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As Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code well know…..

 …..Your Cat Trixie…..

Trixie

…..DEMOLISHED Shakespeare in Love: the Play……

shakespeare in love play 2

…..in her now celebrated…..

….feared…..

…..and HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL….

…..review….

A DREADFUL WARNING FROM TRIXIE THE CAT!!!

Sadly, the majority of English reviewers……

(…..we cannot in all honesty describe them as…..

critics….)

……fell for the tosh…..

Bouncing Czech, Tom Stoppard…….

tom stoppard

….who collaborated on the screenplay of Shakespeare in Love………

shakespeare in love poster

…..which re-told Caryl Brahms’s story from No Bed for Bacon

no bed for bacon

…… is still revered in some middle-brow circles…..

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN, BLESS HER, EVEN AWARDED STOPPARD THE ORDER OF MERIT!!!

order of merit

(It might look trashy, but it’s highly coveted in Britain!)

So perhaps it’s not surprising that the obsequious hacks went down like nine-pins….

HOWEVER, THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL……

light at end of tunnel

AND IT’S NOT – IN THE WORDS OF ROBERT LOWELL…….

The light from an oncoming train…..

TIM WALKER…

st-543.jpg

…..A TRULY INDEPENDENT THINKER…

(he refuses to join the Critics’ Circle……..

…….. or take ‘expenses’ from Producers for out-of-town assignments the way members of The Circle do)

…..wrote a brilliant attack on the production in last Sunday’s Sunday Telegraph  (26th July, 2014)…..

……entitled……

Do we really need this production of Shakespeare in Love?

He likens the show to…..

………a group of old bores in a pub laboriously re-enacting an all-too-well-remembered film – scene by scene…..

….and adds….

…..it seems to go on for hours….this show is far too long and far too boring and needs to be cut. And a lot.

Walker describes how the actors seem to have been chosen simply…….

………..because they look a bit like the characters in the film……

…….and describes the Director’s staging of a scene between Will and a Boatman on the Thames as….

frankly pathetic…..

He concludes……

I found myself wondering what on earth the real Shakespeare would have made of it all…..If there were a cabbage to hand, I have a pretty shrewd idea of what the Bard would have done with it.

(To read Tim Walker’s complete review, Click: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/10986397/Do-we-really-need-this-production-of-Shakespeare-in-Love.html )

THERE IS ALSO INTELLIGENT LIFE OVER THE WATER IN AMERICA……

statue of liberty

BEN BRANTLEY

ben brantley

……THE CELEBRATED, DAZZLINGLY BRIGHT AND OPENLY GAY AMERICAN CRITIC…

…….writing in the New York Times on 23rd July 2014…….

……..observed…..

Many people, it must be said, prefer the idea of Shakespeare’s plays to the reality of them. Whether they admit it or not, such souls feel that Shakespeare is great for seasoning but indigestible as a main course. They’re often the ones you hear promiscuously peppering their conversation with the canon’s best-known lines or speaking of failed politicians as “truly Shakespearean.”

[Shakespeare in Love: the Play] seems to have been created expressly with this audience in mind. It might best be described as Shakespeare-flavored, in the way that some soft drinks are advertised as fruit-flavored. Like many such beverages, this show is moderately fizzy and leaves a slightly synthetic aftertaste…..

The imitation Shakespeare dialogue now sounds more of Hollywood manufacture than it ever did in the movie. The presence of the line-feeding Christopher Marlowe in the balcony scene where a tongue-tied Will courts Viola now feels less like a harbinger of Romeo and Juliet than a steal from Cyrano de Bergerac….

Shakespeare in Love is Shakespeare for Sophomores……

And there is a remarkable stylistic coincidence between Ben Brantley’s review and mine…..

On 3 July 2014 Your Cat wrote…..

[Shakespeare] is writing Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter (big laugh from knowing groundlings….)

On 23rd July 2014 Brantley wrote:

Shakespeare has promised the script for a new play, tentatively titled Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter (more knowing laughs)

IT JUST GOES TO SHOW…..

…..GREAT MINDS DO THINK ALIKE!!!

 ‘Bye now…..

Paw-Print smallest

To read Ben Brantley’s complete review, click: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/theater/shakespeare-in-love-the-play-in-london.html?_r=0

If you would like to read Trixie the Cat’s game-changing review of Shakespeare in Love: the Play, please click: HERE.

…….FROM THE AGENTS OF THE SHAKESPEARE CODE…..

Brothers and Sisters….

Many of you have RIGHTLY complained to Head Office….

 ….that the……

…..INTELLECTUAL RIGOUR….

……of the Code’s pages has been sullied with…..

NAFF, INAPPROPRIATE ADVERTISING.

Whilst the Agents of the Code well understand the…..

 ….COMMERCIAL APPEAL….

…..of The Code’s pages to Advertisers…..

…..(It has enjoyed over 156,000 Views)…..

…..they have decided to take…..

DRACONIAN ACTION.

At an EXTRAORDINARY, MIDNIGHT MEETING of The Code’s BOARD…

….it was decided to go ahead and….

….PURCHASE THE BLOG’S DOMAIN!!!

From this moment…..

ALL ADVERTISING ON THIS SITE WILL BE IN THE HANDS OF THE AGENTS AND FELLOWS OF THE SHAKESPEARE CODE!!!

…..AND WILL BE WORTHY, WE SWEAR, OF ITS AUGUST PAGES….

IN VINCULIS INVICTUS!!!

Here’s a start:

To Read Part One of ‘The Original ending to ‘King Lear’, click: HERE!

To Read ‘The Background to ‘King Lear’, click: HERE!

To read Trixie the Cat’s review of ‘Shakespeare in Love Live Onstage’, click: HERE!

To read ‘The Code’s Top TWENTY POSTS’, click: HERE!

In PART ONE

……of SHAKESPEARE’S ORIGINAL ENDING TO ‘KING LEAR’…….

……The Shakespeare Code argued that the 1608 Quarto version of the play……

lear pide bul quarto 001

 

…..represents Shakespeare’s original intention.

Lear, filled with grief at the death of Cordelia, kills himself…..

……BY AN ACT OF WILL!!!

He begs his heart to break….

……and his heart obeys.

my poor fool - pide quarto 001

THIS POST WILL SHOW HOW SHAKESPEARE PREPARES US FOR THIS EXTRAORDINARY ENDING……

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PLAY CONTINUALLY DRAWS OUR ATTENTION TO THE KING’S HEART….

HE USES THE WORD….

‘HEART’

…..FIFTY-NINE TIMES!!!….

………..MORE THAN IN ANY OTHER OF HIS WORKS….

Richard III

olivier richard III

…… comes closest with 53……

….but even Romeo and Juliet..

romeo and juliet kissing hands

…. has only  27….

For Shakespeare and his contemporaries………

……the heart had more of a ‘poetic’ function than it has today…..

It was the seat of the emotions…..

……and held the ‘essence’ of a man or woman’s ‘personality’.’

One of Lear’s most profound questions is about ‘the heart’ of his daughter Regan…..

Then let them anatomize Regan, see what breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that make these hard hearts?

And other characters in the play, experiencing extreme emotions…..

……CONSTANTLY REFER TO THEIR HEARTS!!!

In the storm scene, when Kent begs Lear to enter the hovel…..

…..the King says….

Wilt break my heart?

….and Kent replies….

I had rather break mine own…..

Gloucester, learning of the supposed treachery of his son Edgar, says to Regan….

O, madam, my old heart is crack’d, it’s crack’d!

