Tiffany, Grace. Shakespeare had a Daughter. New York: Berkley, 2003.
I wanted to enjoy this novel; I thought I would enjoy this novel. I had liked Grace Tiffany's Will, after all (for which, q.v.), and she herself is very personable. But I'm afraid I didn't enjoy this novel.
The main reason is, I think, that it lacks fire and passion. The story is told in a route, emotionless way.
The story centers on Judith Shakespeare, Shakespeare's younger daughter (Hamnet's twin). Responsible for Hamnet's death by drowning, Judith disguises herself as a boy and runs away to London, desiring above all to take a place on the stage.
She arrives in London (with the usual obligatory paragraphs about the terrible smells and the heads of traitors on London Bridge), finagles her way into the company, gets a small part, meets Nathan Field (who discovers she is a girl and asks to sleep with her as the price for keeping her secret—to this our heroine emotionlessly and without much commentary succumbs), deprives Nathan of his role as Viola in Twelfth Night, takes over the role herself, and is recognized by her father. Later and older, she returns to London, has an affair with Nathan Field, returns to Stratford, and marries Thomas Quiney.
The two main issues with which Judith Shakespeare deals—the loss of virginity and the guilt over the death of Hamnet—are the main themes—they're addressed periodically throughout the text—but they don't become compelling and Judith doesn't deal with them satisfactorily.
All in all, the book tends toward the dull. Lacking the interesting use of language Tiffany has in Will, it's a book to plod through rather than to enjoy.
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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.
The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.