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Discoveries and Reviews: from Renaissance to Restoration by A. L. Rowse (auth.)

By A. L. Rowse (auth.)

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Simon Forman and the Dark Lady 19 If thy unworthiness raised love in me, More worthy I to be beloved of thee. She was unworthy. She was a bad lot- nothing romantic about Shakespeare's affair with her. She was promiscuous, it was an adulterous relationship; she looked down on him, and demeaned him in talk with others. But he couldn't help himself, he couldn't but be infatuated. 0 from what power hast thou this powerful might ... To make me give the lie to my true sight? ' Simon Forman himself had a precisely similar experience at the hands of the Italian Lady.

When I went to the Huntington Library to write my biography of Shakespeare ten years ago, I took it for granted, as we had been told, that the problems of Shakespeare's Sonnets were insoluble, that there was no knowing who Mr W. H. was, assuming that he was Shakespeare's young man, etc. The first thing I noticed - and this was the stone that blocked the way to common sense about it all -was that Mr W. H. was not Shakespeare's young man, but the publisher Thorp's dedicatee. There is no disputing this: everybody knows that it was Thomas Thorp who dedicated the Sonnets to Mr W.

It is perfectly true that the old Shakespeare Establishment, at a dead end, has nothing more to offer than its wearisome academicism, infinitely boring, 34 Discoveries and Reviews incapable of taking in, let alone absorbing, a new idea, a new approach. Some of the old men did good work Chambers erected a strong and massive structure on which to build. Even Dover Wilson did good work, though notoriously erratic. The work that I find most illuminating is that which sees Shakespeare first and foremost in terms of the theatre -Granville Barker, Nevill Coghill, G.

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