Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Note: The Secret Life of William Shakespeare

Morgan, Jude. The Secret Life of William Shakespeare. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2014.

This is one of the books I brought with me to pass the time in the various airports I needed to go through to get to Vietnam. But the problem was that this novel made the time hang more heavy on my hands instead. That's one reason I stuck a "Free Book!" note to the cover and abandoned it in the Tokyo airport.

The writing isn't terrible—it's just uninspired. Will wants to obey his father's sanction agains hanging out with players, but he can't help himself.

Later, he wants to obey his vows of fidelity to Anne, and he does for quite a while. And then he can't help himself.

And Anne wants to trust her husband.  And she does for a while.  But then she can't help herself, and she runs off to London.

Sensing a trend?

The novel fills in the gaps in the biographical record, but not very imaginatively.

The plays are also downplayed somewhat. I'd like to have more of the creative side explored.

Here's a page that will give you a sample of the writing. On this page, Shakespeare is still back in Stratford, feeling guilty about going to a play.

All in all, you'd be better off with Grace Tiffany's biographical Shakespeare novel (for which, q.v.).

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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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2016 (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.

—The Tempest