28. 8 January 1989 [NM] (Invitation to Italy; Hamilton)
My dear Eric,
Happy New Year, with plenty of sunshine to raise your spirits in the sad passages, and every possible success in your battles with Oxford monsters, and others!
I see they are now selling the Oxford Shakespeare on computer discs. Much may it benefit humanity. Also that there's a new book out on Edward III. I can't remember now if you have already dealt with it. I look forward very much to hearing more about your proposed film about Shakespeare.
Since writing to you last, I received a very friendly letter from Hamilton, not exactly answering my questions, which were too much like hard work, and poor man why should he, at 75? But raising many others, and enclosing the outline of another book he is proposing to write. But really Eric I think he is bit mad – North WestWest, I would say. He now inclines to believe that the Thomas More passage, which, for me is the king-pin that keeps his whole thesis together, is not by Shakespeare, but by Marlowe. If writings so similar as this and the Will can appear the same, and yet be by different hands, then how can we trust any Elizabethan attributions? Outside the field of hand-writing, he does talk a lot of nonsense. But I did hope within it he was to be relied on.
Herewith an idea I should like to sow in your mind for eventual fruition during 1989. Since you have two congenial friends in Italy, why not join together? Why not some time, make a brief escape from the psychic and physical clouds, pick up Erik Battaglia, bring him here and enjoy as many days as you can spend in the heart of Tuscany? I have a Bechstein grand, if that will tempt you. It would certainly tempt me to hear you play all you can on it. And the piano, which is much underplayed, would enjoy it too.
With love and every good wish for a year with many shining moments