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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: June ::
The Real Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0373  Sunday, 29 June 2008

From:       Felix de Villiers <
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Date:       Friday, 27 Jun 2008 19:42:29 +0200
Subject:    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 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. Indeed, in one of the several chapters on Richard 
III he is able to establish that Shakespeare spoke with a Warwickshire accent. 
The Personal chapter is so jam-packed with information, ideas, citations from 
line to line, that one may need a few sips of brandy to get to the end, but it's 
worth it.

I was disconcerted to find out from Sams that my edition of Richard III is waste 
paper. He insists that Q1 is an entirely different play from the superior Folio 
1623, and that publishers have continued to produce patched up versions which 
falsify the play. Maybe a more expert SHAKSPERians can tell me if there are new 
editions in which this heinous error has been corrected? I have found Q1 and F1 
on the Shakespeare Authorship site, but I prefer to have a book in my hands. My 
wastepaper information comes from the Appendix 4.4, just below the contents 
list. Sams was not able to finish his last version.

Sams doesn't believe in collaborations, for example in Henry VI. But here I 
disagree. Sams writes, why shouldn't  the bard change his style? When I first 
heard Coleridge's famous remark that anyone who thinks Sh. wrote  the first part 
of Henry V1 has no ear, I felt I was unable to judge. But I have made some 
progress since then and am entirely convinced that Coleridge was right. I set 
myself the task of reading the first act of Henry VI over and over again. Much 
of the verse is turgid and Joan la Puce is not memorable as Shakespeare's women 
usually are. When I went back to other early plays, this was a revelation: every 
word fell as if by magic into the right place.

I was also amazed to find out, that, according to Sams, Shakespeare was relieved 
when Queen Elizabeth died and wrote Sonnet 107 to celebrate the occasion. His 
closest friends were now safe from persecution. Sams also makes a convincing 
case for Barnaby Barnes as the rival poet. He was indeed seeking favours from 
Southampton and his magical and spiritualist practices are clearly referred to 
in Sonnet 86.

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