The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1892 Monday, 18 October 2004
Date: Monday, October 18, 2004
Stephen Greenblatt, Rockford-Upon-Avon
A Shakespearean Detective Sifts for Goodly Clews
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 18, 2004; Page C01
Eager-eyed Stephen Greenblatt, author of the just-published "Will in the
World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare," is in a hidden-away room in
the Folger Shakespeare Library, leaning over a table that contains three
exquisitely rare 17th-century books -- a first folio of the plays, a
copy of the first-known collection of sonnets and a pocket-size second
quarto of "Hamlet." Books worth millions of dollars -- and much more.
In a charcoal suit, white shirt and thin blue tie, the willowy,
dark-haired professor reaches for the leather-bound 1623 folio and flips
to an engraving of Shakespeare. There is the mysterious man, a balding
bard in a ruffed collar. On the page opposite is a short poem to the
reader by Shakespeare's friend and rival Ben Jonson, wishing that the
engraver could have captured Shakespeare's wit as well as his face.
But since he cannot, Reader, looke Not on his Picture, but his Booke.
"This is fantastic! This is the first time I've seen these copies,"
Greenblatt says. He did much of his research at the libraries of
Harvard, where he has taught for eight years. The idea for "Will in the
World" came from a conversation Greenblatt had years ago with Marc
Norman, who was writing a screenplay that became the fanciful
"Shakespeare in Love," starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow.
[ . . . ]
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