William Shakespeare has been a part of Nick Fogg’s life ever since he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon some 70 years ago and grew up in the Bard’s home town fascinated by his great dramas.
He wrote Hidden Shakespeare, his own meticulously researched story of his life in May last year, an admired tome that was Book of the Week in the City of London libraries and has done particularly well in the United States.
So it is with some satisfaction that he Nick, twice Marlborough’s mayor and founder of its International Jazz Festival, sees Shakespeare’s face peering out at him as he walks daily down the High Street past the White Horse Bookshop.
For it has devoted one window to a display of the new paperback edition of Hidden Shakespeare and provided a wry smile for Nick with a notice that declares: Local Author – N. Fogg, not W. Shakespeare!
“To write about the greatest literary genius who ever lived, is both humbling and exhilarating”, Nick told Marlborough News Online. “I cannot express it better or more simply than his friend Ben Jonson: ‘He was not for an age, but for all time’.”
Indeed, Hidden Shakespeare has been keeping Nick, outspoken Marlborough and Wiltshire councillor, in the forefront of Shakespeare scholars.
“All the top universities – Harvard, Princeton, McGill, etc. have it in their libraries”, Nick explained. “Even more gratifying, it features prominently on the many Shakespeare blog sites. In this day and age, that’s the place to be.”
As a result of the publication of the book, Nick has been asked to quite a number of speaking engagements, ranging from the local University of the Third Age to the Shakespeare Globe Theatre.
This month he spoke on Shakespeare and Medicine to the Royal College of General Practitioners and he is due to speak in the near future to British Actors Equity.
“Shakespeare is a great dramatist who speaks to all ages,” added Nick. “He is both a contemporary figure and a universal figure. That’s why I decided I had to write down all my thoughts what I have discovered about him.”
So what would the Bard say about today’s politics?
The obvious, he spontaneously replied, are “There is something rotten in the state of Denmark” (Hamlet) and “Stand not upon the order of your going. In the name of God, go!”
But then he added: “How about, ‘What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues/That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion/Make yourselves scabs?” from Coriolnaus.”
The paperback of Hidden Shakespeare is published by Amberley Publishing, available of course from all good bookshops and online price £10.65.