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Friday, April 11, 2014

the daylight gate by jeanette winterson


the daylight gate by jeanette winterson is a serendipitous find. “Already the light was thinning. Soon it would be dusk; the liminal hour – the Daylight Gate. He did not want to step through the light into whatever lay beyond the light.” His fear is the subject of this book: The Trial of the Lancashire Witches of 1612. Lancaster and environs in 1612 are all about witches. In 1986, I was fortunate to be given the chance to study my god, William Shakespeare, on his grounds that summer. My thesis was to explore what the man did to obtain such knowledge since he didn’t even finish what we would call high school. In Shakespeare scholarship, they are called the Lost Years. Some have speculated he was in and out of jail, in the army, traveled, and other such things that may have provided him fodder for his work. In my thesis, I proposed he was a tutor of some kind and that gave him access to the great works of the day, which also became the sources for so many of his plays and provided him further time in developing and fine tuning his own skills with words. Unlike his Oxford and Cambridge educated colleagues, he was a high school dropout who had amassed a great deal of knowledge. How did this happen? As a tutor access to knowledge seemed the obvious path he followed, but alas I had no proof, connections, or evidence to support my thesis. the daylight gate provides a story of Shakespeare being a tutor in the then Catholic Lancashire part of England.
“We ride at dawn to Hoghton Tower. There is a new play to be put on, written by William Shakespeare who has had great success in London. He was a tutor for a time at Hoghton Tower and, by gracious request, his play is to be performed there.” This book is about witchcraft and the horrible atrocities performed against the witches and what so many did to try to save themselves and didn’t save themselves. It was about religion, the Catholics and the Protestants and the ungodly and horrible things done by man against man in the name of a god. The play was The Tempest, about magic, about renewal and about forgiveness as love helps us pass it on and move to the next stage.

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