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Friday, November 19, 2010

Little Literature Love: Mistress Shakespeare

Hey everyone!

So this post is a bit different from the previous. As I mentioned in my first post, though the primary focus of my blog is fashion, I would implement other Loves in my life, and one of them just so happens to be literature! Yes all, I am a total book addict! Leave me to frolic in a library or bookstore, and I will come out with SOOO many books, it's ridiculous! Those who know me personally know that I tend to walk around with something to read most of the time and am always letting people know about what I'm reading and my opinions on it. So let's get into it shall we?

I just finished the historical novel (one of my fave genres by the way) Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper. The basis of the novel is that it is the memoir of Anne Whateley, the speculative mistress of the famous William Shakespeare, who details her life fully and its close ties with her beloved Shakespeare. Definitely filled with drama mixed with historical facts, it does make for a very interesting read. I found it clever that the author was able to break down the story into Five Acts, along with a chapter breakdown, to make it more involved in the playwriting of the era. What seems funny to me, though, is the strong belief of the author (in her "Author's Note") of the true existence of an Anne Whateley, even though, and I urge you all to look into this if you have interest in the actual life of Shakespeare such as I do (I am a total Shakespeare head!), the majority of scholars have out ruled the existence of an Anne Whateley due to lack of documentation, since the only mention of such a woman is in the first marriage bond, preceding that of Anne Hathaway (obviously not the current day actress, though I do love her too, and she is known to admire Shakespeare herself having acted in Twelfth Night about a year ago).  I would recommend this novel to anyone who would like to have another perspective as well as an entertaining one about Shakespeare's inspiration for his works as well as what this author's ideas are about the gaps in his life, and to see it all from the other woman's point of view.

On a scale of one to five moons, I'd give it a 3, simply because though it is thoroughly entertaining, the author seems intent on making the readers believe the existence of this woman, and that would prove to skew their judgment when majority rules otherwise, plus she herself does not give much evidence as to why this is a supported view. Regardless it was smartly written and applied in reference to Shakespeare's actual work, and I can't stress enough how entertaining it was, because I was definitely invested in it.

On top of that, I'd like to share my favorite quotes from the novel, since I always seem to find at least one thing from a book I enjoy that I'd like to keep in mind forever, and maybe it will inspire you all as well:

"A poet must be a skilled seducer of emotion; a playwright must be a master manipulator of character and plot. William Shakespeare was both and more" (153).

"Forever was such a very long time when one did not even have tomorrow" (216).

" 'I detest jealousy. It's a weakness and yet it shows a sort of perverted strength' " (218).

" 'Impossible! I will love you--I, Will, love you' " (218).

"As a child who had been taunted as "Gypsy" and "Egyptian," I had finally come to accept that I was an exotic beauty, and all that was enhanced by the mania for all things Italian these days. For that, but mostly through Will's love, I had come into my own. So I took my hat off, loosed my hair and shook it free. If I judged it best to be a lad, I'd stuff it back up under my hat; if a woman's role would serve, that's what I'd be.
  'I'm an actor too, Will,' I whispered" (230).

" 'I analyze that particular emotion [love] as being just a prettier way of saying people's needs,' he told me. 'You know, something missing in one's life, which he or she find in another person.
   'That sounds rather cold and cynical....It makes love sound rather like going to market to barter,' I protested. I'll trade you this for that.'
   'Tit for tat?' he teased and reached to squeeze my breast" (303).

" 'Ah, my love,' he whispered and pulled me to him, 'the consummate actor and author of her own words, the be-all and end-all of my plays and my days. My protector, my muse, my conscience--the wife of my heart. Let us pray on this day on which we buried the queen that we have also buried the tough times we've been through. Let's go out into the sun and treasure our days together' " (330-331).

" 'If I close my eyes, I can see the meadows and flowers we passed that day, I can feel them from years later under my naked knees and elbows when we made love on them, crushing their fragrance...and yet they will grow and bloom again when we are gone' " (360).

"Two old but always new dreamers, we could have lived all day with our memories enchanted, but we kissed instead" (360).

"Despite the appearance of collapse, Will slitted his eyes open and his gaze burned into mine. Strange, but then I felt that old swift surge of desire he had always stoked in me. An ill, dying man, and me of an age where all such passions should have passed, and I felt the power of our need for each other again. Love is a need, he'd said once, and I'd argued with him, but it was true. Like water, food and air, love was a need."

So many quotes, I know! But as I said, this was pretty well-written. Any of the above that you like? Do you think you'd be interested in reading this novel (granted it's more for the ladies than the gentlemen, but I'm sure you guys can still get your follies out in reading this; as you can see there is some perverse humor involved)? Any other Shakespeare recommendations you all have? Speaking of Shakespeare, why not mention what your favorite works are?

Hope you enjoyed this post! And to those who don't read, I'm curious as to why, so feel free to comment on that as well (though I think I can assume you wouldn't have made it to this point if that were the case, what a shame!).

Siempre con amor,

Little Luna

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