Monthly Archives: February 2010

Tempest research hotlinks

Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky have produced a new website — Shakespeare’s Tempest — to chronicle the production of a book they are writing that will feature their research on The Tempest.

Stritmatter said:

On this  website, you can track the progress of this project. Once the book is published, this site will publish regular updates, including reviews and promotional literature. And the (research) articles themselves — as time and permissions permit — will be directly available on the site, along with copious background material useful to student, scholar, and actor alike.

Three articles have recently been added to the site. Click on this shakespearestempest page for hotlinks to these articles:

  • “Pale as Death: The Fictionalizing Influence of Erasmus’ ‘Naufragium’ on the Renaissance Travel Narrative.” Festschrift in Honor of Isabel Holden,  fall 2008, Concordia University, 141-151.
  • The Spanish Maze and the Date of The Tempest.”  The Oxfordian, fall 2007, 1-11.
  • “Shakespeare and the Voyagers Revisited.”  The Review of English Studies, September, 2007 (published online June, 2007), 447-472.

Stritmatter said a newly published article on The Tempest titled, “A Movable Feast: The Tempest as Shrovetide Revelry,” is slated to appear in the March 2010 edition of Shakespeare Yearbook.

Shapiro to discuss hot book March 24

London Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate named James Shapiro’s April 2010 Simon & Schuster release Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare one of a dozen hottest books of the year in his January 10, 2010 article, “The hottest books of the year” in the Sunday Times. Holgate said:

Shapiro has already proved, with 1599, that he has a remarkable ability to make Shakespeare scholarship both original and accessible. This outstanding piece of literary elucidation examines 200 years of heated argument over who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays — a debate that has involved everyone from Sigmund Freud to Orson Welles and Henry James.

Shapiro will discuss Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? at Shakespeare’s Globe in London at 6 p.m. on March 24. The event is announced on the Shakespeare’s Globe website, “James Shapiro, author of the bestselling and prizewinning book 1599, talks about Contested Will – his definitive investigation into who wrote Shakespeare’s plays.”

UPDATE Feb. 8, 12:46 p.m.: Andrew Holgate commented — Shapiro will also be appearing at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival on Thursday, March 25 at 8pm. To book tickets, go to

32 Hamlet quartos at your fingertips from JISC & NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the United Kingdom’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has expanded The Shakespeare Quartos Archive, a free, digital collection of quarto editions of William Shakespeare’s plays. Launched by the British Library in 2004, the project brought together six institutions in the UK and the US to reproduce at least one copy of every edition of Shakespeare’s plays printed in quarto before the theaters closed in 1642.

The site has currently been expanded to include the The Shakespeare Quartos Archive — Hamlet Prototype where:

. . . you can view full cover-to-cover digital reproductions and transcriptions of thirty-two copies of the five earliest editions of the play Hamlet.

. . .

A cross-Atlantic collaboration has also produced an interactive interface for the detailed study of these geographically distant quartos, with full functionality for all thirty-two quarto copies of Hamlet held by participating institutions.

. . .

You can view quartos separately, or alongside any number of copies. You can search, annotate, make public or private sets of annotations, create exhibits or character cue line lists, and download and print text and images.

I was able to access the Hamlet quartos using the Google Chrome browser and had no difficulty viewing the books, zooming, and turning pages without registering to the site. If you register at the site you can use extensive research tools including making manuscript annotations that may be private or open to the public. Registering was quick and painless; name and birthdate were required information.

I don’t know how much of a Shakespeare geek you have to be to get as big a thrill as I got out of just looking at those books, but I don’t think you have to be too geeky to agree this is a magnificent achievement.

More information about the resource was available on the site including the following details:

(This) interactive interface and toolset (is) aimed at facilitating scholarly research, performance studies, and new pedagogical applications derived from detailed examination and comparison of the quartos. Tools and functions include the ability to:

  • overlay text images
  • compare images side-by-side
  • search full-text
  • mark and tag text images with user annotations
  • create public or private sets of annotations
  • create exhibits or character cue line lists, and
  • download and print text and images

The interface prototype is at present fully functional for one play, Hamlet. The prototype is best viewed using the Firefox web browser, version 3.0 or higher. Many features have been tested and will also run on Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, and 8. Digitized images of all thirty-two pre-1642 copies of Hamlet held by participating libraries have undergone full-text transcription and encoding by staff at the Oxford Digital Library. The prototype has been assessed using professionally facilitated experimentation coordinated by the British Library, evaluation by graduate students and faculty at the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, and evaluation by readers, staff, and secondary school teachers at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Future plans: The Shakespeare Quartos Archive plans to apply full-level Hamlet functionality to all plays in quarto, expand available online facsimiles by seeking involvement from new partner institutions with relevant holdings, and extend browser compatibility to all major web browsers.

An article on this topic titled “Shakespeare goes digital: the earliest editions of the Bard’s plays will soon be accessible online in a new digital archive” by Louise Tickle was published January 26, 2010 in The Guardian.

Beauclerk opens US book tour in Portland April 7

Former Shakespeare Oxford Society president (1995-97) Charles Beauclerk will kick off his US book tour April 7, 2010  in Portland, Oregon. Beauclerk will launch Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth (Grove Press) as the keynote speaker at the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference at Concordia University.

Publisher Grove Press says of the book:

Beauclerk has spent more than two decades researching the authorship question, and he convincingly argues that if the plays and poems of ‘Shake-speare’ were discovered today, we would see them for what they are—shocking political works written by a court insider, someone whose status and anonymity shielded him from repression in an unstable time of armada and reformation.

Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre Director Daniel Wright, PhD who organized the Concordia conference where Beauclerk will speak, said Beauclerk’s book about that “court insider” Edward de Vere will debut at the same time as James Shapiro’s book on the Shakespeare authorship question, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?
(See SOS News Online review of Contested Will.)

Wright said:

The American launch of Charles Beauclerk’s latest book, Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth, will take place on the Concordia University campus in the George R White Library  & Learning Center, at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evening, April 7 — the night before the Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference officially opens.

Charles will speak about the significance of his achievement in this majestic work and will follow his presentation with a book signing for those who want to acquire his book — there will be hundreds of copies at this Concordia Universtiy event, the first day the book will be available in the US.

Grove Press, the British publisher, has selected Concordia Universtiy and the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre as the North American home for this effort to counter the same-day release — in London, by Simon and Schuster — of James Shapiro’s latest flat-earth defense of the Stratford man: Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (Yes, on top of the recent lame bios/defenses of the Stratford man by Greenblatt, Bryson, Wood, et al, ad infinitum; Shapiro now tosses his argumentative hat into the ring.)

The Beauclerk launch is an historic event you do not want to miss. A reception with cake and coffee will follow in the Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre where you will be able to converse with Charles regarding his new, breakthrough book.

We anticipate a lot of media coverage of this event, so you may get the chance to share your authorship  convictions and responses to Charles’ book with newspaper and television journalists.