Sharyn McCrumb to Visit Greensboro Public Library

“In Wise County, Virginia, in 1935 a young college girl goes on trial for the murder of her father.  It was the crime of the century, all right.  Sent to cover the trial, a group of unprincipled national journalists assassinated the mountain culture in order to sensationalize the story.  The residual prejudice of their stereotyping exists to this day in every hillbilly joke you’ve ever heard.”

So goes the plot of The Devil Amongst The Lawyers, the latest novel by New York Times  bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb.

Join us at Greensboro Public Library’s Central Branch at 219 N. Church St. for a special evening with Ms. McCrumb on Thursday, July 8th, at 7 PM.  She’ll be discussing her new book, as well as autographing copies. 

For info call 336-373-3617.

Archaeologists to Excavate Remains of Shakespeare’s House

In still another brief follow-up to a previous post on the immortal playright and poet William Shakespeare (1564-1616), here’s a story about an archaeological dig which will begin later this month on the site of Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon home.

Archaeologists will be excavating three locations on what were once the grounds of the home, called “New Place.”  A special walkway and platform will be installed so that visitors can watch the dig while it’s in progress.

Dr. Diana Owen, Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, is hoping for some exciting finds.  “Who knows,” she says, “we might find one of Shakespeare’s shoes, some of his discarded correspondence or even some of his personal effects — only time will tell!”

If you want to learn more, Greensboro Public Library of course has plenty of resources on Shakespeare.

Did Fulke Greville Author Some of Shakespeare’s Plays?

Anybody with much interest in William Shakespeare (1564-1616) knows that there are doubters (known as anti-Stratfordians) who question the great bard’s authorship of some or all of the works attributed to him.

The theories of the anti-Stratfordians, which often attain a Da Vinci Code-like complexity, turn upon the notion that a mere commoner, lacking a university education, could hardly have been responsible for the greatest oeuvre in the English language. 

Over the years, some of the popular claimants for the “real Shakespeare” have included Edward de Vere, Sir Francis Bacon, and Christopher Marlowe.

Of course, most academics dismiss the theories of the anti-Stratfordians as nonsense, for they usually lack documentary records to back them up.  However, a UCLA statistical analysis of Shakespeare’s writings and those of his contemporaries, conducted in 1990, suggested another man who could not be ruled out as the “real Shakespeare”:  Sir Fulke Greville.   

A prominent Elizabethan courtier, as well as a dramatist and poet, Fulke Greville (1554-1628) is probably best remembered today as biographer of the much better known Sir Philip Sidney, who was a close friend.  

But now, true believers think a monument in Warwickshire’s St. Mary’s Church, built by Fulke Greville, may hold some proof of his connection to Shakespeare.

And this time they may have something, because a recent radar scan of the monument shows that three box-like objects lie within it.  Speculation is rife that they may contain manuscripts, such as a play in Shakespeare’s hand.

Researchers hope to explore the monument again within weeks using a device with a small video camera called an endoscope.  

Greensboro Public Library naturally has a large collection of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, as well as many books about him.  And these latter works include several on the authorship controversy, such as:  The Man Who was William Shakespeare by Peter Sammartino; The Mysterious William Shakespeare:  The Myth and the Reality by Charlton Ogburn; Who was Shakespeare?:  A New Enquiry by H. Amphlett; The Shakespeare Claimants; A Critical Survey of the Four Principal Theories Concerning the Authorship of the Shakespearean Plays by H.N. Gibson; and The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined; An Analysis of Cryptographic Systems Used as Evidence that Some Author Other than William Shakespeare Wrote the Plays Commonly Attributed to Him, by William F. Friedman & Elizabeth S. Friedman.

More Halloween Season Goodies: Bats, Bram Stoker, Telescopes & Poe

Bram Stoker

Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight series may well be more popular these days, but check this out:  the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker (1874-1912), author of Dracula, the greatest vampire novel of them all, has come out with a sequel to his famous ancestor’s book.

Titled Dracula:  The Un-dead, and written by Canadian Dacre Stoker in collaboration with a New York screenwriter named Ian Holt, the plot of the new novel involves a hunt for a murderous vampire, set against late Edwardian Europe.  Interestingly, Bram Stoker is actually a character in the new book.    

Greensboro Public Library has copies on order, so I imagine we’ll have Dacre Stoker’s new novel soon.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in Bram Stoker, we do have a couple of recent titles, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula:  A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the Dracula Phenomenon, edited by Elizabeth Miller, and The New Annotated Dracula.   

We’ve also plenty of other books on vampires.  Just a few of our 2009 titles make a long list:  Blood Promise:  A Vampire Academy Novel by Richelle Mead; The Vampire Archives, edited by Otto Penzler (on order); City of Glass by Cassandra Clare; Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon; Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs; The Thirteenth by L.A. Banks; Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris; Dark Road Rising by P.N. Elrod; and Club Dead by Charlaine Harris.  Search the library’s catalog here for many, many more.

A Vampire Bat

Speaking of vampires, it’s well-known that they occasionally transmogrify into bats.  And, if you’re like me and fascinated by bats (I love to watch them flit around at dusk, and one of my favorite books is Randall Jarrell’s The Bat Poet), you won’t want to miss our program on bats at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch on Monday night, October 19th, at 6:30 PM.

This program will also include a telescope viewing, provided skies are clear, and, though there’s no connection to our Kathleen Clay program, it’s nonetheless a fact that our master weaver of the horror tale, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), was also an astronomy enthusiast.  As a boy, Poe enjoyed using a telescope to study the stars and planets, and one of the last books he published before his tragic death was Eureka (1848), in which he attempted to explain the origins of the universe.

Edgar A. Poe

Lastly, thoughts of Poe and the Fall season always remind me of my favorite of his poems, Ulalume, which begins: 

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere –
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year.

The library, of course, has books on bats, astronomy, and Edgar A. Poe.  Let us know if we can help you find something.