Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book review: Shakespeare’s Wife


Book review: Shakespeare’s Wife
By Germaine Greer, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 2007
406 pages

This is scholarly nonfiction that is not to my taste.

I respect Greer’s effort to vivify Ann Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare.
I think she went overboard a bit.

Shakespeare’s Wife is longish, considering that lots of the details of Ann’s life aren’t well documented or remain obscure.

For my taste, too much of this work is carefully contingent or unselfconsciously speculative. The specification of what we don’t really know is perhaps more interesting to a scholar embracing esoterica than it is to a lay reader like me.

Moreover, Greer’s text is chock-a-block with statements and implications that Shakespeare wrote about his wife and his private life in his plays and sonnets. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t.

Finally, much of this tirelessly researched and documented book isn’t really about Ann Hathaway. There is a conspicuous offering of detail about people she knew and didn’t know, in Stratford and elsewhere, and about circumstances of life, commerce and the arts in the 16th century in the middle of England.

So, here’s what I learned: Shakespeare may or may not have loved his wife; ditto for Ann’s relationship with Bill; I don’t need to read this book again.







Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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