And a Gentleman describes how Cordelia…..

once or twice….heaved the name of ‘father’

Pantingly forth, as if it press’d her heart.

Edgar, witnessing the spectacle of Lear’s insanity……

lear mad

….says….

I would not take this from report; it is,

And my heart breaks at it….

And Albany says to Edgar….

Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I

Did hate thee or thy father!

Edgar also wishes…...

……that my heart would burst!

But for Shakespeare in this play…….

……and his contemporaries……

……there is no difference between the ‘poetic’ function of the heart……

…….AND ITS LITERAL FUNCTION AS AN ORGAN OF THE BODY.

For Shakespeare, emotions and thoughts can affect the heart just as much as disease can!!!

 Edgar describes how, when he presented himself to his father……

…….the blinded Gloucester’s…..

gloucester blind

flaw’d heart,

Alack, too weak ,conflict to support!

‘Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,

Burst smilingly.

And, earlier in the play, Edgar is worried that Gloucester’s……

…… mere THOUGHT….

…….that he has jumped off a cliff…..

……would be enough to……

…..rob the treasury of life……

….i.e. kill him…..

 The play shows King Lear himself a under massive pressure…..

….both intellectual and emotional….

…….BUT IT ALSO SHOWS HIM SUFFERING FROM A POTENTIALLY FATAL DISEASE……

….CALLED…

The Mother…..

….A DISEASE WHICH ATTACKS HIS HEART!!!

 In the First Act, furious that his servant Caius (the Earl of Kent in disguise) has been put in the stocks…..

kent in stocks

……Lear cries…..

O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Historica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element’s below!

 ‘The Mother’…..

……was the common name for the disease…..

…..but its ‘medical’ name was generally….

…hysterica passio…..

……i.e. suffering which eminates from the womb….

….. from the Greek ὑστέρα –  hystera or uterus.

King Lear, however, in all the Quarto and later Folio editions…

……calls it…...

……historica passio….

historica passio 001

……..because (1)…..

……hysterica passio…..

….. was a version of ‘the Mother’  which was, strictly speaking, confined to women……

…..and because (2)…

……Shakespeare wanted to imply that Lear’s illness was  a long-established one….

[Modern editors of Shakespeare, with no justification at all, have replaced 'historica' with 'hysterica'.....

.....thereby loosing a flood of Freudian analysis on the play......]

freud and lear

Shakespeare, we know for certain, read about……

……the Mother……

…..in a pamphlet by Richard Harsnett entitled A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures….

egregious

……published in 1603…..

(We know this because……

….. being a ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’….

……Shakespeare lifted many words and phrases from it for King Lear)

Harsnett, a Protestant, attacks Roman Catholic exorcisms……..

…… carried out on English recusants in the mid-1580’s…….

….. by Catholic missionary priests…..

exorcism eliz

Harsnett describes how one of the exorcised, Richard Mainy……

……himself a Catholic priest manqué …..

…..had a spice of the hysterica passio, as seems, from his youth; he himself terms it the Mother (as you may see in his confession) and saith he was much troubled with it in France, and that it was one of the causes that moved him to leave his holy order whereinto he was initiated, and to return into England.  

In his Confession to the Privy Council in 1602, Mainy himself said:

Whether I do rightly name it the Mother or no , I know not. But it is well known to the Physicians of London  that may be alive and were then of any name, that my eldest brother Thomas Mainy had the same disease, and that he died of it; and Master Edmund Peckham (as I have been credibly informed) was like wise troubled with it. When I was sick of this disease in France, a Scottish Doctor of Physic  then in Paris called it , as I remember, Vertiginem capitis [Vertigo of the head]. It riseth (as he said, and I have often felt) of a wind in the bottom of the belly, and proceeding with a great swelling, causeth a very painful colic in the stomach, and an extraordinary giddiness in the head. With this disease  I am still once in four or five years troubled, and I do greatly suspect that it will end me, as it did my brother.

……Then they, the exorcists, told me what extraordinary strength I showed in one of my pangs which moved me little. For the nature of that disease is to cause one’s belly to swell in such sort as two or three are not able (using any good discretion) to keep down the wind that seeketh to ascend, as is very well known to those who have seen either a man or woman in that fit.

In 1602, there was also a famous witch trial……

A fourteen year old girl called Mary Glover accused an older woman, Elizabeth Jackson, of bewitching her….

witch feeding toads

….and claimed that Jackson had used her supernatural powers to give her choking and fits….

 But Edward Jorden – a Doctor – stated at the trial that Glover’s symptoms were not those of possession……

 …….they were symptoms of a disease called…..

……..Suffocation of the Mother…..

Jackson, controversially, was found guilty of witchcraft……

……..and sentenced to a year in jail…..

…….but was released shortly after her imprisonment.

Dr. Jorden, to prove he was right, published a book called……

A Brief Discourse of a Disease called the Suffocation of the Mother…..

suffocation

……in the following year, 1603.

Jorden wrote:

The disease is called by diverse names amongst our authors, Passio Hysterica, Suffocatio Priefocatio, and Strangulatus uteri, Caducus Matricis i.e. in English, the Mother or the Suffocation of the Mother, because most commonly it takes them with choking in the throat; and it is an effect of the mother or womb, wherein the principal parts of the body by consent do suffer diversely according to the diversity of the causes and diseases therewith the matrix is offended.

He also states that the symptoms could be brought on by….

…….the stirring of the affections of the mind.

Four years after the 1608 production of Lear…..

Michael Drayton……..

drayton michael 2

……….refers to the Mother…..

…….in the VII Song of Polyolbion…

…..a topographical, anthropomorphic poem….

polyolbion 2

…..which describes Wales and England…..

…….and was going to cover Scotland as well…..

(But no trace of the Scottish section survives.)

Drayton began the work in in 1598…..

……..but the first section was not published till 1612.

According to the journal of John Ward…..

john ward's diary

……who became the Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1662…….

…….(less than fifty years after Shakespeare’s death)…..

…….and who mugged up on the local folklore about the Bard.

…..Drayton, he wrote, had been at the…..

…..merry meeting…..

…..with Shakespeare and Ben Jonson….

ben jonson colour

…..when the three men….….

…drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted.

So, it is highly probable that Shakespeare, as a friend of Drayton, saw the Polyolbion poem in manuscript.

Drayton, in Book VII,  refers to the famous Severn Bore…..

……or…..

…higre….

……a gigantic surge wave that comes in from the sea and up the Severn river at certain times of the year…..

severn bore 4

……and becomes ferocious and noisy as its makes its way from the estuary of the Severn…..

 severn bore violent

……through the narrowing channels and bends of the river….

severn bore turbulent

 

Drayton describes how when the…

…….tumultuous waves……

…are…

…….shut up in narrower bounds, the higre wildly raves;

And frights the straggling flocks [of sheep] the neighbouring shores to fly,

Afar as from the main it comes with hideous cry,

And on the angry front the curled foam doth bring,

The billows ‘gainst the banks when fiercely it doth fling;

bore hitting bank

Hurls up the slimy ooze, and makes the scaly brood [fish]

Leap madding to the land affrighted from the flood;

O’erturns the toiling barge, whose steersman doth not lanch,

And thrusts the furrowing beak into her ireful panch…

boat on bore

The Severn Bore seems more sedate now than it was in Drayton’s time….

bore bore

……but the bore on the Qian Tang River in China still erupts with terrifying fury…..

bore chinese

Drayton, in Polyolbion, goes on to use an epic simile to describe the Severn bore…..

