Tag: book reviews

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Two Gentlemen of Verona

Names and Arcadia in Shakespeare’s Play

This article tells about the meaning of names in Shakespeare’s play “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. It also describes the significance of Arcadia in his another play “As You Like It”.

“The Two Gentlemen of Verona” by Shakespeare has many characters whose names are ironic or have an important meaning. In the beginning we see Proteus and Valentine. With the flow of conversation the conflict of these two men is extended in an entertaining manner where Proteus is presented like ‘a votary to fond desire’. Bearing in mind the nature of love which is more of a solely literary standard rather than a sincere feeling could be taken perturbed in the light of fundamental significance of Proteus’s name. It has to be further noted, that the original reaction to love has afterward a romantic practice, which later results in the internal conflict mentioned when Valentine leaves and Speed enters. The internal conflict of this hero is troubling, as the very cause of this conflict is the transformation in the personal belief structure of Proteus which is imposed to Julia from Valentine, that further leads to separation of the two people.

Even the spirit of the parting of the two main characters in the play evokes the emblematic meaning of Proteus’s name. The two characters are divided by the sea, referring to mythology – Proteus was the Greek god of sea. Correspondingly, surroundings in “As You Like It” are as well highly symbolic. By the simple combination of the some letters, the woods of Arden can become Arcadia, Eden, or Ardennes. the forest of Ardennes is situated on the lands of Luxembourg, Belgium, and France, and the forest of Arden is near Warwickshire, that is close to place of birth of Shakespeare. Even more than that, Arden was also the name of maiden of Shakespeare’s mother. The episodes of the play are connected to the background of “The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia”, that is a reference to Heaven, or Arcadia. At last, there as well is an indication of Eden, the paradise from the Bible; the four marriages which are the play’s culmination support the reference.

The Forest of Arden is a representation of an eternal space and time is a protection for exiles and outcast; this is the spot where community happiness and spirit govern.

Francis Bacon Too Dull For Shakespeare?

Bacon & Shakespeare

Bacon or Shakespeare ?

Summary:

Whoever wrote Shakespeare, he must have been a lively fellow. Virginia M. Fellow’s book, The Shakespeare Code, makes a very strong case for Francis Bacon’s authorship of the oeuvre of William Shakespeare, based on historical evidence as well as on statements found in cipher in Shakespeare’s works. She’s not alone in this; many have come to the conclusion that Shakespeare’s works were not written by the actor William Shakespeare. Quite a few people support the claim that Bacon…

Whoever wrote Shakespeare, he must have been a lively fellow. Virginia M. Fellow’s book, The Shakespeare Code, makes a very strong case for Francis Bacon’s authorship of the oeuvre of William Shakespeare, based on historical evidence as well as on statements found in cipher in Shakespeare’s works. She’s not alone in this; many have come to the conclusion that Shakespeare’s works were not written by the actor William Shakespeare. Quite a few people support the claim that Bacon is the true author of this literary treasure—think Mark Twain, for instance, who wrote “To write with powerful effect, he must write out the life he has led—as did Bacon when he wrote Shakespeare.”

Amidst the various competing claims and the arguments quoted for each case, one of the lines of reasoning used by those advocating authorship by someone other than Bacon is that Francis Bacon could not possibly have written Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets because he was a dull and boring fellow, more at home in the world of law than that of drama. Some have called him a “cold fish,” not remotely capable of affinity with the often rowdy or hilarious atmosphere evoked in the plays of the Immortal Bard.

This presents an interesting argument. It’s true that Bacon spent most of his adult working life in the service of the law, but was he therefore dull? Could Bacon the crisp public servant and statesman—barrister, Solicitor General, Attorney General, Lord Chancellor—have had a more hidden side that generally escaped public notice? There are good places to search for an answer: in his biographies and in his own writings.

As for biographical comments on the lighter side of Bacon’s nature, there are many. His first biographer, Dr. William Rawley, who worked for him for years as a literary secretary and functioned as his chaplain as well, records a remarkable statement by Francis as a young boy. Queen Elizabeth I often had her Lord Keeper’s prodigy child (believed to be her own firstborn son) over at court. Rawley writes: “Being asked by the queen how old he was, he answered with much discretion, being then but a boy, that he was two years younger than Her Majesty’s happy reign; with which answer the queen was much taken.”

