Shakespeare Is Everywhere: “Shakespeare’s Christmas”

Yes, this is a real story, and no it’s not a joke (at least it doesn’t read that way). This title piece in a short-story collection by writer and literary critic Arthur Quiller-Couch (who wrote under the pseudonym–get ready for it–“Q”) is in fact a bizarre yet clever mashup of Shakespearean narrative and mythology. On the surface, Quiller-Couch is fictionalizing the night that Richard Burbage and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, unbeknownst to their landlord, took apart The Theatre and transported the lumber to a storage facility near the Thames, where those same building materials would eventually be used to construct the Globe. Sort of a bizarre moment in Shakespearean history in and of itself, but it did happen on December 28, 1599 (not on Christmas eve, which is when Quiller-Couch’s tale is set). On another level, however, the story is a retelling of Henry IV, Part Two, with Shakespeare as Prince Hal and John Shakespeare, William’s father, as Falstaff.

To be honest, I have yet to wrap my brain around this piece, so I have to offer it up to you Fickle Readers in its pure and unanalyzed state. The story is ripe for criticism, though. I invite you to have at it, and if you have any cool observations, please share.

Merry happy, everyone!

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3 responses to “Shakespeare Is Everywhere: “Shakespeare’s Christmas”

  1. Wonderful! I’ve never heard of this story. How did you find it? Oh, this must be shared. Do you mind if I reblog it?
    Merry Christmas to you and thanks for the story.

    • Happy Boxing Day, Sari! Please feel free to reblog! I found this story while I was researching my dissertation, which happened to be about Falstaff. I love it when authors come up with their own iterations of Shakespeare’s characters, but this particular story took my breath away with all its…let’s say, uniqueness. Glad you enjoyed it!!!

  2. Pingback: Shakespeare Saturday | The View From Sari's World

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