…..and choses for his imagery a woman in the throws of ‘the Mother’….

As when we haply see a sickly woman fall

Into a fit of that which we the Mother call

When from the grieved womb

She feels the pain arise

Breaks into grievous sighs with intermixed cries

Bereaved of her sense: and struggling still with those

That ‘gainst her rising pain

Their utmost strength oppose

Starts, tosses, tumbles, strikes, turns, touses, spurns and sprawls

Casting with furious limbs her holders to the walls

But that the horrid pangs

Torment the grieved so

One well might muse from whence

This sudden strength should grow….

So, from Mainy, Jorden and Drayton we learn that ‘the Mother’…

(1) Can be brought on by situations of stress and emotion…..J.

(2) Manifests as an acute pain and swelling in the stomach or the womb….J. M. D.

(3) Travels upwards…M. J. D.

(4) Produces a suffocating sensation in the chest….J.

(5) Produces a choking sensation in the throat……M. J.

(6) Leads to acute dizziness….M. J. D.

(7) Leads to loss of reasoning powers….D.

(8) Brings on fits, groans and cries….D.

(9) Brings on an extraordinary increase in physical strength…..M. D.

….and…

(10) Often culminates in death….M.

IN ITS NEXT POST….

…..THE SHAKESPEARE CODE WILL SHOW HOW KING LEAR…..

……DISPLAYS EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM….

……OF…..

‘THE MOTHER’

lear with mother

…..AND FINALLY KILLS HIMSELF BY ENLISTING…..

……THE POWER OF HIS OWN DISEASE!!!

To Read Part One of this Series, click: HERE!

To Read ‘The Background to ‘King Lear’, click: HERE!

To read Trixie the Cat’s review of ‘Shakespeare in Love Live Onstage’, click: HERE!

To read ‘The Code’s Top TWENTY POSTS’, click: HERE!

Trixie

Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code……

BEWARE, BEWARE…..

Just when you thought the dread movie……

….. Shakespeare in Love…..

 shakespeare in love rom com 2

….was dead and buried….

….it morphs into an even more dreadful….

…..PLAY FOR THE STAGE!!!

shakespeare in love play 2

TWENTY-EIGHT actors and musicians have been hired to tell the story…..

28 actors

…….first told by Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon in their 1941 novel, No Bed for Bacon….

no bed for bacon

……..repeated by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard in the movie, Shakespeare in Love….

 shakespeare in love poster

……..and now repeated AGAIN by Lee (Billy Elliot) Hall in his stage adaptation of the movie….

……..of Shakespeare’s affair with the stage-struck aristocratic Lady Viola…….

viola as girl

……..who dresses up as a boy and acts in Romeo and Juliet…..

viola as boy

What’s wrong with that, Trixie?

 …..Your Cat hears you cry…..

What’s wrong with a bit of romantic tosh in the West End of London?

NOTHING!!!

……except for one thing…..

…..the Producers are palming the whole thing off as an……

…. EDUCATIONAL EVENT……

…..as though the whole preposterous story were somehow…..

 REAL!!!

They are even producing Educational Packs for schools…..

…..and have inveigled a SERIOUS ACADEMIC, Dr. Natalie Mears….

Mears Natalie

……a Senior Lecturer at Durham University….

…..to produce an essay for the programme……

….. portentously entitled……

 Elizabeth I and the World of Shakespeare in Love….

(THE WORLD OF SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE!!!)

The programme also provides us with a thumb-nail gallery of

 The REAL LIFE FIGURES AND PLACES in Shakespeare in Love…..

real names and places 001

But perhaps the story IS real, Trixie!

……Your Cat hears you desperately cry…..

Let’s examine the facts….

Dr. Mears tells us that the play is set in 1593…..

……something the programme itself confirms….

setting 1593 001

…..and adds that it’s LONDON, 1593….

It HAS to be 1593……..

……because that is the year in which Christopher Marlowe….

Marlowe, Christopher

…..who plays a big part in the evening’s proceedings…..

…..was killed in a tavern brawl in Deptford….

(In the movie version, Shakespeare is responsible for Marlowe’s death……

In the stage version, he is more honestly exonerated……

The Producers must have been thinking about their Education Packs)

But by FIXING the date as 1593……

…which neither the novel nor the play does….

……you are IMMEDIATELY into problems….

As Dr. Mears admits, there was a plague raging in London which killed thousands of people….

What she DOESN’T say is that……..

 ALL THE THEATRES WERE CLOSED!!!

NONE OF THESE EVENTS COULD HAVE HAPPENED IN LONDON AT THAT TIME!!!

Worse, we are shown a Shakespeare writing Romeo and Juliet……

BUT NO SERIOUS SCHOLAR PUTS THE PLAY BEFORE 1595……

TWO YEARS AFTER MARLOWE WAS STABBED!!!

Poetic Licence!…..

…..Your Cat hears you cry….

…..with even more desperation….

But believe her, it gets even worse….

Shakespeare isn’t writing Romeo and Juliet …..

He is writing Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter…

(Big laugh from knowing groundlings….)

It is Marlowe who gives Shakespeare the idea for the play we now have…..

But as ANY Shakespeare Scholar knows..

…..and most A-Level students…

SHAKESPEARE WAS RE-WRITING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED STORY…..

Arthur Brooke had written HIS version……

…… called The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Iuliet……

…….in 1562.

And William Painter had written his……

…….included in The Palace of Pleasure……

……..sometime before 1580.

Shakespeare’s habit was to work from old plots…..

….and even from old plays…..

But though he was in the habit of collaborating

…..Shakespeare in Love….

…..(or this play version, anyway)…..

…..DOES SHAKESPEARE A MASSIVE, PHILISTINE DISSERVICE.

IT IMPLIES HIS SONNETS

sonnets

WERE WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE!!!

No-one can BEGIN to understand the complex nature of Shakespeare’s emotional life without reading his 154 Sonnets……

…..indeed, William Wordsworth……

william wordsworth

……said the Sonnets were….

…..the key with which Shakespeare unlocked his heart…..

So to have the sublime love Sonnet 18…..

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day……

…..presented on the stage as a piece of plagiarism…..

…..is a vulgarity of such wickedness…..

YOUR CAT IS ALMOST SPEECHLESS…..

EDUCATIONAL PACKS INDEED!!!

YOUR CAT WOULD SEND THEM PACKING!!!

And it gets WORSER….

The Sonnet, in both the play and the film, is inspired by the beauty of Lady Viola…..

viola again

……and addressed to her….

There is not a serious Shakespeare scholar ON EARTH who believes that Sonnet 18 was written to a woman…..

It was written to a man…..

…..or at least a….

….lovely boy

…..and MORE and MORE Scholars…….

…..around the world….

…. are coming to agree with The Shakespeare Code…….

….that this man was……

Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton

henry_wriothesley_3rd_earl_of_southampton

 

a.k.a.Harry Southampton…….

See: Just how gay was the third Earl of Southampton.

Harry was Shakespeare’s patron….

And on good evidence gave him the colossal gift of £1,000 to….

make a purchase

Dr. Mears has the good grace to write:

There is no evidence of court ladies having affairs with poor players…..

…….and at least she mentions the Earl of Southampton…….

…….even if she does claim…….

……. WITH NO EVIDENCE AT ALL…….

……..that Elizabeth Vernon deliberately made herself pregnant……..

vernon elizabeth comb

…..to MAKE Southampton marry her.

Indeed, there is every evidence that Harry and Elizabeth adored each other…..

