Sunday, February 19, 2006

As if Dante, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo weren’t enough…

At one of my English lessons on Friday my student made the argument that Shakespeare was actually born Guillermo Crollalanza (a direct translation) in Sicily and fled to England under religious persecution by way of the Sorbonne. Roughly, the argument went like this:

--why is it that we know everything in the world about Dante with records to back it up and nothing, and no documentation about Shakespeare?

--how is it possible that a man, born of modest means, could know French, Latin, and Greek? Did he learn it in the streets of Stratford on Avon? (actually, my student said something more like, “how is it possible in a town like Stratford on Avon? What is Stratford on Avon? It is nothing. It is a shit of a fly” – please don’t shoot the messenger, I’m only reporting what I heard. I, personally have never been to Stratford on Avon so I wouldn’t have an opinion on it’s resemblance to excrement or not)

--how can a man from a “small town” in England know so much about Venice, Verona and Paris? So much to be able to talk in detail about the streets and the characteristics that make these cities?

--and last but not least, and I quote, “could an English person write so beautifully? No, he had to have been Italian.” (Again, I’m only repeating what I heard)

My student had much more to say on the topic than what I was able to remember and record here. I would like to have some kind of response to this amazing theory but, alas, I do not. I’m sorry to say that I think ol’ Erio knows more about Shakespeare than I do. (Ms. Kapanke, if you are reading this…that’s not your fault. From one teacher to another, it was lack of interest on the student’s part, not lack of anything on the English Lit teacher’s part that has left a Shakespeare void in my education). Any thoughts from any of you readers who may be more in the know?

Ok, so Italy is my adopted country, obviously I think quite highly of most things Italian or I wouldn’t be here. Even so, I’m just not sure I’m ready to give them Shakespeare.

Other Stuff—

Knitting Olympics Completion Count of (amazingly boring) ribbed sweater:

(1) back
(1) front
(1) sleeve

New Puppy Destruction Count:

(1) cleaning rag
(1) pair of boots (I’m not going to post a picture because any of you readers who have known me for a while will say, “God, are you still wearing those?! You should be happy the dog ate them!” The truth is that I’ve had these boots since like ’97 and I’ve worn them every day, every winter since I got them. Alas (all the Shakespeare talk makes me want to say “alas” a lot), all good things must come to an end, clear out the old to make way for the new, and all that stuff…whatever. I’m crushed.
(1) set of household rugs – actually no rugs have been destroyed, per se, but each and every rug in the house has been peed, barfed or shat upon, at least once.
(1)plug from a lamp (yes, that was as dangerous as it sounds but I’m happy to report all are fine, well, except the lamp and some singed paw hair)
(1)doormat. This is ok with me, we really needed a new one anyway. I think we’ll wait a little while to get it, though.


  1. Olive----loved this blog. there's another arguement to be made about Shakespeare----who really cares weather he was English or Italian. Even ms.kapanke doesn't care. your knowledge of him is impressive. i emailed your blog address to kapanke.

  2. Betty5:49 PM

    I would really like to see a photo of those boots!

  3. Anonymous1:39 AM

    Did you have those boots in Curtis Park? I want to see them, too! Gawd, we miss having dinner w/ you two.

  4. Mike Rowe7:27 AM

    Hi, Lynn,

    You might ask your student this: if Shakespeare was Italian, how in the world did he know so much about English history. Shakespeare's truly great plays are the hsitories and ttragedies, of which only one, the Merchant of Vince, is set in Italy.

    Miek Rowe

  5. Mike Rowe7:28 AM


    I should not try typing after 11:00pm--the results are obvious!!!


  6. Anonymous10:45 AM

    I thought Shakespeare was danish. After all he wrote Hamlet that is about a danish prince and we still have them.
    Being a dane you would have to know about several languages and ways of living as there are only a few of us in the world.

  7. Anonymous5:20 AM

    As I recall, the Klingons climed Shakespeare as one of thedir own too.

    Typhoon pacifica