22. 14 November 1998 (Aetion and Willy; Edward III in German; essays and interviews; Brahms book)

Dear John,


   Nice to hear from you. Yes, I quite agree (and very daringly said, in The Real  Shakespeare) that Aetion and Willy are both about the Bard. I don't know about Amyntas, but I like the idea that Shakespeare wrote early comedies (such as The Taming of A Shrew; and both Ironside and Famous Victories have funny bits).

   There must be a reason why Shakespeare revised so many Queen's plays. But I'm not against a Derby tie-up, the exploration and exposition of which I'll happily leave to you. As to Elizabeth and the Derby wedding at Greenwich, see Chambers 1930 in his MND chapter, 358-9; he says she was there. He doesn't seem to give the evidence, but the reign is well documented with court circulars and the like.


   For the rest, I've agreed (in a mad fit) to having a chapter of mine from Edward IIItranslated and published in a German Oxfordian journal. Yale quite liked the idea (no doubt hoping it would improve sales). Edward III has generally been quite big on the scene (if not on the market) lately. Feature articles about it have appeared in the national and local press; I've been approached by our Radio Three people, for a programme next year, and I've been much photographed, including one mug-shot of me holding an actual mug of tea (the sight, my neighbours complained, quite spoiled their breakfast). And the other day a journalist from Amsterdam arrived at Heathrow (a latterday Flying Dutchman) just to interview me. I have a piece in the latest Hamlet Studies; I've written a review of Harold Bloom's latest book on Shakespeare, for the L. A. Times; I'm down to review the latestPericles next year. for N & Q. Otherwise I'm more or less off  Shakespeare, at least for the time being. Yale have kindly accepted my latest effusion, a big book on Brahms lieder, with the proviso that the original German poems should also be included. I'm now tackling that tack, with pleasure. My previous song publishers have always fought shy of the added expense; but if Yale can stand it I'm sure I can. It will certainly increase sales, and might even increase royalties.

   Farewell for now; best, as ever,