Shakespeare’s Crossover

Some of you may know that I have written and presented papers at the 2009 and 2010 Ohio Vally Shakespeare Conferences.

Both of these papers were based on Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew.  The 2009 paper was about screen adaptations of the play and the 2010 paper was focused on the mysterious “Induction” that is the introduction that actually has nothing to do with the main play which is really a play within the Induction. If you don’t follow my meaning please read the play.

Anyway while reading Romeo and Juliet I found an interesting line. It just wasn’t interesting enough to devote a paper to,  so now you get to read about  it in my Blog. 

In Romeo and Juliet at the end of the ball scene Juliet is asking her nurse the names of many young men in order to learn Romeo’s identity.

Juliet: What’s he that now is going out of door?

Nurse: Marry, that, I think, be young Petruccio. (1.5 127-128)

In case you aren’t familiar with  The Taming of the Shrew the main characters are named Katherine and Petruccio. The plot doth thicken for Romeo and Juliet  takes place in Verona, Italy. It just so happens that Petruccio is also from Verona. His entrance line in The Taming of the Shrew is “Verona, for a while I take my leave.(Shrew 1.2 1)” Thus saying that he lives in Verona but has left there for a temporary visit elsewhere.

That elsewhere is Padua, Italy where The Taming of the Shrew is set.

I am not the first one to make this connection, though, the 2006 YA novel Romeo’s Ex by: Lisa Fiedler included a young Petruccio as minor character in the story of Romeo and Juliet’s demise.

I suppose that it doesn’t really matter. It’s not like I can actually prove that Shakespeare meant for it be recognized as the same character. Though I do like to think that it was a special treat that he slipped in for his faithful play goers. On the other hand Petruccio is not the only name that Shakespeare recycled but I would never claim that the Katherine in Henry the VIIIth is the same one as in Shrew. 

I guess it’s up to people with higher degrees than mine to argue about it.

Elementary My Dear Wells!

Lately I have been reading a lot of Wells and Doyle. Probably two of the best writers of the English language. I also admire Jules Verne but as we all know he was French.

 H. G. Wells is best known for his Science Fiction thrillers. Most notably The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine.

 But he also wrote some more realistic novels as well the best of which, I think, is Wheels of Chance: A Bicycling Idyll  In this novel the main character Mr. Hoopdriver ( no, I’m not kidding) decides to take a bicycling tour of the English coast for his holiday. Naturally trouble follows him wherever he goes. But what really excites the geek in me are the six or so references to Sherlock Holmes, that well-known creation of Dr. Doyle’s.

 Mr. Wells also wrote a short story titled “The Stolen Body” in which a resident of Baker Street, experimenting with Astral projection, goes missing and his Housekeeper is said to be consulting with “That well known investigator.” That’s all we hear of him though because as I’m sure you can guess possession is 9/10th of the plot and he believes that “No ghosts need apply.”(The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire)

 Wells’s allusions to Sherlock Holmes are really a testament to how wildly popular Doyle’s creation had become in his own time. It’s exactly the same as a modern author referencing Harry Potter or Twilight.

 Or a simpler explanation is that these two Authors knew each other. In the biography Arthur Conan Doyle: A life in Letters  there is reprinted a letter written by H. G. Wells Congratulating Sir. Arthur on his recent Knighthood. It’s on page 503 for those who want to look it up.

 These two authors are really good and have a similar writing style. Very simple narratives with vivid descriptions and beautifully flowing dialog. I have tried to emulate the writing style and have found it a very trying exercise.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has a great body of work in addition to the 60 Holmes stories. I recommend checking out this site http://siracd.com to learn more about ACD. Especially find some his Non-Sherlock Short stories to read. ACD works amazing wonders with the short story format and I think that they’re probably better than most of his longer works. For example Holmes Adventures as compared to Holmes Novels.

 As far as Wells is concerned your local Library should have at least a few of his better known books. Though once again try to find a Short story collection if you can.