A Gentleman And A Scholar


While Mrs Weir is off watching a game of association football in the North of London, I’m at home catching up.

This includes sorting through a host of recently acquired books including a number from the New Penguin Shakespeare series which each come with enormously handsome woodcut-print cover illustrations by artist David Gentleman.

I’ve been collecting these on and off for a number of years now, through occasional finds in second-hand bookshops and charity shops but I’m still a number away from the complete collection (not that there is a complete collection as Gentleman was somewhat bafflingly replaced as the artist of choice before he’d finished the set himself).

One of the latest batch arriving here at Weir HQ is of particular interest given that it seems to be the copy once owned by Tom Craik, a professor of English at Durham University. I know this because on further examination of the book two letters from Dr Ann Thompson (who is now an Emeritus Professor of English at King’s College London) written to Professor Craik appeared from deep within the pages.

The letters ask for Craik’s advice in preparation for work she was doing on a new edition of the play for the Cambridge University Press. And if the preface of the edition I found on a popular online bookshop is anything to go by he obviously wrote back, “In addition I have had expert advice from Gary Taylor on textual matters, from Tom Craik, C. Walter Hodges and Marion Lomax on questions of staging…”.

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