Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
Shakespeare's Leap
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1726  Monday, 15 September 2004

[1]     From:   Douglas Brooks <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Sep 2004 07:52:30 -0500
        Subj:   Re: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Sep 2004 14:27:31 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1715 Shakespeare's Leap


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Brooks <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Sep 2004 07:52:30 -0500
Subject:        Re: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

I'm interested in hearing reactions to Greenblatt's essay that appeared
in the New York Times Magazine (September 12, 2004).

[Editor's Note: The essay can be found at
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/12/magazine/12SHAKESPEARE.html?ex=1096098326&ei=1&en=bd49524bf1b2e4c8
]

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Sep 2004 14:27:31 +0100
Subject: 15.1715 Shakespeare's Leap
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1715 Shakespeare's Leap

In his NY Times article Stephen Greenblatt asks, "Did the creator of
''The Merchant of Venice'' and its moneylender, Shylock, ever meet a
Jew? It seems unlikely, particularly if by ''Jew'' we mean someone who
professes Jewish beliefs and observes Jewish religious practices. There
is no evidence that Shakespeare traveled outside of England (to Germany,
Bohemia or Italy, for example), where meetings with Jews could have been
easily arranged. And officially at least, England was a land without
Jews: some 300 years earlier, in 1290, the entire Jewish community of
England was expelled and forbidden on pain of death to return".

England might have been officially a "land without Jews" but the reality
was somewhat different.  WS lived from 1592-96 in the parish of St
Helen's Bishopsgate.  Just outside the city walls at the top of
Bishopsgate was a Sephardic Jewish quarter centred around Houndsditch.
London's oldest synagogue still stands nearby.  As WS lived four years
in the area, he would undoubtedly have met these shopkeepers and their
families.

Furthermore, if the Dark Lady of the Sonnets was Emilia Lanier (nee
Bassano), as suggested by A.L. Rowse, then WS was more intimately linked
to London's Jewish community.  Like Shylock, the Bassanos were Venetian
Jews. I quote from Michael Wood's book (my source for the above as well) ...

"At least two of her [Emilia's] uncles also married Jewesses, and
although they conformed as Catholics in Venice and Protestants in
London, they retained a consciousness of their Jewishness. (This would
not have been a bar at court - the queen herself had a Jewish
lady-in-waiting.)  The Bassanio's forebears worked in silk: their coat
of arms was a mulberry tree - morus in Latin, which also means 'Moor'."

Peter Bridgman

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.