…..so much so that there is an oral tradition in Titchfield……

…..the Earl of Southampton ‘s stately home….

place house 2

 ……that their love was the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet….

….and the ambiguity of Mercutio’s reaction to the events in the play……..

mcenery mercutio

….. would certainly have mirrored Shakespeare’s OWN ambiguity about the courtship of his lover, Harry, and Elizabeth….

See: Shakespeare in Titchfield.

But there is also LITERARY evidence that links the Southampton family to Romeo and Juliet……

  …..an entertainment for a wedding celebration in 1572……

….written by George Gascoigne.

gascoigne george

Harry Southampton’s mother was Mary Browne, the 2nd Countess of Southampton…..

Mary Browne

Her father was Anthony Browne…..

anthony browne, first viscount montague.

…..who became Lord Montague when he was elevated to the House of Peers in 1554.

Two of his children got married in 1572 ……

…..Anthony, Mary Browne’s twin brother –

…..and Elizabeth, her half sister…..

…..and Lord Montague commissioned Gascoigne to produce an entertainment……

…..BASED ON THE MONTAGUES…..

….AND THE CAPULETS…..

Two Famous Italian Families…

In the story, a Lord Montague……

……who in this version of events lives in Venice rather than Verona…..

 ……saves a little boy……..

……..(who wears a token of the Montacutes in his cap)……

……  from the clutches of the Capulets…..

……and a wind blows them to England and the wedding celebration…..

As the ‘pretty boy’ says:

This grave Venetian….

Gan straight with many courteous words in arms me to embrace.

And kissed me on the cheeks, and bade me make good cheer

And thanked the mighty hand of God, for that which happened there…

Originally all the wedding guests were to dress as Venetians…..

But this proved too costly, even for the Montagues…..

So the Romeo and Juliet story was dear to the Southampton family…

….especially the Countess of Southampton……

…..who may even have commissioned it…..

…..and it was, in all likelihood, first performed at Titchfield….

…..as local legend says.

It was, after all, Mary Browne who commissioned Shakespeare to write seventeen sonnet for her son’s seventeenth birthday….

TO TRY TO GET HIM INTERESTED IN GIRLS!!!

See: The Birthday Sonnets.

She could well have re-inforced the message of the Birthday Sonnets with a decidedly HETEROSEXUAL play!!!

romeo nude 1

 

At the end of Shakespeare in Love, Queen Elizabeth………

dench as elizabeth

….. commands Shakespeare to write Twelfth Night…..

Shakespeare must have suffered another writer’s block…..

In reality, Twelfth Night did not appear till eight years later…….

…. in 1601!!!

But by this stage in the evening, reality is abandoned altogether……

The entire company perform a patriotic jig to the words of…..

…Vivat Regina….

….Long live the Queen…..

…..to the roaring delight of the modern groundlings….

Again, pure hokum……

Dr Mears insists that…..

Shakespeare in Love does not obviously reflect many of the tensions and problems of Elizabeth’s later years…

But as Brothers and Sisters  of The Shakespeare Code well know….

Shakespeare, a Catholic, loathed Elizabeth, a Protestant……

…..even in 1593!!!

But if Shakespeare COULDN’T have been in London in 1593…..

….because of the Plague which claimed 20,oo0 lives….

(thanks for this figure, Dr. Mears)

– …..where was he?

Click: SHAKESPEARE IN ITALY  to find out!

Bye, now.

Paw-Print smallest

 

To read about subsequent, equally dazzling, subsequent reviews of Shakespeare in Love: the Play by Tim Walker and Ben Brantley –  please click: HERE!

THE SMART MONEY FOLLOWS TRIXIE THE CAT!!!

Note: To read Part Two of ‘The Original Ending to ‘King Lear’ – ‘The King’s Disease’ – click: HERE.

To read The Shakespeare Code’s new ‘Top Twenty Posts’…..

….click: HERE!

 

 

 

 

 KING LEAR….

…..was first published as a single play…….

….. in a small, Quarto sized, edition in 1608……

lear pide bul quarto 001

…..eight years BEFORE William Shakespeare’s death.

It was later published as part of a collection in a larger, Folio sized edition in 1623..

firrst folio frontispiece 001

 

……seven years AFTER Shakespeare’s death…..

This FIRST FOLIO edition, as it has come to be known…….

….(there were to be later Folio editions)….

……..was edited by two of Shakespeare’s friends…..

……the actors, businessmen and petty crooks….

Heminge and Condell 001

 

…..who claimed this was the AUTHORISED version of the plays….

…..designed to replace the…..

…..diverse stolen and surreptitious copies maimed and deformed by the frauds and stealths of injurious impostors….

……of which the 1608 Quarto edition of King Lear, by implication, was one!!!

As a result of Heminge and Condell’s self-declared painstaking editorship…….

…..the plays now emerged…..

cur’d, and perfect of their limbs and….absolute in their numbers as [Shakespeare] conceived them…..

Thomas Heywood had made the same claims for himself eighteen years earlier in 1605……

…when he published his own version of his play……

If you know not me 001

….designed to replace a…...

……most corrupted copy…….

…..which had been…..

…..published without his consent….

In a new Prologue, Heywood describes, in similar language to Heminge and Condell, how he…..

…..took the pains…..

…..to put his play….

….upright upon its feet

To teach it walk….

He also recounts the method by which plays were stolen…..

STENOGRAPHY!!!

(Heywood’s own word!!!)

‘Pirates’ would lurk in the audience……

…..which…..

….thronged the seats, the boxes and the stage…..

….and take down the entire play……

BY HAND!!!

As a consequence, Heywood claims, their edition of the play had…..

….Scarce one word true….

But it must be remembered that Heminge, Condell and Heywood had a product to sell…..

…..their own new versions of existing plays….

…..so they exaggerated…..

…..and, in the case of Heminge and Condell, actually lied!

They claimed to have…..

….scarce received from [Shakespeare] a blot in his papers…..

…..but one glance at the manuscript of Shakespeare’s contribution to The Play of Sir Thomas More……

thomas more manuscript

…..shows that Shakespeare certainly did blot his papers!!!

(Heminge and Condell were propagating the myth that Shakespeare wrote his plays ALONE…..

…..but as Brothers and Sisters of The Code well know…..

 ……..Shakespeare COLLABORATED throughout his career…..

…….and was constantly updating and re-writing his work.)

The stenographer of the 1608 Quarto version of Lear, it is true, DID sometimes mishear the words the actors were saying….

He wrote down…..

The mistress of Hecat, and the might….

…..wheras the Folio edition of 1623 has….

The miseries of Hecate and the night……

[The SECOND Folio of 1632 is DIFFERENT AGAIN ! It has 'The mysteries of Hecate and the night'.]

The 1608 stenographer also heard as  PROSE…..

every inch quarto 001

…….some passages that were later to be revealed as VERSE in the Folio edition…..

every inch folio 001

 

HOWEVER…..

The pirated Quarto edition has supplied us with lines from King Lear…..

….INDEED A WHOLE SCENE…

……WHICH WE OTHERWISE WOULD NOT POSSESS!!!

In the Quarto Version, King Lear, losing his wits, conducts a mock trial of his daughters……

…..in which he mistakes a joint-stool for Goneril….

lear joint-stool

 

THIS SCENE DOES NOT EXIST IN THE FIRST FOLIO EDITION!!!

(It was clearly cut from performances after 1608)

So, for all its faults….. 

THE 1608 QUARTO SHOWS US WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED ON THE STAGE….

MOSTLY this is the same as the Folio Version..

