PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: Shakespeare's Wife

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1928

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
An honest Wit(ness) :roll:

Above all other things, Germaine Greer (bbke) is Witty.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a biography before where the knowledgeable smile of the author has been so evident – and, if there is any truth in the idea of all biography being covert auto-biography, forget the Mona Lisa, Anne Hathaway has now had ‘the face job’.

Does anyone else understand the Shakespearean (strictly Elizabethan) idea of worldly illusion – and apply it – as Ms Greer (bbke) does? I think not.

Totus Mundus Agit Histrionem.

Our intrepid author, perversely, writes not of The Author, but of His shackle, ‘her indoors’.

This, in itself, should send a shiver of dread through the bones of the bardolating – what is the woman up to? Everyone knows what a ‘Shrew’ the witch of Stratford was – how she first tricked Him into marrying her, then drove Him from home; how He had to seek comfort in the stews of London and how He got His revenge by drinking Himself to death and leaving her nothing in His will!

Dare this exiled, antipodean troublemaker challenge that?

Well, yes, she dare. And with good reasons – in multitude.

Almost without exception, those biographers of Shakespeare who deal with his wife and family seem to groundlessly condemn her. What evidence there is, is almost unintelligible in modern times and needs filtering through the eyes of the Elizabethan/Jacobean – and more specifically through the eyes of an Elizabethan/Jacobean in Stratford.

This is precisely what Ms Greer(bbke) does – gives the perspective of Stratford and the times. The factual details not only of Shakespeare’s wife and family are given – but also the context of what else is happening in Stratford when they live there.

Three times in Ann Shakespeare (nee Hathaway)’s lifetime significant parts of Stratford burnt down: Mini-fire-of-London events that had dire consequences for the town’s economy and for Shakespeare’s family.

The idyll of a quiet, prosperous, country backwater does not fit the cataclysm of such events (or of the near riots and murders also documented in the book) – events that make the purchase price of buildings like New Place quite reasonable – and well within the reach of a not too prosperous playwright’s wife.

And strong evidence is given of the independent nature of many women in the town – women who leant money out at 10% interest, made a reasonable income by malting and other industries (frequently credited incorrectly to their husbands) – and women who supervised the restoration of houses when their husbands were absent.

Greer (bbke) makes few claims to certainty – indeed, her most certain claim is of the uncertainty of the material (a claim not all biographers of Shakespeare have taken to heart). Frequently you are given more than one possibility as to events – possibly this, possibly that - only to be told, as a parting shot – and possibly neither.

Shakespeare’s death is one such case.

If the William had contracted venereal disease then …. (and it would make sense of the doggerel verse in the church about not moving the bones).
However, he might also have had cancer, in which case ….. (and the known facts fit this too).
But we do not have enough evidence for either to be certain – or for other possible explanations.

This is how the biography is constructed throughout – like Shakespeare, Ms Greer (bbke) gives us more than one possible answer to the questions she raises – and leaves us to make up our minds.

Sometimes she goes as far as to say, ‘If, as I think, Ann …’ But that is it.

What she does give short shrift to (and rightly so) is the idiocy of certain (male) biographers who presume too much on little or no evidence. Shakespeare’s presence at family funerals is one such presumption – based more on wish fulfilment than any evidence.
Another revolutionary challenge to conventional wisdom Ms Greer (bbke) makes (absurd claim she labels it – tongue firmly in cheek) is that the only reason we even have so much Shakespeare text is Ann’s devotion to her husband – it could well have been her doing, The Folio – she might have paid for its printing (or rather underwrote the inevitable loss), just before she died. In theatrical terms this makes her an Angel – and a very different person from the harridan portrayed by the men.

Which brings me nicely back to the link between the biographer and her subject …

If Shakespeare has a modern Angel – it is Ms Greer: Make no mistake, Shakespeare’s wife is the subject of the biography – but de-bagging some of the scholastic absurdities surround Shakespeare is firmly the aim.

It also does a nice job of restoring the unity and balance of marriage, one of Shakespeare’s most enduring themes.

(Been Blogging again)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1930

  • Joe M.
  • Joe M.'s Avatar
  • Offline
  • Expert Player
  • Posts: 95
  • Thank you received: 1
Needless to say then, is it --that Willy wasn't the first nor last hope-to-be actor with lust in his eyes who found willy in a sticky wicket while wanting to trade the wifely results of willy's former and hasty position of passion for a position he was passionate for--on, shall we say-- another "wicket field" of play.
The only truly 'Cruel Mistress', I believe, was the Theatre.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1932

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
There you go you see - typical bloody man!

