Welcome to The Stuff of Dreams

The Stuff of Dreams is a four volume series about William Shakespeare and the experiences and relationships that made him the writer he became. Book One, Not Wisely But Too Well, covers his early life until 1593.

You can read more about me and the book at my home page, Pauline Montagna, Writer and Publisher.

This blog records the results of my research for the series. It presents not only the facts I have garnered, but my interpretation of them that subsequently went into my novel. The blog is designed as background material for the series, though at this point it covers only the first volume. At the same time, it is also a treasure trove of information for students and lovers of Shakespeare.

The title for the series is suggested by the following quotation from The Tempest:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great Globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

 The Tempest, Act IV, Scene 1, 146-158

These lines can be read on several levels. In the context of the play, they describe the end of a play within a play. In real life they are speaking to the audience about the nature of the play they are watching. On a metaphorical level, they are referring to the brevity of human life and the passing of human history. I feel this quote encapsulates the whole series, as I see it as a biography of my two main characters, William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe and it speaks to their lives as men, as playwrights and as makers of history.

The title for Book One comes from Othello:

Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;

Othello, Act V, Scene 2, 342-345

This quote appeals to me on two levels. The William Shakespeare I have created is a man who loves deeply and completely. He is also writing an honest account of himself and the people in his life.

The cover design incorporates the Grafton Portrait which is widely believed to portray the young Shakespeare. (As seen in Is this the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? the Rylands Library, the University of Manchester, which holds this portrait, makes no such claim as there no definitive proof that it is he.)

Not Wisely but Too Well is currently withdrawn from sale to undergo a re--write. Copies can be acquired directly form the author by emailing montagnap@gmail.com.

I hope this project, both the novel and the blog, will give you as much pleasure as it has given me.

Happy Reading!