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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: A. L. Rowse
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1163.  Monday, 17 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Tiffany Rasovic <
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        Date:   Sunday, 16 Nov 1997 14:59:40 +0000
        Subj:   A. L. Rowse

[2]     From:   Karen Krebser <
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        Date:   Sunday, 16 Nov 1997 09:15:05 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1157  Qs: Rowse's Dark Lady

[3]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Nov 1997 08:20:33 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.1157  Qs: Rowse's Dark Lady

[4]     From:   Stephanie Cowell <
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        Date:   Monday, 17 Nov 1997 10:00:13 -0500
        Subj:   Rowse's Dark Lady


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tiffany Rasovic <
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Date:           Sunday, 16 Nov 1997 14:59:40 +0000
Subject:        A. L. Rowse

This entry is partly to list member in general, and partly to Ms.
Cowell:

I.  To ALL,

I am currently engaged with a project on A. L. Rowse involving letters
written by him to Peter Levi.  Anyone who has anything at all to say in
favor of/or specific criticisms of Rowse's work, specifically regarding
the post 1975 Shakespeare-related works, please do make your views
known, or direct us to any reviews or scholarship in which you or
someone else has made mention of him.  (I realize that this question was
posed just a few weeks ago, but with no real response...)

II. Ms. Cowell,

I have only just begun to investigate Dr. Rowse's academic work-I came
upon the above mentioned letters rather blindly-so, I am quite unable to
evaluate his Shakespearean/Elizabethan work at this time.  Yet, I would
like very much to correspond with you off the list if you are interested
in my project, as I am interested in your  personal and professional
acquaintance with Dr. Rowse.  Based on the material I have read, he is
indeed a remarkably humorous, kind, and even  passionate, man, who was
not immune to the derision heaped upon him by many Shakespeareans. Do
contact me at my own e-mail account.

Yours, TR

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Krebser <
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Date:           Sunday, 16 Nov 1997 09:15:05 -0800
Subject: 8.1157  Qs: Rowse's Dark Lady
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1157  Qs: Rowse's Dark Lady

Rowse was convinced that Aemilia (Bassano) Lanyer was Shakespeare's Dark
Lady. Lanyer was the daughter of a court musician, was fairly musical
herself, of Italian descent (and therefore, perhaps, brunette), brought
up in the household of the Earl and Countess of Cumberland (and
therefore known in court circles), the mistress of the Lord Chamberlain,
Sir Henry Cary, Baron Hunsdon. Yes, *that* Lord Chamberlain, of "The
Lord Chamberlain's Men." She became pregnant with Hunsdon's son, and had
to marry (so she picked Antonio Lanyer, another court musician). She
named her son Henry. No doubt she would have known Shakespeare; whether
or not he was in love with her, or that any other biographical
significance can be attached to the sonnets is still an open question.

Lanyer was a fine poet herself; Susanna Woods has published an edition
of her work (the _Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum_) and writes quite an
interesting introduction to the edition in which she debunks Rowse's
theories.  This edition is published by the Brown University Women
Writers Project.

Karen Krebser

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <
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Date:           Monday, 17 Nov 1997 08:20:33 -0500
Subject: 8.1157  Qs: Rowse's Dark Lady
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.1157  Qs: Rowse's Dark Lady

I think his candidate was Aemilia Lanyer.  Since I remember this from
years ago in an interview with Dick Cavett, I don't remember many of the
details other than that she was of Italian ancestry and thus dark.  I
also remember from this interview that the fact that she was the dark
lady also made Shakespeare somehow related to Tennessee Williams.  It's
a great idea, but I'm not sure there's any factual support for it.
Rowse did, if I'm not mistaken, publish an edition of Lanyer's poems,
which should have the evidence for his claim.

Jeff Myers

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Cowell <
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Date:           Monday, 17 Nov 1997 10:00:13 -0500
Subject:        Rowse's Dark Lady

To answer Gregory Koch's query of November 14th: "This came up in my
project group - who did Rowse think the Dark Lady was and why?"

Dr. Rowse was researching the Elizabethan astrologer Simon Forman for a
book when he came across references to a rather loose moraled musician,
Emilia Lanier who had been born a member of the musical Basanno family
from Venice. She had been mistress of the Lord Chamberlain in the early
1590's, when he was patron of Shakespeare's theater troupe. Because of
the proximity of the actor-playwright and the young lady of that time,
Forman's descriptions of her personality, age, looks, musical gifts and
free morals matched the description of the "Dark Lady" in the sonnets,
written during that period.  Rowse also felt that it was the Venetian
Emilia who brought out much of Shakespeare's fascination for Italy and
hence his many plays set there (though according to one of his letters
to me, Elizabethans were in general fascinated with that country), that
he was deeply wounded by her infidelity (as in sonnets) and that,
remembering her years later, he created the capricious, wild Cleopatra.
Emilia was discontent with her uninteresting husband Lanier; she lived
to an old age, far past Shakespeare and his patron Southampton and left
a book of her own poetry which has been published. Rowse has a few books
about her, and what he has to say about her in the introduction to his
new edition of Shakespeare the Man from Barnes and Noble is very
interesting.

Of course there are several contenders for the Dark Lady; I believe it
is more likely to have been Emilia than the others and thus chose her
for my novel "The Players: a novel of the young Shakespeare."  Alas,
Dr.  Rowse made many enemies of his colleagues who are likely to
discount what he has said on the basis of his cantankerous personality!
 

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