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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: January ::
Shakespeare and Research
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.060  Monday, 13 January 2003

From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Saturday, 11 Jan 2003 06:33:39 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Shakespeare and Research

It intrigues me, as a writer, whose dependence upon research for much of
my writing is a given and an acknowledged fact, that so many writers
make the assumption Will Shakespeare was not also dependent upon
research for his own writing of plays.

Weren't there broadsheets in London during his day, travel books,
lecturers who took to the stage and told of personal travels abroad?
Didn't his acquaintances travel, even if he did not?  Do we know for
sure he did not travel to Italy, the locale of many of his plays?
Wouldn't he have been able to borrow from previous works, such as Edgar
Allan Poe did for his novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, which
borrowed extensively from a travel book?

The list is endless, it seems to me, of the myriad ways SHAKSPEReans can
reasonably account for the vast and broad content of background in
Shakespeare's plays without his having resorted to only first-hand
experience.  Certainly, novelists and playwrights who wrote histories of
bygone times have had to rely on research and none question the fact
they could not have gone back in time to acquire their background
knowledge for works based on research.  Else, the plays Julius Caesar
and Antony and Cleopatra would not exist!

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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