By Graham Holderness
Who used to be Shakespeare and the way did he dwell? Combining truth, culture and mind's eye, Shakespeare's many lives are instructed in nine attainable methods.
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Extra resources for Nine Lives of William Shakespeare (Shakespeare Now)
Hawker put the printout in front of him. ‘This won’t mean much to you. What it shows is that the text does carry the dominant genetic signature of one person. But it can’t be Shakespeare. ’ ‘No, none. ’ Malone began to talk rather automatically around the subject, telling Hawker about the texts of King Lear, explaining the significance of an additional example, even in fragmentary form. His eyes kept returning to the page of text, and the line ‘You do me wrong to take me out ath graue,’ which seemed to stand out from the rest, and seemed to hold a particular message for him.
1 In such images of the writer at work, the figure is usually seen as isolated, remote from any contact with other people or with material objects. Writing is an individual action, conducted at some distance from actual living, almost a form of contemplation. Shakespeare the Writer 25 The quill pen is the defining property of the early modern writer, and the image of Shakespeare with a feathered quill is so well established in the popular imagination that it is frequently reproduced in adverts, cartoons and comedy sketches.
Hence it seems legitimate for a fictional commentary to take the form of invention, and to operate by parallelism and contrast rather than by historical narrative. ’ There are implicit parallels to be made between the forensic methods of the famous fictional detective and the analytical speculations of the literary biographer. I have addressed the ‘Dark Lady’ myth via a modern parallel set in Italy in the First World War, and written by way of an imitation of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.