David Crystal is an inborn story-teller. In this wonderful book he presents his experiment with the Globe in such a beautiful manner that you become as excited as the author was then! It is a remarkable account of how a group of actors at Shakespeare's Globe decided to devote three days to experimenting Romeo & Juliet in Elizabethan pronunciation, with Professor David Crystal having an essential role as the author of the transcriptions of their lines in OP. It is so exciting to read the opinions of the actors involved about their feeling about the whole experiment, the tangible change the original pronunciation caused in their acting on the whole - their behaviour on stage, their perception of the characters they embodied. David Crystal gives an accurate account of the way certain vowels and consonants were different, about the rhythm and melody, contractions and elisions in Shakespearean pronunciation. You cannot help marvelling at and being excited by every page in the book. This is a fascinating story which is so infecting that you wish you had been there and given at least the lines of Balthazar!
Without doubt, when it comes to the English Language, there are few better guides than David Crystal; I heard him first giving a visiting speaker lecture at St Anne's College, Oxford many years ago and he was very entertaining as well as informative, everything one could want from a visiting lecturer.
This book is an informative, entertaining, erudite and fascinating investigation into what Shakespeare's language might have sounded like as performed when he lived.
I like Abjad's comment from Paris: " ... its knowledge will stay with you like a perfume". The whole enterprise is intriguing, as much of the research into Shakespeare is (and all those who are said to have written his plays). From one perspective, it may seem a slightly pointless exercise because we'll never really know and it does not matter a great deal anyway; from another perspective, it is looking into the fundamental element of one of the world's greatest literary geniuses - his language.
The sound of Shakespeare's language is one of the missing elements. We (probably) have all of the words in various editions but the sound is lost. Forever? I have looked for a dvd, cd or some other record of this experiment but have been unable to find one, which is a pity as it would have been the ideal companion ot this book.