…except when it comes to the LAST SCENE of the play….

WHERE IT IS RADICALLY DIFFERENT!!!

In the First Folio version of the last scene…….

…….Lear comes across a soldier who is hanging his youngest daughter, Cordelia, in her cell…..

Old as the King is, he manages to kill him…..

…….then enters, carrying the body of Cordelia, in his arms…..

lear with cordelia

He COMMANDS everyone to howl in grief…..

….. if he still had a voice and eyes as strong as theirs are, he would…

……use them so that Heaven’s vault should crack….

Lear is a warrior king who has experienced death in battle…..

He KNOWS….

……when one is dead and when one lives…..

Cordelia is…..

…..dead as earth…..

But, in desperation, he clings onto the idea that she might be alive….

He asks for a looking glass to see if her breath will….

….mist or stain the stone….

He holds a feather to her mouth which….

…..stirs….

this feather stirs

….probably because his hand is shaking….

….but Lear WANTS to believe that Cordelia is alive….

It is a chance which does redeem all sorrows

That ever I have felt….

The faithful Earl of Kent presents himself to Lear…..

…..but Lear doesn’t recognise him.

Lear then tries to convince himself that Cordelia is speaking to him…..

lear listening to cordelia's voice.

……and explains that the reason that no-one can hear her is because…

……..her voice was ever soft

Gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman….

The Duke of Albany……..

…..who has finally taken a stand against his evil and disloyal wife, Goneril….

……promises that….

What comfort to this great decay [King Lear] may come

Shall be applied….

He gives up his right to the throne to the old king…..

……..and promises to reward those who have behaved honourably.

Lear has returned to Cordelia’s body…..

…..and finally forces himself to accept the truth…..

And my poor fool is hang’d! No, no, no life!

Why should a rat, a dog, a horse have life,

And thou no breath at all. Thou’lt come no more,

Never, never, never, never, never!

Lear feels he is choking and asks for help….

Pray you, undo this button. Thank you sir…

He then turns back to Cordelia, looks at her and cries:

Do you see this? Look on her, look her lips,

Look there, look there….

look her lips

He believes Cordelia’s lips are moving!

He thinks she is alive!

So all the sorrows that Lear has ever felt ARE redeemed….

And at this moment of supreme happiness, he dies.

The great Shakespearean, A.C. Bradley……

bradley

…….writes……

To us, perhaps, the knowledge that [Lear] is deceived may bring a culmination of pain: but if it brings only that, I believe we are false to Shakespeare, and it seems almost beyond question that any actor is false to the text who does not attempt to express, in Lear’s last accents and gestures and look, an unbearable joy.

So, like the Earl of Gloucester in the play……

……reunited with his loving, loyal son, Edgar….

……Lear’s heart has….

…..burst smilingly……

Edgar hopes that the King is still alive….

But Kent wills him to die…..

Break heart, I prithee break….

……explaining….

……he hates him

that would upon the rack of this tough world stretch him out longer.

Edgar concedes that the King is dead….

…..and Albany now offers his throne to the….

….friends of my soul…..

…….the Earl of Kent and Edgar, the new Earl of Gloucester…..

But Kent whose….

…..strings of life….

…have……

…. begun to crack….

…..knows he must soon join his master in heaven.

Edgar, however, takes up the responsibilities of kingship with a new resolve to…..

….speak what we feel, not what we ought to say…..

edgar noble

But he acknowledges that the times are so bad, the world must be coming to an end….

The oldest hath borne most. We that are young

Shall never see so much nor live so long…..

The last scene in the 1608 Quarto is almost exactly the same as the 1623 First Folio……

……up to Lear’s last speech….

……FROM WHICH POINT IT IS RADICALLY DIFFERENT!!!

This is a reprint of the FIRST FOLIO ending….

and my poor fool folio version 001

This is a reprint of the 1608 QUARTO version:

my poor fool - pide quarto 001

 

LEAR IN THE QUARTO VERSION DOES NOT BELIEVE HE SEES THE LIPS OF HIS DAUGHTER MOVE.

In fact, with his repeated ‘Never’ he drives home to himself…….

….THAT HE WILL NEVER SEE CORDELIA AGAIN!!!

As in the Folio version, this terrible truth stifles his breathing…..

…….and again he asks someone to undo his button.

He looks back to the body of his daughter…..

…..but this time he utters a terrible cry……..

…o,o,o,o….

…and faints.

Edgar goes to his aid…..

……but with an heroic effort of will, the King commands his own heart to stop beating…..

Break heart, I prithee break…..

And his heart obeys.

As in the Folio edition, the Duke of Albany offers his throne to Kent and Edgar……

But in the Quarto version, not only does Kent refuse it…..

…..EDGAR REFUSES IT AS WELL!!!

So the last speech in the play is spoken by Albany.

Left ruling a Kingdom he does not want to rule…..

….. employs for the first time the royal ‘We’…

….and rebukes himself for not speaking out against evil earlier…..

…Speak what we feel, not what we also say….

(What is a glimmer of hope on Edgar’s lips becomes an admission of complicity on Albany’s)

Albany, finally, comes to the same conclusion that Edgar comes to…..

……THAT THE WORLD IS SO CORRUPT IT MUST BE HURTLING TO ITS END….

The Quarto conclusion to King Lear…..

……Shakespeare’s first revision of the play since he collaborated with Thomas Kyd on the old King Leir….

leir frontispiece

See: The Background to ‘King Lear’.

…….is one of unremitting despair.

Kenneth Muir……

muir kenneth

….whose Arden edition of King Lear my generation grew up with……

 ……claims that all these differences in the Quarto were down to compositors’ errors.

But in the next Posts, The Code will demonstrate………..

(1) How this bleak ending to the play was thoroughly prepared for by Shakespeare…..

(2) How it ties in with Shakespeare’s other work….

….and….

(3) HOW IT TIES IN WITH SHAKESPEARE’S LIFE ITSELF!!!

TO READ PART TWO, ‘THE KING’S DISEASE’, CLICK: HERE.

timon of athens

 

 AN ANNOUNCEMENT FROM TRIXIE THE CAT

Trixie

On Wednesday, 7th May, 2014, The Shakespeare Code registered its……

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSANDTH VIEW!!!

To Honour the event, Your Cat has compiled a new….

….TOP TWENTY ALL TIME POSTS…..

…….AND HERE THEY ARE!!!

1.

Still way out in the lead is……..

‘Just how Gay was the Third Earl of Southampton’

wriothesley close up

……an exploration of William Shakespeare’s…….

……. fifteen year gay affair……..

….(1590 to 1605)….

……..with Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton……

……a Post that was tweeted by the ineffable Stephen Fry….

Stephen-Fry w nymphs bathing

……producing THOUANDS UPON THOUSANDS of Views….

The Code draws largely on Shakespeare’s Sonnets for its information…..

….complex, coded poems, with which……

……. in William Wordsworth’s words…..

william wordsworth

Shakespeare unlocked his heart…..

2.

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream Decoded’

puck sexy

HURTLING up the charts is….

……our redical new interpretation of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

……which argues that the play was a commission from the lovely, widowed….

……Mary Browne, Second Countess of Southampton….

Mary Browne b and w.

 ….the mother of Shakespeare’s boyfriend…..

 ….to celebrate her wedding, in 1594, at Copt Hall in Essex…….

copped hall

……. to Sir Thomas Heneage….

Sir Thomas Heneage funeral effigy

….an old lover of Queen Elizabeth….

…..AND A PROTESTANT!!!

