Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Note: The Best House in Stratford

Fisher, Edward. The Best House in Stratford. London: Abelard-Schuman, 1965.

Editor's Note: In case you're wondering, I will be getting to some marvelous Shakespeare-related fiction. This is the build-up that will lead to the delightful payoff. Thank you.

Another of the Shakespeare-related novels I encountered that turned me away from Shakespeare-related novels was The Best House in Stratford, which I read some considerable time ago. Perhaps I was insufficiently tuned in to Shakespeare's biography at that point. Or perhaps it was because this volume is the third in a trilogy (the first two books are entitled Shakespeare & Son and Love's Labour's Won) and I only read the last book. In any case, the novel (to paraphrase Douglas Adams) more or less exactly failed to please. Here's a brief quotation by way of example:
A mangy dog, scavenging in a midden heap, began barking at him.

“What have I, Ben Jonson, descendant of Scottish lords and gentry, to do with such parcel-poets as these, who all write for sinners in the suburbs?”

“Bow wow wow!” said the dog.

Ben Jonson heaved a clod at him. (16)
I know it's unkind of me to think so, but I feel like heaving a clod at Ben Jonson at this point. And I imaging the mangy, midden-heap-scavenging dog feels roughly the same.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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