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Stephanie
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Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

Throughout recent history, there have been rumors about lost Shakespeare plays. What do you think would happen if a new Shakespeare play were discovered? Would the quality of the writing be as important as the fact that it was by Shakespeare?


Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first few chapters of The Book of Air and Shadows. If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

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Stephanie
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LizzieAnn
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Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

I can't help but wonder how easy or difficult it would be to authenticate a Shakespearean manuscript. Discovery of such a manuscript would shake both the literary & academic worlds. Everyone would be eager to read it, and it would probably be put into print as quickly as possible.

I do think the fact that it was written by Shakespeare would take precedence of its quality. It's William Shakespeare! He's the epitome. How bad could it be? His plays are the most read. They've been turned into film but as actual adaptations and inspired adaptations (like West Side Story). Imagine how quickly a new manuscript would also be adapted to film?
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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StacyeJaye
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

I think an undiscovered Shakespeare play would be extremely valuable as is portrayed in this book. Infortunately I do not think the quality of said play would be as important as the author would be. Most people are familiar with his plays today because of their infamy and not because of their unique writing style (i.e. dialogue written as poetry)
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Wildflower
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

I agree that the simple fact that it was by Shakespeare would be far more important than the quality, and I think that lost letters or other items that shed more light on Shakespeare himself would be even more important.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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katknit
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

I think if the quality was not equivalent to other accepted works of his, the scholars would treat it as highly questionable. They are still arguing about many of the titles in the long accepted canon as it is. I'd certainly question something that deviated from what is accepted as the norm.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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GypsyWriter
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

[ Edited ]
I do think the content/quality of any such lost writing would be far overshadowed by the fact that it was written by Shakespeare.

Because scholars know so very little about who the author was, they are constantly looking for new insight from his writings. Perhaps a suddenly discovered manuscript would hold some clue to the man behind the pen--something not previously known, or maybe the confirmation of something long suspected. I think this would be the significance to a newly discovered manuscript written by Shakespeare.

Barb

Message Edited by GypsyWriter on 05-02-200702:17 PM

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Stephanie
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

Great points about Shakespeare, and how the man overshadows the work. I would expect "Shakespeare" from a new play. Ribald humor, of course, and the timelessness of human nature. I would wish for a tragedy, because those are my favorites of his works.

Group: If a new work by Shakespeare was discovered, would you wish for a tragedy, a comedy or a history?
Stephanie
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GypsyWriter
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

I too would wish for a tragedy; although all of Shakespeare's works are timeless, I am most moved by his tragedies, and the fact that what was true of human nature 1000 years ago, or 400 years ago, is still true today. Very fitting for a tragedy. The first time I read "Othello" I think I went into a bit of a depression. No other writer, past or present, has that ability on the same scale as Shakespeare.

Barb
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Wildflower
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?



Stephanie wrote:
Great points about Shakespeare, and how the man overshadows the work. I would expect "Shakespeare" from a new play. Ribald humor, of course, and the timelessness of human nature. I would wish for a tragedy, because those are my favorites of his works.

Group: If a new work by Shakespeare was discovered, would you wish for a tragedy, a comedy or a history?




What a difficult question. While I would never claim to have read all of Shakespeare's works, and while the comedies Much Ado and Midsummers Night are two of my favorites, I think that there is a stronger depth to his tragedies and I too would wish for a tragedy.
"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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katknit
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?



Stephanie wrote:
Great points about Shakespeare, and how the man overshadows the work. I would expect "Shakespeare" from a new play. Ribald humor, of course, and the timelessness of human nature. I would wish for a tragedy, because those are my favorites of his works.

Group: If a new work by Shakespeare was discovered, would you wish for a tragedy, a comedy or a history?




I'd opt for a comedy. There's enough tragedy in this world, and Shakespeare had a way of ruining historical reputations by taking license with his plots and characters.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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michaelgruber
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

You have to understand how utterly rare anything in Shakespeare's hand really is. We have the will and a few signatures--nothing literary at all, not a notebook, not a letter, not a scrap of manuscript. A holographic play in Shakespeare's hand would be probably the most valuable object in the world. I checked with rare books and manuscript dealers when I wrote this book and asked them what a ms. like the one in the novel would be worth and they just rolled their eyes. A hundred million, two hundred . . .and that doesn't even count the intellectual property rights.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

I would love a comedy, first and foremost. If not, a tragedy before a history.




