Finished the Burgess book. Rather good, although I think he's missed some social/sexual/anthropological niceties and is sticking a little too close to Charles Nicholl's theories to really turn new ground. Put his characters and the world he moves them through are really compelling.
On to his Shakespeare next, and then sonnets and more sonnets. By which time I should have my hot little hands on the books from the UK. And there's still the book on the Renaissance family to consume.
I am really enjoying the plunge-back-into-Academia aspect of this: somewhere about halfway through Homosexuality in Renaissance England (take that as you may) I realized with some great glee that I haven't had this kind of reading-with-the-green-pen-in-hand-brain-engaged-fun since 1993 or so. (1993 is when I fled the University of Connecticut with my tail between my legs.)
I keep thinking I'd like to take some classes. But not at UNLV. And not really with a degree in mind, either. But I really miss the heavy-duty brainstuffing and the intellectual arguments.
Hmm. 'Course, I can get a lot of that hanging out with writers.
Oh, and I learned something today, reading this book. The first one is another little twiddle in my knowledge of fabulous reality and telling detail.
The second is that Burgess's A Dead Man In Deptford is written in omniscient 1st person. And there's a reason for it. And I understood what the reason was.
Because he could have written it in the first person POV of Kit Marlowe. Or in the third-limited POV of Kit. Or in omniscient third.
But what he's done is written it in the first-person POV of an actor in the Admiral's Men, and had that character extrapolate, retell, expand, fictionalize, gossip, rumormonger, and recount--with editorials--his knowledge of the events of Kit Marlowe's life. Which is just brilliant, because it's Burgess' acknowledgement through the voice of his character that while this is a historical novel, so much of it is fiction (except that sparse handful of primary documents) and second-guessing, and extrapolation--that even the fiction must acknowledge that it's fiction.
So Burgess gives us a fictional actor speaking in the fictionalized voice of a real man, and gives us his comment on the modern day transgressions and irregularities of genius, on same-sex love and religion and the senselessness of repressive social orders.
Much as the Elizabethan playwrights themselves put their words in the mouths of historical figures.
And this is hitting me hard, this realization of how this (bizarre) POV works and why. Which I think means it has some bearing on my current plateau, and getting off it.
And on that note, I'm going to bed.