“In the Glassy Margents” is The Shakespeare Newsletter‘s official digital presence. The title represents the multifold purpose of this new online platform.
First, because of the continued support of Iona College, The Shakespeare Newsletter has and will continue to stand as a hub for early modern scholars, Shakespeare aficionados, performers, teachers, and students alike. The efforts of the blog are marginal to those that the editorial staff of The Shakespeare Newsletter have and will undertake. Indeed, the blog will sometimes directly supplement The Shakespeare Newsletter by appropriating content from recent issues and from our archive.
And yet, as we continue to learn from scholars in the archives, the margins offer space for notable facts, events, theories, discoveries, insights, and questions. So, secondly, our purpose “in the glassy margents” is to plot new terrain for reports, reviews, scholarship, and reflections on topics not readily covered by or accessible within well established news websites or academic journals. The editorial board will ensure that each contribution demonstrates knowledge of early modern literature, culture, and/or contemporary performance. Whenever seminal books and performances are covered, reviewers will themselves hail from somewhere along the margins when possible: new scholars, retired professors, unaffiliated enthusiasts, Ph.D. candidates, and adjunct scholars.
Third, given our late arrival to the digital humanities and to the internet more generally, this new blog enters into a space filled with a wide variety of websites reserved for all things early modern. If other websites and blogs have become key resources for Shakespeareans and early modern scholars and students, “In the Glassy Margins” lays claim to the margins of Shakespearean digital space.
“In the Glassy Margents” is a phrase borrowed from an early passage in The Rape of Lucrece. Shakespeare writes that Tarquin hid his lust “in pleats of majesty” everywhere so successfully “[t]hat nothing in him seem’d inordinate / Save sometime too much wonder of his eye” (94-96). Lucrece “never cop’d with stranger eyes” so could not “read the subtle shining secrecies / Writ in the glassy margents of such books” (100-103). Shakespeare bases his version of this tragedy on the unseen threat of the familiar, as if to emphasize that what matters often lies on the periphery. Once we read “stranger” as a comparative adjective, and therefore discover that all Roman men whom Lucrece had encountered may too have had in the white of their eyes “too much wonder,” then we can be reminded that lessons from the margins profoundly and unalterably impact our view of the whole.