Read Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare's Love-Life by Anthony Burgess Free Online
Book Title: Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare's Love-Life|
The author of the book: Anthony Burgess
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Reader ratings: 6.7
Edition: William Heinemann Ltd.
Date of issue: 1964
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The size of the: 744 KB
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Format files: PDF
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"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun.."
Virginia Woolf has written of the new biography in which fact and fiction are commingled in an entirely novel and delicious manner thus bringing forth the true personality of the subject of that biography. Anthony Burgess' 'Nothing Like The Sun' epitomises the new biography. A story of Shakespeare's love life, it is also a revelation of his incandescently fascinating mind. I knew about Shakespeare's literary history and a little of his personal life, but the present novel resurrects his personality, turning words to flesh. There's another biography I've been reading simultaneously with this fictional take on the Bard. Although it maybe more informative, it also very impersonal. Nothing Like The Sun, on the other hand, situates us not only within the Elizabethan period but also within Shakespeare's mind. A mix of Elizabethan English, Shakesperean language, and Joycean wordplay, Nothing....might not be easy to read but for the one who perseveres it can be a richly rewarding experience.
It also has something of a postcolonial bent to it in its unmasking of slavery, serfdom and naked colonialism. That must have made the New Historicists really happy.
"Life...is in a sense all lies. We watch ourselves act everyday. Philip drunk and Philip sober. One is inside the other watching the other".
These lines hint at the Bakhtinian idea that we can never know our true self. It is the other, the one outside us who completes us.
Shakespeare, referred throughout as WS, is always shown searching for love. He calls women a deflection, being time and again disappointed in love.
"...Faustus. A play, yes, a mere play, but the smell of truth in it - not the truth of the present feel of his horse's hot flanks, the sweat running down his nose, Kemp's droning song, but the bigger truth that lay behind this painted curtain."
Fervently he worked, not giving in to the demands of his time, in order to create something timeless and transcendent.
The novel maybe built on speculation, because not much is known about Shakespeare's life, but it fuses life into a bygone era. It offers historical context for most of Shakespeare's work through the relationships of WS with Henry Wriothesley and the Dark Lady.
Also, this was my first Burgess and I devoured it. I wish I could read how writing about the Bard impacted Burgess.
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Anthony Burgess was a British novelist, critic and composer. He was also a librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator, linguist and educationalist. Born in Manchester, he lived for long periods in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England. His fiction includes the Malayan trilogy (The Long Day Wanes) on the dying days of Britain's empire in the East; the Enderby quartet of novels about a poet and his muse; Nothing Like the Sun, a recreation of Shakespeare's love-life; A Clockwork Orange, an exploration of the nature of evil; and Earthly Powers, a panoramic saga of the 20th century. He published studies of Joyce, Hemingway, Shakespeare and Lawrence, produced the treatises on linguistics Language Made Plain and A Mouthful of Air, and was a prolific journalist, writing in several languages. He translated and adapted Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King, and Carmen for the stage; scripted Jesus of Nazareth and Moses the Lawgiver for the screen; invented the prehistoric language spoken in Quest for Fire; and composed the Sinfoni Melayu, the Symphony (No. 3) in C, and the opera Blooms of Dublin.