(Mary, as Brothers and Sisters of The Code well know, was a committed Catholic…….

…..often in trouble with the Privy Council for harbouring renegade priests.)

Shakespeare had to write a play that would please both Papists and Proddies….

……the supporters of  Mary Queen of Scots….

mary stuart hat feather

…..who’d had her head chopped off six years previously…..

…..and the supporters of Queen Elizabeth…..

elizabeth 1590's

 …..who was still very much alive….

‘Decoding ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is still a work in progress…..

…..but in the light of the subject’s OVERWHELMING popularity….

…..WORLD WIDE…

…….THE CODE INTENDS TO PUBLISH A SCENE BY SCENE ANALYSIS OF THE PLAY IN THE COMING YEAR!!!

3.

Shakespeare in Titchfield. A Summary of the Evidence.

place house 2

In 1590, The Code argues, Shakespeare went to live in Titchfield, Hampshire…..

…..as a ‘fac totum’ for the Southampton household….

…as an entertainer and playwright….

….as a teacher in the local Grammar School…..

….and as a lover of the teenage Harry Southampton….

(not to mention the beautiful, mixed race courtesan and musician…….

….. Aemilia Lanyer…..

…..the Dark Lady of the Sonnets)

This Post draws on  the topography of Titchfield….

….and references in the sonnets and plays to REAL PEOPLE….

….to show that many of the early plays were acted in the Hall and Grounds of Place House…

place house recon.

…….and that aristocrats……

….including FEMALE aristocrats…..

….. like Lady Penelope Rich….

penelope rich

……played in the entertainments along with professional actors…..

….. like Shakespeare.

4.

6,000 VIEWS AND THE APPOINTMENT OF MAGGIE OLLERENSHAW!

…..to a Code Fellowship!!!

Maggie Ollerenshaw, F.S.C….

…..is a.k.a. Wavy Mavis from the WORLD RENOWNED T.V. sitcom Open All Hours….

…..which was revived last Christmas…..

maggie in open christmas

This Post includes Your Cat’s now CLASSIC interview with Maggie……

 ……in which she lays bare her soul to her Feline Friend.

5.

Viola’s ‘Willow Cabin’ Speech De-Coded.

willow cabin

….relates Viola’s SUBLIME from ‘Twelfth Night’……..

……to an incident at Tilbury during the Armada…..

tilbury, elizabeth in armour woodcut 001

…..when English noblemen were happy to camp out in ‘willow cabins’…..

 …….in the fields and beaches…..

…..to show their love for their Queen……

…shown here in armour on horseback.

6.

‘Macbeth’ Decoded. Part Four. The Witches (II)

witches 1

…….argues that ‘Macbeth’ was first performed…

NOT when King James came to the English throne…

BUT in Queen Elizabeth’s reign…..

……in SCOTLAND…..

….. in 1599…..

….at Holyrood House….

(on the very spot where he had ‘examined’ the notorious Berwick witches)

……to encourage him to join the Essex rebellion….

….and seize the throne of England from Elizabeth.

7.

‘Macbeth’ Decoded. Part Two. The Political Backdrop…

witches 2

8.

Twelfth Night Decoded: Part Four. Malvolio as Sir Walter Raleigh.

malvolio

The Code argues that ‘Twelfth Night’ was staged in 1601 as an attempt to appease the Queen…..

….who was furious with the Earl of Essex for abandoning his post in Ireland…

…..and even more furious whenhe burst into her bedchamber at Nonesuch Palace….

….before she had time to put on her make-up!!!

gloriana

Essex is presented sympathetically as the love-sick Orsino…..

orsino nobili

…..and Essex’s great rival…..

……Sir Walter Raleigh…..

raleigh hilliard

……UNSYMPATHETICALLY as the upstart Malvolio….

NPG D77,Sir Henry Irving (John Henry Brodribb) as Malvolio,by Harry Furniss

9.

‘Macbeth’ Decoded. Part Five. The Macbeths as Queen Elizabeth…

lord and lady macbeth

The Macbeths kill their royal guest and usurp the throne of Scotland…..

Queen Elizabeth had killed HER royal guest….

….King James’s mother….

Mary Queen of Scots….

mary q of s execution

….and as far as Catholics were concerned….

HAD USURPED THE THRONE OF ENGLAND!!!

10.

Shakespeare: The Movie I.

shakespeare with shades

A Trilogy about Shakespeare…..

……in a series of stunning visual images……

…..which shows how the Bard’s life became……

……. inextricably woven…….

…. with those of the Earls of Essex and Southampton

…..how Shakespeare earned Queen Elizabeth’s disfavour…..

…. by being associated with the Essex rebellion against her….

….and being in a gay relationship wit h the Earl of Southampton…..

…and how he came back into favour when bisexual King James ascended the English throne.

11.

50,000 VIEWS AND FIFTEEN NEW COUNTRIES!!!

gay-bar-celebration-2

This includes UNCANNILY ACCURATE predictions that…..

…… Stewart Trotter has made…..

…including the prophesy that Sir Nicholas Hytner……

hytner and national

…….. would run the Royal National Theatre……

……before he had directed a single professional play!!!

At that Tony Blair was a psychopath….

blair young

……even before he took office.

Trotter attributes this astonishing gift….

…..to his HIGH ROMANY BLOOD…..

caravan gipsy

…….but looking again at the flakey photo of Blair….

YOU DIDN’T NEED ROMANY BLOOD TO MAKE THE PREDICTION!!!

12.

Why did William Shakespeare write the Sonnets?

actors-centre-logo2

This Post began life as an article for the Actors Centre in London….

‘An Actors’ Guide’ to Shakespeare’s Sonnets…..

…..but is useful to ANYONE with an interest in the Bard.

13.

Twelfth Night Decoded: Part Three. Sir Toby Belch as George, Lord Hunsdon.

NPG D21826,'Sir Toby Belch',by; published by; after Richard James Lane; J. Dickinson; Sir Thomas Lawrence

George, Lord Hunsdon was Queen Elizabeth’s boozy, gormandising cousin……

…… with whom she’d had an enormous row.

(He’d said she was too old to ride on a horse)

He was at the first night of ‘Twelfth Night’ and is the model for Sir Toby Belch.

14.

Twelfth Night Decoded: Part One. Olivia as Queen Elizabeth.

olivia1

Olivia is the mistress of the household after the death of her father and brother.

Malvolio wants to take over and control her…..

Elizabeth became Queen of England after the death of her father and her brother….

Sir Walter Raleigh wants to take over and control her….

15.

BIOGRAPHY

stewart up cocnut tree 2

……of our reclusive Chief Agent….

……STEWART TROTTER….

….whom we see up a coconut tree in Papua….

He has been up one sort of tree or another all his life…

16.

Shakespeare: The Movie III

shakespeare with shades

This covers Shakespeare’s ‘retirement’ to Stratford….

…and the burst of new life he got from his relationship with his daughter, Susanna.

17.

The Dedication to ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets’ Decoded…..

sonnet-dedication

…….which reveals that the Dedication to the Sonnets is a coded reference to Shakespeare’s THEN EX-BOYFRIEND….

…..Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton.

Southampton in armour

Southampton dropped the Bard in 1605….

….when he finally produced a son and heir.

(He wanted to hid his gay side from his son)

Shakespeare’s bitter, murderous anger at this rejection was to fuel Sonnet 126…

……and much of the misanthropy in parts of ‘King Lear’……

18.

