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Diary

Katherine Duncan-Jones: Nocturnal Plastifications, 12 November 1998

... At the end of August 1996 both my daughters left home to take up graduate scholarships in America. I knew that they would probably never again spend extended periods in my house, but persuaded myself that I had ‘coping strategies’ well in place. Within days of their departure I embarked on a more than usually expensive holiday, a Hellenic cruise ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Shakespeare’s Faces, 7 January 2016

... the whole of the preceding period between the acting of his first drama and the year 1800.’ Katherine Duncan-Jones, in her brilliant, scholarly and concise Portraits of Shakespeare (Bodleian, £14.99), deals with two of the images ‘taken from life’ that duly emerged. One, known as the Flower portrait, was bequeathed to the Royal Shakespeare ...

Despairing Radicals

Blair Worden, 25 June 1992

Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet 
by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 350 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 241 12650 9
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Algernon Sidney and the Restoration Crisis 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 406 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 521 35291 6
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Algernon Sidney and the Republican Heritage 
by Alan Craig Houston.
Princeton, 335 pp., £22.50, November 1991, 0 691 07860 2
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Milton’s ‘History of Britain’: Republican Historiography in the English Revolution 
by Nicholas von Maltzahn.
Oxford, 244 pp., £32.50, November 1991, 0 19 812897 5
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... history, and particularly around those failed politicians, Philip and Algernon. The biographies by Katherine Duncan-Jones and Jonathan Scott are explicitly concerned to get behind the legends. Philip has been mythologised as the model Renaissance and Protestant courtier, whose courage and heroism led to a tragic early death at the battle of Zutphen in ...

In the Workshop

Tom Paulin: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, 22 January 1998

The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 672 pp., £23.50, December 1997, 0 674 63712 7
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Shakespeare's Sonnets 
edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Arden, 503 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 1 903436 57 5
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... the modernised one like Gielgud or Prince Charles. The same or very similar modernised texts in Katherine Duncan-Jones’s scholarly and accessible new edition seem perfectly presentable on their own, but in Vendler are often destabilised by their immediate adjacency to the Quarto texts. Duncan-Jones prints ‘And ...

Best Known for His Guzzleosity

Helen Hackett: Shakespeare’s Authors, 11 March 2010

Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 367 pp., £20, April 2010, 978 0 571 23576 6
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... heuristic poverty of biographical explanations of works of art’.* Others, however, including Katherine Duncan-Jones in her Arden edition of the Sonnets (1997, shortly to be reissued in a revised edition) and René Weis, in Shakespeare Revealed (2007), have continued to deal in biography: Duncan-Jones explores the ...

Pillors of Fier

Frank Kermode: Anthony Burgess, 11 July 2002

Nothing like the Sun: reissue 
by Anthony Burgess.
Allison and Busby, 234 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0 7490 0512 2
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... to be pretty general agreement about the infection idea. Shakespeare’s most recent biographer, Katherine Duncan-Jones, who incidentally thinks the young friend was William Herbert, not Southampton, has a good learned note in her edition about contemporary accounts of men getting burned by the female genitalia – ‘thus was his paradice turned into ...

Father-Daughter Problems

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s Bad Daughters, 8 May 2008

The Lodger: Shakespeare in Silver Street 
by Charles Nicholl.
Allen Lane, 378 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 7139 9890 0
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... Henry V (1599). The last of these demonstrates, furthermore, particularly in the scene of Princess Katherine’s English lesson, III.iv, that Shakespeare had a reasonable grasp of French. Just as important for the story Nicholl tells in The Lodger, it also demonstrates that Shakespeare had a reasonable grasp of the sorry position occupied by women in struggles ...

Who wouldn’t buy it?

Colin Burrow: Speculating about Shakespeare, 20 January 2005

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Cape, 430 pp., £20, October 2004, 9780224062763
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... have termed ‘speculation’ in order to offset the desiccating effect of the documentary record. Katherine Duncan-Jones describes a bit of a shark in Ungentle Shakespeare (2001), and is very good at extracting plausible matter even from Aubrey’s anecdotes. She also adds lively and often credible dashes of speculation of her own, such as the suggestion ...

Lord Have Mercy

James Shapiro: Plague Writing, 31 March 2011

Plague Writing in Early Modern England 
by Ernest Gilman.
Chicago, 295 pp., £24, June 2009, 978 0 226 29409 4
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... 1603 to 1610 public playhouses were probably closed two-thirds of the time. Biographers, notably Katherine Duncan-Jones and Jonathan Bate, have struggled to determine the impact plague had on Shakespeare’s life and work. Did Shakespeare flee London during extended outbreaks, and so spend much of the first decade of the 17th century with his family in ...

My Dagger into Yow

Ian Donaldson: Sidney’s Letters, 25 April 2013

The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney 
edited by Roger Kuin.
Oxford, 1381 pp., £250, July 2012, 978 0 19 955822 3
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... obvious gaps in this plump epistolary corpus are letters to or from women, in whose company, as Katherine Duncan-Jones has convincingly argued, Sidney seems always to have been most happy, productive and at ease. There are no surviving exchanges with his wife, Frances, or with his sister, Mary, and no letters relating to his time at Wilton House in ...

Hoarder of Malt

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 7 January 1999

Shakespeare: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 479 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 19 811792 2
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £11.99, December 1998, 0 7190 5425 7
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... done with a calculator and on Elizabethan theatrical financing by the rival biographers, notably Katherine Duncan-Jones, who are already hard on Honan’s heels. But in the meantime Park Honan has produced a highly readable book which is more reliable about more aspects of Shakespeare’s life and career than any other currently on the market, and his ...

Which play was performed at the Globe Theatre on 7 February 1601?

Blair Worden: A Play for Plotters, 10 July 2003

... Others are more confident still. Shakespeare’s recent biographers Park Honan and Katherine Duncan-Jones take it for granted that the play was his. Andrew Gurr, in editing Richard II, ‘assumes’ that it was, and the same assumption is made by the editors of the Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare and the editor of the new Arden ...

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