Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Shakespeare in Venice?

Richard Owen of the London Times today reports on a book by Italian writers in his article 'Hath Shakespeare been a tourist in Venice?' (The paper version has a map of locations from The Merchant and Othello - not online). He writes:

It is a question that has perplexed literary scholars for years: how could Shakespeare display such intimate knowledge of Venice in his plays without ever having visited the lagoon city? Now Italian academics have challenged the widely accepted view that the Bard never travelled to Venice but gleaned information from Italian merchants who came to London on business.

In a new book Shaul Bassi, a lecturer at Venice University, and the writer Alberto Toso Fei say Shakespeare's insights have such a “local feel” that he must have gained them at first hand.

Probably unlikely, but never mind: in a post in February, III former Miriam Poulton (having studied The Merchant of Venice for the Junior Cert), helpfully produced here a kind of Rough Guide to Venice in 1600.

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