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Cardenio’s Ghost

Charles Nicholl: The Bits Shakespeare Wrote

2 December 2010
The Arden Shakespeare: Double Falsehood 
edited by Brean Hammond.
Arden Shakespeare, 443 pp., £16.99, March 2010, 978 1 903436 77 6
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... they discerned the ‘colouring’ and ‘diction’ of Shakespeare’s younger contemporary John Fletcher, rather than Shakespeare himself, in the play. Others objected that as for ‘the tale of this play being built upon a novel in Don Quixote, chronology is against us, and Shakespeare could not be the author.’ This last, at least, Theobald was ...

Bereft and Beruffed

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s Last Plays

6 June 2019
Shakespeare’s Lyric Stage: Myth, Music and Poetry in the Last Plays 
by Seth Lerer.
Chicago, 276 pp., £20.50, November 2018, 978 0 226 58254 2
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... the 20-year-old actor Gabriel Spencer instead of being killed by him), but Thomas Middleton and John Fletcher both died in their mid-forties, Francis Beaumont at thirty, while Henry Porter (whose Two Angry Women of Abingdon influenced The Merry Wives of Windsor) may have been still younger when he was killed in a duel by ...

Alien Heat

Jonathan Gil Harris: ‘The Island Princess’

17 March 2016
The Island Princess 
by John Fletcher, edited by Clare McManus.
Arden, 338 pp., £16.99, December 2012, 978 1 904271 53 6
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... from the Great Fire in September 1666. But the burning town wasn’t London. The play was John Fletcher’s The Island Princess, a tragicomedy written half a century earlier, and set on the islands of Ternate and Tidore in what is now Indonesia. The opening stage direction, however, states: ‘The Scene India’. The Island Princess is the only ...

Go to the Devil

David Carpenter: Richard II

22 July 2010
Richard II: Manhood, Youth and Politics, 1377-99 
by Christopher Fletcher.
Oxford, 336 pp., £24.95, August 2010, 978 0 19 959571 6
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... of his deposition in 1399, but is it right? In his new study of Richard’s reign, Christopher Fletcher argues that, far from exhibiting boyish or feminine characteristics, as his enemies alleged, Richard strove to live up to contemporary ideas about how a man should behave. In many ways he was a conventionally ‘manly’ king. The charge that Richard was ...

Doomed to Sincerity

Germaine Greer: Rochester as New Man

16 September 1999
The Works of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 
edited by Harold Love.
Oxford, 712 pp., £95, April 1999, 0 19 818367 4
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... poem associated with Rochester, ‘Upon Nothing’. One is written in the hand of his steward, John Cary, the other in a scribal hand. The second has been meticulously corrected from the first by Lady Rochester, who does not however correct the ascription of three stanzas of the poem to ‘Dux Bucks’ and three more to ‘Fleetwood Shepherd’. Harold ...

And That Rug!

Michael Dobson: Images of Shakespeare

6 November 2003
Shakespeare’s Face: The Story behind the Newly Discovered Portrait 
by Stephanie Nolen.
Piatkus, 365 pp., £18.99, March 2003, 0 7499 2391 1
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Imagining Shakespeare: A History of Texts and Visions 
by Stephen Orgel.
Palgrave, 172 pp., £25, August 2003, 1 4039 1177 0
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Shakespeare in Art 
by Jane Martineau et al.
Merrell, 256 pp., £29.95, September 2003, 1 85894 229 2
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In Search of Shakespeare 
by Michael Wood.
BBC, 352 pp., £20, May 2003, 9780563534778
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... exemplified in a more aristocratic and accomplished manner, complete with emblematic fruit, by John Michael Wright’s c.1668 painting of James Cecil, fourth Earl of Salisbury and his sister Lady Catherine, now at Hatfield. Unhelpfully, there is no indication on the canvas as to the pear-bearing girl’s identity, and no date either. However, a modern ...

Provincialism

Denis Donoghue: Karlin’s collection of Victorian verse

4 June 1998
The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Danny Karlin.
Allen Lane, 851 pp., £25, October 1997, 9780713990492
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... His major precursors are Quiller-Couch, Yeats, Auden, George MacBeth, Christopher Ricks and Ian Fletcher. I don’t intend a Shopper’s Guide, but I’ll start with two small complaints. Unlike Fletcher, Karlin doesn’t give explanatory notes, except for a few dialect words and phrases in foreign languages. Reading ...

Money Man

Michael Neill: Shakespeare in Company

6 February 2014
Shakespeare in Company 
by Bart van Es.
Oxford, 357 pp., £25, February 2013, 978 0 19 956931 1
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... with easy pleasures and made … playgoers work harder than they had ever worked before’. Citing John Aubrey’s image of a reclusive playwright who was never ‘a company keeper’, Shapiro insists that the business of biography is not to attempt to recover ‘Shakespeare in love’ but rather to discover ‘Shakespeare at work’. As its recasting of ...

Doughy

John Sutherland: Conrad’s letters

4 December 2003
The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. VI: 1917-19 
edited by Laurence Davies, Frederick R. Karl and Owen Knowles.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £80, December 2002, 0 521 56195 7
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... got ‘track changes’ enabled. At the British Library another keeper of manuscripts, Christopher Fletcher, is co-ordinating a pilot project, aimed at developing ‘a means by which email correspondence can be preserved, catalogued and made accessible in its “born digital format”’. But Fletcher, a self-confessed ...

Diary

Jenny Turner: ‘T2 Trainspotting’

16 February 2017
... nasty-tasting substance that gets put in household chemicals to stop children from drinking them. John Fletcher MacFarlan was an Edinburgh apothecary who started making laudanum in the early 19th century. T&H Smith moved its flourishing morphine works from the Canongate to Gorgie a century later, and went on to supply both painkillers and sterile ...

A Betting Man

Colin Kidd: John Law

12 September 2019
John Law: A Scottish Adventurer of the 18th Century 
by James Buchan.
MacLehose, 513 pp., £14.99, August 2019, 978 1 84866 608 5
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... inspired the grim panacea advanced in 1698 by the cosmopolitan, freethinking laird Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun. Confronting the problem of mass evictions and vagrancy brought about by the famine, Fletcher recommended the establishment of the form of slavery found in antiquity as a means of relieving the poor and ...

Old Dad dead?

Michael Neill: Thomas Middleton

4 December 2008
Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 2016 pp., £85, November 2007, 978 0 19 818569 7
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Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 1183 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 818570 3
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... from the appearance of the new Oxford Middleton. Even as the blurb declares that Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino’s monumental collection is ‘based on the award-winning design of the Oxford Shakespeare’, the binding and dust jacket defiantly proclaim its difference from that distinguished model. The Shakespeare was bound in the press’s traditional ...
18 December 1980
Puritanism and Theatre 
by Margot Heinemann.
Cambridge, 300 pp., £12.50, March 1980, 0 521 22602 3
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John Webster: Citizen and Dramatist 
by M.C. Bradbrook.
Weidenfeld, 205 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 297 77813 7
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... possess a kind of social realism absent from the work of Webster, Ford, Massinger, or Beaumont and Fletcher. In their treatment of social mobility and ambition, women and marriage, and in their ethical and religious overtones, they reflect the values of the City and Country as opposed to the Court party. Puritanism and Theatre has been published as a volume in ...

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