 13:25:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare's Politics and Wanamaker's Globe
I was amused to read Oliver Stone's name in a recent posting (alas! not so
recent by now) about the Wanamaker-Globe controversy.
Like Shakespeare, Stone is making theatrical uses of historical narrative.
Again like Shakespeare, Stone may be driven by an overtly political purpose.
(The purpose or intention of a playwright or filmmaker is endlessly debatable.)
What is less debatable, I think, is the fact that Stone, like Shakespeare,
is drawing extensively on sometimes partisan historical narrative.  Both
use political assassination as the raw material for theatrical or cinematic
endeavor.  Each deliberately departs from the facts--to the extent that these
are knowable--and attempts to set forth in action a deeper truth about
the assassination of Henry VI, or Julius Caesar, or Richard II, or JFK.
"The deep truth is imageless" says Shelley, but perhaps it can be expressed
in theatrical action.  It is profitable to compare Stone's uses of his \
narrative sources (Garrison, Prouty, Marrs) to Shakespeare's uses of his
narrative sources (More, Hollinshed, Hall.)
I am currently at work on a book on W.B. Yeats's plays.  When I finish that
(many years from now), I may undertake a book on theatrical uses of history
From Shakespeare to Stone.  I will, that is, if someone else doesn't tackle
the subject first.
David Richman
University of New Hampshire

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