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Steve Sohmer

Emilia Bassano Lanier provided the model for Shakespeare’s Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. A dark Venetian Jew When Baptiste Bassano, Venetian converso Jew and court musician, died in 1576, he left his daughter Emilia penniless; she would receive a legacy of £100 only on attaining the age of twenty-one. For reasons

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
Author: Steve Sohmer

This book will come as a revelation to Shakespeare scholars everywhere. It reveals the identity of the playwright and Shakespeare’s colleague behind the mask of Jaques in As You Like It. It pinpoints the true first night of Twelfth Night and reveals why the play’s performance at the Inns of Court was a momentous occasion for shakespeare. It also the identities Quinapalus, the Vapians, Pigrogromitus and Feste, as well as the ‘Dark Lady’ of the Sonnets and the inspiration for Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. And it solves Shakespeare’s greatest riddle: the meaning of M.O.A.I. in Twelfth Night. In sum, this book reveals William Shakespeare as a far more personal writer than we have ever imagined.

Open Access (free)
Fetters of an American farmgirl
R.J. Ellis

’s ‘park’-set home in The Merchant of Venice, would have sought such harmony in the sixteenth-century Veneto (where Palladio built his villas) and, just as Shakespeare’s play exposes the underlay of money and legal trickery supporting Belmont, so Frado exposes what supports her Bellmonts’ white house.56 The effect of these dense allusions is to summon up a transnational pastoral web ensnaring Frado in a fruitfully embellished sheen of beauty she cannot escape even when she comes of age, because beyond it lies only beggary.57 Indeed, once Frado risks all and leaves the

in Special relationships
Open Access (free)
A tale of a young Jewess’s flirtation with Christianity
Katherine Aron-Beller

5 The Jew’s balcony: a tale of a Jewess’s flirtation 1 with Christianity Alack, what heinous sin is it in me To be ashamed to be my father’s child! But though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not to his manners, O Lorenzo, If thou keep promise I shall end this strife, Become a Christian and thy loving wife. (Jessica in The Merchant ofVenice by William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene iii) In The Merchant ofVenice, Jessica, the daughter of Shylock the Jew, fell in love with a Christian. With his assistance, she fled her father, her house and her faith. She

in Jews on trial
Open Access (free)
The art of performance and her work in film
Katharine Cockin

, especially those of Portia in The Merchant of Venice.21 These were predictably successful with audiences who would be glad to pay to see her appear on the stage at all, and they arguably served to raise the tone of the Coliseum’s programme. Terry’s popularity with the Coliseum audience was demonstrated in 1918 by the presentation of a wreath from ‘Admirers of Shakespeare at the Coliseum’ to mark her birthday.22 As part of the wartime charity and fundraising entertainments, Ellen Terry’s performances in scenes and recitations at this time have hitherto been regarded in

in Stage women, 1900–50
Open Access (free)
Simona Giordano, John Harris and Lucio Piccirillo

life. Sir Peter Lachmann (in Chapter 1) provides a fascinating overview of the milestones in the immunological sciences and the effect these have had on the duration and the quality of human life. Overall, humankind has lived longer and better since at least the 1900s. But ‘all that glitters is not gold’, wrote Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice. And Lachmann concludes by unveiling the other side of the coin: the growth of world population is simply unsustainable. CO2 emissions and indiscriminate use of scarce resources are likely to put humankind at new risks of

in The freedom of scientific research
The unknowable image in The Winter’s Tale
Chloe Porter

. 2 Spectators are, for example, forewarned that Portia intends to appear before her husband disguised as a man before the scene in which she appears as a lawyer in order to resolve the dispute between Shylock and Antonio, in William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice , ed. John Russell Brown, The Arden Shakespeare, second series (London: Methuen, 1955 ), 3

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama
The ends of incompletion
Chloe Porter

Kalas’s. 32 Kalas, Frame, Glass, Verse , p. 88. 33 Natasha Korda, ‘Dame Usury: Gender, Credit, and (Ac)counting in the Sonnets and The Merchant of Venice ’, Shakespeare Quarterly , 60:2 (2009), 129–53, 148. Korda quotes from Jan Ympyn Christoffels

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama
Brian Pullan

warders on the ghetto gate were expected to be reliable and well-informed witnesses to occurrences in the Jewish quarter, and two of them were summoned by the Inquisition to testify in Moreto’s case. One was the elderly Domenico Spadini, called ‘the Gobbo’, otherwise ‘the hunchback’; the other was his son, Antonio, whom Giorgio accused of bearing false witness against him. Did Shakespeare get to hear of them, transform them into Lancelot and his gravel-blind father, ‘Old Gobbo’, and include through them an oblique reference to the ghetto in The Merchant of Venice? The

in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700
Open Access (free)
Jewish masters and Christian servants
Katherine Aron-Beller

months’ work.136 Certain Jewish servants may well have been relatives of their employers. The practice of Jews hiring Christian servants remains largely unexplored in our period. Prior to the Counter-Reformation, Jews were allowed to hire Christian servants, even managing to keep them in casa on occasions, as Shylock had Lancelot, the son of Old Gobbo in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.137 Jews in Savoy, and certain bankers in Cremona and Rivardo in particular, were issued with condotte by secular officials, which allowed them to keep Christian servants in their

in Jews on trial