|From: Tom Clarke||4/7/2016 6:44:47 PM|
|'Astonishing' Shakespeare first edition found|
A very singular copy of the first known collection of Shakespeare's plays has been uncovered in an aristocratic country house in Scotland. The First Folio is among the most valuable books in the world.
A rare First Folio has been discovered in Scotland, the University of Oxford announced on Thursday. A First Folio is a scarce collection of 36 of William Shakespeare's plays published in 1623. It is not only in essence a "first edition," of the Bard's work but also the only reliable source for twenty of his most famous pieces, such as Macbeth and Julius Caesar.
The tome was uncovered at Mount Stuart, a large manor house on the Isle of Bute off the western coast of Scotland. The find makes a total of 234 known copies of the First Folio in the world, with nearly all the others are held by libraries and available only to academics.
"In terms of literary discoveries, they do not come much bigger than a new First Folio, and we are really excited that this has happened on Bute," said Alice Martin, head of collections at the house. The director of the Mount Stuart House Trust, Adam Ellis-Jones, described the revelation as "genuinely astonishing."
What is unique about this particular iteration, according to Oxford Professor Emma Smith, is that the First Folio has usually only been seen as one large volume. Instead, the Bute copy has been split into three, separated by categories of history, tragedy, and comedy.
"This is something that you could take to the fireside and enjoy," Smith told the BBC. "It's a book we most likely now see ... in a glass case, and one of the things that this copy ... shows us is a time when people just really used this book, they enjoyed it, they scribbled on it, they spilt their wine on it, their pet cats jumped on it."
Smith said the three volumes were worth between 2 and 2.5 million pounds ($2.8-3.5 million). She described her initially incredulous attitude towards the authenticity of the book, but said "when I went up to investigate, I could tell from the story of the book's origins, the watermarks and the idiosyncrasies of the text that it was genuine. It was a really exciting moment."
The discovery comes just in time for celebrations planned to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death, which came on April 23, 1616.
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|To: Carolyn who wrote (4453)||4/11/2016 10:21:48 AM|
|From: Tom Clarke|
|Was Shakespeare a crypto Catholic?|
Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare Hardcover
by Clare Asquith
A revelatory new look at how Shakespeare secretly addressed the most profound political issues of his day, and how his plays embody a hidden history of England In 16th-century England many loyal subjects to the crown were asked to make a terrible choice: to follow their monarch or their God. The era was one of unprecedented authoritarianism: England, it seemed, had become a police state, fearful of threats from abroad and plotters at home. The age of terror was also the era of the greatest creative genius the world has ever known: William Shakespeare. How, then, could such a remarkable man born into such violently volatile times apparently make no comment about the state of England in his work? He did. But it was hidden. Revealing Shakespeare's sophisticated version of a forgotten code developed by 16th-century dissidents. Clare Asquith shows how he was both a genius for all time and utterly a creature of his own era: a writer who was supported by dissident Catholic aristocrats, who agonized about the fate of England's spiritual and political life and who used the stage to attack and expose a regime which he believed had seized illegal control of the country he loved. Shakespeare's plays offer an acute insight into the politics and personalities of his era. And Clare Asquith's decoding of them offers answers to several mysteries surrounding Shakespeare's own life, including most notably why he stopped writing while still at the height of his powers. An utterly compelling combination of literary detection and political revelation, Shadowplay is the definitive expose of how Shakespeare lived through and understood the agonies of his time, and what he had to say about them.
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|From: Tom Clarke||4/17/2016 9:09:48 AM|
|Roman villa unearthed 'by chance' in Wiltshire garden|
17 April 2016
A stone planter which had been holding geraniums by Mr Irwin's kitchen was also identified by experts as a Roman child's coffin
An "elaborate" Roman villa has been unearthed by chance by a homeowner laying electric cables in his garden in Wiltshire.
It was discovered by rug designer Luke Irwin as he was carrying out some work at his farmhouse so that his children could play table tennis in an old barn.
He uncovered an untouched mosaic, and excavations revealed a villa described as "extraordinarily well-preserved".
Historic England said it was "unparalleled in recent years".
Thought to be one of the largest of its kind in the country, the villa was uncovered in Brixton Deverill near Warminster during an eight-day dig. It is being compared in terms of its size and its owners' wealth to a similar, famous site at Chedworth in Gloucestershire.
Finds including hundreds of oysters, which were artificially cultivated and carried live from the coast in barrels of salt water, suggest that the villa was owned by a wealthy family.
The dig also turned up "extremely high status pottery", coins, brooches and the bones of animals including a suckling pig and wild animals which had been hunted.
"We've found a whole range of artefacts demonstrating just how luxurious a life that was led by the elite family that would have lived at the villa," said Dr David Roberts, of Historic England. "It's clearly not your run-of-the-mill domestic settlement."
Dr Roberts said the villa, built sometime between AD 175 and 220, had "not been touched since its collapse 1,400 years ago", which made it "of enormous importance".
"Without question, this is a hugely valuable site in terms of research, with incredible potential," he said. "It's one of the best sites I have ever had the chance to work on."
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