Monday, 28 April 2014

450 And Alive And Kicking

What is the secret of Shakespeare?  It is not so much a secret  but information lost, forgotten, not looked for or not realised.  Some of this has been covered before in a longer item, linked below.

These are added comments.  One is that he grew up in a house of business with a father in constant and continuing work with others senior in trades and many working people.  The business records are lost but we can imagine what they would have involved. 

Critically, he published and in London with enough surviving copies for others to use and draw on.  It is now being admitted that he was not likely to be some lone intellectual in a garret struggling with the words but a business man in property, an impresario and a man with theatres to fill.

My guess is that the structure of the plays could have been the product of joint effort with senior actors and others.  Once more or less in place the words followed.  When it came to words, Shakespeare was gifted, capable and disciplined.  He would have been aware of the timing and the amount needed.

Life in those days offered intense, continuing and relentless verbal exchange.  This would have been with persons of different classes, trades, standing, attitudes, experience and much else.  The living of life was in a flood of personal contacts of all descriptions.

This previous blog of 25 October 2011 suggests at length that what mattered would have been the prime "network" in which he operated.  It is a complicated tale not just of country folk but of part of London society as well.

An earlier blog of 12 October 2010 had also referred to this in the context of an item having a go at Andrew Marr for being rude about bloggers.

Another matter is that in going back to his time we need to put aside our present maps and notions of transport and movement.  It was a different England then and another world of travel.  We have forgotten not only how the roads ran but how much use may have been made of local waterways. 

The maps were different.  Before the tidying up of county boundaries of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries there were many enclaves of one county within another, notably around the West Midlands and Cotswolds.

Just south of Stratford there was a large tract of a part of Worcestershire within Warwickshire until 1931.  It was in the Hundred of Doddington and at one time had been connected to the Abbey of St. Mary's of Pershore.

Just this month the Royal Ballet have based their latest major narrative ballet on his play "The Winter's Tale" a work with a complicated plot and emotional content.  The reviews have been welcoming and we enjoyed it having seen the play more than once and firstly long ago at Stratford.

Four hundred years on and his work still inspires and informs new productions in different ways.

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