A New Book of Essays — “Hamlet Made Simple” — and Praise for “The Monument”

I received the new book Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays by David P. Gontar and began thumbing through its 428 pages when, on the heels of a discussion of Sonnet 116, I found some very kind words about The Monument, my edition of the Sonnets as by the Earl of Oxford.

Hamlet-Made-Simple-and-Other-EssaysI certainly intend to read Mr. Gontar’s entire book and review it here, in addition to submitting a customer review at its Amazon location; meanwhile, I hereby surrender to the urge to shamelessly share some of his praise for my work, and hope to be forgiven for it:

“On the basis of reason alone, our appreciation [of Sonnet 116] can only advance so far.  Miraculously, in the case of the Sonnets that revelation is at hand.  We now have Mr. Hank Whittemore’s historical study, The Monument , which painstakingly sets out the long sought-after autobiographical significance of the Sonnets.  To be adequately assimilated, Sonnet 116 must be set in the context of English history, with special attention paid to the careers and conflicts of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton, and Queen Elizabeth I.  Against all odds, Mr. Whittemore accomplishes that end.  As a result, the ‘tempests’ mentioned in line six [of Sonnet 116] are successfully identified.  To attempt in this place a summary of his magisterial argument would be impractical and inappropriate.  Some related ideas are taken up in the chapter on Lucrece, ‘Wanton Modesty.’  But it is best to let Mr. Whittemore speak for himself, and then re-visit some of these issues.  One simple caveat must suffice: any attempt to come to terms with the Sonnets of Shakespeare  (or the present essays) which neglects The Monument cannot be taken seriously, and is doomed to failure.  Readers are encouraged to seek out this indispensable resource.  They will be amply rewarded.”

There are eighteen essays in Hamlet Made Simple, preceded by a substantial introduction and followed by a final section in conclusion.  I look forward to delving into it.

And thanks to David Gontar for his kind remarks.

David P. Gontar, Ph.D., J.D., served as Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Southern University from 1975 to 1982.  Thereafter he was engaged in the practice of law in New Orleans, Louisiana and southern California.  He is currently Adjunct Professor of English and Philosophy at Inner Mongolia University in China.  In 2010 he was the English editor of China’s application to UNESCO for World Heritage Status of the Xanadu site in Inner Mongolia, granted by UNESCO in June of 2012.  Professor Gonatar’s writings have appeared in Southwestern Journal of Philosophy, Tulane Studies in Philosophy, Plantation Society in the Americas, Loyola Law Review and New English Review. 

Hamlet Made Simple is published by New English Review Press.

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