Hasty passion? Evidence? She was something of a catch - could read too (why else write sonnets for her?).

You'll be telling me next he's buried in the church at Stratford.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1933

  • Joe M.
  • Joe M.'s Avatar
  • Offline
  • Expert Player
  • Posts: 95
  • Thank you received: 1
akfarrar wrote:
Hasty passion? Evidence?

Isn't there some discrepancy " 'pregnant' with possibility" in the records that might indicate there was the possibility of not only hasty involvement , but also haste in seeking to 'legalize' it?--Or has that been debunked with any provable verity?
There you go you see - typical bloody man!

What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the Revolt
The newest state.

Evidence?
For accusing him of possible haste in passion? For citing what was an apparent desertion of a woman by a man? I don't know what could be more 'feminist' in
an admission that such things were ever rife.

For it seems that:
After steps that would secure her Honor,
E'en fore he'd laid another glove upon her,
Quite off he seemed of making of the gloves
So; off he was, pursuing other Loves.

One more thing--how do you know I'm not a woman? Evidence? :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1934

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
As I said - male perspectives pre-guessing 'the' woman's point of view!

To be serious a minute (difficult) - Greer does stick the boot very firmly into the grounds for the "hasty' and 'desertion" theories - not by any direct evidence on the Shakespeare case, but by bringing out the norms of society in Stratford.

And she makes clear Anne, far from being on the old side, was at a normal age for marriage - she could most likely read (but not write) and, to have had children, must not have been 'deserted' with haste. An intriguing note is provided by suggesting the possibility of a relation of Anne's being the original reason for Mr. S. getting involved with the theatre and leaving in the first place - did he jump or was he pushed?

She also adds - as she does in nearly everything she says, 'but possibly not."

It is a book worth reading if only because she does drag out the essentially male perceptions based on little (more usually no) evidence of previous biographers. She also gives credit where credit is due.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1935

  • Joe M.
  • Joe M.'s Avatar
  • Offline
  • Expert Player
  • Posts: 95
  • Thank you received: 1
akfarrar wrote:It is a book worth reading if only because she does drag out the essentially male perceptions based on little (more usually no) evidence of previous biographers. She also gives credit where credit is due.

"As they say in the States"(whatever that's supposed to imply these days) "I was jest funnin' ya."
I cast no stones of doubt at the window.--the first thing I did in preparation for directing Shrew was run-not walk-to find out about what was out there from the 'feminist front', and it proved to be an invaluable perspective.
I'm sure it is worth reading- Is it in paperback?

To be serious a minute (difficult)-it's a pleasure to see "What in the mind of akfarrar" you've decided to go public with most recently. To paraphrase Alec Guinness in A Christmas Carol; "I find your suggestions to be not altogether unamusing" --Thanks .
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1945

  • Joe M.
  • Joe M.'s Avatar
  • Offline
  • Expert Player
  • Posts: 95
  • Thank you received: 1
Just came across something in an email that might be of interest. :?: --though you might already know about it--

A Shakespeare special, 'Shakespeare's Secrets' on the BBC Radio 4 Arts Review programme, 'Front Row,' on Friday 21 March. Although largely made up of clips from previous programmes (e.g. interviews with James Shapiro, Germaine Greer, Charles Nicholl, and Gary Taylor) it provided an entertaining overview of some of the myths and mysteries circulating around 'Shakespeare the man', including a section on Cardenio, which is going to be part of the RSC repertoire next year. Well worth checking out before the 'Listen again' option expires next week.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/frontr ... mmes.shtml

Cheers :)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1948

  • paulrobertwagner
  • paulrobertwagner's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Senior Player
  • Posts: 66
...it provided an entertaining overview of some of the myths and mysteries circulating around 'Shakespeare the man', including a section on Cardenio, which is going to be part of the RSC repertoire next year.
I'm confused -- I just downloaded Stanley Wells' Shakespeare chronology and Cardenio in listed as a lost work. :?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1950

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
Missed the show I'm afraid.

Cardinio is lost - they'll be doing Double watch-d'ye-call-it I guess - Blame the Arden drive for maney and El Bate (alias Batty).
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Shakespeare's Wife 8 years 8 months ago #1952

  • paulrobertwagner
  • paulrobertwagner's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Senior Player
  • Posts: 66
Blame the Arden drive for maney and El Bate (alias Batty).

A drive by Arden, as in the Arden Shakespeare series? Now I'm even more confused...
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Moderators: William Shakespeare
 

Log in or Register

Register
Forgot username  Forgot password
Get the Shakespeare Pro app