Elizabethan writers frequently complained about what we call ‘close reading’,
i.e., that their readers imputed seditious and/or scandalous intentions to
the author. We take a close look at this practice, and how it should
influence our reading of Shakespeare today.
This chapter explains that Christopher Marlowe was the inspiration for Jaques
in Shakespeare’s As You Like It – and that Shakespeare wrote the play
to commemorate the seventh anniversary of Marlowe’s death. We take a close
look at how Shakespeare felt about his rival, mentor and friend.
This chapter pinpoints 27 December 1601 as the date of the first performance
of Twelfth Night – and demonstrates that Shakespeare wrote his play for two
audiences, one at Elizabeth’s Court, the other at the Inns of Court.
Gabriel Harvey has long been recognized as the inspiration for Malvolio in
Twelfth Night. This chapter explains how Shakespeare turned his late
friend Thom Nashe into Feste, and continued Nashe’s torment of Harvey from
beyond the grave.
Shakespeare’s M.O.A.I. riddle in Twelfth Night has been his most
intractable crux. This chapter provides the solution, and explains how a
mis-translation concealed the truth from scholars for 400 years.