A final Byron-related story ...
Okay, yet another Byron connection. In her Lord Byron and Her Daughters, Markus mentions a play I’d not heard of by a playwright I most definitely had heard of—Tom Stoppard. I think the first play of his I ever read was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, first performed in 1966, the year I graduated from Hiram College. I did not read the play in college but a number of years later—not long after I was married (December 1969)—I began a membership in what I think was called the Theatre Guild.
The Guild was like the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Literary Guild (in fact, I think the Theatre Guild was an offshoot of the latter), but instead of novels and works of nonfiction, the TG specialized in plays. Every month we’d get a circular from the Guild that described the main selection for the month—and all the other titles they had available. They offered not original publishers’ editions; no, their volumes were cheap reprints (like the BOMC and LG titles). But at that time I was not very knowledgeable about the future value of books; I was more interested in what they could supply to us now. Joyce and I would buy quite a few of them over the years (she’d had a theater major in college), before we realized that if we ever wanted to sell any of our books, we would need to focus on original publishers’ editions, first printings. And so we have.
Anyway, one of the first ones we bought was Stoppard’s Rosencrantz, and, some years later, teaching Hamlet at Western Reserve Academy, I would sometimes whip that play out and show it to the students (I seem not to have done so in later years … not sure why).
One day an English-teaching WRA colleague—who shall remain nameless and genderless—asked me if he/she could borrow Rosencrantz (he/she also taught Hamlet), and I quickly supplied him/her with our copy. Months passed. More months. Finally, I asked him/her about it: Oh, I gave that back to you months ago, he/she lied.
And I, like Hamlet, cried, O, vengeance!
But dithered and didn’t do anything about it. Just like the Melancholy Dane.