Daily Archives: August 10, 2011

The Library Journal Reviews Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy

*Roe, Richard Paul.
The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels. HarperPerennial: HarperCollins. Nov. 2011. c.320p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9780062074263. pap. $19.99. LIT
For this literary journey through Shakespeare’s ten plays set in Italy, Roe, an English and history scholar and an attorney who died in 2010, explored the places that inspired many of Shakespeare’s classics and presents a solid argument that Shakespeare was well traveled. Roe spent over 20 years traveling throughout Italy with Shakespeare plays in hand. The thrill of discovery he felt throughout his quest leaps off the page and makes for an accessible read. The connections he draws among the plays and locales are backed up with pictures, maps, literary references, and well-documented arguments. Particularly striking is Roe’s argument that A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not set in Greece, as traditionally accepted, but in a small town in Italy. VERDICT A fascinating look at a largely untouched aspect of Shakespeare’s identity and influences. Recommended for Shakespeare enthusiasts and scholars as well as travelers looking for a new perspective, this is also particularly intriguing as a companion to specific plays.—Katie Lawrence, Chicago

Slide Show and Description of Richard Roe’s The Shakespeare Guide to Italy — Huffington Post

Thought you’d want to see this text accompanying the slide show, written by Hilary Roe Metternich, daughter of Richard Paul Roe, author of The Shakespeare Guide to Italy.   See excerpts of Metternich’s decription below.  Here’s the link to read the whole thing:


Author, Hilary Roe Metternich
For lovers of Shakespeare who simply love his plays, “The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels” by Richard Paul Roe is an absorbing, insightful, easy-to-read journey into the ten plays set in Italy. A reading will make your playgoing experience richer, and you’ll have a much better understanding of what was happening in and around the Mediterranean during the 16th century; and it can be left at that.

However, for lovers of Shakespeare who are–in addition to the above–intrigued by the pesky “Shakespeare Authorship Controversy,” from the facts presented by Mr. Roe, it seems pretty irrefutable that whoever wrote those ten plays knew Italy “up close and personal.” After reading this book, wherein Roe has used as his guide only the words given to the plays’ characters by Shakespeare to speak (and has then thoroughly checked across Italy for their accuracy)– it’s hard to accept that William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon picked up his detailed knowledge about that country in, say, a pub in London over a tankard of stout from some chatty traveling Italian traders named possibly Luigi or Giovanni–supposing of course, that Shakespeare never traveled to Italy himself. Of course, after many years dealing with this topic, Mr. Roe couldn’t help but draw his own conclusions about the controversy.

Mr. Roe, in “The Shakespeare Guide to Italy,” simply points to the astounding accuracy of the Italian plays, leaving it to the reader to ponder (if they want to) what such accuracy implies–as they pleasantly travel through one of the most beautiful and inspiring countries of the world.

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