‘Richard III’ Decoded: Part One. ‘All the Queen’s Men…’

olivier richard III

……argues that the character of King Richard……

…..a.k.a. the Boar…..

boar

…..is a coded attack on the recently deceased,

……Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester…

leicester-c-1575-npg

….lover of Queen Elizabeth, poisoner of rivals, wife slayer, adulterer, murderer and bigot…..

…..a.k.a. The Bear…

bear

19.

Twelfth Night Decoded: Part Two. Feste the Clown as Thomas Nashe.

feste-tree

Tom Nashe, The Code believes, was Shakespeare’s regular collaborator…..

(Tom wrote the dreadful gags)

In ‘Twelfth Night’ – to gain the forgiveness of the Queen whom he’d offended – he played Feste the jester….

…..in an attempt to make Her Majesty laugh…..

20.

Trixie the Cat’s Guide to The Sonnets: (2) The Birthday Sonnets.

crest-town-southampton

This is Your Cat’s argument that the first 17 Sonnets of Shakespeare were written….

….to a commission from Mary Southampton…..

…..to celebrate Harry Southampton’s seventeenth birthday…..

…..and to try to get him interested in girls!!

southampton hilliard

But as Brothers and Sisters of The Code well know….

…..THE SCHEME SERIOUSLY MISFIRED!!!

Well, that’s The Code’s current TOP TWENTY…..

…..and quite enough from Your Cat.

She will hand you over to our dishy new agent, Tom ‘X’….

tom X

 

…..who has been looking through the Posts that DIDN’T make it into the Top Twenty …..

Stand by for….

TOM’S HOT TIPS!!!

‘Bye, now….

Paw-Print smallest

Ta, Trix.

The first thing to be said, Bruvs and Sorellas,

…..is that many of these Top Twenty Posts have the most Views…….

…. because they have been there the longest!!!

Hovering just outside the Top Twenty are wonderful Posts like…….

The Earl of Southampton and Trixie the Cat

Trixie 2.

 ….which decodes this highly enigmatic painting of Trixie and Gay Harry…..

Queen Elizabeth had died and Harry was hoping to become King James’s….

……FIRST ENGLISH BOYFRIEND!!!

But he was still imprisoned in the Tower of London….

…as a traitor to the late Queen Elizabeth..

….while the Countess of Pembroke’s sons were rushing North….

…hoping to be the first to jump into King James’s bed!!!

Gay Harry solved the problem in a flash!

He sent the King a wooing portrait…..

…..offering his ‘hand in marriage’ to the King…..

…….along with a couple of highly  flattering Sonnets  from Will….

Chandos portrait

This story is also told in the dazzling……

Shakespeare: the Play.

The great SIMON CALLOW……

….was kind enough to read an early draft of and pronounced it…..

a delight…..

The distinguished actor director and teacher , ANDREW JARVIS….

…took part in a read-through of the play in London and wrote to Stewart Trotter…

I think your play is wonderful. I thought it read absolutely beautifully – and it was a joy to be part of….

THE PERFORMING RIGHTS, WORLD-WIDE, ARE NOW AVAILABLE.

TRANSLATION RIGHTS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE

To read Stewart’s review of Simon Callow’s…..

…… glorious biography of Charles Dickens….

……click: HERE

After the review was published, Simon wrote to Stewart…..

You certainly got it!

Also I’d like to draw the attention of Bruvs and Sorellas to….

Shakespeare in Italy

rape of Lucrece

 

……which traces the influence of Titian’s Paintings……

…..’Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’….

….on Shakespeare’s poems of the same name…

(Shakespeare even uses the same COLOURS in his two poems that Titian uses in his paintings)

 These Posts also show that the obelisk in front of St. Peter’s in Rome…..

obelisk tudor

……and the brass orb that once surmounted it……

orb on obelisk

……also make coded appearances in the Sonnets….

 Shakespeare made a secret journey to the Continent in 1593…..

….accompanied by Harry Southampton and Tom Nashe…

Nashe thomas

The distinguished Shakespearean scholar, Prof. Roger Prior…..

……using completely different criteria to The Code…..

…..ALSO argues that Shakespeare visited Italy……

IN THE VERY SAME YEAR!!!

A Post destined for greatness is….

How Shakespeare’s Dark Lady found God

Willobie his Avisa frontispiece 001

….which shows how Aemilia Lanyer……

…..a beautiful young musician and courtesan…..

……and proto feminist…..

……became the mistress of Shakespeare and Gay Lord Harry…..

……as well as Old Lord Hunsdon….

carey, henry, lord hunsdon

…..wrote a scandalous attack on ALL her lovers under the pen-name of a man…..

(See: Willobie his Avisa Decoded)

…..then converted from Judaism to Christianity….

BUT CHRISTIANITY OF A HIGHLY IDIOSYNCRATIC…..

….POLITICAL AND EROTIC NATURE……

Also of profound interest is…..

The Background to ‘King Lear’

scofield with cordelia dead in his arms

……which catalogues all the changes Shakespeare made to the original ‘historical’ story…..

…..and the old play of King Leir…..

…..which the Chief Agent argues was an early collaboration between Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd…..

…AND WHICH HAS A HAPPY ENDING!!!

Stewart traces the influence of Catholic thought on Shakespeare after the disappointment…..

….. (to Catholics at least!)….

…….of the botched Armada invasion.

This was one of Stewart’s celebrated ‘Grosvenor Chapel Talks’….

grosvenor chapel with Peter Pan house

……which originally formed the basis for The Shakespeare Code….

Anyone seeking a summary of The Code’s FUNDAMENTAL IDEAS about Shakespeare….

…..should read the three Talks entitled….

Shakespeare, Love and Religion

…..which puts Shakespeare’s work into the context of history, philosophy and theology….

Adventurous Bruvs and Sorellas will also be interested in…..

The Strange Case of Mr. Apis Lapis

…..which argues that Sir John Falstaff….

falstaff beaming

…..was based on William Beeston….

(Apis = Bee, Lapis = Stone, Apis Lapis = Beeston(e))

…of Great Posbrook Farm in Titchfield….

great posbrook farm

(See: Why Falstaff is Fat)

 William, The Code argues, had an illegitimate son…

….the actor Christopher Beeston who acted for a time in Shakespeare’s company….

…. who first told John Aubrey that….

Shakespeare was a schoolmaster in the Country – Titchfield

….an idea first advanced in 2002 by Stewart Trotter in his ground breaking….

book cover

……which the Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Greg Doran….

greg-doran

……was kind enough to describe as….

exquisite

And which has received praise from….

simon callow laughing

 Simon Callow

Sir Nicholas Hytner

Maggie Ollerenshaw

Prof. Jonathan Bate

Prof. David Womersley

Lord Bragg of Wigton

China Mieville

 Jane Howell

Alan Samson

Martin Green

The ideas formed the basis of a brilliant T.V. documentary by Carol White for ‘Meridian……

(Please click : http://www.mellingwhite.co.uk/ Then press the ‘ARTS’ button)

The lovely Trix  is currently working flat out on…..

The Story of Elizabeth, Essex and the Ring

elizabeth and essex

…..which proves that an old romantic myth is true…..

Elizabeth really DID give the Earl of Essex a ring…..

….with the understanding that if he sent it back to her she would protect him…..

WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES!!!

As he was awaiting execution, he slipped the ring to a boy…..

WHO, BY MISTAKE, SLIPPED IT DIRECTLY INTO THE HANDS OF HIS ENEMIES!!!

Trix promises another dazzling Post on the subject……

…..VERY SOON.

Bruvs and Sorellas who LOVE theatre gossip…….