Stephanie wrote:
Great points about Shakespeare, and how the man overshadows the work. I would expect "Shakespeare" from a new play. Ribald humor, of course, and the timelessness of human nature. I would wish for a tragedy, because those are my favorites of his works.

Group: If a new work by Shakespeare was discovered, would you wish for a tragedy, a comedy or a history?


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Margeit
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

I know very little about Shakespeare, but I would think just being written by him would be more important than content. Since there are not any works in his hand. I would like to think that he would have made changes, enhancements to it had it ever been performed.
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Bastet
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?


Stephanie wrote:
Great points about Shakespeare, and how the man overshadows the work. I would expect "Shakespeare" from a new play. Ribald humor, of course, and the timelessness of human nature. I would wish for a tragedy, because those are my favorites of his works.

Group: If a new work by Shakespeare was discovered, would you wish for a tragedy, a comedy or a history?




Hi All~

It's funny this question comes up now because I was just chatting with a friend of mine yesterday and he said that, in literature, there is no real difference between comedy and tragedy. The elements of both types of work are the same; they are just relayed differently. I stopped and thought briefly about that, and I am not a Shakespeare expert by a long shot. I have only actually read a few of his tragedies and his sonnets. I have seen stage adaptations of some of his comedies. And that is the extent of my Shakespeare knowledge. So I probably could not apply my friend's thought here.

However, it makes me wonder--along with considering what my friend said--which would I choose? I am inclined to say that I would take either one. I think any work by Shakespeare would be a chance to revel in that masterpiece. All of his plays (at least the ones I read) were all so unique that while I liked some more than others, I learned something different from each one. I think any work by Shakespeare would be a chance to learn something new, not just potentially about him, but also about the concepts he addressed. That is probably the chicken way out of that question (*wink*), but it would be difficult to identify which genre of his work would teach me more.

Thanks!
Rachel
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Fozzie
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Re: Tragedy, Comedy, or History?



Stephanie wrote:
Group: If a new work by Shakespeare was discovered, would you wish for a tragedy, a comedy or a history?




I would say anything but a history!

I think I have only read two or three works by Shakespeare. My son will be studying Shakespeare next year, in sixth grade no less (I was in high school), so I am hoping I may gain an appreciation for Shakespeare with him.
Laura

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michaelgruber
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Re: Tragedy, Comedy, or History?

Shakespeare was unique, I think, in sticking comic turns in his tragedies and making serious points in many of his comedies. During his lifetime, he was more famous as a comic writer than for anything else.
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katknit
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Re: Tragedy, Comedy, or History?



michaelgruber wrote:
Shakespeare was unique, I think, in sticking comic turns in his tragedies and making serious points in many of his comedies. During his lifetime, he was more famous as a comic writer than for anything else.


Shakespeare had an amazing sense of slapstick, absurdity,and comic timing, not to mention his command of language, that is still alive and razor sharp. His comedies, and comic scenes, if properly played, are pure pleasure. I think that his plays are meant to be performed rather than simply read.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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StacyeJaye
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?



Stephanie wrote:
Great points about Shakespeare, and how the man overshadows the work. I would expect "Shakespeare" from a new play. Ribald humor, of course, and the timelessness of human nature. I would wish for a tragedy, because those are my favorites of his works.

Group: If a new work by Shakespeare was discovered, would you wish for a tragedy, a comedy or a history?




I would have to pick a comedy. I absolutely loved Much Ado About Nothing. Nothing like a good romantic comedy :smileyhappy:

Although I also enjoyed Othello and Hamlet.

I have to agree with a previous posting about the importance of just finding out more about who Shakespeare was as a person. Not only is his life a mystery, but the time period he lived in must have influenced his work immensly. It would be wonderful to find out how and why.
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michaelgruber
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

Well, we do know a good deal about the period Sh. lived in. Reams have been written about it, and that's one of the astounding things about Sh.--how little we know about him compared to what we know about his contemporaries, which is quite a bit. Sh. is _unusually_, even _uniquely_ obscure, given his prominence during his own lifetime.
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: A Dramatic Discovery?

Can we blame the Puritans for this, since they closed the theaters? :smileywink:

What effect do you suppose that might have had on other manuscripts? I would assume that much would have been destroyed.
Stephanie
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