Within the circle of his friends, Bacon was known as a lover of jest and word play. Alfred Dodd, Bacon’s excellent biographer, quotes the poet Ben Johnson, Bacon’s secretary and friend for many years, who once wrote this tribute to Bacon:

“His language was nobly censorious when he could pass by a jest.”

Dodd also quotes an eye witness account by Dr. Rawley:

“One morning, after a night’s illness, he [Bacon] dictated no fewer than 308 anecdotes, says Dr. Rawley, who published them in 1671. ‘This collection his Lordship made out of his memory without turning any book.’ Lord Macaulay [another biographer] declared in 1848 that it reigned supreme as ‘the best collection of jests in the world.’”

Bacon’s own writings clearly show his love for the written word—its serious as well as its comical side. Few people realize the amazing volume of literary and scientific works produced by Francis Bacon, nor the masterful, witty and often poetic quality of his writing—he being the man to whom we owe such pithy aphorisms as “knowledge is power.” For instance, his series of fifty-eight essays “moral and civil” contains passages and phrases that rival the best prose ever produced in the English language. These short essays offer profound and sometimes humorous reflections on a wide range of topics: Friendship, Truth, Death, Health, Fortune, and True Greatness, to name just a few.

Would the following sentence, that opens the first essay, “Of Truth,” have occurred to the mind of a dullard?

“What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.”

Essay number 24, “Of Simulation and Dissimulation,” begins with a concise, astute observation that is as true today as in the bygone days of Elizabeth I:

“Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy, or wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, and to do it; therefore it is the weaker sort of politicians that are the great dissemblers.”

His easy entitled “Of Delays” is laced with clever, light-footed phrases that could easily have found a fitting home in a Shakespeare play:

“Fortune is like the market, where, many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall. (…) There is surely no greater wisdom than well to time the beginning and onsets of things. Dangers are no more light, if they once seem light; and more dangers have deceived men than forced them; nay, it were better to meet some dangers halfway, though they came nothing near, than to keep too long a watch upon their approaches; for if a man watch too long, it is odds he will fall asleep. (…) The ripeness or unripeness of the occasion (as we said) must ever be well weighed; and generally it is good to commit the beginnings of all great actions to Argus with his hundred eyes, and the ends to Briareus with his hundred hands, first to watch and then to speed….”

And in “Of Followers and Friends” (Essay 48), how’s this for a memorable opening line:

“Costly followers are not to be liked, lest, while a man maketh this train longer, he make his wings shorter.”

Francis Bacon dull? Those who voice this opinion to argue he could not possibly have authored Shakespeare would do well to look for better reasons, for dull this great man most certainly was not!

References:

Bacon, Francis – Essays (various editions, including Penguin Classics paperback)
Dodd, Alfred – Francis Bacon’s Personal Life Story (Rider & Company, 1986)
Fellows, Virginia M. – The Shakespeare Code (Snow Mountain Press, 2006)
Rawley, William – The Life of the Right Honorable Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Alban (1657)

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Victorian Literature

Victorian Authors

 

Victorian Literature

By Angelina Grey

The Victorian era or the Victorian period refers to the period of June 1837 to January 1901, as it was the period when Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire. The Victorian era is known as a period of prosperity and development for the British Empire. The period was marked by industrial development, rise of a larger stronger, as well as more educated middle class.

The era was preceded by the Georgian period and succeeded by the Edwardian period. A major feature of the Victorian period however has been the development in the field of art and culture. This period is characterized by intense and prolific adventurism in the field of literature, especially by novelists and poets.

The 19th century was witness to the growth of the novel as the leading form of literature, as far as the English language was concerned. Pieces by pre-Victorian writers like Walter Scott and Jane Austen, had mastered both closely-observed social satire, as well as adventure stories. Popular works were able to set up a market for novels amongst the reading public. The 19th century is many a time considered to be a high point in British literature, along with other countries like the United States of America, France, as well as Russia. Books, along with novels in particular, became omnipresent, and the Victorian novelists were able to churn out masterpieces, with continuous appeal.

