Synopses & Reviews
Richard Paul Roe spent more than twenty years traveling the length and breadth of Italy on a literary quest of unparalleled significance.
Using the text from Shakespeares ten “Italian Plays” as his only compass, Roe determined the exact locations of nearly every scene in Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, The Tempest, and the remaining dramas set in Italy. His chronicle of travel, analysis, and discovery paints with unprecedented clarity a picture of what the Bard must have experienced before penning his plays.
Equal parts literary detective story and vivid travelogue—containing copious annotations and more than 150 maps, photographs, and paintings—The Shakespeare Guide to Italy is a unique, compelling, and deeply provocative journey that will forever change our understanding of how to read the Bard . . . and irrevocably alter our vision of who William Shakespeare really was.
"This Baedeker to the 'Italian plays,' an eccentric labor of love by an attorney who works like crazy to find hidden truths via minute analyses of texts, has at its core the long-accepted scholarly belief that Shakespeare never traveled, certainly not extensively, through Continental Europe and Italy. From here, the book veers into murkier territory. For Roe (who died last year), it is the earl of Oxford who made all the trips, accounting for details and an intimate erudition regarding the Mediterranean setting of 10 of the plays attributed to Shakespeare. Thus, many of the so-called topographic blunders claimed by scholars in The Two Gentlemen of Verona are resolved through a better understanding of a long-vanished canal system; Romeo and Juliet details aspects of settings (types of trees, Juliet's window, and other facts) that come from no surviving source that a nontraveler could have accessed; Prospero's island in The Tempest is positively identified by geologic configurations as the island of Vulcano off Sicily's northeastern shore. Overall, the title is misleading: Shakespeare of Stratford turns out to be no guide at all. Considerable learning and ingenuity in working through the details of location and character are offset by an odd delusion, which, in fairness, the author shares with many serious fans, that the Bard was not Shakespeare of Stratford, though Roe only slyly implies this belief. 180 color and b&w photos; maps. (Nov. 8)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A fascinating look at a largely untouched aspect of Shakespeares identity and influences. Recommended for Shakespeare enthusiasts and scholars as well as travelers looking for a new perspective, this is also particularly intriguing as a companion to specific plays.” < i=""> Library Journal <> (starred review)
“An exceptionally entertaining, enlightening, and handsome companion for a thrillingly literate Italian sojourn.” < i=""> Booklist <>
“Exciting, original, and convincing....This book is essential reading for all concerned with who really wrote the works of Shakespeare. A thrilling journey of discovery.” Sir Derek Jacobi
“This is a revolutionary and revelatory book, part thrilling detective story and part sober scholarly treatise.” Michael York, Shakespearean actor of stage and screen and co-author of < i=""> A Shakespearean Actor Prepares <>
“This represents a hugely significant intervention in the study of Shakespeare and his dramatic works.” Dr. William Leahy, Head of the School of Arts, Shakespeare Authorship Studies, Brunel University
“Unless someone can prove him wrong, anyone who claims to have written the plays of Shakespeare needs to show some Italian travel documents.” Mark Rylance, Founding Artistic Director, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
Equal parts literary detective story and vivid travelogue, TheShakespeare Guide to Italy chronicles author Richard Paul Roesthirty-year quest to find the locations in which Shakespeare set his tenItalian plays—delivering a text which will forever change our understanding ofhow to read the Bard of Avon and irrevocably alter our vision of who WilliamShakespeare really was. More than 150 full-color images illustrate and enhanceRoes captivating narrative, illuminating his lifelong journey and shining alight into the depths of Shakespeares experiences in Italy. Until now,Shakespeares use of Italian backdrops—Romeo and Juliets Verona, OthellosVenice, Much Ado About Nothings Messina, to name a few—has been thesource of controversy and conjecture. With The Shakespeare Guide to Italy,Roes meticulous study reveals the secrets that have eluded scholars forcenturies.
About the Author
In addition to executing a private legal practice for more than forty years, Richard Paul Roe undertook a lifelong study of Shakespeares Italian Plays. A recipient of degrees in English literature and European history from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as a juris doctor summa cum laude from the Southwestern University School of Law, he lived in Pasadena, California, until his death in 2010.