Quest for Shakespeare
I've been eyeball deep into research and uncovered a terrific new source: "Quest for Shakspeare" by Joseph Pearce. Published by Ignatius Press in San Franscisco, this book came out in 2008. I couldn't put it down, and if you love research, you'll find lots of interesting detail with referenced sources that address both the issue of proving Shakespeare's Catholicism and confronting detractors of the theory. More importantly, Pearce embeds his research with heartfelt insights into the motives and emotional responses to the historical events of this period. Shakespeare, Pearce points out, was a man of great intelligence who was sensitive to the plights of his fellow Englishmen, passionate in his beliefs and dedicated in his efforts to address the political injustices common throughout his life. This is a time that is too often sanitized by historians. Yet, we can't truly understand Shakespeare or his work without understanding his world. I'm still digesting much of this book. I've no doubt it will inform my continued study of Shakespeare and his immortal works.
History of English = Fun!
With school just around the corner, and we teachers already back at work, I couldn't resist posting this fun youtube! Yes, it does mention Shakespeare, who is recognized as an important contributor to our language, and it's surprisingly historically accurate in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way... Enjoy!
This book is a must have for anyone doing serious Shakespeare research. It's definitely my first go-to for information. Ms. Hummel has compiled fascinating, highly detailed information from primary sources. It's a beautiful publication full of colorful photos, illustrations and maps. The appendix contains a handy year by year chronological outline that helps me track important events. The information is presented in context with the politics of the Elizabethan period and Ms. Hummel's conclusions are well supported and surprising. She skillfully explains why there are few pieces of Shakespeare's original work and proposes possible (or probable) activities during his "missing years." As an historical writer, I found the thoroughness of her information extremely helpful. As a lover of history, I thrilled the twists and turns of her interpretation of known events (yes, we historians thrill at stuff like that). This hardback is so elegantly published I can't bear to mar it with notes and highlighting, but I refer to it almost daily in my writing. Thankfully, the chronological sequencing makes it easy for me to locate any information I need. I couldn't put it down!
Herb Study Day
This weekend I'm in Las Vegas watching my nephew compete in American Ninja Warrior. That means VERY late nights (3:30 on Friday), long waits, and exciting watching of some amazing athletes. In my free time I've been studying herbs. I'm compiling a data base I hope to use in my writing. My first source for information is from "Culpeper's Color Herbal" based on the original "The Complete Herbal" published in 1649. He wanted to produce an herbal the commoner could use, based on local English herbs that were easily found. The version I use is published by Sterling Publishing Company in New York, 1983. It includes many colored illustrations of the herbs and modern medical uses of each plant. As you study herbs, you quickly see that many plants are recommended for the same ailments. What isn't as apparent is that only certain herbs might be available during each season, so a variety of options was important to the self healer. I highly recommend this book to any historical writers and herbalists. The information on current medical usage is invaluable to those of us trying to learn how to use this ancient knowledge.
Historical and Romance Writer, Amateur Herbalist, and Seeker of adventure, new knowledge and all things good!
Hobbies? I've adored cats all my life. I came to love Shakespeare when I was introduced to him in college. I developed an interest in herbs when a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer. I learned about the complex politics of Shakespeare's world when another friend gave me a book, "Shadow Play," by Clare Asquith.
Photo used under Creative Commons from chris bartnik photography