The Dark Lady revealed?

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
     And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
     As any she belied with false compare.

Thus reads Sonnet 130, Shakespeare’s famous ode to a mysterious Dark Lady who occupies the author’s affections through Sonnets 127 to 154.  Historians have wondered for centuries just who this woman might be, who so captured the author’s intense attention.

Now, one historian thinks he has solved the mystery and has identified Aline Florio, the wife of an Italian translator, as the unnamed woman.  You can read the full article here:

Has Shakespeare’s Dark Lady been revealed?

Urban Sprawl vs. Historic Romance

Apparently, developers have received approval to build modern homes, shops and more less than 300 yards away from Anne Hathaway’s cottage home in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Understandably, this is causing quite an outcry from those who wish to protect the historic site where Shakespeare once wooed his wife-to-be.

You can read the full article here.

(For the more immature amongst us, we should also note that the villain in this narrative is a government bureaucrat named Mr. Pickles.)

Cardenio Resurrected

In a recent post, we joked that it would be great if we could only uncover the lost manuscript of Cardenio.  Imagine our delight in stumbling across an article in which someone is attempting to do just that!

For the uninitiated, The History of Cardenio is Shakespeare’s lost play.  Scholars and historians can prove that the play was performed in the 17th century and originally credited to Master Shakespeare, but the script was never published and any manuscripts that might have existed have been lost to the ages.  Approximately 75 years after Cardenio was originally performed, the playwright and publisher Lewis Theobald published a play called Double Falsehood, presumably adapted from Shakespeare’s Cardenio.  At best, it is clear that many changes were made to the script.  At worst, we can only speculate whether Theobald wasn’t just pulling a fast double falsehood on everyone.

Now, an American Shakespeare scholar has meticulously researched and attempted to re-create the original Cardenio script.  While no one has yet uncovered an original manuscript in Shakespeare’s hand, it looks like the folks at Florida State University are staging the closest approximation of the play that the modern world has ever seen.  Read the fascinating article here:

History of Cardenio: Is Shakespeare’s lost work recovered?

Now more than ever it would be exciting for someone to find the lost Cardenio. Wouldn’t it be fun to compare this modern re-creation to the original manuscript and see if they got it right?

The Curtain, Lost and Found

Just because Shakespeare died almost 400 years ago doesn’t mean there isn’t anything new to discover!  Archaeologists in London have discovered the remains of the Curtain Theatre, where the Lord Chamberlain’s Men first performed some of Shakespeare’s plays before the troupe took up residence at the Globe Theatre a few years later.

You can read the whole article and watch the BBC news segment here:

Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre remains found

Now if only someone would uncover the lost manuscript of Cardenio

Year of Shakespeare

Did you know that 2012 is the Year of Shakespeare?  Apparently it is!  According to the website, Year of Shakespeare is “a project documenting the World Shakespeare Festival, the greatest celebration of Shakespeare the world has ever seen.”

I especially recommend listening to the 3-minute audio track on the Year of Shakespeare “About” page for more context on what this project is all about.  Check out the link below and join the discussion!

Year of Shakespeare

Happy Birthday Bill!

Today is Shakespeare’s 448th birthday. (Incidentally, it is also the 396th anniversary of his death.)  In honor of our buddy Bill, here are a few suggestions for how to celebrate.

First, try your hand at this quiz, care of the Huffington Post:

Test your Shakespeare Knowledge!

Then explore Happy Birthday Shakespeare, “a project by bloggers around the world to celebrate the impact of Stratford’s greatest son.”

Happy Birthday Shakespeare

Finally, go back to the text. Pick up your favorite play and read one of those great juicy speeches out loud. Just for the joy of it.

And to Shakespeare we say: thank you for being born.