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review 2020-02-14 02:46
How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England
How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan Engla... How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England: A Guide for Knaves, Fools, Harlots, Cuckolds, Drunkards, Liars, Thieves, and Braggarts - Ruth Goodman,Jennifer M. Dixon

Loved it. What a delightful romp. This book has it all: unacceptable language obscene, basphemous and slanderous, telling gestures, social climbing, bad table manners, how to walk in period dress, cross-dressing, body parts and noises, STDs. Scholarly with cites from contemporary sources yet comfortably informal in the telling. A must for readers/writers of historical novels of the period.

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review 2019-11-09 17:31
John Webster & the Elizabethan Drama
John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama - Edward Howard Marsh,Rupert Brooke

This is not really a review.

I started reading Brooke's "dissertation" on John Webster and Elizabethan drama a few weeks ago after The Duchess of Malfi left quite an impression on me but somehow got sidetracked by a lot of other books since. Not sure how that happens...


Anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures of the actual copy I have on loan from my city's library because it very much encapsulates why I love our library.


So, here we have it. A 1916 edition of Rupert Brooke's work (written in 1913) that gained him a fellowship at King's College (Cambridge).



I am not sure when the last time was that someone borrowed the book, but the fact that I actually can borrow a book printed in 1916 to take home and adore for a few weeks is enough for me to say that libraries are awesome. There are countless other reasons of course. 


I don't even mind the scribbles that previous readers have left. Yes, these people deserve a stern talking to and should really reflect on their shortcomings as readers, but some of the comments do crack me up. 


As for the contents... It has been an interesting place to start reading about Webster and to add other points of view on Elizabethan theatre in general, but Brooke was a poet and this comes across in this work. His focus is on structure, style and on the realisation of emotive expression through the medium of dramatic speech rather than on content or context of Webster's plays, both of which would have been of more interest to me.

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review 2019-01-07 14:23
A Murder by Any Name
A Murder by Any Name: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery - Suzanne M. Wolf

One of Queen Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting has been murdered and set on display.  With the murderer throwing the palace into chaos, Queen Elizabeth brings in one of her famous spies, Nicholas Holt to quickly find the killer.  However, the public feels that the Jews are to blame and when another murder follows, suspicions and fear quickly arise.

As a lover of all things Tudor, I couldn't resist a murder mystery set in Queen Elizabeth's court. I immediately enjoyed the way that Queen Elizabeth is portrayed by Suzanne M. Wolfe.  This Elizabeth is authentic, using salty speech and acute intelligence, glamorous in style, but still very wary of threats surrounding her.  Nicholas Holt and his companion,  Hector the wolfhound are an amazing spy duo.  Nick's skill set allows the reader into the many different sections of England.  Nick is friends with Eli and Rivkah, Jewish doctors, setting the tone for the religious turmoil at the time and interviews many servants in Whitehall, exposing the many people and tasks they do to keep the castle running.  Overall, this mystery kept me on my toes and included in-depth historical detail of the later parts of Queen Elizabeth's reign.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

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text 2018-09-20 06:32
Mistress Spy by Pamela Mingle
Mistress Spy - Pamela Mingle

DNF @ 12%

The synopsis made me think of Nikita in the Elizabethan era.

Intriguing, right?


The first chapter was a battle scene, but you couldn't tell. It was all about the heroine, her rage, her need for vengeance and her utter hopelessness as a "soldier". Instead of putting the reader in the thick of things, where you can feel the cold nipping at your skin, where you can smell the blood and sweat of your fellow soldiers, the author spent the best part of the battle inside the heroine's head. And let me tell you, it was a very boring place.

The boredom proceeded with the next few chapters where absolutely nothing happened (no torture, no boiling oil, nothing), but for the heroine to notice just how attractive and gentle her captor was. Foreshadowing much?

So I went and read the last few chapters, to see if it was worth it...It wasn't. The last few chapters were as boring as the first few. The characters were rather bland, the pacing was plodding, and as original as the synopsis sounded, the story was nothing but.

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review 2018-07-26 19:31
Tyrant: Shakespeare On Power - Stephen Greenblatt

Greenblatt's studies on Shakespeare on "must reads" for me.  His discussion of the tyrants throughout Shakespeare's writings are thought-provoking in a way that I don't find anywhere else.  I particularly enjoy the discussion of Coriolanus, since that particular play is less performed and discussed than others.  I teach Coriolanus every year and students really love analyzing him so this book will add depth to our conversations around the motivations and thoughts of Caius Martius.  

Greenblatt makes it clear what his political leanings are and whether you agree with him or not, this study of the nature of tyrannical power is one well worth reading.

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