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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Effort, 4 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Then and Now (Kindle Edition)
This book contains some interesting nuggets of background information that are new to me & probably many other folk, too, but it could really have benefited from academic interrogation before it hit the presses.

Not written by an academic, it goes about its premise in a flawed manner, which is a pity. Insinuations are made, but not backed up (Shakespeare must have been able to speak Italian, for example) & conclussions reached that are easily undermined (no Jews in London at the time of MoV) so some of the credibility has to be questioned.

The writer is not sure who the 'Poet' is, which is fair enough, but the cover seems to show the Stratford man viewing Italy. Did any candidate for authorship of the plays travel to Scicily, & if so, why?

The nuggets of geographical information ask further questions, and for that alone the book is worth reading. Doubtless, someone will build on some of the 'facts' unearthed and take this further.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Oct 2012 14:27:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Nov 2012 10:30:52 GMT
EJN makes perfectly valid points, but Richard Roe was on borrowed time in health as I understand it. However the book is so valuable that every Shakespeare scholar is in his debt. The obvious candidate for the traveller is the Earl of Oxford: the writer's knowledge of Italian and in particular Italian Literature is evidenced from the plays, and readily conceded by 'orthodox' Shakespeare scholars. Some time in May 1575 Oxford arrived in Venice, and about February 1576 left Italy to return to England. Whether this gives him enough time to take in all the places mentioned cannot be entirely certain.
The breadth of Roe's reading delivers to us vista of new ideas and revolutionary discoveries in the works : for instance how many know that 'Caliban' is Catalan for 'outcast' or even that Catalan was an official language till 1609 of the Court at Palermo. Every page reveals a new insight. I know: I wrote a book The Earl of Oxford and the Making of Shakespeare: The Literary Life of Edward de Vere in Context (McFarland 2011), and know exactly my book (valuable though it is -!) would have been improved if I had had Roe's book before me

Posted on 21 Apr 2013 14:15:46 BDT
Donald Bain says:
Agreed. The book is written without academic rigour and contains some howlers (even in the academic preface...."butcher's apprentice" "poacher" etc). Nevertheless, it does provide much interesting detail.
There are 7 years early in Shakespeare's life where there is no discovered whereabouts. So he may have gone to Italy it could be conjectured. However, the proposals about his connections (including his alleged first hand experience underpinning his 'knowledge') with Italy are also very conjectural.
But a good read all the same and a decent addition to the legend of "Shakespeare".

In reply to an earlier post on 19 May 2013 19:00:19 BDT
N. DAVIES says:
And Caliban is Arabic for "vile dog" so does that mean Shakespeare was an Arab? Why is it Oxfordians select data that suits their myth instead of objectively analysing the facts to reach the obvious and logical conclusion. The presumption by Roe that Shakespeare spoke Italian is ridiculous and EJN is right to point out the interesting points this book makes but that the lack of scholarly rigour ultimately lets it down.
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