By Thomas Francis Carney
Biography of vital Roman army and political determine through a professor of Classics.
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Extra info for A Biography of C. Marius
One Mr Shakespeare . ’ I think it was the marvellous banality of this phrase that first sparked my interest in the case. For a moment we see him not from the viewpoint of literary greatness, but as he was seen by the maid of the house, a woman of no literary pretensions, indeed unable to sign her name except with a rather quavery little mark. ‘Mr’ is perhaps not quite as banal as it looks, because it was at that time a contraction of ‘Master’ rather than of ‘Mister’ - it is the term of address for a gentleman, a connotation of status.
Preface This book looks into some aspects of Shakespeare’s life in London over a couple of years in the early seventeenth century. Larger issues of interpretation belong to the book itself. I will confine this preface to a few procedural points and some hearty thanks. Many Jacobean documents use the ‘old style’ year, which ran from 25 March (‘Lady Day’). This is useful to know when reading them - it means that an event dated 1 January 1605 took place a month after an event dated 1 December 1605 - but is liable to cause confusion when quoting them.
The first and the last are true likenesses by virtue of their context - they are definitely of Shakespeare - but as portraits they are maddeningly bland and uncommunicative. The funeral bust has been famously described as looking like a ‘self-satisfied pork-butcher’, a judgment laden with Edwardian snobbery but unfortunately apposite. The ‘Chandos’ portrait is not certainly of Shakespeare, but it has a convincing provenance, and a degree of similarity to the other two portraits, and its compellingly saturnine portrayal answers needs which the others leave untouched.