WMU News

Shakespeare's daughter the subject of new tale

Jan. 17, 2004

KALAMAZOO--There is not much known about Shakespeare's youngest daughter, Judith, but a new novel by Dr. Grace Tiffany, professor of English at Western Michigan University, is not meant to be a biographical treatment of the world's most famous playwright's family.

The novel, "My Father Had A Daughter: Judith Shakespeare's Tale," is a "beguiling, rollicking, witty, heartening tale, penned as if a memoir," according to a recent review that appeared in the School Library Journal.

"I thought people might be interested in reading a book that addressed Shakespeare from a woman's perspective" says Tiffany. "None had been done, and little was known about Judith, so it gave me quite a bit of freedom to be creative."

Judith's story deals with a father is who is often absent, a protagonist who has to confront the grief of a family tragedy, and an opportunity for the young woman, when in disguise, to be part of her father's world during a performance of his new play, "Twelfth Night."

Throughout the book, real historical facts about Shakespeare and the actors and playwrights surrounding him are woven into imaginary London episodes. This use of the real and the imagined makes the book as much historical fiction as it is the tale of a girl growing up in the Shakespeare family.

"I put in many facts that came from real theater history, including rivalries Shakespeare had with other playwrights, the building of the Globe Theater and things going on in London during the late 16th and 17th centuries," says Tiffany.

The book has been well received by a variety of audiences, according to the author.

"People who know little of Shakespeare have liked it," she notes, "But Shakespeare scholars have liked it as well. And I've had mothers telling me that their teenage daughters have taken the book and finished it before they've had a chance to read it."

"My Father Had a Daughter: Judith Shakespeare's Tale," is 304 pages in hardcover and is published by Berkley Books. It is available through Amazon.com booksellers and Barnes and Noble bookstores for $21.95.

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Tiffany's second novel offers new view of "Will"

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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