2020-12-22 22:36:35 UTC
mostly off the top of my head. Preaching to the choir here, I know.
On the one hand, NOT:
1. Novels were supposedly not written before the 18th century.
2. Shakespeare did plays and poetry, not prose.
3. No muse for the novel in his day.
4. He didn't even do domestic comedy, much less realism.
5. Public demand for novel was minimal, when people didn't read.
6. Probably Shakespeare had little interest in ancient forms of the
novel, like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murasaki_Shikibu
7. No real evidence he ever read Cervantes' *Don Quixote*.
8. Certainly no ms. of a Shakespeare novel, or probably even a forged
On the other hand, WHY NOT:
1. There is lots of evidence of proto-types of novels in other
genres, like romance, history, science fiction, tales, short story,
fantasy, horror, and surreal, maybe gothic; and there was the growth
of "bildungsroman," showing emotional and moral growth of a character.
2. Other authors seem to approach writing the English novel, such as
Deloney, who used dramatic technique in novels; Greene; Nashe, *The
Unfortunate Traveler*; Spenser, who did *Faerie Queen* with many
sub-plots; More, *Utopia," called a "frame narrative"; Painter,
*Horrible and Bruell Murder of Sultn Solyman*, which was popular;
Sidney, "The Arcadia"; and Spenser, *The Shepherd's Calendar."
In the 17th century, there was Swift, Lyly, Scudery, and Bacon's *New
Atlantis; A Work unfinished*.
3. Surely we can make out the coming novel form by connecting the
dots. So who knows how close Shakespeare came to completing his first
Speculating about "Shakespeare's novel," one can look at his
retirement from the stage in 1611 at the age of 47 to his home in
Stratford. Question is, Did he give up his life as a professional
writer, before dying in 1616?
1. What did he do with his writing abilities between 1611 and 1616?
2. He is known for his ability to "mirror life," borrow and
improvise to compose all forms of narrative, even out of the box in
terms of following classical unities.
3. His last collaborations scholars say were writing sessions mixed
with social pleasure, while participating in writing of Henry VIII,
Two Noble Kinsmen, and the "lost play," Cardenio.
4. With all these successes, wasn't he in position to advance a novel
to audiences he knew very well?
Maybe there was an unfinished ms. left when he died, and Susanne filed
it away, or her husband did. It still might show up in someone's
trunk or grave. Or was it of some questionable disposition that his
censurers wouldn't allow to see the light? Something from the Dark
Side Shakespeare experienced?
File it away with all the other Shakespeare ms. not found.