Some of the most illustrated and talented Victorian novelists include Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lewis Carroll, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, George Meredith, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Philip Meadows Taylor, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Anthony Trollope, George MacDonald, G.M. Hopkins, Oscar Wilde and William Thackeray.

Victorian novels, used to be influenced by the large extensive novels of responsiveness of the preceding age. As it is, they often were more of idealized portraits of the difficult lives, where hard work, perseverance, love and luck would win out in the end. They portrayed a scenario, where virtue would be rewarded and the evil would be suitably punished. This formula was a striking feature of the earlier Victorian fiction. The situation, however, became more complex, with the progress of the century. By the 1880s and 90s, books became more realistic and at times even grimmer.

As it is, the Victorian age continues to be a major chapter in the long and illustrious history of the English language. The works of the period are often very relevant in contemporary times.

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Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes

 

 

Sherlock Holmes – The First of a Long Line of Crime Scene Investigators

By Don Penven

The adventures of Sherlock Holmes began in 1887 with the publication of A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and 56 short stories penned by British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Few fictional characters have survived the test of time, but Holmes continues to thrill, and yet befuddled many readers to this day. Motion pictures and TV documentaries keep the legend alive.

Holmes and Watson-a Dynamic Duo

The exploits of Holmes, and his roommate and biographer, Dr. John H, Watson, have fascinated countless generations of crime fans eager to learn more about this London-based “consulting detective,” whose uncanny abilities defy normal thought-processes of most Holmes devotees. Through skillful narration, using the words of Holmes, Watson and also third-person script, Conan Doyle mesmerized his followers with Holmes’ use of logical reasoning, the ability to devise virtually any form of disguise, all coupled with an in-depth knowledge of forensic science.

Author Conan Doyle stated that the inspiration for Homes was the persona of Dr. Joseph Bell, for whom he clerked at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He also admitted to using snippets from lecturer, Sir Henry Littlejohn.

Keeping Track of the Criminal Population

A system of criminal identification was implemented in Europe prior to Conan Doyle’s introduction of his master detective. Alphonse Bertillon. a French anthropologist, introduced his system of anthropometry, a method requiring precise measurements of the bone structures of incarcerated criminals. Bertillon’s formula of measurements was used to verify the re-arrest of the criminal element. It was not until 1903, as a result of the Will West/William West case, in which these two convicts had identical anthropometry measurements, they looked alike, but their fingerprints did not match. Soon after this, anthropometry was shelved to make way for the new science of fingerprint identification. As it turns out–Will and William West were identical twins.

The Introduction of Fingerprint Science

During this same fateful year when fingerprint identification was heralded as a new science, Conan Doyle published the Adventures of the Norwood Builder, in which a bloody fingerprint provides a solid clue to the nature of the crime in question.

Fingerprint identification reigns-supreme as a virtually infallible means of identification. But some forensic specialists would challenge this determination, countering that DNA profiling is a far more accurate means of identifying a perpetrator. No doubt this debate will rage on for some time to come.

The CSI Phenomenon

One of the most successful television dramas of the past decade is “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Along with its progeny, CSI Miami and CSI New York, this series has done more to influence how crimes are solved than all of the textbooks on the subject combined. Unlike so many “cop shows,” the CSI-series has created a new public awareness-to the point that many affected crime victims expect their particular brush with the criminal element to be solved within an hour (less the time for commercials), using futuristic methods and crime scene equipment. The CSI characters utilize the most innovative forensic examination equipment and work in pristine, shiny new laboratories equipped with every conceivable evidence discovery, evaluation and identification tool imaginable. But just taking into account the economic stress most crime labs are feeling, cost often outweighs practicality.

No doubt, most people would agree that Sherlock Holmes was the ultimate model for today’s CSIs, even if they never read a single one of Conan Doyle’s novels or short stories. The very name serves as a monument to the fictional character that frequently set forth from his lodgings at 221b Baker Street to pursue evil-doers wherever their crimes may have occurred.

Crime scene investigation has become a topic of interest for thousands of people. Some revel in the gory details from the crime scene, while others are seeking more information on how to become a CSI. The CSI TECH Blog contains dozens of articles covering just how CSIs investigate a crime scene and process the physical evidence found there. Satisfy your curiosity and visit this fact filled reference source: http://www.csitechblog.com/.

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