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The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels
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The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  61 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Equal parts literary detective story and vivid travelogue, TheShakespeare Guide to Italy chronicles author Richard Paul Roe’sthirty-year quest to find the locations in which Shakespeare set his tenItalian plays—delivering a text which will forever change our understanding ofhow to read the Bard of Avon and irrevocably alter our vision of who WilliamShakespeare really was. ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Harper Perennial
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Sarah Bringhurst
Jul 10, 2013 Sarah Bringhurst rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much. In what is the culmination of a lifelong study and love affair, Richard Paul Roe posits that because of the intimate knowledge of Italian culture, geography, and history demonstrated in Shakespeare's plays, he must have been a cultured, erudite upper-class Englishman who spent significant time traveling in Italy, and not the traditional, untraveled Bard of Avon. As a caveat, I am a scholar neither of Shakespeare nor of 16th century Italy (I just happen ...more
Sep 10, 2015 Elliott rated it did not like it
At first glance this book gives a staunch and, furthermore, untraveled Stratfordian such as myself pause. Roe seems to have it airtight that whomever wrote Shakespeare must have been familiar with Italy-after all: 'The Sycamores!'
But, I never take these things lying down and I assure you though it appears an insurmountable and perhaps even fatal argument against Will of Stratford, Richard Paul Roe's "life work" is just more bustle, disinformation, and possibly even a little stupidity.
I will say
Mar 08, 2015 Jeana rated it really liked it
An interesting take on proving Shakespeare HAD actually been to Italy in his lifetime...Sometimes things felt a little stretched, but this read like a scholarly mystery was unfolding. I wanted to read this in preparation for my upcoming trip to Italy. It gave me a little insights and ideas on where we can take day trips. I liked that the book had pictures too!
Oct 14, 2012 Lindig rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love Shakespeare and I love Italy. What I don't love is a book that attempts to prove that he knows the country too well and therefore can't be him. I know; it's complicated. It's a gorgeous book with lots of pictures of various Italian spots, but that's not enough to offset the theory being propounded, a theory to which I don't subscribe. Ah well.
Rik Walter
May 30, 2014 Rik Walter rated it it was amazing
Puts to rest the notion that "Shake-Speare" didn't get Italy right. He got it right -- and he got it first-hand.
Jim Berkin
Jul 22, 2012 Jim Berkin rated it it was amazing
A wonderful travelogue & a phenomenal piece of scholarship. Roe closely analyzes material from Shakespeare's Italian plays to illustrate how familiar the playwright was with specific details of Italian geography, local culture, and especially local nicknames for various locations that Roe argues exist in the plays. He uses careful tracings of changes in language & capitalization of specific things in dialogue across different versions of the plays to successfully establish the great exte ...more
Space Thefinalfrontier
Mar 14, 2012 Space Thefinalfrontier rated it really liked it
This book is a riveting account of Shakespeare's travel through Italy based solely on his Italian plays. Obviously, Shakespeare knew the latest fashion, ducal, cultural, and commercial centers, and other landmarks, transport technologies, and even a select grove of sycamore. To walk through that grove today is to become Shakespeare: I dare you.

Roe also sets the bar very high for diction. You will never again believe Shakespeare preferred the shallow, irreverent definition!
The author presents a strong case for Shake-speare having first hand knowledge of Italy, as some obscure references in the plays could only come from having been in Italy at the time and from a person who could speak/read Italian. Therefore, Roe basically disputes "the man from Stratford" as the author of the Shake-speare plays. This book was also an enjoyable read.
Apr 04, 2012 Carmen rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
Many of Shakespeare's plays were set in Italy. It has long been disputed that Shakespeare wrote the scenes from personal knowledge or just copied someone else's accounts. This author, Richard Roe, proves that they were set in a real Italy by looking at places in Italy and matching them with the real meanings of the words Shakespeare chose.
Feb 07, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
This book is a wonderful look at locations mentioned in Shakespeare's plays set in Italy and, using clues from the plays themselves, seeks out the locations and documents them, along with their surrounding beauty.
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