130. 23 June 1998 [NM] (Bowen on Bacon)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

My dear Eric,

I can't believe I've let two months go by since I received you letter of 28 April so full of interest to me. But there it is. Only please don't keep me waiting another two months before you write back! The reason: it is exactly on 1 May I began this series of bronchial cum breathing difficulties which keep me putting off for to-morrow everything that can possibly be put off. I couldn't put off dear Christopher, and we have a marvellous week - though he is in the throes of more troubles than ever. But he had to look after me, rather than I him. So I'm not back to Shakespeare yet, and very envious of you who are. And cross with Yale for not realizing that you're about the only person writing about Shakespeare worth reading. I hope they have by now.

   Now first of all: I would be delighted to see any specimen chapters you care to send me, very particularly on the Sonnets. (I'm ordering Vendler tho' I think I have already some 5 or 6 editions. Also the Cambridge Pericles, good for them) I agree with you that there must be a biographical element. Tell me more about Shakespeare's interest in anagrams. It seems to have inspired him to confess that he was Oxford, Derby, Marlowe and others and the lover of Hotson's and who knows how many other Friends and Dark Ladies!

   Please also tell me more of the letter to Shakespeare in James' hand. It was Essex principally who negotiated with James. Mountjoy was involved, and possibly Anthony Bacon. I wonder if G. B. Harrison on Essex has more on this? Have you got round to the Northumberland MS? And was the patent for Chamberlain's men in Shakespeare's hand? Have you been to the new British Library, and can you bear it?

   What more of staging Edward III and Edmund Ironside in Canada? Perhaps you're there now? What's your feeling about the Two Noble Kinsmen?

   C.D. Bowers on Bacon (your friend's letter) is indeed a rather attractive writer. She was honestly puzzled. See my p. 396 if you're interested. Your friend will now have the pleasure of reading Bacon's Henry VII with Vickers' excellent introduction. Of Lisa Jardine's Bacon, least said soonest mended. It's undiluted sodomy, and they'll lap it up!

   I hope Enid is better, and your talented sons are enjoying their lives, and that you are enjoying both the active and the passive faces of your own. I'm rather on the passive side just now, but I enjoy that too.

   Till soon dear Eric, I hope, and please send me all you can about what you're doing, copies of any articles, etc.   

   With love, as ever