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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: November ::
Shakespeare's Politics
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2078  Monday, 13 November 2000.

From:           Matthew Gretzinger <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Nov 2000 21:29:54 GMT
Subject:        Shakespeare's Politics

Dear SHAKSPERians,

I have not followed recent threads and so if this request for help has
accidentally anything to do with material that has been covered, or if
this topic has already been exhaustively covered on SHAKSPER, please
excuse me.

In my thesis research, which has to do with Oliver Stone's
dramatizations of recent American history (JFK and Nixon), I have come
across this statement in a book review by Stephen E. Ambrose (from the
Journal of American History, vol. 82, no. 4, March 1996, pp. 1529-1533),
in which Ambrose draws an unfavorable parallel (unfavorable to Stone)
with Shakespeare:

"William Shakespeare took liberties with the histories he dramatized,
and I do not suppose we are worse off because his vision of Henry IV
does not correspond with the facts of English history.  But the Bard was
not depicting contemporaries, and he did not have an agenda for social,
economic, and political change in his country (1533)."

Is not that last statement a little naive?  I seem to recall Elizabeth
being quoted as saying something to the effect of "I am Richard II, know
ye not that?" and I would like to find commentary on Shakespeare's
politics.  Could someone refer me to an article, essay or book
supporting the argument that Shakespeare might in fact have dramatized
English history with an eye to Elizabethan/Jacobean politics?

I would welcome any replies at <
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 >, so as not to
take up listserv discussion space & time.  Thanks!

-Matthew Gretzinger

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