The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0381 Thursday, 3 July 2008
From: Anne Cuneo <
Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2008 12:00:46 +0200
Subject: Re: SHAKSPER Digest - (#2008-71) The Real Shakespeare
>I'm sorry no one is responding to this site about Eric Sams's _The Real
>Shakespeare_, which I'm finding fascinating. I recommend it not only for study
>but also for pleasure. Sams is so full of verve and passion. I think one has to
>read it a bit at a time.
I am sorry too that I didn't react publicly, because I was so taken by The Real
Shakespeare that I wrote an enthusiastic personal message to Richard Sams. I
should have written it for everyone, of course...
I have been a Sams fan for years. The fancy interpretations of Shakespeare and
his works have always puzzled me, and I have often thought they were nothing but
a way to make oneself interesting at Shakespeare's expense - in a text I once
wrote on the subject I compared them to flies in the fell of a large and
generous bear. While I was writing my novel "Objets de Splendeur, Monsieur
Shakespeare amoureux" in which I adopt A. L. Rowse's assumption that Emilia
Bassano is the Dark Lady, I was impressed by the number of those
interpretations. As I wasn't sure to be right, since the evidence about Emilia
is strong but circumstantial, I made my story A NOVEL, researched to the hilt,
but still a novel. I don't claim it to be THE TRUTH. Some people haven't got
that kind of restraint. So, when in the middle of writing that novel, and while
drowning in all kinds of interpretations on every detail of the story I wanted
to tell, I hit upon Eric Sams' writings (The Real Shakespeare, his editions of
Ironside and Edward III, articles), it was an illuminating turning point: I
rewrote the whole thing. It was not only his view of Shakespeare that impressed
me. It was his way of looking at things: he thought me a method. I have been
using it ever since, including in my activity as a journalist (since that is how
I make a living).
And in The Real Shakespeare II "my" Eric Sams is still there, original, down to
earth, entertaining, funny sometimes - absorbing from beginning to end. I
downloaded the printable version, printed it. After reading it through and
through (I couldn't stop), I still peruse a section here and there.
>I recommend especially the chapter on The Personal Shakespeare, which is a real
>tour de force. He finds a lot of references to Stratford and Warwickshire, which
>should please Stratfordians.
Yes, it is particularly interesting together with Shakespeare in Warkickshire
(Mark Eccles), which already contradicted thoroughly the assertion that "we
don't know anything about Shakespeare".
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Hardy M. Cook,
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