The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2229 Thursday, 16 December 1999.
Date: Wednesday, 15 Dec 1999 12:20:53 -0500
Subject: Garry O'Connor's "Popular Life"
I've been looking through Garry O'Connor's book, "William Shakespeare: a
Popular Life" (Applause, 2000, ISBN 1-55783-401-6). The biographical
speculations are outrageous, provocative, and sometimes persuasive;
maybe not a reliable guide to the bare facts-Thomas Jenkins, for
example, being once again presented as a Welshman-but still an
What grabbed my attention most, though, was a blurb on the back cover by
none other than Samuel Schoenbaum, who credits the author with bridging
"the vertiginous expanse between the subliminity [sic] of the subject
and the mundane inconsequence of the documentary record." This sounds
suspiciously like a phrase Schoenbaum used near the end of
"Shakespeare's Lives," expressing his own frustration at the dry nature
of the evidence. In his introduction, O'Connor quotes the same phrase
(attributed to Schoenbaum, but without spelling errors), not as an
endorsement, but simply as an example of what he's trying to overcome.
Is this a case of the publisher misinterpreting the introduction, or did
Schoenbaum actually recommend a prior edition of the book? Seems
unlikely; just checking.