Writing and Ruminating

Thoughts on writing, reading, and poetry. With the occasional diversion, bien sûr.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

ShakespeareScene

It's Wednesday, and I ought, therefore, to be providing you with Shakepearean content. So today, discussion of a magazine I just acquired during yesterday's trip to Barnes & Noble. (I know, I know, independent book stores are miles better, but the nearest one to me involves a toll, a change of states and paid parking and I didn't have the time for it.) Anyhoo, my purchases were the latest Blue Bloods novel for M, a new crossword puzzle book for me(Cranium-Crushing Friday Crosswords, if you're interested), and issue 3 of a small biannual British publication called ShakespeareScene.

This particular issue includes, among other things, a highly interesting article about The Tempest (are you listening, Tanita and Lisa?) that suggests that part of the "source material" for this play (usually considered to be unsourced) is drawn from the real-life doings of Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, who liked to consort with witches (and, apparently, with Queen Ann as well - wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more) and wear robes, and once tried to sink King James's ship by conjuring a storm through magic. Stewart (aka Bothwell) also founded the Free Masons as a way of keeping magic alive.

The article, written by Brian Moffatt, a retired policeman who is now a goldsmith living in the Scottish Borders, and specializing in Celtic jewelry as well as study of 16th-century artifacts, is brilliantly done, and supported by extremely interesting hard evidence, including a wooden chest that involves Stewart and representations of Common Riding ceremonies involving the Cornet and his lass (and the Horned God and the Green Man and more), as well as references to the epilogue to The Tempest, which is not always performed, but which includes lines by "Prospero" that appear to refer directly to the life of Bothwell.

Seriously, I thought that article alone worth the purchase price of $8.

Other articles include a feminist take on Portia & Cordelia and an extract from a speech given by Professor Stanley Wells that addresses various rumors about Shakespeare's life, including the identity of the Dark Lady, whether Henry Wriothesley was the Fair Youth, whether Shakespeare batted for both teams (it's World Series season here in the States, so I felt a baseball reference to be appropriate), and rumors about Shakespeare's death. It's quite an article, needless to say. There are interviews and other articles as well, plus a rather long list of Shakespeare productions from around the globe. Oh - and an article on the thatched roof at The Globe, as well.

You can bet I'll be looking for the 4th issue, when it comes out soon-ish. (Subscriptions are available at ShakespeareScene.com for 8£, 12 Euros, or $24. (I should note, however, that the copy I purchased at B&N was $9.99, less 10% since I have a B&N member card). And tomorrow evening, I'll be in New York, watching Jude Law in Hamlet. *Does a somewhat lackluster dance of joy*

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