Suppose I could convince you that William Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night for a performance before Queen Elizabeth I on Twelfth Night, 6 January 1601/02? Suppose I demonstrated that Shakespeare laced his play with anagrams because the Queen loved word-games, and anagrams were all the rage at Court? What if I persuaded you that Thomas Nashe

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

This chapter examines two aspects of Twelfth Night which support my suggestion that Shakespeare wrote the play for performance before the Queen. One is his repeated intrusion of anagrams; the word-game was popular at Court, and the Queen herself known to play at it. The second is the previously unrecognized subject of Feste’s ‘gracious fooling

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

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.

In his lectures on Twelfth Night Emrys Jones insisted that ‘the whole play drives toward the moment of the twins’ reunion’. Indeed, reunion – better yet, resurrection – is (to use Molly Mahood’s choice words) the principal ‘governing idea’ of the play. I will show that there is a link between reunion-resurrection, Candlemas, and William

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

: INT. WILL’S ROOM. DAY. A blank page. A hand is writing: TWELFTH NIGHT. We see WILL sitting at his table.     WILL (VO) My story starts at sea ... a perilous voyage to an unknown land ... a shipwreck EXT. UNDERWATER. DAY. Two figures plunge into the water.     WILL (VO) the wild waters roar and heave ... the brave

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

In Twelfth Night 2.5, the billet-doux which gulls Malvolio proclaims, I may command where I adore, but silence like a Lucresse knife: With bloodlesse stroke my heart doth gore, M.O.A.I. doth sway my life. (100

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind

I’ve suggested that in As You Like It Shakespeare etched into Touchstone an effigy of Thomas Nashe. I will show that in Twelfth Night Shakespeare produced another, more highly developed portrait of Nashe as Feste – and thrust him back into conflict with his real-life nemesis Gabriel Harvey, whom Shakespeare cast as Malvolio – ‘He who

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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Personal Shakespeare

anniversary of his twins’ baptism on Candlemas underlie the text of Twelfth Night , then his motive for ending on a note of melancholia becomes clear and appropriate for the first time. Throughout this book I have taken one precept as a given: every fiction writer’s works – whether stories, novels, poems, or plays – grow out of, are stirred by, and then are saturated with that writer

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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A theatre maker in every sense

and a partnership brand that turned them into actor-managers of renown, celebrity and considerable wealth. The 1900 season of Benson’s company at London’s Lyceum Theatre propelled both their careers to unexpected heights. Lily played Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Olivia in Twelfth Night to very favourable reception,9 leading to an invitation from Herbert Beerbohm Tree to play Viola in Twelfth Night in 1901. Viola, disguised as Cesario, helped to define Brayton as an actress. Her performance both conformed to and defied the gender expectations of the time

in Stage women, 1900–50

seconding Sir Francis Vere, being engaged. 14 Professor Kinney goes on to say, ‘It is tempting to find contemporary originals for Sir Toby Belch or Sir Andrew Aguecheek ( Twelfth Night ), Osric ( Hamlet ) or Oswald ( Lear ), but the only evidence we now have indisputably is Shakespeare’s satire of the deceased Sir John

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind