32. 19 November 1002

Dear John,


   Your proposed TLS piece seems fine to me; but don't forget that I'm very much a spent force, a broken reed, etc. when it comes to the TLS and Shakespeare. I dare say my erstwhile publishers (though they did send me a notification of their change of London address from 23 Pond Street to 47 Bedford Square) will be as surprised as I am at the news that a sequel to The Real Skakespeare is on the stocks. I can't even get my friend Judith Chernaik to write a piece about the Jewishness of Brahms - all I remember is that charming story (though I still can't recollect the source of it) about the meeting between him and Bruch at which the following dialogue is alleged to have taken place: his salutation Guten Tag, Baruch attracted the smart rejoinder Guten Tag, Abrahams.

   I didn't see the Portillo piece about Elizabeth I; but I'm sure you're right about her tyranny (isn't she the tyrant of Sonnet 107?). And as you rightly suggest it's difficult to summon up much affection for someone who arranged for the torture of one's co-religionists, not to mention Shakespeare's own family. I think that the Tilbury speech was her finest hour - and Shakespeare might have written that too. He was after all her chief playwright and a natural born speech-writer, by 1588.

   But my interest in him is rather restricted at the moment to writing a piece about Edward III - by next November, the U.S. people concerned tell me - which means (to judge by my present rate of progress) that I'd better start now.

   And so farewell for the time being,

   Yours as ever