Mine eye hath played the painter and hath steeled,
Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein ‘tis held,
And perspective that is best painter’s art.
For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictured lies,
Which in my bosom’s shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art,
They draw but what they see, know not the heart.
You don’t become Shakespeare by sitting underneath a willow tree writing away with a feather. You become Shakespare by falling in love, and by drinking, and by having women and affairs and falling in love and breaking your heart, and watching other people falling in love and breaking their heart.
[In ‘The Shakespeare Code’] we do actually write him as massively intelligent. That kind of gets lost in the Liam Gallagher side of it. 'Cause actually, he’s the one person ever who just looks at the Doctor and kind of knows who the Doctor is. Kind of works him out, studies him for a bit, gets him immediately. 'Cause that’s surely what Shakespeare was like.
Any good writer simply understands human nature, that’s the only talent a writer ever needs to have. They don’t need to know A-stories and B-stories, and three-act-structures and the history of the original version of 'The Tempest’ and stuff like that, they just need to know why people do what they do.
And that’s why Shakespeare’s plays are still performed, 'cause everything Rosalind says in that forest is still true. “Men have died from time to time, worms have eaten them, but not for love”. The most cynical and most brilliant and true line ever written. And to have written that Shakespeare was just full of salt, and sweat and beer and dirt and ordinary people. That’s what he was.
[…] And that’s who Shakespeare is in the end. That’s who he is. He must have been. He must have been like that. He must have been that down-to-earth, he must have been that much of a laugh. He’s writing comedies - great, big, knockaround comedies with clowns and things like that - AND tragedies. Must have been.
“The Hogarth Shakespeare series will launch in October 2015 with The Gap of Time – Jeanette Winterson’s reinvention of The Winter’s Tale. This major international project will see Shakespeare’s plays reimagined by some of today’s bestselling and most celebrated writers. The books will be true to the spirit of the original plays, while giving authors an exciting opportunity to do something new.” [x]