…..will LOVE….

Paul Greenhalgh’s Tale

paul greenhalgh as alexander the great

It is a HILARIOUS account of what it was like act in Weekly Rep in England in the ‘Sixties….

…..and comes from a book Stewart compiled last year with Code Fellow, Charles Sharman-Cox, F.S.C….

Charles sharman-cox  portrait large

……which has a forward by Southend Girl Dame Helen Mirren…..

helen mirren cleo A

…..and is called….

Tales cover

(See: Critics heap praise on ‘Tales from the Palace Theatre’)

Finally, for those fascinated by British politics….

…….and also fascinated by Margaret Thatcher….

thatcher and reagan

The Men who made Margaret Thatcher

This draws on…..

….. TOP SECRET information……

….. which Thatcher’s late speech writer, playwright Ronnie Millar…..

millar, sir ronald

….passed on to Stewart as they worked at the High Tory watering hole, White’s Club…..

….on the script for a Chichester Festival revival of Ronnie’s musical….

‘Robert and Elizabeth’

wynter mark as robert browning

And speaking of Stewart Trotter it’s time for me to sign off now…..

Our Chief Agent is about to reminisce ….

See ya ’round…..

Bruvs and Sorellas…..

Thanks, Tom.

And again, welcome to The Code….

We would also like to welcome a NEW COUNTRY to our ranks…..

UZBEKISTAN

uzbekistan

This brings the number of participating countries to…..

ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY ONE!!!

See: The Shakespeare Code Salutes the Nations

One of the capitals of Uzbekistan is, of course…..

……the fabled and fabulous…..

SAMARKAND….

samarkand

 

…..Uzbekistan’s entry to The Code is particularly timely…..

….. for reasons I shall now reveal….

WILSON KNIGHT REMEMBERED

Between 1980-5, I was Artistic Director of the Northcott Theatre in Exeter.

northcott-theatre

I got to know the great Shakespearean scholar…..

G. Wilson Knight…..

g-wilson-knight

He had retired to Exeter and lived in a house near the theatre.

Richard, as he was known, was a practising spiritualist….

….and would regularly communicate with the spirit of Shakespeare…..

…..as would his classicist brother, Jackson Knight, with Virgil…

It was in fact Jackson Knight who first came to my attention when I was a schoolboy……

….at the notorious Southend High School for Boys…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were construing some Latin lines from the First Book of the Aeneid…..

(working class grammar school boys DID those sort of things then!)

Fronte sub adversa scopulis pentibus antrum

Intus aquae dulces, vivoque sedilia saxo

Nympharum domus

….a literal translation of which might run….

Under the opposite front a cave is formed of pendant rocks, within which are fresh springs, and seats of living stone, the cool recess of nymphs.

‘What’ we asked our teacher ‘did Virgil mean by…..

Seats in the living rock…..

Without turning a hair, our young classics master replied:

Stalagmites. The spirit of Virgil appeared to Jackson Knight and told him so…..

The spirit of Shakespeare also used to appear to Wilson Knight…..

Sometimes he liked Richard’s books…..

And sometimes he didn’t!!!

Richard would attend all the Dress Rehearsals of my Shakespearean productions…..

He would enter from a side door in the auditorium which led directly to the outside….

….so he would always make his entry in a blaze of light….

…..then sit in the very first row and stare intently at the stage…..

….before the action had even begun!

Afterwards he would send me very useful, practical notes….

…indeed he used to give Shakespeare recitals himself, clad only in a jock-strap.

Here he is giving his Richard III….

richard in jock-strap 001

One morning I came into my office to find a pile of books on my desk…….

…..books with the most wonderful titles…..

The Wheel of Fire

The Imperial Theme

The Crown of Life

The Mutual Flame

It was the complete collection of Richard’s Shakespearean criticism….

…. which he had inscribed and left as a gift to me…

wilson Knight inscription 2 001

I would walk him back to his home when he came to see a production at the theatre…….

……and we spent many late nights drinking his favourite tipple….

…..the ghastly….

….Bailey’s Whisky Cream…

baileys

No subject of conversation was taboo….

…and one night I asked him, if he were to die next week….

(He was a spiritualist, remember, so death held no terror for him)

…..which two plays would he most like to see?

Nothing by Shakespeare, he admitted.

He’d had enough of the Bard by then…..

He wanted to see R.C. Sheriff’s shattering First World War play….

Journey’s End…

journey's end

…and James Elroy Flecker’s pervy Middle Eastern Romance….

Hassan.

(Here is the Procession of Protracted Death!)

hassan 2

Richard died while I was still in office…..

…and I had the privilege of hosting his Memorial Celebrations at the Northcott Theatre.

My company, which was performing ‘Twelfth Night’ at the time….

 twelfth night

(To read B. A. Young’s review, click: HERE)

…..performed the closing pages of ‘Hassan’ in his honour…..

…and it is appropriate to quote the great words here….

WE TAKE THE GOLDEN ROAD TO SAMARKAND

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,

White on a throne or guarded in a cave
There lives a prophet who can understand
Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
Who take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly through the silence beat the bells
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.

We travel not for trafficking alone;
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

The line….

For lust of knowing what should not be known…..

…..could well sum up Richard….

…..and it could certainly sum up The Shakespeare Code….

It is YOUR CURIOSITY……

……Brothers and Sister’s of The Code……

…….that keeps this blog so gloriously afloat…..

And I am deeply grateful.

YOU ARE THE WILSON KNIGHTS OF THE FUTURE!!!

S. T.

 

A STATEMENT FROM TRIXIE THE CAT

trixie

Yes, Brothers and Sisters of the Shakespeare Code…….

……..one of its most illustrious Fellows……

……Eddie Linden, F.S.C…..

…….. celebrates his 79th Birthday this week.

Here is the photograph of him that graces London’s National Portrait Gallery…..

NPG x25138; Eddie Linden by Granville Davies

Tom X and I saw the Great Poet yesterday……

…….as he sauntered through the heady streets of Maida Vale, West London…….

……where a spectacular Canal Boat Regatta was being held in Little Venice…..

regatta

Another Great Poet, Robert Browning……

browning robert

…..once lived in a house now occupied by the nondescript white block of flats shown in the photo……

A Grand Dinner is to be held in honour of Eddie…..

……and to honour Eddie in its own way,  The Shakespeare Code now prints what it considers the finest of his poems:

THE NEST

The echo of the burn as it runs yellow 

And the dark blue slag on the pit surface

Reminded him of his past.

The wheel of life sounded its

Message of time.

The blast of death

Rang its bells in the hearts of the homes.

The grim face in the mirror

Faded with time into the slag heaps

From where he came.

The moon revealed its ugly village casa.

A dog howled its death-like sound,

A baby cried from the cold of the night,

A father knelt in

the bowels of the earth, waiting for light

In the darkest hell, where he never saw.

Only winter remained.

And nothing returned to the nest

In the tree, but the snow that covered

The world of his past.

A collection of Eddie’s poems, A Thorn in the Flesh……

thorn

 …….has been published in a beautiful edition by the enterprising ‘Hearing Eye’……

http://hearingeye.org/

If you would like to read Your Cat’s NOW CLASSIC interview with Eddie on his Acceptance of his Fellowship, please click: HERE

And if you would like to read Your Cat’s FÊTED review of the Collection, please click:

HERE

So, it’s Happy Birthday, Eddie Linden…..

…..F. S. C…

birthday cake

…..from all of us at The Code….

‘Bye, now….

Paw-Print smallest

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